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Legal

A Cycle of Renewal, Broken: How Big Tech and Big Media Abuse Copyright Law to Slay Competition

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Legal

In 1950, a television salesman named Robert Tarlton put together a consortium of TV merchants in the town of Lansford, Pennsylvania to erect an antenna tall enough to pull down signals from Philadelphia, about 90 miles to the southeast. The antenna connected to a web of cables that the consortium strung up and down the streets of Lansford, bringing big-city TV to their customers — and making TV ownership for Lansfordites far more attractive. Though hobbyists had been jury-rigging their own "community antenna television" networks since 1948, no one had ever tried to go into business with such an operation. The first commercial cable TV company was born.

The rise of cable over the following years kicked off decades of political controversy over whether the cable operators should be allowed to stay in business, seeing as they were retransmitting broadcast signals without payment or permission and collecting money for the service. Broadcasters took a dim view of people using their signals without permission, which is a little rich, given that the broadcasting industry itself owed its existence to the ability to play sound recordings over the air without permission or payment.

The FCC brokered a series of compromises in the years that followed, coming up with complex rules governing which signals a cable operator could retransmit, which ones they must retransmit, and how much all this would cost. The end result was a second way to get TV, one that made peace with—and grew alongside—broadcasters, eventually coming to dominate how we get cable TV in our homes.

By 1976, cable and broadcasters joined forces to fight a new technology: home video recorders, starting with Sony's Betamax recorders. In the eyes of the cable operators, broadcasters, and movie studios, these were as illegitimate as the playing of records over the air had been, or as retransmitting those broadcasts over cable had been. Lawsuits over the VCR continued for the next eight years. In 1984, the Supreme Court finally weighed in, legalizing the VCR, and finding that new technologies were not illegal under copyright law if they were "capable of substantial noninfringing uses."

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REUSE makes copyright and licensing easier than ever

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Legal

The licensing of a software project is critical information. Developers set the terms under which others can reuse their software, from individuals to giant corporations. Authors want to make sure that others adhere to their chosen licenses; potential re-users have to know the license of third-party software before publication; and companies have to ensure license compliance in their products that often build on top of existing projects. The REUSE project, led by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), helps all of these parties.

REUSE aims to have all copyright and licensing information stored as close to the source files as possible. This is achieved by directly adding this information to the file in a standardised and machine-readable form. If a file does not support that, a .license file or central DEP-5 configuration file can be used instead. This way, developers can be assured that re-users will not oversee copyright holders and their intended license.

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Open Invention Network, the Linux-based patent non-aggression community, exceeds 3,000 licensees

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Linux
Legal

OIN's mission is to enable Linux, its related software, and its programmers to develop and monetize without being hogtied by patent fights. In Linux's early years, this was a constant threat. Now, thanks largely to the OIN's efforts to get everyone to agree on the basic open-source principle -- that's it's better and more profitable to share than to cling to proprietary property -- open-source software has taken off in the marketplace.

The OIN isn't the first to take this concept and apply it to the Unix/Linux operating system family. After Novell bought Unix from AT&T, rather than keep fighting with Berkeley Software Design Inc. (BSDO) over possible Unix IP rights violations in BSD/OS, an early, commercial BSD Unix, Noorda famously declared that he'd rather compete in the marketplace than in court. This Unix case was settled in 1994.

That was a one off. The OIN, which has grown by 50% in the last two years, has turned patent non-aggression into policy for thousands of companies. By agreeing to the OIN license, members gain access to patented inventions worth hundreds of millions of dollars while promoting a favorable environment for Linux and related open source software.

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My personal journey from MIT to GPL

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GNU
Legal

As I got started writing open source software, I generally preferred the MIT license. I actually made fun of the “copyleft” GPL licenses, on the grounds that they are less free. I still hold this opinion today: the GPL license is less free than the MIT license - but today, I believe this in a good way.

[...]

I don’t plan on relicensing my historical projects, but my new projects have used the GPL family of licenses for a while now. I think you should seriously consider it as well.

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GPL Dodge and Compliance

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GNU
Legal
  • Why does macOS Catalina use Zsh instead of Bash? Licensing [iophk: "s/patents/software patents/g; :("]

    So, it’s no surprise that Apple’s moving its users away from Bash. I’m also not surprised to see Apple favor Zsh. For starters, it’s licensed under the MIT License, and therefore doesn’t contain the controversial language surrounding patents and Tivoization.

