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Not So Open Any More: Elasticsearch Relicensing and Implications for Open Source Search

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OSS
Legal

Elastic, the company founded by the creators of the Elasticsearch search server, recently announced a change to the license of its core product. Previously under the permissive Apache 2 license, future versions of the software will be dual-licensed allowing users to choose between Elastic’s own license or the Server Side Public License (SSPL) created by MongoDB.

What does this change mean for users of the software? At this point I should note that although I am very familiar with open source search engines, I am not a lawyer — so please do take your own legal advice!

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I took FSFE to court. This is my story

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Legal

Soon after the first lockdown in Berlin this year I filed a public case in the Berlin Tribunal of Labour Court against the president of Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), Matthias Kirschner, for workplace bullying.
Why? A female colleague and me had dared to discuss wage transparency and gender pay gap in the office. Apparently it is common in Germany that this gap exceeds 20%, but we both felt secure that the free software movement is progressive, and cares about being inclusive and equal opportunities oriented.
Unfortunately we miscalculated – our boss Matthias was beyond furious.
After that office meeting, he told my colleague “there will be consequences”. Our efforts coincided with the resignation of Richard Stallman from the US-based sister organisation of FSFE due to careless revictimisation of female victims of sexual abuse- another gender discrimination issue in our community that would cause the situation in our office to deteriorate quickly.
In its reluctant press release on this pivotal change in leadership in the largest free software organisation in the world, the FSFE had opted to honour Stallman for his undeniably long service and overlook the social issues underlying the change – something with which I expressed dissatisfaction, and not without support from colleagues.
It led to immediate retribution.
I was ordered to rewrite the text and was warned that I had “three hours to do it. Whether we will publish it or not, is going to be my [Matthias', my rem.] decision, not yours”. Free software is in most of our digital infrastructure, and I care a lot about inclusivity in this community to ensure that our most basic tools can be developed by everyone's perspectives for everyone's needs, so I rewrote our announcement. But not only was it never published – it was not even honoured with his feedback.

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The road to software freedom is paved with licensing

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GNU
Legal

For many people, the path towards software freedom begins with a single program. They may not even know what free software is; they may just need a tool or a program to do a particular job. But in their search for that tool, the Free Software Directory, which is one of the key resources run by the Licensing and Compliance Lab, can often be a starting point for a much larger journey.

The Directory catalogues over 16,000 free software packages. Users can find free software packages for almost any activity, from playing games and reading books, to software libraries and developer tools. Every entry in the Directory is meticulously vetted by volunteers and FSF staff to ensure that users have the freedom to run, modify, copy, and share their modified versions of the work. Millions of users have visited the Directory looking for a particular piece of software, and upon finding it, have been introduced to the wider world of software freedom.

While the Directory already acts as a great starting point for many on their free software journey, there's so much more we can still do. We want to make it easier for people, once introduced to free software, to likewise help introduce others. We need resources and financial support for staff in order to organize and mentor volunteers to help us keep those thousands of entries up to date, and to write code to automate various kinds of imports and entry updates to help keep everything current, and so we can add thousands more.

The Directory is one of the best tools that we have for showing what is possible with free software, but we need your help to reach millions more.

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'Open' 'Invention' 'Network' Turns 15

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Legal
  • Open Invention Network Celebrates Its 15th Year Protecting Core Linux and Open Source from Patent Aggression [Ed: This is nonsense. OIN is not protecting us, it is protecting software patents from our scrutiny]

    Open Invention Network (OIN) is celebrating its 15th year protecting the Open Source Software (OSS) community from patent risk. OIN’s efforts have enabled businesses and organizations to confidently invest their resources to develop, integrate and use OSS, safeguarding them from patent risk in core Linux and adjacent OSS technologies.

  • Open Invention Network Linux patent protection group turns 15

    Now, 15 years later, the Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression consortium ever, is still protecting Linux and open-source software from patent attacks and patent trolls. Indeed, its scope has grown ever larger. Recently, it expanded its intellectual property protection from core Linux programs and adjacent open-source code by expanding its Linux System Definition. In particular, that means patents relating to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) 10 and the Extended File Allocation Table exFAT file system are now protected.

