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Legal

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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Advanced spyware for Android now available to script kiddies everywhere

Filed under
Android
Security
Legal
  • Advanced spyware for Android now available to script kiddies everywhere

    One of the more recent discoveries resulting from the breach two weeks ago of malware-as-a-service provider Hacking Team is sure to interest Android enthusiasts. To wit, it's the source code to a fully featured malware suite that had the ability to infect devices even when they were running newer versions of the Google-developed mobile operating system.

    The leak of the code base for RCSAndroid—short for Remote Control System Android—is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it provides the blueprints to a sophisticated, real-world surveillance program that can help Google and others better defend the Android platform against malware attacks. On the other, it provides even unskilled hackers with all the raw materials they need to deploy what's arguably one of the world's more advanced Android surveillance suites.

  • Security tool bod's hell: People think I wrote code for Hacking Team!

    A respected security researcher has denied any involvement with Hacking Team after open-source code he wrote was found in smartphone spyware sold by the surveillance-ware maker.

Open source experts sound off on Canonical's IP policy reaching GPL compliance

Filed under
Interviews
OSS
Ubuntu
Legal

I spoke with several experts on free and open source software, some of whom were close to the situation itself, about the implications of the latest developments with Canonical's IP policy.

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Your Ubuntu-based container image is probably a copyright violation

Filed under
Ubuntu
Legal

I wrote about Canonical's Ubuntu IP policy here, but primarily in terms of its broader impact, but I mentioned a few specific cases. People seem to have picked up on the case of container images (especially Docker ones), so here's an unambiguous statement:

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Ubuntu Software License Updated to Comply with GNU GPL

Filed under
GNU
Ubuntu
Legal
  • Ubuntu Software License Updated to Comply with GNU GPL

    The company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system, Canonical, has changed the licensing terms of Ubuntu to comply with the GNU General Public License and other free software licences.

    This week, Canonical added a “trump clause” that says that when Canonical’s license contradicts the widely accepted “copyleft” license GPL, GPL shall prevail.

    Activist groups, including the Free Software Foundation and the Software Freedom Conservancy have been in discussion with Canonical for nearly two years, trying to get Canonical’s policy to unequivocally comply with the generally accepted GNU GPL software license.

  • Thoughts on Canonical, Ltd.'s Updated Ubuntu IP Policy

    Most of you by now have probably seen Conservancy's and FSF's statements regarding the today's update to Canonical, Ltd.'s Ubuntu IP Policy. I have a few personal comments, speaking only for myself, that I want to add that don't appear in the FSF's nor Conservancy's analysis. (I wrote nearly all of Conservancy's analysis and did some editing on FSF's analysis, but the statements here I add are my personal opinions and don't necessarily reflect the views of the FSF nor Conservancy, notwithstanding that I have affiliations with both orgs.)

  • The Controversy Behind Canonical's Intellectual Property Policy

    In the world of FOSS, a small change to a license can be a big deal. For users of proprietary software, changes in the EULA are hardly even registered. Those users click "Ok" and forget about it in the blink of an eye. They have accepted that they are severely limited as far as their rights to alter or redistribute the software is concerned.

    But for users of free software, such as Linux or any of the hundreds of packages that make up a modern operating system, a license change has the potential to change their rights dramatically. So, these events are usually the cause of controversy.

Canonical and FSF: the Latest

Filed under
GNU
Ubuntu
Legal
  • Free software fans land crucial punch in Ubuntu row – but it's not over

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) have been bickering with Canonical since 2013 over concerns that certain clauses of the Ubuntu IP rights policy seemed to claim to override provisions of the GNU General Public License (GPL) – something the GPL explicitly forbids.

  • Conservancy & the FSF Achieve GPL Compliance for Canonical, Ltd. “Intellectual Property” Policy

    Today, Canonical, Ltd. announced an updated “Intellectual Property” policy. Conservancy has analyzed this policy and confirms that the policy complies with the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL), but Conservancy and the FSF believe that the policy still creates confusion and possible risk for users who wish to exercise their rights under GPL.

  • Compilation Copyright Irrelevant for Kubuntu

    Compilation copyright is an idea exclusive to the US (or North America anyway). It restricts collections of items which otherwise have unrelated copyright restrictions. A classic example is a book collection of poetry where the poems are all out of copyright but the selection and ordering of poems is new and has copyright owned by whoever did it.

How to win the copyleft fight—without litigation

Filed under
Legal

The Software Freedom Conservancy's Bradley Kuhn is probably best known for his work in enforcing the GNU General Public License (GPL). Enforcement-by-litigation might get the headlines, but Kuhn treats the courts as a last resort.

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Also: Effective IPR Policies and Standards Organization Success

Another Month, Another Round Of Allwinner GPL-Violating Concerns

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Legal

Longtime open-source graphics developer Luc Verhaegen has written on the Linux-SunXI about further Allwinner misbehavior. Five days ago they updated their media codec framework with various new "proprietary" files that is then being built together with LGPL-licensed code and the binary is being dlopen'ed into the LGPL'ed code.

