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FOSS Force

Friday FOSS Week in Review: Letterman Disses Linux

I couldn’t help but notice, at the end of our first week at FOSS Force, that two of my first three posts had to do with Apple, a company that’s about as FOSS friendly as Microsoft. In my defense, I’d like to point out that the first story had to do with Zapple threatening Ogg Theora, an open source application, with a patent lawsuit and the second had to do with more Crapple patent threats against open source Android – so there was an open source connection in both instances.

That being said, I’m sure that Steebe Jarbs isn’t too upset about being criticized here, as he’s wise enough to know that it doesn’t matter what I write about him so long as I spell his name right.

On to the news:

An Apple a Day Won’t Keep the Lawyers Away

There are so many legal actions now revolving around the iPhone that I can’t keep track. Maybe sometime soon Apple will have an app for that. In the meantime, I’m grabbing some peanuts and Cracker Jacks before sitting back to enjoy the game. I have no idea how many suits and other legal actions will be filed before its over, but there’s sure to be more to come. Two new actions were filed yesterday alone. I think this game might go into extra innings.

The latest round, call it the second inning, started on March 2nd, with first at bat Apple filing a lawsuit against HTC, the Taiwanese manufacturer of Nexus One (Google’s flagship Android device) and other smartphones running Google’s Linux based mobile operating system. Jobs & Company claims that HTC is infringing on 20 Apple iPhone patents, mostly dealing with the GUI and hardware/software design. Apple is seeking an unspecified amount of damages, but perhaps more importantly they are asking for a permanent injunction that would forbid HTC from importing or offering for sale any of their Android devices in the U.S.

Mandriva Linux Reportedly at Death’s Door

The online rumor mills are spitting out reports that Mandriva, once a rising star in the Linux world, is facing grave financial difficulties. According to rumor, the distro is desperately seeking a buyer and if one isn’t found soon they will close their doors.

As of Monday, the story was being reported on at least a half-dozen sites, all coming from the same source, a short article in French on Mandriva Linux Online, which bills itself as “an unofficial site dedicated to beginners on Mandriva Linux.” The poor quality English translation of the article provided by Google is confusing and somewhat unclear, but it appears that without a cash infusion, Mandriva will not be able to make payroll much longer.

Is Open but Proprietary iFlash Coming?

There are many reason’s to dislike Adobe’s Flash. It’s buggy, it’s a resource hog, and it’s a security risk of Microsoft proportions. But the biggest reason to dislike Flash, the engine behind everything from YouTube videos to distracting online ads, is that it’s proprietary. It’s not free, and most likely never will be.

That’s why, like many, I was happy a few weeks back when Apple announced they were all but forever banning Flash and Flash apps on their mobile devices. I was happier still when Steve Jobs thoroughly trashed the Adobe product in his Thoughts on Flash post on the Apple web site. For once it seemed as if Jobs was on the same wavelength as open source proponents. He recognized that the web needs to be based on open standards and pledged to support standards like HTML5 as Apple attempts to redefine the mobile online experience.

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