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Legal

The case for educating judges on open source licensing

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Copyright is copyright, and open source licenses are just another license. What this case illustrates is the need for judges and lawyers to understand what open source software is: not just software made available under a license, but software that has an accompanying ethos.

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Oracle raises questions on open-source license for Android with OpenJDK

Filed under
Android
OSS
Legal

Oracle has raised questions whether a version of Google's Android operating system running OpenJDK code will at all get an open-source license.

Google told a court in California that it released on Dec. 24 new versions of its Android platform that are licensed for use under a free, open source license provided by Oracle as part of its OpenJDK project, a redesign that apparently aims to get around charges that the previous versions of Android infringed Oracle's copyrights on Java.

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No single license to success

Filed under
OSS
Legal

OSI (Open Source Initiative) has tracked many licenses and approved some as well, maintaining a list of the nine most widely used and popular. Each license has its unique requirements and benefits from the reciprocity of GPL (GNU General Public License) to the permissive MIT. Each has its strong proponents and opponents. Some feel that without GPL’s compulsion human greed will end open source as we know it. Others feel that freedom is the key to success and such compulsion hinders creative use.

The reality is that the strength of open source is in its diversity, including a diversity of licenses. No single license has been nor will be the pivotal point to open source success. License diversity is very evident from the data gathered by the Black Duck Knowledgebase. A quick view of the top 20 licenses used in open source projects today shows an even spread.

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Linux Foundation quietly drops community representation

Filed under
Linux
Legal

The Linux Foundation is an industry organisation dedicated to "promoting, protecting and standardising Linux and open source software"[1]. The majority of its board is chosen by the member companies - 10 by platinum members (platinum membership costs $500,000 a year), 3 by gold members (gold membership costs $100,000 a year) and 1 by silver members (silver membership costs between $5,000 and $20,000 a year, depending on company size). Up until recently individual members ($99 a year) could also elect two board members, allowing for community perspectives to be represented at the board level.

As of last Friday, this is no longer true. The by-laws were amended to drop the clause that permitted individual members to elect any directors. Section 3.3(a) now says that no affiliate members may be involved in the election of directors, and section 5.3(d) still permits at-large directors but does not require them[2]. The old version of the bylaws are here - the only non-whitespace differences are in sections 3.3(a) and 5.3(d).

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Remix OS GPL Violations and More Android Leftovers

Filed under
Android
GNU
Legal

FSF/GNU/GPL

Filed under
GNU
Legal
  • The Future of the Free Software Foundation: Your Input Requested

    Addressing questions about the Free Software Foundation (FSF)'s future direction seems long overdue. For that reason, the FSF's current online survey seems a step in the right direction.

    In many ways, the survey is a necessity. Although the FSF regularly tackles too many major issues to count, its entire operating budget for 2013 was $1,250,498, approximately five percent of the budget for the more corporate-oriented Linux Foundation during the same year. Under such budget restraints, some selection seems inevitable if the FSF is to avoid spreading itself too thin.

  • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: January 15th
  • Qt Does Some Licensing Changes

    Qt will be introducing a "start-up license" to help small companies make use of the Qt tool-kit for commercial desktop and mobile applications. The Qt open-source licenses have also now been updated.

  • Qt is Guaranteed to Stay Free and Open – Legal Update

    The KDE Free Qt Foundation already played an important role when Nokia bought Trolltech, the original company behind Qt, and later sold Qt to Digia, which then founded The Qt Company. The contracts are carefully worded to stay valid in cases of acquisitions, mergers or bankruptcy. The history of the past 17 years has shown how well the legal set-up protects the freedom of Qt – and will continue to protect it in the future.

Qt open source licensing changed and product structure updated to strengthen community and extend adoption

Filed under
Development
KDE
Software
Legal

The Qt Company has announced changes to the open source licensing and product structure of the Qt cross-platform application development framework that will further strengthen the Qt community and make additional functionality available to software developers using the open source license. A new “start-up” license has also been announced that will help small businesses that want to utilize Qt in commercial desktop and mobile applications.

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Top 10 open source legal developments in 2015

Filed under
GNU
OSS
Legal

In 2015 there were a variety of legal issues of importance to the FOSS (free and open source) community.

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Shining a spotlight on free software: the FSF's Licensing & Compliance Lab's interview series

Filed under
GNU
Interviews
Legal

In August of 2012, the Licensing & Compliance Lab kicked off a series of interviews with developers of free software. With 2015 in the rear-view mirror, we take a moment to look back on the series and highlight these great projects once again.

In August of 2012, the Licensing & Compliance Lab kicked off a series of interviews with developers of free software. These interviews were a chance to highlight cool free software projects, especially those using copyleft licenses, and learn more about why they are dedicated to free software. What started as a single interview has grown into a regular feature of the Licensing & Compliance Lab blog. With 2015 in the rear-view mirror, we take a moment to look back on the series and highlight these great projects once again.

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Law schools lag behind on open source law

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Many organizations use at least some open source code within their programs. So it is surprising that recent graduates who work with companies using open source software are usually ill prepared (or not prepared at all) to deal with open source legal issues. However, it is not the attorneys’ fault.

Open source legal training is not easy to find, and if available it is not cheap. In the Bay Area, some law schools support an "open movement" policy. For example, some of them create and promote their own commons, meaning that the journals' articles are uploaded and distributed for free online. The schools' open access policies allow attorneys to stay up-­to-­date on their education, without the stress of paying for a subscription. (See SCU commons and UC Hastings.)

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Also: Why I'm not using your open source project

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Linux Foundation: New Silver Members, OpenContrail, and Xen

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