(Open Access Newsletter) The EU's Information and Communication Technologies Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP) has released its Draft Work Programme 2009. If the EC approves the draft in January, then it should open a call for proposals from January 29 to June 2, 2009. one thread of the new funding program is devoted to OA: Objective 2.4: Open access to scientific information.
Carl Malamud has devoted his life to liberating laws, regulations, court cases, and the other myriad detritus that governments produce daily, but often lock up in proprietary databases or allow for-profit companies to sell for princely sums.
Breaching the open source licence that came with free software amounted to infringement of copyright, a US Court of Appeal has ruled. The landmark ruling has been welcomed as a major boost to the free and open source software publishing models.
(RAPID) The European Commission wants to ensure that the results of the research it funds under the EU's 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7) with more than ? 50 billion from 2007 - 2013 are disseminated as widely and effectively as possible to guarantee maximum exploitation and impact in the world of researchers and beyond. The Commission today launched a pilot project that will give unrestricted online access to EU-funded research results, primarily research articles published in peer reviewed journals, after an embargo period of between 6 and 12 months. The pilot will cover around 20% of the FP7 programme budget in areas such as health, energy, environment, social sciences and information and communication technologies.
(RAPID) Speech by Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Competition Policy. 0penForum Europe - Breakfast seminar, Brussels, 10th June 2008. See Kroes calls for open standards in eGovernment (EurActiv). In an unusual move, EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes backed the use of open software for eGovernment and called on public authorities not to impose proprietary standards on citizens. She clearly suggested that public authorities should use open standards rather than proprietary software that could generate anti-competitive practices and harm citizens.
(ITProPortal.com) The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA) is going forward with plans to appeal to the European Commission over the interoperability of Microsoft Products that are commonly used in the UK Education sector. BECTA has been pursuing two separate complaints, one regarding the way Microsoft licenses its products to schools and the other with regards to compatibility problems that have been plaguing Office 2007, especially when it comes to backward compatibility with Microsoft's own Office 2003 and Microsoft Works.
( Berkman Center) by John Palfrey. I'm just delighted that the Harvard Law School faculty has voted unanimously to adopt an open access policy. This policy is consistent with the policy adopted by the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences earlier this year.
The European Commission has expressed doubt regarding Microsoft's recent announcement claiming a move toward greater interoperability. "The Commission would welcome any move towards genuine interoperability," the statement says. "Nonetheless, the Commission notes that today's announcement follows at least four similar statements by Microsoft in the past on the importance of interoperability."
A Microsoft press release announced changes in its business practices to work better with software from other providers, including open-source communities. The software maker had already taken baby steps in this direction, signing individual pacts with companies like Novell and Turbolinux, as well as agreeing not to sue individual developers. Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said these steps are part of the company's efforts to comply with anti-trust obligations laid out by the European Court of First Instance (CFI).
In recent years, the Open Access movement in academic publishing has been gathering steam, with the growth of open access journals such as PLoS and mandates from funding bodies such as the NIH that require authors to deposit copies of their work into open databases. Now that 800lb. gorilla of academe, Harvard University, has started to throw its weight behind the spread of Open Access publishing. Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences has voted to require faculty to make copies of their research freely available through the Office of Scholarly Communications.
The Recording Industry Association of America has found a new legal target for a copyright lawsuit: Usenet. In a lawsuit, the RIAA says that Usenet newsgroups contain "millions of copyrighted sound recordings" in violation of federal law. Only Usenet.com is named as a defendant for now, but the same logic would let the RIAA sue hundreds of universities, Internet service providers, and other newsgroup archives. AT&T offers Usenet, as does Verizon, Stanford University and other companies including Giganews.
Microsoft ended its long battle with European regulators by agreeing to comply with key elements of the European Commission's 2004 antitrust order. Under the agreement, Microsoft will make three "substantial" changes in the way it supplies interoperability information to competitors seeking to have their work-group server software work with Microsoft's operating system. The company will provide open-source software developers access to and use of its interoperability information, according to the Commission.
A legal team enforcing the most widely used license in the open-source and free software movement has shown that it's not afraid to take its cases all the way to court. For years, violations of the General Public License, or GPL, have been met with quiet discussions to resolve compliance problems that can result when open-source software is used improperly. Now, however, the Software Freedom Law Center is taking a hard-line approach, filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against Monsoon Multimedia for allegedly failing to abide by requirements of the GPL.
SCO announces that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. That sound you hear is the giddy chuckling of Linux devotees across the globe. The move comes one month after a judge ruled that SCO did not possess any of the UNIX copyrights it claimed to have received in a deal with Novell, a move that dealt a death blow to most of its Linux-related litigation.
