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Gartner to music industry: Sell songs on the Internet

Author: JT Smith

The music industry had better change its tune and play to the Internet market one song at a time, the Gartner Group told NewsBytes Friday. What the major labels need, says Gartner, is a new digital distribution model for single-track purchases, using effective Digital Rights Management.

Napster prepares written defense

Author: JT Smith

The music-sharing service is close to filing a written defense in its copyright court battle, the BBC reports. Reuters says Napster filed the new brief late Friday. In a related story, Red Herring reports that musicians suing Napster are considering going after the deep-pocketed venture capital firm that financed Napster.

Privacy group wants speedier Carnivore disclosure

Author: JT Smith

The Electronic Privacy Information Center has asked a federal court on to order the FBI to speed up its release of information about the Carnivore e-mail surveillance system so it can be completed by Dec. 1, according to TechWeb.

New security update for Zope

Author: JT Smith

LWN.com publishes a security update for Zope.


  • Linux

European patent war pending

Author: JT Smith

By Tony Granata
News Editor
A heated debate is coming to a head across the pond concerning the future of software patents. Currently, software patents without industrial application are prohibited in Europe under the laws of the Munich Convention.However, due to several factors, including the boom of the software industry and confusion of the European Patent Office about applying
the current law, this policy will be revisited in the coming months. Many fear that the European Union will change its current position on
software patents.

While the opposing forces, Internet patent experts and the
Patent Office
(EPO) versus the Open Source Community, agree that clarification on software patent law in Europe is necessary, they
differ about the best way to approach these changes. Internet patent experts and the EPO say the Munich Convention should be revised and most exceptions to software patents removed. This could give them free reign to determine what is patentable, potentially opening the floodgates on broad software patenting, much as in the United States.

Open Source advocates say the Munich Convention laws should remain as written and vehemently enforced. This would limit the EPO’s judicial powers on what is deemed patentable, resulting in tighter
control and more restrictions on patenting of what critics say are trivial software processes with no industrial application.

Internet patent experts at patent offices, law offices, multinational companies, and the EPO have received strong support in their lobbying efforts from the U.S. government through the Word Industrial Property Organization. They argue that although European law prohibits software patents, the European Patent Office has already granted, by circumventing the law, more than 10,000 patents on software programs.

They also argue that:

  • The success of Microsoft is a ringing endorsement that software patents are good for the software industry;
  • No economic study has determined that software patents are detrimental to innovation and competition;
  • The United States and most recently Japan have endorsed broad software patents, therefore so should Europe.

    The EPO’s “Basic Proposal For The Revision Of The European Patent
    Convention” released March 24, 2000, is available online.

    The Open Source community lobbying against software patents in Europe
    has formed The EuroLinux Alliance, a coalition of commercial companies and non-profit associations dedicated to promoting Open Source
    standards within the software industry. Group members fear that broad software patents will result in damaging effects on software innovation and competition, and that broad software patents will be used to patent Internet, business and educational methods. Opponents of the proposed change point to the recent track record of the European Patent Office using its power to broaden the scope of patentability as a reason the current law
    must be enforced, not revised.

    Jurgen Siepman, legal adviser for a European Linux group, says, “Under the pressure of patent professionals, the European Patent Office invented its own rules in order to grant more than 10,000 software-related patents, more than 75% of which were filed by non-European companies.”

    As of July, one month after it started circulating, the EuroLinux Petition for a Software Patent Free Europe had been signed by 20,000 Europeans, including 300 corporate executives, 50 companies and more than 20 non-profit associations.

    Reason for patents

    Patents were first formalized in England in the 1623 “statute of monopolies.” By allowing inventors to publish and monopolize their ideas, instead of keeping them as guarded secrets, industry wide innovations could be shared, improved and expanded upon. But Open Source advocates argue that broad interpretation and clever formulation of patent application by large corporations has allowed for the patenting of Internet methods, education methods and other elementary software processes. Klaus Weidner of Munich, an anti-patent advocate, says: “Patents are supposed to promote invention and progress, but software patents would have the opposite effect. Interoperability between programs requires either open standards or reverse-engineering of protocols or file formats.”

    Hand and hand with the problem of what patents are being granted is the current patent review process, opponents of patent expansion say. Many anti-patent advocates such as Greg Aharonian believe that up to 90% of all software patents granted by the United States Patent Office could be debunked. “In short, no patent office around the world has really ever mastered the process of large scale patent examination,” he says. His article “Patent Examination System is Intellectually Corrupt” is available.

