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Rebuttals to Oz "Open Source Legal Warning"

Oct 30, 2002, 19:00 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Sam Varghese)

The Age: Open Source: Theorising Without Data is a Mistake

"Four years ago, when Linux first began to gain some mileage in otherwise disinterested publications, it was common to see uninformed articles, penned by people who were either ignorant, shills, or both, recounting myths about the operating system. These days the number of such articles is few.

"In case you're wondering what's under discussion, it's an article in American publisher Rupert Murdoch's national Australian daily, The Australian.

"Titled 'Open source legal warning', the article quoted extensively from 'an expert' in a bid to prove that the General Public License (or GPL as it is better known) is a minefield--in other words, don't use software that is released under this licence, it exposes you to 'legal threats and vulnerabilities...'"

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LawMeme: Open Season on Open Source in Australia

"One of Oz's newspapers, The Australian, have a new story, where they quote a lawyer from one of Australia's bigger firms, Minter Ellison, suggesting that there are doubts about GPL enforceability, and consequences of non-enforceability (Minters' (very) slightly more extended analysis is also online: here. There's some trickly little issues in here--and while some of the claims aired in The Australian article are just silly, there may be something to it, though I still doubt the world will fall apart...

"First things first:--the Australian's article is about as general as it comes.--Minters' analysis is also aimed at (generating new) clients--so is also very general in its terms.

"The other interesting thing about this story is that, in many cases, the issues it raises are common to all software--not just open source. Blaming it all on the GPL and open source is just plain wrong..."

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Related Story:
Australian IT: Open Source Legal Warning(Oct 30, 2002)