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2007 Top Ten Free and Open Source Legal Issues

The year 2007 has been the most active year for legal developments in the history of free and open source (“FOSS”). In fact, you would have been hard pressed in past years to enumerate even five important legal developments. However 2007 permits the creation of a traditional “top ten” list. My list of the top ten FOSS legal developments in 2007 follows:

How to make the switch to Linux

If one takes a look at Linux Distribution’s forums, it becomes very evident that there is a large swell of people switching to Linux due to frustration with Vista or XP. All these people are trying to install Linux on their existing hardware and hoping that it goes well for them. And that is a good thing. Thankfully, Linux hardware support has improved tremendously with the latest kernels. So, in most cases, the experience for these people is going to be a rewarding one. Nevertheless, for a good number of them, this switch is going to be frustrating. You see, that is not the best way to switch to Linux.

Dear Glyn Moody

Dear Glyn Moody: I found how you trotted out an age old and long since dealt with issue, namely the licensing of Qt1, as a way to discuss what you consider to be "the growing tensions between the KDE and GNOME camps" to be tasteless and ironic. If you want to help mend fences (we need all the hands we can get), the last thing to do is drag long-since dealt with issues that have been irrelevant for years back to the surface.

Where Can Linux Leap Ahead Part 2

People often talk about getting average home users to use Linux, but that may not be the best group of people for Linux to market itself to. Part 2 covers large and small businesses as well as creative professionals.

Hydrogen: Using Linux to create slick drum beats

Hydrogen is an advanced drum machine for GNU/Linux, although there also appears to be a Windows installer available (it could be dated -I haven't tested it-). 'Its main goal is to bring professional yet simple and intuitive pattern-based drum programming', reads their website, and by god, intuitive it is!

The smartest and dumbest tech moves of 2007 - and why they matter

  • Network World; By Joanne Cummings (Posted by Sander_Marechal on Dec 21, 2007 5:34 AM EDT)
  • Story Type: Roundups; Groups:
Overall, the industry did several things right and wrong this year. But here’s what Network World readers, columnists, bloggers and testers say are the absolute smartest and dumbest moves of 2007 -- and why they matter.

Red Hat Reports Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2008 Results

Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced financial results for its third fiscal quarter ended November 30, 2007. Red Hat's current fiscal year will end February 29, 2008. Total revenue for the quarter was $135.4 million, an increase of 28% from the year ago quarter and 6% from the prior quarter. Subscription revenue was $115.7 million, up 30% year-over-year and 6% sequentially.

There is value in source code, whether you want it or not

A common question you hear from proprietary vendors when dismissing open source alternatives is “how many customers actually want access to the code anyway?” It is a question I put to an open source software vendor myself earlier this week while playing devil’s advocate. The response - that the right to modify the source code is more important than actually doing it - is well known, but it is worth repeating in the light of recent events surrounding the Mindquarry open source collaboration project.

gOS 1.0.1: lots of hype, but not so fast

I'm writing this review on Google Docs in Firefox while running gOS 1.0.1, the Ubuntu-based distribution that steers users toward Web-based applications whenever possible -- mostly those under the auspices of Google -- and which powers the Everex Linux PC being sold for $199 by the truckful at Wal-Mart.

AMD Catalyst 7.12 Linux Driver

  • Phoronix; By Michael Larabel (Posted by phoronix on Dec 21, 2007 2:25 AM EDT)
  • Groups: Linux; Story Type: News Story
It's that time of the month again where we get to share with you all of the details on the latest ATI/AMD Linux driver release. This month, the ATI Catalyst 7.12 Linux driver (formally, what is known as fglrx 8.44) brings a host of new changes, mostly in the form of bug fixes. In total, there are just under a dozen noteworthy bug fixes in this release -- including addressing 3D acceleration issues on AGP graphics cards and the well-known OpenGL memory leak that was introduced with the new driver code-base. In addition, the FireGL graphics cards are now supported on this new driver code-base.

