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Legal

Samsung, OpenChain Aim to Build Trust With Open Source Compliance

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OSS
Legal

Samsung is a top-five contributor to the Linux kernel and contributes upstream to more than 25 other open source projects. Yet the public perception that the company doesn't care about open source has persisted, despite its efforts, said Ibrahim Haddad, head of the Open Source Innovation Group at Samsung in a presentation at Collaboration Summit last week.

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CC BY 4.0 and CC BY-SA 4.0 added to our list of free licenses

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GNU
Legal

The Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International and Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licenses are now on our list of free licenses for works of practical use besides software and documentation.

We have updated our list of Various Licenses and Comments about Them to include the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0) and the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license (CC BY-SA 4.0). Both of these licenses are free licenses for works of practical use besides software and documentation.

CC BY 4.0 is a noncopyleft license that is compatible with the GNU General Public License version 3.0 (GPLv3), meaning you can combine a CC BY 4.0 licensed work with a GPLv3 licensed work a larger work that is then released under the terms of GPLv3.

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The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews Rainey Reitman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation

Filed under
GNU
Interviews
Legal

This is the latest installment of our Licensing and Compliance Lab's series on free software developers who choose GNU licenses for their works.

In this edition, we conducted an email-based interview with Rainey Reitman, Activism Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, about their new EFF Alerts mobile app.

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Open Source Debate: Copyleft vs. Permissive Licenses

Filed under
GNU
OSS
Legal

Most discussions of free software licenses bore listeners. In fact, licenses are usually of such little interest that 85%of the projects on Github fail to have one.

However, one aspect of licensing never fails to stir partisan responses: the debate over the relative advantages of copyleft licenses such as the GNU General Public License (GPL), and permissive licenses such as the MIT or the Apache 2 licenses.

You only have to follow the links to Occupy GPL! that are making the rounds to see the emotions that this unending debate can still stir. Calling for an end to "GPL purism," and dismissing the GPL as "not a free license," the site calls on readers to use permissive licenses instead, describing them as "truly OSS [Open Source Software] licenses and urging readers to "Join the Fight!"

Occupy GPL! itself is unlikely to have a future. Anonymous calls to actions rarely succeed; people prefer to know who is giving the call to arms before they muster at the barricades. Nor is the site's outdated name and inconsistent diction, nor the high number of exclamation and question marks likely to inspire many readers. Still, the fact that the site exists at all, and the counter-responses in comments on Google+ show that the old debate is still very much alive.

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Good news: Compatibility of LGPLv2 and LGPLv3

Filed under
GNU
Legal

Two of the most used Free Software licenses are the GNU General Public License (GPL) and the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). Both are copyleft licenses, meaning that you can use them as long as you do not remove the Free Software rights from downstream users. The difference is that the LGPL can be linked unto non-free software (as long as the LGPL library itself stays free), but with the GPL everything needs to be free. In 2007, the FSF published an update to both licenses, so now we have version 2 (“GPLv2” and “LGPLv2.1”) and version 3 (“GPLv3” and “LGPLv3”).

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Pondering the Fate of Open Source & Software Licenses

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OSS
OOo
Legal

Having used OpenOffice for several years on the Panasonic Toughbooks I use in the field, I've avoided buying into traditional or subscription-based services. While enterprises may have a different view on licensing, cost most always figures into the decision-making process. So if they go the subscription route, they'll have to then ask what strategies they can use to lower those costs. Will they be able to haggle on price?

If the subscription model does become the norm, will OpenOffice and other open-source software thrive, dive, or stay the same in market share? I'd like to hear your thoughts.

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Allwinner Accused of Breaking Linux License Rules

Filed under
Linux
Legal

Fabless processor company Allwinner Technology Co. Ltd. (Zhuhai, China) has been accused of violating the GNU General Public License (GPL) under which Linux is distributed.

The alleged violations are within the software development kits that support the writing of software for some of Allwinner's 32-bit system-chips, according to Linux-Sunxi, a community of open-source developers that has formed around the Allwinner SoCs. The Linux kernel is at the heart of the Android operating system, and therefore a significant factor in the tablet computer market which has been a key part of Allwinner's business to date.

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​Google pushes to take Oracle Java copyright case to Supreme Court

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Development
Google
Legal

Google has had enough of its long-running legal battle with Oracle over whether application programming interfaces (API)s can be copyrighted. The search giant has asked the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to bypass further battles in lower courts and address the API copyright issue once and for all. SCOTUS, in return, is soliciting the Obama administration for its view of the case before moving forward.

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Also: Top 10 FOSS legal developments of 2014

The litigation surrounding Android continued this year, with significant developments in the patent litigation between Apple Computer, Inc. (Apple) and Samsung Electronics, Inc. (Samsung) and the copyright litigation over the Java APIs between Oracle Corporation (Oracle) and Google, Inc. (Google). Apple and Samsung have agreed to end patent disputes in nine countries, but they will continue the litigation in the US. As I stated last year, the Rockstar Consortium was a wild card in this dispute. However, the Rockstar Consortium settled its litigation with Google this year and sold off its patents, so it will no longer be a risk to the Android ecosystem.

The copyright litigation regarding the copyrightability of the Java APIs was brought back to life by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) decision which overturned the District Court decision. The District Court had found that Google was not liable for copyright infringement for its admitted copying of the Java APIs: the court found that the Java APIs were either not copyrightable or their use by Google was protected by various defenses to copyright. The CAFC overturned both the decision and the analysis and remanded the case to the District Court for a review of the fair use defense raised by Google. Subsequently, Google filed an appeal to the Supreme Court. The impact of a finding that Google was liable for copyright infringement in this case would have a dramatic effect on Android and, depending on the reasoning, would have a ripple effect across the interpretation of the scope of the “copyleft” terms of the GPL family of licenses which use APIs.

