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Google Pledges Not To Sue Any Open Source Projects Using Their Patents 153

sfcrazy writes "Google has announced the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge. In the pledge Google says that they will not sue any user, distributor, or developer of Open Source software on specified patents, unless first attacked. Under this pledge, Google is starting off with 10 patents relating to MapReduce, a computing model for processing large data sets first developed at Google. Google says that over time they intend to expand the set of Google's patents covered by the pledge to other technologies." This is in addition to the Open Invention Network, and their general work toward reforming the patent system. The patents covered in the OPN will be free to use in Free/Open Source software for the life of the patent, even if Google should transfer ownership to another party. Read the text of the pledge. It appears that interaction with non-copyleft licenses (MIT/BSD/Apache) is a bit weird: if you create a non-free fork it appears you are no longer covered under the pledge.

Submission + - How the US Lost Out on iPhone Work

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Not long ago, Apple boasted that its products were made in America. Today, almost all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold last year manufactured overseas. "It isn’t just that workers are cheaper abroad," write Charles Duhig and Keith Bradsher. "Rather, Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have outpaced their American counterparts so much that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products." Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option and recount the time Apple redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day. “The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” says one Apple executive. “There’s no American plant that can match that.” Apple’s success has benefited the US economy by empowering entrepreneurs and creating jobs at companies like cellular providers and businesses shipping Apple products but ultimately, Apple executives say curing unemployment is not Apple's job. “We don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.”"

Submission + - Lack of one gene causes severe mental retardation (

mmmscience writes: A joint effort by universities in North Carolina has elicited new findings that may explain the development of Angelman syndrome, a disease which lies on autism spectrum of disorders and which causes severe mental retardation. Scientists believe that Angelman syndrome is caused by a lack of in a single gene, UBE3A, which is essential for a neuron's ability to grow and make connections, and is especially related to a person's ability to store sensory information. If the brain cannot neuron plasticity, symptoms of Angelman (which include severe mental retardation [many people with the disorder only learn a handful of words over a lifetime]) begin to emerge. By submitting mice to visual sensory stimulation, scientists found that mice that lack the gene were unable to create new neuronal connections to store the incoming data. However, unexpectedly, they also found that visual deprivation could actually help restore the plasticity of the neurons
United States

Submission + - DHS allowed to take laptops indefinitely

andy1307 writes: According to this article in the Washington Post, Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed. Also, officials may share copies of the laptop's contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption or other reasons, according to the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. DHS officials said that the newly disclosed policies — which apply to anyone entering the country, including U.S. citizens — are reasonable and necessary to prevent terrorism. Officials said such procedures have long been in place but were disclosed last month because of public interest in the matter. The policies cover "any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form," including hard drives, flash drives, cell phones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes. They also cover "all papers and other written documentation," including books, pamphlets and "written materials commonly referred to as 'pocket trash' or 'pocket litter.' "

Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others. -- Berry Kercheval