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Patents

Submission + - IBM says software patents drive OSS development (zoobab.com) 2

zoobab writes: "In its Amicus Brief to the US Supreme Court on the Bilski case, IBM is arguing that "patent protection has promoted the free sharing of source code [...] which has fueled the explosive growth of open source software development." IBM also argue that the machine-or-tranformation test allow software to be patented, and that "software patent protection provides significant economic, technological, and societal benefits". IBM also "finds alarming decisions in the wake of Bilski concluding that software is excluded from patentable subject matter" making references to the BPAI decisions on Ex Parte Altman. IBM also says thet are "committed to ensuring that such technology [software] is and remains patentable"."

Comment Re:Broken summary (Score 2, Insightful) 263

The EU directive is not that strict, but the law in EU countries might be. An EU directive is not a law by itself, it is a directive to enact a law. The EU members can exceed the requirements of the directive, and if the UK has enacted a law which requires ISPs to store web URLs, then the UK has clearly "overaccomplished" (surprise surprise...)

The data retention directive specifically says they must retain elements that identify the origin and the destination.

Please read it. The level of fachism scares me.

From what they demand to storing URLs, is merely a matter of semantics, and the danger of that being done was predicted long before the directive was approved.

The Data Retention Directive is the equivalente to having a spy per citizen, noting down who he talks with, where and for how long.

Would you accept this in real life? No. Why do you accept it online?

Repeal the Data Retention directive now!

Comment Re:without interruption of its primary function... (Score 3, Insightful) 332

What you write in software is the expression of one idea in a certain language.

You don't "invent" software, software has been invented many eons ago when living beings got brains.

What software patents cover is the concept. If they covered a specific implementation, they would provide a worse legal environment than the copyright, in the point of view of the authors, for it would last many, many years less.

And as anyone who wrote software can tell you, ideas are a dime a dozen, the devil is in the details. It's the expression that counts in software, and not the concept.

Comment Re:Macs, moonlight. (Score 4, Insightful) 312

Well, suppose you're selling GNU/Linux desktops. Now to make your bidding for a public tender in Portugal you need to NOT USE your own dogfood?

You need to buy from your competitors in order to compete against them?

Seriously folks, this is a REAL issue (plus, this mess was paid with my taxes, I'll have to demand a refund).

Comment Re:Apache? (Score 2, Insightful) 188

Since you got moderated to "insightful" and I don't have moderation points in this article, I'll have to take the bait:

the Apache license is MUCH more free than the GPL

They're both just as Free Software. Claiming one is "more free" than the other, is a proof that you're confusing issues and still have something to learn about Free Software licensing, because for instance...

in that you can do anything you want with it

No, you can't. You can't claim you're the author, for instance. Actually, it's very hard to find a popular license where you can do that. In some jurisdictions, it is even legally impossible to do so.

including closing it if you are so inclined.

That you can, and it is a crying shame.

Plus you don't have to buy into the feverish and rabid philosophy of the majority of GPL disciples.

Funny you should say that, since your comment is quite philosophically rabid, like the majority of the GPL haters club.

Plus, let's flip this on its head: do you REALLY want to have to publish your changes so that Microsoft can take advantage of your hard work?

No Free Software license mandates publishing. The GNU GPL in particular only mandates that IF AND ONLY IF you publish, then you must provide the same rights and obligations (in a very broad overview, read the text for the gory details) you got when you got a copy of said software.

Besides, when you do publish in a license like Apache's, Microsoft can take advantage of your hard work and it is very likely to do so.

Indeed it has done so, albeit not Apache, but a somewhat similar but quite shorter license, previously.

Programming

Apple Bans iPhone App For Competing With Mail.app 464

recoiledsnake writes "Another submission has been rejected from the iPhone App Store, this time for 'duplicating the functionality of the iPhone Mail application.' The author claims that his application allows the user to log into their multiple web email accounts and that Apple seems to be confusing Gmail and Mail.app. This comes on the heels of Apple rejecting an application for competing with iTunes and rejecting other silly but harmless apps as being of 'limited utility.'" ComputerWorld has an update to the rejected Podcaster app mentioned above. It seems the developer has used Apple's "Ad Hoc" service to begin distributing the software despite the fact that they blocked it from the App Store.
Patents

Submission + - Comparison of IBM, Sun, Microsoft patent covenants (nyud.net)

harlows_monkeys writes: Here is a side-by-side listing of Microsoft's patent covenant for their XML document formats, Sun's patent covenant for ODF, IBM's patent covenant for ODF, and Microsoft's Open Specification Promise. The corresponding sections from each are colored the same, to make comparison of exactly what each grants and does not grant easier. There's been a lot of talk about some of these licenses recently, and whether they are safe or not. Hopefully, this side-by-side comparison will make it easier for people to figure out for themselves what the licenses mean and whether or not they are safe.
Government

Submission + - Nations and Organizations that Adopted ODF in 2007 (odfalliance.org)

christian.einfeldt writes: "The ODF Alliance has released a report on 3 January 2008 detailing the state of global adoption of ODF as a governmental policy and in deployments of software applications. The 15-page report (PDF warning) says that 2007 'ended on a high note,' with the Netherlands and South Africa joining 10 other nations that had already adopted the ODF standard, formally known as ISO/IEC 26300:2006. There are now 40 software apps supporting ODF, with dozens of those coming in September and October alone. The ODF Alliance itself now claims just under 500 member organizations in 53 countries."
Government

Submission + - NY State could shape the global OOXML - ODF debate (fanaticattack.com)

christian.einfeldt writes: "As was reported first here on Slashdot on 18 December 2007, the State of New York has opened a Request For Public Comment (RFPC) on whether it should adopt ODF (the current ISO standard) or Microsoft's OOXML as a standard for electronic documents for the State's government agencies. The public comment period will end on 28 December 20007. In response to that Slashdot article, open format advocate Russell Ossendryver has updated a previous open letter that he had penned to the National Boards of the countries eligible to vote in the upcoming February Microsoft OOXML ISO contest. In the update, Ossendryver urges New York State CIO Melodie Mayberry-Stewart to consider the impact that her report could have on the subsequent ISO vote: Says Ossendryver,

'The timing of the due date for the release of the report, 15 January 2008, places New York State in a position to have an impact on the international vote in late February, a mere 40 days or so later. The eyes of the world will be watching you, New York! '
Scroll to the bottom of the page to see that update."

Software

Submission + - Dutch government adopts open code and standards (google.com)

christian.einfeldt writes: "The Dutch government has set a target date of April 2008 for its agencies to start using open standards-based software, the Netherlands Economic Affairs Ministry said Thursday, according to a 14 December 2007 Associated Press article by Toby Sterling. Government organizations will still be able to use proprietary software and formats but will have to justify it under the new policy, ministry spokesman Edwin van Scherrenburg said. Microsoft Netherlands spokesman Hans Bos claims that Microsoft's Office productivity suite will still be used widely in the Dutch government until April, and that Microsoft Office will comply with the new Dutch rules once Microsoft's so-called "Open Office XML" standard is approved as an international ISO standard in February, as Microsoft sees it. The Dutch policy directs government organizations at the national level to be ready to use the Open Document Format to save documents by April, and at the state and local level by 2009, according to the AP's Sterling."

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