Despite largely being taken over to profit big tech companies, open source continues to be a positive influence in areas that matter.
Posts published in “Patents”
The EFF said that the case involves documents so heavily redacted that no one but the parties involved can understand the case.
Bilbili becomes the third large China-based video centered social network to throw its patents into Open Invention Network's kitty this year.
Also included: Judge seems to make software patents illegal, Mageia mourns a contributor, Yakkety Yak frozen, KDE’s new release, and getting ready for All Things Open.
FOSS Week in Review
When I wrote last week’s wrap, Hurricane Matthew seemed to be on a direct path for my office. Now it appears that long before it hits my state it’s going to take a sharp turn to the right and head back out to sea. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, in getting to where it is today, this storm has so far killed nearly 1,000 people that we know of so far, and has made thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, homeless. That’s bad news indeed.
This week’s free tech news was a little more fun…
Digital Homicide commits suicide: In a story that’s been brewing for a while now, it seems that game company Digital Homicide was given enough rope to…well, you know. It seems that the publisher had gotten in the habit of suing any Steam user who dared to post a bad review about one of its games, and actually subpoenaed Valve for the identities of 100 anonymous users who had made statements about the company. This, in turn and understandably, pissed a lot of users off, which led to Valve removing all games from Steam.
You’ve owned your printer for a year or more, and have happily used off-brand ink cartridges during that time. Suddenly the manufacturer says you can’t do that anymore, and suddenly orders the printer you own to not accept the ink cartridges of your choosing.
Have you tried using you HP printer recently? If not, if you use certain models and keep your expenses down by using third party ink cartridges, you might find you have a “damaged” cartridge that needs replacing before the printer will operate. Open up a new cartridge that you’ve been keeping on hand and if it’s branded Office Max, Office Depot or anything other than “genuine HP,” it’ll be “damaged” too.
As they used to say on the Outer Limits, there is nothing wrong with your ink cartridges. HP has taken control of your printer and trained it to not accept them anymore.
Is it “organic,” or just merely “natural?” Is it really “open source hardware,” or merely hardware with a degree of openess? David Jones explains the problem in identifying which is which and who is whom.
The Video Screening Room
David L. Jones, an electronics design engineer based in Sydney Australia, explains his pragmatic solution to the use of the open source hardware logo — inspired by the varying gradations of the Creative Commons licenses.
For the past 10 years, Phil has been working at a public library in the Washington D.C.-area, helping youth and adults use the 28 public Linux stations the library offers seven days a week. He also writes for MAKE magazine, Opensource.com and TechSoup Libraries. Suggest videos by contacting Phil on Twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Software patent issues aren’t in the news as much now as they were only a few years back, partly due to the Supreme Court’s 2014 Alice v. CLS decision. Another reason is the patent pool the Open Invention Network has amassed to discourage patent trolls.
The FOSS Force Video Interview
The Open Invention Network — OIN, as its friends call it — “is a defensive patent pool and community of patent non-aggression which enables freedom of action in Linux.” That’s what it says (among other things) on the front page of the organization’s website. Basically, if you join OIN (which costs $0) you agree not to sue other members over Linux and Android-related patents, and in return they promise not to sue you. Google, IBM, and NEC are the top three members shown on OIN’s “community” page, which lists over 2,000 members/licensees ranging from Ford to one-person Android app developers.
Robin “Roblimo” Miller is a freelance writer and former editor-in-chief at Open Source Technology Group, the company that owned SourceForge, freshmeat, Linux.com, NewsForge, ThinkGeek and Slashdot, and until recently served as a video editor at Slashdot. Now he’s mostly retired, but still works part-time as an editorial consultant for Grid Dynamics, and (obviously) writes for FOSS Force.
Also included: Japanese company reportedly buying ARM, Flash is on it’s way out the door and Toyota joins the Open Invention Network FOSS Week in…
The FOSS Force Poll
While it’s good to know that voters in our poll are aware that software patents remain very much a threat to free tech, the small number of people who voted might indicate a lack of awareness on the issue by newcomers to FOSS.
Another poll with results that aren’t a surprise. In this poll we wondered if you thought that software patents remain a threat to Linux and FOSS. Yup, you do. The results were pretty lopsided and not at all difficult to interpret.
Software patent abuse would seem to be on the decline if the amount of ink being given to the subject in the open source press is used as a metric. But as the old TV commercial used to ask: Is it live, or is it Memorex?
Five or six years ago the major GNU/Linux and FOSS news aggregators were filled with stories about software patents. These days, not so much. Does this mean that the threat posed by patents is actually less now than in 2010, or have patents simply not been getting the coverage they once did?
FOSS Week in Review
India again shows sanity by doing away with “software only” patents, and the Linux Foundation continues to move towards diversity.
The old and the new both made big news on the FOSS front this week. Representing the old was what appears to be the ending of the SCO vs IBM case after something like 13 years, which means that Caldera/SCO now gets to go to its final resting place. For the new was the release of the Raspberry Pi 3, which comes wielding a 64-bit ARM processor with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
But that wasn’t the only news of interest to the FOSS world this week…
Barely a month after putting an end to a Facebook supported scheme, “Free Basics,” in favor of supporting Net Neutrality, India has declared software to be not patentable. According to the Software Freedom Law Centre in India, the patent office will now use a three part test to determine patentability: