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Legal

Open-source community stresses worries on new Copyright Directive in open letter to EU

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This week, more than 80 organisations involved in open source software wrote an open letter to the Council of the EU and the European Commission expressing their concerns on the new Copyright Directive as it is currently proposed. According to the signatories, Article 13 in particular will cause irreparable damage to their fundamental rights and freedoms, their economy and competitiveness, their education and research, their innovation and competition, their creativity and their culture.

Article 13 obliges Internet service providers that store and provide public access to large amounts of works or other subject matter uploaded by their users to ensure the functioning of agreements concluded with rightholders. Where such agreements do not apply, service providers must prevent the availability of the rightholders' intellectual property on the service. To that purpose, service providers should cooperate with rightholders and implement measures such as the use of effective content recognition technologies.

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GPL Predictability

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  • Tech leaders team up to improve predictability in open source licencing

    Red Hat, Inc., Facebook, Inc., Google, and IBM Corp. are joining forces to help alleviate open source licence issues, including compliance errors and mistakes.

    The GNU General Public Licence (GPL) and GNU General Public Licence (LGPL) are two of the most common open source software licences, covering almost all software, including parts of the Linux system. The third version of GPL (GPLv3) includes an express termination approach that gives users the opportunities to fix errors in licence compliance in a faster and more efficient manner than before.

    Now, the trio has committed to extending the express termination feature to the previous two versions of GPL to provide better predictability to users of open source software.

  • Four companies extend terms of open source licensing

    Google, Facebook, IBM and Red Hat have taken steps to increase the predictability of open-source licensing, extending additional rights to fix open source licence compliance errors and mistakes.

    The move follows a recent announcement by many kernel developers about licence enforcement.

    The Linux kernel, which is used widely by the four companies named, is released under the GNU General Public Licence version 2.0. A later version of this licence includes an approach that offers users an opportunity to comply with the licence.

  • Adopting a Community-Oriented Approach to Open Source License Compliance

    Today Google joins Red Hat, Facebook, and IBM alongside the Linux Kernel Community in increasing the predictability of open source license compliance and enforcement.

    We are taking an approach to compliance enforcement that is consistent with the Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement. We hope that this will encourage greater collaboration on open source projects, and foster discussion on how we can all continue to work closely together.

  • Facebook, Google, IBM and Red Hat team up on open-source license compliance

    “We are taking an approach to compliance enforcement that is consistent with the Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement. We hope that this will encourage greater collaboration on open source projects, and foster discussion on how we can all continue to work closely together,” Chris DiBona, director of open source for Google, wrote in a blog post.

  • Technology Industry Leaders Join Forces to Increase Predictability in Open Source Licensing

    Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced efforts to promote additional predictability in open source licensing, by committing to extend additional rights to cure open source license compliance errors and mistakes.

  • Copyleft Licensing: Applying GPLv3 Termination to GPLv2-licensed Works

    Today a coalition of major companies—led by Red Hat and including Google, IBM and Facebook—who create, modify and distribute FOSS under copyleft licenses have committed to the use of GPLv3’s approach to license termination for all their works published under the terms of GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1. Following last month’s statement to similar effect by the developers of the Linux kernel, the world’s most widely-used GPLv2 program, today’s announcement establishes a broad consensus in favor of the “notice and cure period” approach to first-time infringement issues that Richard Stallman and I adopted in GPLv3 more than a decade ago. This adoption of GPLv3’s approach for GPLv2 programs is an enormously important step in securing the long-term viability of copyleft licensing. All computer users who wish to see their rights respected by the technology they use are better off.

    GPLv2, which was written by Richard Stallman and Jerry Cohen, is a masterpiece of legal innovation and durability. First released in mid-1991, GPLv2 transformed thinking around the world about the viability of copyright commons, and gave birth to a range of “share alike” licensing institutions, not only for software but for all forms of digital culture. It is still in unmodified use after more than a quarter-century, attaining a degree of institutional stability more often associated with statutes and constitutions than with transactional documents like copyright licenses.

Technology Industry Leaders Join Forces to Increase Predictability in Open Source Licensing

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Red Hat, Facebook, Google and IBM have announced efforts to promote additional predictability in open source licensing, by committing to extend additional rights to cure open source license compliance errors and mistakes.

