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Legal

From vs. to + for Microsoft and Linux

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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More in Tux Machines

End of Fedora 27 Modular Server

  • Fedora 27 Server classic release after all — and Modularity goes back to the drawing board
    You may remember reading about plans for Fedora 27 Server. The working group decided not to release that at the same time as the general F27 release, and instead provided a beta of Fedora 27 Modular Server. Based on feedback from that beta, they decided to take a different approach, and the Modularity subproject is going back to the drawing board. Fortunately, there is a contingency plan: Fedora’s release engineering team made a “classic” version of Fedora 27 Server — very similar to F26 Server, but with F27’s updated package set. The quality assurance ran this version through validation testing, and it’s being released, so:
  • Fedora 27 Modular Server Gets Canned; Fedora 27 Server Classic Released
    - The Fedora Project's plans on delivering an initial "Fedora 27 Modular Server" build constructed under their new packaging principles has been thwarted. Due to less than stellar feedback on their Fedora 27 Modular Server build, the Fedora Modular working group is going back to the drawing board for determining a brighter future to its design. Previous to being canned, F27 Modular Server was delayed to January but is now being abandoned in its current form.

Early Returns on Firefox Quantum Point to Growth

When we set out to launch Firefox Quantum earlier this year, we knew we had a hugely improved product. It not only felt faster — with a look and feel that tested off the charts — it was measurably faster. Thanks to multiple changes under the hood, we doubled Firefox’s speed while using 30% less memory than Chrome. In less than a month, Firefox Quantum has already been installed by over 170M people around the world. We’re just getting started and early returns are super encouraging. Read more Also: Mozilla Joins Net Neutrality Blackout for ‘Break the Internet’ Day

Linux Foundation News

  • Juniper Networks Reinforces Longstanding Commitment to Open Source by Moving OpenContrail's Codebase to the Linux Foundation
    Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, today further bolstered its support for open standards during its annual NXTWORK user conference, by announcing its intent to move the codebase for OpenContrail™, an open-source network virtualization platform for the cloud, to the Linux Foundation. Juniper first released its Juniper® Contrail® products as open sourced in 2013 and built a vibrant user and developer community around this project. Earlier this year, Juniper expanded the project's governance, creating an even more open, community-led effort to strengthen the project for its next growth phase. Adding OpenContrail's codebase to the Linux Foundation's networking projects will further its objective to grow the use of open source platforms in cloud ecosystems.
  • Hyperledger Hub Supports Open Source Blockchain Development
    Hyperledger is a global blockchain collaboration hub created and hosted by nonprofit The Linux Foundation. Its members are leaders in finance, banking, the Internet of Things, supply chains, manufacturing and technology. Now two years in, Hyperledger compares closely to the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance. Hyperledger is a hub for communities of software developers building blockchain frameworks and platforms. These developers, on the other hand, are a mix of individuals and teams from organizations around the world.
  • Linux Foundation Continues to Emphasize Diversity and Inclusiveness at Events
    This has been a pivotal year for Linux Foundation events. Our largest gatherings, which include Open Source Summit, Embedded Linux Conference, KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, Open Networking Summit, and Cloud Foundry Summit, attracted a combined 25,000 people from 4,500 different organizations globally. Attendance was up 25 percent over 2016. Linux Foundation events are often the only time that developers, maintainers, and other pros who contribute to Linux and other critical open source projects — like AGL, Kubernetes and Hyperledger to name a few — get together in person. Face-to-face meetings are crucial because they speed collaboration, engagement and innovation, improving the sustainability of projects over time.  