The US Justice Department has said that internet service providers should be allowed to charge for priority traffic. The agency said it was opposed to "network neutrality", the idea that all data on the net is treated equally. The comments put the agency at odds with companies such as Microsoft and Google, who have called for legislation to guarantee equal access to the net.
(New York Times) In a decision that may finally settle one of the most bitter legal battles surrounding software widely used in corporate data centers, a federal district court judge ruled that Novell, not the SCO Group, is the rightful owner of the copyrights covering the Unix operating system. Judge Kimball's decision in favor of Novell could almost entirely undermine SCO's 2003 lawsuit against IBM.
For years Microsoft kept its "shared source" distinct from the broader open-source movement, but now the company is seeking official blessing for its work from the Open Source Initiative organization that bestows official open-source status.
After 18 months of sometimes inflamed debate, the Free Software Foundation has released version 3 of the General Public License, a highly influential legal document that embodies the principles of the free- and open-source programming movement.
Yet another Microsoft-funded study about open-source software evaluates the comparative cost of open-source software and Microsoft technologies, this time in European schools. The study, which was conducted by Microsoft partner Wipro Technologies, evaluates the performance of Microsoft and open-source software solutions in the contexts of student learning, teacher productivity, administrator productivity, and cost.
Announcing the latest in a series of pacts with Linux sellers, Microsoft said that it has a deal with Linspire, a company it once sued for trademark infringement. Users of the Linux operating system will get patent protection and access to updated Windows Media technology.
Facing criticism for its patent pact with Microsoft, Novell said it is supporting the Electronic Frontier Foundation's effort to challenge what it believes are bogus patents. In addition, Novell will work for patent reform in general and work to remove patent encumbrances from otherwise open standards.
Microsoft's top lawyer says open source software violates exactly 235 entries in the firm's vast patent portfolio. General counsel Brad Smith released the figure to Fortune as part of Microsoft's long-running campaign to seed doubts over the legality of Linux and other open source efforts.
(See also http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/05/28/100033867/ )
(BBC) Internet law professor Michael Geist takes a look at a fundamental shift in the way research journals become available to the public. Last month five leading European research institutions launched a petition that called on the European Commission to establish a new policy that would require all government-funded research to be made available to the public shortly after publication. That requirement - called an open access principle - would leverage widespread internet connectivity with low-cost electronic publication to create a freely available virtual scientific library available to the entire globe.
(CNET News) The latest draft of revisions to the dominant open-source license offers an accommodating approach to some significant objections, but it could throw a wrench into the works of a major open-source company, Novell.
Steve Ballmer has reissued Microsoft's patent threat against Linux, warning open-source vendors that they must respect his company's intellectual property. In a no-nonsense presentation to New York financial analysts, Microsoft's chief executive said the company's partnership with Novell, which it signed in 2006, "demonstrated clearly the value of intellectual property, even in the open-source world."
It's not every day that both the U.S. government and advocates of free and open-source software align themselves in court with Microsoft. But a high-stakes patent case, set to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, has attracted a slew of briefs supporting the Windows maker's stance in a complex battle with AT&T over rules governing software code exported to foreign locales.
(RAPID) Access to research results has a significant role to play in driving innovation and maintaining the quality of research. Developments in digital technology challenge existing business models and practices for making research results available, and with open access research funding bodies are taking different approaches. The Commission has thereforelaunched a policy document to examine how new digital technologies can be better used to increase access to research publications and data as an important driver for innovation in our increasingly knowledge-based economy.
A Microsoft-sponsored open-source project is to release a translator that will convert file formats between Microsoft Office and rival standard OpenDocument, or ODF. The plug-in will work with Microsoft's Word application, including the latest Office 2007 version as well the Office 2003 and Office XP editions, Microsoft said. Once installed, a person can open and save documents in the ODF format from Word.
Vista, the latest version of Microsoft Windows has made its long awaited consumer debut. While reviews have focused chiefly on new functions, for the past few months the legal and technical communities have dug into Vista's "fine print". Those communities have raised red flags about Vista's legal terms and conditions as well as the technical limitations built in to the software at the insistence of the motion picture industry.
(BBC) The European Commission has added its voice to the debate about the use of open source software. A report funded by the Commission concludes that the software could offer considerable savings to organisations with little effect on their business. The report found that in 'almost all' cases long-term costs could be reduced by switching from proprietary software produced by firms such as Microsoft.