The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews Aaron Wolf of Snowdrift.coop

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Interviews
Legal

This is the latest installment of our Licensing and Compliance Lab's series on free software developers who choose GNU licenses for their works.

In this edition, we conducted an email-based interview with Aaron Wolf, co-founder of Snowdrift.coop, a web platform coordinating patronage specifically for freely-licensed works. Aaron Wolf is a music teacher by trade who got involved in the free software movement in 2012 building on his earlier interest in free culture and cooperative economics.

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Old FOSS Friend & Foe Represents Sony in Hack

Filed under
Microsoft
Security
Legal

Boies, along with three attorneys representing the States, brought Microsoft to it’s knees — or so it seemed at the time.

On November 5, 1999, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson found that Windows dominance on the PC made the company a monopoly and that the company had taken illegal actions against Apple, Java, Netscape, Lotus Notes, RealNetworks, Linux, and others in order to maintain that monopoly. He ordered Microsoft broken in two, with one company producing Windows and another handling all other Microsoft software.

As we all know, Judge Jackson’s solution was never implemented.

Although an appeals court upheld the verdict against Redmond, the breakup of the company was overturned and sent back to the lower court for a review by a new judge. Two years later, in September, 2001, under the Bush Administration, the DOJ announced that it was no longer seeking the breakup of Microsoft, and in November reached a settlement which California, Connecticut, Iowa, Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, Utah, Virginia and Massachusetts opposed.

The settlement basically required Microsoft to share its APIs and appoint a three person panel that would have complete access to Microsoft’s systems, records, and source code for five years. The settlement didn’t require Microsoft to change any code or stop the company from tying additional software with Windows. Additionally, the DOJ did not require Microsoft to change any of its code.

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More in Tux Machines

Open spec SBC dual boots Android and Ubuntu on hexa-core RK3399

T-Firefly is Kickstartering the first hacker SBC with Rockchip’s Cortex-A72/-A53 RK3399. The Firefly-RK3399 has up to 4GB DDR3, M.2, and USB 3.0 Type-C. T-Firefly, which offers Linux- and Android-ready open source boards like the Firefly-RK3288 and sandwich-style Firefly-RK3288 Reload, both of which are based on the quad-core, Cortex-A17 Rockchip RK3288, has advanced to a more powerful Rockchip SoC for its new open spec Firefly-RK3399. The hexa-core Rockchip RK3399 features two server-class Cortex-A72 cores clocked to up to 2.0GHz, as well as four Cortex-A53 at up to 1.42GHz. This appears to be the first RK3399 SBC and the first SBC to include Cortex-A72 cores. Read more

Leftovers: Software

  • Manuskript is a Promising Open-Source Scrivener Alternative
    Whether you plan to work on a book, a screenplay, or better structure your dissertation, you’ll probably see apps like Scrivener recommended. If you’re running Windows, macOS or even Android then you’re spoilt for choice, with various competing proprietary apps at varying price points readily available. On Linux the choices are somewhat limited.
  • Tor 0.2.9 Is Just Around the Corner As 0.2.8.10 Fixes Memory Leak in OpenSSL 1.1
    The past weekend brought us new stable and development builds of the Tor anonymity network project, versioned 0.2.8.10, as the most advanced version out there, and 0.2.9.6 RC (Release Candidate).
  • Pitivi 0.98 Linux Video Editor Adds Customizable Keyboard Shortcuts
    Version 0.98 of the GNOME-aligned GStreamer-powered Pitivi non-linear video editor was tagged today as the newest development milestone. The main feature addition of Pitivi 0.98 is now supporting customizable keyboard supports! Aside from finally supporting customizable keyboard shortcuts for this open-source video editor, a lot of warnings were fixed from GTK 3.22, and there has been a lot of other bug fixing. Bugs around Pitivi's timeline were primarily targeted by this release.
  • Phoronix Test Suite 6.8-Tana Officially Released
    Phoronix Test Suite 6.8.0 is now available as the latest version of our open-source, fully-automated, reproducible benchmarking software for Linux, BSD, Solaris, macOS, Windows, and other operating systems. Phoronix Test Suite 6.8 is the latest stable release now of our GPL-licensed benchmarking software updated on its regular quarterly release cadence. Phoronix Test Suite 6.8 development focused on a number of low-level improvements to particularly benefit Phoromatic and the Phodevi (Phoronix Device Interface) software/hardware library abstraction layer.
  • iPerf As Another Network Benchmark Is Now Available Via The Phoronix Test Suite
  • Chromium-Based Vivaldi 1.6 Browser Enters Development, Brings Tab Stack Renaming
    Vivaldi's Ruarí Ødegaard informs us about the availability of a new snapshot for the cross-platform, Chromium-based Vivaldi web browser, which promises to let users name tab stacks. Vivaldi Snapshot 1.6.682.3 marks the beginning of the development of Vivaldi 1.6, the next major version of the popular web browser, and it looks like it has been rebased on Chromium 55.0.2883.64. Besides fixing a bunch of regressions, the new development release implements an option under Settings -> Tabs -> Tab Features -> Tab stacking -> Allow Tab Stack Renaming, which lets you rename or name tab stacks.

today's howtos