Open Source

New Linux kernel release and brewing legal battles vs. Microsoft?

This week Linux released version 2.6.33 of its kernel with a few improvements and an interesting move of dumping Android support. Also, what legal battles could be brewing with Microsoft?

The first Linux Kernel release of 2010 came out this week, and while there weren't any flashy new features, it does add some improvements to graphics drivers that many users will appreciate:

Nouveau is an open source graphics driver for Nvidia graphics cards that's been built by open source developers — that is, Nvidia didn't contribute the driver code, but rather, it was reverse engineered by the open source community.

Other news with the release of 2.6.33 is that the kernel developers are dropping support for Android, finding that the original authors of the drivers have dropped them and no longer want them in the mainline Linux kernel. If you want to know the technical reasons given for this move, see the linux kernel monkey blog for details.

Call the lawyers

If you're interested in following the latest in all the Microsoft-Linux wrangling, you might want to read Matt Ansay's post, "When will Microsoft sue Google over Linux?" Ansay recaps Microsoft's Intellectual Property claims against Linux, their ongoing patent cross-licensing agreements (most recently with Amazon), and wonders if their IP case is strong enough (I detect a high degree of skepticism) to lead them to sue Google:

Microsoft can't afford to take on a party with a big vested interest in Linux, just as it can't afford to sue the entire planet, which has moved to Linux en masse, from the U.S. government to every single company in the Fortune 500. Microsoft has lost the war. It's trying to pick up pennies at the edge of a few battles, and hoping to raise the price of Linux above $0.00.

With Italian courts convicting Google executives for the content of random video uploaded to Youtube.com, I guess anything is possible in the world of litigation.

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Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

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