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Legal

FOSS Licensing

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Legal
  • Making money from copylefted code

    I wanted to put this out there while I still have it fresh in my mind. Here at the copyleft BoF with Bradlely Kuhn at LAS GNOME. One of the biggest take away from this is something that Bryan Lunduke said that people are able to make money off from copyleft if we don’t actually brand it as free and open source software. So it seems that if we don’t advertise something as free or open source or that there is software available, then there is a decent chance that you can make money.

  • Help Send Conservancy to Embedded Linux Conference Europe

    Last month, Conservancy made a public commitment to attend Linux-related events to get feedback from developers about our work generally, and Conservancy's GPL Compliance Program for Linux Developers specifically. As always, even before that, we were regularly submitting talks to nearly any event with Linux in its name. As a small charity, we always request travel funding from the organizers, who are often quite gracious. As I mentioned in my blog posts about LCA 2016 and GUADEC 2016, the organizers covered my travel funding there, and recently both Karen and I both received travel funding to speak at LCA 2017 and DebConf 2016, as well as many other events this year.

  • Copyleft, attribution, and data: other considerations

    When looking at solutions, it is important to understand that the practical concerns I blogged about aren’t just theoretical — they matter in practice too. For example, Peter Desmet has done a great job showing how overreaching licenses make bullfrog maps (and other data combinations) illegal. Alex Barth of OpenStreetMap has also discussed how ODbL creates problems for OSM users (though he got some Wikipedia-related facts wrong). And I’ve spoken to very well-intentioned organizations (including thoughtful, impactful non-profits) scared off from OSM for similar reasons.

OSI Approved Licenses, a Foundation for Federal Source Code Policy

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OSS
Legal

The Federal Source Code memorandum includes a subject line that clearly communicates the federal government's commitment, "Achieving Efficiency, Transparency, and Innovation through Reusable and Open Source Software," and we applaud the OMB for their compressive work: introducing the benefits of open source software, development and communities to a bureaucracy often challenged to move away from traditional modes of practice and policy; engaging with the larger technology sector in a inclusive and comprehensive review of current, and potential future-states for software development and use within the government, and; actually delivering a policy that can serve as a foundation to build on.

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GNU/FSF/GPL

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GNU
Legal
  • Unifont 9.0.02 Released

    Unifont 9.0.02 is released. The package and related files can be downloaded at ftp://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/unifont/unifont-9.0.02/

  • GCC 7 To Continue Improving Debug Messages, More Helpful Assembly Output

    Early on LLVM's Clang compiler offered much better debugging / error messages than GCC but in the past few years the GNU Compiler Collection developers have been working on generating more helpful messages too.

  • The Last LinuxCon, MariaDB Goes Open Core & More… [Ed: And a day later publicly attacks the Conservancy over GPL compliance against VMware]

    Linus Torvalds being interviewed by VMware’s Dirk Hohndel on the last day of the last LinuxCon North America. Next year’s event in Los Angeles will be renamed Open Source Summit.

  • GPL compliance suit against VMware dismissed

    In a setback to the Christoph Hellwig's efforts to enforce the GPL on code that he wrote in the Linux kernel, his suit against VMware in Germany has been dismissed on procedural grounds. The court ruled that he had not provided enough specificity about the code he was claiming had been used by the company. The merits of the GPL and whether the two main parts of VMware's product constitute a derived work of the kernel were not even considered. There may be another chance for the court to do so, however, as Hellwig will appeal the dismissal.

GNU/Linux Leftovers

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GNU
Linux
Legal
  • World Wide Web became what it is thanks to Linux

    Linux is used to power the largest websites on the Internet, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay, and Wikipedia.

  • SFC's Kuhn in firing line as Linus Torvalds takes aim

    A few days after he mused that there had been no reason for him to blow his stack recently, Linux creator Linus Torvalds has directed a blast at the Software Freedom Conservancy and its distinguished technologist Bradley Kuhn over the question of enforcing compliance of the GNU General Public Licence.

    Torvalds' rant came on Friday, as usual on a mailing list and on a thread which was started by Software Freedom Conservancy head Karen Sandler on Wednesday last week. She suggested that Linuxcon in Toronto, held from Monday to Thursday, also include a session on GPL enforcement.

  • Linux at 25: A pictorial history

    Aug. 25 marks the 25th anniversary of Linux, the free and open source operating system that's used around the globe in smarphones, tablets, desktop PCs, servers, supercomputers, and more. Though its beginnings were humble, Linux has become the world’s largest and most pervasive open source software project in history. How did it get here? Read on for a look at some of the notable events along the way.

Having offended everyone else in the world, Linus Torvalds calls own lawyers a 'nasty festering disease'

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GNU
Linux
Legal

Coding curmudgeon Linus Torvalds has gone off on yet another rant: this time against his own lawyers and free software activist Bradley Kuhn.

