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Patents, Legal Collaboration and our Legal Summit

Unfortunately legal issues, specially patents lawsuits, are much in the news. From Yahoo suing Facebook to the ongoing battles surrounding Apple and other mobile device providers, my RSS and social media feeds seem to have more and more articles about legal issues everyday.

Wired published a great article today from an ex-Yahoo developer on how his work was weaponized for a patent war.

He writes: "I thought I was giving them a shield, but turns out I gave them a missile with my name permanently engraved on it." This case, among other similar ones, points out the need quite urgently for reform of our software patent system. When companies struggle, especially large ones, it's often easier to litigate than innovate.

But amid the patent wars there has been some good news. OIN last week announced they are expanding their patent pool to cover other important projects such as KVM, Git and others projects.

As SVN writes: "Patents owned by Open Invention Network are available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the OIN’s broad Linux Definitions." Keith Bergelt of OIN will be speaking at our upcoming CollaborationSummit on this Linux definition. Keith will take people through the changes in the definitions, as well as the updating of the 1000s of packages already included in their coverage. This is important stuff and I'm very happy to feature Keith as a speaker.

We are continuing our active role in the legal landscape by marshaling the power of collaboration with our members. Before next month's Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, we will be holding our Linux Foundation Legal Summit, where counsels and attorneys from our members come together with our legal experts and others from around the industry to plot the best defense for Linux and free software. There is power in collaboration; certainly with software but also with legal issues. It's a core part of our mission to enable this legal collaboration and spear head programs, like our Open Compliance program, that simplify and improve legal matters in our community. And as mentioned above, we also have a track on legal and compliance issues at the Collaboration Summit. This year Bradley Kuhn was kind enough to assist me in creating the track and I'm happy to say we have a who's who of leaders in the open source legal industry.

We are featuring
-- Aaron Williamson of the SFLC on the Evolving Form of Free Software Organization
-- Bradley from the Software Freedom Conservancy on GPL Compliance
-- Richard Fontana from REd Hat will talk about the Decline of the GPL and what to do about it
-- Karen Sandler from the GNOME Foundation will talk about real world trademark management for free software projects

And on day one of Collaboration Summit we will have a keynote on the SPDX project, one of the best examples of collaborative legal issues. You can read details about full the schedule of Collab Summit.


I hope to see many of you there.

 

Free Embedded Linux Training at Yocto Developer Day on February 14th

Use of Linux in the mobile/embedded space is exploding, and we find many companies are adopting the open source Yocto project to build custom embedded Linux systems. The project is hosting a free day of training on Yocto on Feb 14th as part of the Embedded Linux Conference. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn Yocto if you're a beginner or get more advanced if you are already familiar with the tool. Find out more about Yocto Developer Day. Yocto includes the BitBake build tool, a large set of customizable build metadata, the EGLIBC library, Eclipse-based graphical user interfaces for both the build system and an accompanying Application Development Toolkit that is automatically generated, and several other tools that bring some...

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Linux Adopton Trends 2012: A Closer Look

Toyota, Google, Facebook, New York Stock Exchange, Burlington Coat Factory, Amazon.

These names represent just a handful of the thousands of large companies using Linux today. As early adopters of Linux (some having used the OS well over a decade) with some of the most technically advanced challenges to overcome in their business environments, companies such as these can give us important insight as to how Linux is being used and where it's growing.

That is why we started surveying large companies using Linux in 2010 and why today's new report, "Linux Adoption Trends 2012: A Survey of Enterprise End Users," sheds light on what we can expect from enterprises, both large and small, that are using Linux. We hope this research can help inform the industry, our members and us as we prioritize our work for a New Year.

In order to intimately understand the adoption trends among this elite level of companies, we filtered the responses to our survey to collect just the data from companies with more than $500m+ in annual revenues or 500+ employees. You will find a variety of new data points in this year's report, but here's three that I think are interesting and/or surprising.

Linux is growing, even as spending forecasts remain bleak
Companies using Linux are bucking the forecast trends of reduced spending on IT. Eight out of ten respondents said they've added more Linux servers in the last 12 months and will add more in the next 12 months. Eight out of ten are also planning more Linux deployments over the next five years, while  only 21.7% said they will be adding more Windows in the next five years.

"Big Data" might be a buzzword, but it's a real concern
The rising level of data is not lost on large companies. In fact, it's a concern for more than 75% of our respondents. With the number of collection points spreading and more elements of our personal and professional interactions being digitized, the term "Big Data" is becoming part of our regular vocabulary. We were very interested to learn that more than two-thirds (or 71.8%) are planning to add more Linux in the next 12 months to support it. Given Linux's incumbent position in high-performance computing (HPC), maybe this shouldn't come as a surprise.

Overall concerns/issues with Linux dropping
While management perception remains at the top of the list of concerns among even large enterprise users, we found that few people see much impeding Linux's ongoing success. In fact we saw a 40% drop in people who thought technical issues would hold back the platform. Ten percent fewer this year say there are no issues at all impeding the success of Linux.

The 2012 Enterprise End User survey surfaces a very positive story for Linux among enterprises who use the operating system most. As our report says, "Once enterprises deploy Linux, they stick with Linux and plan to add more Linux, because the platform provides sustainable benefits that include a broad feature set, security, cost-savings and flexibility."

One last note: This report is not intended to be an assessment of the overall penetration of Linux in the market, or is it a cross-platform study. This "Linux Adoption Trends 2012: A Survey of Enterprise End User" report reflects the usage trends of enterprise users most familiar with Linux, surfacing important data that can inform important work.
 

Is Your Company New to Open Source? Here's Where to Start

Over the past year, we've been working on a number of projects to help those who want to more closely participate in the Linux community, but don't know where to start.  First, there's the Linux Foundation Training program. We've continued to add courses as new needs arise, and have had the opportunity to give on-site training to many companies over the past year. While much of our content is on improving technical skills (e.g. "Developing Linux Device Drivers," "Embedded Linux Development," "Advanced Linux Performance Tuning"), we have also added courses on being more effective when working with open communities. "How to Participate with the Linux Community" is a roadmap of sorts for developers and managers who are comfortable with the technology, but need some guidance in understanding the Linux kernel community processes. (A related guide on participating with the Linux community is also available.) In addition, our newest course is "A Practical Guide to Open Source Development," which is intended for traditional development organizations that are...

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Linux Supercomputing Dominance: A Look Under the Hood

A few weeks ago, the Top500 Supercomputer list came out, as it does each November. As expected, Linux is still the most used OS for supercomputing, as it has been since taking the list by storm in the early 2000s.

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