  • The Redmi S2, aka Y2, gets its Android Pie update

    That may not be a huge deal to some users, however. Xiaomi is also obliged to release the S2/Y2's kernel sources in order to remain compliant with GNU's general public licence.

EFF and Open Rights Group Defend the Right to Publish Open Source Software to the UK Government

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OSS
Security
Legal

EFF and Open Rights Group today submitted formal comments to the British Treasury, urging restraint in applying anti-money-laundering regulations to the publication of open-source software.

The UK government sought public feedback on proposals to update its financial regulations pertaining to money laundering and terrorism in alignment with a larger European directive. The consultation asked for feedback on applying onerous customer due diligence regulations to the cryptocurrency space as well as what approach the government should take in addressing “privacy coins” like Zcash and Monero. Most worrisome, the government also asked “whether the publication of open-source software should be subject to [customer due diligence] requirements.”

We’ve seen these kind of attacks on the publication of open source software before, in fights dating back to the 90s, when the Clinton administration attempted to require that anyone merely publishing cryptography source code obtain a government-issued license as an arms dealer. Attempting to force today’s open-source software publishers to follow financial regulations designed to go after those engaged in money laundering is equally obtuse.

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Licensing Changes

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GNU
OSS
Legal
  • CockroachDB changes its open-source licensing model [Ed: Waffling tom avoid saying it became proprietary]

    Cockroach Labs has announced that it is switching CockroachDB away from the Apache License version 2 (APL).

    According to Cockroach Labs, its business model has long relied on the assumption that “companies could build a business around a strong open source core product without a much larger technology platform company coming along and offering the same product as a service.” But this is no longer the case, the company explained.

  • Another open-source database company will tighten its licensing strategy, wary of Amazon Web Services [Ed: Another reminder that all the cloudwashing by corporate media is an assault on FOSS because people are shamed into ceding control, giving all money and data to GAFAM]

    Cockroach Labs, the New York-based database company behind the open-source CockroachDB database, will change the terms of the license agreement in the next version of the open-source project to prohibit cloud providers like Amazon Web Services from offering a commercial version of that project as a service.

  • CockroachDB shelters from AWS extermination under Business Software License [Ed: Amazon's assault on FOSS using the AWS/cloudwashing craze yields results; FOSS becoming proprietary software and GAFAM couldn't care less.]

    Cockroach Labs has become the latest open source vendor to run for cover from AWS and other cloud vendors, by relicensing its CockroachDB under the Business Source License.

    In a post explaining the move, the companies’ founders wrote “We’re witnessing the rise of highly-integrated providers take advantage of their unique position to offer “as-a-service” versions of OSS products, and offer a superior user experience as a consequence of their integrations.” They cited AWS’ forked version of ElasticSearch.

  • Latest FSF Updates To Software Licenses

    If you've ever felt confused about open source licensing you are not alone. The good news is that the Free Software Foundation has a highly informative and well-maintained list of licenses, not only for software but also for documentation and for other works, drawing a distinction between free and non-free.

    The fact that that the Personal Public Licence Version 3a and the Anti-996 Licence have both been added to the non-free list isn't really the important bit of this news item. It is that the existence of the Various Licences and Comments about Them that deserves being better known.

Licensing: Companies That Close Down FOSS 'in the Cloud' and Latest GPL Compliance at OnePlus

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OSS
Legal
  • Confluent says it has the first cloud-native Kafka streaming platform

    Open-source unicorn Confluent Inc. is ready to go head-to-head with cloud computing giants with the release of a cloud-native and fully managed service based upon the Apache Kafka streaming platform.

  • For open source vs. proprietary, AWS might have it both ways [Ed: Mac Asay, Adobe, proponent of calling proprietary "open". IDG has just received money from Adobe (“BrandPost Sponsored by Adobe”) and Asay is now publishing articles owing to his employer paying the media. He’s is some kind of editor at InfoWorld (IDG). So the corporations basically buy ‘journalism’ (their staff as editors) at IDG.]
  • Why Open Source Should Remain Open

    On one hand, the validation that comes along with major tech players offering open source fuels growth in the software. On the other, it also changes the platform from one that’s always been free and available to one that is only available with limitations and has red tape all around it. As some of these companies join in the open source community, they’re losing sight of the original goal and community. Instead, they are building artificial walls and shutting down many parts of what makes open source open. This isn’t a unique occurrence, it’s happening more and more frequently and is something that will completely rearrange the core of open source as we know it.