(Guardian) By the last day of the IGF everyone had decided that the forum had come up trumps. A determined effort by the OECD to create an international coalition to fight spam finally took off. Another 'dynamic coalition' was formed to push open standards to governments across the world. A third coalition promised to look at gender issues; a fourth determined to set up an 'Internet Bill of Rights'. Another was set up to raise funds for developing countries. Yet another promised to push access to knowledge and to protect freedom of expression online.
Microsoft has agreed to sell cancer. Or least to support Novell's SuSE Linux and be more friendly to the open source operating system. In a bizarre corporate tie-up, Microsoft looks set to announce a partnership with a company it's spent years trying to crush. The company will reveal a support and software development deal with Novell around SuSE Linux. In addition, Microsoft is expected to pledge that it will not sue over IP issues around the OS.
OpenLearn will allow anyone across the world to access, download and use the OU's educational resources for free. The online learning material is taken from Open University courses and uses technologies including videoconferencing, mind maps and instant messaging to get teachers and students interacting and learning.
Pledge not to sue over Web services patents reflects the spread of the collaborative development model. Microsoft's decision to not enforce patents on Web services standards underscores the growing acceptance of core open-source tenets.
Microsoft is pledging not to assert its patents pertaining to nearly three dozen Web services specifications--a move designed to ease concerns among developers by creating a legal environment more friendly to open-source software.
More than three quarters of all UK colleges and universities consider open source options when engaging in IT procurement despite only one quarter mentioning 'open source' in institutional policies. The marked discrepancy between policy and practice is just one of numerous facts emerging from the OSS Watch Survey 2006 report.
What Linux has done for operating systems, the Internet should do for content, a prominent lawyer and activist has urged. Lawrence Lessig railed against prevailing copyright laws and urged use of his alternative creation, the Creative Commons license. The license permits content such as music, video, photos or text to be reused and augmented by others in the same way that the open-source and free software movement permits programs to be copied and modified.
(Economist) The normal mechanism is that scientists offer the fruits of their research?often bankrolled by the taxpayer?for nothing to publishers. Those publishers then charge money to people who wish to read their journals. Publishers have been making handsome profits from this arrangement. But change is afoot. Open-access publishing, in which papers are freely available immediately upon publication, is sweeping the dusty corridors. The catch is that the sponsors of research will have to fork out more money to pay for it.
(The Scientist) Britain's Royal Society dipped a cautious toe into the waters of open access publishing, allowing authors whose papers are accepted by any of its seven journals to pay a fee and have their work made freely available on the web.
(SABCNews) Scientific papers freely available on the internet make a bigger impact than many people realise, according to a new study available on the online Science and Development Network. The findings will strengthen calls for more online scientific journals to switch to the open-access model and make research freely available. The author of the study, Gunther Eysenbach, a health policy specialist at the University of Toronto in Canada, and editor of the open-access Journal of Medical Internet Research, concludes that "open-access is likely to benefit science by accelerating dissemination and uptake of research findings".
(ZDNet Uk) A senior Microsoft executive told a BBC documentary that people should use commercial software if they're looking for stability. 'I don't think (open source) is anti-Microsoft in the sense that it's giving people choices in the technologies that they use,' Jonathan Murray, the vice president and chief technology officer of Microsoft Europe, told BBC World in the first part of the documentary 'The Code Breakers,' which aired this week.
(RAPID) To keep up the momentum of the successful World Summit on Information Society (Tunis, 16-18 November 2005), the European Commission has set out its priorities for implementing the international policy commitments made at the Summit. These priorities include safeguarding and strengthening human rights, in particular the freedom to receive and access information. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) should be used to contribute to open democratic societies and to economic and social progress worldwide. The Commission calls for continuing international talks to improve Internet governance through the two new processes created by the Summit: the multi-stakeholder Internet Governance Forum and the mechanism of enhanced cooperation that will involve all governments on an equal footing.
(International Journal of Communications Law and Policy) The International Journal of Communications Law & Policy (IJCLP) is pleased to announce a special (additional) call for papers supported through a grant from the Open Society Institute (OSI), in the framework of the Yale Information Society Project's (ISP) Access to Knowledge (A2K) Conference taking place on April 21-23, 2006 at Yale Law School. Authors from countries listed as developing and transition countries are invited to submit papers related to A2K by May 1st, 2006. Any paper selected for publication will receive financial support from our OSI grant. Such support shall include a small stipend to each author in addition to free editorial processing by the Journal. Please note that authors who submit papers for this specific call are also eligible for the general call for papers and the writing competition awards announced on our web site.