Family Crisis Forces Red Hat CEO to Resign

After reporting strong quarterly earnings, Red Hat discloses it is replacing CEO Matthew Szulik. In a move that caught even Red Hat senior staffers by surprise, the Linux company announced on Dec. 20 that long-time president and CEO Matthew Szulik is resigning. He will be replaced by James M. Whitehurst, a former Delta chief operating officer, as of the first of next year.

Samba Team Receives Microsoft Protocol Documentation

The Protocol Freedom Information Foundation has just signed an agreement with Microsoft to receive the protocol documentation needed to fully interoperate with the Microsoft Windows workgroup server products and to make them available to Samba and other Free Software projects. No. This isn't a bit like the Novell-Microsoft agreements. This is for access to Microsoft's protocols, as ordered by the EU Commission and agreed to by Microsoft. It's a good thing, in my opinion, and the Samba guys worked really hard to make this as good as it gets.

Online library reaches million book milestone

An international venture called the Universal Library Project has made more than one million books freely available in digitized format. The joint project of researchers from China, India, Egypt, and the US has the eventual aim of digitizing all published works of man, freeing the availability of information from geographic and socioeconomic boundaries, providing a basis for technological advancement, and preserving published works against time and tide.

Norway mandates use of open formats: HTML, ODF and PDF

  • virtuelvis.com; By Arve Bersvendsen (Posted by JLP on Dec 20, 2007 11:11 PM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story
Government, state and regional agencies, authorities and services may also publish in other formats, but they must always publish in one of these formats. The decree is retroactive, and by 2014 all documents published prior to this decree must have been converted and made available in one of the three formats.

Master's Student: A Quick and Dirty Guide To Kernel Hardening with GrSecurity

Our resident Master's student Gian Spicuzza chimes in this month with a great feature HowTo on Kernel Hardening! There are a number of ways to lock down a system, and RBAC (role based access control) is one of them. Read on to learn more about what makes RBAC so useful, and to read one of the best overviews on Low/Medium/High Security... The combination of the Linux kernel and GNU packages has always been regarded as a secure operating system, but can it be more secure?

Using camcorder tapes to back up files

DV and MiniDV camcorder tapes can be used for more than just storing audio and video recordings. If you have a camcorder and a FireWire connection to your computer, you can also use them to store files. Using DV tapes for data storage has its advantages. A 60-minute tape, in Short Play mode, can realistically store about 10GB of information at a speed transfer of around 3MB/second, while in Long Play mode it should be able to store about 15GB. Besides that, moving files to a DV tape is a good way to hide sensitive data, because few people would look there for that kind of information.

Embracing PCLinuxOS and Open Source

As other countries embrace free, open source software (like Austrian schools learning how to use OpenOffice), especially GNU/Linux distributions on the desktop as alternatives to Windows/Mac, the burning question is, how long before the USA catches on? That said, consider how 10th and 11th grade Vietnamese and foreign students are learning...

Tutorial: Sharing Linux Printers Across Subnets

Sharing printers across subnets is not something that has been reduced to clicking a couple of checkboxes yet, and a lot of folks don't even know it can be done. With Linux it is fairly easy, but it takes some digging to learn how to do this. So Carla Schroder has dug, and today shares the spoils of her digging.

Since when is Dell Gutsy Gibbon not Ubuntu?

The news that Dell has now released Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) on its boxes (and about time too!) has been tempered somewhat by a potential storm of controversy caused by a couple of software packages that come bundled with the Dell Linux PCs. The two bundled packages happen to be proprietary software. Is this going to be a problem?

Kernel Developers vs. Mainstream Users Duke Out Over Linux Bugs

  • MadPenguin.org; By Matt H. (Posted by gsh on Dec 20, 2007 6:10 PM EDT)
  • Story Type: Editorial; Groups: Linux
I have read roughly half a dozen reports telling horror stories about how many kernel related bugs are not getting to the developers out of fear of being treated like idiots. Speaking as a Linux user who has dealt with other developers in the past, this sounds likely to me.

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