Via James Bessen, we learn of how a patent trolling operation by StreamScale has resulted in an open source project completely shutting down, despite the fact that the patent in question (US Patent 8,683,296 for an "Accelerated erasure coding system and method") is almost certainly ineligible for patent protection as an abstract idea, following the Supreme Court's Alice ruling and plenty of prior art. Erasure codes are used regularly today in cloud computing data storage and are considered to be rather important. Not surprisingly, companies and lawyers are starting to pop out of the woodwork to claim patents on key pieces. I won't pretend to understand the fundamental details of erasure codes, but the link above provides all the details. It goes through the specific claims in the patents, breaking down what they actually say (basically an erasure code on a computer using SIMD instructions), and how that's clearly an abstract idea and thus not patent-eligible.
A group of developers have started writing their own open-source web browser that primarily is designed to increase web privacy and greater security.
Gngr is written in Java to make use of the Java runtime's sandboxing abilities but ultimately they plan to switch over to some other JVM-based language.
While the code has yet to drop on Gngr, it's said to be coming after the initial release.
Those interested in more information on this privacy-focused web-browser can visit Gngr.info.
The open-source movement has produced some of the most widely utilized software in the world, a huge economic value driven by a widely dispersed community who believe contributing good work is often its own reward. Outside of the world of computer science, however, these strategies are still relatively niche. A San Francisco startup called Assembly is trying to change all that, by evolving the open-source model to easily incorporate disciplines outside coding and to include a shared profit motive as well. Today the company is announcing a $2.9 million round of funding it will use to help expand its platform.
Open source is everywhere, but the term is often applied loosely. Free and open source software is attractive to hardware and software companies because it seems to be the cheap and efficient option and gives access to communities of users and developers who bring cost reductions and opportunities for high quality input from a variety of sources. Corporate involvement in open source software development works for developers as it pays their wages and, if properly managed, allows them the freedom to work on the code. But open source’s success is not without its drawbacks.
The Linux Foundation's OPNFV project won a significant endorsement this week from China-based ZTE Corporation, which stands to increase the global reach of the open source network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) initiative.
Based in Shenzen, China, ZTE is a major manufacturer of telecom...