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Legal

Why doesn't the FSF release GPG-signed copies of its licenses?

Filed under
GNU
Legal

While verified copies of our licenses can be useful, this is unfortunately a project that sounds straightforward at first, but all the corner cases found in the wild muck it up.

One relatively frequent request we receive is for the FSF to provide GPG-signed copies of our licenses. GPG is a tool that lets users cryptographically sign or encrypt documents and emails. A GPG-signed document lets anyone who receives it know that they have received the exact same document as the one that was signed. By providing signed documents, users will be able to easily ensure that they have received an unmodified copy of the license along with their software. It's also possible that some system of signing the documents could help projects tracking the use and adoption of various free software licenses. Providing these signed documents is a simple task: run a command and publish the documents. A trivial investment of resources, or at least that is how it appears at first.

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The Weather Company relies on Drupal to manage content

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Legal

After helping to put the dot in .com by building and configuring enterprise class solutions with WorldCom as a Sun hardware and software engineer, Jason Smith went on to AAAS (The American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the publishers of the journal Science) to direct the technical needs of the education directorate.

Jason has built or architected solutions ranging from enterprise to small business class and has found in Drupal a flexible, scalable, rapid development framework for targeting all levels of projects. A long time beneficiary of the open source movement, Jason—now a senior software architect at The Weather Company—is an avid supporter of open source projects and believes strongly in giving back to the community that supported him.

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Patent Pledges and Open Source Software Development

Filed under
OSS
Legal

For all its benefits, one aspect of open source software does cause headaches: understanding the legal terms that control its development and use. For starters, scores of licenses have been created that the Open Source Initiative recognizes as meeting the definition of an “open source license.” While the percentage of these licenses that are in wide use is small, there are significant and important differences between many of these popular licenses. Moreover, determining what rights are granted in some cases requires referring to what the community thinks they mean (rather than their actual text), and in others by the context in which the license is used.

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The Curious History of Komongistan (Busting the term “intellectual property”)

Filed under
GNU
Legal

The purpose of this parable is to illustrate just how misguided the term “intellectual property” is. When I say that the term “intellectual property” is an incoherent overgeneralization, that it lumps together laws that have very little in common, and that its use is an obstacle to clear thinking about any of those laws, many can't believe I really mean what I say. So sure are they that these laws are related and similar, species of the same genus as it were, that they suppose I am making a big fuss about small differences. Here I aim to show how fundamental the differences are.

Fifty years ago everyone used to recognize the nations of Korea, Mongolia and Pakistan as separate and distinct. In truth, they have no more in common than any three randomly chosen parts of the world, since they have different geographies, different cultures, different languages, different religions, and separate histories. Today, however, their differentness is mostly buried under their joint label of “Komongistan”.

Few today recall the marketing campaign that coined that name: companies trading with South Korea, Mongolia and Pakistan called those three countries “Komongistan” as a simple-sounding description of their “field” of activity. (They didn't trouble themselves about the division of Korea or whether “Pakistan” should include what is now Bangladesh.) This label gave potential investors the feeling that they had a clearer picture of what these companies did, as well as tending to stick in their minds. When the public saw the ads, they took for granted that these countries formed a natural unit, that they had something important in common. First scholarly works, then popular literature, began to talk about Komongistan.

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GitHub: Now Supporting Open Source License Compliance

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Ask any developer where to turn for access to the latest software code for open source projects, and you’ll likely be directed to GitHub—one of the largest providers of open source code online.

While GitHub has always been a great site for developers to come together, network and share code, up until a few years ago, the website had a problem. Though it was easy for developers to share code, finding the right software license to go along with it was much harder. The majority of downloads on GitHub, therefore, were taking place without the critical software license component.

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Latest TPP leak shows systemic threat to software freedom

Filed under
GNU
Legal

Key congressional leaders have just agreed on a deal to fast track the fast-tracking of TPP. While the threat of TPP has persisted for years, now is the time to fight back!

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European Commission finalises the draft EUPL v1.2

Filed under
OSS
Legal

After this presentation, a specific point was still under investigation: the possibility of an “opt out” clause regarding the updated list of compatible licences. This list is not only extended to the GPLv3 and AGPLv3, but also to other copyleft licences like the MPL or the LGPL that protect the covered files or the derivatives of the covered works against exclusive appropriation (prohibition of re-licensing the covered files or their derivatives under a proprietary licence) without any ambition to extend their coverage to the whole work or application in which the covered file is integrated or linked.