POCO X3 kernel sources are still not available, despite a promise of launch-day release

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Legal

The POCO X3 NFC was launched back on September 7, 2020, bringing around a very high-value package at an affordable price tag. POCO repeated the same act with the POCO X3 in India, launched on September 22, 2020, but with slight differences from the globally launched variant: a bigger battery and no NFC. Two months on, the device remains one of the best purchases overall in the mid-range, for both the Global and the Indian variants. But what disappoints us is the fact that the kernel source for the device(s) has still not been released, despite a promise to release it on launch day.

[...]

Since it has been more than 2 months now since the phone has been released, there is very little excuse left on POCO’s end for not having released the source code. The phone is in the hands of consumers, and a fair few updates have also been delivered. Releasing kernel sources promptly should be something that every OEM does anyway. But POCO explicitly promised a very quick kernel release. And not releasing it so far trudges upon these claims of developer-friendliness and the trust of customers (and legal contracts, too).

The POCO X3/NFC remains an excellent value device in the age of rising flagship prices. While the phone is no flagship, nor does it pretend to be, it’s very easy to recommend to average users in the regions where it is officially sold. You get a lot of phone for the money. We hope POCO releases kernel sources as soon as possible, to keep up its promise to its fans. And while they’re at it, we hope they release kernel sources for the POCO M2 (device codename: shiva) and POCO C3 (device codename: angelicain) as well.

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NASA ROSES-20 Amendment 64: Release of Final text of E.8 Supplemental Open Source Software Awards

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OSS
Sci/Tech
Legal

Supplemental open source software awards are used to encourage the conversion of legacy software into modern code to be released under a generally accepted, open source license (e.g., Apache-2, BSD-2-clause, GPL). The supplement would add a software component to their previously selected "parent" research and analysis award.

ROSES-2020 Amendment 64 Releases Final text for E.8 Supplemental Open Source Software Awards. Notices of Intent are not requested. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis with a final due date of April 14, 2021.

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'This was bigger than GNOME and bigger than just this case.' GNOME Foundation exec director talks patent trolls and much, much more

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Interviews
GNOME
Legal

Patent assertion entities: do not pick a fight with open source. It won't end well for you. This is the message from GNOME Foundation executive director Neil McGovern, who will speak on the subject at the Open Source Summit Europe next week.

McGovern talked to The Register ahead of the event on patents, Microsoft, and more.

The open-source outfit develops the default desktop environment on major Linux distributions including Ubuntu and Red Hat. In late August 2019, Rothschild Patent Imaging filed a lawsuit against the GNOME foundation claiming that GNOME Shotwell, a photo manager, infringed one of its patents.

“We didn't receive a letter before the court documents were filed or any sort of warning, it was just filed and then within a week there was a settlement request for $75,000,” McGovern told us.

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USDOJ Takes on Google, Mozilla Responds

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Google
Moz/FF
Web
Legal
  • Justice Department Sues Monopolist Google For Violating Antitrust Laws

    oday, the Department of Justice — along with eleven state Attorneys General — filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to stop Google from unlawfully maintaining monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets and to remedy the competitive harms. The participating state Attorneys General offices represent Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Texas.

    “Today, millions of Americans rely on the Internet and online platforms for their daily lives. Competition in this industry is vitally important, which is why today’s challenge against Google — the gatekeeper of the Internet — for violating antitrust laws is a monumental case both for the Department of Justice and for the American people,” said Attorney General William Barr. “Since my confirmation, I have prioritized the Department’s review of online market-leading platforms to ensure that our technology industries remain competitive. This lawsuit strikes at the heart of Google’s grip over the internet for millions of American consumers, advertisers, small businesses and entrepreneurs beholden to an unlawful monopolist.”