The GNU General Public License (GPL) and GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) are among the most widely-used open source software licenses, covering, among other software, critical parts of the Linux ecosystem. When GPL version 3 (GPLv3) was released, it introduced an express termination approach that offered users opportunities to cure errors in license compliance. This termination policy in GPLv3 provided a more reasonable approach to errors and mistakes, which are often inadvertent. This approach allows for enforcement of license compliance that is consistent with community norms,

To provide greater predictability to users of open source software, Red Hat, Facebook, Google and IBM today each committed to extending the GPLv3 approach for license compliance errors to the software code that each licenses under GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 and v2.

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Also: Tech leaders join forces to increase predictability in Open Source licensing

Eben Moglen is no longer a friend of the free software community

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Legal

Eben Moglen has done an amazing amount of work for the free software community, serving on the board of the Free Software Foundation and acting as its general counsel for many years, leading the drafting of GPLv3 and giving many forceful speeches on the importance of free software. However, his recent behaviour demonstrates that he is no longer willing to work with other members of the community, and we should reciprocate that.

In early 2016, the FSF board became aware that Eben was briefing clients on an interpretation of the GPL that was incompatible with that held by the FSF. He later released this position publicly with little coordination with the FSF, which was used by Canonical to justify their shipping ZFS in a GPL-violating way. He had provided similar advice to Debian, who were confused about the apparent conflict between the FSF's position and Eben's.

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OpenChain and copyleft

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GNU
Legal
  • How OpenChain can transform the supply chain

    OpenChain is all about increasing open source compliance in the supply chain. This issue, which many people initially dismiss as a legal concern or a low priority, is actually tied to making sure that open source is as useful and frictionless as possible. In a nutshell, because open source is about the use of third-party code, compliance is the nexus where equality of access, safety of use, and reduction of risk can be found. OpenChain accomplishes this by building trust between organizations.

    Many companies today understand open source and act as major supporters of open source development; however, addressing open source license compliance in a systematic, industry-wide manner has proven to be a somewhat elusive challenge. The global IT market has not seen a significant reduction in the number of open source compliance issues in areas such as consumer electronics over the past decade.

    [...]

    The OpenChain Project, hosted by The Linux Foundation, is intended to make open source license compliance more predictable, understandable, and efficient for the software supply chain. Formally launched in October 2016, the OpenChain Project started three years earlier with discussions that continued at an increasing pace until a formal project was born. The basic idea was simple: Identify recommended processes for effective open source management. The goal was equally clear: Reduce bottlenecks and risk when using third-party code to make open source license compliance simple and consistent across the supply chain. The key was to pull things together in a manner that balanced comprehensiveness, broad applicability, and real-world usability.

  • Software Freedom Strategy with Community Projects

    All of those led me to understand how software freedom is under attack, in particular how copyleft in under attack. And, as I talked during FISL, though many might say that "Open Source has won", end users software freedom has not. Lots of companies have co-opted "free software" but give no software freedom to their users. They seem friends with free software, and they are. Because they want software to be free. But freedom should not be a value for software itself, it needs to be a value for people, not only companies or people who are labeled software developers, but all people.

    That's why I want to stop talking about free software, and talk more about software freedom. Because I believe the latter is more clear about what we are talking about. I don't mind that we use whatever label, as long as we stablish its meaning during conversations, and set the tone to distinguish them. The thing is: free software does not software freedom make. Not by itself. As Bradley Kuhn puts it: it's not magic pixie dust.

    Those who have known me for years might remember me as a person who studied free software licenses and how I valued copyleft, the GPL specifically, and how I concerned myself with topics like license compatibility and other licensing matters.

    Others might remember me as a person who valued a lot about upstreaming code. Not carrying changes to software openly developed that you had not made an effort to put upstream.

    I can't say I was wrong on both accounts. I still believe in those things. I still believe in the importance of copyleft and the GPL. I still value sharing your code in the commons by going upstream. But I was certaily wrong in valuing them too much. Or not giving as much or even more value to distribution efforts of getting software freedom to the users.

Copyleft and Licensing

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Legal
  • FSFE makes copyrights computer readable

    The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is proud to release its next version of our REUSE practices designed to make computers understand software copyrights and licenses.

    The REUSE practices help software developers make simple additions to license headers which make it easier for a computer to determine what license applies to the various parts of a programs source code. By following the REUSE practices, software developers can ensure their intent to license software under a particular license is understood and more readily adhered to.