today's leftovers

  • Personal Backups with Duplicati on Linux
  • Flatpak'ed Epiphany Browser Becomes More Useful
    Epiphany 3.27.3 was released this morning as the newest release of GNOME's web browser in the road to the GNOME 3.28 stable desktop debut next March.
  • BlackArch 2017.12.11
    Today we released new BlackArch Linux ISOs. For details see the ChangeLog below. Here's the ChangeLog: update blackarch-installer to version 0.6.2 (most important change) included kernel 4.14.4 updated lot's of blackarch tools and packages updated all blackarch tools and packages updated all system packages bugfix release! (see blackarch-installer)
  • Latest Linux Distribution Releases (The Always Up-to-date List)
  • Mining cryptocurrency with Raspberry Pi and Storj
    I'm always looking for ways to map hot technologies to fun, educational classroom use. One of the most interesting, and potentially disruptive, technologies over the past few years is cryptocurrencies. In the early days, one could profitably mine some of the most popular cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, using a home PC. But as cryptocurrency mining has become more popular, thanks in part to dedicated mining hardware, the algorithms governing it have boosted computational complexity, making home PC mining often impractical, unprofitable, and environmentally unwise.
  • Huawei Collaborated with the Developers of Phoenix OS for the Mate 10’s Easy Projection Feature
    Though the company has virtually no presence in the United States, Huawei is a top 3 smartphone manufacturer in the world. Its subsidiary, Honor, aims to penetrate the Indian market with budget smartphones. Elsewhere, Huawei recently launched the Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro in several markets around the world, and rumors have it the device will launch in the United States as well. Apart from the AI features powered by the company’s HiSilicon Kirin 970 SoC, one of the company’s most publicized features is Easy Projection. While not as powerful as Samsung DeX, it brings a desktop OS-like experience without needing to purchase an expensive accessory. Huawei is pushing the feature on its flagship devices, though there’s something about Easy Projection that hasn’t really been mentioned in the press yet. Behind Huawei’s Easy Projection feature is a relatively unheard of player—Beijing Chaozhuo Technology, developers of Phoenix OS.
  • Namaste ! (on the road to Swatantra 2017)
    I’ll have the pleasure to give a talk about GCompris, and another one about Synfig studio. It’s been a long time since I didn’t talk about the latter, but since Konstantin Dmitriev and the Morevna team were not available, I’ll do my best to represent Synfig there.
  • #PeruRumboGSoC2018 – Session 4
    We celebrated yesterday another session of the local challenge 2017-2 “PeruRumboGSoC2018”. It was held at the Centro Cultural Pedro Paulet of FIEE UNI. GTK on C was explained during the fisrt two hours of the morning based on the window* exercises from my repo to handle some widgets such as windows, label and buttons.
  • Chrome 63 revamps Bookmark Manager w/ Material Design on Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS
    Chrome 63 began rolling out to Android and desktop browsers last week with the usual security fixes and new developer features. On the latter platform, this update introduces Material Design to the Bookmark Manager. Several versions ago, Google began updating various aspects of the browser with Material Design, including History, Downloads, and Settings. Like the Flags page for enabling experiments and in-development features, which Google also revamped in version 63, the Bookmark Manager (Menu > Bookmarks > Bookmark Manager) adopts the standard Materials UI elements. This includes an app bar that houses a large search bar. It adopts the same dark blue theme and includes various Material animations and flourishes.
  • ExpressVPN Unveils Industry’s First Suite of Open-Source Tools to Test for Privacy and Security Leaks
  • New format in GIMP: HGT
    Lately a recurrent contributor to the GIMP project (Massimo Valentini) contributed a patch to support HGT files. From this initial commit, since I found this data quite cool, I improved the support a bit (auto-detection of the variants and special-casing in particular, as well as making an API for scripts). So what is HGT? That’s topography data basically just containing elevation in meters of various landscape (HGT stands for “height“), gathered by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) run by various space agencies (NASA, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, German and Italian space agencies…).
  • What You Need To Know About The Intel Management Engine
    Over the last decade, Intel has been including a tiny little microcontroller inside their CPUs. This microcontroller is connected to everything, and can shuttle data between your hard drive and your network adapter. It’s always on, even when the rest of your computer is off, and with the right software, you can wake it up over a network connection. Parts of this spy chip were included in the silicon at the behest of the NSA. In short, if you were designing a piece of hardware to spy on everyone using an Intel-branded computer, you would come up with something like the Intel Managment Engine. Last week, researchers [Mark Ermolov] and [Maxim Goryachy] presented an exploit at BlackHat Europe allowing for arbitrary code execution on the Intel ME platform. This is only a local attack, one that requires physical access to a machine. The cat is out of the bag, though, and this is the exploit we’ve all been expecting. This is the exploit that forces Intel and OEMs to consider the security implications of the Intel Management Engine. What does this actually mean?