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Google

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.
Idle

Submission + - Washing machine + Arduino = Laundruino (fsfe.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Because his washer is located in the basement, Micha decided to connect it to his home network with the help of an Arduino + Ethernet Shield. It's a rather simple gut ingenius hack that saves him from stepping down the stairs all the time to check if the laundry is done.
United States

Submission + - Arizona Governor Proposes Flab Tax 3

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The WSJ reports that Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer has proposed levying a $50 fee on some enrollees in the state's cash-starved Medicaid program, including obese people who don't follow a doctor-supervised slimming regimen and smokers and says the proposal is a way to reward good behavior and raise awareness that certain conditions, including obesity, raise costs throughout the system. "If you want to smoke, go for it," says Monica Coury, spokeswoman for Arizona's Medicaid program. "But understand you're going to have to contribute something for the cost of the care of your smoking." Coury says Arizona officials hadn't yet finalized how they would determine whether a person was obese or had sufficiently followed a wellness plan, but that measures such as body-mass index could provide some guidance. Estimates for the costs of obesity in America range from about $150 billion to $270 billion a year. According to the latest CDC statistics, from 2009, 25.5% of Arizonans are obese, about 1.7 million people. Only Colorado and the District of Columbia come in under the 20% mark, and the highest rate is in Mississippi, with a population that is 34.4% obese."
Cellphones

Journal Journal: Rumor: 500 Kin Phones 9

When Microsoft's Kin was released a month ago, it came with the usual sequence of tittilating leaks (project Pink), a swell of coverage leading to liveblogging of the release press conference, and an advertising blitz impressive in its scope. Since it's supposed to be a social phone of course it has numerous fansites including Facebook and Twitter. Of course there's a Wikipe

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