RAPID) The European Commission approved the amended (proposal by the German telecoms regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) on the market for wholesale broadband access. Following serious doubts expressed by the Commission on 11 November 2005 with regard to the exclusion of VDSL from the market, BNetzA amended its proposal by including it. Broadband access or "bitstream" allows new entrants to provide their own broadband services (such as high speed internet access, internet telephony or IP television) to end-users by controlling the quality of the products to a high degree.
(IJCLP) The Yale Law School Information Society Project (ISP) and the International Journal of Communications Law & Policy (IJCLP) announce their third interdisciplinary writing competition and a call for papers in conjunction with the Access to Knowledge (A2K) Conference taking place on April 21-23, 2006 at Yale Law School. We invite students, scholars, policy makers, activists and practitioners to submit papers for the writing competition and/or for publication by the IJCLP. Key issues to be considered include, among others: the economics of A2K in a digital environment; A2K indexes and measurement techniques; the limitations to A2K; digital libraries and archives; government investment in information production; government procurement policies; open source software; the WIPO Broadcast Treaty; access to education and scientific knowledge; universal service in telecommunications; the digital divide; digital rights management; open access journals. Submissions for the writing competition must be received by noon EST, February 15th, 2006.
(BBC) More than 10% of net users are going online with the Firefox browser, show figures from analysis firm One Stat. The global average of 11.5% is the highest percentage of users that the open source browser has ever reached. The research also reveals that Americans are the biggest fans of Firefox with 14.1% using it. In the UK 4.9% use it to get around online.
(Guardian) Publishers and learned societies are fighting a last ditch action to stop the research findings of thousands of British academics being made freely available online. The UK research councils, which control billions of pounds worth of funding, have announced their intention to make free access on the internet a condition of grants in a bid to give British research more impact worldwide as it is taken up and cited by other.
(CNET News.com) The European Union is putting 660,00 euros toward research into open-source software and standards across the world. The two-year FLOSSWorld project is Europe's first initiative to support international research and policy development on 'free/libre/open source software.' Previous FLOSS projects, starting as early as 2001, have concentrated on the use of open source in Europe alone. The FLOSSWorld coordinator is the Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. The grant will be shared by countries including Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, India, Malaysia and South Africa.
(The Register) Scientists from all major Dutch universities officially launched a website where all their research material can be accessed for free. Interested parties can get hold of a total of 47,000 digital documents from 16 institutions. No other nation in the world offers such easy access to its complete academic research output in digital form, the researchers claim. Obviously, commercial publishers are not amused. The 2m Digital Academic Repositories (DARE) programme harvests all digital available material from local repositories, making it fully searchable.
(ZDNet UK) An eagerly-awaited report into the use of open source software in the UK education sector contains evidence that schools could significantly cut their IT spending by moving to non-proprietary software. The report concluded that the cost of a primary school computer running open source software was half that of one running proprietary software, while in secondary schools an open source PC was 20 percent cheaper. But Microsoft lost little time in attacking the study, which was commissioned and published by the British Educational Communications and Technology Association (Becta).
(Wired) Microsoft launched a software program designed to help police worldwide hunt down child porn traffickers by enabling authorities for the first time to link information such as credit card purchases, internet chat room messages and arrest records. The Child Exploitation Tracking System is the first software designed specifically to capture pornographers who prey on children over the internet. It will allow police departments worldwide to share and track previously unlinked information on investigations and suspects. The program was developed by Microsoft Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Toronto police, with the help of the Department of Homeland Security, Scotland Yard and Interpol. [Ed: The Wired report incorrectly calls the program "open source" - Microsoft will supply the program free to law enforcement authorities]
(ZDNet UK) Microsoft has responded to some of the concerns about its proposed server interoperability licence, but has not yet worked out how to stop disadvantaging open source vendors. Last month the European Commission rejected Microsoft's proposed server interoperability licence, saying it contained a number of serious flaws including unjustifiably high royalty fees and the exclusion of open source vendors. A Microsoft spokesman said that it sent the EC a letter which proposed a possible solution to three of the four areas of concern outlined by the Commission last month. The only area where Microsoft has not offered any concessions is in the area of open source software. The EC is concerned that open source vendors are excluded from the licence agreement, as companies are not permitted to release the source code of products created using the licence.
(Guarian) International open access to research papers on the internet has taken a crucial step closer after a meeting at Southampton University, supporters have said. A gathering of 60 academics, publishers and university librarians this week thrashed out practical steps to promote open access. Stevan Harnad, a professor of cognitive science at Southampton and a leading advocate of open access, believes that universities have found a way around previous objections by encouraging academics to self-archive their research papers in repositories at their own universities. These papers would then be accessible by anyone via the internet, providing the author agrees.
