BusyBox Developers and Monsoon Multimedia Agree to Dismiss GPL Lawsuit – Software Freedom Law Center

An amicable solution to the violation of BusyBox’ copyright gives an important suggestion to all companies that use Free/Libre Software in their supply chain.’  From Software Freedom Law Center press release:

Monsoon Multimedia has agreed to appoint an Open Source Compliance Officer within its organization to monitor and ensure GPL compliance,

That’s the key: you can’t think of using GPL licensed software without adapting the company’s acquisition process. Most of the times all is needed is simple tuning because Free Software is a different thing than proprietary. A small investment in education will give confidence and avoid having to pay lawyers later.

Is Adobe being disrupted?

I couldn’t believe what I heard from Bruce Chizen, Adobe’s CEO at the World Business Forum. Adobe is a company that revolutionized Desktop Publishing in the ’80s, their market is design and publishing software, both ‘classic’ and web. We all know about Flash and Acrobat, but they are also expanding in the enterprise software with workflow and document management . They have many competitors, one of the biggest is Microsoft basically on all markets.

Give the competition, I was expecting to hear from Chizen that Adobe had a strategy to be unique and different. Instead he said all the things that I expected Ballmer to say. For example, he talked about “piracy” in China making the same tired equation “illegal copy == missed sale” and the need to educate the Chinese. I’m so sick of hearing this equation.

When asked about competition from Microsoft’s Silverlight, Chizen answered something like “Adobe is ahead of Microsoft, Flash is better and we have ahead of Microsoft with AIR“. He even said “look at microsoft.com and see that MS itself uses Flash”. Boy, after such revelation I felt bad for Adobe’s investors.

Chizen seemed to ignore that Microsoft has 750k business partners eager to use the tools they know best (Visual Studio, for instance and C#) instead of yet another proprietary environment. He basically laughed at Free/Open Source environment, a mistake that Microsoft is not repeating. My concerns aside, fact is that Mono is much more open than AIR plus it is readily available to the smartest developers in the world (the FLOSS crowds). Not to mention Java, Free Software, millions of developers, hundreds of tools, frameworks…

To me it seems that Chizen is condemning Adobe to be disrupted by competition and that’s sad for all of us.

Is Microsoft tamed yet?

I read the New York Times today before going to the World Business Forum in Milan and I was surprised to read my former colleague at FSFE enthusiam. Georg is quoted saying:

“This is a huge breakthrough,” said Georg Greve, president of the Free Software Foundation-Europe, a group that had challenged Microsoft’s practice of using confidential server protocols. “Microsoft is finally doing what the commission ordered it to do. This will level the playing field.”

I’m not sure were he got that enthusiasm and I wonder if it’s time to pop the cork. I’m sure he knows well that evil is in the details. Journalists usually pick only a fraction of what people tell them, but still that sentence should not have slipped so easily.

The problem is that we still don’t know if the deal is useful for Samba. This sentence from the EC press release raises my warning signal:

Microsoft will now offer a worldwide patent licence for a reduced royalty of 0.4 % of licensees’ product revenues.

Reduced means that some form of control on copies must be in place to calculate due royaltees. That’s not compatible with Free/Libre Software and that’s all that FSFE and Samba has always been afraid of.

FFII pointed out the main problem with the deal. I hope to see a clarifying message from FSFE and its lawyer soon.

links for 2007-10-20

Microsoft gets official blessing from OSI for two of its licenses

There you have it:

The Open Source Initiative (OSI), the organization responsible for maintaining the definition of open source and evaluating open source licenses, has officially approved the Microsoft Community (Ms-CL) and Permissive (Ms-PL) licenses. (via ArsTechnica)

OSI is contributing to license proliferation. I’m not as optimist as Roberto when it gets to Microsoft.

Tanti standard, ma pochi contributi?

Da una chiacchierata’ sugli standard nel campo delle informazioni geografiche, la famiglia ISO 19100, Piergiorgio Cipriano ha posto una domanda cui non so rispondere facilmente:

secondo te (voi) perchè in Italia pochissimi si prendono la briga di partecipare attivamente all’attività  ISO o CEN? Sarebbe molto utile una partecipazione più nutrita e costruttiva.’  In modo da non limitarsi a dire “beh, questo standard così come lo hanno scritto non è applicabile” ma piuttosto contribuire a “scrivere” gli standard.

La mia esperienza con ISO’ si limita all’atipico caso del fasttrack di OOXML, dove la partecipazione è stata molto molto nutrita.’  Non faccio fatica a credere che in generale la partecipazione alla stesura degli standard sia diversa.’  Però nemmeno immagino folle accalcate per sviluppare uno standard: come attività  è piuttosto costosa in termini di tempo e risorse da impegnare.’  La ricerca operativa può fare qualcosa? Secondo me sì, specialmente nel campo geografico.’  Il formato di Google KML è in corso di standardizzazione ISO 19100 e varrà  la pena seguirne gli sviluppi perché ora è chiaro quanto ISO sia vulnerabile all’approvazione di formati e protocolli che non consentono alcuna interoperabilità  reale.