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Legal

Open Source Security hit with bill for defamation claim

Filed under
Security
Legal

Open Source Security, maker of the grsecurity Linux kernel patches, has been directed to pay Bruce Perens and his legal team almost $260,000 following a failed defamation claim.

The security biz, and its president Brad Spengler, sued Perens last year over a blog post, alleging defamation.

Perens, one of the early leaders in the open source movement, said it was his opinion that Grsecurity's policy limiting the redistribution of its software would expose customers to claims of contributory infringement and breach of contract under the terms of the GPLv2.

Open Source Security and Spengler challenged that claim, saying it was libelous and harmed the company's business.

Last December, San Francisco magistrate judge Laurel Beeler disagreed, ruling that Perens's statement was an opinion and not libelous.

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Wine Vulkan Preps For v1.1 Support With Licensing Issues Resolved

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Software
Legal

Now that Vulkan's code licensing issue with Wine has been resolved, the Winevulkan code for supporting Vulkan within Wine to pass onto the host Linux system's Vulkan driver is being updated.

The Wine Vulkan code had been limited to supporting Vulkan 1.0.51 as that was the last release of Vulkan to be under an MIT-style license before migrating to the Apache 2.0 license. Now that there is the exception in place with Vulkan's current license, Roderick Colenbrander has moved forward in updating the winevulkan code.

There's been a lot of changes in that time and Roderick is working on addressing what needs to be modified in the Wine Vulkan code. But for now Winevulkan isn't exposing Vulkan 1.1 support until some of the features can be implemented within the Wine code, so for now it's being advertised as v1.0.76 rather than the current upstream of 1.1.76.

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Tesla Compliance

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • It Only Took Six Years, But Tesla Is No Longer Screwing Up Basic Software Licenses

    Tesla is actually doing it. The electric car maker is starting to abide by open source software licenses that it had previously ignored, and releasing the code it’s sat on for over six years, according to Electrek.

    Tesla’s super smart cars, specifically the sporty Model S sedan and Model X SUV, incorporate a lot of open source software, from Linux, the open source operating system, to BusyBox, a collection of tools that are useful when working with Linux and other UNIX environments (like macOS). All open source software is released under licenses and one of the most popular licenses is the GPL, or General Public License.

  • Tesla releases some of its software to comply with open source rules

    Tesla makes some of the most popular electric vehicles out there and the systems in those cars rely on open source software for operating systems and features. Some of that open source software that is used in Tesla products has a license agreement that requires Tesla to at least offer the user access to the source code. Tesla hasn’t been making that offer.

  • Tesla open sources some of its Autopilot source code

    ELECTRIC CAR MAKER Tesla tends to keep the details of its work under lock and key, but now Elon Musk's company is plonking some of its automotive tech source code into the open source community.

    Tesla dumped some of its code used to build the foundations of its Autopilot semi-autonomous driving tech and the infotainment system found on the Model S and Model X cars, which makes uses of Nvidia's Tegra chipset, on GitHub.

    Even if you're code-savvy, don't go expecting to build your own autonomous driving platform on top of this source code, as Tesla has still kept the complete Autopilot framework under wraps, as well as deeper details of the infotainment system found in its cars. But it could give code wranglers a better look into how Tesla approaches building infotainment systems and giving its cars a dose of self-driving smarts.

  • Tesla releases source code

    Tesla has taken its first step towards compliance with the GNU General Public Licence (GPL) by releasing some of its source code.

    The car maker has opened two GitHub repositories which contain the buildroot material used to build the system image on its Autopilot platform, and the kernel sources for the boards and the Nvidia-based infotainment system in the Model S and Model X.

More on Tesla's Compliance

Filed under
GNU
Legal

Congratulations to Tesla on Their First Public Step Toward GPL Compliance

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • Congratulations to Tesla on Their First Public Step Toward GPL Compliance

    Conservancy rarely talks publicly about specifics in its ongoing GNU General Public License (GPL) enforcement and compliance activity, in accordance with our Principles of Community Oriented GPL Enforcement. We usually keep our compliance matters confidential — not for our own sake — but for the sake of violators who request discretion to fix their mistakes without fear of public reprisal. As occurred a few years ago with Samsung, we're thrilled when a GPL violator decides to talk about their violation and works to correct it publicly. This gives us the opportunity to shine light on the real-world work of GPL and copyleft compliance.

    We're thus glad that, this week, Tesla has acted publicly regarding its current GPL violations and has announced that they've taken their first steps toward compliance. While Tesla acknowledges that they still have more work to do, their recent actions show progress toward compliance and a commitment to getting all the way there.

  • Tesla releases some of its software to comply with open source licences

    Tesla is a software-heavy company and it has been using a lot of open source software to build its operating system and features, such as Linux Kernel, Buildroot, Busybox, QT, and more.

    Some of the copyright holders have been complaining that Tesla hasn’t been complying with their licenses.

  • The Software Freedom Conservancy on Tesla's GPL compliance

    The Software Freedom Conservancy has put out a blog posting on the history and current status of Tesla's GPL compliance issues.

