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MongoDB Becomes Less Affero GPL-Like

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Server
OSS
Legal
  • Fed up with cloud giants ripping off its database, MongoDB forks new open-source license

    After Redis Labs relicensed the modules it developed to complement its open-source database, from AGPL to Apache v2.0 with a Commons Clause, the free-software community expressed dismay.

    And, inevitably, some responded by forking the affected code.

    Today, the maker of another open source database, MongoDB, plans to introduce a license of its own to deal with the issue cited by Redis: cloud service providers that sell hosted versions of open-source programs – such as Redis and MongoDB database servers – without offering anything in return.

    "Once an open source project becomes interesting or popular, it becomes too easy for the cloud vendors to capture all the value and give nothing back to the community," said Dev Ittycheria, CEO of MongoDB, in a phone interview with The Register.

    Ittycheria pointed to cloud service providers such as Alibaba, Tencent, and Yandex. Those companies, he claims, are testing the boundaries of the AGPL by benefiting from the work of others while failing to share their code.

  • MongoDB switches up its open-source license

    MongoDB is a bit miffed that some cloud providers — especially in Asia — are taking its open-source code and offering a hosted commercial version of its database to their users without playing by the open-source rules. To combat this, MongoDB today announced it has issued a new software license, the Server Side Public License (SSPL), that will apply to all new releases of its MongoDB Community Server, as well as all patch fixes for prior versions.

    Previously, MongoDB used the GNU AGPLv3 license, but it has now submitted the SSPL for approval from the Open Source Initiative.

  • MongoDB license could push open source deeper into cloud: Is this what industry needs?

    Things just got serious in open source land. Despite the occasional Commons Clause or Fair Source licensing attempt to change the meaning of the words "open source" to include "the right for a private company to make money from its open source efforts," we've stuck to the Open Source Definition, and it has served us well. Open source communities have become the center of the innovation universe, giving us exceptional code like Linux, Kubernetes, Apache Kafka, and more.

  • It's MongoDB's turn to change its open source license

    The old maxim that the nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from could well apply to open source licensing. While now nearing a couple years old, the last WhiteSource Software survey of the top 10 open source licenses found close competition between the GPL, MIT, and Apache licenses. While the commercial-friendly Apache license has dominated the world of big data platforms and AI frameworks, MIT and GPL (which has "copyleft" provisions requiring developers to contribute back all modifications and enhancements) continues to be popular. GPL and variants such as the AGPL have been popular amongst vendors that seek to control their own open source projects, like MongoDB.

  • Matthew Garrett: Initial thoughts on MongoDB's new Server Side Public License

    MongoDB just announced that they were relicensing under their new Server Side Public License. This is basically the Affero GPL except with section 13 largely replaced with new text, as follows:

    "If you make the functionality of the Program or a modified version available to third parties as a service, you must make the Service Source Code available via network download to everyone at no charge, under the terms of this License. Making the functionality of the Program or modified version available to third parties as a service includes, without limitation, enabling third parties to interact with the functionality of the Program or modified version remotely through a computer network, offering a service the value of which entirely or primarily derives from the value of the Program or modified version, or offering a service that accomplishes for users the primary purpose of the Software or modified version.

    “Service Source Code” means the Corresponding Source for the Program or the modified version, and the Corresponding Source for all programs that you use to make the Program or modified version available as a service, including, without limitation, management software, user interfaces, application program interfaces, automation software, monitoring software, backup software, storage software and hosting software, all such that a user could run an instance of the service using the Service Source Code you make available."

    MongoDB admit that this license is not currently open source in the sense of being approved by the Open Source Initiative, but say:"We believe that the SSPL meets the standards for an open source license and are working to have it approved by the OSI."

    At the broadest level, AGPL requires you to distribute the source code to the AGPLed work[1] while the SSPL requires you to distribute the source code to everything involved in providing the service. Having a license place requirements around things that aren't derived works of the covered code is unusual but not entirely unheard of - the GPL requires you to provide build scripts even if they're not strictly derived works, and you could probably make an argument that the anti-Tivoisation provisions of GPL3 fall into this category.

