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Legal

3 great reasons to give away your precious tech under an open-source license

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OSS
Legal

Earlier this week, cloud provider Joyent did a surprising thing: It shared its finely tuned cloud software, SmartDataCenter, under an open-source license.

But while it might seem like the company is giving away its high-value intellectual property at a time when Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have made the public cloud market ultra-competitive, Bryan Cantrill, the company’s chief technology officer, actually has some very smart justifications for the move, which he spelled out in a blog post.

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Software Freedom Conservancy and Free Software Foundation announce copyleft.org

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GNU
Legal

This new site will not only provide a venue for those who constantly update and improve the Comprehensive Tutorial, but is also now home to a collaborative community to share and improve information about copyleft licenses, especially the GNU General Public License (GPL), and best compliance practices.

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Updated UK public information licence adds attribution

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Legal

The Open Government Licence (OGL) is recommended as the default licence for public sector information in the UK.
The licence is part of the UK Government Licensing Framework. This was launched in 2010 to organise best practices and to standardise the licensing principles for government information. By making government-held information public, the government aims to increase openness and allow others to use the information.
“The OGL permits the use and re-use of a wide range of government and other public sector information”, the National Archives said in a statement published Friday. “This supports the government's policy on transparency and open data.”

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Charting new licensing territories with the Open Definition standard

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OSS
Legal

The CC BY and CC BY-SA 4.0 licenses are conformant with the Open Definition, as are all previous versions of these licenses (1.0 – 3.0, including jurisdiction ports). The CC0 Public Domain Dedication is also aligned with the Open Definition.

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Let's Pay for Open Source with a Closed-Source Software Levy

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OSS
Legal

This column has often explored ways in which some of the key ideas underlying free software and open source are being applied in other fields. But that equivalence can flow in both directions: developments in fields outside the digital world may well have useful lessons for computing. A case in point is a fascinating post by James Love, Director of Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), a non-governmental organisation concerned with public health and other important issues.

It is called "The value of an open source dividend", and is a discussion of the problems the world of pharma faces because of the distorting effect of patents - problems it shares with the world of computing...

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Patent trolls have one fewer legal loophole to hide behind

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Legal

Using this form, patent trolls can attack their victims without having to explain why they think the patent has been infringed. A similarly weak charge in any other lawsuit could be brushed aside early in the process. By using the approved, simple form, the attacker can ensure its victims are unable to successfully stem the attack in an inexpensive "motion to dismiss."

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What Google's petition to the Supreme Court really means

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Android
Google
Legal

Google makes a series of compelling points in its petition. The company asserts that there's split opinion on the applicability of copyrights to APIs in the circuit courts -- a classic cue to SCOTUS to intervene -- and the matter is "a recurring question of exceptional importance." These points alone seem strong to me. But Google also says CAFC has made a serious error that ignores the precedent of earlier SCOTUS decisions and violates the distinction between copyright and patent as monopolies.

On the first point, Google refers back to the SCOTUS Lotus v Borland case in 1996. Google points out that "methods of operation embodied in computer programs are not entitled to copyright protection," then asserts that the Java class APIs are a method of operating the Java class implementations. Since Android's implementations of the Java APIs are Google's original work, the company claims copyright does not apply.

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Free Software & Money

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OSS
Legal

In fact, it is not really that money and Free Software are strange bedfellows. Not only is there nothing prohibiiting anyone to generate revenues with Free Software, it is even encouraged. We have adopted a (sane) practice for years, which is to provide binaries and source code of entire Free Software stacks for free. Reading the GPL you may notice that this is not at all something to be expected; if anything, you may sell your binaries tomorrow, and only give away your source code. The unhealthy part comes when the expectation that not only all this should be free, but that your time, expertise and your entire work should always remain free.

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Google, Oracle Java API copyright battle lands at Supreme Court

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Android
Google
Legal

The legal fracas started when Google copied certain elements—names, declaration, and header lines—of the Java APIs in Android, and Oracle sued. A San Francisco federal judge largely sided with Google in 2012, saying that the code in question could not be copyrighted. But the federal appeals court reversed, and ruled that the "declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the API packages are entitled to copyright protection.

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As patent trolls fade, a group formed to combat them thrives

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OSS
Legal

Remember the Open Invention Network (OIN)? That's the defensive software patent community set up to protect Linux against patent aggressors. Well, it recently passed 1,000 members, growing nearly 70 percent over the last year.

