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The GPL in Layman’s Terms - Free as in What?

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Linux
Legal

Through the glazed-over eyes of friends and family, past that painful look of well-intended but feigned interest, I can clearly see a fundamental lack of understanding about this free software I’m constantly going on about.

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via DMT/Linux Blog

Licensing FUD and Licensing Advice

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Legal
  • On the Law and Your Open Source License [Ed: Black Duck is just a parasite selling proprietary software by bashing FOSS]

    "Looking back five or ten years, companies managing open source risk were squarely focused on license risk associated with complying with open source licenses," notes a report from Black Duck Software. Fast-forward to today, and the rules and processes surrounding open source licensing are more complex than ever.

  • Explaining the source code requirement in AGPLv3

    This condition was intended to apply mainly to what would now be considered SaaS deployments, although the reach of "interacting remotely through a computer network" should perhaps be read to cover situations going beyond conventional SaaS. The objective was to close a perceived loophole in the ordinary GPL in environments where users make use of functionality provided as a web service, but no distribution of the code providing the functionality occurs. Hence, Section 13 provides an additional source code disclosure requirement beyond the object code distribution triggered requirement contained in GPLv2 Section 3 and GPLv3 and AGPLv3 Section 6.

7 notable legal developments in open source in 2016

Filed under
OSS
Legal

A number of interesting and notable legal developments in open source took place in 2016.

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Latest Black Duck Attack on Free/Open Source Software

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OSS
Security
Legal
  • M&A deals imperilled by failure to manage open source software risk, says expert [Ed: As is so common these days, today it's Microsoft's proxy Black Duck attacking FOSS and trying to scare people]
  • Open Source: Know It Before You Embrace It [Ed: By Josh Software, not Black Duck FUD about security and licences]

    Open source has already taken the world by storm. Businesses from across industries are embracing it. Earlier open source was just a tiny revolutionary idea that was not given any hope, but it has now become not just mainstream but possibly the only stream. The world has realized its importance and benefits over other closed source languages and tools. More importantly, start-ups have started embracing open source whole heartedly to gain an edge over their competitors. But the question is, how are they utilizing it to their advantage and how is it benefiting them?

FOSS Licensing

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • [Older] Licensing resource series: License Violations and Compliance
  • [Older] The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews Micah Lee of GPG Sync

    This is the latest installment of our Licensing and Compliance Lab's series on free software developers who choose GNU licenses for their work. In this edition, we conducted an email-based interview with Micah Lee of GPG Sync.

    GPG Sync is a recently launched project for managing the sharing of GPG keys, particularly within an organization. Micah Lee made the project internally at First Look Media and has now shared it with the world.

  • Apache and the JSON license

    The JSON license is a slightly modified variant of the MIT license, but that variation has led it to be rejected as a free-software or open-source license by several organizations. The change is a simple—rather innocuous at some level—addition of one line: "The Software shall be used for Good, not Evil.". Up until recently, code using the JSON license was acceptable for Apache projects, but that line and the ambiguity it engenders was enough for Apache to put it on the list of disallowed licenses.

    At the end of October, Ted Dunning brought up the license on the Apache legal-discuss mailing list. He suggested that classifying the JSON license as acceptable (i.e. on the list of Category A licenses) was an "erroneous decision". That decision was made, he said, "apparently based on a determination that the no-evil clause was 'clearly a joke'". He pointed to a thread from 2008 where a "lazy consensus" formed that the "not evil" condition did not preclude Apache projects from using the license.

Open Source Software A Core Competency For Effective Tech M&A

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OSS
Legal

Imagine your company just acquired its competitor for $100 million. Now imagine the company’s most important asset – its proprietary software – is subject to third-party license conditions that require the proprietary software to be distributed free of charge or in source code form. Or, imagine these license conditions are discovered late in the diligence process, and the cost to replace the offending third-party software will costs tens of thousands of dollars and take months to remediate. Both scenarios exemplify the acute, distinct and often overlooked risks inherent to the commercial use of open source software. An effective tech M&A attorney must appreciate these risks and be prepared to take the steps necessary to mitigate or eliminate them.

Over the past decade, open source software has become a mainstay in the technology community. Since its beginnings, open source software has always been viewed as a way to save money and jumpstart development projects, but it is increasingly being looked to for its quality solutions and operational advantages. Today, only a fraction of technology companies do not use open source software in any way. For most of the rest, it is mission critical.

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Microsoft & Linux & Patents & Tweets

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft
Legal

Fact-checking some tweets about Linux Foundation’s newest member and their harvesting of other members’ money.