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Allwinner: "We Are Taking Initiative Actions Internally"

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Allwinner has been taking a lot of heat lately for violating open-source licenses with their Linux binary blob components. They then got caught obfuscating their code to try to hide their usage of open-source code, shifted around their licenses, and has continued jerking around the open-source community.

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Allwinner Continues Jerking Around The Open-Source Community

Filed under
Hardware
Legal

While Allwinner has been caught violating the (L)GPL and resulted in obfuscating their code and playing around with their advertised licenses, now this ARM vendor is taking things a step further.

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Also: Allwinner Plays Around With Licenses On Its Media Codec

Did VMware Flout Open Source License Terms?

Filed under
GNU
Legal

A long-standing dispute over proprietary software developers' use of licensed open source software code ultimately could be settled in a case against VMware. "[Developer Christoph] Hellwig sees his creation being used commercially," noted tech attorney Ray Van Dyke. "VMware feels persecuted for using a bit of free code. Now, a German jurist will make a decision sometime in the future."

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More in Tux Machines

icons and Themes: Vamox , Ashes, and DamaDamas

  • Vamox Icons Offers Three Color Variants for Linux Desktop
    Vamox icons were designed as a university thesis project by Emiliano Luciani and Darío Badagnani in 2008. The objective was to design a interface of a distro that the university could use for learning about design thin free software, From start these icons were developed for Ubuntu. Now these icons has three variants blue, orange and red, which are compatible with most of the Linux desktop environments such as: Gnome, Unity, Cinnamon, Mate, Xfce and so on. We have added these icons to our PPA for Ubuntu/Linux Mint and other related distributions, If you are using distribution other than Ubuntu/Linux Mint/its derivatives then download icons and install it in one of these "~/.icons" or "/usr/share/icons/" location. If you find any missing icons or problem with this icon set then report it to creator via linked page and hopefully it will get fixed soon.
  • Ashes Is A Light Theme For Your Linux Desktop
    Ashes theme is based on Adapta and Flat-Plat theme but it includes the mixture of blue and pink color scheme with gray search entity. Usually derived themes always try to make better and enhanced version by the person who forked it, to make desktop much perfect and elegant, same thing goes for this theme, it looks and feels great on almost every desktop. Mainly it is designed to work in Unity and Gnome desktop but it can also work in other desktops such as Cinnamon, Mate, and so on. For the Gnome desktop creator have added the dark title-bar/header-bar support, so you can enable Global-Dark-Theme using Gnome-Tweak-Tool, if you prefer dark title-bars. If you are using distribution other than Ubuntu/Linux Mint/its derivatives then download theme from here and install it "~/.themes" or "/usr/share/themes/" location. If you find any kind of bug or issue within this theme then report it to creator and since this theme is in active development hopefully it will be fixed soon.
  • DamaDamas Icons Looks Great And At The Same Time Give Windows Flavor
    If you have been searching for Windows icons for your Linux desktop then you are at the right place. The DamaDamas icons are from Pisi GNU/Linux and available for every Linux distribution, these icons give Windows look and feel to your desktop. There isn't much information available for these icons but the icons are SVG format and there are almost 4000+ icons packed in very fairly sized archive. We have added these icons to our PPA and these icons are compatible with almost every desktop environment such as: Gnome, Unity, Cinnamon, Xfce, Mate, KDE Plasma and so on. If you find any missing icons or problem with this icon set then report it to creator via linked page and hopefully it will get fixed soon.

