Last changed: $generalUtil.formatDateTime( $blog.lastModificationDate ) by greg
While there is some merit to Blackboard's pledge, it still falls short, not protecting all those who provide services in support of open source systems. In particular, it fails to protect those who develop extensions or customizations for open source systems who might also offer other support services, and it fails to protect internet service providers who might offer any of these open source systems along with proprietary software as part of an applications package for their clients.
The pledge does not protect other currently available open source systems not in their list of protected initiatives. Allowing Blackboard to specify which open source systems can be legally used would essentially give them a level of control over public domain and open source learning systems software.
The restrictions in the pledge regarding bundling of open source software with other proprietary software are not compatible with the GNU General Public License (GPL), under which most open source learning management systems are made freely available to the public. Developers of proprietary software are free to "aggregate" open source software with their own for redistribution under the terms of the GPL license. Blackboard's pledge does nothing to prevent use of the patent to override this otherwise legal method of distribution and leaves both the open source developer and the proprietary company open to the risk of litigation.
Similarly, should an open source developer create proprietary software of their own, they could not distribute their own open source software along with it.
All that said however, the patent should not have been issued in the first place, given the evidence of prior art which includes all features Blackboard is claiming ownership over. We still believe the patent should be revoked, and thus the pledge would be rendered irrelevant.