Free/Libre and Open Source Software

Vendors Are Punch-Drunk with Linux Love

When I talk to policy makers about new collaborative models for developing public goods (commons-based peer production, Free/Libre and Open Source Software, etc), they act as if I am talking about science fiction. The reality is that these new development models, and the business models that support them, are current and it is government that has simply not been able to keep up-to-date.

For those not paying attention there is an article in eWeek by Lisa Vaas about LinuxWorld that may give some context.

Government Moves Into the Open

This article by Tod Newcombe includes:

As a result, government no longer should be trapped into procuring expensive, customized solutions, he argued. While open source is attractive because of its lower upfront costs, the real value lies in the collaborative principles on which it has been developed. The more agencies and governments share open source applications, the less likely the public sector will end up having to pay for so many different solutions, wasting taxpayer money.

Link found on the Democracies Online Newswire.

eWeek: What Comes the Day After SCO Dies?

One of the few remaining things that chills adoption of FLOSS is the claims that there are more "intellectual property" related risks. Often they point to the SCO case as an example of this.

About that nonsense case that is chilling innovation and migration, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes:

When the judge doesn't close the case against you, but writes, "It is astonishing that SCO has not offered any competent evidence to create a disputed fact regarding whether IBM has infringed SCO's alleged copyrights through IBM's Linux activities"; and notes that there is a "vast disparity between SCO's public accusations and its actual evidence—or complete lack thereof," it's not much of a victory.

CNET: Open-source honchos trash software patents

While Software Patents harm all software innovation and creativity, it is largely those successful in FLOSS that are able to publicly speak on the issue. Stephen Shankland wrote in CNet news:

Two open-source leaders joined Linux founder Linus Torvalds in disparaging software patents Tuesday, the newest volley in a battle that pits the cooperative programming philosophy against Microsoft.

Eric Raymond steps down as OSI president

This article by Martin LaMonica includes:

The Open Source Initiative says that it has reorganized in an effort to bring more structure to the open-source software movement and that co-founder Eric Raymond is stepping down from his position as president.


Russ Nelson, the new president of the OSI, said that the organization's recast priorities can help the open-source and free-software movements continue their transition from the realm of volunteer-programmer activity to that of an industry backed by large corporations and governments.

New Law Center Founded to Assist Open Source Software Developers

This press release from the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) includes:

BURLINGAME, Calif. – February 1, 2005 – Columbia University Law Professor Eben Moglen today announced the formation of the Software Freedom Law Center, whose mission is to provide pro-bono legal services globally to eligible non-profit open source software projects and developers.

Also carried by: eWeek

Sun Announces Open Source License for Solaris Operating System

This press release from Sun includes:

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - January 25, 2005 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) today announced that the source code for Solaris 10 - the most advanced operating system in the industry - will be made available under the OSI (Open Source Initiative) approved Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL). The company has established a community Web site at Buildable source code for Solaris will be available at this site in the second quarter of 2005.

eWeek: What OSDL Isn't Doing—and What It Could Do

This article by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols includes:

No, not from SCO. As I've said several times before, while SCO thinks it has a case against Linux, I don't—and most of the experts don't think it has a case either.

But patents are another matter.


Now, as Dan Ravicher, the author of that study and an attorney and executive director of PUBPAT (the Public Patent Foundation), has pointed out, "Open source faces no more, if not less, legal risk than proprietary software."

What not-for-profit organizations need to know about free software

This article collaboratively authored by Dmytri Kleiner and Phillip Smith includes:

For many, there is a powerful and important parralel between the free-software movement, global NGOs and the broader citizen sector. From their struggles against corporate globalization to their passion and philosophical beliefs -- these two movements have more in common than recognizable at first glance. This comonality is becoming the focus of reseach and writing and gatherings and will drive simplier understandings, such as: ``Free software is like organic food,'' or ``Free software is like banking at a credit union.''

Microsoft's Gates Wants Meeting with Brazil's Lula

SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) is lobbying Brazil's government to agree to a meeting between the company's chairman, Bill Gates, and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at the World Economic Forum next week, a Brazilian official said.

The country has taken prominent role in the so-called free software movement, an effort that champions free computer operating systems like Linux as an alternative to Microsoft's Windows program.

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