  • BREAKING: OnePlus 7 Pro root achieved on global and Indian variants, kernel source codes released

    OnePlus phones are known for their developer friendliness as well as strong aftermarket development community. The Chinese OEM prefers to mandate GPL and push kernel source codes in a timely manner, which is a godsend compared to most of their competitors.

  • OnePlus 7 / 7 Pro kernel source code is now out, expect custom ROMs soon

    OnePlus announced the most-awaited OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro last week. Both the smartphones are already on sale and can be bought in all the countries they are available. Even the OnePlus 7 Pro received its maiden update which brings April security patch and more. As usual, the kernel source for the OnePlus 7 series is now out too in a timely manner. Thus, users can expect custom ROMS sooner than later.

Google GPL Compliance and Free Software Legal and Licensing Workshop 2019

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OSS
Legal
  • Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL forums and kernel source code are up

    Google’s newly launched Pixel 3a series matches up to the photography skills of the flagship Pixel 3 series, even while being priced at only half. But besides bringing the characteristic photography acumen of a Google Pixel, the Pixel 3a devices also share some part of their DNA with the erstwhile Google Nexus lineup. This is because they’re easy on the pocket (at least in the Western markets) and should, thus, be preferred by developers as devices meant to test the latest features in Android.

  • Renewed focus on REUSE

    Following the Free Software Legal and Licensing Workshop 2019 in Barcelona, I managed to get in touch with some people to put a renewed focus on the REUSE initiative by the FSFE.

  • ClearlyDefined: Putting license information in one place [Ed: Why is an FSFE workshop led by a Microsoft employee? Explains some things I've seen about FSFE lately (not good things). Be careful of ClearlyDefined because mostly Microsoft people promote it (everywhere they can). So you know it's Microsoft-leaning an effort and Microsoft is a serial GPL violator that got caught many times.]

    As the stats page shows, there are nearly five million definitions currently in the database (as of this writing, anyway). Multiple repositories are being harvested, including npm for Node.js, PyPI for Python, Maven for Java, Crate for Rust, GitHub, and others. ClearlyDefined was the subject of a lively workshop at the recent FSFE Legal and Licensing Workshop (LLW), led by project lead Jeff McAffer of GitHub. The project has lots of partners, such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Qualcomm, Software Heritage, and Codescoop.

FOSS Licensing Debates at OSI and New Open Data From Recursion

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OSS
Legal
  • April 2019 License-Discuss Summary

    Antoine Thomas asks whether a contributor would be able to revoke/remove their contributions from a project, and how this would affect old versions of a project.

    Kevin Fleming responds that legitimately provided open source licenses are not revocable, but that a project might honor a request out of courtesy.

    Brendan Hickey points out that copyright law may provide special revocation rights, e.g. 17 USC §203. And even without revocation, a contributor could make life difficult for users.

  • April 2019 License-Review Summary

    Van Lindberg submits his Cryptographic Autonomy License (CAL) to the review process. This is a network copyleft license, but with a broader scope than the AGPL. The CAL is motivated by ensuring user autonomy in blockchain-based applications. Lindberg has also written an in-depth blog post that serves as a rationale document. Last month, there had already been preliminary discussion about the license on the license-discuss list (see the summary).

    [...]

    Pamela Chestek provides a careful analysis of unclear language in the license.

    Henrik Ingo is concerned that the anti-DRM provision might not be effective, which leads to some comparisons with the GPLv3 [1,2,3,4].

  • Recursion Releases Open-Source Data from Largest Ever Dataset of Biological Images, Inviting Data Science Community to Develop New and Improved Machine Learning Algorithms for the Life Sciences Industry
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More in Tux Machines

Programming: Awk, LLVM Clang and Qt

  • Why Every Linux User Needs To Learn Awk - YouTube

    Awk is one of those tools that every linux user has on their system but they probably only use it for fairly simple tasks, so today I thought I'd explain not only what awk but why you should use it and compare it some other Linux utils like sed.

  • Arm Neoverse N2 Support Added To The LLVM Clang 12 Compiler - Phoronix

    In September Arm began adding Neoverse N2 support to the open-source compilers initially with GCC and now the support has been merged into LLVM Clang 12 as well. The Neoverse N2 "Perseus" core was outlined in September as a follow-on design to the successful Neoverse N1. The N2 aims to provide 40% more performance over the N1 for single-threaded performance. The N2 is intended for use from the cloud to enterprise networking devices to edge computing.

