WebMink writes "In rare joint move, the OSI and FSF have joined with Eben Moglen's Software Freedom Law Center to file a U.S. Supreme Court briefing in the CLS vs Alice case. The brief asserts the basic arguments that processes are not patentable if they are implemented solely through computer software, and that the best test for whether a software-implemented invention is solely implemented through software is whether special apparatus or the transformation of matter have been presented as part of the claims (the "machine or transformation" test). They assert that finding software-only inventions unpatentable will not imperil the pace of software innovation, citing the overwhelming success of open source in the software industry as proof." Link to Original Source top
WebMink writes "While the focus of the news of Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's devices businesses is the future of Microsoft as an Apple clone, there's another story too. What will become Nokia? Microsoft has left them with all the device & smartphone patents, plus a huge pile of cash to spend. Nokia is already aggressive with patents, but with no smartphones to sell (and thus no target for counter-suits) they have every incentive to follow the trail of others (like Kodak) before them and become a massive mobile troll." Link to Original Source top
WebMink writes "In an interview at OSCON, Mark Shuttleworth of Canonical spoke about the vision behind the Ubuntu Edge phone as a concept device to test features the mobile industry is too conservative to try. Notably, he agreed with the Free Software Foundation's demands that the device should carry no proprietary software and have Free drivers (transcript):
So what’s going to be in there? That’s all going to be free software?
Yes, we’ll ship this with Android and Ubuntu, no plans to put proprietary applications on it. We haven’t finalised the silicon selection so we’re looking at the next generation silicon from all major vendors. I would like to ship it with all Free drivers.
WebMink writes "After strong criticism last year, Github has finally accepted the view that public repositories with no open source license are a bad thing. Self-described as the "world's largest open source community," a significant number of GitHub projects come with no rights whatsoever for you to use their code in an open source project.
WebMink writes "A discussion in the Debian community reveals that last month Oracle quietly disclosed a change for the embedded BerkeleyDB database from the quirky Sleepycat License to the Affero General Public License (AGPL) in future versions. AGPL is only compatible with GPLv3 and treats web deployment as a trigger to license compliance, so developers using BerkeleyDB will need to check their code is still legally licensed.
Even if they had made the switch in the interests of advancing software freedom it would be questionable to force so many developers into a new license compatibility crisis. But it seems likely their only motivation is to scare more people into buying proprietary licenses. Oracle are well within their rights, but developers are likely to treat this as a betrayal. As a poster in the Debian thread says, "Oracle move just sent the Berkeley DB to oblivion" because there are some great alternatives, like OpenLDAP's LMDB." Link to Original Source top
Do Open Source Projects Really Need Tax-Exempt Status?
WebMink writes "With news this week that GitHub is banning storage of any file over 100Mb and discouraging files larger than 50Mb, their retreat from offering download services is complete. SourceForge is left as about the only large host for open source projects to easily offer binary downloads. Is the DMCA to blame?" Link to Original Source top
WebMink writes "It was remarkable enough that Microsoft chose to implement Git rather than inventing its own DVCS in Visual Studio this week. But they have done so using libgit2, which is licensed under GPLv2 and developed by GitHub. Microsoft are not only shipping it; they are also contributing to the project. Remember, the GPL was what made Steve Ballmer call Linux a "cancer" and has been the focus of Microsoft's fear of FOSS for a decade. Has hell frozen over?" Link to Original Source top
Does Microsoft have the best app store for open source developers?
if your Application or In-App Product includes FOSS, your license terms may conflict with the limitations set forth in Section 3 of the Standard Application License Terms, but only to the extent required by the FOSS that you use
WebMink writes "GitHub is a great open source hosting site, right? Wrong. There's no requirement that projects on GitHub provide any copyright license, let alone an open source one, so roughly half the projects on GitHub are "all rights reserved" — meaning you could well be violating copyright if you make any use of the code in them. And GitHub management seem just fine with this state of affairs, saying picking a license is too hard for ordinary developers. But if you're not going to give anyone permission to use your code, why post it on GitHub in the first place?" Link to Original Source top
WebMink writes "It used to just be speculation, but the numbers are now in — patent trolls are costing America jobs and economic growth. Newly-published research using data commissioned by Congress shows big rises in patent troll activity over the last five years — from 22% to 40% of all patent suits filed, with 4 out of five litigants being patent trolls. Other papers show that jobs are being lost and startups threatened, while VC money is just making things worse by making startups waste money filing more patents. Worst of all, it's clear this is just the tip of the iceburg; there's evidence that unseen pre-lawsuit settlements with patent trolls represent a much larger threat than anything the research can easily measure.
At least there is a little good news though; the fact Congress commissioned research on patent trolls means there are legislators taking the problem seriously at last," Link to Original Source top
WebMink writes "Knowing that its explosive special edition on China this week will be blocked by censorship, UK political magazine "New Statesmen" has taken the unusual step of posting its own torrents of the PDF of the Mandarin edition on the magazine. Looking at the content of the issue they are probably right to expect censorship — there's an article from the former newspaper editor Cheng Yizhong about media censorship, and Ai Weiwei interviews a member of the "50 cent party" — a commenter paid half a dollar every time he derails an online debate in China. "Essentially, these people are paid internet trolls; their job is to stop any meaningful discussion online about the government." The magazine asks us to share the PDF,.torrent file and magnet link widely, so where better than Slashdot?" Link to Original Source top
WebMink writes "Last month, the wider MySQL community called foul on Oracle's failure to publish test cases with the most recent MySQL release. But Oracle claimed this week at a conference in Brussels that talk of it winding in control of MySQL is "just FUD".
WebMink writes "Back in 2009, Apple signed an agreement aimed at reducing electronic waste resulting from mobile phone accessories. But this week's launch of the iPhone 5 shows them reneging on that commitment. Instead of including a micro-USB connector on the iPhone, as they agreed to do along with the rest of the phone industry, they created yet another proprietary connector. At a stroke, they have junked earlier iPhone accessories, forced a new industry in Apple-only accessories to arise and broken their promise to the EC. It's a huge missed opportunity both for their customers and for the environment." Link to Original Source top
Easy Fix For Software Patents Found In US Patent Act
WebMink writes "What if there was an easy, inexpensive way to bring software patents under control, that did not involve Congress, which applied retrospectively to all patents and which was already part of the US Patent Act? Stanford law professor Mark Lemley thinks he's found it. He asserts that the current runaway destruction being caused by software patents is just like previous problems with US patent law, and that Congress included language in the Patent Act of 1952 that can be invoked over software patents just like it fixed the earlier problems. All it will take is a future defendant in a patent trial using his read of a crucial section of the Patent Act in their defence to establish case law. Can it really be that easy?" Link to Original Source top
Sun Admitted JavaME Was Fragmented Without Any Help From Android
WebMink writes "The heart of Oracle's case against Google was that Android was fragmenting Java. But as Sun admitted repeatedly — notably at JavaOne in 2009, as the video linked from this article shows — Java ME was already a thoroughly fragmented platform in need of remediation. Has Oracle's decision to fire its one-shot Java defences at the wrong target cost it the ability to "defend" Java again?" Link to Original Source top