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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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There Is a Linux Detergent Out There and It's Trademarked

Filed under
Linux
Legal

There's a Linux clothes detergent out there, and it's a real one, from a company that has a trademark on it and that's selling it today. Welcome to the bizarre world of trademark rules.

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Openwashing And Other Deceptions In Linux

Filed under
Linux
OSS
Legal

The times are changing for open/free/libre software and OSes, and what the words mean. Make no mistake: collaborative, truly open projects are powerful sources of innovation and problem solving. The only way proprietary, corporate models can even survive is through sheer bullying and anti-competition tactics, as have been used for years to keep Linux from wider adoption. Now that that is changing, the tactics are changing too.

The latest trend in this area seems to be bringing disinformation and propaganda tactics into the fray.

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Why Greet Apple's Swift 2.0 With Open Arms?

Filed under
Mac
OSS
Legal

Apple announced last week that its Swift programming language — a currently fully proprietary software successor to Objective C — will probably be partially released under an OSI-approved license eventually. Apple explicitly stated though that such released software will not be copylefted. (Apple's pathological hatred of copyleft is reasonably well documented.) Apple's announcement remained completely silent on patents, and we should expect the chosen non-copyleft license will not contain a patent grant. (I've explained at great length in the past why software patents are a particularly dangerous threat to programming language infrastructure.)

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GPL-Violator Allwinner Joins The Linux Foundation

Filed under
Linux
Legal

Allwinner Technology is the Chinese company producing a range of low-end SoCs for Android tablets and other devices. Allwinner hardware is popular with many in the open-source community due to their SoCs appearing in lower-cost hardware and the thriving Linux-SunXi community. Unfortunately, Allwinner as a company is still "learning" to be open-source friendly and to not violate the GPL and other licenses.

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The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews François Marier, creator of Libravatar

Filed under
GNU
Legal

In this edition, we conducted an email-based interview with François Marier, a free software developer from New Zealand. He is the creator and lead developer of Libravatar. In addition to his passion for decentralization, he contributes to the Debian project and volunteers on the FSF licensing team.

Libravatar is a free network service providing profile photos for a number of Web sites, including bugs.debian.org and git.kernel.org. Its flexible architecture allows end users to host their own images and allows Web sites to use Gravatar as a fallback when necessary. It is licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License version 3, or end user can opt for any later version (GNU AGPLv3+).