(Guardian) TStevan Harnad, professor of cognitive science at the University of Southampton, will present a proposal that could revolutionise how academics and the public view research. Known as the "keystroke strategy", Prof Harnad's plan calls for all academics who have had research papers accepted by journals to place information about the paper - such as its title and author, known as metadata - on a university's own archive for all to see. Alongside that should be a copy of the article itself.
(CNET News.com) Microsoft is touting a new study that points out that the software maker offers customers more legal protection against intellectual-property claims than that given by open-source rivals. The report, by IDC analysts Stephen Graham and Alexandrina Boariu, says that Microsoft's policy indemnifying all end users over most types of intellectual-property claims 'effectively raises the stakes for protecting software customers'.
(vnunet.com) Several London-based servers of an alternative media network have been seized by the FBI in an operation, rumoured to be related to recent requests to remove photos posted on a web site. The FBI took the servers took the servers from hosting firm Rackspace's London offices, with apparently no explanation.
But the action affected services and data in some 17 countries where the Independent Media Centre, known as Indymedia, used the servers to host local media collections and radio streams for several stations and other miscellaneous open-source projects.
(Heise) Weitere Stimmen aus der Open-Source-Gemeinde haben sich übers Wochenende gegen die Anerkennung des von Microsoft vorgeschlagenen Anti-Spam-Standard Sender ID ausgesprochen. Nach der Apache-Foundation hat Martin Michlmayr für Debian dem von Microsoft mit Patent- und Lizenzansprüchen versehenen Sender ID eine Absage erteilt.
(CNET News.com) The Apache Foundation, an open-source development group, has withdrawn its support for the proposed anti-spam standard Sender ID, saying Microsoft's licence requirements are too strict. The move by the group responsible for the popular Apache Web server comes as other open-source developers also voiced reservations about Microsoft's attempts to apply stringent licence requirements to its contribution to the spam-fighting technology.
(InternetPolicy.net) The World Bank's infoDev programme has released some useful resources on their website. Open Source Software: Perspectives for Development is a resource for IT decision makers in developing countries and includes an overview of some government perspectives on open source, case studies, and tips for decision makers. The other report, The Information Technology Security Handbook, includes a section on IT security and government policy. A companion website, while not yet active, has been set up to focus on issues of information technology security for developing countries.
(TED) Impact of free/open source software on innovation and the competitiveness of the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector in the EU. Prior information notice. The study should analyse the economic impact of free and open source software (F/OSS) on the structure and dynamics of the ICT sector in Europe, as well as in the overall economy. The study should first draw the current picture with regards to the market share of F/OSS in the global and European software market. It should then analyse the economic impact of the projected deployment of F/OSS in the ICT producing sector in Europe. Moreover, it should analyse the dynamics and the innovation potential that the proliferation pf F/OSS could bring about in the European economy (including in the IT producing and using sectors, and the society overall); the study should project the prospects for F/OSS in the short and long-term future, should describe different scenarios and identify relevant policy challenges. In this respect, it should seek for relevant competitive advantages of the European IT sector in this field, and should explore how such advantages could be further leveraged.
(RAPID) Member States should continue to promote open and interoperable standards for interactive digital TV - including the Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) standard ? on a voluntary basis, says the European Commission in a new Communication on the interoperability of interactive digital TV. There is no clear case for imposing technical standards at present, but the issue should be reviewed again in 2005. Proposals made by the Commission include setting up a Member State group on MHP implementation, confirming that Member States can offer consumer subsidies for interactive TV receivers - subject to state aid rules - and monitoring access to proprietary digital interactive TV applications.
(InfoWorld) Researchers at three French government-funded research organizations have revealed a new license compatible with the Free Software Foundation Inc.'s GNU General Public License (GPL). Plenty of free software licenses exist already, but they are mostly written in English, from the point of view of the U.S. legal system, which can pose a problem in countries where the legal system is based on different assumptions. The new license, known as CeCILL, is intended to make free software more compatible with French law in two areas where it differs significantly from U.S. law: copyright and product liability. See English version of the license.
(Guardian) Reed Elsevier is allowing academics to put papers that have been accepted for publication in its print and online journals on to the internet, breaking with years of tradition and reigniting the debate over open access to academic thinking. Until now the world's largest academic publisher has been a staunch opponent of open access, saying it poses a threat to the quality of academic research. But it is now letting academics put a text version of their accepted articles on to their own websites, or sites operated by their institutions. However, academics will not be allowed to put links to their papers in central academic databases.
