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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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Distributions News: Ubuntu, Manjaro, and Lakka

  • Ubuntu founder retakes the CEO throne, many employees gone
    Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Canonincal has once again returned to his positition of CEO, as Jane Silber, the previous CEO now heads to the Board of Directors; and big changes happen to the staff lineup as a result. In a blog bost by Sibler, she says, “I originally agreed to be CEO for 5 years and we’ve extended my tenure as CEO by a couple of years already. We’ve been preparing for a transition for some time by strengthening the executive leadership team and maturing every aspect of the company, and earlier this year Mark and I decided that now is the time to effect this transition.”
  • [Video] Manjaro 17.0 KDE Edition - See What’s New
    Manjaro 17.0 KDE is the latest release of Manjaro Linux. This release brings new KDE Plasma 5.9.x as desktop environment include the most of KDE applications 16.12 and KDE Frameworks 5.32.
  • Make your own NES Classic Edition with Lakka 2.0 LibreELEC Linux distro and Raspberry Pi
    The NES Classic Edition is a very fun nostalgia-based gaming console. As someone who grew up with Nintendo, I knew I wanted the mini system as soon as it was announced. A family member was able to score me one on launch day, and I've been very happy with it. Unfortunately, other people have not been so lucky. Supply was very limited and it has since been discontinued. If you do not already have it, you are sort of out of luck without paying high prices on eBay or Craigslist. If you are only looking to replay the NES games of your youth, and you are OK with doing it in an unofficial way, emulation is another route. In fact, if you'd rather not play these games on your PC, you can instead use a Linux-based operating system and a Raspberry Pi (or other devices) hooked to a television. One such distro is Lakka, which just reached version 2.0. It is arguably better than an NES Classic Edition as it can also play games from other systems, such as SNES, Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64, PlayStation 1, and many more.

Software: Monitoring Tools, VSXu, and FSearch

today's howtos

Linux Mint's Plans

  • Some Of The Features Coming To Linux Mint's Cinnamon 3.4 Desktop
    In the latest monthly progress report on Linux Mint, some of the upcoming changes for the GNOME3-forked Cinnamon Desktop Environment were shared.
  • Monthly News – April 2017
    Many thanks to all the people who donated to us and who help to fund our project. Donations are down to about 60% of what they were last year, but they’re still quite high. In the first trimesters of 2015, 2016 and 2017 we respectively received $23k, $40k and $25k. Our development team has gotten bigger and our budget is being extended to include some administrators and designers. Other figures and metrics indicate we’re growing so this probably just reflects an exceptional year for donations in 2016.
  • Linux Mint Is Adopting LightDM as its Login Manager
    Linux Mint is adopting the LightDM display manager to handle and authenticate user sessions. Revealing plans in its latest monthly update, Mint says it will formally drop the MDM Display Manager (MDM) in favour of LightDM with Mint 18.2, release date for which is as-yet unknown. The popular Ubuntu-based Linux distribution mooted a possible switch earlier this year, noting that it had a key feature MDM lacks (guest sessions), and has become something of a standard across distributions.
  • Linux Mint 13 support ends, LMDE to get MATE 1.18 soon, big changes heading to Cinnamon
    The news from the Linux Mint team was quite interesting this week. First up, Linux Mint 13 has officially hit EOL (end of life), so you really do need to upgrade. LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) is set to get the MATE desktop version 1.18 "this week" and they have ported mintMenu over to GTK3, since the rest of MATE is now using GTK3 too it makes sense.