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Emerging Technologies BLOG

The Lore of Linux

Posted on Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012

BY Edward J. Naughton

Advising clients on open source is always hard, because there’s not much law but a lot of lore.  There are a couple of court decisions that discuss open source licensing, but they don’t get at the really complicated and interesting issues that arise in the day-to-day.

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Does Android Infringe Oracle’s Copyrights In The Java Platform? What The Jury Will – And Won’t – Decide

Posted on Tuesday, May 1, 2012

BY Edward J. Naughton

It’s now up to a jury in San Francisco to determine whether Google’s Android mobile platform infringes Oracle’s copyrights in the code and documentation for the Java Platform.  Or is it?

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Android’s Bionic Problem Is Not “Bogus”: Why Judge Alsup Got It Right And Linus Torvalds Got It Wrong

Posted on Tuesday, Nov 8, 2011

BY Edward J. Naughton

In September, federal judge William Alsup denied Google’s request for a ruling that the Java application programming interfaces (“APIs”) were, categorically, not protected under copyright law.  In that order, which came in Google’s litigation with Oracle over Google’s use of Java in its Android mobile operating system, Judge Alsup ruled that each of the disputed files must be analyzed individually to determine whether it is protected by copyright.

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Poor Software Design as an Unfair and Deceptive Act: The Lessons of FrostWire

Posted on Wednesday, Oct 26, 2011

BY Edward J. Naughton

It was inevitable that malware would eventually target smartphones.  The mobile devices are ubiquitous, and they can store quite a lot of valuable private data.  Downloaded apps – projected to reach a staggering 29 billion for 2011 – provide an easy vector for infection.

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Is the FSF more harmful to FOSS than Android?

Posted on Tuesday, Sep 27, 2011

BY Edward J. Naughton

A couple of weeks ago I noted the conversation in the FOSS community over Google’s closed development of the “open” Android mobile operating system.  That debate was sparked by the publication of some internal Google documents that instructed its Android team: “Do not develop in the open.”

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Google’s Closed Development of Android Opens Old Wounds

Posted on Monday, Sep 12, 2011

BY Edward J. Naughton

Does “open source” mean developing in the open?  Or is it good enough – legally and morally – to publicly release the code after the fact, when the next release is ready for market?  Is transparency a defining value of the open source community, perhaps even the most important value?  Or is it equally valid, and perhaps a better business practice, to keep development closed?

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Will There Be Any Open Space Left In The Mobile Landscape?

Posted on Friday, Aug 19, 2011

BY Edward J. Naughton

It’s been a topsy-turvy week for open source in the mobile space.

Google’s Android mobile operating system has been marketed as “open source,” free for others to use and modify, in contrast to Apple’s closed iOS and Microsoft’s closed Windows Phone.  One of the defining hallmarks of open source software has been the free availability of the source code.

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Operating (system) without a license: Does Section 4 of the GPL leave Google and Android device manufacturers unlicensed? (Part 2)

Posted on Thursday, Aug 11, 2011

BY Edward J. Naughton

In my previous post, I explained how Section 4 of GPLv2 plays a critical role in GPL enforcement actions brought by the SFC and the SFLC.  By immediately terminating rights for non-compliance and requiring express permission from the licensor to reestablish those rights, Section 4 provides a stout club that can be used against companies who rely on GPL code in their products but fail to adhere to the complicated requirements for that license.  In this post, I want to examine what that might mean for an Android ecosystem that is not a model of GPL compliance.

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License revoked: Applying Section 4 of the GPL and the lessons of Best Buy to Google’s Android

Posted on Monday, Aug 8, 2011

BY Edward J. Naughton

Not long ago, open source advocates sued more than a dozen major consumer electronics manufacturers, claiming that the manufacturers had lost the right to use GPL’d software in their devices.  It looks like the same could be said of Android: virtually every one is unlicensed.

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