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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.

US Government Strategy To Prevent Leaks Is Leaked 336

Jake writes "The US government's 11-page document on how to get various US government agencies to prevent future leaks has been leaked. It doesn't get any more ironic than that. After the various leaks made by WikiLeaks, the US government understandably wants to limit the number of potential leaks, but their strategy apparently isn't implemented yet. It's clear that the Obama administration is telling federal agencies to take aggressive steps to prevent further leaks. According to the document, these steps include figuring out which employees might be most inclined to leak classified documents, by using psychiatrists and sociologists to assess their trustworthiness. The memo also suggests that agencies require all their employees to report any contacts with members of the news media they may have."

Android Passes iPhone In US Market Share 550

Adrian writes "61.5 million people in the US owned smartphones during the three months ending in November 2010, up 10 percent from the preceding three-month period. For the first time, more Americans are using phones running Google's Android operating system than Apple's iPhone, but RIM's BlackBerry is still in first place, according to comScore. RIM fell from 37.6 percent to 33.5 percent market share of smartphones, Google captured second place among smartphone platforms by moving from 19.6 percent to 26.0 percent of US smartphone subscribers, and Apple slipped to third despite its growth from 24.2 percent to 25.0 percent of the market. Microsoft, in fourth place, fell into single digits from 10.8 percent to 9.0 percent while Palm was still last and further slipped from 4.6 percent to 3.9 percent." This is not unexpected, since Android sales have been outpacing iPhone sales for some time, but it happened significantly earlier than Gartner's prediction: Q4 2012.

How a Leather Cover Crashes the Kindle 280

An anonymous reader writes "Amazon has started offering refunds to Kindle owners who own the unlit leather case who claim that it causes their Kindles to reboot, but are playing dumb on the cause: "our engineering team is looking into this." People have been wondering how a leather cover could possibly crash an electronic device, and why is Amazon offering money back if they don't think there's a problem? It seems that some of the folks over at Connectify have figured it out, and it's a doozy!"

Download Firefox, Feed a Red Panda Screenshot-sm 90

KenW writes "Mozilla has launched a new marketing campaign to promote Firefox: adopting red pandas and putting them on live webcams. The company wants to underline the fact that the red panda is the mascot for its open source browser via a new section on its site called Firefox Live. It's clear that Mozilla is trying to think of new ways to promote its browser ahead of the launch of Firefox 4. The company has been struggling recently as Firefox steadily loses share to Google Chrome."

Aussie Kids Foil Finger Scanner With Gummi Bears 303

mask.of.sanity writes "An Australian high school has installed 'secure' fingerprint scanners for roll call for senior students, which savvy kids may be able to circumvent with sweets from their lunch box. The system replaces the school's traditional sign-in system with biometric readers that require senior students to have their fingerprints read to verify attendance. The school principal says the system is better than swipe cards because it stops truant kids getting their mates to sign-in for them. But using the Gummi Bear attack, students can make replicas of their own fingerprints from gelatin, the ingredient in Gummi Bears, to forge a replica finger. The attack worked against a bunch of scanners that detect electrical charges within the human body, since gelatin has virtually the same capacitance as a finger's skin."

iPad Owners Are 'Selfish Elites' 780

An anonymous reader writes "It's not exactly official, but should also surprise no one: According to a new study the psychological profile of iPad owners can be summed up as 'selfish elites' while have-not critics are 'independent geeks.' Consumer research firm MyType conducted the study, in which opinions of 20,000 people were analyzed between March and May. The firm's conclusion was that iPad owners tend to be wealthy, sophisticated, highly educated and disproportionately interested in business and finance, while they scored terribly in the areas of altruism and kindness. In other words, 'selfish elites.'"

Swedish Pirate Party Launches ISP 356

WillDraven writes "Torrentfreak is reporting that the Swedish Pirate Party has launched an ISP. Starting with 100 residents in a housing organization in the city of Lund, Pirate ISP hopes to gain 5% of the market in Lund before spreading to other markets. Headed by longtime Pirate Party member Gustav Nipe (video interview in English), the company aims to provide Internet service with the sort of guarantees one would expect from the Pirate Party. Most notable are the promises to keep no logs of subscriber activity and thus to provide no data to law enforcement or private corporations."

Don't Stop File-Sharing, Says Former Pink Floyd Manager 243

Barence writes "The former manager of Pink Floyd has labelled attempts to clamp down on music file-sharing as a 'waste of time.' 'Not only are they a waste of time, they make the law offensive. They are comparable to prohibition in the US in the 1920s,' said Peter Jenner, who's now the emeritus president of the International Music Managers' Forum. 'It's absurd to expect ordinary members of the public to think about what they're allowed to do [with CDs, digital downloads, etc]... and then ask themselves whether it's legal or not.' The comments come as Britain's biggest ISP, BT, said it was confident that Britain's Digital Economy Act — which could result in file-sharers losing their internet connection — would be overturned in the courts, because it doesn't comply with European laws on privacy."

The White House Listed On Real Estate Website Screenshot-sm 123

Forget visiting the White House, if you have $10 million you can own it. At least that is the price for the president's home on the real estate website Redfin. From the article: "Obviously this is an error. It looks like Redfin software pulled an example listing from the website Owners.com by mistake. That example listing was the White House. We have e-mailed Redfin for comment." I know it's historic but it still looks a bit on the high side according to the comparables in the area.

Beaver Dam Visible From Space Screenshot-sm 286

ygslash writes "The Hoover Dam no longer holds the title of the world's widest dam. Satellite photos of northern Alberta, Canada, show that several families of beavers have apparently joined forces to build a dam 850 meters wide, more than twice as wide as the Hoover Dam."

Pirate Bay Legal Action Dropped In Norway 223

superapecommando writes "Copyright holders have given up legal efforts to force Norwegian ISP Telenor to block filesharing site The Pirate Bay, one of the parties to the case said. The copyright holders, led by Norway's performing rights society TONO and by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry Norway (IFPI Norge), have lost two rounds in the Norwegian court system, and have now decided against appealing the case to Norway's supreme court."

Own Your Own Fighter Jet Screenshot-sm 222

gimmebeer writes "The Russian Sukhoi SU-27 has a top speed of Mach 1.8 (more than 1,300 mph) and has a thrust to weight ratio greater than 1 to 1. That means it can accelerate while climbing straight up. It was designed to fight against the best the US had to offer, and now it can be yours for the price of a mediocre used business jet."

BlueHippo Scam Collected $15M, Only Shipped One PC 216

An anonymous reader writes "Turns out that those BlueHippo commercials advertising financing for computers and other electronics for anybody, regardless of credit, were way more sleazy than you thought. The FTC is bringing this fraud down, but not too soon. 'According to the FTC, the company's brazen business model continued without interruption after the 2008 settlement. "In fact, in the year following entry of this Court's Stipulated Final Judgment and Order for a Permanent Injunction, BlueHippo financed — at most — a single computer to the over 35,000 consumers who placed orders for computers that could be financed during the period,' the FTC told a court (PDF) yesterday. In the meantime, the company took in a cool $15 million in payments from consumers, who don't appear to have received anything in return.'"

Adapt. Enjoy. Survive.