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Legal

FOSS Licensing

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OSS
Legal
  • Which type of open source license do you prefer?
  • What is copyleft?

    While the GPL family are the most popular copyleft licenses, they are by no means the only ones. The Mozilla Public License and the Eclipse Public License are also very popular. Many other copyleft licenses exist with smaller adoption footprints.

    As explained in the previous section, a copyleft license means downstream projects cannot add additional restrictions on the use of the software. This is best illustrated with an example. If I wrote MyCoolProgram and distributed it under a copyleft license, you would have the freedom to use and modify it. You could distribute versions with your changes, but you'd have to give your users the same freedoms I gave you. If I had licensed it under a permissive license, you'd be free to incorporate it into a closed software project that you do not provide the source to.

    But just as important as what you must do with MyCoolProgram is what you don't have to do. You don't have to use the exact same license I did, so long as the terms are compatible (generally downstream projects use the same license for simplicity's sake). You don't have to contribute your changes back to me, but it's generally considered good form, especially when the changes are bug fixes.

  • Hellwig v. VMware Hits A Rock

    They wanted line by line evidence, not pointers to the lines. You’d think there would be a script for that…

BSD and GNU/GPL

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GNU
BSD
Legal
  • When BSD and Ubuntu meet on the dance floor, magic should happen

    Jack Wallen takes UbuntuBSD out for a dance to see if it can keep up with the competition. Find out if this new distribution stands a chance at surviving among the already challenging Linux landscape.

  • GPL enforcement action in Hellwig v. VMware dismissed, with an appeal expected

    A decision in the GPL enforcement case in Germany between Christoph Hellwig (supported by the Software Freedom Conservancy) and VMware recently became public. The court dismissed the case after concluding that Hellwig failed to identify in the VMware product the specific lines of code for which he owned copyright. The GPL interpretation question was not addressed. Hellwig has indicated that he will appeal the court’s decision.

  • GNU Tools Cauldron

    We are pleased to announce another gathering of GNU tools developers. The basic format of this meeting will be similar to the previous meetings. However this year the meeting will be immediately preceded by the first ever LLVM Cauldron.

    The purpose of this workshop is to gather all GNU tools developers, discuss current/future work, coordinate efforts, exchange reports on ongoing efforts, discuss development plans for the next 12 months, developer tutorials and any other related discussions.

FSF/GNU

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GNU
Legal
  • Christoph Hellwig's case against VMware dismissed

    The GPL-infringement case brought against VMware by Christoph Hellwig in Germany has been dismissed by the court; the ruling is available in German and English. The decision seems to be based entirely on uncertainty over where his copyrights actually lie and not on the infringement claims.

  • diffutils-3.4 released
  • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: August 12th
  • Licensing resource series: h-node hardware directory

    This is the second installment in the Free Software Foundation's Licensing & Compliance Lab's series highlighting licensing resources.

    While our Respects Your Freedom hardware certification program gets lots of attention from all the new fully free hardware being certified, the FSF has actually had more resources on hardware for quite some time. In the past, we maintained a list of hardware that worked well with free software. But a few years back we made this into a community run project, h-node.

    Hardware listed on h-node doesn't come with FSF certification, but it does come with the information users need to find out the extent to which the hardware is supported by fully free GNU/Linux distros. Members of the community can submit entries to h-node whenever they get a chance to test it against one of these free operating systems. By sharing this information, everyone can help more users to make the switch to a fully free system by making it easier to know what hardware already works perfectly with a free system. Hackers looking to help increase support can also find hardware with some remaining issues and direct their efforts there.

  • GNU dico Version 2.3

    Version 2.3 is available for download from the Main GNU site as well as from its home. Mirrors worldwide are also available.

  • GnuTLS 3.5.3

    Released GnuTLS 3.5.3, a minor enhancement and bug fix release in next stable branch.

On the boundaries of GPL enforcement

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GNU
Legal

Last October, the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) and Free Software Foundation (FSF) jointly published "The Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement". That document described what those organizations believe the goal of enforcement efforts should be and how those efforts should be carried out. Several other organizations endorsed the principles, including the netfilter project earlier this month. It was, perhaps, a bit puzzling that the project would make that endorsement at that time, but a July 19 SFC blog post sheds some light on the matter.

There have been rumblings for some time about a kernel developer doing enforcement in Germany that might not be particularly "community-oriented", but public information was scarce. Based on the blog post by Bradley Kuhn and Karen Sandler, though, it would seem that Patrick McHardy, who worked on netfilter, is the kernel developer in question. McHardy has also recently been suspended from the netfilter core team pending his reply to "severe allegations" with regard to "the style of his license enforcement activities".

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The Importance of Following Community-Oriented Principles in GPL Enforcement Work

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GNU
Legal

The GNU General Public License (GPL) was designed to grant clear permissions for sharing software and to defend that freedom for users. GPL'd code now appears in so many devices that it is fundamental to modern technology. While we believe that following the GPL's requirements is neither burdensome nor unreasonable, many fail to do so. GPL enforcement — the process to encourage those who fail to correct problems and join our open software development community — is difficult diplomacy.