    What’s next

    A patent directive by the European
    Commission is scheduled to be released this summer, and it’s likely to be discussed for several months before it can be approved by the European Council of Ministers. Then it will be translated into national laws. An intergovernmental conference revise the Munich Convention is scheduled for November 2000. Once the Munich Convention is revised, the directive will likely be approved after December 2000.

  • LinuxWorld: A postscript

    Author: JT Smith

    Linuxlookup reviews the just-completed LinuxWorld Expo in San Jose. Linux Journal also weighs in.


    • Linux

    Hispanic Linux site joins forces with business site

    Author: JT Smith

    Hispanic America’s most popular Linux news site, LinuxPreview.org, has joined forces with LinuxAlianza.com, the business-oriented multi-site for Linux in Latin America. Linux Preview has traditionally covered science, technology, and general Linux news while Linux Alliance is uniquely focused on promoting Linux businesses in Latin America,


    • Linux

    Unix competitors unite on OSDN

    Author: JT Smith

    LinuxWorld this week saw the convening of bitter Unix competitors, such as Sun Microsystems, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Computer around a common user interface, Gnome or Gnu Network Object Modeling Environment. Now the same vendors are united in supporting the Open Source Development Network, reports Inter@ctive Week. (Full disclosure: NewsForge is a member of OSDN.)


    • Open Source

    Corel’s interim CEO wants the job permanently

    Author: JT Smith

    From an eWeek story: The new interim president and CEO of Corel Corp. confirmed he is a candidate for the permanent, full-time post.
    “It’s up to the board,” acknowledged Derek Burney. “I’m ignoring the ‘interim’ title.” A board committee has been appointed to conduct a search for a permanent CEO with existing officers to be considered as candidates.


    • Open Source

    Matrox supports DualHead display on Linux

    Author: JT Smith

    Matrox has released DualHead drivers for XFree4.0 – Press Release BelowFor Immediate Release

    Montreal, Canada, August 18, 2000—Matrox Graphics Inc.
    today announced it is the first graphics card
    manufacturer to support single-slot DualHead cards on
    the Linux operating system. The beta Linux XFree86
    driver is now available for download from the Matrox
    website at

    This beta driver supports three DualHead operational
    modes¾Multi-Display, Clone and TV-Output¾ and up to
    eight display configurations on the Matrox Millennium
    G400 series. Designed with a unified approach, the
    Linux XFree86 driver also provides DualHead support
    for the Marvel1 product line, along with 2D/3D support
    for the G200 product series and 2D support for the
    G200 MMS. Additionally, this driver supports flat
    panel output on products which enable this feature.

    Matrox’s unique DualHead Display technology is a
    cost-effective solution that significantly enhances
    productivity. For example, its flexible features allow
    users to run two or more applications simultaneously
    on separate displays, or stretch one application
    across two screens. A single-slot DualHead adapter
    also offers other advantages, such as freeing up
    expansion slots for additional add-ons and avoiding
    driver conflicts that can occur when using two
    separate cards to support DualHead Display.

    The release of this Linux driver further demonstrates
    Matrox’s dedication to the open-source community.
    Milestones marking Matrox’s commitment to the Linux
    community include the release of the specs for the
    original Matrox Millennium graphics card in the fall
    of 1997, followed by the release of 2D specs for the
    G200 and G400 in 1998 and 1999 respectively.

    To read the full history on Matrox’s involvement with
    the Linux community, check out the backgrounder at

    About Matrox

    Matrox Graphics Inc. is the only graphics chip
    designer and graphics card manufacturer who draws on
    24 years of industry experience to provide customers
    with state-of-the-art 2D, 3D and digital video
    acceleration, vibrant image quality and real-world
    functionality. A quality and innovation leader, Matrox
    has been recognized with an unprecedented 900
    international awards for the Millennium, Marvel,
    Productiva and Mystique product lines. Headquartered
    in Montreal, Canada, Matrox is a privately held
    company with international offices in the United
    States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and
    Hong Kong. Information about Matrox products, drivers,
    technical support and more can be found at www.matrox.com.

    Matrox Graphics Inc. and Matrox are registered
    trademarks or trademarks of Matrox Graphics Inc.
    and/or Matrox Electronic Systems Ltd. Other company,
    product and service names and/or logos indicated above
    may be trademarks or service marks of such other

    For more information:

    Sebastian Macdougall, public relations specialist,
    (514) 822-6000 x7662, smacdoug@matrox.com

    Darlene Gillis, public relations specialist, (514)
    822-6000 x7217, dgillis@matrox.com

    Online Press Room: