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The GPL Will Finally Be Tested In A US Court

There has been many arguments concerning the GPL, specifically whether it has legal bite or otherwise. It seems that we will soon find out, as a software company has now been taken to court for violating the GPL:

The SFLC (Software Freedom Law Center) announced on Sept. 20 that it had just filed the first ever U.S. copyright infringement lawsuit based on a violation of the GNU General Public License (GPL) on behalf of its clients. The group’s clients are the two principal developers of BusyBox. BusyBox is a small-footprint application that implements a lightweight set of standard Unix utilities. It is commonly used in embedded systems, and is open-source software licensed under the GPL version 2.

The developers of BusyBox came to the SFLC after trying to talk Monsoon into honoring the conditions of the GPLv2. Unsuccessful with this, the SFLC has filed suit on the developers’ behalf against Monsoon.

Family: “Microsoft Murdered Our Son!”

A family from Illinois is suing Microsoft, claiming that an XBox 360 overheating power supply sparked a fire that killed their infant son:

According to the suit, the wiring that connected the Xbox 360 to an electrical outlet became so hot that it started a “catastrophic” fire at a house in Warsaw, Illionis. The victim, an infant named Wade Kline, died in the inferno.

“The fire was a direct and proximate result of the overheating of the game’s power supply and wiring,” claims the lawsuit, which was filed in State Circuit Court in Illinois. Microsoft, Wal-Mart, and an unnamed power-supply maker have been named in the suit.

Hmm… what an event to preceed Microsoft’s planned launch of a “mystery product”. Perhaps the mystery product is a fireproof power supply unit for the XBox 360 😛

Microsoft Faces First Vista Related Lawsuit

…and it’s not for monopolistic behaviour or anything very closely related to Microsoft; but for false advertising. Mind you, the advertisements are not for Windows Vista, but PCs which bear the “Windows Vista Capable” badge.

Quoting the scoop source by El-Reg:

The suit, Microsoft’s latest class action case but the first related to Windows Vista, comes amid claims that most business PCs also lack the hardware required to run most versions of Windows Vista.

Eighty per cent of PCs do not match Microsoft’s hardware requirements to upgrade, according to Everdream, a desktop management specialist. The biggest hurdle is lack of RAM: 70 per cent of machines lack the requisite 1GB, according to Everdream, which surveyed 140,000 desktop and laptop machines.

[…]

The suit claims many of the Windows Vista Capable machines are only capable of running Home Basic editions of Windows Vista and could not run the next edition, Home Premium, which featured most of the heavily advertised features.

That’s what you get by over-niching your products; something Microsoft seems to put way too much marketing effort on. Let’s see what we’ve gotten from the Redmond giant over the years:

  • Windows 2000; Professional, Server, Advanced Server, Datacenter Server, Advanced Server Limited Edition and Windows 2000 Datacenter Server Limited Edition
  • Windows XP; Home, Professional, Media Center Edition and Tablet PC Edition
  • Windows Server 2003; Small Business Server, Web Edition, Standard Edition, Enterprise Edition, Datacenter Edition, Compute Cluster Server, Storage Server and Home Server

For God’s sake, I hope that this lawsuit can put to death Microsoft’s trend to over-niche their OSs into stupid “editions”. I think their marketing team went overboard in identifying their market segments.