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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

Filed under
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

Devices: BeagleBoard, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), internet of things (IoT), and eCosPro

  • New PocketBeagle Open Source Developer Board Unveiled (video)
    Anyone looking for a tiny development board may be interested in the new hardware unveiled by BeagleBoard the form of their open source PocketBeagle which is now available to purchase priced at just $25. The Raspberry Pi Zero sized PocketBeagle can be used in robotic applications, drones and 3D printers and is based on the Octavo Systems OSD3358 system-in-package (SiP), the same SiP that powers the credit card-sized BeagleBone Black Wireless, but is half the size.
  • Driving Manufacturing Productivity through the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
    Samsung is a major manufacturer of electronic components for clients such as Apple, Sony, HTC, and Nokia. It is also the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile devices and happens to be the world’s largest memory chip manufacturer. In July 2017, Samsung Electronics overtook Intel as the largest semiconductor chip maker in the world.
  • What is edge computing and how it’s changing the network
    Edge computing allows data produced by internet of things (IoT) devices to be processed closer to where it is created instead of sending it across long routes to data centers or clouds. Doing this computing closer to the edge of the network lets organizations analyze important data in near real-time – a need of organizations across many industries, including manufacturing, health care, telecommunications and finance.
  • eCosCentric Limited's eCosPro
    The developer of eCos, eCosCentric Limited, recently announced the latest 4.1 release of eCosPro, the stable, fully tested and supported version of the operating system and RedBoot bootstrap firmware. The new 4.1 release of the eCosPro Developer's Kit includes the latest Eclipse Neon IDE, provides improvements to the eCosPro Eclipse plugin and development tools and integrates a variety of runtime enhancements.

OSS and Sharing Leftovers

  • American International University, West Africa Extends Curriculum as Open Source Initiative Member
    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), the global non-profit formed to educate about, and advocate for, the benefits of open source software and build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community, announced today that The American International University, West Africa's (AIUWA) has joined the organization as an Affiliate Member. AIUWA is a unique educational instituion of higher education, combining degree-seeking programs, along with professional development and certification. The program's mandatory academic and professional courses enable students to graduate with both academic credentials and professional qualifications. AIUWA also serves as a center for health, management, and information technology research and development in Africa.
  • Adding More Policy Firepower to the Mozilla Network
    In June, Mozilla launched a new fellowship that brings together policy experts from around the world to advance crucial tech policy efforts. Today, we are excited to announce the appointment of seven advisors to help steer this fellowship into the future. We are also announcing one new fellow, bringing the cohort to 11 fellows from four countries who are already up to great work. Over the past three months, Mozilla’s Tech Policy Fellows have been digging into their projects to keep the Internet open and freely accessible to all. With most fellows joining directly out of government service, they’re continuing to move forward some of the urgent policy efforts they had been leading, and working to avoid any backsliding that might come with government transitions. The fellows’ work is focused on protecting net neutrality, advancing policies around artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, promoting affordable broadband service for vulnerable communities, and more. Amba Kak is our most recent addition, starting this month to work on promoting net neutrality in India. To advance this work, the fellows are meeting with policymakers inside and outside of government; they’re keynoting major events and giving press interviews about the importance of these topics; and in the coming weeks, they’ll share more about their work with the Mozilla network on our network blog.
  • MongoDB’s Mongo Moment [Ed: Ridiculous. The "journalist" writing about MongoDB here has received many paychecks from the company.]
  • OpenSSH 7.6 Is Ready For Testing & Finishes Gutting SSHv1
    OpenSSH 7.6 will be hitting the streets soon.
  • New FreeBSD Committer
    So in a sense I have been part-time part of the FreeBSD Community for nearly 15 years as well. FreeBSD has reached Tier-1 status within KDE now, with the KDE FreeBSD CI, which much stronger upstreaming happening, and with Tobias and Raphael following new releases pretty closely. I’ve been pushing and prodding at our ports tree a lot, and chasing CMake releases (and reporting bugs), and trying to get some KDE KF5-based applications into the official ports tree. So I’m happy to now receive a FreeBSD ports commit bit, with Tobias and Raphael acting as mentors. I won’t pretend this will immediately lead to Qt 5.9 and KDE Applications 17.latest in the official FreeBSD ports tree, but it increases the (direct) effort we can expend on it.
  • Free the Seed: An Open Source Approach to Food Crop Seed
    We Americans value the freedom to do what we want with our property. These days, our freedom of action in regard to what we own is increasingly being eroded and constrained by the expansion of corporate power and the evolving legal dimensions of ownership. Nowhere has this tendency to limit freedom to operate come into sharper focus than in farming. A farmer may buy a John Deere tractor, but ownership of the copyrighted software—without which the tractor cannot run and cannot be repaired—is retained by the company. According to Deere, the farmer has “an implied lease” to operate the tractor but is prohibited from making any repair or change involving use of the copyrighted code.
  • Synthace raises a £7.3m Series A to bring open source to biotech
    Synthace, a UK startup using open source technology to make process in biotechnology move faster, has raises a £7.3m Series A round. New investors White Cloud Capital, Amadeus Capital Partners and Eleven Two Capital participated alongside existing investors that included Sofinnova Partners, SOSV and Bioeconomy Capital. The Company’s Antha operating system replaces processes which are currently done, almost, by hand. CEO Tim Fell says the company came out of the desire to better engineer biology: “Our need to heal, feed, fuel and manufacture for a growing population can be met by unlocking the near infinite power of biology but only by bringing software abstraction and more automation to biological R&D and manufacturing, and by enabling biologists to build atop their collective work. That is what the Antha platform does.”
  • Runway to Open Source Machine Learning Research
  • Accelerate Application Modernization with Node.js
    Node.js is much more than an application platform. In a 2016 Forrester report, the research firm talked with several Node.js users and developers to better understand the growth of Node within global enterprises across all a range of industries.
  • GitLab v10 Integrates with Kubernetes
    It’s been six months and two million downloads since GitLab released version 9.0 of its developer-centric integrated application development platform. The company kept busy in the time since, polling nearly 1,000 users at client companies like VMWare, Sony and Ticketmaster to find out what capabilities their developers needed to power up the most enterprise-worthy GitLab release yet.

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