For years people have suggested that open-source adoption would go even faster if only open-source licenses like the GNU General Public License (GPL) were easier to understand. My personal belief is that "It's so hard to understand!" tends to be an euphemism for "I really want to pilfer this open-source software but its terms don't let me!" After all, the terms of the GPL have been explained repeatedly, including by the Free Software Foundation itself, which authored the GPL.
232 years ago, it was the British that held a tight grip on the world. Today, it's your IT vendor.
The early American colonists found freedom in a long boat ride and a few thousand muskets pointed at their British brethren. For IT buyers today, it's much easier. All you have to do is download open-source software and you're immediately that much closer to IT freedom.
At my own open-source company, Alfresco, Adobe discovered increased flexibility and performance through open-source. Activision declared that it had saved "tens of millions of dollars" and dramatically boosted its … Read more
For some reason, most refrigerators have not been designed with these vertically challenged containers in mind, and when I run out of space in the door, I have to stuff bottles on their sides on the middle shelf in a pyramid of glass and plastic that takes up all of the room and often leaks … Read more
Prominent legal counsel the Software Freedom Law Center said that the legal terms covering Microsoft's Open XML document formats pose a patent risk to free and open-source software developers.
The SFLC on Wednesday published a legal analysis of Microsoft's Open Specification Promise (OSP), a document written to give developers the green light to make open-source products based on specifications written by Microsoft.
The OSP is meant to allay concerns over violating Microsoft patents that relate to Open XML, Microsoft's document specifications that the company is trying to have certified as a standard at the ISO (International Organization … Read more
Here's one that promises to unleash you from your crappy phone that goes on strike once you are out of your country. Designed by Vadim Kibardin, the conceptual "Freedom Phone" is a small pre-paid handset that theoretically allows you to chat for 60, 100, or 200 minutes. There's no room for a SIM card so you'd be spared roaming charges.
According to Yanko Design, the Freedom Phone would charge in just 10 minutes. Not bad for a concept, but it should just stay as that. It's probably a better idea to buy a local … Read more
A 23-year-old Afghani journalism student is facing a death sentence in his home country for distributing articles allegedly critical of Islam that he had printed from a Web site, according to various news reports.
The decision was handed down Tuesday by a three-judge panel in Kabul, Afghanistan after a secret, closed-door trial at which the student, Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, reportedly had no lawyer. Kambakhsh, who has been jailed since October, plans to appeal the latest ruling.
Although there are some variations in news reports about what exactly the printed-out content discussed, it seems to be well-established that Kambakhsh himself did … Read more
In the movie Hairspray (2007), Tracy Turnblad gets sent to detention for "inappropriate hair height". But instead of being a punishment, her pink slip is a ticket to a higher education than her school is willing or able to teach, and an opportunity to enjoy the greatest freedom of all--the freedom to be herself and to follow her dreams. The currency rebels of today have moved from hair height to copyright, and the hottest ticket to detention is...Firefox. !!!w00t!!! Consider this facsimile of a letter supposedly sent from the Principal's office of Big Spring High School in Newville PA: (UPDATED)… Read more
The Software Freedom Law Center on Friday said it has filed a suit against Verizon Communications alleging that it has violated the terms of the General Public License, which governs the use of thousands of free and open-source software products.
The suit is the fourth that the SFLC has filed on behalf of two programmers who wrote BusyBox, a software utility package covered under the GPL. BusyBox is typically embedded in hardware devices that use the Linux open-source operating system.
The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) said it has filed suit against two companies for allegedly violating the General Public License, which covers usage of Linux and thousands of other free and open-source products.
The suits are the second and third time that the nonprofit foundation has filed suit, signaling a willingness to use the court system to enforce the GPL.
The plaintiffs are two programmers--Erik Andersen and Rob Landley--who wrote BusyBox, software covered by the GPL version 2 often used in conjunction with the Linux operating system in embedded devices.
The suit was filed against Xterasys and High-Gain Antennas; … Read more
Mark Webbink, who retired in August as a senior attorney for Linux seller Red Hat, has joined the board of the Software Freedom Law Center, the group said Wednesday.
The SFLC provides free legal help to free and open-source programming projects--for example filing a copyright infringement lawsuit on behalf of BusyBox programmers against Monsoon Multimedia.
Webbink was Red Hat's general counsel from 2000 until 2004, when the company hired Michael Cunningham for the role and Webbink took over matters concerning open-source software and intellectual property until his retirement. In that role, he's had to reckon with subjects including … Read more