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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 22 declined, 11 accepted (33 total, 33.33% accepted)

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Submission + - Tridgell recommends reading software patents ( 1

H4x0r Jim Duggan writes: In a recent talk, Andrew Tridgell rejected the common fears about triple damages "If you’ve got one lot of damages for patent infringement, what would happen to the project? It’s dead. If it gets three lots of damages for patent infringement, what happens to the project? It’s still dead." Tridge then explains the right way to read a patent and build a legal defense: "That first type of defence is really the one you want, it’s called: non-infringement. And that is: 'we don’t do that. The patent says X, we don’t do X, therefore go away, sue someone else, it’s not relevant for us'. That’s the defence you want. [...] Next one, prior art: [...] Basically the argument is: somebody else did that before. It’s a very, very tricky argument to get right. Extremely tricky, and it is the most common argument bandied about in the free software community. And if you see it in the primary defence against a patent, you should cringe because it is an extremely unsafe way of doing things." — there are even some tips in the talk specifically for Slashdotters.

Submission + - Bilski hearing comments on software patents 1

H4x0r Jim Duggan writes: End Software Patents have published their analysis of what the Bilski hearing statements imply for software patents: At Monday's hearing (transcript html, pdf), neither party had the objective of abolishing software patents. The Bilski case is about a business method patent, so there was Mr. Jakes arguing that business methods should be patentable, and Mr. Stewart arguing that they shouldn't. For software to be excluded, we're relying on the judges (to whom we wrote an amicus brief, as did many others). There're some worrying statements, but there's definitely hope.

Submission + - FSF brief: patents block compatibility, harm users ( 1

H4x0r Jim Duggan writes: After those of Red Hat and SFLC, FSF has published its Supreme Court brief. The lengthy brief (as long as Red Hat's and SFLC's combined) focusses on compatibility: "In the context of writing an email reader, a word processor, or an image viewer, being blocked from reading, modifying, or writing in the required data format is equivalent to being banned from writing a functional program for that task." It also details harms to software progress, economics, and how innovation in software flourished without patents, as is shown by GNU/Linux, and, for better or worse, Microsoft (who in 1995 had only 77 patents). The brief ends with quotes from domestic and foreign experts. Their press release gives more information. A Bilski 3 project has been launched to collect constructive criticism of the brief.

Submission + - FSF to Supremes: software patents are unjust (

H4x0r Jim Duggan writes: Not taking chances on any particular argument, FSF has submitted a brief approaching the word limit. After outlining the contribution of the free software movement to software progress, the brief details how software patents fail their constitutional justification, and how the USPTO's practice is harming individual freedom, community development projects and the progress of software as users would want. "Given that software development includes common activities such as making a webpage, the freedom to use a computer as you see fit for your daily life is a fundamental form of expression, just as using a pen and paper is. ... In the context of writing an email reader, a word processor, or an image viewer, being blocked from reading, modifying, or writing in the required data format is equivalent to being banned from writing a functional program for that task.

Submission + - Consumer electronics and violations of free softwa (

H4x0r Jim Duggan writes: "Veteran violation chasers Shane Coughlan and Armijn Hemel have summarised how licence violations are caused in the consumer electronics market under time-to-market pressure and thin profit margins "This problem is compounded when one board with a problem appears in devices supplied to a number of western companies. A host of violation reports spanning a dozen European and American businesses may eventually point towards a single mistake during development at an Asian supplier." They also discuss the helpful organisations which have sprung up and the documents and procedures now available."

Submission + - IBM to SCOTUS: patents drive free software

H4x0r Jim Duggan writes: "For the Supreme Court's upcoming review of the Bilski decision, IBM has submitted an amicus brief claiming that software patents "fueled the explosive growth of open source software development"! (p38 of linked PDF) EndSoftwarePatents, for its own amicus brief, is looking for help building a list of free software harmed by software patents, and a list of companies that distribute free software and are taxed by patent royalties."

Submission + - Antitrust working for Samba and FSFE (

H4x0r Jim Duggan writes: "It's now just over a year since Microsoft lost their final court case in the EU regarding breaches of antitrust regulation. Samba developer Andrew Bartlet's blog writes that the documentation and help that MS is forced to give is proving truly useful. FSFE blogger Ciaran O'Riordan also explains the motiviations for those years of work (hint: it wasn't about fines)"

Submission + - ISO delegates vote against OOXML

H4x0r Jim Duggan writes: "After a full week lobby, OOXML has failed to achieve majority approval at ISO's Ballot Resolution Meeting. The delegates were unable to consider, let alone resolve, the many problems with the OOXML specification. Updegrove also explains in an interview there in Geneva the government-like privileged position ISO holds, why the ISO process coped badly, and why ICT standards are as important as the freedoms of free software."
GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - RMS on politics, education, and software freedom (

H4x0r Jim Duggan writes: "Accepting his fifth honaray degree recently, Richard Stallman had 30 minutes in front of a mostly non-tech, outsider audience. A transcript of his discourse is online where he relates the free software movement to innovations such as democracy. He also gave arguments for why educational bodies should support the free software movement 100%."

Submission + - FSFE and Samba anti-trust team interview (

H4x0r Jim Duggan writes: "Done just minutes after the EU vs MS anti-trust verdict, here's a very warm spirited interview (ogg, mp3, text) with Carlo Piana and Georg Greve of FSFE and Jeremy Allison and Volker Lendeke of Samba. They tell the story of Microsoft's shrinking "blue blue" smoke and mirrors tactic, the 3.6 billion in payments that all the journalists have missed when reporting the 430 million fine, and the role of unbuyable groups in this high stakes business case."

Submission + - Microsoft's EU anti-trust appeal thrown out

H4x0r Jim Duggan writes: "The EU's highest court has today rejected Microsoft's appeal against the European Commission's anti-trust case. The decision is being celebrated by FSFE, who've worked on the case since 2001 supporting Samba. Microsoft was always going to have to publish some interoperability specs, and thanks to the work of FSFE and Samba, free software developers will not be blocked from using that information."

Submission + - OOXML evaluation (

H4x0r Jim Duggan writes: "With the holiday season about to make consensus work impractical, most national standards groups will decide in the next week or two whether to recommend MS's OOXML format for ISO standardisation. There's been a lot of private lobbying, and none has made MS's 6,000 page standard easy to review. With that in mind, FSFE have published Six questions to national standardisation bodies. If they think MS's standard answers "yes" to each question, they should approve. If not, they should reject. There's also a petition."
GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - RMS explains GPLv3 draft 3

H4x0r Jim Duggan writes: "A transcript is now online of a talk Richard Stallman gave in Brussels earlier this week about discussion draft 3 of GPLv3. Among other things, he explained how it will address the Novell-MS deal, from Novell's point of view and from Microsoft's, and he explained how the tivoisation clause was narrowed to make it more acceptable in the hope that it will be used by more people. After the talk he also gave an interview, and yesterday, draft 2 of LGPLv3 was released."
GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - Draft 3 of GPLv3 due on Wednesday

H4x0r Jim Duggan writes: "Richard Stallman announced on Saturday that discussion draft 3 of GPLv3 will be released on Wednesday March 28th. The new wording addresses what Microsoft has done it's deal with Novell, but more input will be sought on how to prevent others from doing what Novell did for their part in that deal. Discussion draft 3 will responde to eight months of public comment and committee discussion."

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