Brendan Scott
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The Open Source Law Weekly Digest or OSWALD first launched late in 2002. Since then it has been regularly providing updates on all things open source related. The focus of this newsletter is on business, rather than technical developments in open source. Another strong component of the newsletter is IP news, as it is of interest to me and has an effect on open source.

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OSWALD #357 Period ending 4 May 2010

OSWALD #357 Period ending 4 May 2010

Welcome to the Open Source Law Weekly Open Source Digest (OSWALD)

Good news, with Red Hat and Novell winning in a patent infringement suit brought by a 'Non Practising Entity'. There are claims that a patent pools is being set up to specifically target open source video codecs. HTC has signed a patent agreement with Microsoft and there's more stuff on the Gizmodo raid.

In other news, Georg Greve has been recognised by the German Government for his contribution to Free Software. In Australia people helping to correct OCR errors for the National Library have been nominated for Australia Day awards (there is much more need for recognition of this kind of contribution).

>From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Open Standards/ODF

Patent Pool to Thwart Open Source Codecs

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse in the world of software patents, a reliable source sent me this response from Steve Jobs about a patent pool that's forming and aiming to nail the open source codecs projects.

IE9 HTML5 Video Will Be H264 Only

I am almost flabbergasted by the spin and blunt-face upon which this news is delivered. We were just discussing the pot calling the kettle black with Apple / Adobe and now Microsoft have also come out in favour of a closed video format for an open web--IE9's HTML5 video support will allow H264 only.

***** Government/Policy

Vancouver City Hall's Open Data Experiment

Now, Mayor Robertson has gone even further, making a motion in city council that the city manager release the mayor's and council's budget and expenses, beyond the relatively scant information already available in financial disclosures.

Australian National Library uses open source for treasure Trove

That program involved the use of Optical Character Recognition software to automatically convert old newspaper images into digital text. The small fonts and uneven printing of many of the newspaper pages made conversion difficult and not always accurate. As a result, more than 5000 online users helped corrected text and subsequently the top correctors were slated to receive Australia Day awards for their efforts. [Appropriate for service to the community!]

CCIA Releases Economic Study Calculating Value of “Fair Use”

[See previous Oswald]

USTR's Bully Report Unfairly Blames Canada Again

As an official with the Department of Foreign Affairs once told a House of Commons committee: In regard to the watch list, Canada does not recognize the 301 watch list process. It basically lacks reliable and objective analysis. It's driven entirely by U. S. industry. We have repeatedly raised this issue of the lack of objective analysis in the 301 watch list process with our U. S. counterparts.

An antitrust app - Apple may be in the eye of regulatory storm

According to a person familiar with the matter, the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are locked in negotiations over which of the watchdogs will begin an antitrust inquiry into Apple's new policy of requiring software developers who devise applications for devices such as the iPhone and iPad to use only Apple's programming tools.

EU Open Source Procurement Guidelines [Reported on last week]

***** Patent/CR/DRM News+Policy

Why Mobile Patents are Such a Mess

None of the major companies really seem to take patents seriously. The whole patent system has become just another tool to use in the ongoing quest for revenue, customers and to win the game of partner politics. And why should they take patents serious? The United States Patent and Trademark Office grants patents for vague ideas, obvious processes and usage models and even the most mundane software user interface conventions.

Apple Wins Strategic Multitouch & Music Tempo Workout Patents

The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of twelve newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The two notables within this group includes one that relates to controlling the tempo of music on an iPod to motivate users while jogging or working out - while the other is a major multitouch gesturing patent that includes virtual keyboards and/or larger surface computers.

MobileMedia's Unusual Patent Infringement Campaign

What is unusual is who owns MobileMedia: MPEG-LA, the private company that oversees a total of eight patent pools covering important digital video standards--MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 being the most common--used in DVD players and pretty much every other device that supports digital video.

Apple Sued Over Touchpad Technology at ITC

Apple Inc. products - including the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch - are targets of a patent infringement suit that got a green light today from the U. S. International Trade Commission.

Kiwi 3 Strikes Anti-Piracy Bill Receives Unanimous Support

As the music and movie industries tour the world lobbying for changes in the law in an attempt to slow down online piracy, New Zealand's legislation moves a step closer to becoming law.

AT&T wants 3 strikes tribunal, government website blacklist

If you're thinking to yourself, "Self, isn't this exactly what they have in France?" you're on the right track. France has gone this route, creating an official tribunal called HADOPI to oversee the graduated response system (after constitutional concerns, a judge now has to oversee the final step in the process). In France, the ultimate penalty is Internet disconnection; AT&T says nothing about what penalties it prefers in the US.

***** Implementations

Florida Hospital Takes Charge of Their Destiny with Drupal

They changed interactive marketing agencies to what turned out to be a Drupal shop. The resulting Drupal 5 site was their most successful property to date which caused more and more internal groups to want to follow along.

***** Applications/Gadgets

Google Nixes Verizon Edition of Nexus One

Verizon Wireless, the mobile phone joint venture between Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group, will begin offering the well-reviewed HTC Incredible on April 29.

Seven-inch tablet runs Android

Shenzhen-based Eken announced a seven-inch tablet computer that runs either Android or Windows CE 6. 0.

Critics' Choice Review: HTC Incredible Dubbed 'Best Smartphone'

Based on the reviews from CNET, LAPTOP magazine, PC Magazine, and PC World, the new HTC Droid Incredible does just that. In fact, the Android 2. 1-based Verizon phone ($200 with two-year contract) could just as well be named Awesome. Stupefying. Maybe even OMG.

