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Legal

FCC: We aren’t banning DD-WRT on Wi-Fi routers

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Back in March, the FCC issued a Software Security Requirements document that said manufacturers applying for equipment authorizations should "Describe in detail how the device is protected from 'flashing' and the installation of third-party firmware such as DD-WRT." Applicants also had to answer the question, "What prevents third parties from loading non-US versions of the software/firmware on the device?"

Upon receiving criticism, the FCC insisted that there was no ban on software like DD-WRT and OpenWRT, saying instead manufacturers must prevent devices from working outside their allowed frequencies, types of modulation, and power levels so as not to interfere with other systems.

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GPL Enforcement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

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GNU
Legal

The revelation of this clause has confused our community, as it appears as if this provision, once adopted, might impact or restrict the international operation of copyleft licenses. Below we explain that, while everyone should reject and oppose this provision — and the rest of TPP — this provision has no dramatic impact on copyleft licensing.

First, as others have pointed out, Party is a defined term that refers specifically to government entities that sign the treaty. As such, the provision would only constrain the behavior of governments themselves. There are some obviously bad outcomes of this provision when those governmental entities interfere with public safety and ethical distribution of software, but we believe this provision will not interfere with international enforcement of copyleft.

Copyleft licenses use copyright as a mechanism to keep software free. The central GPL mechanism that copyright holders exercise to ensure software freedom is termination of permission to copy, modify and distribute the software (per GPLv2§4 and GPLv3§8). Under GPL's termination provisions, non-compliance results in an automatic termination of all copyright permissions. In practice, distributors can chose — either they can provide the source code or cease distribution. Once permissions terminate, any distribution of the GPL'd software infringes copyrights. Accordingly, in an enforcement action, there is no need to specifically compel a government to ask for disclosure of source code.

For example, imagine if a non-US entity ships a GPL-violating, Linux-based product into the USA, and after many friendly attempts to achieve compliance, the violating company refuses to comply. Conservancy can sue the company in US federal court, and seek injunction for distribution of the foreign product in the USA, since the product infringes copyright by violating the license. The detailed reasons for that infringement (i.e., failure to disclose source code) is somewhat irrelevant to the central issue; the Court can grant injunction (i.e., an order to prevent the company from distributing the infringing product) based simply on the violator's lost permissions under the existing copyright license. The Court could even order the cease of import of the infringing products.

In our view, the violator would be unaffected under the above TPP provision, since the Court did not specifically compel release of the source code, but rather simply ruled that the product generally infringed copyrights, and their distribution rights had fully terminated upon infringement. In other words, the fact that the violator lost copyright permissions and can seek to restore them via source code disclosure is not dispositive to the underlying infringement claim.

While TPP thus does not impact copyright holders' ability to enforce the GPL, there are nevertheless plenty of reasons to oppose TPP. Conservancy therefore joins the FSF, EFF, and other organizations in encouraging everyone to oppose TPP.

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TPP has provision banning requirements to transfer or or access to source code of software

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OSS
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The TPP E-Commerce chapter has a provision banning requirements to transfer or provide access to software source code. This applies to "mass market software."

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OSI Joins Comment to FCC on ET Docket No. 15-170

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OSS
Legal

The signers respectfully request that the commission carefully balance the important work of protecting the radio spectrum with the immeasurable value in experimentation, innovation, and freedom for law-abiding users. Additionally, the signers invite the commission and other regulatory agencies to collaborate with industry; free, open source, and proprietary software developers; and device users on developing wireless device policies and recommendations that meet the needs of regulatory agencies and protect the ability of users to inspect, modify and improve their devices.

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Christoph Hellwig Continues VMware GPL Enforcement Suit in Germany

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The lawsuit continues to progress. VMware has filed a statement of defense, in which they assert arguments for the dismissal of the action. Christoph, with the assistance of his lawyer Till Jaeger, has filed his response to these arguments. Unfortunately, VMware has explicitly asked for the filings not to be published and, accordingly, Conservancy has not been able to review either document. With the guidance of counsel, Christoph was able to provide Conservancy with a high-level summary of the filings from which we are able to provide this update. VMware's statement of defense primarily focuses on two issues. First, VMware questions Christoph's copyright interest in the Linux kernel and his right to bring this action. Second, VMware claims vmklinux is an “interoperability module” which communicates through a stable interface called VMK API.