(Guardian) The government would have to be 'pretty brave' to demand open access publishing for all publicly funded scientific research journals, a government adviser said.
Professor Sir Keith O'Nions, the director-general of the Research Councils, yesterday said that it would be 'unwise' for ministers to demand that government-funded journals should be available without charge over the internet.
(Wired) Open-source spam filter developers are claiming that their software can now block 99.97 percent or more of incoming spam on a network, thanks to new techniques. If the claims hold true, the software could lead to a new generation of antispam solutions and give vendors of commercial spam filters a run for their money.
(CNET News.com) by Stefanie Olsen. Yahoo and software provider Sendmail will jointly develop a system for authenticating e-mail, with the goal of mitigating spam. The two companies announced support of DomainKeys, a proposed system for verifying the identity of an e-mail sender and reducing e-mail forgeries. Yahoo - which runs a Web-based e-mail service used by more than 39 million people in the United States, according to Nielsen/NetRatings - plans to develop and test the system by March. Sendmail's open-source technology, which routes the bulk of corporate e-mail to and from the Internet, will be integral to the experiment.
(Wired) The World Social Forum is speaking in 13 languages this year. The translations are being done by an international network of volunteer interpreters called Babels, using a newly created open-source Linux software. The software can be run on a midrange computer, therefore cutting out the high costs of translation associated with special high-speed computers, consoles and mixing equipment. The WSF is also using an FM radio frequency to provide translations in various Indian languages to help cut the cost of attaching headsets to every seat.
(Europa) This section of the IDA website is dedicated to Open Source Software and is intended to encourage the spread and use of Best Practices in Europe. The chapters are being developed in an ongoing manner. They will introduce new users to the concept of Open Source and present interesting facts and references for experts.
(Modern Practice) Open Source lawyering has taken another step into the established order with the launch of The Blogbook, a guide to legal blogging. The Blogbook is an "Open Source" project started by three legal professionals who saw the need to address and establish agreed upon standards within the world of legal blogs.
(EurActiv.com ) In the third edition of its E-Commerce and Development Report, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) identified the implications of the growth of the digital economy for developing countries. The report highlights opportunities and problems as regards the growth of the Internet and the development of information and communication technologies (ICT) for the developing countries. The report is also designed to contribute to the debates at the World Summit on the Information Society which will take place in Geneva from 10-12 December 2003. see Free and open-source software: implications for ICT policy and development.
(ZDNet UK) Open source software and open standards are vital for any attempt at e-government, argues a new report from Denmark by the Danish Board of Technology . Open source software represents a serious alternative to proprietary products, and should be used as a tool to open up software markets to more competition.
(EGOVOS) 24-26 November 2003, UNESCO headquarters, Paris, France. The EGOVOS conference is a high-level international event covering the topic of free/open source software (commonly referred to as Libre Software in Europe), interoperability and open standards in the government sphere. Researchers and developers, local, regional, national and international users and stakeholders, as well as management experts and industry attend. The conference will provide an unrivalled open platform in which to debate and to exchange views on the viability of Libre Software in the design and implementation of affordable, scalable, secure eGovernment services.
(Economist) Governments like open-source software, but Microsoft does not. Microsoft's chief executive, Steve Ballmer, interrupted his holiday in Switzerland to visit Munich and lobby the mayor. Microsoft even dropped its prices to match Linux?a remarkable feat since Linux is essentially free and users merely purchase support services alongside it. But the software giant still lost. City officials said the decision was a matter of principle: the municipality wanted to control its technological destiny. It did not wish to place the functioning of government in the hands of a commercial vendor with proprietary standards which is accountable to shareholders rather than to citizens. Across the globe, governments are turning to open-source software which, unlike proprietary software, allows users to inspect, modify and freely redistribute its underlying programming instructions. Scores of national and state governments have drafted legislation calling for open-source software to be given preferential treatment in procurement.
(Economist) An explosive row over how to protect intellectual property in Europe. Should a new piece of encryption software or an internet business method be covered by patents, or do copyright and trade secrets suffice? These questions underlie a heated controversy in Europe pitting open-source advocates, software developers and academics against big software firms, intellectual property lawyers and the European Commission. Because of the row, the European Parliament has again postponed the first reading of a directive on computer-related inventions.
(nordicos.org) This is the Nordic Open Source website.
This website provides information to the consumer to aid in understanding, finding and using Open Source products. Under the section, scenarios, you will find advice on various common cases. We have grouped programs together in packages. The most common example is a normal home user, someone who wants to read email and surf the Internet. What products could you use to do this, and where would you find them. There are six of these case studies in all.
