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Submission + - RIP Robin Williams (

An anonymous reader writes: The 63 year old renowned actor has passed away. Death linked to suicude.

Submission + - Enforcing the GPL

lrosen writes: I am responding to the article in by Aaron Williamson, "Lawsuit threatens to break new ground on the GPL and software licensing issues."

I want to acknowledge Aaron's main points: This lawsuit challenges certain assumptions about GPLv2 licensing, and it also emphasizes the effects of patents on the FOSS (and commercial) software ecosystem. I also want to acknowledge that I have been consulted as an expert by the plaintiff in this litigation (Ximpleware vs. Versata, et al.) and so some of what I say below they may also say in court.

Let's be open about the facts here. Ximpleware worked diligently over many years to create certain valuable software. The author posted his source code on SourceForge. He offered the software under GPLv2. He also offered that software under commercial licenses. And he sought and received and provided notice of United States patent claims related to that software.

Unbeknownst to Ximpleware, Versata took that GPLv2 software and incorporated it into Versata products – without disclosing that GPLv2 software or in any other way honoring the terms of the GPLv2 license. The reason Ximpleware became aware of that GPLv2 breach is because some months ago Versata and one of its customers, Ameriprise, became embroiled in their own litigation. The breach of GPLv2 came out during discovery.

Ximpleware has terminated that license as to Versata. This is exactly what the Software Freedom Conservancy and others do when confronted by GPL breaches.

That earlier litigation is between two (or more) commercial companies; it is not a FOSS problem. These are mature, sophisticated, profitable companies that have the wherewithal to protect themselves. I know that in my own law practice, whether I represent software vendors or their commercial customers, we typically provide for some level of indemnification. Perhaps Ameriprise and the other customer-defendants can count on Versata defending them against Ximpleware. Such a commercial dispute between big companies – even if it involves the GPLv2 software of a small company and separate indemnification for copyright or patent infringement – is between them alone.

But as to Ximpleware and its GPLv2 copyrighted and patented software, there are a few misunderstandings reflected in Aaron Williamson's article:

1. The notion of "implied patent licensing" has no clear legal precedent in any software licensing. While it is true that goods that one purchases include a patent license under what is known as the "exhaustion doctrine," there is no exhaustion of patented software when copies are made (even though copying of the software itself is authorized by GPLv2). For example, a typical commercial patent license nowadays might include a royalty for each Android phone manufactured and sold. Companies that distribute Android phones and its FOSS software acquire patent licenses so that recipients of their phones are indeed free to use those phones. But that isn't because of some implied patent licenses that come with Android software, but because commercial companies that distribute phones pay for those patent rights, directly or indirectly. I think it is entirely reasonable to require that commercial companies get their patent licenses in writing.

2. Versata's customers who received the (in breach!) GPLv2 software all moved to dismiss Ximpleware's infringement claims against them, pointing to Section 0 of GPLv2, which says that "[t]he act of running the Program is not restricted." What that sentence actually means is just what it says: The GPLv2 copyright grant itself (which is all there is in GPLv2) does not restrict the act of running the program. Nor could it; that is a true statement because running a program is not one of the enumerated copyright rights subject to a copyright license (17 USC 106). The authors of the GPL licenses have themselves made that argument repeatedly: The use of software is simply not a copyright issue.

3. Because there are U.S. patent claims on this Ximpleware software, Section 7 of GPLv2 prohibits its distribution under that license in the United States (or any jurisdictions where patent claims restrict its use). If Ameriprise and the other defendants were outside the U.S. where the Ximpleware patents don't apply, then GPLv2 would indeed be sufficient for that use. But inside the U.S. those customers are not authorized and they cannot rely on an assumed patent grant in GPLv2. Otherwise GPLv2 Section 7 would be an irrelevant provision. Reread it carefully if you doubt this.

The Versata customers certainly cannot depend on an implied patent license received indirectly through a vendor who was in breach of GPLv2 since the beginning – and still is! Versata ignored and failed to disclose to its own customers Ximpleware's patent notices concerning that GPLv2 software, but those patents are nevertheless infringed.

Should we forgive commercial companies who fail to undertake honest compliance with the GPL? Should we forgive their customers who aren't diligent in acquiring their software from diligent vendors?