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GNU/FSF/SFLC News

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GNU
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  • 30 Years of Free Software Foundation: Best Quotes of Richard Stallman
  • GNU Spotlight with Brandon Invergo: Sixteen new GNU releases!

    16 new GNU releases in the last month (as of September 24, 2015):

    autogen-5.18.6
    cpio-2.12
    ddrescue-1.20
    gdb-7.10
    gettext-0.19.6
    global-6.5.1
    gnupg-2.1.8
    gnutls-3.4.5
    help2man-1.47.2
    libgcrypt-1.6.4
    libmicrohttpd-0.9.43
    libtasn1-4.7
    linux-libre-4.2-gnu
    parallel-20150922
    sipwitch-1.9.10
    ucommon-6.6.0

  • [FSFE PR][EN] FSFE convinces 1125 public administrations to remove proprietary software advertisements

    The campaign began in 2009 with the intent of removing advertisements for proprietary PDF reader software from public institutions' websites. To start it all off, volunteers submitted 2104 "bugs", or instances of proprietary PDF software being directly promoted by public authorities, and the FSFE listed[2] them online. Since then, hundreds of Free Software activists took action by writing to the relevant public institutions and calling for changes to their websites. We received a lot of positive feedback from the institutions thanking us for our letters, and to date, 1125 out of the 2104 websites (53%) edited their websites by removing links to proprietary PDF readers, or adding links to Free Software PDF readers.

  • GLib now has a datagram interface

    For those who like their I/O packetised, GLib now has a companion for its GIOStream class — the GDatagramBased interface, which we’ve implemented as part of R&D work at Collabora. This is designed to be implemented by any class which does datagram-based I/O. GSocket implements it, essentially as an interface to recvmmsg() and sendmmsg(). The upcoming DTLS support in glib-networking will use it.

  • SFLC Files Comment with FCC Arguing Against Overbroad Rules Prohibiting User Modification of Software on Wireless Devices

    On Friday, October 9th, 2015 the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) submitted a comment with the United States Federal Communications Commission, which has proposed a number of revisions to its rules and regulations concerning approval of wireless devices. Notice of Proposed Rule Making, ET Docket No. 15-170. SFLC takes the position that the Commission does not possess the legal authority to adopt a rule that regulates the software running in devices that does not affect the operation of RF transmitters or create interference. SFLC further argues that, even within the scope of the Commission's regulatory jurisdiction, the Commission must tread carefully to avoid over-regulating radio frequency device software to the detriment of user innovation and after-market software modification. SFLC also urges the Commission to issue a policy statement (1) supporting the use of community developed or free software in networking devices; (2) recognizing the overwhelming social benefits generated from the high-quality software produced by non-profit communities; and (3) stating that preferring proprietary software over software whose source code is publicly available does not meaningfully enhance the security of software.

The importance of community-oriented GPL enforcement

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OSS
Legal

The Free Software Foundation and Software Freedom Conservancy have released a statement of principles on how GPL enforcement work can and should be done in a community-oriented fashion. The president of the Open Source Initiative, Allison Randal, participated as a co-author in the drafting of the principles, together with the leadership of FSF and Conservancy.

The Open Source Initiative's mission centers on advocating for and supporting efforts to improve community best practices, in order to promote and protect open source (founded on the principles of free software). While the OSI's work doesn't include legal enforcement actions for the GPL or any of the family of licenses that conform to the Open Source Definition, we applaud these principles set forth by the FSF and Conservancy, clearly defining community best practices around GPL enforcement.

