The Linux Foundation, Legally Speaking

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When OSDL and the Free Standards Group joined forces at the beginning of the year to form The Linux Foundation, one of the organization's stated goals was (and still is) to protect Linux, and by extension, its users and developers. Activities such as hosting Linux developers, participating in Open Source as Prior Art and Patent Commons projects, managing the Linux trademark, and providing legal services are included in the protect function, according to the organization's Web site.


With the arrival of GPL v3 and all of the questions surrounding it, as well as all of the activity around the Office Open XML standardization process, I'm sure the legal team has been hopping of late. But they're about to get a little busier. The Linux Foundation is preparing to host two legal summits, according to a recent announcement.


The first, for foundation members and their counsel by invitation only, will take place on October 25-26 in Boston, and will "focus on building a legal defense infrastructure for Linux and evolving intellectual property rights policies optimized to support open development models," the announcement says.


The second summit, slated for spring, will involve other members of the legal community working in a collaborative learning environment with LF member attorneys to gain practical guidance on open source software development and distribution.


According to Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin,

Many of today's legal conferences unnecessarily scare or confuse open source users, developers and vendors. The LF is able to provide a forum in which it can bring together its members' legal counsel as well as its own legal team to translate issues into the straight-forward matters they really are and to bring practical education to a wider audience.