On a mailing list about an upcoming Linux conference, a discussion about whether to include a session on the GPL that protects the open source operating system quickly devolved in an angry rant as its founder piled in.

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MariaDB Under Fire for Proprietary Curve

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OSS
Legal

FOSS Licensing

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • Which type of open source license do you prefer?
  • What is copyleft?

    While the GPL family are the most popular copyleft licenses, they are by no means the only ones. The Mozilla Public License and the Eclipse Public License are also very popular. Many other copyleft licenses exist with smaller adoption footprints.

    As explained in the previous section, a copyleft license means downstream projects cannot add additional restrictions on the use of the software. This is best illustrated with an example. If I wrote MyCoolProgram and distributed it under a copyleft license, you would have the freedom to use and modify it. You could distribute versions with your changes, but you'd have to give your users the same freedoms I gave you. If I had licensed it under a permissive license, you'd be free to incorporate it into a closed software project that you do not provide the source to.

    But just as important as what you must do with MyCoolProgram is what you don't have to do. You don't have to use the exact same license I did, so long as the terms are compatible (generally downstream projects use the same license for simplicity's sake). You don't have to contribute your changes back to me, but it's generally considered good form, especially when the changes are bug fixes.

  • Hellwig v. VMware Hits A Rock

    They wanted line by line evidence, not pointers to the lines. You’d think there would be a script for that…

BSD and GNU/GPL

Filed under
GNU
BSD
Legal
  • When BSD and Ubuntu meet on the dance floor, magic should happen

    Jack Wallen takes UbuntuBSD out for a dance to see if it can keep up with the competition. Find out if this new distribution stands a chance at surviving among the already challenging Linux landscape.

  • GPL enforcement action in Hellwig v. VMware dismissed, with an appeal expected

    A decision in the GPL enforcement case in Germany between Christoph Hellwig (supported by the Software Freedom Conservancy) and VMware recently became public. The court dismissed the case after concluding that Hellwig failed to identify in the VMware product the specific lines of code for which he owned copyright. The GPL interpretation question was not addressed. Hellwig has indicated that he will appeal the court’s decision.

  • GNU Tools Cauldron

    We are pleased to announce another gathering of GNU tools developers. The basic format of this meeting will be similar to the previous meetings. However this year the meeting will be immediately preceded by the first ever LLVM Cauldron.

    The purpose of this workshop is to gather all GNU tools developers, discuss current/future work, coordinate efforts, exchange reports on ongoing efforts, discuss development plans for the next 12 months, developer tutorials and any other related discussions.

FSF/GNU

Filed under
GNU
Legal
  • Christoph Hellwig's case against VMware dismissed

    The GPL-infringement case brought against VMware by Christoph Hellwig in Germany has been dismissed by the court; the ruling is available in German and English. The decision seems to be based entirely on uncertainty over where his copyrights actually lie and not on the infringement claims.

  • diffutils-3.4 released
  • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: August 12th
  • Licensing resource series: h-node hardware directory

    This is the second installment in the Free Software Foundation's Licensing & Compliance Lab's series highlighting licensing resources.

    While our Respects Your Freedom hardware certification program gets lots of attention from all the new fully free hardware being certified, the FSF has actually had more resources on hardware for quite some time. In the past, we maintained a list of hardware that worked well with free software. But a few years back we made this into a community run project, h-node.

    Hardware listed on h-node doesn't come with FSF certification, but it does come with the information users need to find out the extent to which the hardware is supported by fully free GNU/Linux distros. Members of the community can submit entries to h-node whenever they get a chance to test it against one of these free operating systems. By sharing this information, everyone can help more users to make the switch to a fully free system by making it easier to know what hardware already works perfectly with a free system. Hackers looking to help increase support can also find hardware with some remaining issues and direct their efforts there.

  • GNU dico Version 2.3

    Version 2.3 is available for download from the Main GNU site as well as from its home. Mirrors worldwide are also available.

  • GnuTLS 3.5.3

    Released GnuTLS 3.5.3, a minor enhancement and bug fix release in next stable branch.

On the boundaries of GPL enforcement

Filed under
GNU
Legal

Last October, the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) and Free Software Foundation (FSF) jointly published "The Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement". That document described what those organizations believe the goal of enforcement efforts should be and how those efforts should be carried out. Several other organizations endorsed the principles, including the netfilter project earlier this month. It was, perhaps, a bit puzzling that the project would make that endorsement at that time, but a July 19 SFC blog post sheds some light on the matter.

There have been rumblings for some time about a kernel developer doing enforcement in Germany that might not be particularly "community-oriented", but public information was scarce. Based on the blog post by Bradley Kuhn and Karen Sandler, though, it would seem that Patrick McHardy, who worked on netfilter, is the kernel developer in question. McHardy has also recently been suspended from the netfilter core team pending his reply to "severe allegations" with regard to "the style of his license enforcement activities".

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