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Legal battles, security concerns, myth busting plus learning and governing with open source

It’s all here in this week’s compendium of open source news

A Tangled Web of GPLv2, Patents and Software Distribution

GPL Lawsuit diagramA new court case could have Far-Reaching Effects for software Licensing.  It began when Versata took its licensee Ameripres Financial to court to stop them from modifying its commercial Distribution Channel Management (DCM) software.  Ameriprise counter claimed that since DCM included GPL code from XimpleWare, they were allowed to make modifications. XimpleWare sued both of them, alleging that they should both release their source code under GPL obligations. To make the matter more exciting, XimpleWare then claimed that they owned patents in their GPL-licensed code, and allowing the use of their code under GPL copyright license does not automatically mean a patent license permission. So a) admire our beautiful infographic (click on the image), b) read the complex tale at opensource.com and c) read our survey of other high profile IP infringement cases


Forget About The Phones- Is Your Fridge Safe?

A recently discovered security vulnerability has some Android users on high alert.  The vulnerability, called Fake ID, can allow malware to impersonate apps and can change the phones settings ultimately taking over the device.  The security hole allows hackers to create their own identity certificates then forge a claim it was issued through a certificate authority.  The vulnerability has existed since the launch of Android 2.1 in January 2010 and effects devices than run on anything older than Android 4.4.  Read more at Ars Technica.


Shattering Open Source Myths

We officially love Matt Asay!  This time he takes aim at those still attacking open source software, and points out that many studies show that open source is often better quality than proprietary software.  And to those who say that there is no money in open source he points out the myriad of companies that either sell services built on open source software (Netflix, Facebook, Google etc.) or the companies like Hadoop or Cloudera that sell services and software to compliment open source offers.  Read Asay’s full retort at InfoWorld.


Learning with GitHub

Last year Facebook launched Open Academy, a course that allows students from around the world to gain course credit by contributing to an open source project and equipping them with the broader open source skills to contribute when they enter the workforce.  Open Academy works with GitHub, gives students free accounts to host their projects on, and on successfully passing the final exams honours them with Open Academy Awards.  Read more at Fast Company


Government Gives Small OSS Players a Chance

Following in the footsteps of other governments, The US General Services Administration (GSA) announced a new policy that will give priority to open source software for all new IT projects developed by the GSA.  GSA CTO believes that this move will level the playing field for small open source projects that do not have a large sales force (and of course save the GSA money).  Read more at Fed Scoop.


Governments Going Open. Seriously.

Adopting open source so successfully and looking quite pleased with themselves, governments are now toying with opening their other bureaucratic playgrounds. Governments at all levels around the world are slowly introducing open governance in the form of open data and transparent governance.  Open of these is the city of Raleigh North Carolina with their SeeClickFix app which allows citizens to report “bugs” in infrastructure.  Read more about Raleigh’s open government initiatives at Motherboard.


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More Stories By Lacey Thoms

Lacey Thoms is a marketing specialist and blogger at Protecode, a provider of open source license management solutions. During her time at Protecode, Lacey has written many articles on open source software management. She has a background in marketing communications, digital advertising, and web design and development. Lacey has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications from Carleton University.

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