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More in Tux Machines

OSS Leftovers

  • Berkeley launches RISELab, enabling computers to make intelligent real-time decisions
  • Amazon, Google, Huawei, and Microsoft sponsor UC Berkeley RISELab, AMPLab's successor
  • Brotli: A new compression algorithm for faster Internet
    Brotli is a new open source compression algorithm designed to enable an Internet that's faster for users. Modern web pages can often be made up of dozens of megabytes of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and that's before accounting for images, videos, or other large file content, which all makes for hefty downloads. Such loads are why pages are transferred in compressed formats; they significantly reduce the time required between a website visitor requesting a web page and that page appearing fully loaded on the screen and ready for use. While the Brotli algorithm was announced by Google in September 2015, only recently have the majority of web browsers have adopted it. The HTTP servers Apache and nginx now offer Brotli compression as an option. Besides Google, other commercial vendors (such as Cloudflare and DreamHost) have begun to deploy support for Brotli as well.
  • New Year’s resolution: Donate to 1 free software project every month
    Free and open source software is an absolutely critical part of our world—and the future of technology and computing. One problem that consistently plagues many free software projects, though, is the challenge of funding ongoing development (and support and documentation). With that in mind, I have finally settled on a New Year’s resolution for 2017: to donate to one free software project (or group) every month—or the whole year. After all, these projects are saving me a boatload of money because I don’t need to buy expensive, proprietary packages to accomplish the same things.
  • Toyota and Ford Promote Open Source Smartphone Interfaces
    Ford and Toyota have formed a four-automaker consortium to speed up the deployment of open source software for connected in-car systems, according to a report by Bloomberg. The SmartDeviceLink Consortium, which includes Mazda, PSA Group, Fuji, and Suzuki, aims to prevent Apple and Google from controlling how drivers connect smartphones to their vehicles. Suppliers Elektrobit, Harma, Luxoft, QNX, and Xevo have also joined the organization, which is named after an open source version of Ford’s AppLink connectivity interface, a system used in over 5 million vehicles globally.
  • What your code repository says about you
    "You only get one chance to make a first impression," the old saying goes. It's cliche, but nevertheless sound, practical advice. In the realm of open source, it can make the difference between a project that succeeds and a project that fails. That's why making a positive first impression when you release a repo to the world is essential—at least if your motivations involve gaining users, building a community of contributors, and attracting valuable feedback.
  • The Open Source Way of Reaching Across Languages
    I don’t speak Spanish, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn some important things from this video. The visuals alone are quite instructive. At my public library job, I mentor a number of wonderful Latino youth. One of them might ask me about open source CAD software — and I’ll direct them right to this FOSS Force article. Of course, I subscribed to the YouTube channel of the creator of this video, and also clicked on its like button. If the screencast creator comes back to look at this video in February, they’ll find that they have a number of new subscribers, a number of likes for the video and the video view count might be more than 100. All those indicators will be encouragement for them to make their next open source screencast. And so it goes. That’s how we support each other in the open source world.
  • School systems desperate for standards-aligned curricula find hope
    Open Up Resources is a nonprofit collaborative formed by 13 U.S. states that creates high-quality, standards-aligned open educational resources (OERs) that are openly licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. Unlike other providers, Open Up Resources provides curriculum-scale OER options; they believe that while many people seem to know where to find supplemental materials, most curriculum directors would not know where to look if they were planning a textbook adoption next year.
  • Visual Studio Test joins Microsoft's open source push [Ed: More openwashing of proprietary software from Microsoft, which interjects surveillance into compiled code]
  • Microsoft Open-Sources DirectX Shader Compiler [Ed: Windows lock-in.]

Red Hat's Survey in India

From Raspberry Pi to Supercomputers to the Cloud: The Linux Operating System

Linux is widely used in corporations now as the basis for everything from file servers to web servers to network security servers. The no-cost as well as commercial availability of distributions makes it an obvious choice in many scenarios. Distributions of Linux now power machines as small as the tiny Raspberry Pi to the largest supercomputers in the world. There is a wide variety of minimal and security hardened distributions, some of them designed for GPU workloads. Read more

IBM’s Systems With GNU/Linux

  • IBM Gives Power Systems Rebates For Linux Workloads
    Big Blue has made no secret whatsoever that it wants to ride the Linux wave up with the Power Systems platform, and its marketeers are doing what they can to sweeten the hardware deals as best they can without adversely affecting the top and bottom line at IBM in general and the Power Systems division in particular to help that Linux cause along.
  • Drilling Down Into IBM’s System Group
    The most obvious thing is that IBM’s revenues and profits continue to shrink, but the downside is getting smaller and smaller, and we think that IBM’s core systems business will start to level out this year and maybe even grow by the third or fourth quarter, depending on when Power9-based Power Systems and z14-based System z mainframes hit the market. In the final period of 2016, IBM’s overall revenues were $21.77 billion, down 1.1 percent from a year ago, and net income rose by nearly a point to $4.5 billion. This is sure a lot better than a year ago, when IBM’s revenues fell by 8.4 percent to $22 billion and its net income fell by 18.6 percent to $4.46 billion. For the full 2016 year, IBM’s revenues were off 2.1 percent to $79.85 billion, but its “real” systems business, which includes servers, storage, switching, systems software, databases, transaction monitors, and tech support and financing for its own iron, fell by 8.3 percent to $26.1 billion. (That’s our estimate; IBM does not break out sales this way, but we have some pretty good guesses on how it all breaks down.)