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FSF, Conservancy publish principles for community-oriented GPL enforcement

Filed under
GNU
Legal

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced publication of "The Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement," co-authored with the Software Freedom Conservancy. The document lays out the principles that both organizations follow when they receive reports that a company is violating copyleft terms like the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL).

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‘German law mandates vendor-neutral ICT standards’

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OSS
Legal

Germany’s constitution makes the use of vendor-neutral ICT standards mandatory, according to the PhD thesis of Felix Greve, a German lawyer. The constitution demands minimum requirements for interoperability standards, Greve argues. The current lack of interoperability rules are a major barrier to the country’s uptake of free and open source software, in public administration and elsewhere.

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FCC: Open source router software is still legal—under certain conditions

Filed under
OSS
Web
Legal

With the Federal Communications Commission being criticized for rules that may limit a user’s right to install open source firmware on wireless routers, we’ve been trying to get more specifics from the FCC about its intentions.

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Universal Permissive License added to license list

Filed under
GNU
Legal

We recently updated our list of various licenses and comments about them to include the Universal Permissive License (UPL). The UPL is a lax, non-copyleft license that is compatible with the GNU GPL. The UPL contains provisions dealing explicitly with the grant of patent licenses, whereas many other simple lax licenses only have an implicit grant. While making the grant perfectly clear is a reasonable goal, we still recommend using Apache 2.0 for simple programs that don't require copyleft. For more extensive programs, a copyleft license like the GNU GPL should be used to ensure that all users can enjoy software freedom.

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The EPA Deserves Software Freedom, Too

Filed under
Linux
OSS
Legal

The issue of software freedom is, not surprisingly, not mentioned in the mainstream coverage of Volkswagen's recent use of proprietary software to circumvent important regulations that exist for the public good. Given that Volkswagen is an upstream contributor to Linux, it's highly likely that Volkswagen vehicles have Linux in them.

Thus, we have a wonderful example of how much we sacrifice at the altar of “Linux adoption”. While I'm glad for some Free Software to appear in products rather than none, I also believe that, too often, our community happily accepts the idea that we should gratefully laud a company includes a bit of Free Software in their product, and gives a little code back, even if most of what they do is proprietary software.

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Also: VW scandal highlights irony of EPA opposition to vehicle software tinkering

Yes, the FCC might ban your operating system

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Over the last few weeks a discussion has flourished over the FCC’s Notification of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on modular transmitters and electronic labels for wireless devices. Some folks have felt that the phrasing has been too Chicken-Little-like and that the FCC’s proposal doesn’t affect the ability to install free, libre or open source operating system. The FCC in fact says their proposal has no effect on open source operating systems or open source in general. The FCC is undoubtedly wrong.

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WordPress brings the freedom to the front

Filed under
GNU
OSS
Legal

About 75 million Web sites depend on WordPress. If you are one of its many users who recently upgraded to Version 4.3, you may have noticed something new. Recently, a coop worker-member, Pea, informed me that this version includes a new tab with a reference to the GNU General Public License. With some quizzical interest, I ran the upgrade on a WordPress instance I maintain.

I eagerly waited for the upgrade to finish. When it loaded, what I saw was typical for a WordPress upgrade, a description of the version's new features. Then I saw a tab prominently named "Freedom." I clicked on it, and boom: right there were the four freedoms of free software, starting with Freedom 0. Take a look for yourself.

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Jonathan Riddell Mocks Canonical with His Own Intellectual Property Policy

Filed under
Ubuntu
Legal

In some more relaxing news, Jonathan Riddell, leader of the Kubuntu Linux distribution, has had the great pleasure of announcing his own IP (Intellectual Property) policy, mocking Canonical's.

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Original: Jonathan Riddell™ IP Policy

FCC Fires Wi-Fi Router Salvo in Battle of DRM vs. Open Source

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Digital Rights Management (DRM), the backbone of copyright protection for every form of digital property from games and software to ebooks and music is finally coming to blows with its natural enemy: the open-source software movement.

The fight is rooted in the longstanding belief of organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Free Software Foundation (FSF) that DRM and open source are "fundamentally incompatible" and comes to the fore on an unlikely front: Wi-Fi routers.

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How to make money from open source software

Filed under
GNU
OSS
Legal

Last month we looked at the argument that the open source business model is flawed because selling maintenance and support subscriptions doesn't provide companies with enough revenue to differentiate their products from the underlying open source software or to compete with the sales and marketing efforts of proprietary software companies. The argument was advanced by Peter Levine, a venture capitalist at Andreessen Horowitz.

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Also: Community Versus Funding: What Open Source Needs Most

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