Palm Faces Suit over Pre PDF Viewer

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Palm has found itself in a bit of legal trouble surrounding the WebOS PDF viewer to be found on its Pre smartphone, extending the laundry list of headaches that the company has had since it launched the Pre.

According to PCWorld, the issue stems from the manner in which Artifex Software has had its PDF engine licensed, a feature which seems, for the moment at least, to be a little up-in-the-air, at least where Palm is concerned. It seems that Artifex’s PDF rendering engine, muPDF, has been included in Palm’s WebOS, which is the source of all the bother for Palm.

Apparently, Artifex is generally quite happy to allow other companies to use its software as long as the entire application is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) if its PDF rendering software is used (as in Palm’s WebOS). Of course, in this case Palm has’t made its WebOS available under the GPL, and that’s causing enough fuss for Artifex to take Palm to court…

Perhaps strangest about this is not the fact that it comes amid so very many worries for Palm when it comes to the Pre (which seems to be the company’s biggest headache at the moment), nor that it follows the issues with RIM’s BlackBerry PDF reader being a potential security threat so closely, but that Microsoft has found itself in similar trouble quite recently too.

Microsoft recently had to remove its offering of downloadable copies of Windows 7 because with “Windows 7 Download Tool” turned out to contain a bundle of code from a GPL project that wasn’t licensed for commercial use, putting Microsoft in an awkward position. The software giant is currently still rewriting the download tool, but the delay means that users without optical drives are a touch stuck for a way to install Windows7 in the meantime.

You can read more about the Palm GPL/PDF reader kafuffle over at PCWorld.

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