Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale Extended! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 20% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY20". ×

Submission + - How to open source a library + maintain ownership?

HenryC writes: "My company has a closed source webservice that clients submit data to. We were hoping to open source the client, so users can extend it / fit it into their own needs and if that is succesfull, eventually open source everything. However, it sounds like it is very hard to open source a client library and still maintain enough ownership to keep the quality high and keep it consistent with our webservice. For example, we don't want people using it in a way that collects data which would violate the privacy policy. We don't have the funds for an IP lawyer but still want to go through with this. Does anybody have any recommended reading, or case studies, or anything that would be helpful for us to figure out which license to use and how to add any additional info to keep this safe?"
Red Hat Software

Submission + - Red Hat enlists community help fighting trolls (

Stickster writes: "Back in 2007, IP Innovation filed a lawsuit against Red Hat and Novell. IP Innovation is a subsidiary of Acacia Technologies. You may have heard of them — they're reported to be the most litigious patent troll in the USA, meaning they produce nothing of value other than money from those whom they sue (or threaten to sue) over patent issues. They're alleging infringement of patents on a user interface that has multiple workspaces. Hard to say just what they mean (which is often a problem in software patents), but it sounds a lot like functionality that pretty much all programmers and consumers use.

That patent was filed back on March 25, 1987 by some folks at Xerox/PARC, which means that prior art dated before that date is helpful — and art dated before March 25, 1986 is the most useful. (That means art found in a Linux distribution may not help, seeing as how Linus Torvalds first began the Linux kernel in 1991.)

Red Hat has invited the community to join in the fight against the patent trolls by identifying prior art. They are coordinating efforts through the Post Issue Peer to Patent site, which is administered by the Center for Patent Innovations at the New York Law School, in conjunction with the US Patent and Trademark Office."

The Internet

Submission + - CraigsList and eBay in Court (

TechForensics writes: "Why did eBay sue CraigsList in a Delaware court? eBay alleges that CraigsList is "unfairly discriminating" against it as a minority shareholder in CraigsList. More specifically it accuses CraigsList of holding meetings to which eBay was not invited to plan strategies to dump eBay's investment, which Craigslist claims in a countersuit was made for the sole purpose of ripping off trade secrets. It should be interesting to follow this one."

Submission + - Scientists create Artificial Nervous System ( 3

unc0nn3ct3d writes: "Published in Nature Scientists at The Weizmann Institute of Science successfully cultured single dimensional neurons 100 axoms long to form Closed circuits and Logic Gates. Finding the right thickness to be able to begin manufacturing the foundation of a synthetic nervous system, or in other terms an organic / genetic computer.

The question is what will arise from this? Will this form the basis for a more efficient computing system, or a synthetic brain? Either way it a loooooonnnggg way off of either of those possibilities but it represents the first step."


Submission + - Earth's Evil Twin (

Riding with Robots writes: "For the past two years, Europe's Venus Express orbiter has been studying Earth's planetary neighbor up close. Today, mission scientists have released a new collection of findings and amazing images. They include evidence of lightning and other results that flesh out a portrait of a planet that is in many ways like ours, and in many ways hellishly different, such as surface temperatures over 400C and air pressure a hundred times that on Earth."

Submission + - BSA Bully Over Small Businesses, Becomes RIAA-2 ( 2

Tech.Luver writes: "Michael Gaertner worried he could lose his company. A group called the Business Software Alliance was claiming that his 10-person architectural firm was using unlicensed software._______________ The alliance demanded $67,000 — most of one year's profit — or else it would seek more in court. "It just scared the hell out of me," Gaertner said._______________ Targeting small businesses is lucrative for the Business Software Alliance, the main copyright-enforcement watchdog for such companies as Microsoft Corp., Adobe Systems Inc. and Symantec Corp._______________ Of the $13 million that the BSA reaped in software violation settlements with North American companies last year, almost 90 percent came from small businesses._______________ Gaertner, who worried his BSA encounter would crush his business, wants to rid himself of the Autodesk, Microsoft and Adobe software involved in the case."It's not like they have really good software. It's just that it's widespread and it's commonly used," he said. "It's going to be a while, but eventually, we plan to get completely disengaged from those software vendors that participate in the BSA."_______________ ( )"

If you can't learn to do it well, learn to enjoy doing it badly.