New Paper From Mark Shuttleworth and Eben Moglen

Filed under
Ubuntu
Legal
  • Automotive Software Governance and Copyleft

    The Software Freedom Law Center is proud to make available a whitepaper by Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, Ltd., and Eben Moglen, Founding Director of the Software Freedom Law Center and Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. The whitepaper shows how new capabilities in the free and open source software stack enable highly regulated and sensitive industrial concerns to take advantage of the full spectrum of modern copyleft software.

    Software embedded in physical devices now determines how almost everything – from coffee pots and rice cookers to oil tankers and passenger airplanes – works. Safety and security, efficiency and repairability, fitness for purpose and adaptability to new conditions of all the physical products that we make and use now depend on our methods for developing, debugging, maintaining, securing and servicing the software embedded in them.

  • SFLC: Automotive Software Governance and Copyleft

    The Software Freedom Law Center has announced the availability of a whitepaper [PDF] about automotive software and copyleft, written by Mark Shuttleworth and Eben Moglen. At its core, it's an advertisement for Ubuntu and Snap, but it does look at some of the issues involved.

Open Invention Network is a Proponent of Software Patents -- Just Like Microsoft -- and Microsoft Keeps Patents It Uses to Blackmail Linux Vendors

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Linux
Microsoft
Legal

OIN loves Microsoft; OIN loves software patents as well. So Microsoft’s membership in OIN is hardly a surprise and it’s not solving the main issue either, as Microsoft can indirectly sue and “Microsoft has not included any patents they might hold on exfat into the patent non-aggression pact,” according to Bradley M. Kuhn

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​Redis Labs and Common Clause attacked where it hurts: With open-source code

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OSS
Legal

After Redis Labs added a new license clause, Commons Clause, on top of popular open-source, in-memory data structure store Redis, open-source developers were mad as hell. Now, instead of just ranting about it, some have counterattacked by starting a project, GoodFORM, to fork the code in question.

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Vember Audio’s Surge Plug-in Liberated Under GNU GPLv3

Filed under
GNU
OSS
Legal
  • Surge Synth Set Free

    Vember Audio tells us that, as of 21th September 2018, Surge stopped being a commerical product and became an open-source project released under the GNU GPL v3 license. They say that, for the existing users, this will allow the community to make sure that it remains compatible as plug-in standards and Operating Systems evolve and, for everyone else, it is an exiting new free synth to use, hack, port, improve or do whatever you want with.

  • Vember Audio’s Surge synth plugin is now free and open-source

    Reviewing Vember Audio’s Surge synth over a decade ago, we said: “This is a big, beautiful-sounding instrument. It's not cheap, but few plugins of this quality are.” Well, the sound hasn’t changed, but the price has; in fact, Surge has just been made free and open-source.

    Thanks to its wavetable oscillators and FM-style algorithms, Surge is capable of creating some pretty sparkling sounds, but it also has analogue-style functions that make it suitable for producing vintage keyboard tones.

    Vember Audio says that it’s been set free so that it can continue to be developed by the community and remain compatible with current standards and operating systems.

The Software Freedom Conservancy on GPLv2 irrevocability

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Legal

For anybody who has been concerned by the talk from a few outsiders about revoking GPL licensing, this new section in the Software Freedom Conservancy's copyleft guide is worth a read.

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My code of conduct

Filed under
Linux
Legal

There are many “code of conduct” documents. Often they differ a lot. I have my own and it is probably the shortest one:

Do not be an asshole. Respect the others.

Simple. I do not care which gender people have when I speak with them (ok, may stare at your boobs or butt once) nor their sexual preferences. Colour of the skin does not matter as most of my friends I first met online without knowing anything about them. Political stuff? As long as we can be friends and do not discuss it I am fine. Etc etc.

It works on conferences. And in projects where I am/was involved.

Someone may say that part of it was shaped by working for corporation (is Red Hat corpo?) due to all those no harassment regulations and trainings. I prefer to think that it is more of how I was raised by parents, family and society.

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FOSS, standard essential patents and FRAND in the European Union

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OSS
Legal

As part of the research project on “The Interaction between Open Source Software and FRAND licensing in Standardisation”, a workshop was organised by the European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC) in collaboration with Directorate General Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CONNECT) to present and discuss the intermediate results to date. The workshop took place in Brussels on September 18, 2018. I presented a set of observations from the research on the case studies performed as part of the project that are outlined below. Other speakers where Catharina Maracke on the issue of legal compliance between Open Source and FRAND licenses, Bruce Perens on “Community Dynamics in Open Source”, and Andy Updegrove on “Dynamics in Standardisation”.