Dell Vostro V13 - Comes with Ubuntu Preloaded

Dell’s slate roadmap revealed: Android, MeeGo, smartbooks and more...

What is alleged to be a copy of the company's tablet roadmap, leaked to Android Central, reveals Dell's planned devices with screen sizes from four inches to 11 inches in a period stretching to early next year.

Moodle: The free learning platform

Moodle , the E-learning platform, is one of the most significant and successful projects in open source. Despite its success, with hundreds of thousands of people being taught by courses written in Moodle, as a product it is not well known.

Verizon runs low on Droid Incredibles

Verizon Wireless is apparently having a hard time keeping up with demand for the HTC Droid Incredible smartphone, selling out in many stores and pushing promised delivery dates out to May 14.

***** Reports

Total victory for open source software in a patent lawsuit

The jury unanimously found that the patents were not infringed, and, even worse for the plaintiffs, that the patents were invalid.

Why Making Money from Free Software Matters

Later still, free software also became a way of making serious money - something that Stallman has repeatedly said he is quite happy with, contrary to much FUD claiming otherwise.

Canonical announces an Ubuntu certification scheme

The joint programme with the LPI had been very successful, but there was great demand for a pure Ubuntu certification. Now that the new Long Term Support version is nearing completion and release, Canonical has decided to start its own certification programme and offers an online pre-training assessment to determine if the programme is suitable for the prospective candidate.

More on Gizmodo Seizure

Gawker Media said on Monday that computers belonging to one of its editors, Jason Chen, were seized from his home on Friday as part of what appeared to be an investigation into the sale of a next-generation iPhone.

Oracle Makes Lustre Users Buy Hardware for Support

Oracle will soon make it tougher to get paid support for its open source Lustre clustered file system.

Red Hat Extends Linux Subscriptions to Cloud Computing

Linux vendor Red Hat today is unveiling a new program dubbed Red Hat Cloud Access through which current Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscribers can leverage their existing support subscriptions for cloud deployments.

Novell claims to have hit 5,000 Linux app jackpot

Network software giant Novell has claimed it is the first Linux vendor to achieve 5,000 certified ISV applications and has increased its Linux market share against Red Hat, according to IDC.

Microsoft says Android infringes its patents - HTC pays up.

Lawsuits are not yet being discussed here, but lest you think this is a small-time disturbance, longtime Windows Mobile / Windows Phone partner HTC has already decided to shorten its list of troubles by ponying up for a license from Microsoft that covers its Android phones -- it would be pretty insane if Microsoft sued one of its biggest and most important hardware manufacturers for patent infringement, after all.

Google: Numbers favor Android over iPhone

And according to Google VP Andy Rubin, the more the search giant blankets the industry with competing Android-droid based mobile handsets, the more likely Google is to hit its expected value of market dominance over Apple's iPhone.

The Sad Story of XOOPS: Governance Fail

The XOOPS site has a full accounting from the perspective of the remaining XOOPS community, but the bottom line is that things went south because most of the control of the project's resources were held by one member of the project.

Apple: Worse for open source than Microsoft?

Things need to change and Apple needs to be seen for what it really is: a threat to innovation and freedom.

All boys dream of being knights, don’t they?

So you can probably understand my surprise to be told by the embassy upon contacting them that on 18. December 2009 I had been awarded the Cross of Merit on ribbon ("Verdienstkreuz am Bande") by the Federal Republic of Germany. As you might expect, my first reaction was one of disbelief.

Sony faces legal challenge over Linux block

Sony has been hit with a lawsuit over its recent decision to block the installation of Linux on its PlayStation 3 console.

Apple May Have Traced iPhone to Finder’s Address

News of Apple's lost iPhone prototype hit the web like a bombshell, but it was apparently an open secret for weeks amongst the finder's roommates and neighbors, where the device was shown around mostly as a curiosity. According to the source, who has direct knowledge of the Gizmodo transaction, the group of friends suspected this might be Apple's new phone, but no one knew for sure.

Jobs on Flash: Hypocrisy So Thick You Could Cut it with a Knife

It's clearly a marketing trick to pull the wool over the eyes of consumers, and while that's okay (they're in it to make money, after all), it's our job to remove that wool from our eyes. Just as we geeks immediately understand Microsoft's ulterior motive in licensing patents to Linux/Android vendors, we should not just accept Jobs' words either.

End of the Desktop? Google Backs WebGL

Microsoft doesn't ship with native OpenGL drivers because the company has pushed its own Direct3D APIs over OpenGL. Mac OS X and Linux users have OpenGL, but developers doing game programming or other 3D programming need to target Direct3D on Windows or find a way to supply the OpenGL drivers. By releasing its ANGLE work under the BSD license, it enables Apple, Opera, Firefox, and others to ship the same drivers to enable WebGL on Windows.

***** Snippets

X.Org Project Has Five New Summer Projects

Most Influential Women in Technology 2010: Pamela Jones

Microsoft Contributes to Open-Source Joomla Project

Some notes from the Collaboration Summit

LinuxCertified Announces its next "Linux Fundamentals" Course

Steve Jobs’s Touch Is What Ubuntu’s Missing: Rich Jaroslovsky

Five lesson for Google from Nexus One's sluggish start

Moving Forward (Flash on Android et al)

The FLOSS four, then and now.

The Hobbyists OS

Linux and branding
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