  • Mozilla Reaction to U.S. v. Google

    Like millions of everyday internet users, we share concerns about how Big Tech’s growing power can deter innovation and reduce consumer choice. We believe that scrutiny of these issues is healthy, and critical if we’re going to build a better internet. We also know from firsthand experience there is no overnight solution to these complex issues. Mozilla’s origins are closely tied to the last major antitrust case against Microsoft in the nineties.

    In this new lawsuit, the DOJ referenced Google’s search agreement with Mozilla as one example of Google’s monopolization of the search engine market in the United States. Small and independent companies such as Mozilla thrive by innovating, disrupting and providing users with industry leading features and services in areas like search. The ultimate outcomes of an antitrust lawsuit should not cause collateral damage to the very organizations – like Mozilla – best positioned to drive competition and protect the interests of consumers on the web.

  • DOJ May Force Google To Sell Chrome To Settle Antitrust Case: Report

    he U.S. Department of Justice may force Google to sell its Chrome browser. The development came after the US Congress’ antitrust report on big tech companies.

    It is also told that the DOJ is targeting Google’s advertising business as well. The prosecutors aim at breaking Google’s monopoly on the $162 billion digital advertising market. Politico reported the development via anonymous sources.

Open source licensing and why we're changing Plausible to the AGPL license

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GNU
Legal

Plausible Analytics is a software as a service open source web analytics project. With the increase in popularity of Plausible in recent months, we’ve become aware that there are risks associated with permissive open source licenses that corporations that don’t care about open source are happy to take advantage of.

So we’re making a change to our license. This change doesn’t affect anyone subscribing to the Plausible Analytics Cloud and anyone who’s running Plausible Analytics Self-Hosted on their server. Everything stays the same.

The change will affect corporations that want to take our code and use it to create and sell proprietary tools that directly compete with us. Let’s look at the details.

[...]

These corporations use Google Analytics to track their users, have Facebook pixels to target the same users with advertising across the web and so on. Everything we stand against.

Their motives don’t seem to be to make the web more privacy-friendly and reduce the dominance of Google. It seems purely a business opportunity to make money from open source.

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Via: Plausible relicenses to AGPL

Free Software Leftovers

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • WordPress Mobile Engineers Propose Dual Licensing Gutenberg under GPL v2.0 and MPL v2.0

    During a Q&A session at WordCamp Europe 2020 online, Matt Mullenweg mentioned that Gutenberg contributors were considering dual licensing for embedding Gutenberg in mobile apps, along with the requirement that they would need to get an agreement from all contributors. WordPress mobile engineer Maxime Biais has just published a proposal for discussion, recommending dual licensing the editor under GPL v2.0 and MPL v2.0.

    [...]

    Mobile app developers are limited by the GPL, because it requires the entire app to be distributed under the same license. The team is proposing dual licensing under MPL v2.0, a weaker copyleft license that is often considered to be more “business-friendly.” It allows users to combine the software with proprietary code. MPL v2.0 requires the source code for any changes to be available under the MPL, ensuring improvements are shared back to the community. The rest of the app can be distributed under any terms with the MPL v2.0 code included as part of a “larger work.”

  • NoSQL databases: what is MongoDB and its use cases?

    Databases like MongoDB, a NoSQL document database, are commonly used in environments where flexibility is required with big, unstructured data with ever-changing schemas. This post explains what a NoSQL database is, and provides an overview of MongoDB, its use cases and a solution for running an open source MongoDB database at scale.

  • What Cassandra users think of their NoSQL DBMS

    With the NoSQL market expected to be worth $22 Billion by 2026, big business is paying Apache Cassandra a lot of attention. While MongoDB dominates NoSQL, 52.71% to Cassandra's 9.73%, Cassandra, with its ability to deliver continuous availability, high performance, and scalability to large volumes of unstructured data, will always be a player. Now, if only there were more expert Cassandra administrators!

    A global survey of 1,404 Cassandra practitioners found a plurality thought the lack of skilled staff and the challenge of migration was blocking Cassandra's adoption. To be exact, 36% of users currently using Cassandra for mission-critical apps said that a lack of Cassandra-skilled team members was deterring its broader adoption.

