Brendan Scott
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OSWALD Newsletter Archives (by issue #, click to view)

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 #483 Period ending 8 March 2013

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

Linus approves of Google's Chromebook Pixel, sparking related Chromebook coverage. There are a couple of reports to the effect that Linux is a comparable source of gaming revenue as Macs. See also the open source bartender robot.

*From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



***** Off Topic

The Dangerous Logic of the Bradley Manning Case

The prosecutor's “Yes Ma'am,” essentially conceded that core point of my testimony in order to keep it out of the trial.

Flash memory issue forces Curiosity rover into safe mode

The A-side computer is used for daily operations and the B-side is used as a backup. Until the B-side computer has been updated with the data necessary to assume control of the rover, Curiosity will sit on the Martian surface in "safe mode. "

K-12 student database jazzes tech startups, spooks parents

Local education officials retain legal control over their students' information. But federal law allows them to share files in their portion of the database with private companies selling educational products and services.

Judge slams Apple in privacy suit, says he can no longer take what company says at face value

Bloomberg reports that San Jose-based U. S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal has issued a scathing ruling in a privacy suit involving the company in which he questions Apple’s integrity and says that he will no longer take what the company says and face value.

CMU: Consumers Have Sharply Reduced Public Data Sharing

“Over time, Facebook users in our dataset exhibited increasingly privacy-seeking behavior, progressively decreasing the amount of personal data shared publicly with unconnected profiles in the same network,” the CMU report said. The implications for retailers are stark, suggesting that many of the privacy strategy underpinnings on both retail and e-tail may be flawed.

***** Government/Policy

FCC To Investigate Cell Phone Unlocking Ban

Until earlier this year, consumers were free to “unlock” their smartphones, which permitted them to switch carriers. For six years, the Library of Congress exempted cell phone unlocks from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which bans “circumvention” of copy protection schemes. The decision was reversed during the last round of triennial reviews. Now users who dare to modify software on the devices they own are subject to legal penalties.

Google Defeats Publishers Over Web Copyright in German Vote

Google Inc. (GOOG) and other news aggregators may continue to show short news items on their Internet sites without being required to pay, German lawmakers decided in a parliamentary vote today in a blow to publishers including Axel Springer AG (SPR) and Bertelsmann SE.

Defender's Quest - Our Steam Linux Sale Results

The question on everybody's mind is : how many Linux users are there anyway? Apparently a lot. I was surprised to see nearly three times as many Linux sales as Mac sales, as conventional wisdom has it that Linux is a much smaller market than Mac.

Life Inside the Aaron Swartz Investigation

May you never experience a Federal investigation. I did, and it consumed me, and changed everyday that will come after it for the rest of my life. It all began with a call from Aaron Swartz on a jail-room phone. This essay is my attempt to explain what happened between that call and my friend's suicide. This will not be the final word on Aaron's story, nor is it intended to be.

U.S. Government Wins Key Ruling in Bid to Extradite Kim Dotcom

After a series of setbacks, the U. S. government has reversed a losing streak in the ongoing battle to extradite Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom.

Inquiry widens into Swartz prosecution

A congressional committee is broadening its investigation of the Boston-based prosecution of political activist Aaron Swartz,

Senator Crafting Bill to Make Cell Phone Unlocking Legal,2817,2416246,00.asp

"Consumers should be free to choose the phone and service that best fits their needs and their budgets," Klobuchar said in a statement. "I will continue to work to advance commonsense measures to protect consumers and promote competition. "

Open Source Software is Common at DHS

The government should not have an “open source first policy,” Homeland Security Department Chief Information Officer Richard Spires said Wednesday, but added officials should look to open source technology whenever possible.

Open Source Government: Code-Sharing Site Hires Federal Liaison

The computer code sharing site GitHub's first government liaison says he hopes to be a bridge between the government and open source communities on legislation and regulations, not just code.