Ubuntu MATE 17.10 Alpha 2, Solus 3, OpenMandriva Lx 3.02, and More

KDE: QtWebEngine on FreeBSD, KDE PIM, Akademy 2017, Craft, Accessibility, Comics Manager for Krita, Progress on Kube

  • QtWebEngine on FreeBSD
    Tobias and Raphael pushed the button today to push QtWebEngine into FreeBSD ports. This has been a monumental effort, because the codebase is just .. ugh. Not meant for third-party consumption, let’s say. There are 76 patches needed to get it to compile at all. Lots of annoying changes to make, like explaining that pkg-config is not a Linux-only technology. Nor is NSS, or Mesa, while #include is, in fact, Linux-only. Lots of patches can be shared with the Chromium browser, but it’s a terrible time-sink nonetheless.
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  • KDE PIM in Randa 2017
    Randa Meetings is an annual meeting of KDE developers in a small village in Swiss Alps. The Randa Meetings is the most productive event I ever attended (since there’s nothing much else to do but hack from morning until night and eat Mario’s chocolate :-)) and it’s very focused – this year main topic is making KDE more accessible. Several KDE PIM developers will be present as well – and while we will certainly want to hear other’s input regarding accessibility of Kontact, our main goal in Randa will be to port away from KDateTime (the KDE4 way of handling date and time in software) to QDateTime (the Qt way of handling date and time). This does not sound very interesting, but it’s a very important step for us, as afterward, we will finally be free of all legacy KDE4 code. It is no simple task, but we are confident we can finish the port during the hackfest. If everything goes smoothly, we might even have time for some more cool improvements and fixes in Kontact ;-)
  • Services Collaborating Openly at Akademy 2017
    At the recently concluded Akademy 2017 in the incredibly hot but lovely Almería, yours truly went and did something a little silly: Submitted both a talk (which got accepted) and hosted a BoF, both about Open Collaboration Services, and the software stack which KDE builds to support that API in the software we produce. The whole thing was amazing. A great deal of work, very tiring, but all 'round amazing. I even managed to find time to hack a little bit on Calligra Gemini, which was really nice. This blog entry collects the results from the presentation and the BoF. I realise this is quite long, but i hope that you stick with it. In the BoF rundown, i have highlighted the specific results, so hopefully you'll be able to skim-and-detail-read your specific interest areas ;)
  • Akademy 2017 - A wonderful experience
    Akademy 2017 was such a great experience, that I would love to share with you all in this post.
  • Akademy 2017 - Recap
    Last month I had opportunity to visit the Almería, Spain for Akademy 2017. Akademy 2017 is KDE’s annual world summit. Akademy makes it possible to meet the felow KDE contributors, some of whom you only know with their IRC nicknames (Yes, I am not old enough to know every contributors yet :p). Here is few things I did at the Akademy 2017.
  • My Adventures on Crafting part III – Craft Atelier
    Once upon a time, I start o use Craft, an amazing tool inside KDE that does almost all the hard work to compile KDE Applications on Windows and MacOS. Thanks to the great work of Hannah since last year Randa Meetings, Craft is becoming a great tool. Using all the power of Python, I started to be able to work on the deploy of AtCore for Windows.
  • Why YOU care about accessibility, and can help!
    Accessibility (a11y for short) seems like a niche area of concern for many people. I was thinking about this recently on a hot morning in Spain, walking to the bus station with my wheeled luggage. The sidewalks are thoughtfully cut out for wheelchairs -- and those with luggage! and the kids riding skateboards, and...... the rest of us.
  • Writing a comics manager for Krita
    Those who know me, or at the least know my history with Krita is that one of the prime things I personally want to use Krita for is making comics. So back in the day one of the things I did was make a big forum post discussing the different parts of making a comic and how different software solves it. One of the things about making a comic is that is a project. Meaning, it is big and unwieldy, with multiple files and multiple disciplines. You need to be able to write, to draw, to ink, to color. And you need to be able to do this consistently.
  • Progress on Kube
    We’ve been mostly focusing on ironing out UX problems all over the place. It turns out, when writing desktop applications using QtQuick you’ll be ending up with a lot of details to figure out for yourself.