    When asked what it would take for practitioners to use Cassandra for more applications and features in production, they said it needs to be "easier to migrate" and "easier to integrate." That's because "we don't have time to train a ton of developers, so that time to deploy, time to onboard, that's really key. All the other stuff, scalability, that all sounds fine," said a London-based senior Cassandra user.

    That may be in part because of those surveyed, 89% were using open-source Cassandra. If they were using DataStax, the most popular Cassandra distro, it might be a different story.

  • Olauncher gives your home screen an open-source, minimalist makeover

    Android's open, customizable nature is one of the things that attract a lot of enthusiasts to the platform. From manufacturer-specific tweaks to third-party default app replacements, there's usually a way to make your phone look and act how you choose. Olauncher is a new home screen replacement app that endeavors to bring an open-source, lightweight, and minimal setup to your phone.

    And minimal it is — there's time and date info up top, a list of apps below ... and that's it. The clock and app list can be set to left, center, or right orientations. A maximum of six app names can be displayed, but if you're the most minimal of minimalists, you can set it to show no apps at all. But wouldn't that render it useless? Not quite! By default, swiping to the left launches the camera and swiping to the right opens up the dialer, but you can customize these as you choose. A swipe up opens the full app list organized alphabetically.

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Graphics: Iris Xe, NVIDIA, VKD3D-Proton, Gallium/Zink

  • Intel Announces Iris Xe Desktop Graphics For OEMs

    Intel today announced Iris Xe (DG1) discrete graphics cards are coming to OEMs with ASUS and Colorful being among the initial partners. The initial Iris Xe desktop graphics cards feature 80 execution units and a 30 Watt TDP. This is not the high-end, high performance desktop graphics but seems to largely be the Xe MAX discrete laptop graphics (but with 16 less EUs) now fitted for PCI Express cards for the desktop. The OEM cards are expected to feature 4GB of LPDDR4X memory. Other details are still light.

  • Nvidia Gets Certifiable About Systems

    If the emergence of Nvidia in datacenter compute shows anything, it is the value of controlling the software stack as you come to dominate the compute – and the revenue and profits – in the hardware stack. When it comes to AI, the combination of open source frameworks from the wider AI community, which Nvidia contributes to, and closed source libraries and tools that make up the Nvidia GPU Compute software stack that is underpinned by the CUDA environment, gives Nvidia the kind of control over a complete software/hardware stack that we have not seen in the datacenter since the RISC/Unix server days of the dot-com boom and earlier with proprietary systems from IBM, DEC, and HP, as well as IBM mainframes since the dawn of the data processing age. There are some differences this time around, and they are significant. The operating system is consequential, of course, but with all AI workloads being deployed on Linux, it really doesn’t matter which one you pick. Linux is about as interchangeable as DRAM memory modules in the server and it really comes down to preferences and a few technical differentiations. And to a certain extent, the X86 server that houses the Nvidia GPUs is fairly interchangeable, too. But fi you want to make GPU compute fluid and easy, then you have to realize that not every can – or wants to – buy an Nvidia DGX-A100 or DGX-2 system. Hyperscalers and cloud builders have their own ODM suppliers, enterprises have their own OEM suppliers, and they want to be able to run the Nvidia AI stack on platforms from their suppliers rather than having to add a new vendor into the mix.

  • NVIDIA 460.39 Linux Driver Brings RTX 30 Laptop Enablement, Improved 5.10+ Kernel Support

    NVIDIA has released 460.39 as their latest stable Linux proprietary graphics driver build. With this latest NVIDIA 460 series driver is support now for the RTX 3060 / RTX 3070 / RTX 3080 laptop GPUs as well as for the low-end GeForce GT 1010.

