As a law student doing my thesis on open-source licensing (PDF), it was nearly impossible to find any substantive legal papers on the topic. In fact, the only one I can remember is Ira Heffan's excellent "Copyleft: Licensing Collaborative Works in the Digital Age" from Stanford Law Review in 1997.This week, in a sign of just how far open source has come in the past decade, the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review (IFOSSLR) was launched, aiming to "bring the highest standards to bear in analysis and comment on all aspects of Free … Read more
Google's move to let software run natively on Android devices opens the door for a version of Firefox that can run on the operating system.
At present, Android applications are written in Java and run on Google's Dalvik Java virtual machine. Last week, though, Google announced the Android Native Development Kit version 1.0 that lets software run natively on the Linux layer below, though the company sees it as a way not to run full-fledged applications as much as to run components of ordinary Android applications.
"Android applications run in the Dalvik virtual machine. The NDK … Read more
Mozilla is exhorting users to "upgrade the Web" with Firefox 3.5 and variations on that better-browsing theme can be found with Google's Chrome, Apple's Safari, and Opera.
The hope is that the Web will evolve from a series of relatively static pages to a lively home for Web applications--everything from today's e-mail to tomorrow's spreadsheets. But it could take awhile for reality to catch up with the vision.
It's indeed a bright, shiny future for browsers, and the avant-garde is advancing rapidly. Web developers eager to invigorate their Web sites or build fancy Web applications have to reckon not only with the massive, slower-moving army of ordinary Web browsers, but also with inconsistent support for the latest technology.
Browsers of the future Many of new browser features stem from HTML 5, the still-not-finalized next iteration of the HyperText Markup Language standard that defines how Web pages are described. HTML 5 has spurred the arrival of built-in video and audio, local storage that Web sites or applications can use, "Web workers" that can perform background processing tasks for a Web application, drag-and-drop for better user interfaces, and other technologies. … Read more
Mozilla plans to issue a release candidate for Firefox 3.5 on Friday and the final version by the end of the month, Firefox director Mike Beltzner said Tuesday.
The browser, code-named Shiretoko, began its life as a modest 3.1 upgrade. But as Mozilla's ambitions expanded and other browsers such as Google Chrome exerted competitive pressure, the new Firefox was promoted to version 3.5 and its planned ship date slid back several months. You can grab the Firefox 3.5 beta for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Firefox 3.5 comes with a spate of new features--5,000 … Read more
The world of open-source development could be divided, if the European Commission succeeds in passing a law extending consumer protection rules to software, according to experts.
The Commission proposes that software companies be held liable in the European Union for the security and efficacy of their products.
David Mitchell, senior vice president of IT Research at Ovum, thinks that this may lead to a situation boosting current open-source vendors' business models but making it more difficult for independent developers to thrive.
The proposal is likely to make vendors force customers into support and maintenance agreements upon each purchase, in order … Read more
Updated 8:53 p.m. with download links and further details and 9:47 p.m. with hands-on testing results.
Google released Chrome for Mac OS X and Linux Thursday--but only in rough developer preview versions that the company warns are works in progress.
"In order to get more feedback from developers, we have early developer channel versions of Google Chrome for Mac OS X and Linux, but whatever you do, please DON'T DOWNLOAD THEM," Google product managers Mike Smith and Karen Grunberg said in a blog post, evidently trying to employ a little reverse psychology. "… Read more
Through one important piece of corporate computing jargon--"integration"--Oracle has found a justification for its $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Now it will have to convince historically skeptical customers, too, that the idea makes sense.
The all-cash acquisition agreement--announced Monday, costing Oracle $5.6 billion with Sun's cash factored in, and expected to close this summer--puts the innovative but financially bumbling Sun out of its misery after IBM's move to buy it fell apart earlier in April. The way to fit Sun's technology into Oracle's business model goes back to a … Read more
In an attempt to better show what its software is up to, Google has released the source code of its Google Update software, a project code-named Omaha that can automatically install new versions of programs, including the Chrome browser and Google Earth.
"Some users can be surprised to find this program running, and at Google, we don't like disappointing our users. We've been working hard to address these concerns, and releasing the source code for Omaha is our attempt to make the purpose of Google Update totally transparent," Myles Jordan of Google's software engineering team … Read more
Danese Cooper, who spent more than three years as senior director of Intel's open-source strategies, has taken a similar job at Revolution Computing, a start-up that's commercializing the open-source R programming technology for data analysis.
Cooper, who took on the title of open-source diva at Sun Microsystems before her stint at Intel, plans to help Revolution expand its current community of developers and users to a broader group, she said in an interview. For example, she'll work on better user groups and new assets to help the community.
Intel, an investor in Revolution, "wanted me to … Read more
Stranger things have happened, but there are several reasons why IBM buying Sun Microsystems could, to borrow a phrase from former Sun Chief Executive Scott McNealy, be like two garbage trucks colliding in slow motion.
The Wall Street Journal reported that IBM is in talks to buy Sun for at least $6.5 billion in cash, which would amount to about $4 billion once Sun's cash and marketable securities are taken into account. On paper, the deal could make some sense: adding Sun's server market share would give IBM more clout in its competition with Hewlett-Packard, IBM would … Read more