Feeds

Is your software free, open or litigated?

The MS/Linux patent wars begin . . .

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Analysis By agreeing to license Microsoft's intellectual property, SuSE distributor Novell has created a potentially fatal division in what's called F/OSS, the Free/Open Source Software movement. What has Novell done, and why is it so potentially damaging?

Free Software advocates have always insisted that "free" and "open" were two movements loosely aligned, and that the Johnny Come Lately "open source" term was just a media-friendly marketing moniker. The "open source" lobby replied with some annoyance that this was an unimportant semantic issue.

Now, however, that distinction is painfully apparent, and Microsoft is exploiting it to the full.

Important parts of Linux are based on free software, including the kernel and the tool chain. Free software adheres to four simple principles: the freedom to run the software as you wish; to study and change the software as you wish; to redistribute copies as you wish; and to redistribute modified copies as you wish. These are enshrined in the GPL, but one section in particular, Section 7, is designed to protect software developers who want to uphold these principles. It's designed to prevent the distribution of patent encumbered code.

By contrast, this isn't something that all "open source" advocates have felt worth is going to the stake for. Open source is a superior development methodology, and to assure its success one may need to deal with the devil. Just as some open source companies have felt comfortable linking to, and distributing closed source code, other have been able to license patent-encumbered code without the qualms of free software developers. It's simply a question of expediency.

It was always naive to think that Microsoft wouldn't recognize the difference in the two approaches, and even more naive to think that it wouldn't exploit the difference. Now it has.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.