A short history of Gentoo copyright

Filed under
Gentoo
Legal

As part of the recent effort into forming a new copyright policy for Gentoo, a research into the historical status has been conducted. We've tried to establish all the key events regarding the topic, as well as the reasoning behind the existing policy. I would like to shortly note the history based on the evidence discovered by Robin H. Johnson, Ulrich Müller and myself.

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Copyright 101 for Gentoo contributors

Filed under
Gentoo
Legal

While the work on new Gentoo copyright policy is still in progress, I think it would be reasonable to write a short article on copyright in general, for the benefit of Gentoo developers and contributors (proxied maintainers, in particular). There are some common misconceptions regarding copyright, and I would like to specifically focus on correcting them. Hopefully, this will reduce the risk of users submitting ebuilds and other files in violation of copyrights of other parties.

First of all, I’d like to point out that IANAL. The following information is based on what I’ve gathered from various sources over the years. Some or all of it may be incorrect. I take no responsibility for that. When in doubt, please contact a lawyer.

Secondly, the copyright laws vary from country to country. In particular, I have no clue how they work across two countries with incompatible laws. I attempt to provide a baseline that should work both for US and EU, i.e. ‘stay on the safe side’. However, there is no guarantee that it will work everywhere.

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A successful defense against a copyright troll

Filed under
Linux
Legal

At the 2018 Legal and Licensing Workshop (LLW), which is a yearly gathering of lawyers and technical folks organized by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), attendees got more details on a recent hearing in a German GPL enforcement case. Marcus von Welser is a lawyer who represented the defendant, Geniatech, in a case that was brought by Patrick McHardy. In the presentation, von Welser was joined by Armijn Hemel, who helped Geniatech in its compliance efforts. The hearing was of interest for a number of reasons, not least because McHardy withdrew his request for an injunction once it became clear that the judge was leaning in favor of the defendants—effectively stopping this case dead in its tracks.

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GNU/FSF, Conservancy and Heritage of Free Software

Filed under
GNU
Legal
  • GIMP 2.10 Is Finally Here! Here’s How to Install it on Ubuntu

    It’s finally here: GIMP 2.10 is available to download for Windows, macOS and Linux.

    The latest stable release of this insanely popular open source image editing tool – oft touted as a Photoshop alternative – has been 6 years in development.

    Yes, six years.

    Given the long gestation period you won’t be too shocked to hear that GIMP 2.10is jam-packed with changes, improvements and new features, both big and small, visible and non-visible.

  • Guile-CV version 0.1.9
  • Deb Nicholson joins Conservancy as Director of Community Operations

    Today Software Freedom Conservancy announces its newest employee, Deb Nicholson. Nicholson is a prominent software freedom advocate and organizer. Nicholson’s professional roots are in the world of local community organizing in Massachusetts. Her first roles in the free software movement were as a staff member at the Free Software Foundation. Nicholson won the O’Reilly Open Source Award for her volunteer work with GNU MediaGoblin, a federated media-hosting service and OpenHatch, an initiative to help bring newcomers into free software. She is also a founding organizer of the Seattle GNU/Linux Conference, an annual event dedicated to surfacing new voices and welcoming new people to the free software community in the Pacific Northwest. Most recently, she served as the Community Outreach Director for the Open Invention Network, a company that builds a defensive patent pool for open source software. Nicholson has volunteered for Conservancy for many years, including on Conservancy’s Evaluations Committee since 2015.

    [...]

    “Deb has been a force for software freedom,” said Karen Sandler, Conservancy’s Executive Director. “In her jobs and as a volunteer she has had a strong impact on the communities she’s participated in. She’s a great fit for Conservancy and we’re all excited to work with her.”

  • A Wayback Machine for Source Code

    In March 2016, software developer Azer Koçulu famously broke the internet by taking 11 lines of open source computer code he had written offline. The problem: millions of software packages written in the programming language JavaScript had been built on top of Koçulu’s code, or they were built on top of other packages that, in turn, were built on top of the code Koçulu wrote. “I think I have the right of deleting all my stuff,” Koçulu wrote bluntly in an email at the time. 

    [...]

     Since 2015, archivists at the Software Heritage project, which is hosted by the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation, have been collecting open source code available at various online repositories and websites. To date, the archive contains more than 4 billion source files from more than 80 million projects, says Roberto Di Cosmo, a computer scientist who is directing the project in Paris. In cases where open source code disappears, or the server it is stored on is hacked, destroyed or lost, the platform aims to become the go-to place for a backup version.

The GDPR Takes Open Source to the Next Level

Filed under
GNU
OSS
Legal

Stallman pointed out that running a free software operating system—for example Google's ChromeOS—offered no protection against this loss of control. Nor does requiring the cloud computing service to use the GNU Affero GPL license solve the problem: just because users have access to the underlying code that is running on the servers does not mean they are in the driver's seat. The real problem lies not with the code, but elsewhere—with the data.

Running free software on your own computer, you obviously retain control of your own data. But that's not the case with cloud computing services—or, indeed, most online services, such as e-commerce sites or social networks. There, highly personal data about you is routinely held by the companies in question. Whether or not they run their servers on open-source code—as most now do—is irrelevant; what matters is that they control your data—and you don't.

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