Growth of this order is an interesting phenomenon. At a time when the tide seems to be turning on patent trolls as a result of the Supreme Court's decision on Alice Corporation v CLS Bank, why are so many companies still seeking mutual protection in use of the Linux System (a term defined by OIN to indicate a vast range of open source software, not just Linux)? Maybe the small trolls aren't the only problem.

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More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • The future of xinput, xmodmap, setxkbmap, xsetwacom and other tools under Wayland
    This post applies to most tools that interface with the X server and change settings in the server, including xinput, xmodmap, setxkbmap, xkbcomp, xrandr, xsetwacom and other tools that start with x. The one word to sum up the future for these tools under Wayland is: "non-functional". An X window manager is little more than an innocent bystander when it comes to anything input-related. Short of handling global shortcuts and intercepting some mouse button presses (to bring the clicked window to the front) there is very little a window manager can do. It's a separate process to the X server and does not receive most input events and it cannot affect what events are being generated. When it comes to input device configuration, any X client can tell the server to change it - that's why general debugging tools like xinput work.
  • Please don't use pastebins in bugs
  • Linux Top 3: SparkyLinux 4.5, Mageia 5.1 and Peppermint 7
    SparkyLinux is (yet another) Debian based Linux distribution. The SparkyLinux 4.5 update codenamed "Tyche' was released on December 3, providing users with multiple desktop choice other than GNOME. SparkLinux 4.5 ships with KDE, LXDE, LXQt, MATE and Xfce.
  • Upcoming Linux Distributions Releasing In December 2016
    In December 2016, a big Linux distribution release is taking shape in the form of Linux Mint 18.1 Serena, flavored by Cinnamon 3.2. It’ll be accompanied by the release of security and privacy-focused Anonymous Live CD Tails 2.9.
  • AMD Extends Strategic Partnership with Mentor Graphics for Linux-based Embedded Solutions
  • Samsung Z2 gets Firmware Update to Tizen 2.4.0.6 Z200FDDU0BPK3 in India
    Samsung’s latest Tizen-based smartphone, the Z2 model number SM-Z200F, has had a new software / firmware update land in India today. The update takes it to Tizen version 2.4.0.6., firmware Z200FDDU0BPK3. The update log mentions the following improvements: Improved send SOS message (panic mode) and also improvements to the security of the device. Additional bug fixes and performance improvements may have also been bundled in.

Leftovers: Software

  • choqok 1.6 Twitter Client was released and completely ported with KDE Frameworks 5
    Choqok is a fast, efficient and simple to use twitter client for Linux (especially built for the KDE desktop environment) that is installed by default to some of the Linux distribution which shipped with KDE Desktop Environment. The name comes from an ancient Persian word, means Sparrow!
  • 10 open source tools for your sysadmin toolbox [Ed: Terrible list which starts with two suggestions of Microsoft EEE]
    Sysadmins, no matter what platforms they work on, are awash in great open source software tools. In this article, we highlight well-known—and not-so-well-known—tools that have released new versions in 2016.
  • NetworkManager 1.2.6 Lets You Activate Multiple PPPoE Connections Simultaneously
    Beniamino Galvani was proud to announce the release and general availability of a new maintenance update to the stable NetworkManager 1.2 series of the open source network connection manager software for GNU/Linux distributions. NetworkManager is the most used network connection manager, adopted by almost all Linux-based operating systems on the market, and NetworkManager 1.2.6 is now the most advanced release of the 1.2 stable series, coming four months after the NetworkManager 1.2.4 update to fix a few bugs and regressions reported by users since then.
  • GNOME loves to cook
    With the upcoming 20th birthday of GNOME next year, some of us thought that we should make another attempt at this application, maybe as a birthday gift to all of GNOME. Shortly after GUADEC, I got my hands on some existing designs and started to toy around with implementing them over a few weekends and evenings. The screenshots in this post show how far I got since then.

today's howtos

Linux Foundation: Blockchain and Automotive Grade Linux

  • Linux Foundation’s Blockchain Collective Hyperledger Hits 100 Members
    Hyperledger aims to enable organizations to build robust, industry-specific applications, platforms and hardware systems to support their individual business transactions by creating an enterprise grade, open source distributed ledger framework and code base.
  • The Blockchain Milestone You May Have Missed
  • Sasken becomes member of Automotive Grade Linux
    Sasken Communication Technologies Ltd has announced its membership with Automotive Grade Linux as its bronze member. This will enable Sasken to provide solutions to customers on Automotive Grade Linux (AGL). Sasken will provide product development and system integration services for automotive customers spanning in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), instrument cluster, heads-up display and telematics.