Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Germany enforces the GPL

The GPL gets enforced in Germany. This particular case has been brewing in years, and has served to set all sorts of legal precedent, starting with the Munich court's decision in Welte v. Sitecom Deutschland GmbH,that the GPL is, yes, a valid, enforceable license carrying legal weight. And now, this decision. Read a bit more about Welte and check out his website, In writing on Welte, Brian W. Carver, in ("Share and Share Alike: Understanding and Enforcing and Open Source and Free Software Licenses", Berkeley Technology Law Journal 443-481, Vol. 20, 2005) wrote:

"Welte did not win damages, but rather an injunction and GPL compliance. If he had lost, under German law, he would have had to pay attorneys fees, and these enforcement actions take up valuable time. What motivates those, like Welte, that seek to enforce the GPL? The answer can be found in the philosophy driving the GPL itself. The netfilter team members... chose the GPL for the work that it does as a license. The license keeps one's copyrighted work available in the manner one chooses. Software developers spend a great deal of time creating such software, and when they are not being paid directly for that work, there is even more reason to think they may seek other forms of compensation for the long hours, such as the assurance that others will always be able to study, modify, improve, and share the work that they have begun. Welte is one of many free software developers who has made a conscious choice to use the GPL because it prevents others from making proprietary derivatives of his work. When asked why he pursued this legal action, Welte said, "Because I write code under the GPL and not the BSD license" "

Monday, September 25, 2006

Boffins and open source

This storyis worth reporting, if only for the fact that it uses the word "boffins", which is delightfully WWII-ish. But seriously, 750,000 dollars to study open-source development models seems to indicate some serious interest at the NSF in figuring out why the model works and what relevance it might have to the broader practice of computer science.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Linux in Kerala

A Business Week article about Linux adoption in Kerala, often considered India's most progressive state. Read the comments below the article - well, just the one by "jay". Wierdo. Also, dig the 12-year old who says he's never heard of Windows. Nice going - didn't really think that was possible, anywhere, anytime.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Microsoft Open Source Lab

Microsoft has a Open Source Lab/Center/Initiative/Summat. They have a website and a blog (apologies if this is old hat for everyone out there). Check it out. Read it, and try and figure out what is going on. Is it a marketing stunt? Are they for real? What exactly are they up to? What do they hope to achieve with this, and why are they doing it? I have some ideas; I'm not sure, and I'd appreciate some help.