ais523 writes: The Federal Circuit has divided CLS Bank vs. Alice Corp., a case about various sorts of patents, including software patents. Although the judges disagreed, to a lesser or greater extent, on the individual parts of the ruling, eventually, more than half decided that the patents in question — algorithms for hedging risk — were ineligible patent matter, and that merely adding an "on a computer"-like clause to an abstract algorithm does not make it patentable. Coverage is available at Patently-O and Groklaw, or you can read the opinion itself.
ais523 writes: Cory Doctorow writes about the latest twist in the story of UEFI and locked-down bootloaders. Because motherboards certified for Windows 8 will need to use bootloaders signed with a key the motherboard recognises in order to load, installing a new operating system requires changing BIOS settings in order to add a new key — and even this option will be unavailable on motherboards following Microsoft's guidelines for ARM. Fedora are working around this problem by requesting Microsoft to sign their bootloader, so that computers that work out of the box with Windows will work out of the box with Fedora too. (Although they had to pay $99 for the privilege, apparently the money goes to Verisign not Microsoft, and is a one-time payment.)
ais523 writes: In re Bilskihas been judged [PDF]; the original verdict (that this particular business method patent was invalid) is now finally affirmed, but the Supreme Court fell short of ruling out or explicitly allowing software patents, as many had hoped. The verdict instead seems to be a rather narrow one, not even specifying any particular certain test to determine whether a process is patentable or not.
ais523 writes: Wikipedia (and other websites run by Wikimedia) have requested to opt-out from Phorm; according to the email they sent (quoted here), they "consider the scanning and profiling of our visitors' behavior by a third party to be an infringement on their privacy."
ais523 writes: The European Commission has again complained about antitrust behaviour by Microsoft, based on the 2007 complaint by Opera; this time, it's about alleged anticompetitive bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows, to the detriment of other browser manufacturers. (In a previous complaint, Microsoft ended up having to manufacture a version of Windows without Media Player, although its pricing meant that it was rarely bought.)
ais523 writes: A judge was interrupted by a ringing mobile phone. So the judge demanded the phone. When nobody admitted owning the phone in question, the judge ordered the doors of the courtroom locked, and when the phone didn't turn up after a search, he sent all 46 defendants present to jail.
ais523 writes: As reported by Tectonic, South Africa's new Mininimum Interoperability Standards for Information Systems in government (MIOS) explain the new rules for which data formats will be used by the government; according to that document, all people working for the South African government must be able to read OpenDocument Format documents by March, and the government aims to use one of its three approved document formats (UTF-8 or ASCII plain text, CSV, or ODF) for all its published documents by the end of 2008. A definition of 'open standard' is also included that appears to rule out OOXML at present (requiring 'multiple implementations', among other things that may also rule it out).