  • VKD3D-Proton begins work to support DirectX Raytracing on Linux | GamingOnLinux

    There's a few mountains that Steam Play Proton still needs to climb over the next few years, to enable more Windows games and more features in those games to work under Linux. One big one is at least in progress. Ray Tracing being one of the big things in gaming tech now, thanks to both AMD and NVIDIA having Ray Tracing cards out in the wild. With that, we can expect more games to begin using it. Thankfully, VKD3D-Proton, which is the Valve-funded fork of vkd3d to work with Direct3D 12 has a Pull Request open with the start of the work towards supporting Ray Tracing. Keep in mind though, while exciting for Steam Play Proton users, this is far from complete and not enabled directly for games as of yet as stated in the PR "Don't expose any features to app yet, but allow overriding FL to 12.2 for local testing while bringing up DXR.".

  • Mike Blumenkrantz: Samplin

    The goal in this post is to migrate a truckload block of code I wrote to handle sampler updating out of zink and into Gallium, thereby creating several days worth of rebase work for myself but also removing a costly codepath from the driver thread. The first step in getting sampler creation to work right in zink is getting Gallium to create samplers with the correct filters in accordance with Chapter 42 of the Vulkan Spec: VK_FORMAT_FEATURE_SAMPLED_IMAGE_FILTER_LINEAR_BIT specifies that if VK_FORMAT_FEATURE_SAMPLED_IMAGE_BIT is also set, an image view can be used with a sampler that has either of magFilter or minFilter set to VK_FILTER_LINEAR, or mipmapMode set to VK_SAMPLER_MIPMAP_MODE_LINEAR. If VK_FORMAT_FEATURE_BLIT_SRC_BIT is also set, an image can be used as the srcImage to vkCmdBlitImage2KHR and vkCmdBlitImage with a filter of VK_FILTER_LINEAR. This bit must only be exposed for formats that also support the VK_FORMAT_FEATURE_SAMPLED_IMAGE_BIT or VK_FORMAT_FEATURE_BLIT_SRC_BIT. If the format being queried is a depth/stencil format, this bit only specifies that the depth aspect (not the stencil aspect) of an image of this format supports linear filtering, and that linear filtering of the depth aspect is supported whether depth compare is enabled in the sampler or not. If this bit is not present, linear filtering with depth compare disabled is unsupported and linear filtering with depth compare enabled is supported, but may compute the filtered value in an implementation-dependent manner which differs from the normal rules of linear filtering. The resulting value must be in the range [0,1] and should be proportional to, or a weighted average of, the number of comparison passes or failures.

Kernel: Moorestown, Nintendo 64, Corellium and Oracle

  • Linux Says Farewell To Intel's Smartphone Attempts With Clearing Out Moorestown / Medfield

    Not only are some old ARM platforms and some obsolete, obscure CPU architectures on the chopping block for some spring cleaning in the Linux kernel, but the Intel Moorestown and Medfield "Mobile Internet Device" platforms are being phased out from the Linux kernel this spring as well. Moorestown was Intel's early Atom platform geared for handheld mobile Internet devices and smartphones.

  • With Linux 5.12 Set To Boot On The Nintendo 64, The N64 Controller Driver Is Now Queued - Phoronix

    A few days ago we wrote about Linux 5.12 to see support for the Nintendo 64 more than two decades after that MIPS-based video game console first shipped. While the practicality of Linux on the Nintendo 64 is particularly limited given only 4~8MB of RAM and the MIPS64 NEC VR4300 clocked under 100MHz, it's going upstream and now the N64 controller driver is also queued for this next kernel cycle. The code talked about a few days ago was getting Linux to boot on the Nintendo 64. With those 200+ lines of code in the MIPS architecture space is enough to get Linux booting on the Nintendo 64 when using a Flashcart device to be able to load the arbitrary code onto the game console.

  • Corellium to offer cloud-based iOS virtualisation to individual accounts

    The company, which only recently ported Ubuntu Linux to work on Apple Silicon Macs, has announced on their blog that they will now offer their virtualisation tools for iOS to individual accounts on their CORSEC platform. Previously, only enterprise accounts could access the service, while individuals could only access virtual Android devices.