  • Qt 6.0 RC and timelines for 6.1 and 6.2

    Hi all, First of all, I wanted to thank everybody for the hard work towards getting Qt 6.0 out of the door. We now have a first RC out, so we’re definitely getting very close to the 6.0.0 release. With that and the fact that we now have a 6.0 branch, it’s also time to start looking a bit ahead towards 6.1 and 6.2. We have long discussed, that the timing of our feature releases to be just before summer and Christmas vacation is a bit unfortunate, as we have little slack for delays without going into the vacation period. Especially the releases in December have sometimes been difficult in that respect. So we’d like to push the schedule a bit and move the minor releases towards a Spring/Autumn schedule. A somewhat shorter release cycle directly after 6.0 is probably a good idea anyway, as we will probably still need to do changes/fixes that don’t quite fit with our policy for patch level releases. So the idea is to shorten the release cycle for Qt 6.1 a bit and focus mainly on bug fixing and stability for that release. We’d aim for a feature freeze by the end of January, and a final Qt 6.1.0 release end of April. 6.2 would then also happen a bit earlier, with a feature freeze in June and a release end of September. Content wise, I believe we’ll start seeing more and more of the add-ons from Qt 5 being supported over the next 6-9 months, and I believe that with Qt 6.2 we will have brought most modules that we supported in Qt 5.15 over to Qt 6. Cheers, Lars

  • Qt 6.1, Qt 6.2 Expected To Come Sooner With Tightened Release Cycles - Phoronix

    Qt 6.0 is releasing in December and The Qt Company is already drafting plans for the release cycles of Qt 6.1 and Qt 6.2 LTS next year. Normally Qt is on a six-month release cadence but next year's Qt 6.1/6.2 releases will likely be tightened up both to address a long-standing gripe of the current timing that often puts new releases around summer holidays and the Thanksgiving~Christmas holiday season. To try to move off those May and November~December release windows, they are looking at tightening up the cycles for Qt 6.1 and Qt 6.2, with the latter being the first long-term support release of the Qt6 series. Lars Knoll is proposing that Qt 6.1 be shipped by the end of April which would put the feature freeze already at the end of January. But for Qt 6.1 the emphasis anyhow will likely be on bug fixing and stability improvements after all the changes in Qt 6.0, so a tightened up Qt 6.1 release makes sense.

Q4OS 4.2 Gemini, testing

An update to the Q4OS 4 Gemini testing branch is immediately available for download as 64bit live media. The new 4.2 release is based on Debian 11 Bullseye and features Plasma desktop environment by default. New visual Plasma themes have been added, they are now available in system settings utility. Debian Bullseye packages has been received in their latest version, Q4OS specific packages has been updated as well. New version of Trinity desktop 14.0.10 is ready for installation using the Desktop profiler tool. Feel free to download live media for 64bit computers from the dedicated Testing releases site. Q4OS 4 Gemini will be in development until Debian Bullseye becomes stable, and it will be supported at least five years from the official release date. Read more

Security: Patches, Diffoscope, Netfilter, and Intel Defects

  • Security updates for Friday [LWN.net]

    Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (go, libxml2, postgresql, and wireshark-cli), Debian (drupal7 and lxml), Fedora (drupal7, java-1.8.0-openjdk-aarch32, libxml2, pacemaker, slurm, and swtpm), openSUSE (c-ares, ceph, chromium, dash, firefox, go1.14, java-1_8_0-openjdk, kernel, krb5, perl-DBI, podman, postgresql10, postgresql12, rclone, slurm, ucode-intel, wireshark, wpa_supplicant, and xen), SUSE (ceph, firefox, kernel, LibVNCServer, and python), and Ubuntu (freerdp, poppler, and xdg-utils).

  • diffoscope 162 released

    The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 162.