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Open Access (Textbooks/Commons)

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OSS
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Lawyers Versus FOSS Licensing

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OSS
Legal
  • Startups, Know This About Open Source Before Incorporating It into Your Products

    The use of open source to develop new software products is widespread among technology startups, to the point that there are over 25 million repositories on GitHub, over 430,000 projects on SourceForge and over 21 billion lines of indexed and searchable open source code on the Black Duck Open Hub. Technology startups use open source in three main ways:

  • Open source software: What you don’t know could hurt you

    The most significant aspect of the GPL is that it requires users of open source code who incorporate that code into their own programs and then distribute those programs, to make both the pre-existing source code and the source code for the new work available to recipients of the new software. This requirement arises when the new work is derived from or based upon the pre-existing code.

CC BY-SA 4.0 now one-way compatible with GPLv3

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GNU
Legal

Put simply this means you now have permission to adapt another licensor’s work under CC BY-SA 4.0 and release your contributions to the adaptation under GPLv3 (while the adaptation relies on both licenses, a reuser of the combined and remixed work need only look to the conditions of GPLv3 to satisfy the attribution and ShareAlike conditions of BY-SA 4.0).

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More in Tux Machines

OSS: Yandex, The Open Source Way, Machine Learning, and BSD

  • In Other API Economy News: Yandex Open Source Machine Learning Library and More
    We start your weekend off with a review of the stories we couldn’t cover with a look at what what going on in the world of APIs. We start off with news that Yandex, the Russian search engine company, has announced that they are open-sourcing CatBoost, a machine learning library. The library is based on gradient boosting, a machine learning technique described by TechCrunch as being “designed to help “teach” systems when you have a very sparse amount of data, and especially when the data may not all be sensorial (such as audio, text or imagery), but includes transactional or historical data, too.” Yandex is freely releasing CatBoost for anyone to use under an Apache License. This move is similar to what we saw from Google when they open sourced TensorFlow in late 2015. As the demand for artificial intelligence solutions backed by machine learning platforms continues to grow, moves like this serve to help a wide range of developers take advantage of the technology.
  • CatBoost: Yandex's machine learning algorithm is available free of charge
  • The Open Source Way
    "Open source", in the world of IT, is program code that is meant for collaboration and open contribution. Intended to be modified and shared, because by design and spirit, it is meant for the public at large. It’s been said that “"open source" intimates a broader set of values—what we call "the open source way." Open source projects, products, or initiatives embrace and celebrate principles of open exchange, collaborative participation, rapid prototyping, transparency, meritocracy, and community-oriented development.” So it is a natural conclusion that in this age of open and transparent government, that the government IT manager or technician would be one of the first to want to embrace this new role of collaborative team member within a larger community. Additionally, as organizations, especially government, continue to emerge from the technology funding embargo of the Great (2008) Recession - an economic force that froze IT purchases and programs and forced many into strict “keep the lights on” operational mode, IT managers and CIO’s are carefully expending their still relatively measly budgets. [...] For IT organizations, especially government, with limited budgets and long procurement processes, time and increased experience with open source products will lead to a growing understanding and acceptance. And as this understanding progresses and becomes more accepted, open source will become a “go to” option to keep up with the fast moving technical environment, and perhaps eventually, as a standard first option, realizing the broader set of open source values by relying on the collective work and minds of a virtual community of IT “hackers”, “geeks” and “nerds”, working globally, 24x7/365 to explore, develop and showcase whatever tech that sparks their individual interest.
  • Top 5 open-source tools for machine learning

    Given the paradigmatic shifts that a true revolution in machine learning could bring, it’s important to maintain tech’s devotion to open-source. These kinds of scientific advancement don’t belong to any one company or corporation, but to the whole world. Making ML open and evenly distributed means everyone can join in this revolution.

  • Release of TinySegmenter 0.3
    Today I released version 0.3 of TinySegmenter, a Japanese Tokenizer in pure Python (released in New BSD license), with a single minor fix for proper install on systems not-using UTF-8 (apparently that still exists! :P). Thanks to Mišo Belica for the patch. Apparently some of his Japanese users are using it for Sumy, his software to extract summary from texts.
  • BSDTW 2017 CFP
     

    BSDTW 2017 will be held on the 11th and 12th of November 2017 (Sat/Sun), in Taipei. We are now requesting proposals for talks. We do not require academic or formal papers. If you wish to submit a formal paper, you are welcome to, but it is not required.