  • Getting started with SystemTap on Oracle Linux

    There are a wealth of tools available for tracing and debugging the Linux kernel on a live system. These include Kprobes, Ftrace, trace-cmd, Dtrace, eBPF, SystemTap, crash, gdb, etc. Among these tools, few allow the user to develop and re-use scripts that can filter events and collect data more than just function arguments and returned values. Dtrace, eBPF and SystemTap are the ones among these tools that do.

  • Anticipating Your Memory Needs

    The Linux kernel organizes physical memory in units of pages of a certain size called base pages. For example, the default base page size when running on Intel processors is 4KB. These pages are allocated to user and kernel tasks as they need memory. When processing large amounts of data from slower disk devices, the Linux kernel uses a page cache to cache contents, like disk blocks, to speed up access to frequently accessed data. See this article for more details on how various caches are used by the Linux kernel. This has the positive effect of improving overall system performance but the memory for page cache must come from the same memory pool that is used by rest of the system. The kernel allocates all the memory not currently in use to the page cache. As the kernel needs to allocate more memory for other tasks, it can reclaim pages from the page cache since the contents in the page cache can be restored from disk blocks when the need arises. Reclamation happens as the kernel starts to run low on free memory pages. Individual memory pages are the base pages. As pages are reclaimed, any contiguous base pages are grouped together (compaction) to form higher order pages. Higher order pages are groups of 2^n physically contiguous pages where n is the page order. Higher order pages can then be used to satisfy higher order page allocation requests, for example if an allocation request is for 8 pages, that allocation will be made from order 3 page group. The kernel recovers physical memory in the event of a shortage by page reclamation and/or compaction. Both methods are implemented in a similar fashion. As the amount of free memory falls below the low threshold (watermark), memory pages are reclaimed asynchronously via kswapd or compacted via kcompactd. If the free memory continues to fall below a minimum watermark, any allocation request is forced to perform reclamation/compaction synchronously before it can be fulfilled. The latter synchronous method is referred to as the "direct" path and is considerably slower owing to being stalled waiting for memory to be reclaimed. The corresponding stall in the caller results in a non-deterministic increased latency for the operation it is performing and is typically perceived as an impact on performance.

Debian: Ease of Use, Lomiri and More

  • Thomas Lange: Making Debian available

    This is the subject of an interesting thread on the debian-devel mailing list. It started with ".. The current policy of hiding other versions of Debian is limiting the adoption of your OS by people like me.." It seems that this user managed to contact us developers and give us some important information how we can improve the user experience. The following discussion shows that all our users need non-free firmware to get their wireless network cards run. Do we provide such installation images for our users? Sure. We build them regularly, host them on our servers, we also sign the hash sum with our official signing key. But we hide them very well and still call them unofficial. Why? I would like to have a more positive name for those images. Ubuntu has the HWE (Hardware Enablement) kernel. Maybe Debian firmware enablement images?

  • UBports: Packaging of Lomiri Operating Environment for Debian (part 04)

    Before and during FOSDEM 2020, I agreed with the people (developers, supporters, managers) of the UBports Foundation to package the Unity8 Operating Environment for Debian. Since 27th Feb 2020, Unity8 has now become Lomiri. Things got delayed a little recently as my main developer contact on the upstream side was on sick leave for a while. Fortunately, he has now fully recovered and work is getting back on track.

  • Debian's Gunnar Wolf: Back to school... As a student

    Although it was a much larger step when I made a similar announcement seven years ago, when I started my Specialization, it is still a big challenge ahead, and I am very happy to pursue this: I have been admitted to a PhD program at UNAM, the university I have worked at for almost 20 years, and one of the top universities in Latin America. What program will I be part of? Doctorado en Ciencia e Ingeniería de la Computación (Computer Science and Engineering Doctorate… Quite a broad program name, yes, sounds like anything goes).

  • [Debian-based] SteamTinkerLaunch – SparkyLinux

    There is a new application available for Sparkers: SteamTinkerLaunch

The first release candidate of NomadBSD 1.4 is now available!

We are pleased to present the first release candidate of NomadBSD 1.4. Read more