Microsoft Looks to Burn Google in Education with Privacy Bill [MA]

"We believe that student data should not be used for commercial purposes; that cloud-service providers should be transparent in how they use student data; and that service providers should obtain clear consent for the way they use data," said Mike Houlihan, a Microsoft spokesman. "We expect that students, parents and educators will judge any proposed legislation on its merits. "

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

Facebook, Google tech gurus to design cancer research game

Yet this type of research generates colossal amounts of data that need to be analyzed, CRUK said as it announced the gaming project. And while advances in technology mean scientists can process data faster than ever, much of it still needs to be analyzed by people rather than machines. [will these discoveries be further taxed by patents?]

Apple v Samsung

Apple had a major setback in its ongoing mobile patents battle with Samsung Electronics on Friday, as a federal judge slashed a $1. 05 billion jury award by more than 40 percent and set a new trial to determine damages.

Motorola, Apple dispute relevance of recent Supreme Court case to FRAND jurisdictional dispute

Software patents are broken, and it’s hurting our economy

Our system facilitates, even encourages, the two business models of patent trolls. Some trolls seek overly broad patents and pursue large tech companies for hefty paydays. Other trolls seek similarly weak patents, but choose thousands of small tech companies as their quarry, seeking seemingly small “license” payments. With both types the initial math is simple: convince the target company that fighting in court is hundreds of times more expensive than merely licensing the dubious patent, even if you win.

Metadata and Copyright | Peer to Peer Review

Twitter’s Surprising Solution to the Patent Problem: Let Employees Control Them

Patents can only be used as the original inventors intended, even if the patents were eventually sold to others.

When Patent Pools Attack: Competitive Concerns from the Devolution of MPEG LA

It is not only Google that MPEG LA has targeted – German software company Nero also filed complaints with the DOJ alleging that MPEG LA is illegally maintaining and enhancing its monopoly power by failing to adhere to the conditions of the DOJ Business Review Letter.

Standard-Essential Patents in Context: Just a Small Piece of the Smartphone War Puzzle

Specifically, the debate focuses on this question: when is it appropriate to enjoin infringing products from the market if licensing negotiations break down? Historically, FRAND commitments have been relatively ambiguous, giving those holding SEPs broad (but not unlimited) flexibility to negotiate “reasonable” bilateral deals. Currently, there is a movement afoot to give SEP holders less negotiating flexibility. This will have both positive and negative consequences.

United States: Changes Coming To U.S. Patent Law

Although it was enacted in 2011, its most sweeping changes come into force beginning in March 2013.


This is where the SHIELD act comes in. There are so many things to like about this bill. It is only five pages long. It only does 1 1/2 things. The one thing is amend patent law to provide for loser pays. The 1/2 thing is it allows the court to require the troll to post a bond early on in the case to be sure they can and will pay the legal costs if they lose.

Free Textbook Company Shelves Clones

The publishers accused Boundless of taking “hundreds of topics, sub-topics, and sub-sub-topics that comprise Plaintiffs’ textbooks and copied them into the Boundless texts, even presenting them in the same order, and keying their placement to Plaintiffs’ actual pagination. ” Boundless insisted that topics and ideas could not be copyrighted.

HTC slays Nokia's two-headed Android patent dragon in Germany

Nokia has lost a patent-infringement lawsuit it brought against rival phone-maker HTC. Nokia was upset about the way HTC's Android phones talked to Google app stores, claiming the communication ripped off its protected technologies.

Gone house hunting online? Revived patent lawsuit says you’re a “joint infringer”

In 2002, he joined together with some partners to create Real Estate Advisors, Ltd. (REAL), the patent-holding company that's now doing battle with the nations' one million Realtors. The '989 patent has expired, but the law allows patent holders to sue for several years of back damages.

Google enters into licensing agreement with MPEG LA to protect WebM

Google and MPEG LA have just entered into a licensing agreement covering the video codec at the heart of the format.

What Prenda Law Is Facing In Los Angeles, And How They Got There

To sum up, yesterday Judge Wright ordered the principals of Prenda Law — and a man who accused them of stealing his identity — to appear in his court next Monday as part of Judge Wright's inquiry into whether anyone associated with Prenda Law should be sanctioned or otherwise punished for alleged fraud on the court. This is, to put it very mildly, unusual, and signifies grave danger for Prenda Law and its attorneys.

