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Emerging Technologies BLOG

A New Wave Of GPL Enforcement? Samba and Linux kernel copyrightholders join the fight

Posted on Friday, Jun 29, 2012

BY Edward J. Naughton

Talk about unintended consequences: Rob Landley, a lead developer of BusyBox, announced that he was rewriting that program solely to disarm GPL enforcers. In response, several other copyright holders came forward to hand the enforcers some bigger and more effective weapons.

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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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HP Releases Source Code For The Accidental Android TouchPad: Do GPL Obligations Arise Even From Unauthorized Distributions?

Posted on Friday, Feb 10, 2012

BY Edward J. Naughton

Back in the fall I wrote about the flap over the HP TouchPad tablets that were shipped with Android 2.2, or FroYo, installed.  The TouchPad was a WebOS-powered tablet, but somehow at least a few units had Android installed.  Most thought that these were test units that were never meant to be sold.

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Is BusyBox Too Dangerous To Use?

Posted on Friday, Feb 3, 2012

BY Edward J. Naughton

Rob Landley thinks so.  One of the principal developers of BusyBox, Landley was a lead plaintiff in some of the enforcement actions brought by the Software Freedom Law Center a few years ago.  He’s now leading up a project, called Toybox, to rewrite BusyBox and release it under a more permissive, non-GPL license.  And for doing that, Landley’s drawn a lot of fire from free software advocates.

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Legal Issues In Open Source: What to Expect in 2012

Posted on Monday, Jan 30, 2012

BY Edward J. Naughton

It’s traditional in late December to take a look back at the past year and review the top stories, and there are plenty of pieces that review the developments in open source in 2011: Sean Gallagher’s article at Ars Technica, Stephen J. Vaughn-Nichols’ recap of the top five Linux stories, and Mark Radcliffe’s take.

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The Accidental Android TouchPad: Further Developments

Posted on Thursday, Nov 10, 2011

BY Edward J. Naughton

As I wrote a few weeks ago, it seems that a few of HP’s now discontinued TouchPads shipped with Android 2.2, or FroYo, installed.  The TouchPad was a WebOS-powered tablet, but somehow at least a few units had Android installed.  It’s thought that these were test units that were never meant to be sold.

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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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The Accidental Android TouchPad: Why It’s Important to Manage Software Supply Chain Risks

Posted on Tuesday, Oct 4, 2011

BY Edward J. Naughton

For a time, it seemed that HP couldn’t give away its TouchPad tablet.  Then it killed the device and announced a fire sale liquidation.  Giving them away wasn’t the problem any longer – HP couldn’t handle the demand as the remaining inventory flew off the shelves.

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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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