Free/Libre and Open Source Software

Launch of GNU GPLv3: Friday, June 29, at 12 noon (EDT)

FSF has kept to the schedule and will be releasing the GPLv3 on Friday. Estimates have been that more than 50% of the Free/Libre and Open Source Software available is under the GPL, most which kept the "either version 2
of the License, or (at your option) any later version" clause. One notable exception is the Linux kernel that, because they removed this option, doesn't realistically have the option to change licenses (without trying to get the approval of thousands of contributors).

The process that lead to this upgrade of the license was very open, bringing in feedback from people who often had very different ideas of how to move forward. With the additional compatibility with additional licenses offered by the GPLv3, this license will be the most influential legally binding document in the software industry.

Anyone want to do an interesting study? What would the impact of Open Access for education be on our trade deficit?

Michael Geist blogged today about the increase in our cultural trade deficit, largely with the United States (See WorldMapper visual from 2002).

The Statistics Canada study he linked to indicates the following breakdown of what we were importing:

Canadians imported mainly books and newspapers from the United States. For every $10 of culture goods Canadians imported from the United States, $7.61 were spent on writing and published works, $0.85 on film and video, and $0.58 on advertising. The remainder was spread among sound recordings, photography and original art.

Ottawa Linux Symposium: GOSLING / Canadian Copyright Update

I hope to meet people at the 2007 Ottawa Linux Symposium. I'll be there much of the time between Wednesday and Saturday, with our GOSLING / Canadian Copyright Update being at 13h00 on Saturday.

I have posted a suggestion to the Facebook Event for OLS in case there is anyone wanting to get together earlier to talk technology policy and create policy documents.

Choosing and Using Open Source Software: A Primer for Nonprofits

The NonProfit Open Source Initiative (NOSI) will soon be updating their Choosing and Using Open Source Software: A Primer for Nonprofits. If interested in helping, including simply answering questions about how effective you have found the primer, please contact them.

Clubbing baby Linux penguins

Interesting article by Pamela Jones at Groklaw about how much of the world sees Microsoft's patent attacks against Linux.

Problem, however: As much as we see this as Microsoft being ugly, policy makers and politicians in western countries thus far see things differently. Have you written to, called, or met with your elected representatives recently?

Interview with Alan Cox

Alan Cox is one of the lead developers of the Linux Kernel. I found the following answer in a Q&A session to be interesting.

12) Do you share some people's fear of Microsoft's threats (concerning patents and intellectual property)?

I don't think they are the biggest danger. As Microsoft has been finding out recently it is the patent trolls, and organisations with buried patents in interesting areas that are the biggest threat in the USA.

Proof of open source incline at SixApart

Dana Blankenhorn writes on his ZDNet blog about how more and more companies are understanding the benefits of joining the FLOSS economy. He speaks of the latest example of SixApart’s decision to make Movable Type 4 open source, under the GPL.

The Patent Puzzle and why it isn't possible for Microsoft to get what they want.

An eWeek article by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols attempts to make sense of the software patent problem that Microsoft has found itself in with respect to the FLOSS sector, concluding that, "Microsoft might best be served by letting its vague patent claims lapse into silence.".

It is interesting to look at this at a higher level.

In order for this to move forward, Microsoft must disclose the exact patents it believes are infringed and how. Until this point, no reasonable person can do anything about their claims.

Linux Foundation Fires Back at Microsoft

A Business Week article by Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, includes:

What most people don't realize is that the story really isn't about patents at all—it's about a rational actor trying to protect its privileged position.

In the time it will likely take you to read this article, Microsoft will have made $500,000 in net profit. It's instructive to note that the majority of that profit comes from its Windows operating system and Office suite of business software. Not coincidentally, those are the two product lines most threatened by Linux operating systems and Open Office.

Hat tip: Dana Blankenhorn

What’s the best defense for open source?

Dana Blankenhorn suggests in his BLOG that the best defense for FLOSS may be a good offense. Microsoft has only two big revenue streams, Windows and Office, and a switch to would cut off Microsoft's ability to be on the offensive.

I disagree with Dana's suggestion that has work to match and surpass Microsoft Office in functionality (I think it is already past), but agree with him that a big push for FLOSS vendors should be to get everyone moved (See:, and this should include strategic investments to deal with any issues in the software that delay customer migration.

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