***** Applications/Gadgets

Elegant Ubuntu Touch OS impresses for phones and tablets

I got my hands on the forthcoming Ubuntu Touch operating system for smartphones and tablets at mobile industry shindig Mobile World Congress, and I'd say on first impression it knocks rivals like Firefox OS and Samsung-backed Tizen into a cocked hat.

The Chromebook: A great second computer

Take a moment to think about how computers are used in your home. How much of that time do you spend browsing the web, working on word processing documents or presentations and checking email and social networks? If your answer is a good chunk of the time, you may be a candidate for a Chromebook computer.

Eclipse Releases Open Source Orion 2.0 web-based IDE

This Open Source Robot Bartender Pours the Perfect Mix

Bartenders beware: A robotic drink-dispensing rig is aiming to steal your customers while pouring cocktail creations at the push of a touchscreen button. Its creators call it Bartendro.

Google Chromebooks: 5 Partner Profit Opportunities

A growing list of PC companies — Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Samsung — now makes Chromebooks.

Linux Founder Linus Torvalds Blasts PC Industry, Praises Google's Chromebook Pixel

if you’re in love with the hardware, you’ll be relieved to know that it’s surprisingly simple to install Ubuntu on the Pixel — in fact it runs alongside Chrome OS, and automatically uses the Pixel’s drivers to power the Linux side of things.

Digium SwitchVox Cloud: Hosted Asterisk PBX Service Launches

Digium – which promotes Asterisk (the open source IP PBX) — has finally launched a cloud-based PBX service, aptly called Switchvox Cloud.

Tilera Shows Off 72 Core Chip Architecture (Linux Powered!)

>From an operating system standpoint, Tilera's systems run the CentOS Linux operating system, which is a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

***** Reports

Steam For Linux Adoption Closes In On Mac

Linux is now standing strong as a legitimate gaming platform. It now represents 2. 02% of all active Steam users. Well 2% is not a game-changing number right now, it is pretty dramatic when you consider a couple of other key metrics. For starters, the Mac represents 3. 07% of Steam’s userbase.

Linux Beats Mac Dramatically In Humble Bundle Total Payments

It’s long been the tradition in Humble Bundle for Linux buyers to outspend other platforms per payment, but this time Linux users have won another category; total payments by platform.

Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie Based On Linux 3.8 Kernel?

Once Android 5. 0 Key Lime Pie is unveiled, possibly at the Google I/O conference in May, developers and enthusiasts alike will find out whether or not the new Android operating system will be based on the recently released Linux 3. 8 kernel.

Open Source Project Prepackages Kim Dotcom's Security

But if each user’s information was encrypted so that only that user could see it — locking out even the service provider — then we could reduce the risk of putting our data in these centralized web services. That’s the aim of Crypton, a new open source project that hopes to make it easier for app developers to add this type of encryption to their applications.

Supporting third-party keys in a Secure Boot world

The problem we have is that Microsoft won't sign X509 certificates, and there's no way to turn a PE/COFF signature into an X509 signature.

Google must 'drain' Motorola pipeline before hitting 'wow'

Google's Motorola Mobility unit has at least a six month legacy product pipeline to drain before it can launch anything "wow", according to Google chief financial officer Patrick Pichette.

Does a Company Like Apple Need a Genius Like Steve Jobs?

The old tech adage is that “open beats closed. ” In other words, open technological systems, or those that allow interoperability, always beat their closed competitors. This is an article of faith for certain engineers. It’s also the lesson from Windows’ defeat of the Apple Macintosh in the nineteen-nineties, Google’s triumph in the early aughts, and, more broadly, the success of the Internet over its closed rivals (remember AOL?). But is it still true?

CloudBees Integrates with VMware CloudFoundry PaaS

CloudBees, a relatively young company founded in April 2010, focuses on value-added services to make it easier to deploy Java, JRuby and Grails applications to the cloud through a PaaS-centered approach. It has a strong engagement with the open source community in particular.