    The talks should be written with strong technical content. Presentations on the use of BSD in products and companies are strongly encouraged but marketing proposals are not appropriate for this venue.

GNOME and Other Software

  • Dash to Panel – A Cool Icon Taskbar for the GNOME Shell
    Dash to Panel is a customizable open source extension for the GNOME Shell that moves the dash into GNOME’s main panel; combining app launchers and the system tray into one panel like that of KDE Plasma and Windows 7+.
  • GNOME's Mutter Window Manager Now Supports Tablet Wheel Events on Wayland
    The Mutter composite and window manager of the widely-used GNOME desktop environment was updated recently both on the stable and devel channels with a bunch of new features and improvements. Mutter 3.24.4 is now the latest stable build of the application, and it's here to add a few important changes for tablets, including improved stability of tablet plugs and unplugs, working window moving and resizing via tablet tools, as well as the implementation of tablet rings/strips configuration. In addition, Mutter now no longer throttles motion events on tablet tools, it's capable of handling the left-handed mode on pen/eraser devices, and adds support for tablet wheel events when running under the Wayland display server. Talking about Wayland, the Wacom cursor offset should now work as expected in Mutter 3.24.4.
  • Terminus: A Great Modern And Highly Cutomizable Terminal For Linux
    Are you tired of your default terminal or looking for an alternative which can look cool as well as perform operation in your system? If yes, Terminus is for you which is modern terminal designed to be highly customizable, it will let you enjoy CLI. If you are using Linux since there were CRT monitors with Linux then check out Cool-Retro-Term, which is another great looking terminal application. Terminus is built using web technologies based on Electron, it is cross-platform modern age terminal available for (Linux, Windows and Mac), on Linux it is a full terminal which can spawn with a global hotkey, tabs persist after restart, Auto-dock to anyside of any screen, full Unicode and double-width character support. On Windows it supports Classic CMD, PowerShell and Bash on Windows. On Mac it just works. Multiple app themes and a myriad of community color schemes for the terminal. Color scheme editor included. Install plugins from the NPM repository, or create your own with Typescript and Angular framework.
  • Some Useful Indicators: Ayatana, Clipboard-Autoedit, Diskstat, Files, Bulletin and Udisks
    Panel Indicators always comes in handy when you have to do some productive work on your desktop computer, to access quick functions of different applications these indicators saves you a lot of time, some indicator give you information you want to receive, it all depends on your needs. Today presenting you some useful indicators which may help you and makes your desktop experience much better. Following all the indicators are developed by just one guy and available through his PPA.

Debian GNU/Linux 9.1 "Stretch" Live & Installable ISOs Now Available to Download

As we reported the other day, the Debian Project unveiled the first point release of the Debian GNU/Linux 9 "Stretch" operating system, but no installation or live ISOs were made available to download. That changes today, July 23, 2017, as the Debian CD team lead by Steve McIntyre has prepared the new installation images of Debian GNU/Linux 9.1 "Stretch" for 64-bit (amd64), 32-bit (i386), PowerPC 64-bit Little Endian (ppc64el), ARM64 (AArch64), ARMhf, Armel, MIPS, MIPS 64-bit Little Endian (mips64el), MIPSEL, and IBM System z (s390x) hardware architectures. Multi-arch images supporting both 32-bit and 64-bit (i386 and amd64) PCs are also available for download, along with a set of twelve source ISO images. On the other hand, the Debian GNU/Linux 9.1 "Stretch" Live ISOs come in the usual flavors with the GNOME, KDE, Xfce, LXDE, MATE, and Cinnamon desktop environments, supporting both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. Read more Also: Debian 9.1 GNU/Linux Released With 26 Security Fixes

4MLinux 23.0 BETA released.

4MLinux 23.0 BETA is ready for testing. Basically, at this stage of development, 4MLinux BETA has the same features as 4MLinux STABLE, but it provides a huge number of updated packages, including a major change in the core of the system, which now uses the GNU C Library 2.25. Read more Also: 4MLinux 23 Slated for Release in November 2017, to Be Supported Until July 2018