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Legal

GNU/FSF

Filed under
GNU
Legal
  • Why I Love Free Software

    I’m a Linux desktop user, because Linux doesn’t try to lock me into their platform and services only to abandon me halfway through the journey.

    Instead of having my access to remote management features, convenient encryption features, and even how long I’m allowed to use my own device be restricted by how much I’ve paid for my operating system edition; I’m free to choose whichever edition I want based on my needs of the moment.

  • Here's a sneak peek at LibrePlanet 2017: Register today!
  • What's a cryptovalentine?

    Roses are red, violets are blue; I use free software to encrypt my online communication and you can too.

  • Bradley Kuhn Delivered Copyleft Keynote at FOSDEM

    At FOSDEM last week, Conservancy’s Distinguished Technologist Bradley Kuhn delivered a keynote “Understanding The Complexity of Copyleft Defense.” The speech reviews the history of GPL enforcement efforts, pointing out development projects such as OpenWRT and SamyGo that began thanks to GPL compliance work. Kuhn focused in particular on how copyleft compliance can further empower users and developers as more kinds of devices run GPL’d software, and he concluded his remarks urging developers to take control of their own work by demanding to hold their own copyrights, using mechanisms such as Conservancy’s ContractPatch initiative.

Top 10 FOSS legal stories in 2016

Filed under
OSS
Legal

The year 2016 resulted in several important developments that affect the FOSS ecosystem. While they are not strictly "legal developments" they are important for the community.

For one, Eben Moglen, the general counsel of the Free Software Foundation, stepped down. Eben has been a leader on FOSS legal issues since the late 1990s and has been critical to the success of the FOSS movement. The FOSS community owes him a huge debt of gratitude, and I expect that he will continue to be active in the FOSS community. The success of FOSS adoption was dramatically illustrated when Microsoft joined the Linux Foundation and summarized in the article, Open Source Won. So, Now What? in Wired magazine.

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GPL Enforcement and FUD

Filed under
GNU
Legal
  • Supporting Conservancy Makes a Difference

    There are a lot of problems in our society, and particularly in the USA, right now, and plenty of charities who need our support. The reason I continue to focus my work on software freedom is simply because there are so few focused on the moral and ethical issues of computing. Open Source has reached its pinnacle as an industry fad, and with it, a watered-down message: “having some of the source code for some of your systems some of the time is so great, why would you need anything more?”. Universal software freedom is however further from reality than it was even a few years ago. At least a few of us, in my view, must focus on that cause.

    I did not post many blog posts about this in 2016. There was a reason for that — more than any other year, work demands at Conservancy have been constant and unrelenting. I enjoy my work, so I don't mind, but blogging becomes low priority when there is a constant backlog of urgent work to support Conservancy's mission and our member projects. It's not just Conservancy's mission, of course, it's my personal one as well.

  • The decline of GPL? [Ed: So Bacon is citing Microsoft proxies like Black Duck whose sole initial purpose was to attack the GPL... Microsoft-connected anti-FOSS firm.]

    It seems that in recent years that trend has continued. Aside from the Black Duck research, a license study in GitHub in 2015 found that the MIT license was a dominant choice. Even observationally in my work at XPRIZE (where we chose a license for the Global Learning XPRIZE), and my work as a community leadership consultant, I have seen a similar trend with many of my clients who feel uncomfortable licensing their code under GPL.

Judge Nixes PS3 Linux Class Action Settlement As Class's Lawyers Victimize The Class A Second Time

Filed under
Linux
Legal

We've made the point for several years now that the way class action lawsuits are handled in America is flawed in fundemental ways. What was supposed to be a method for enabling large groups of the aggrieved to pool resources against much larger and better-funded entities has instead devolved into a procedure that appears almost perfectly designed to enrich unscrupulous lawyers while the class itself gets a laughable percentage any monetary damages.

We get to see these flaws in practice yet again, this time in an update for the story that simply will not die: the legal action over Sony removing the PS3's ability to run Linux, which it advertised when the console launched. The class action suit had reached a proposed settlement, only to have the presiding judge nix it, essentially over concerns that the class was being victimized all over again, this time by its own lawyers.

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From vs. to + for Microsoft and Linux

Filed under
Linux
Microsoft
Legal

In November 2016, Microsoft became a platinum member of the Linux Foundation, the primary sponsor of top-drawer Linux talent (including Linus), as well as a leading organizer of Linux conferences and source of Linux news.

Does it matter that Microsoft has a long history of fighting Linux with patent claims? Seems it should. Run a Google search for "microsoft linux patents", and you'll get almost a half-million results, most of which raise questions. Is Microsoft now ready to settle or drop claims? Is this about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer? Is it just a seat at a table it can't hurt Microsoft to sit at?

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Attack on Free Software (Kodi) With Copyrigth Pretext

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • Kodi Is Not a Piracy Application

    There’s a piracy app that lets users find any TV show, movie, or song you can imagine. Streams and downloads are both easy to find, and the software is already used by hundreds of millions of people.