    Together with the updated practices, which mostly clarify and make explicit some points, the FSFE is also releasing a set of developer tools and examples which show the REUSE practices in action. Three example repositories, together with an example walkthrough of the process used to make the cURL project REUSE compliant, are complemented with a simple tool to validate whether a program is REUSE compliant.

  • Apple Will No Longer Be Developing CUPS Under The GPL

    One decade after Apple bought out CUPS as the de facto printing system for Unix-like operating systems, they are changing the code license.

    The CUPS Common UNIX Printing System up to now had been developed under the GPLv2 license while now Apple will be switching it to the Apache 2.0 software license.

  • Software Freedom Law Center and Conservancy

    There’s been quite a bit of interest recently about the petition by Software Freedom Law Center to cancel the Software Freedom Conservancy’s trademark. A number of people have asked my views on it, so I thought I’d write up a quick blog on my experience with SFLC and Conservancy both during my time as Debian Project Leader, and since.

    It’s clear to me that for some time, there’s been quite a bit of animosity between SFLC and Conservancy, which for me started to become apparent around the time of the large debate over ZFS on Linux. I talked about this in my DebConf 16 talk, which fortunately was recorded (ZFS bit from 8:05 to 17:30).

Software Freedom Law Center/Conservancy Dispute Update

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Legal
  • Concerning a Statement by the Conservancy

    On Friday, while we were putting on our annual conference at Columbia Law School, a puff of near-apocalyptic rhetoric about us was published by SFLC’s former employees, Karen Sandler and Bradley Kuhn, who now manage the Conservancy, which was originally established and wholly funded by SFLC, and still bears our name. We were busy with our conference when this happened, which seems to have been the point. We are glad to have the chance now, after a little much-needed rest, to help everyone avoid unnecessary hyperventilation.

  • Concerning a Statement by the Conservancy (Software Freedom Law Center Blog)

    The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) has responded to a recent blog post from the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) regarding the SFC's trademark. SFLC has asked the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to cancel the SFC trademark due to a likelihood of confusion between the two marks; SFC posted about the action on its blog.

Red Hat Explains GPL, New Dispute Surfaces

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Legal
  • Shedding light on foggy GPL licenses

    The terms in GPL v3 clause 14 are very similar to those in the GPL v2.

    Over the years, I've seen many open source projects that say they are GPL licensed without explicitly indicating a version number, while also including the text of an entire GPL license (e.g., v2 or v3). The ambiguity this potentially creates may be beneficial or detrimental to you, depending on factors such as whether you are the licensor or the licensee.

  • GPL bodies in bizarre trademark fight

    Senior Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman has claimed he asked the Linux Foundation to withdraw funding from the Software Freedom Conservancy back in 2016, because he was unhappy with the way in which the SFC went about enforcing compliance with the GPL, the licence under which the Linux kernel is published.

    Kroah-Hartman's claim was made as part of a long discussion about a spat between the SFC and the Software Freedom Law Centre, a body provides pro-bono legal services to developers of free, libre, and open source software, in which the SFLC has asked a court to cancel the trademark of the SFC due to what it claims is "priority and likelihood of confusion" to its own trademark.

    The bizarre aspect of the legal fight between the two bodies, both of which are involved in activities around the GPL, is that the SFLC launched the SFC in 2006 to carry out GPL enforcement.

SFLC Files Bizarre Legal Action Against Its Former Client, Software Freedom Conservancy

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GNU
Legal

About a month ago, the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), the not-for-profit law firm which launched Conservancy in 2006 and served as Conservancy's law firm until July 2011, took the bizarre and frivolous step of filing a legal action in the United States Patent and Trademark Office seeking cancellation of Conservancy's trademark for our name, “Software Freedom Conservancy”. We were surprised by this spurious action. In our eleven years of coexistence, SFLC has raised no concerns nor complaints about our name, nor ever asked us to change it. We filed our formal answer to SFLC's action yesterday. In the interest of transparency for our thousands of volunteers, donors, Supporters, and friends, we at Conservancy today decided to talk publicly about the matter.

SFLC's action to cancel our trademark initiated a process nearly identical to litigation. As such, our legal counsel has asked us to limit what we say about the matter. However, we pride ourselves on our commitment to transparency. In those rare instances when we initiated or funded legal action — to defend the public interest through GPL enforcement — we have been as candid as possible about the circumstances. We always explain the extent to which we exhausted other possible solutions, and why we chose litigation as the last resort.