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Also: Microsoft Loves Linux Patent Tax

FOSS CMS News

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • Newly Redesigned Boston.gov Just Went Open Source

    Boston is open sourcing its municipal website, three months after redesigning Boston.gov.

    Taking the source code public, a move overseen by the city’s Digital Team, will speed the rate at which the site evolves through the addition of new features developed by local software designers, academic institutions and organizations.

  • WordPress attacks Wix, and Wix strikes back
  • The WordPress-Wix Dispute
  • The Price Of GPL [Ed: hatred of the GPL]

    Wix’s CEO, Avishai Abrahami, responded with a round of non-sequiturs that carefully evade the point that his product is built from source code for which they have not paid. One of his engineers equally misses the point, focusing on the circumstances surrounding the violation, rather than taking responsibility for the theft.

    Some will take issue with the use of strong words like “stolen code,” and “theft,” with respect to a GPL violation. But that’s exactly what it is: software has been taken and deployed in Wix’s product, but the price for doing so has not been paid.

    [...]

    Many developers understand, and view the price of GPL as perfectly justified, while others (myself included) find it unacceptable. So what am I supposed to do? Not use any GPL source code at all in any of my proprietary products? Exactly. Because the price of GPL is too much for me, and I don’t steal source code.

FOSS Licensing

Filed under
GNU
OSS
Legal
  • Conservancy Promotes Transparency by Publishing Template Agreements for Linux Compliance Program

    Today at the Linux Plumbers Conference, Software Freedom Conservancy hosts its second feedback session on the GPL Compliance Program for Linux Developers. These sessions, which Conservancy is hosting at relevant events over the next year and summarizing for public review, will seek input and ideas from the Linux community about GPL enforcement, answer questions, and plan strategies to deal with GPL enforcement actions that do not follow Conservancy and FSF's Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement.

  • Eben Moglen on GPL Compliance and Building Communities: What Works

    Software Freedom Law Center, the pro-bono law firm led by Eben Moglen, Professor of law at Columbia Law School and the world's foremost authority on Free and Open Source Software law held its annual fall conference at Columbia Law School, New York on Oct. 28. The full-day program featured technical and legal presentations on Blockchain, FinTech, Automotive FOSS and GPL Compliance by industry and community stalwarts.

    The program culminated in remarks by Moglen that highlighted the roles of engagement and education in building effective, ever-lasting communities. While expressing his gratitude to his colleague, friend and comrade Richard M. Stallman, Moglen emphasized the positive message relayed by Greg Kroah-Hartman and Theodore Ts'o --earlier in the day-- for creating win-win solutions and spreading users' freedom.

  • Freedom In Moderation [Ed: Freedom insistence (in software) equated with “extremism”, worse a term than “purism”]

    I must define some terminology in case readers are unfamiliar. Free software is defined by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) as software that carries four fundamental freedoms: the freedom to run the program for any purpose, the to study and change it, to redistribute unmodified copies, and to redistribute modified copies. The “free” refers not to price but to freedom, and is sometimes called “libre”, from the same Latin root as “liberate”.

    The Free Software Foundation has been campaigning for “users’ freedom” since 1985. They advocate for the release of software under licenses they approve that give users those freedoms. Some of their notable successes include the GNU project, which develops various low-level and mid-level system tools, and their Defective By Design campaign to oppose digital rights management (DRM).

Distributing encryption software may break the law

Filed under
OSS
Security
Legal

Developers, distributors, and users of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) often face a host of legal issues which they need to keep in mind. Although areas of law such as copyright, trademark, and patents are frequently discussed, these are not the only legal concerns for FOSS. One area that often escapes notice is export controls. It may come as a surprise that sharing software that performs or uses cryptographic functions on a public website could be a violation of U.S. export control law.

Export controls is a term for the various legal rules which together have the effect of placing restrictions, conditions, or even wholesale prohibitions on certain types of export as a means to promote national security interests and foreign policy objectives. Export control has a long history in the United States that goes back to the Revolutionary War with an embargo of trade with Great Britain by the First Continental Congress. The modern United States export control regime includes the Department of State's regulations covering export of munitions, the Treasury Department's enforcement of United States' foreign embargoes and sanctions regimes, and the Department of Commerce's regulations applying to exports of "dual-use" items, i.e. items which have civil applications as well as terrorism, military, or weapons of mass destruction-related applications.

