1/26/2005

Sun will grant access to over 1,600 patents

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Sun Microsystems, Inc. announced that the source code for Solaris 10 - the most advanced operating system in the industry - will be made available under the OSI (Open Source Initiative) approved Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL). The company has established a community Web site at opensolaris.org. Buildable source code for Solaris will be available at this site in the second quarter of 2005.

As part of this release Sun will grant open source projects access to over 1,600 patents, the largest single release of I.P. ever. Sun CEO Scott McNealy said “Today represents a huge milestone for Sun, for the community, for developers and for customers.”

In a statement today, Sun said that they were allowing access to increase innovation and to level the playing field to software developers. They also commented that the move was in reaction to their growing concern at broad patents over software code, and an over-worked international patent system. The company appeared to be agreeing with a growing view that the system needs serious reform to continue working effectively and in the manner they were originally intended. Sun hope that this move will also reduce customer concerns about potential liability from using Open Source software.

Stacey Quandt, a Senior Business Analyst at The Robert Frances Group said “By gaining access to these Solaris OS patents, participants in the open-source community now have a tremendous opportunity to build unique and innovative technologies for a wide range of markets. An IP contribution of this magnitude has the potential to deliver exceptional value to developers and strengthens the overall open source community.”

No More Fixes To Pirated Windows In The Future

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp. plans to severely curtail the ways in which people running pirated copies of its dominant Windows operating system can receive software updates, including security fixes.

The new authentication system, announced Tuesday and due to arrive by midyear, will still allow people with pirated copies of Windows to obtain security fixes, but their options will be limited. The move allows Microsoft to use one of its sharpest weapons — access to security patches that can prevent viruses, worms and other crippling attacks — to thwart a costly and meddlesome piracy problem.

But some security experts said the crackdown also could increase Internet security problems in general, if there is a spike in unsecured computers open to attack, which then could be used to attack others.

Over the next few months, the software behemoth will begin to more broadly adopt the program, called Windows Genuine Advantage, that urges users to provide proof their Windows copy is authentic before receiving some software updates.

By mid-2005, the program will become mandatory for Windows users to get virtually all updates, including security fixes available through the company’s Windows Update Web site. But users who have pirated copies of Windows will be able to continue to get security fixes if they sign up to automatically receive security updates.

Microsoft said the company has no current plans to require users running automatic updates to provide proof that their copies of Windows are genuine.

Customers who visit the manual Windows Update site will be asked to prove that their copies of Windows are legitimate by allowing Microsoft’s system to automatically run a check, or by providing a product identification number. Users who have lost that number will be asked three basic questions, and if they are deemed to be acting in good faith they will be given a free replacement key.

Source: AP

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