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GitLab Changes its Contributor Licensing to Better Serve Open-Source Projects

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Development
Legal
  • GitLab Changes its Contributor Licensing to Better Serve Open-Source Projects

    Self-hosted Git repository management tool GitLab today announced that it is abandoning its Contributor Licensing Agreement (CLA) and adopting a Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO) and license.

    According to the company, which claims 67% market share in the self-hosted Git market, "the DCO gives developers greater flexibility and portability for their contributions."

  • GitLab Transitions Contributor Licensing to Developer Certificate of Origin to Better Support Open Source Projects; Empower Contributors

    GitLab, a software product used by 2/3 of all enterprises, today announced it was abandoning the industry-standard Contributor License Agreement (CLA) in favor of a Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO) and license. The DCO gives developers greater flexibility and portability for their contributions. The move has already attracted the attention of large open source projects who recognize the benefits. Debian and GNOME both plan to migrate their communities and open source projects to GitLab.

    GitLab's move away from a CLA is meant to modernize its code hosting and collaborative development infrastructure for all open source projects. Additionally, requiring a CLA became problematic for developers who didn't want to enter into legal terms; they weren't reviewing the CLA contract and they effectively gave up their rights to own and contribute to open source code.

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OSS Leftovers

  • Editor's Corner—Open source is not 'one size fits all' [Ed: But that's a plus, not a minus. With proprietary software it's one unsuitable thing for everything; doesn't scale.]
    Open source communities are no doubt playing a key role in moving the telecommunications industry forward, but not everyone is on board the bandwagon. Over the past five months or so, we've spent a fair amount of time writing about open source groups and standards development organizations (SDOs) such as the Linux Foundation, MEF, Open Networking Foundation, OpenDaylight, the TM Forum and ETSI, and there's clearly more cooperation afoot for the good of the industry. But artificial intelligence startup B.Yond's chief marketing officer, Rikard Kjellberg, said his company has to be careful when it comes to choosing which open source community to commit its resources to. Kjellberg spoke to FierceTelecom on the heels of the AT&T Spark conference earlier this month.
  • Collabora Had Another Stellar Year For Open-Source Consulting
    The Collabora open-source consulting firm whose expertise spans from the Linux kernel to LibreOffice and X.Org had another successful year. The UK-based company last week reported their 2017 financial position last week providing a glimpse at the viability of open-source / free software consulting.
  • Daniel Stenberg: The Polhem prize, one year later
    Family and friends have gotten a rudimentary level of understanding of what curl is and what it does. I'm not suggesting they fully grasp it or know what an "internet protocol" is now, but at least a lot of people understand that it works with "internet transfers". It's not like people were totally uninterested before, but when I was given this prize - by a jury of engineers no less - that says this is a significant invention and accomplishment with a value that "can not be overestimated", it made them more interested. The little video that was produced helped:
  • Open Source Voice Assistant, Mycroft AI, Named Top Deal By KingsCrowd
  • Service providers increasingly adopt open source for their networks
    Communications service providers (CSPs) are increasingly keen to adopt open source technologies to deliver their services, according to research. At this week’s Open Networking Summit Europe in Amsterdam, delegates heard that DevOps, automation, cloud, big data and analytics, software-defined networking (SDN), and management and orchestration (MANO) were increasingly being supported by open source solutions. Commissioned research questioned 150 CSP representatives across 98 companies worldwide. It found that 98% of CSPs are “confident” that open networking solutions can achieve the same level of performance as traditional networking solutions.
  • Communications Service Providers Overwhelmingly Confident in Open Source Networking Solutions, Survey Finds
  • WLinux Distro for Windows Subsystem for Linux Now Available, openSUSE Call for Hosts, New Firefox Bug, Firefox Collecting Telemetry Data and Creative Commons Releases Significant CC Search Update
    In other Firefox news, the browser evidently is collecting telemetry data via hidden add-ons, ITWire reports. The ITWire post also quotes Mozilla's Marshall Eriwn, director of Trust and Security: "...we will measure Telemetry Coverage, which is the percentage of all Firefox users who report telemetry. The Telemetry Coverage measurement will sample a portion of all Firefox clients and report whether telemetry is enabled. This measurement will not include a client identifier and will not be associated with our standard telemetry."
  • This “Netflix For Open Source” Startup Helps Programmers Get Paid
    Open source developers, especially those who work on lesser known projects, do not get much attention or money for the work they do. While some developers are paid to work on open source projects as a part of their day jobs, they can get overwhelmed by the amount of work these projects require.
  • Portable Computing Language 1.2 Released For OpenCL On CPUs & More
    The Portable Computing Language (a.k.a. POCL or PortableCL) is the effort for getting OpenCL running on CPUs as well as other hardware for this open-source code-base that supports OpenCL 1.2 with some OpenCL 2.0+ functionality. The main "feature" of POCL 1.2 is support for LLVM Clang 7.0 as previously the support was limited to LLVM 6.0, but now this new version of LLVM is supported. The HWLOC 2.0 library is also now supported. There are also some minor feature additions like device-side printf being supported.
  • Robert O'Callahan: More Realistic Goals For C++ Lifetimes 1.0
    Over two years ago I wrote about the C++ Lifetimes proposal and some of my concerns about it. Just recently, version 1.0 was released with a blog post by Herb Sutter. Comparing the two versions shows many important changes. The new version is much clearer and more worked-out, but there are also significant material changes. In particular the goal has changed dramatically.

