Author Archives: Rowan Wilson

Format? Y/N

Yesterday Martin Hawksey of JISC CETIS published an interesting blog post on the ugly problem of openly-licensed content wrapped in closed file formats. In that post Martin writes: PSD is a proprietary file format developed and owned by Adobe and used in Photoshop. You can actually open and edit PSD files in open source tools like GIMP (I’m … Read more

Twin Peaks Mysteries

Linux behemoth Red Hat is currently being sued over alleged patent infringement by Twin Peaks Software, vendors of the closed source ‘Mirror File System’ technology. It seems that the suit has been triggered by Red Hat’s acquisition of Gluster – an open source  file system project – last year. Twin Peaks hold a patent (US7418439) which covers the … Read more

Inside the Meego Collapse

Finnish IT site Taskumoro has a fascinating article on the internal struggles that resulted in Nokia’s adoption of Microsoft’s Windows Phone as its sole smartphone operating system. Most people with an interest in mobile operating systems will remember Nokia CEO Stephen Elop’s 2011 ‘burning platform‘ memo to Nokia employees, which signalled the beginning of the end … Read more

Open Source and the Windows Store

With the release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system approaching (October 26th) I thought I would take a look at the current version of the agreement that developers must sign to get their applications into the Windows Store. There has been some controversy over the Windows Store, with some games company representatives pouring scorn on … Read more


I have just got back from CENATIC in Spain, where myself and Ross Gardler (former OSS Watch manager and now Programme Lead at FOSS consultancy OpenDirective) have been giving training on the Software Sustainability Maturity Model and sharing ideas on future collaborations and the state of the FOSS world. CENATIC is located in Almendralejo, in the southern Spanish … Read more

Google releases online education software

Over to Peter Norvig, Google’s Director of Research: Course Builder is in fact a means of building dynamic online teaching materials that must be hosted on Google’s Cloud Platform-as-a-Service App Engine. So although the code itself is open source, it is closely linked with a paid service provided by the code’s authors. While there is a … Read more

Clicking with the public

I am a bit of a gaming geek, on the quiet, and gaming is one the areas in which open source software has never really caught up with closed source. Development models within the gaming industry have remained largely untouched by open approaches until relatively recently, so I was interested to read the following in … Read more

Community and commentary

One interesting sidenote to the recent litigation between Oracle and Google has been the order by presiding judge William Alsup that both sides disclose whether they paid anyone who wrote publicly about the case. The deadline for this disclosure was last Friday, but as with most things legal, the issue is still dragging on. Before … Read more

Some questions about the Defensive Patent License

Jason Schultz and Jennifer Urban of UC Berkeley School of Law have distributed a paper which provides an interesting analysis of the state of the patent system and its relationship to open development. In essence, they suggest that rather than avoiding the patent system, open development communities should instead engage with it, seeking to patent and … Read more