You may ask what the relevance of this debate is for the wider Free and Open Source Software community. The obvious answer is that to distribute software “without restriction”, the user needs all the usage rights associated with the program. While most FOSS contributors assume that this is naturally the central motivation for anybody to contribute in the first place, there is a long history of attempts to maintain some sort of exclusive control over a piece of FOSS code, possibly using other rights than copyright.

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The Commons Clause causes open-source disruption

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OSS
Legal

Redis Labs tried to legally stop cloud providers from abusing its trademark, but found it difficult because of the legal resources and budgets these giant companies have.

So the company took another route and decided to change the licenses of certain open-source Redis add-ons with the Commons Clause. This change sparked huge controversy within the community with many stating that Redis was no longer open source.

“We were the first significant company to adopt this and announce it in such a way that we got most of the heat from the community on this one,” said Bengal.

The reason for the uproar is because the Commons Clause is meant to add “restrictions” that limit or prevent the selling of open-source software to the Open Source Initiative’s approved open-source licenses.

“ … ‘Sell’ means practicing any or all of the rights granted to you under the License to provide to third parties, for a fee or other consideration (including without limitation fees for hosting or consulting/ support services related to the Software), a product or service whose value derives, entirely or substantially, from the functionality of the Software. Any license notice or attribution required by the License must also include this Commons Clause License Condition notice,” the Commons Clause website states.

According to the OSI, this directly violates item six of its open-source definition in which it states no discrimination against fields of endeavor. “The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research,” the definition explains.

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Is the ‘commons clause’ a threat to open source?

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OSS
Legal

There are discussions on various forums regarding this clause with conflicting views. So, I will try to give my views on this.

Opposers of the clause believe a software becomes propriety on applying commons clause. This means that any service created from the original software remains the intellectual property of the original company to sell.

The fear is that this would discourage the community from contributing to open-source projects with a commons clause attached since the new products made will remain with the company. Only they will be able to monetize it if they choose to do so.

On the one hand, companies that make millions of dollars from open source software and giving anything back is not in line with the ethos of open source software. But on the other hand, smaller startups and individual contributors get penalized by this clause too.

What if small companies contribute to a large open source project and want to use the derived product for their growth? They can’t anymore if the commons clause is applied to the project they contributed to. It is also not right to think that a contributor deserves 50% of the profits if a company makes millions of dollars using their open source project.

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Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish and More

  • Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish is officially out. Here’s what you need to know
    It is late October and Ubuntu’s xx.10 release is here, this year; Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish. The previous release, Ubuntu 18.04 was an LTS version meaning it will get security patches and support for the next 4 years, and has since enjoyed really good reviews. 6 months later, Cosmic Cuttlefish is here, hoping to one-up that legacy. But does it have what it takes to do so? What does it bring to the table?
  • Intel's Hades Canyon NUC And Ubuntu Linux 18.10 Are Perfect Together
    In general, Linux kernel 4.18 seems to offer vast improvements for Hades Canyon NUC and specifically AMD's Radeon Vega M graphics hardware. I've seen reports of success from Arch and Fedora users who've upgraded, so it's wonderful news that slick devices like the Hades Canyon NUC -- and by extension future products featuring Radeon Vega M graphics -- should be well supported going forward.