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Red Hat News

  • Improving Storage Performance with Ceph and Flash
    Ceph is a storage system designed to be used at scale, with clusters of Ceph in deployment in excess of 40 petabytes today. At LinuxCon Europe, Allen Samuels, Engineering Fellow at Western Digital, says that Ceph has been proven to scale out reasonably well. Samuels says, “the most important thing that a storage management system does in the clustered world is to give you availability and durability,” and much of the technology in Ceph focuses on controlling the availability and the durability of your data. In his presentation, Samuels talks not just about some of the performance advantages to deploying Ceph on Flash, but he also goes into detail about what they are doing to optimize Ceph in future releases.
  • Ceph and Flash by Allen Samuels, Western Digital
  • Red Hat Opens Up OpenShift Dedicated to Google Cloud Platform
    When businesses and enterprises begin adopting data center platforms that utilize containerization, then and only then can we finally say that the container trend is sweeping the planet. Red Hat’s starter option for containerization platforms is OpenShift Dedicated — a public cloud-based, mostly preconfigured solution, which launched at this time last year on Amazon AWS.
  • Volatility Numbers in View for Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • Rhizome is working on an open-source tool to help archive digital content
    "The stability of this kind of easy archiving for document storage, review and revision is a great possibility, but the workflow for journalists is very specific, so the grant will allow us to figure out how it could function." Another feature of Webrecorder that journalists might find appealing, and one of the software's core purposes, is to preserve material that might be deleted or become unavailable in time. However, the tool is currently operated under a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Takedown policy. This means any individual can ask for a record of their web presence or materials to be removed, so Rhizome will be working to "answer the more complicated questions and figure out policies" around privacy and copyright with the latest round of funding.
  • An ode to releasing software
    There is one particular moment in every Free and Open Source Software project: it’s the time when the software is about to get released. The software has been totally frozen of course, QA tests have been made, all the lights are green; the website still needs to be updated with the release notes, perhaps some new content and of course the stable builds have to be uploaded. The release time is always a special one. The very day of the release, there is some excitement and often a bit of stress. The release manager(s), as well as everyone working on the project’s infrastructure are busy making sure everything is ready when the upload of the stable version of the software, binaries and source, has been completed. In many cases, some attention is paid to the main project’s mirror servers so that the downloads are fluid and work (mostly) flawlessly as soon as the release has been pushed and published.
  • Diversity Scholarship Series: My Time at CloudNativeCon 2016
    CloudNativeCon 2016 was a wonderful first conference for me and although the whirlwind of a conference is tiring, I left feeling motivated and inspired. The conference made me feel like I was a part of the community and technology I have been working with daily.
  • WordPress 4.7 Content Management System Provides New Design Options
    WordPress is among the most widely used open-source technologies in the world, powering more than 70 million websites. WordPress 4.7 was released Dec. 6, providing a new milestone update including new features for both users and developers. As is typically the case with new WordPress releases, there is also a new default theme in the 4.7 update. The 2017 theme provides users with a number of interesting attributes including the large feature image as well as the ability to have a video as part of the header image. The Theme Customizer feature enables users to more intuitively adjust various elements of a theme, to fit the needs of websites that use will upgrade to WordPress 4.7. In addition, the new custom CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) feature within a theme preview lets users quickly see how style changes will change the look of a site. As an open-source project, WordPress benefits from participation of independent contributors and for the 4.7 release there were 482 contributors. In this slideshow eWEEK takes a look at some of the highlights of the WordPress 4.7 release.
  • Psychology Professor Releases Free, Open-Source, Preprint Software
    The Center for Open Science, directed by University of Virginia psychology professor Brian Nosek, has launched three new services to more quickly share research data as the center continues its mission to press for openness, integrity and reproducibility of scientific research. Typically, researchers send preprint manuscripts detailing their research findings to peer-reviewed academic journals, such as Nature and Science. The review process can take months or even years before publication – if the research is published at all. By contrast, “preprinting,” or sharing non-peer-reviewed research results online, enables crucial data to get out to the community the moment it is completed. That, said Nosek, is critical.
  • Integral Ad Science Launches Open Source SDK to Drive Mobile Innovation for the Advertising Industry
  • Tullett Prebon Information, Quaternion and Columbia University form open source risk collaboration
  • Tullett Prebon Information And Quaternion Risk Management Partner To Enhance Transparency And Standardisation In Risk Modelling – Partnership Fuels Columbia University Research To Improve Understanding Of Systemic Risk
  • Integral Ad Science Partners with Google, Others for Open Source Viewability
  • DoomRL creator makes free roguelike open-source to try and counter Zenimax legal threat
  • DoomRL Goes Open-Source in Face of Copyright Claims
    Earlier this week, ZeniMax Medi hit DoomRL, a popular roguelike version of the original first-person shooter, with a cease-and-desist order. This order instructed producer ChaosForge to remove the free downloadable game to prevent further legal action. Instead of taking it down, co-creator Kornel Kisielewicz turned the game open-source.
  • This Indian software company just partnered with the world’s biggest open source community
    In what can be called a major motivation for Indian tech firms, Amrut Software, an end-to-end Software, BPO services and solutions provider has become a GitHub distributor for India region. GitHub hosts world’s biggest open source community along with the most popular version control systems, configuration management and collaboration tools for software developers. It has some of the largest installations of repositories in the world.
  • Python 3.6 released with many new improvements and features
    Python,the high-level interpreted programming language is now one of the most preferred programming language by beginners and professional-level developers.So,here Python 3.6 is now available with many changes,improvements and of course the ease of Python was not left in the work list.

Security Leftovers