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Is Legal Trouble Brewing for Microsoft and Novell?

The distaste and distrust of the Microsoft-Novell partnership announced last week among some free and open source software supporters has grown to include allegations the deal may violate the GNU General Public License, which governs Novell's Suse Linux operating system. The free and open source sof...

BEST OF ECT NEWS

GPL Rules: Lessons from the Sandbox

Robert Fulghum's essay, "All I Really Needed to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten," teaches us that we can learn some valuable lessons from the sandbox: Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. If ...

BEST OF ECT NEWS

Sticks, Stones and the GPL

It's nice to know someone is reading my column. According to some of your letters, it seems my recent column on the GPL touched a nerve. To my critics who referred to me by names other than Phil, I can only respond with an equally mature "Same to you!" For those who prefer a more reasoned discussion...

Dual Licensing: Having Your Cake and Eating It Too

Back in 1976, Bill Gates wrote an open letter to hobbyists. He asked, "Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? What hobbyist can put three years into programming, finding all the bugs, documenting his product, and distribute it for free?" Today, Gates has to eat those words because the...

Lessons from the Sandbox

Robert Fulghum's essay, "All I Really Needed to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten," teaches us that we can learn some valuable lessons from the sandbox: Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. If ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Ancient Lessons and Open-Source Insurance

Sometime around 5,000 years ago, Chinese merchants learned to spread their cargo over several ships so that if one were lost, they would not lose their entire shipment. It was the birth of what we now call the insurance industry. Before too long, the concept spread. Phoenician ship owners on the hoo...

OPINION

Sticks, Stones and the GPL: Responding to Readers

It's nice to know someone is reading my column. According to some of your letters, it seems my recent column on the GPL touched a nerve. To my critics who referred to me by names other than Phil, I can only respond with an equally mature "Same to you!" For those who prefer a more reasoned discussion...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Understanding the Marketplace of Licenses

When J.S.G. Boggs needs money, he draws it. He draws one side of a banknote on high-quality paper, actual size, and presents it to the merchant. The merchant, knowing that the banknote is not official, can accept it or ask for real cash. If the merchant accepts it, Boggs writes the details of the tr...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Shocking Behavior and Smart Open-Source Policy

There is a classic scene in the movie "Casablanca" where Claude Raines attempts to close down Rick's Cafe. When Humphrey Bogart demands to know why, Raines says, "I'm shocked! Shocked to think that gambling is going on in this establishment!" Meanwhile, the casino employee walks up and hands him his...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Beyond the Buzz: Open Source and Biotech

Everyone is talking about open source, even presenters at BIO 2004, the international biotechnology conference recently held in San Francisco. As the argument goes, if open-source software can be developed in centralized communities of interested parties less expensively than proprietary software, c...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

The EULA, the GPL and the Wisdom of Fortune Cookies

Next time you open a fortune cookie, consider making it more entertaining. Read the fortune aloud and follow it with the words "in bed." It completely changes the meaning and adds some after-dinner fun. After reading the GPL analysis FAQ prepared by Microsoft in 2001 -- apparently to discourage the ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Poker and Shell Games in the SCO Suit

The tension in the room is as thick as quicksand. The smoke gets heavier by the hour, and with each poker hand, the players wonder how long they can hold out. Who will hold? Who will fold? Who is just bluffing? One by one, they drop. The ongoing legal wrangling between SCO, IBM, Novell, AutoZone, Da...

SCO Files Subpoenas To Summon Stallman and Torvalds

Claims and counterclaims now have turned into dueling subpoenas, as IBM and SCO continue to spar over allegations that a Linux kernel promoted by Big Blue was copied from SCO's Unix System V source code. Earlier this month, IBM issued subpoenas for SCO investors and analysts, including Bay Star Capi...

Microsoft-Novell Honeymoon Ends

Microsoft and Novell, participants in a recent historic Windows-Linux technology- and patent-sharing pact, are having some differences of opinion over the existence of Microsoft technology in the Linux operating system. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer fired up Linux and open source supporters by claimin...

Big Blue Asks Court to Dismiss SCO’s Claims

Like many in the technology industry and legal community, IBM is wondering when the US$5 billion lawsuit the SCO Group has filed against it -- for alleged breach of contract and the incorporation of SCO code in Linux -- is going to end. Big Blue this week filed for summary judgement in the three-and...

FireStar Sues Red Hat Over JBoss Technology

Linux leader Red Hat has been named in a patent infringement lawsuit in Texas in connection with its recently acquired JBoss Hibernate 3.0 technology. In the lawsuit, Delaware-based FireStar Software claims the now Red Hat-owned object/relational persistence and query service product infringes on a ...

Open-Source Risk Considered

Several recent software and service offerings indicate there is a market for users of open-source software worried about the intellectual property and related legal repercussions of that use, but how big of an issue, and how big of of a market, is it? Legal observers and those who provide the servic...

OPINION

License Proliferation: When More is Less

For open-source software developers, coding is the easy part. Trying to find the right open-source license is where things get painful. It's like standing in line at Starbucks trying to decide whether to buy latte or mocha. Soy milk or regular? Tall or grande? Don't even get me started on ice c...

OPINION

Innovation: Not Just for Products Anymore

It's good to be the king. Pack leaders get to set the pace, choose which trail to take and be the first in line when everyone arrives. Of course, it is important for pack leaders to constantly pay attention to the pack. Being in front often means being the last one to notice when the pack takes off...

OPINION

No Really, Lower the Volume Already

Sometimes you can't win for trying. Like when you politely ask the kid sitting next to you on the subway who is playing his music a little loud to please turn it down. Just to be contrary, he responds by cranking it up even more. In my March 15 column, Lowering the Volume in the Software Patent Deba...

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