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.
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.
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.
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."
H4x0r Jim Duggan writes: "For anyone curious about what the legal department in a free software
organisation does, I spent some time with my co-worker in FSFE and
have put a
summary online with the status of the main projects: legal
network, producing documentation, GPL enforcement, copyright
consolidation, and training courses."
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."
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%."
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."
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."
H4x0r Jim Duggan writes: "A transcript is now online of
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
interview, and yesterday,
draft 2 of LGPLv3
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."