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Stop Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh to protect free software!

Filed under
GNU
Legal

United States Supreme Court judges serve from the time they are appointed until they choose to retire -- it's a lifetime appointment. One judge recently stepped down, and Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to fill the empty seat. He comes with a firm stance against net neutrality.

Last year he wrote:

Supreme Court precedent establishes that Internet service providers have a First Amendment right to exercise editorial discretion over whether and how to carry Internet content.

Here, Kavanaugh argues that controlling the way you use the Internet is a First Amendment right that ISPs -- companies, not people -- hold. The First Amendment, which guarantees Americans the right to free speech, freedom of the press, and freedom to congregate, is one of the most dearly-held amendments of the United States Constitution. With this statement, he says that net neutrality protections -- policies that prevent companies from "editorializing" what you see on the Web -- is a violation of the Constitution. He believes net neutrality is unconstitutional. We know he's wrong.

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Also: LibreJS 7.15 released

EA Kills "Open Source" Version Of SimCity 2000

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OSS
Legal
  • Electronic Arts shuts down the open source SimCity 2000 fan remake

    Electronic Arts has taken down the open source fan remake of SimCity 2000, OpenSC2K. According to the DMCA notice, OpenSC2K uses assets from SimCity 2000 and since these assets are under copyrights, they should not be used in free remakes or projects.

  • EA Takes Down ‘Open Source’ SimCity 2000 Remake

    Electronic Arts has asked GitHub to remove a fan-created remake of the classic SimCity 2000 release. While the original game is a quarter-century old, the publisher points out that the assets are not free to use, adding that a copy of the game can still be purchased legally.

  • EA Kills "Open Source" Version Of SimCity 2000

    Earlier this year, a game called OpenSC2K was released on GitHub, claiming to be a free, open source version of Maxis’ classic. Turns out it wasn’t as open source as it could have been, though, because EA have had the game removed from the platform.

    As TorrentFreak report, the art assets used in OpenSC2K were lifted straight from the 1993 original, so EA have filed a DMCA request against the project that led to its removal (remember that SimCity 2000 is still commercially available on Origin).

LibreOffice With Microsoft DRM and a Tax

Filed under
LibO
Microsoft
Legal

Licensing With GPL: Greater Certainty

Filed under
GNU
Red Hat
Legal
  • A Movement Builds as a Diverse Group of 14 Additional Leaders Seek Greater Predictability in Open Source Licensing

    Today’s announcement demonstrates the expanded breadth and depth of support for the GPL Cooperation Commitment. Companies adopting the commitment now span geographic regions, include eight Fortune 100 companies, and represent a wide range of industries from enterprise software and hardware to consumer electronics, chip manufacturing to cloud computing, and social networking to automotive. The companies making the commitment represent more than 39 percent of corporate contributions to the Linux kernel, including six of the top 10 corporate contributors.1

  • ARM: Arm joins industry leaders in commitment to fair enforcement of open source licenses

    Today, Red Hat announced that several leading technology companies, including Arm, are joining a diverse coalition of organizations that have come together to promote greater predictability in open source license enforcement. Alongside Amazon, Canonical, Linaro, Toyota, VMware and many others we have committed to ensure fair opportunity for our licensees to correct errors in compliance with their GPL and LGPL licensed software before taking action to terminate the licenses.

  • Debian "stretch" 9.5 Update Now Available, Red Hat Announces New Adopters of the GPL Cooperation Commitment, Linux Audio Conference 2018 Videos Now Available, Latte Dock v0.8 Released and More

    Red Hat announced that 14 additional companies have adopted the GPL Cooperation Commitment, which means that "more than 39 percent of corporate contributions to the Linux kernel, including six of the top 10 contributors" are now represented. According to the Red Hat press release, these commitments "reflect the belief that responsible compliance in open source licensing is important and that license enforcement in the open source ecosystem operates by different norms." Companies joining the growing movement include Amazon, Arm, Canonical, GitLab, Intel Corporation, Liferay, Linaro, MariaDB, NEC, Pivotal, Royal Philips, SAS, Toyota and VMware.

Codecs and Patents

Filed under
Moz/FF
OSS
Legal
  • An Invisible Tax on the Web: Video Codecs

    Here’s a surprising fact: It costs money to watch video online, even on free sites like YouTube. That’s because about 4 in 5 videos on the web today rely on a patented technology called the H.264 video codec.