OpenStack Ceilometer Bringing Metering to Open Source Grizzly Cloud

Ceilometer provides metering for OpenStack -think billing and usage. It is already in used at multiple cloud providers including AT&T and DreamHost. The effort also has contributions from Rackspace, Red Hat and HP.

BackTrack and its tools can protect your environment from remote intrusions

BackTrack Linux, a security-testing distribution, can help you inspect your network and servers for remote security weaknesses and potential vulnerabilities.

Where Linux Led, OpenStack Will Follow

Open standards drive innovation. We all know that Linux attracted early adopters, but Apache is another example

Cloud Sherpas releases open-source framework for short-cutting Google Apps development

Integrator Cloud Sherpas has launched an open source, Python framework that could help reduce the amount of time it takes to develop a custom Google Apps application by up to 80 percent.

Exclusive: Startup AnsibleWorks pitches open-source IT configuration, deployment tool

A couple of former Red Hat veterans think there’s an easier way to configure, deploy and manage IT across an organization and founded AnsibleWorks to attack that problem.

IBM's OpenStack cloud push

IBM claims to have more than 5,000 cloud customers as of 2012, up 100 percent from 2011.

Linus Torvalds really likes Google's Chromebook Pixel

To be exact, he likes being one of the "cool kids" with a Chromebook Pixel because It has "a beautiful screen. "

Linux triumphant: Chrome OS resists cracking attempts

The Chrome Web browser on Windows is breakable, but its little brother, the Linux-based Chrome OS, proved to be essentially uncrackable at the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver, Canada,

Microsoft to Allow Office 2013 License Transfers to New PCs,2817,2416288,00.asp

Initially, Microsoft said that an Office 2013 license would only be transferable if the PC on which it was installed died while under warranty. Complaints from customers, however, prompted Redmond to change that policy.

***** Snippets

EU may fine Microsoft over browsers by end-March - sources idUSBRE91R18720130228

Xen is now officially in git

Official Ubuntu Rolling Release Proposal

CyanogenMod to include new open source super user tool

Chromebook Pixel: 5 tips and tricks (including pinch to zoom)

Five new features coming in openSUSE Linux 12.3

openSUSE 12.3 in the Final Stretches

Ubuntu Touch, Firefox OS, and Tizen: The good, the bad, and the ugly new OSes

Here’s how Google Glass could help you at the airport

Oracle ports DTrace to Oracle Linux

Advocating for Linux on the Front Lines and in the Kernel

The Rise of the Rolling Release

Gentoo bugday is back

Open Source Ceph FS Popular in the Cloud, Big Data

Dev Shop Boot Camp: 7 Programming Languages In 7 Days

Ubuntu 13.04 beta touts search privacy - before it hooks in eBay, IMDb etc

Debian Developers Prefer Teams and Git

Open standards are key for security in the cloud

Ubuntu To Build Its Own Display Server Called Mir, Unity To Be Ported To Qt/QML

Google Chrome OS vs. Ubuntu

Google services should not require real names: Vint Cerf

Opera releases beta version of new WebKit-powered Android browser

Ubuntu Building Own Display Server, Unity To Switch Back to Qt/QML

Two Major KDE Developers Weigh In On Mir, Wayland

The March 2013 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

Open Source's Deep Dive Into the Enterprise

35 Open Source and Free Tools to Manage Your Online Store

Linux 3.9 rc1

The Long Odds On 8 Upstart Mobile OSes

Oracle Patches Java for McRat

Is SDN Secure?

Red Hat Nudges Real Time Linux Forward with MRG 2.3

Linux Mint is better for those who come from the world of Windows

Suricata 1.3.6 Available!

Android 'splits' into the Good and the lovechild of Bad and Ugly

A Note To Canonical: "Don't Piss On Wayland"

Is Cloud PaaS Safe?

FoundationDB aims to consolidate NoSQL

GeoBases V5 release: data services and visualization

Mark Shuttleworth Says He's Not Impressed by the Rolling Release Model

Unplugged - Replace Your Cable Provider with Linux Enabled Media

Red Hat's Java leadership grows as Oracle's wanes
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