(Washington Post) Open-source software has been embraced by some companies but it is the bane of others, including Microsoft. The software maker is lobbying in state, national and international capitals against laws that would promote the consideration or use of open-source software. So Microsoft sprang into high gear after an official of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which promotes intellectual-property rights and standards, welcomed the idea of a meeting devoted to open source. The proposal for the meeting had come in a letter from nearly 60 technologists, economists and academics. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said that open-source software runs counter to the mission of WIPO to promote intellectual-property rights, that the WIPO official who embraced the meeting had done so without proper consultation with the member states, and that WIPO's budget already is strained and cannot accommodate another meeting next year. WIPO has now said it no longer has plans for an open-source gathering.
(CNET News.com) America Online has laid off 50 employees involved in Web browser development at its Netscape Communications subsidiary amid a reorganization of its Mozilla open-source browser team. The layoffs mark the latest setback for Netscape, which has fought an increasingly lopsided battle with Microsoft for browser market share. Microsoft's Internet Explorer is currently used by more than 90 percent of Web surfers, according to site visitor statistics published by Google. see also Netscape browser left with skeleton staff (ZDNet Australia).
UK urged to hold back on open source (CNET News.com) A U.K. tech industry body has urged the U.K. government to show restraint in its use of open-source software, particularly software covered by the General Public License. Intellect, which is backed by Microsoft, IBM, Intel, BAE Systems and other high-tech heavyweights, said that the requirement of open-source licenses for software funded by the government could have a negative impact on competition for contracts, on the quality of the resulting software and even on the confidentiality of government departments.
Microsoft's new Linux gambit (CNET News.com) Listen closely to what Microsoft is not saying about SCO Group's open-source operetta. Microsoft is not telling corporate managers that the use of open-source applications might land them in hot water with patent attorneys. And Microsoft is not saying that the open-source development community is a hotbed of misappropriation of private property. This is not because Microsoft disagrees with the above. But it's just so much easier to give the dirty work to SCO.
WSIS delegates fail to agree on open-source 'support'
WSIS delegates fail to agree on open-source 'support' (InfoWorld) A three-day meeting that brought together Asian governments, organizations, companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) ended with the approval of a declaration that, among other things, calls for encouraging the development of open-source software. A draft of the declaration had called for open source to be "supported" but was changed after objections from the U.S. government delegation.
US - Microsoft to reveal source code to governments
US - Microsoft to reveal source code to governments (AP) The source code Microsoft has long guarded as secret intellectual property is now becoming the carrot dangled before governments to keep them from defecting to competitors' software. Microsoft announced a Government Security Program (GSP) to make the underlying code for its Windows operating system available to several governments and governmental agencies for viewing.
see also Open-Source Windows? Uh, Kinda;
Copyright Contradictions in Scholarly Publishing (First Monday) by John Willinsky. This paper examines contradictions in how copyright works with the publishing of scholarly journals. These contradictions have to do with the protection of the authors' interest and have become apparent with the rise of open access publishing as an alternative to the traditional commercial model of selling journal subscriptions. Authors may well be better served, as may the public which supports research, by open access journals because of its wider readership and early indications of greater scholarly impact.
Ballmer Sees Free Software as Enemy No. 1 (Bloomberg) Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer is telling his employees to focus on the threat that Linux and other free programs available on the Internet pose to sales at the world's largest software maker. The programs are called open source because thousands of developers on the Web can collaborate to tweak and customize the underlying code. They may undercut Ballmer's plan to counter slowing sales of personal computers by selling more software for the server machines that run company networks and Web sites. ``We have told our sales force to really understand that this is kind of job one,'' Ballmer said ``People are saying by and large, `It might be easier for me to move my Unix apps to Linux than to Windows,' although we're pretty close to making that untrue.''
2002-12-12 EU, Brussels - Convergence of Web Services, Grid Services and the Semantic Web for delivering e-Services? (IST Diffuse Project) Commissioner Erkki Liikanen will provide the Opening Keynote Address at the IST Diffuse Project Final Conference to be held on 12th December 2002 in the Centre Borschette, Brussels. The conference will review, explore and discuss the strategic issues concerning and surrounding the three interrelated technologies of Web Services, Grid Services and the Semantic Web from a broad perspective. The conference programme includes Keynotes from Carl Kesselman (a Founder of the Grid), Bruce Perens (Primary Author of the Open Source Definition), Guus Schreiber (Co-Chair, W3C Web Ontology WG) and the European Commission. The programme also includes senior speakers from ABN AMRO Trust, BEA, Berkom, IBM, Sun, TIEKE and Universities of Heidelberg & Toronto.