    A codec is a piece of software that lets engineers shrink large media files and transmit them quickly over the internet. In browsers, codecs decode video files so we can play them on our phones, tablets, computers, and TVs. As web users, we take this performance for granted. But the truth is, companies pay millions of dollars in licensing fees to bring us free video.

    It took years for companies to put this complex, global set of legal and business agreements in place, so H.264 web video works everywhere. Now, as the industry shifts to using more efficient video codecs, those businesses are picking and choosing which next-generation technologies they will support. The fragmentation in the market is raising concerns about whether our favorite web past-time, watching videos, will continue to be accessible and affordable to all.

  • AV1, Opportunity or Threat for POWER and ARM Servers?

    While I haven’t seen an official announcement, Phoronix reported that the AV1 git repository was tagged 1.0, so the launch announcement is imminent. If you haven’t heard about it already, AOMedia Video 1 (AV1) is an open, royalty-free video coding format by the Alliance for Open Media.

  • VP9 & AV1 Have More Room To Improve For POWER & ARM Architectures

    Luc Trudeau, a video compression wizard and co-author of the AV1 royalty-free video format, has written a piece about the optimization state for video formats like VP9 and AV1 on POWER and ARM CPU architectures.

Open-source Moodle wins injunctions in Kiwi partner stoush

Filed under
OSS
Legal

The High Court in Auckland has granted injunctions and other relief to open source learning management platform Moodle after a falling out with a former partner.

Free and open source Moodle was created by Martin Dougiamas beginning in 1999 and is based in Perth, Western Australia.

Injunctions have been granted to protect Moodle's trademark from use by former Moodle partners and associates 123 Internet, Moodle Partners NZ, Onlearn Ltd and Gary Trevor Benner.

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D-Link and the GPL

Filed under
GNU
Legal

It tells me to go to D-Link’s page for GPL licensed software to get the source code. It also lets me write a request the source code on physical media for a nominal fee for the media and handling. Something I naturally did (being an engineer on vacation).

While waiting for a reply, let’s have a look at the online version. When entering the URL provided you have to click through an agreement that I understand what GPL and LGPL means and that the files distributed comes with no warranties (they spend more words saying this – read it if you want the details). Clicking “I Agree” I get a popup (back to the 90’s) asking me to register my product to enjoy all the benefits of doing so. At the same time the main window continues to a list of all D-Link products containing (L)GPL software – very nice.

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How the Apache License allows open source to thrive

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Open source is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and so is the Apache License. The Apache License is a permissive free software license that is currently in its third iteration. The license allows customers to use intellectual property for any purpose, such as modifying or distributing it.

According to Roman Shaposhnik, member of the Apache Software Foundation board of directors, the license was created from a combination of business interests and a desire of the Apache Group (which later became the Apache Software Foundation) to ensure that the community around Apache httpd web server grew. That Apache web server was actually the first project to be licensed under the Apache License, Shaposhnik said.

“These licenses help us achieve our goal of providing reliable and long-lived software products through collaborative open source software development. In all cases, contributors retain full rights to use their original contributions for any other purpose outside of Apache while providing the ASF and its projects the right to distribute and build upon their work within Apache,” the Apache Software Foundation wrote on their website.

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Article 13 – An Existential Threat to Free Software

Filed under
OSS
Legal

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a letter from more than 70 leaders in the emerging meshed society (including me) which criticises Article 13 of the European Union’s proposed new copyright regulations. This Article starts from the assumption that the only role of an individual is to consume copyrighted works and hence deduces that any act of publication on the part of an individual must be infringing the copyrights of a corporation unless proven otherwise. The text doesn’t state things that clearly, but the effect is unmistakeable. It’s as if a politician was proposing to ban syringes because addicts use them, without considering that hospitals do too.

The regulations go on to use the power of “safe harbour” – an increasingly popular legislative device that grants delay or immunity from prosecution as a party to an offence to a company if it can demonstrate it has taken specified actions. For example. it’s “safe harbour” that induces YouTube to take down your videos when a copyright holder asserts the bird song in the background is in fact a song they published. Getting that video re-posted involves you, an individual, taking on terrifying potential liability in the event the copyright holder litigates so YouTube can be absolved of it.

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EU Law Threatens Free/Open Source Software

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • EU votes on copyright law that could kill memes and open source software

    The European Union has passed an initial vote in favour of the Copyright Directive, a legislation experts say "threatens the internet".

    As reported by Wired, the mandate is designed to update internet copyright law but contains two controversial clauses. Ultimately, it could force prominent online platforms to censor their users' content before it's posted—which could impact everyone from meme creators to open source software designers and livestreamers.