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More in Tux Machines

Canonical Patches Nvidia Graphics Drivers Vulnerability in All Ubuntu Releases

It's time to update your Ubuntu Linux operating system if you have a Nvidia graphics card running the Nvidia Legacy 340 or 304 binary X.Org drivers provided on the official software repositories. Read more

Long-term Embedded Linux Maintenance andd New Device From CompuLab

  • Long-term Embedded Linux Maintenance Made Easier
    The good old days when security breaches only happened to Windows folk are fading fast. Malware hackers and denial of service specialists are increasingly targeting out of date embedded Linux devices, and fixing Linux security vulnerabilities was the topic of several presentations at the Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELCE) in October. One of the best attended was “Long-Term Maintenance, or How to (Mis-)Manage Embedded Systems for 10+ Years” by Pengutronix kernel hacker Jan Lübbe. After summarizing the growing security threats in embedded Linux, Lübbe laid out a plan to keep long-life devices secure and fully functional. “We need to move to newer, more stable kernels and do continuous maintenance to fix critical vulnerabilities,” said Lübbe. “We need to do the upstreaming and automate processes, and put in place a sustainable workflow. We don’t have any more excuses for leaving systems in the field with outdated software.”
  • CompuLab Has Upgraded Their Small Form Factor "IPC" Line To Kabylake
    HARDWARE -- Our friends and Linux-friendly PC vendor, CompuLab, have announced a new "IPC" line-up of their small form factor computers now with Intel Kabylake processors. In the past on Phoronix we tested CompuLab's Intense-PC (IPC) and then the IPC2 with Haswell processors, among other innovative PCs from CompuLab. Now they are rolling out the IPC3 with Intel's latest Kabylake processors.
  • Fanless mini-PC runs Linux Mint on Kaby Lake
    Compulab launched a rugged “IPC3” mini-PC that runs Linux on dual-core, 7th Gen Core i7/i5 CPUs, and also debuted three GbE-equipped FACE expansion modules. Compulab has opened pre-orders starting at $693 for the first mini-PCs we’ve seen to offer the latest, 14nm-fabricated 7th Generation Intel Core “Kaby Lake” processors. The passively cooled, 190 x 160 x 40mm IPC3 (Intense PC 3), which is available in up to industrial temperature ranges, follows two generations of similarly sized IPC2 mini-PCs. There’s the still available, 4th Gen “Haswell” based IPC2 from 2014 and the apparently discontinued 5th Gen “Broadwell” equipped IPC2 from 2015.
  • Compulab IPC3 is a tiny, fanless PC with Intel Kaby Lake CPU
    Compulab is an Israeli company that makes small, fanless computers for home or commercial use. The company’s latest mini PC aimed at enterprise/industrial usage is called the IPC3, and it has a die-cast aluminum case with built-in heat sinks for passive cooling and measures about 7.4″ x 6.3″ x 1.6″.

Games for GNU/Linux

  • Imperium Galactica II: Alliances released for Linux & SteamOS, seems native too
    Imperium Galactica II: Alliances [GOG, Steam] just released for Linux & SteamOS and it looks like it's a native version. Note: My friends at GOG sent over a copy, so big thanks to them. There's no sign of DOSBox or Wine and I had no idea this game had ever been ported to Linux. Pretty awesome really for a game like this to get a proper Linux build when it gets a new release.
  • Nearly five years after the Kickstarter, Carmageddon still isn’t on Linux despite the stretch goal being reached
    The problem here, for me, is that they later did a revamp of the title called Carmageddon: Max Damage. This was to fix some problems, boost sales again and port it to consoles. Carmageddon: Max Damage also never made it to Linux. Fun fact, they actually released a trailer where they just run over a ton of penguins, make from that what you will: Not saying this was trolling the entire Linux gaming community, but it sure felt like it after their previous trolling attempts directed at our official Twitter account.
  • Valve Rolls Out New Steam Client Stable Update with Promised Linux Changes, More
    Today Valve announced the availability of a new stable update of the Steam Client for all supported platforms, including the company's SteamOS operating system for Steam Machines, as well as GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows. Bringing all the new features during the Beta stages of development, the new Steam Client update improves the interaction between the Steam runtime and your GNU/Linux distribution's libraries. This is a huge and long-anticipated milestone for the Steam Client, which, unfortunately, did not work out-of-the-box on all Linux-based operating systems.

Robolinux 8.7.1 Linux OS Is Out and It's Based on Debian GNU/Linux 8.7 "Jessie"

The developers of the Robolinux GNU/Linux distribution have announced today, January 18, 2017, the release and immediate availability of a new stable update based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 8 "Jessie" operating system series. Still offering a free installer, the Robolinux 8.7.1 "Raptor" edition is now available for download with the usual Cinnamon, MATE 3D, Xfce 3D, and LXDE flavors. It's based on the recently released Debian GNU/Linux 8.7.1 "Jessie" operating system, which means that it ships with its newest Linux 3.16 kernel and over 170 bug fixes and security patches. The GRUB bootloader and login screens have been refreshed too. Read more