Open-source group gets Sun security gift (CNET News.com)
Sun Microsystems has donated new cryptography technology to the open-source project OpenSSL at the heart of many secure transactions on the Internet. Sun's "elliptic curve" technology is involved in the process of using keys to encrypt and decrypt information for electronic transactions.
Digital divide - Patently problematic (Economist) The report of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, convened by Britain's Department for International Development to look at how IPR can work to the benefit of the world's poor countries, sets out detailed recommendations for how developing countries should craft IPR to suit their conditions. Its central message is both clear and controversial: poor places should avoid committing themselves to rich-world systems of IPR protection unless such systems are beneficial to their needs. Nor should rich countries, which professed so much interest in "sustainable development" at the recent summit in Johannesburg, push for anything stronger. see Integrating Intellectual Property Rights and Development Policy (CIPR). see also Report: Nations need open source (ZDNet).
An Alternative to Microsoft Gains Support in High Places (New York Times) Governments around the world, afraid that Microsoft has become too powerful in critical software markets, have begun working to ensure an alternative. More than two dozen countries in Asia, Europe and Latin America, including China and Germany, are now encouraging their government agencies to use "open source" software ? developed by communities of programmers who distribute the code without charge and donate their labor to cooperatively debug, modify and otherwise improve the software.
Free Culture: Lawrence Lessig Keynote from OSCON 2002 (O'Reilly Network) In his address before a packed house at the Open Source Convention, Lawrence Lessig challenges the audience to get more involved in the political process. Lawrence, a tireless advocate for open source, is a professor of law at Stanford Law School and the founder of the school's Center for Internet and Society. He is also the author of the best-selling book Code, and Other Laws of Cyberspace. [Ed: 3 Web pages of vintage Lessig, including an acerbic analysis of Mickey Mouse's influence on copyright law and the duration of copyright protection, and criticism of the use of technical devices to prevent copying and use of the law in this context].
European administrations should share open source software resources (RAPID) European administrations should share software on an open source licensing basis, to cut soaring eGoverment information technology costs (set to rise by 28% to ? 6.6 billion this year), says an independent study published by the European Commission. The Pooling Open Source Software study, financed by the Commission's Interchange of Data between Administrations (IDA) programme, recommends creating a clearing house to which administrations could "donate" software for re-use. This facility, which would concentrate on applications specific to the needs of the public sector, could encourage the replication of good practice in eGovernment services.
Report Flays Open-Source Licenses (Wired) After appearing on the Web for a few hours, a much-anticipated report on the possible threats to national security posed by open-source software was pulled by its authors, who said that the report needed more editing. But despite its hasty un-publication, the full report -- called "Opening the Open Source Debate," by Kenneth Brown of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution -- still made it onto Slashdot, where its low opinion of open source was roundly criticized.
Internet Law Program @ Harvard (Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School) Registration is now open for this summer's
Internet Law Program, the residential segment of which will take
place July 1-5, 2002 on the Harvard Law School campus. On the agenda: IP rights, the evolution of copyright, privacy v. security on the Net, the future of peer-to-peer, and more. Among the highlights will be a debate between Lawrence Lessig and a representative of Microsoft on open source software; a session on the Internet and developing countries; and a panel discussion of Eldred v. Ashcroft, now slated for hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court. The program will be taught by leading experts in the field, including Lawrence Lessig of Stanford, Yochai Benkler of NYU, William Fisher III, Charles Nesson and Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard, Jerry Kang of UCLA (guest lecturer), and Julie Cohen of Georgetown (guest lecturer). No previous experience with Internet law is necessary to enroll.
Vivendi Universal Strikes Back In Gamers Showdown (Newsbytes) Entertainment giant Vivendi Universal has taken its beef with a group of hardcore online gamers to the next level by launching a copyright-infringement lawsuit against the developers of open-source software for hosting multiplayer games. The move by France-based Vivendi Universal and its Blizzard Entertainment arm was not unexpected, coming a couple weeks after lawyers for the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) advised a Missouri-based Internet service provider (ISP) to continue distributing software that emulates Blizzard's Battle.net gaming service. see also Cnet News.com
Lessig plans digital rights organization (CNET News.com) Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig, one of the most articulate critics in today's online copyright battles, is kicking off a project he hopes can serve as neutral ground in the digital rights debates. Dubbed the Copyright Commons, Lessig's project aims to spur sharing and use of works ranging from software code to music in a way that he and other critics say has been stifled by copyright laws. Drawing on the experience of open-source software programming, the group hopes to create new digital licenses that will cut out painful legal wrangling and rights disputes