Servers and Databases: PASE Versus ILE, Cassandra and More

  • PASE Versus ILE: Which Is Best For Open Source?
    Open source has emerged as a driver of innovation in the past 20 years, and has greatly accelerated technological innovation. The proprietary IBM i platform has also benefited from this trend, thanks in large part to the capability to run Linux applications in the PASE runtime. But some members of the IBM i community are concerned that the fruits of the open source innovation have not tasted quite as sweet as they do on other platforms. Linux was the original breakout star in open source software, and so it should be no surprise that the vast majority of software developed with the open source method is designed to run on the Linux operating system and associated open source componentry, including the Apache Web Server, MySQL database, and PHP, the so-called LAMP stack (although you can substitute other pieces, like the Postgres and MariaDB databases and languages like Perl, Python, and Node.js to create other clever acronyms). The IBM i operating system can run Linux applications through PASE, the AIX runtime that IBM brought to OS/400 so many years ago. Getting Linux applications to run on PASE requires that they’re first ported to AIX, which is often not too much work, since Linux is a variant of Unix, just like AIX.
  • How Instagram is scaling its infrastructure across the ocean
    To prevent quorum requests from going across the ocean, we're thinking about partitioning our dataset into two parts: Cassandra_EU and Cassandra_US. If European users' data stores are in the Cassandra_EU partition, and U.S. users' data stores are in the Cassandra_US partition, users' requests won't need to travel long distances to fetch data. For example, imagine there are five data centers in the United States and three data centers in the European Union. If we deploy Cassandra in Europe by duplicating the current clusters, the replication factor will be eight and quorum requests must talk to five out of eight replicas. If, however, we can find a way to partition the data into two sets, we will have a Cassandra_US partition with a replication factor of five and a Cassandra_EU partition with a replication factor of three—and each can operate independently without affecting the others. In the meantime, a quorum request for each partition will be able to stay in the same continent, solving the round-trip latency issue.
  • Two software companies, fed up with Amazon, Alibaba and other big cloud players, have a controversial new plan to fight back
    Every year, large cloud companies like Amazon rake in billions of dollars— but some of their most popular cloud services comes from repackaging software projects created by other, smaller companies. Amazon is repackaging what's known as "open source" software, which is software that is given away for free, meaning Amazon has every legal right to use it in this way. For instance, since 2013, Amazon had been offering the open-source database Redis as part of a popular cloud service called ElastiCache.
  • Running Your Own Database-as-a-Service with the Crunchy PostgreSQL Operator
    One reason why enterprises adopt open source software is to help free themselves from vendor lock-in. Cloud providers can offer open source “as-a-service” solutions that allow organizations to take advantage of open source solutions, but this in turn has can create a new type of trap: infrastructure lock-in. Many organizations have adopted Kubernetes to give themselves flexibility in where they can deploy their services in the cloud, without being locked into one provider. Some people express concerns that this instead creates “Kubernetes lock-in,” but because Kubernetes is open source and has both widespread support and active development, it should be no different than adopting Linux as your operating system.

Latest About GNU/Linux Software on Chromebooks

  • Linux Apps Coming To MediaTek-Powered Chromebooks Like The Acer R13
    Google made no mention of Linux apps on Chrome OS at last week’s hardware event in New York. I was a little surprised considering the fact that the Pixel Slate and Chrome OS saw nearly as much stage time as the Pixel phone that brought most of the media to Manhattan. [...] Unfortunately, the Chromebook R13 was quickly overshadowed by new flagships from Samsung and ASUS that featured more powerful processors and various features that made them more appealing to consumers. It was a sad happenstance for the Acer Chromebook because honestly, it is still a great device two years later. Seeing Google bring Linux apps to this device could breath much-needed new life into this model.
  • Linux app support coming to MediaTek-based Chromebooks
    Linux apps have arrived in the Chrome OS stable channel, but not all Chromebooks have access to them. The Linux container requires some kernel features that won't be backported to several models, but now Google is bringing the feature to a handful of MediaTek-based Chromebooks. Chrome Unboxed discovered a commit that enables Linux app support for the "oak" platform, which a number of Chromebooks were based on.
  • Linux apps on Chrome OS: An easy-to-follow guide
    The software that started out as a strictly web-centric entity — with everything revolving around the Chrome browser and apps that could operate inside it — is now one of modern computing's most versatile operating systems. Contemporary Chromebooks still run all the standard web-based stuff, of course, but they're also capable of connecting to Google's entire Play Store and running almost any Android app imaginable. And if that isn't enough, many models have recently gained the ability to run Linux apps as well.

Latest Lime SDR board builds on Raspberry Pi CM3

The open spec, 125 x 65mm LimeNET Micro is Lime’s first fully embedded SDR board, featuring the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, MAX 10 FPGA, u-blox GNSS, RF transceiver, Ethernet with PoE, and optional enclosures. UK-based Lime Microsystems has returned to Crowd Supply to launch its first fully autonomous, embedded software defined radio (SDR) platform, and the first to include integrated PoE and GNSS. The successfully funded LimeNET Micro is available through Dec. 6, starting at $269, including the integrated Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, with shipments due Feb. 25, 2019. Other packages add enclosures and omni-directional antennas. Read more