Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Software Patents Versus Free Software (WordPress, MP3 Playback)

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • On React and WordPress

    Big companies like to bury unpleasant news on Fridays: A few weeks ago, Facebook announced they have decided to dig in on their patent clause addition to the React license, even after Apache had said it’s no longer allowed for Apache.org projects. In their words, removing the patent clause would "increase the amount of time and money we have to spend fighting meritless lawsuits."

    I'm not judging Facebook or saying they're wrong, it's not my place. They have decided it's right for them — it's their work and they can decide to license it however they wish. I appreciate that they've made their intentions going forward clear.

    A few years ago, Automattic used React as the basis for the ground-up rewrite of WordPress.com we called Calypso, I believe it's one of the larger React-based open source projects. As our general counsel wrote, we made the decision that we'd never run into the patent issue. That is still true today as it was then, and overall, we’ve been really happy with React. More recently, the WordPress community started to use React for Gutenberg, the largest core project we've taken on in many years. People's experience with React and the size of the React community — including Calypso — was a factor in trying out React for Gutenberg, and that made React the new de facto standard for WordPress and the tens of thousands of plugins written for WordPress.

    We had a many-thousand word announcement talking about how great React is and how we're officially adopting it for WordPress, and encouraging plugins to do the same. I’ve been sitting on that post, hoping that the patent issue would be resolved in a way we were comfortable passing down to our users.

    That post won't be published, and instead I'm here to say that the Gutenberg team is going to take a step back and rewrite Gutenberg using a different library. It will likely delay Gutenberg at least a few weeks, and may push the release into next year.

  • MP3 Is Dead! Long Live MP3!

    Back in May, there was an unexpected surge in press coverage about the MP3 audio file format. What was most unexpected about it was it all declared that the venerable file format is somehow “dead”. Why did that happen, and what lessons can we learn?

    What had actually happened was the last of the patents on the MP3 file format and encoding process have finally expired. Building on earlier work, it was developed by the Moving Pictures Expert Group (MPEG) built on the doctoral work of an engineer at Fraunhofer Institute in Germany. Many companies held patents on the standard and it was not until April that the last of them expired. There’s no easy way to ascertain whether a patent has expired even after the date one moght expect it, so the wave of news arose from announcements by Fraunhofer Institute.

    Framing this as an “ending” fits the narrative of corporate patent holders well, but does not really reflect the likely consequences. Naturally the patent holding companies would rather everyone “upgrade” to the newer AAC format, which is still encumbered under a mountain of patents necessitating licensing. But for open source software, the end of patent monopilies signals the beginning of new freedoms.

More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

Cryptography in Ubuntu 16.04 and GTK2 Demotion

  • Canonical Announces Certified FIPS 140-2 Cryptographic Packages for Ubuntu 16.04
    Canonical announced on Wednesday the availability of officially certified FIPS 140-2 cryptographic packages for the long-term supported Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system series through its Cryptographic Module Validation Program. Level 1 FIPS 140-2 cryptographic packages can now be purchased for your Ubuntu 16.04 LTS operating system through Canonical's Ubuntu Advantage service or as a separate, standalone product. Ubuntu Advantage subscribers can already find the FIPS-compliant modules in the Ubuntu Advantage private archive if they use Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) on their PCs.
  • GTK2 demotion
  • Ubuntu Developers Working Towards The Eventual Demotion Of GTK2
    Not only are Ubuntu developers working towards demoting Python 2 on their Linux distribution but they are also working on being able to demote the GTK2 tool-kit from the main archive to universe followed by its eventual removal in the future. Matthias Klose is hoping to organize more work towards this slow demotion process of GTK2 and ideally to get some of the issues cleared up ahead of the Ubuntu 18.04 Long-Term Support release in April.

SparkyLinux Operating System Launches for Raspberry Pi, Based on Debian Stretch

SparkyLinux developers have released the SparkyLinux 4.7 operating system for ARMhf hardware architectures supported on Raspberry Pi single-board computers. This is the first release of the Debian-based SparkyLinux operating system to come to the tiny Raspberry Pi SBCs, most probably supporting both Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3 single-board computers. The ARMhf port of SparkyLinux was in development for the last couple of months. Based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 9 "Stretch" operating system, SparkyLinux 4.7 for ARMhf includes all the Raspberry Pi scripts and packages, and it's distributed in two flavors, a graphical version using the lightweight Openbox window manager and a text-based Lite edition that lets you customize the OS as you see fit. Read more

Graphics: Radeon and Vulkan2

  • Radeon Overlay Is Similar To A Feature Mesa Offered For Years
    With yesterday's release of the Radeon Software Adrenalin driver for Windows, it actually picks up a feature that is roughly similar to something the open-source Radeon driver stack - and all of the Mesa's Gallium3D drivers for that matter - have offered for years.
  • Radeon GPU Profiler Updated For Better Profiling Of Vulkan Games
    Following yesterday's excitement around the Radeon Software Adrenalin Driver as well as word of AMD open-sourcing their Linux driver and making other Linux driver changes, AMD's GPUOpen team has announced the release of a new version of Radeon GPU Profiler.
  • Qualcomm Mentions "Vulkan2" & What I Would Suspect Of "Vulkan 2.0"
    During last week's Snapdragon Technology Summit, a few references to "Vulkan2" were dropped... Well, here's the official comment from Khronos on that as well as my thoughts on this hypothetical next version of Vulkan. Several Phoronix readers have pointed out (e.g.) references to "Vulkan2" in the context of the new Snapdragon 845 SoC announced at this year's Snapdragon Technology Summit. The Snapdragon 845 with Adreno 630 does mention "Vulkan2" support.