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Microsoft Open Sources .NET Micro Framework 320

An anonymous reader writes "Back in July, Microsoft announced it was making .NET available under its Community Promise, which in theory allowed free software developers to use the technology without fear of patent lawsuits. Not surprisingly, many free software geeks were unconvinced by the promise (after all, what's a promise compared to an actual open licence?), but now Microsoft has taken things to the next level by releasing the .NET Micro Framework under the Apache 2.0 licence. Yes, you read that correctly: a sizeable chunk of .NET is about to go open source."

Scientists Try To Make Robots More Human 88

mikesd81 writes "The Associated Press has an article about a robot named George that plays hide-and-seek. Impressively, the robot can actually also find a place to hide, and then hunt for its human playmate. Scientists are calling this 'a new level of human interaction'. The machine must take cues from people and behave accordingly. Researchers aim to imply humanity in robotics by creating technology that can connect with humans in a more 'thoughtful' way. The places to first see this technology are in the most human-oriented fields — those that require special care in dealing with the elderly, young and disabled." From the article: "'Robots in the human environment, to me that's the final frontier,' said Cynthia Breazeal, robotic life group director at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 'The human environment is as complex as it gets; it pushes the envelope.' Robotics is moving from software and gears operating remotely - Mars, the bottom of the ocean or assembly lines - to finally working with, beside and even on people. 'Robots have to understand people as people,' Breazeal said. 'Right now, the average robot understands people like a chair: It's something to go around.'"

Microsoft Taking Heat For Patent Stance 226

Yesterday Novell released a statement disavowing Steve Ballmer's claim that Linux infringes Microsoft's IP. reports that Microsoft quickly responded with a statement of its own that softened, but did not entirely back away from, Ballmer's claim (but the article offers no link to such a statement). xtaski writes, "Everyone took notice when Ballmer spewed forth FUD about Microsoft and Linux IP. Now CIOs are asking just what did Ballmer think he was doing? They are not fooled — but rather, a little angry. ComputerWorld covers the news including one CIO who says 'There were some applications I had been thinking about moving to a Microsoft platform, but this has now totally alienated me from Microsoft.'" And an anonymous reader points us to the statement by the Open Invention Network — whose investors include IBM, Novell, Sony, Red Hat, Philips and NEC — on the Microsoft-Novell agreement. From the statement: "OIN continues to support the Linux community's ability to collaborate and innovate. Through the accumulation of patents that may be used to shield the Linux environment, including users of Linux software, OIN has obviated the need for offers of protection from others."

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