The Mozilla Public License - almost 2.0 (part 1)

The Mozilla Public License - almost 2.0 (part 1)

Over the past 18 months, the Mozilla community has been revising the Mozilla Public License. See earlier post. We recently announced, in true community development fashion, a release candidate--the text that we hope will become MPL 2.0 after one last set of eyes review it. This piece is a brief backgrounder on what has changed in the new MPL, explaining why we're proud of this work and we hope you'll consider reviewing it - and maybe even using it for your next project. » Read more

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Mobile patent wars and Linux in context

Mobile patent wars and Linux in context

Mobile Linux platforms are making incredible inroads into the emerging smartphone market. The market leading position that Apple developed and which seemed insurmountable just 18 months ago has now been eclipsed by the Android platform, alone. As the MeeGo smartphone platform enters the market this trend toward mobile linux ubiquity can only be expected to continue.  Further, the extension of these linux-based operating systems into higher value computing devices is, in parallel, threatening to transform the nature of personal computing. » Read more

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Poll: Google, Motorola, and patents

We're sure you have some other thoughts on this. Chime in using the comments after you vote.

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Platform wars: software patents in a new light

Platform wars: software patents in a new light

I recently wrote about the $4.5 billion auction for Nortel's portfolio of 6,000 patents that went to a consortium that included Apple, Microsoft, and RIM (Blackberry) -- three of four smartphone platforms. In the wake of this sale, Interdigital has contemplated monetizing its portfolio of 8,500 patents, perhaps even putting the company up for sale. Google announced that it has bought over 1,000 patents from IBM for defensive purposes. Perennial investor Carl Icahn suggested that Motorola cash in on some of its immense portfolio of 18000 patents. » Read more

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Speaking of software patents

The software patent debate sometimes seems awfully one-sided. Passionate opponents carefully explain that software patents hinder innovation and supporters of the status quo ignore their arguments. Meanwhile, vast sums of money that could be used for innovation are diverted by patent lawsuits of competitors seeking to block other competitors and of non-practicing entities exploiting the system. The open source community generally gets this, but much of the citizenry has no inkling that there's even a controversy. » Read more

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Poll: Why hasn't patent reform become a bigger political issue?

With a recent op-ed in the Economist and a segment on NPR's Planet Money, it seems as if an awareness of the high cost of the outmoded, traditional patent system is finally creeping into the mainstream.

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Bilski's growing up, and smacking down some bad software patents

When the Supreme Court declined to speak to software patenting in the Bilski case, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth in the open source software world. The new Bilski test for patentable subject matter looked at first like the status quo for software patentability. But, being the sort of person who tries to check clouds for a possible silver lining, I noted a possibility that courts and the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences would read the test to invalidate some software patents. Later I noted that there were a number of early decisions finding software unpatentable. » Read more

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Open For Business: The importance of trademarks, even for an open source business

Though it might seem to contradict the open source way, I believe it is essential for an open source project to register and protect its trademark.

Think about it: You spend hours upon hours creating a project, writing code and building a reputation. The code is free, so anyone can use it, but your reputation--that’s your business. How do you protect it, if just anyone can come along and use your name? » Read more

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The trouble with Harmony: Part 2

This is the second part of a two-part article critiquing the output of Project Harmony. » Read more

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The trouble with Harmony: Part 1

Harmony, the Canonical-led effort to provide a comprehensive suite of contributor agreements for open source projects, has quietly released its version 1.0, a year after Canonical general counsel Amanda Brock announced the initiative on opensource.com. During most of that year, Harmony's construction took place out of the public view, in deliberations that were cloaked by the Chatham House Rule. » Read more

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