    Despite passing a vote yesterday—held by the EU's Legal Affairs Committee (JURI)—the directive needs parliamentary approval before becoming law.

  • The EU Parliament Legal Affairs Committee Vote on Directive on Copyright, David Clark Cause and IBM's Call for Code, Equus' New WHITEBOX OPEN Server Platform and More

    Yesterday the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee voted in favor of "the most harmful provisions of the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market", Creative Commons reports. The provisions include the Article 11 "link tax", which requires "anyone using snippets of journalistic content to first get a license or pay a fee to the publisher for its use online." The committee also voted in favor of Article 13, which "requires online platforms to monitor their users' uploads and try to prevent copyright infringement through automated filtering." There are still several steps to get through before the Directive is completely adopted. See EDRi for more information.

  • GitHub: Changes to EU copyright law could derail open source distribution
  • The E.U. votes to make memes essentially illegal

    On Wednesday, European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs voted to essentially make memes illegal. The decision came as part of the approval process for the innocuously named “Article 13,” which would require larger sites to scan all user uploads using content recognition technology in an attempt to flag any and all remotely copyrighted material in photos, text, music, videos, and more. Meaning memes using stills from copyrighted films could be auto-blocked, along with remixes of viral videos, and basically anything that’s popular on live-streaming sites like Twitch.

  • Europe takes step towards 'censorship machines' for internet uploads

    A key committee at the European Parliament has voted for a new provision in a legislative act that forces tech giants and other online platforms to share revenues with publishers. It is known as Article 13, and is part of an updating of the Copyright Directive.

    Article 13 proposes that large websites use “content recognition technologies” to scan for copyrighted materials, though it doesn’t explain how this works in practice. This means texts, sounds and even code which get uploaded have to go through an automated filtering system, potentially threatening the creation of memes and open-source software developers.

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Python wriggles onward without its head

At the third annual PyBay Conference in San Francisco over the weekend, Python aficionados gathered to learn new tricks and touch base with old friends. Only a month earlier, Python creator Guido van Rossum said he would step down as BDFL – benevolent dictator for life – following a draining debate over the addition of a new way to assign variables within an expression (PEP 572). But if any bitterness about the proposal politics lingered, it wasn't evident among attendees. Raymond Hettinger, a Python core developer, consultant and speaker, told The Register that the retirement of Python creator Guido van Rossum hasn't really changed things. "It has not changed the tenor of development yet," he said. "Essentially, [Guido] presented us with a challenge for self-government. And at this point we don't have any active challenges or something controversial to resolve." Read more