  • Netfilter virtual workshop 2020 summary

    Once a year folks interested in Netfilter technologies gather together to discuss past, ongoing and future works. The Netfilter Workshop is an opportunity to share and discuss new ideas, the state of the project, bring people together to work & hack and to put faces to people who otherwise are just email names. This is an event that has been happening since at least 2001, so we are talking about a genuine community thing here. It was decided there would be an online format, split in 3 short meetings, once per week on Fridays. I was unable to attend the first session on 2020-11-06 due to scheduling conflict, but I made it to the sessions on 2020-11-13 and 2020-11-20. I would say the sessions were joined by about 8 to 10 people, depending on the day. This post is a summary with some notes on what happened in this edition, with no special order. Pablo did the classical review of all the changes and updates that happened in all the Netfilter project software components since last workshop. I was unable to watch this presentation, so I have nothing special to comment. However, I’ve been following the development of the project very closely, and there are several interesting things going on, some of them commented below. Florian Westphal brought to the table status on some open/pending work for mptcp option matching, systemd integration and finally interfacing from nft with cgroupv2. I was unable to participate in the talk for the first two items, so I cannot comment a lot more. On the cgroupv2 side, several options were evaluated to how to match them, identification methods, the hierarchical tree that cgroups present, etc. We will have to wait a bit more to see how the final implementation looks like. Also, Florian presented his concerns on conntrack hash collisions. There are no real-world known issues at the moment, but there is an old paper that suggests we should keep and eye on this and introduce improvements to prevent future DoS attack vectors. Florian mentioned these attacks are not practical at the moment, but who knows in a few years. He wants to explore introducing RB trees for conntrack. It will probably be a rbtree structure of hash tables in order to keep supporting parallel insertions. He was encouraged by others to go ahead and play/explore with this.

  • The Peculiar State Of CPU Security Mitigation Performance On Intel Tiger Lake - Phoronix

    One area not talked about much for Intel's latest Tiger Lake processors are hardened CPU security mitigations against the various speculative execution vulnerabilities to date. What's peculiar about Tiger Lake though is now if disabling the configurable mitigations it can actually result in worse performance than the default mitigated state. At least that's what we are seeing so far with the Core i7 1165G7 on Ubuntu 20.10 Linux is the opposite of what we have been seeing on prior generations of hardware. [...] On each of these Dell XPS notebooks were clean installs of Ubuntu 20.10 with security / stable release updates of the time and on their default Linux 5.8 kernel. The out-of-the-box / default mitigation performance was tested on each notebook followed by re-testing the same laptop and software stack after booting with mitigations=off. Here is the geometric mean of all the results before digging into the individual data points, but as you can see mitigations=off was of noticeably help to the older Kaby Lake R and Whiskey Lake processors, previous-generation Ice Lake was of some help but less given more hardware mitigations, and now with Tiger Lake the tables have turned where disabling the mitigations actually hurt the performance.

today's howtos

  • How To Enable Timestamp In Bash History In Linux - OSTechNix

    How do you know the time at which the command was executed? Easy! This guide explains how to enable timestamp in Bash history in Linux.

  • How to install Mattermost Chat on Ubuntu 20.04 - RoseHosting

    Step-by-step process on how to install Mattermost Chat on Ubuntu 20.04. Follow this simple and easy guide.

  • How To Install Rust on CentOS 8 - idroot

    In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Rust on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Rust, commonly known as Rust-Lang, is a system programming language that is developed by Mozilla and backed by LLVM. Rust is known for preventing program crashes, memory leaks, and data races before it is compiled into binary, thus creating a highly-productive and stable programming environment This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of Rust programming language on CentOS 8.

  • How to Remove ‘Show Applications’ Icon From the Dock in Ubuntu 20.04 | UbuntuHandbook

    This is a beginner’s guide shows how to remove the ‘Show Applications’ app menu icon from the dock in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10.

  • How to Install OpenNMS Network Monitoring Tool in CentOS 8

    OpenNMS is a free and open-source network monitoring and network management platform used for managing enterprise networks around the world. It is based on Java and is designed to manage thousands of devices from a central location. It has the ability to discover and monitor the services or nodes automatically in your network.

  • How to play Dark Souls III on Linux

    Dark Souls III is an action RPG video game developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco. It is the fourth game in the Souls series and the final game in the Souls trilogy. Here’s how to get the game working on Linux.

  • Openstack RDO && KVM Hypervisor: Install KDE Plasma on SparkyLinux GameOver 08/11 2020

    At the time of writing KDE Plasma install on any SparkyLinux 2020.09 might be committed via GDM3 installation right after KDE Plasma ( the last one via tasksel or CLI ) due to after system reboot GDM seems to be the only one DM on Sparky detecting previously installed KDE.

  • How to install VLC on a Chromebook

    Today we are looking at how to install VLC Media Player on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

  • How to play Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin on Linux

    Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is an action RPG video game developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco. In the game, the player’s character becomes Undead, cursed never to die, and becomes a hollow zombie creature with no memories or purpose.

  • Create your own Linux ecosystem with Nextcloud, DavX5 and KDE Connect