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Gnome Calendar and Miguel de Icaza

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Can commercial companies sue an open source project like Gnome for patents rights? I had this question till I asked Karen Sandler (Executive Director of Gnome) which she is lawyer.

All patents can apply to anything, just about! The system’s pretty  terrible. (You might want to watch patent absurdity While for profit companies can sue nonprofits, it’s not a very appealing thing for them to do and would probably make them look bad. Which doesn’t mean they can’t do it, it’d just less likely that they will.

The big body of free software that we’ve been creating, on the other hand, can limit the kinds of things that those companies can claim patent protection on, so the more we create and document it well, the better off we all are. There are a number of different views on this, including promoting defensive patent licensing schemes and patent pools like OIN.

Debian published an FAQ that was written by SFLC which might be a good starting point: You can also read more at and there’s a section of SFLC’s legal primer about patents at

Gnome Calendar is at version 0.2 at the moment and nothing it really works. Even if it is to early to “review” Gnome Calendar is a nice example of what Gnome Founder Miguel de Icaza has said:

“Every piece of software written today is likely going to infringe on someone else’s patent”

If you do something different they might blame you that you re-invent the wheel; if you do something similar, they might blame you that you just copy others. Of course there isn’t such thing as black and white and I can’t really understand this persistence of some people with Gnome and Apple – see? Gnome also copies Google!

Everyone copies everyone ..and if you’re positive, you can say that people share ideas :)

Calendar integration with Contacts wireframe

 Calendar in Gnome Live!

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  • foobar

    I can’t wait for calendar anymore. Google calendar is currently the only good calendar app out there. Copying parts of it is the way to go.

    It’s good to see evolution being replaced by simpler & separated applications. I think all those old fashioned group ware applications failed. They feel big, clumsy and exaggerative. A set of small and simple application covering the whole scope of groupware which are working together should be much more enjoyable to use.

    Thank you for the screencast. I’d appreciate it if you could slow down your mouse-moves and add short breaks after each move to allow us to let sink in gui-changes and interactions. I can barely read the text in some popups without pausing the video.

    • alex285

      GS video recording changes frame rate, it doesn’t rec smoothly, but I ll try to make it more slow next time!

      • foobar

        Thanks a lot.

    • David Gomes

      Have you tried Maya? It’s the calendar on elementary OS. It’s *just* a calendar, and it’s pretty advanced compared to Gnome Calendar.

      • alex285

        There isn’t Gnome Calendar yet to compare it with Maya :)
        But on their design page, they are planning some cool features for it.

      • foobar

        (I should register my account to get notification for response)

        Thank you for the hint. But I think I’m going to wait for the gnome calendar. Contact and GOA integration + a visual accordance is worth to live another release without proper organisation.

        But Maya definitely looks like a nice peace of software.

  • ScionicSpectre

    If you take a good idea someone had and implement it in a smarter, more consistent way, I wouldn’t really call that copying so much as innovating.

  • Timo

    It’s ridiculous to call every improvement “copy”. OF COURSE IT USES EXISTING IDEAS. That’s why it’s called improvement.
    And the linux desktop is in dire need of a well done calendar application. Because webapps don’t work offline. Not even the google one. Not even in Chrome. And it doesn’t play nice with contacts. But it syncs to my android. If online.
    Calendar: Must work as smoothly as google’s webapp and sync to everything. If lacking in either of those areas one might as well use the google one.
    Priority: (Works + Syncs) > offline functionality > contacts, mail and system integration > looks good

    I might be a bit last millennium, but I prefer to not be online-dependant.

    • Craig

      You’re not alone. Big companies are trying to shove the “cloud” down my throat but it isn’t superior in any way shape or form, it’s just harder to pirate, hence their motivation. As someone who hates proprietary software and the nasty issues it causes, I couldn’t care less about the cloud, at least not when it comes to basic, personal things like calendars.

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