As Aaron Williamson suggests, we shouldn't ignore the implications of this case. After all, the creator of Ximpleware software made his source code freely available under GPLv2 and posted clear notices to potential commercial customers of his U.S. patents and of his commercial licensing options. Lots of small (and large!) open source commercial companies do that. Although it is ultimately up to the courts to decide this case, from a FOSS point of view Ximpleware is the good guy here!

There is rich detail about this matter that will come out during litigation. Please don't criticize until you understand all the facts.

Lawrence Rosen
Rosenlaw & Einschlag (

Submission + - Russia doubles price for launching US astronauts ( 4

Third Position writes: NASA on Tuesday signed a contract to pay $55.8 million per astronaut for six Americans to fly into space on Russian Soyuz capsules in 2013 and 2014. NASA needs to get rides on Russian rockets to the International Space Station because it plans to retire the space shuttle fleet later this year. NASA now pays half as much, about $26.3 million per astronaut, when it uses Russian ships.

Submission + - All GPLed Code Removed from MonoDevelop (

rysiek writes: A few days ago, Miguel de Icaza wrote on his blog that the whole MonoDevelop is now "free" of GPL-licensed code. "MonoDevelop code is now LGPLv2 and MIT X11 licensed. We have removed all of the GPL code, allowing addins to use Apache, MS-PL code as well as allowing proprietary add-ins to be used with MonoDevelop (like RemObject;s Oxygene)." A move that may be seen as quite controversial.
Technology (Apple)

Submission + - Microsoft Investing More in Mac, Linux Platforms

Anonymous writes: Microsoft keeps investing time, money and resources in platforms that aren't Windows. There was all that hoo-hah from Ballmer about investing in Open Source companies, the Novell deal, and yesterday's TurboLinux "agreement." Also, Microsoft is out to hire a bunch of new people for its Mac Business Unit. If they put all that focus to work on Vista, maybe adoption rates would be just a tad better.
The Internet

Submission + - Demonoid back online

2Y9D57 writes: As of Sunday 30th September, the Demonoid bittorrent tracker is back online — outage caused by need to filter Canadian traffic following threats from lawyer representing the CRIA. Somewhat ironic — Demonoid stays in Canada, but Canadians can't use it. Nice work, CRIA.
The Internet

Submission + - The Pirate Bay Files Suit Against Big Media 1

Join the Pirate Party writes: "Having found the necessary proof via the leaked MediaDefenders documents, the Pirate Bay is filing suit against the big record and movie labels operating in Sweden who have allegedly been paying professional hackers, saboteurs and DDoSers to destroy their trackers. They also claim to have filed a police report."

Submission + - Why isn't there a mobile ODF reaer/editor? 1

Kichigai Mentat writes: "Why is it that there is but one program in the entirety of the Internet that allows you to view ODF files on a portable device? Even more so, why is this single program only available on Symbian S60 devices, and not as a cross-platform open source project? And if I'm wrong (and I hope I am), what projects are there that will bring ODF to Palm OS, BlackBerry OS and Windows Mobile? In my opinion, unless ODF can become portable (IE: you can use it on as many devices as you can use a Word doc) it will never be able to truly challenge Microsoft for dominance (I know that's why I'm not using ODF for everything!)"

Submission + - Windows System Assessment Tool (WinSAT)

An anonymous reader writes: Why is it so hard to find the Windows Experience Index number on new hardware. I am in the market for a new laptop; while I will wipe of windows as soon as I buy it I would like to use the MS's Windows System Assessment Tool (WinSAT) rankings so I can compare apples to apples on different chips and graphics card configurations. I can't find any online sellers that list the Windows Experience Index next to the other specs on new hardware. Are the manufacturers resisting MS's Windows System Assessment Tool because it makes their hardware brand a commodity that can easily be replaced by another manufacturer's brand.

KDE 4.0 Beta 1 Released 249

dbhost writes "Along with this morning's cup of coffee and log reviews, I discovered that the KDE team is moving forward with a long awaited beta release of KDE 4.0 beta release of KDE 4.0. The most interesting item I found in the notes is that the file manager in KDE is being separated from Konqueror into a component called Dolphin. Also, according to the announcement, konsole has been treated to a number of improvements such as split view, and history highlighting."

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