I participated in a study asking about the fairness, reasonableness and non-discriminatory nature of FRAND licensing in the context of licensing of patents in standards. I was surprised to find people there asserting there was no conflict between FRAND licensing and open source software. Here’s a simple explanation why that’s wrong.
Since patent licensing is by definition bilateral, and since open source communities that aren’t run by a single vendor are by definition multi-lateral, any standard which includes patents that require licensing discriminates against true multi-participant open source implementation. By definition, patent licensing as a precondition of implementation of a standard cannot ever be non-discriminatory. Even zero-fee licensing is discriminatory as it still requires implementers to seek permission, the antithesis of open source.
Whilst many may long for a truly open source OS that meets all of their needs, the reality has always been that compromise has a role to play whenever it comes to picking your operating system. Despite the availability and increasing ease of installation of purer open source systems, there remains a trade-off to be made. Systems with a high level of software freedom and an intuitively usable interface seem to require high levels of maintenance to keep them alive. Where a system with high software freedom’s been designed to require less maintenance, the usability seems to suffer. Of course, this triangle has a third point to it too: where a system is both easy to use and maintaining it doesn’t consume too much of your time, it’s software freedom that takes the hit.
What sort of system you choose should depend on which of those three factors you prioritise. Read the details about this theory, along with some pointers for recognising systems that value software freedom in Simon’s InfoWorld Article.
The attack on the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris was a horrific crime. It has shocked the world and roused a great deal of public upset, outcry and anger.
Whilst it’s too late to prevent the tragic loss of life caused by the murderers, the office assault was the seed of another, ongoing attack, in which each of us is struggling, though we may be unaware of it.
Acts of terrorism provoke society into attacking itself. Justice and law making systems designed to protect and uphold our freedoms and rights are tricked into restricting and removing those self same rights and freedoms for everybody, in attempts to prevent future attacks and to placate the fierce public desire for action.
An understanding of the openness of the internet and the ways in which we benefit from it gives technologists a unique insight into the value that society gains from remaining open. That’s why Simon’s used his InfoWorld response to the tragedy as an opportunity to call on readers from the technology industry to respond to terrorism by defending openness. Check out his full article on InfoWorld.
Digital Life Clippings from week 1
- Marriott will ban shareable WiFi if the FCC don’t let them block it – NYT – Their arrogance in attempting to protect their high-margin abuse of customers’ vulnerability knows no bounds; threatening the FCC is jaw-dropping.
To carry out their threat to ban shareable WiFi, they would need to ban not only MiFis but also Windows, Mac and Linux laptops as well as almost all smartphones. They may think they have a right to break my internet if I won’t use their broken internet, but the “hospitality” they will need to show their “guests” will be deeply harmful.
The bug is not that people want to use their own internet connections; it’s that Marriott think people should have to pay extra for a facility that’s become as fundamental to travellers as hot water or electric light. [Coverage]
- HP’s low-cost Windows laptop is not a Chromebook killer – GigaOm – It’s a mistake to try to squeeze Windows into hardware designed for ChromeOS. You end up with a laptop that’s so under-powered it’s best for cloud-hosted applications (as the HP/Microsoft TV advertising in the UK implies). But you still have to maintain anti-malware software, apply updates, manage drivers, buy upgrades and so on.
So you have bought yourself the functionality of a Chromebook but with the upkeep of Windows. Why on earth would anyone think that was a good deal?
- A Europe Of Treaties? – Webmink – The UK is entering its election cycle and the political manipulators are trying to whip Britain’s closet xenophobes into an anti-European frenzy intended to justify Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. But what would be the alternative? Britain can’t up-anchor and sail to Florida. Opting out like that would simply mean discarding democratic engagement over the market conditions Britain depends on and instead seeking secretly-negotiated treaties.
- Samsung to use Tizen in TVs – Tizen Experts – Samsung’s embrace of Tizen continues, although this move to deploy it to TVs instead of phones may indicate someone has woken up to the need for a large and diverse developer ecosystem to make a platform succeed. All the same, the probem is on clear display in this insider article. This quote embodies the problem.
Tizen TV is expected to be running Tizen 3.0 based on Tizen Common at launch and the non Intellectual Property (IP) Source Code released shortly thereafter.
Secret development, partial code availability, binaries before code; how could any meaningful collaborative community possible emerge in the absence of an existing diverse ecosystem?