Today in Techrights

today's leftovers

  • How to Install R on Ubuntu 18.04
  • How to Install HTTP Git Server with Nginx on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
  • Everything You Need to Know about Linux Containers, Part I: Linux Control Groups and Process Isolation
  • Robert Roth: Five or More GSoC
  • Adventures with NVMe, part 2
    A few days ago I asked people to upload their NVMe “cns” data to the LVFS. So far, 643 people did that, and I appreciate each and every submission. I promised I’d share my results, and this is what I’ve found:
  • The Next Challenge For Fwupd / LVFS Is Supporting NVMe SSD Firmware Updates
    With UEFI BIOS updating now working well with the Fwupd firmware updating utility and Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS) for distributing these UEFI update capsules, Richard Hughes at Red Hat is next focusing on NVMe solid-state drives for being able to ship firmware updates under Linux. Hughes is in the early stages at looking to support NVMe firmware updates via LVFS/fwupd. Currently he is hoping for Linux users with NVMe drives to send in the id-ctrl identification data on your drives to him. This data will be useful so he knows what drives/models are most popular but also for how the firmware revision string is advertised across drives and vendors.
  • [Older] Language, Networking Packages Get Updates in Tumbleweed
    There were two openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots this past week that mostly focused on language and network packages. The Linux Kernel also received an update a couple days ago to version 4.17.13. The packages in the 20180812 Tumbleweed snapshot brought fixes in NetworkManager-applet 1.8.16, which also modernized the package for GTK 3 use in preparations for GTK 4. The free remote desktop protocol client had its third release candidate for freerdp 2.0.0 where it improved automatic reconnects, added Wave2 support and fixed automount issues. More network device card IDs for the Intel 9000 series were added in kernel 4.17.13. A jump from libstorage-ng 4.1.0 to version 4.1.10 brought several translations and added unit test for probing xen xvd devices. Two Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures fixes were made with the update in postgresql 10.5. Several rubygem packages were updated to versions 5.2.1 including rubygem-rails 5.2.1, which makes the master.key file read-only for the owner upon generation on POSIX-compliant systems. Processing XML and HTML with python-lxml 4.2.4 should have fewer crashes thanks to a fix of sporadic crashes during garbage collection when parse-time schema validation is used and the parser participates in a reference cycle. Several YaST packages receive updates including a new ServiceWidget to manage the service status with yast2-ftp-server 4.1.3 as well with yast2-http-server, yast2-slp-server and yast2-squid 4.1.0 versions.
  • Red Hat Inc Risk Points versus Technology
  • 10 Efficient Raspberry Add-ons To Enhance Performance - Part 8
    Sometimes you may find yourself in great need to improve the functionality of your Raspberry Pi. There is a good chance your Raspberry does not support the functionality you want. There is also a chance that it supports your dream functionality but with the help of an external tool. An add-on in other words. It is pretty obvious that your dream add-on exists in the market or someone somewhere is cracking an algorithm to build. Never mind, here we compile a list of the best add-ons to get for your Raspberry in 2018.
  • Secure Email Service Tutanota sees F-Droid Release
    Back in February, I reviewed an email provider called Tutanota. If you read the article, you will remember that I thought very highly of the service. In my eyes, there were very few downsides to using the encrypted mail service, one of them being that you couldn’t use third-party email clients like Thunderbird for desktop computers or K-9 Mail for mobile devices.
  • Motorola Announces Android Pie Updates for 8 smartphones excluding Moto E5 & G5
  • How To Unsend Emails On Gmail For Android?
  • Nerd Knobs and Open Source in Network Software
    Tech is commoditizing. I've talked about this before; I think networking is commoditizing at the device level, and the days of appliance-based networking are behind us. But are networks themselves a commodity? Not any more than any other system. We are running out of useful features, so vendors are losing feature differentiation. This one is going to take a little longer… When I first started in network engineering, the world was multiprotocol, and we had a lot of different transports. For instance, we took cases on IPX, VIP, Appletalk, NetBios, and many other protocols. These all ran on top of Ethernet, T1, Frame, ATM, FDDI, RPR, Token Ring, ARCnet, various sorts of serial links ... The list always felt a little too long, to me. Today we have IPv4, IPv6, and MPLS on top of Ethernet, pretty much. All transports are framed as Ethernet, and all upper layer protocol use some form of IP. MPLS sits in the middle as the most common "transport enhancer." The first thing to note is that space across which useful features can be created is considerably smaller than it used to be.
  • Meetings that make people happy: Myth or magic?
    People tend to focus on the technical elements of meeting prep: setting the objective(s), making the agenda, choosing a place and duration, selecting stakeholders, articulating a timeline, and so on. But if you want people to come to a meeting ready to fully engage, building trust is mission-critical, too. If you need people to engage in your meetings, then you're likely expecting people to come ready to share their creativity, problem-solving, and innovation ideas.
  • Building microprocessor architectures on open-source hardware and software
     

    "The real freedom you get from open source projects is much more, and more important than the fact that you don't have to pay for it," Frank Gürkaynak, Director of ETHZ's Microelectronics Design Center, writes in an article posted on All About Circuits. "Researchers can take what we provide and freely change it for their experiments. Startup companies can build on what we provide as a starting point and concentrate their time and energy on the actual innovations they want to provide. And people who are disturbed by various attacks on their systems [1, 2] have the chance to look inside and know what exactly is in their system."

  • Create DIY music box cards with Punchbox
    That first time almost brought tears to my eyes. Mozart, sweetly, gently playing on the most perfect little music box. Perfectly! No errors in timing or pitch. Thank you, open source—without Mido, Svgwrite, PyYAML, and Click, this project wouldn't have been possible.
  • Fund Meant to Protect Elections May Be Too Little, Too Late
    The Election Assistance Commission, the government agency charged with distributing federal funds to support elections, released a report Tuesday detailing how each state plans to spend a total of $380 million in grants allocated to improve and secure their election systems. But even as intelligence officials warn of foreign interference in the midterm election, much of the money is not expected to be spent before Election Day. The EAC expects states to spend their allotted money within two to three years and gives them until 2023 to finish spending it. Election experts have expressed skepticism that the money will be enough to modernize election equipment and secure it against state-sponsored cyber threats.