    The name of this dastardly program? Google Chrome.

    That’s a crazy thing to report, right? Sure, it’s strictly true that you can use Chrome to pirate movies and TV shows: just search for any movie’s name followed by the words “streaming,” “torrent,” or “download.” You’ll find a pirated option on the front page basically every time. But if a mainstream media outlet called Chrome a piracy tool, you’d ridicule them for it, and deservedly so.

    But that’s pretty much how Kodi, the open source media player, is being reported on lately, particularly in the UK. The BBC called Kodi a piracy epidemic in a headline. The Mirror pointed out that Kodi offers a “way to find illegal streams of movies and sports presented with a friendly Netflix-style user interface.” The Birmingham Mail helpfully informed readers that downloading Kodi will result in you getting a scary letter.

    Reading these headlines, you’d think Kodi is the second coming of Popcorn Time. It’s not. Kodi is merely a (very good) media player and organizer. If Kodi is a piracy app, so is Google Chrome (and, for that matter, QuickTime or VLC).

  • Linux: Is the Kodi media player a piracy app?

    They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and nowhere is that more clear than in the controversy over the open source Kodi media player. Kodi has been characterized as a “piracy app” by some in the media, but the Kodi developers beg to differ with them.

  • The best add-ons for the Kodi media player and how to install them
  • [Older] The Best Kodi Boxes of 2016
  • MythTV 0.28.1 Released

    MythTV 0.28 was released nearly one year ago while today we have the first point release for this once very active open-source DVR/PVR software for HTPCs.

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

Filed under
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

Filed under
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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Security Leftovers

  • Java and Python FTP attacks can punch holes through firewalls
    The Java and Python runtimes fail to properly validate FTP URLs, which can potentially allow attackers to punch holes through firewalls to access local networks. On Saturday, security researcher Alexander Klink disclosed an interesting attack where exploiting an XXE (XML External Entity) vulnerability in a Java application can be used to send emails.
  • Microsoft: no plans to patch known bugs before March [Ed: Microsoft is keeping open 'back doors' that are publicly known about, not just secret ones]
    Microsoft has no plans to issue updates for two vulnerabilities, one a zero-day and the other being one publicised by Google, before the scheduled date for its next round of updates rolls around in March. The company did not issue any updates in February, even though it had been scheduled to switch to a new system from this month onwards. It gave no reason for this, apart from saying: "This month, we discovered a last minute issue that could impact some customers and was not resolved in time for our planned updates today. "After considering all options, we made the decision to delay this month’s updates. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this change to the existing plan." The Google-disclosed bug was made public last week, and is said to be a flaw in the Windows graphic device interface library that can be exploited both locally and remotely to read the contents of a user's memory.
  • Microsoft issues critical security patches, but leaves zero-day flaws at risk
    Microsoft has patched "critical" security vulnerabilities in its browsers, but has left at least two zero-day flaws with public exploit code. The software giant released numerous patches late on Tuesday to fix flaws in Adobe Flash for customers using Internet Explorer on Windows 8.1 and later, as well as Edge for Windows 10.

Red Hat News

  • Why upstream contributions matter when developing open source NFV solutions.
    When software is developed using open source methods, an upstream repository of the code is accessible to all members of the project. Members contribute to the code, test it, write documentation and can create a solution from that code to use or distribute under license. If an organization follows the main stream or branch of the upstream code their solution will receive all the changes and updates created in the upstream repository. Those changes simply “flow down” to the member’s solution. However, if a member organization forks the code — if they create a solution that strays from the main stream — their solution no longer receives updates, fixes and changes from the upstream repository. This organization is now solely responsible for maintaining their solution without the benefit of the upstream community, much like the baby salmon that took a tributary and then have to fend for themselves rather than remain in the main stream and receive the benefit and guidance of the other salmon making their way to the ocean.
  • HPE and Red Hat Join Forces to Give Customers Greater Choice for NFV Deployments
    Hewlett Packard Enterprise ( NYSE : HPE ) and Red Hat, Inc. ( NYSE : RHT ) announced today they are working together to accelerate the deployment of network functions virtualization (NFV) solutions based on fully open, production-ready, standards-based infrastructures. HPE plans to offer ready-to-use, pre-integrated HPE NFV System solutions and HPE Validated Configurations incorporating Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Ceph Storage for communications service providers (CSPs).
  • Red Hat Joins the OpenPower Foundation
    As part of our commitment to delivering open technologies across many computing architectures, Red Hat has joined the OpenPOWER Foundation, an open development community based on the POWER microprocessor architecture, at the Platinum level. While we already do build and support open technologies for the POWER architecture, the OpenPOWER Foundation is committed to an open, community-driven technology-creation process – something that we feel is critical to the continued growth of open collaboration around POWER.
  • Buy, Sell or Hold? Analysts Approach: HCA Holdings, Inc. (HCA), Red Hat, Inc. (RHT)?

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