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Patent violation, prosecution, acquisition: pick your top open-source project

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The world of open source gets the equivalent of an Oscar awards ceremony later this month when code-host SourceForge announces the winners of its second-annual vote on the community's top projects.

And this year SourceForge is loosening the bow tie and letting down the hair, by inviting nominations for projects that could land you in hot water.

Co-incidentally, or not, Microsoft - who has a schizophrenic relationship with open source when it comes to the subject of intellectual property in free and open source software - is sponsoring the poll.

Among SourceForge's new awards are those for project most likely to be accused of patent violation, most likely to get users sued and - who says you can't make money on open source (answer: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates) - most likely to be the next $1b acquisition. Interestingly, PortableApps and the XBMC cross-platform media player are up for all three of these. PortableApps and XBMC - along with OpenOffice and Drupal - are also up for the most likely to change the world award.

One wonders what diamond-level sponsor Microsoft might feel about this, given its own sense of software manifest destiny and, ahem, "concerns" over IP in open source software.

SourceForge has whittled its finalists list down to 72 projects spanning twelve categories, from an initial 3,400 projects.

Anyone can vote for their favorite open-source project and, in another first, SourceForge has opened the awards to all open-source projects - not just those it hosts on its site. The winners will be announced on July 24 at O'Reilly Open Source Convention in Portland, Oregon.®

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