OSS: Thankful For Free Software Developers, Mastodon Size, foss-gbg and More

  • People Should Really Be Thankful For Free Software Developers
    Users don’t usually realize the value of free software they get for free. Things like Linux, LibreOffice, Inkscape, GIMP and a lot of other free software may be essential in the daily life of each of us. However, we may not actually feel “pleasure” for those software developers who provided us with all of this. They may not feel the value of what they have. If you ask an engineer, a doctor, a professor, a teacher or a farmer to give you one of the products they do for free, probably they will just refuse. You won’t find a professor working full time in a university for free. You won’t find a civil engineer working on building houses for free. You won’t find a farmer giving you vegetables for free. However, you do find software developers giving it for you for free. Software are not developed by magic. Developing good software requires investing hundreds of hours in it. And although of all of that, we find a huge number of software developers who are ready to create free software for us. Investing just 100 hours in developing a small tool should worth $1500 (with a minimum wage of $15 per hour). So imagine how much it really costs to invest thousands of hours in such processes. Let’s make a small comparison.
  • Mastodon is big in Japan. The reason why is… uncomfortable
    It’s hard to say how fast Mastodon is growing, because it’s hard to say how big Mastodon is. The Mastodon Network Monitoring Project does its best to keep up, but servers come online and go down all the time. If you’re running a Mastodon server and don’t register or federate it (perfectly reasonable if you want a community just for people you invite) it won’t register on the project’s dashboard. So we might think of the 1.5 million registered users on ~2400 servers as the network’s minimum size. [...] Our team at the MIT Media Lab – Chelsea Barabas, Neha Narula and myself – are releasing a new report today on distributed publishing, titled “Back to the Future: the Decentralized Web” We end up speculating that the main barriers to adoption of decentralized platforms aren’t technical, but around usability. Most distributed publishing tools are simply too complex for most users to adopt. Mastodon may have overcome that problem, borrowing design ideas from a successful commercial product. But the example of lolicon may challenge our theories in two directions. One, if you’re unable to share content on the sites you’re used to using – Twitter, in this case – you may be more willing to adopt a new tool, even if its interface is initially unfamiliar. Second, an additional barrier to adoption for decentralized publishing may be that its first large userbase is a population that cannot use centralized social networks. Any stigma associated with this community may make it harder for users with other interests to adopt these new tools.
  • foss-gbg gets going again
    foss-gbg is a local group sharing ideas and knowledge around Free and Open Source Software in the Gothenburg area.
  • Chrome/Chromium Seems To Perform Better And Here Are Some Useful Extensions
    Since its launch in 2008, Google Chrome has now become the most popular web browser, leaving the competition way behind. Google Chrome is available for various operating systems such as Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Linux is the most popular open source operating system, used by millions worldwide. Aside from being open source software, Linux is also customizable, which means users can fit it for specific purposes. Installing Chrome on Linux is not a direct process, but it is worth it. For one thing, Chrome is a very fast browser as compare to other browsers. It is also easy to access. Unlike in other operating systems, a straightforward installation of Google Chrome is not possible in Linux because it is not available via Software Manager in any Linux distribution, in order to install it you must download it from its official website. For example, if you wish to install Google Chrome in Ubuntu/Linux Mint, which are both most popular Linux distributions, you would have to open the terminal and run some specific commands one by one, or alternatively you can download deb file and double click to open it via installer.
  • Sercos announces availability of open source Sercos SoftMaster Ethernet master software
    Bosch Rexroth has made the Sercos SoftMaster available as free open source software on SourceForge.net. They also offer a free Sercos-on-a-Stick livesystem--a complete stand-alone demo Sercos driver package on a USB thumb drive. This includes the SoftMaster based on Intime Distributed RTOS from TenAsys Corporation, and a test application.
  • Streamlio Launches with $7.5M in Funding to Advance Real Time Applications
    New startup unifies open-source technologies including Apache Pulsar and Heron into an enterprise-grade platform. Building a full platform for real-time data analytics often involved cobbling together multiple open-source projects to get all the requirement components. Typically enterprise don't want to build their own platform, but tend to prefer integrated solution that have already done the heavy lifting of putting all the pieces together.
  • EU-Funded Open Source Service Helps You Sell Data And Protect Privacy
    OPERANDO consortium allows users to have more power over what data of theirs gets shared with online service providers. For instance, when you use the Login with Facebook or Google button on various websites. The control is offered through an open source service called PlusPrivacy which helps users with a one-stop solution, a dashboard where they can manage all their privacy settings from Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc. For those who want simple solutions, there is a “single-click privacy” button which sets the settings for all the social networks to their most privacy-friendly values.
  • cron.weekly issue #93: Debian, Git, Jerakia, Lighthouse, hey, load, compression, OpenVPN & more
  • GNOME turns 20, a call for open source voting machines, and more news