Money and Press for FOSS FUD firms

Android Leftovers

Fedora and Red Hat News: Test Day, Fedora 29 Beta, Istio, Java and Microsoft Blobs

  • Test Day: Java 8,10,11
    Test Day will focus on OpenJDK 11 and OpenJDK 10. Currently, we have java-1.8.0-openjdk as main JDK in Fedora. It accompanied java-1.7.0-openjdk as JRE for a year, and replaced it in buildroot in F21. Similarly, as did java-1.7.0-openjdk to java-1.6.0-openjdk in F16 as parallel JRE and replaced it in F17 in build root and main JDK. However, today the situation is more complicated. Oracle changed release process, see OpenJDK 11 summary and OpenJDK 10 summary, so currently, in F27 and up, you have java-1.8.0-openjdk as main JDK, java-openjdk as rolling release of STS JDK 10, and java-11-openjdk as techpreview of future LTS JDK. Javaws is provided in another package – icedtea-web
  • Fedora 29 Is On Track With A Lot Of Changes
    With Fedora 29 Beta set to ship today, here's a reminder about some of the great changes on the way with this next installment of the Fedora Linux distribution that is on track to officially release around the end of October. - GNOME 3.30 makes up the default desktop environment and the many improvements to the GNOME Shell / Mutter and all the contained components.
  • Red Hat weaves Istio’s Service Mesh into OpenShift
    If you were thinking that what Red Hat’s Openshift platform really needs is a service mesh, your prayers have been answered, courtesy of Istio. As long you don’t actually plan to use it in production anytime soon. Red Hatter Erik Jacobs said in a blog post yesterday that the firm had unleashed the first technology preview of the Red Hat OpenShift Service Mesh, and that it was based on the Google, IBM and Lyft-backed Istio. Istio is designed to take the complexity of managing microservices architectures away from the application developer or DevOps team. Istio’s backers pitch it as taking care of load balancing and monitoring, as well handling authentication and communications between services, access and traffic control.
  • 6 personality traits driving your organization
  • Scaling Java Containers
    As enterprises increasingly adopt the advantages of deploying containerized applications, it is important to address the potential misconception that the JVM does not play nicely in the cloud. While it is true that most JVMs may not come out of the box perfectly configured to run in an elastic cloud environment, the wide variety of system properties available allows the JVM to be tuned to get the most out of a host environment. If a containerized application is deployed using Red Hat OpenShift, the application could take advantage of the Kubernetes Vertical Pod Autoscaler (VPA), which is an alpha feature. The VPA is a perfect example of where the JVM’s default memory management settings could diminish the increased resource utilization offered by such a feature. This blog post will walk through the steps of configuring and testing a containerized Java application for use with the VPA, which demonstrates the inherent adaptability of the JVM to cloud platforms.
  • A certified sequel: SQL Server on Red Hat’s cloud-native technologies [Ed: "Mike Ferris is vice president of business architecture at Red Hat." Now he's selling nonfree software (likely with back doors) from Microsoft]
  • FY2019 EPS Estimates for Red Hat Inc Raised by William Blair (RHT)
  • Enthralling Stocks: Ensco plc, (NYSE: ESV), Red Hat, Inc., (NYSE: RHT)