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Legal

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

Deb Nicholson Talks (What Else?) Software Patents

Filed under
Interviews
Legal

My work at OIN involves a lot of research. I read academic papers on litigation trends and try to stay on top of who’s getting sued this week. It also involves a lot of behind the scenes emailing. I have lots of informal conversations with people about how you run a free and open source software project. Sometimes, they don’t realize that lots of other companies are succeeding with FOSS business models and shared community resources. Once they see that it can be done, they often feel more confident.

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New FCC Rules May Prevent Installing OpenWRT on WiFi Routers

Filed under
Linux
Legal

Many cheap WiFi routers are sold with the vendor firmware, but the most popular ones likely also support OpenWRT, which some users may prefer as it is much more customizable. However, this may soon become more difficult according to a talk at the upcoming “Wireless Battle of the Mesh” which will take place on August 3-8 in Maribor, Slovenia.

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Oracle tries to beef up copyright case against Android

Filed under
Android
Google
Legal

With Oracle and Google headed back to court soon to resume their dispute over Android, Oracle is seeking to update its lawsuit to reflect the huge gains Android has made in the five years since the case began.

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Security Leftovers

  • Java and Python FTP attacks can punch holes through firewalls
    The Java and Python runtimes fail to properly validate FTP URLs, which can potentially allow attackers to punch holes through firewalls to access local networks. On Saturday, security researcher Alexander Klink disclosed an interesting attack where exploiting an XXE (XML External Entity) vulnerability in a Java application can be used to send emails.
  • Microsoft: no plans to patch known bugs before March [Ed: Microsoft is keeping open 'back doors' that are publicly known about, not just secret ones]
    Microsoft has no plans to issue updates for two vulnerabilities, one a zero-day and the other being one publicised by Google, before the scheduled date for its next round of updates rolls around in March. The company did not issue any updates in February, even though it had been scheduled to switch to a new system from this month onwards. It gave no reason for this, apart from saying: "This month, we discovered a last minute issue that could impact some customers and was not resolved in time for our planned updates today. "After considering all options, we made the decision to delay this month’s updates. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this change to the existing plan." The Google-disclosed bug was made public last week, and is said to be a flaw in the Windows graphic device interface library that can be exploited both locally and remotely to read the contents of a user's memory.
  • Microsoft issues critical security patches, but leaves zero-day flaws at risk
    Microsoft has patched "critical" security vulnerabilities in its browsers, but has left at least two zero-day flaws with public exploit code. The software giant released numerous patches late on Tuesday to fix flaws in Adobe Flash for customers using Internet Explorer on Windows 8.1 and later, as well as Edge for Windows 10.

Red Hat News

  • Why upstream contributions matter when developing open source NFV solutions.
    When software is developed using open source methods, an upstream repository of the code is accessible to all members of the project. Members contribute to the code, test it, write documentation and can create a solution from that code to use or distribute under license. If an organization follows the main stream or branch of the upstream code their solution will receive all the changes and updates created in the upstream repository. Those changes simply “flow down” to the member’s solution. However, if a member organization forks the code — if they create a solution that strays from the main stream — their solution no longer receives updates, fixes and changes from the upstream repository. This organization is now solely responsible for maintaining their solution without the benefit of the upstream community, much like the baby salmon that took a tributary and then have to fend for themselves rather than remain in the main stream and receive the benefit and guidance of the other salmon making their way to the ocean.
  • HPE and Red Hat Join Forces to Give Customers Greater Choice for NFV Deployments
    Hewlett Packard Enterprise ( NYSE : HPE ) and Red Hat, Inc. ( NYSE : RHT ) announced today they are working together to accelerate the deployment of network functions virtualization (NFV) solutions based on fully open, production-ready, standards-based infrastructures. HPE plans to offer ready-to-use, pre-integrated HPE NFV System solutions and HPE Validated Configurations incorporating Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Ceph Storage for communications service providers (CSPs).
  • Red Hat Joins the OpenPower Foundation
    As part of our commitment to delivering open technologies across many computing architectures, Red Hat has joined the OpenPOWER Foundation, an open development community based on the POWER microprocessor architecture, at the Platinum level. While we already do build and support open technologies for the POWER architecture, the OpenPOWER Foundation is committed to an open, community-driven technology-creation process – something that we feel is critical to the continued growth of open collaboration around POWER.
  • Buy, Sell or Hold? Analysts Approach: HCA Holdings, Inc. (HCA), Red Hat, Inc. (RHT)?

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