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Linux Australia backflips on Appelbaum stance

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Linux
Legal

Linux Australia has done a backflip on its stance over privacy advocate Jacob Appelbaum who was recently thrown out of several software groupings following numerous accusations of sexual harassment.

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Remaining Articles About PS3 Settlement Over GNU/Linux

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GNU
Linux
Legal

PS3 Settlement

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Legal

A Brief History of Free and Open Source Software Licensing

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Legal

Open source software licenses may not excite people as much as open source code, but they have been just as important in keeping software free. Open source licensing as we know it today didn't always exist, however. It evolved as programmers developed more sophisticated strategies regarding their intellectual property.

Below is a look at the major milestones in open source licensing history. It doesn't cover every twist and turn. That would take a book.

But it outlines the major arc in open source licensing strategies, from the days when free software promoters disdained licenses altogether through present-day battles about software licensing and the cloud.

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Also: Licensing resources series: A Quick Guide to GPLv3

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More in Tux Machines

Red Hat News

Linux Kernel Space: eBPF and More (LWN Paywall Expired)

  • A thorough introduction to eBPF
    In his linux.conf.au 2017 talk [YouTube] on the eBPF in-kernel virtual machine, Brendan Gregg proclaimed that "super powers have finally come to Linux". Getting eBPF to that point has been a long road of evolution and design. While eBPF was originally used for network packet filtering, it turns out that running user-space code inside a sanity-checking virtual machine is a powerful tool for kernel developers and production engineers. Over time, new eBPF users have appeared to take advantage of its performance and convenience. This article explains how eBPF evolved how it works, and how it is used in the kernel.
  • Restricting automatic kernel-module loading
    The kernel's module mechanism allows the building of a kernel with a wide range of hardware and software support without requiring that all of that code actually be loaded into any given running system. The availability of all of those modules in a typical distributor kernel means that a lot of features are available — but also, potentially, a lot of exploitable bugs. There have been numerous cases where the kernel's automatic module loader has been used to bring buggy code into a running system. An attempt to reduce the kernel's exposure to buggy modules shows how difficult some kinds of hardening work can be.
  • Container IDs for the audit subsystem
    Linux containers are something of an amorphous beast, at least with respect to the kernel. There are lots of facilities that the kernel provides (namespaces, control groups, seccomp, and so on) that can be composed by user-space tools into containers of various shapes and colors; the kernel is blissfully unaware of how user space views that composition. But there is interest in having the kernel be more aware of containers and for it to be able to distinguish what user space considers to be a single container. One particular use case for the kernel managing container identifiers is the audit subsystem, which needs unforgeable IDs for containers that can be associated with audit trails. Back in early October, Richard Guy Briggs posted the second version of his RFC for kernel container IDs that can be used by the audit subsystem. The first version was posted in mid-September, but is not the only proposal out there. David Howells proposed turning containers into full-fledged kernel objects back in May, but seemingly ran aground on objections that the proposal "muddies the waters and makes things more brittle", in the words of namespaces maintainer Eric W. Biederman.

today's howtos

Graphics: Texture Compression, Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL), and AMD FreeSync

  • Unity Continues Crunching More Out Of Crunch Texture Compression
    Unity is one of the big public users of the open-source Crunch DXT texture compression library. While it's no longer maintained by Rich Geldreich / Binomial, Unity has continued advancing this open-source code to further improve the compression ratio and speed. For months Unity has been talking about their promising findings with Crunch. But this is the project that Rich Geldreich, the former Valve developer, previously expressed regret having open-sourced all of it. While he is on to working on better and more advanced technologies at his Binomial startup, Unity is working to squeeze more out of this open-source library.
  • Improving EFL Graphics With Wayland Application Redraws
    Under X, application redraws are tricky to do without tearing because content can be updated at any chosen time with no clear feedback as to when the compositor will read it. EFL uses some clever tricks to this end (check out the state of the art X redraw timing for yourself), but it’s difficult to get right in all cases. For a lot of people this just works, or they’re not sensitive to the issue when it doesn’t.
  • Improved Wayland Application Redraws Coming To Enlightenment's EFL
    Samsung's Open-Source Group has been working on making their Wayland support in the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) even better. The latest Wayland work on the Enlightenment/EFL front has been improving the application redraw process. The EFL toolkit with the upcoming v1.21 release will now be hooking into Wayland's frame callbacks to better dealing with drawing, only drawing when necessary, and doing so without the possibility of tearing.
  • AMD FreeSync For Tear-Free Linux Gaming - Current State In 2017
    If you are thinking of gifting yourself (or someone else) a FreeSync-compatible monitor this holiday season, here's a look at how the AMD FreeSync support is working right now, the driver bits you need to be aware of, and how it's all playing out for those wanting to use this tear-free capability for Linux gaming.