OSI And FSF in unprecedented collaboration to protect software freedom | Opensource.com

OSI And FSF in unprecedented collaboration to protect software freedom

Posted 21 Jan 2011 by 

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Faced with a potentially large threat to free/libre and open source software from patent consortium CPTN, the two organisations have collaborated publicly for the first time.

Before Christmas I reported that the Open Source Initiative (OSI) had written to the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) asking them to investigate the acquisition of Novell assets by the CPTN Group as a possibly anti-competitive move by CPTN's four members. I described that move as "unprecedented" because it was the first time OSI had chosen to intervene in a competitive situation on behalf of the open source community it represents.

Today, another unprecedented action was provoked by the same situation. Motivated both by the severity of the threat Novell's patents potentially represent in the hands of CPTN and by reports that the European competition authorities did not understand the anti-competitive potention of this acquisition, OSI has collaborated with the Free Software Foundation (FSF) for the first time and crafted a joint request to the US Department of Justice to investigate the re-filed application for approval of the acquisition.

While some reports inaccurately asserted that the threat had ended with the withdrawal of the filing by CPTN, statements from Microsoft confirmed the acquisition was still in progress. The OSI and the FSF Boards decided that a strong practical and symbolic action was necessary and jointly edited a revised form of OSI's request to the German FCO, creating a strong statement that was sent - and acknowledged - today.

Whatever the outcome of the matter, its importance has done a great service providing the OSI and the FSF with a first public opportunity to continue the positive relationship that has resulted in earlier private collaborations, such as when both organisations endorsed the formation of the Document Foundation. I strongly hope that both organisations will continue to explore ways to act collaboratively from their different perspectives of software freedom in the interests of the overlapping communities.

[first published at ComputerWorldUK]
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1 Comments

Mark Nowotarski
Community Member

Next up are social networking patents. 7000+ on file, only 350+ issued. Troubles ahead.

More here on today's IP watchdog http://bit.ly/dZFM65

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Computer industry veteran Simon Phipps has been involved at a strategic level in some of the world’s leading technology companies for decades. He has worked in such hands-on roles as field engineer, programmer and systems analyst, as well as run a software publishing company. He worked with networking standards in the eighties, on the first commercial collaborative conferencing software in the nineties, and helped introduce both Java and XML at IBM.

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