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Legal

OSI Approved Licenses, a Foundation for Federal Source Code Policy

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OSS
Legal

The Federal Source Code memorandum includes a subject line that clearly communicates the federal government's commitment, "Achieving Efficiency, Transparency, and Innovation through Reusable and Open Source Software," and we applaud the OMB for their compressive work: introducing the benefits of open source software, development and communities to a bureaucracy often challenged to move away from traditional modes of practice and policy; engaging with the larger technology sector in a inclusive and comprehensive review of current, and potential future-states for software development and use within the government, and; actually delivering a policy that can serve as a foundation to build on.

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GNU/FSF/GPL

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GNU
Legal
  • Unifont 9.0.02 Released

    Unifont 9.0.02 is released. The package and related files can be downloaded at ftp://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/unifont/unifont-9.0.02/

  • GCC 7 To Continue Improving Debug Messages, More Helpful Assembly Output

    Early on LLVM's Clang compiler offered much better debugging / error messages than GCC but in the past few years the GNU Compiler Collection developers have been working on generating more helpful messages too.

  • The Last LinuxCon, MariaDB Goes Open Core & More… [Ed: And a day later publicly attacks the Conservancy over GPL compliance against VMware]

    Linus Torvalds being interviewed by VMware’s Dirk Hohndel on the last day of the last LinuxCon North America. Next year’s event in Los Angeles will be renamed Open Source Summit.

  • GPL compliance suit against VMware dismissed

    In a setback to the Christoph Hellwig's efforts to enforce the GPL on code that he wrote in the Linux kernel, his suit against VMware in Germany has been dismissed on procedural grounds. The court ruled that he had not provided enough specificity about the code he was claiming had been used by the company. The merits of the GPL and whether the two main parts of VMware's product constitute a derived work of the kernel were not even considered. There may be another chance for the court to do so, however, as Hellwig will appeal the dismissal.

GNU/Linux Leftovers

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GNU
Linux
Legal
  • World Wide Web became what it is thanks to Linux

    Linux is used to power the largest websites on the Internet, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay, and Wikipedia.

  • SFC's Kuhn in firing line as Linus Torvalds takes aim

    A few days after he mused that there had been no reason for him to blow his stack recently, Linux creator Linus Torvalds has directed a blast at the Software Freedom Conservancy and its distinguished technologist Bradley Kuhn over the question of enforcing compliance of the GNU General Public Licence.

    Torvalds' rant came on Friday, as usual on a mailing list and on a thread which was started by Software Freedom Conservancy head Karen Sandler on Wednesday last week. She suggested that Linuxcon in Toronto, held from Monday to Thursday, also include a session on GPL enforcement.

  • Linux at 25: A pictorial history

    Aug. 25 marks the 25th anniversary of Linux, the free and open source operating system that's used around the globe in smarphones, tablets, desktop PCs, servers, supercomputers, and more. Though its beginnings were humble, Linux has become the world’s largest and most pervasive open source software project in history. How did it get here? Read on for a look at some of the notable events along the way.

Having offended everyone else in the world, Linus Torvalds calls own lawyers a 'nasty festering disease'

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GNU
Linux
Legal

Coding curmudgeon Linus Torvalds has gone off on yet another rant: this time against his own lawyers and free software activist Bradley Kuhn.

On a mailing list about an upcoming Linux conference, a discussion about whether to include a session on the GPL that protects the open source operating system quickly devolved in an angry rant as its founder piled in.

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MariaDB Under Fire for Proprietary Curve

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OSS
Legal

FOSS Licensing

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OSS
Legal
  • Which type of open source license do you prefer?
  • What is copyleft?

    While the GPL family are the most popular copyleft licenses, they are by no means the only ones. The Mozilla Public License and the Eclipse Public License are also very popular. Many other copyleft licenses exist with smaller adoption footprints.

    As explained in the previous section, a copyleft license means downstream projects cannot add additional restrictions on the use of the software. This is best illustrated with an example. If I wrote MyCoolProgram and distributed it under a copyleft license, you would have the freedom to use and modify it. You could distribute versions with your changes, but you'd have to give your users the same freedoms I gave you. If I had licensed it under a permissive license, you'd be free to incorporate it into a closed software project that you do not provide the source to.

    But just as important as what you must do with MyCoolProgram is what you don't have to do. You don't have to use the exact same license I did, so long as the terms are compatible (generally downstream projects use the same license for simplicity's sake). You don't have to contribute your changes back to me, but it's generally considered good form, especially when the changes are bug fixes.

  • Hellwig v. VMware Hits A Rock

    They wanted line by line evidence, not pointers to the lines. You’d think there would be a script for that…

BSD and GNU/GPL

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GNU
BSD
Legal
  • When BSD and Ubuntu meet on the dance floor, magic should happen

    Jack Wallen takes UbuntuBSD out for a dance to see if it can keep up with the competition. Find out if this new distribution stands a chance at surviving among the already challenging Linux landscape.

  • GPL enforcement action in Hellwig v. VMware dismissed, with an appeal expected

    A decision in the GPL enforcement case in Germany between Christoph Hellwig (supported by the Software Freedom Conservancy) and VMware recently became public. The court dismissed the case after concluding that Hellwig failed to identify in the VMware product the specific lines of code for which he owned copyright. The GPL interpretation question was not addressed. Hellwig has indicated that he will appeal the court’s decision.

  • GNU Tools Cauldron

    We are pleased to announce another gathering of GNU tools developers. The basic format of this meeting will be similar to the previous meetings. However this year the meeting will be immediately preceded by the first ever LLVM Cauldron.

    The purpose of this workshop is to gather all GNU tools developers, discuss current/future work, coordinate efforts, exchange reports on ongoing efforts, discuss development plans for the next 12 months, developer tutorials and any other related discussions.

FSF/GNU

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GNU
Legal
  • Christoph Hellwig's case against VMware dismissed

    The GPL-infringement case brought against VMware by Christoph Hellwig in Germany has been dismissed by the court; the ruling is available in German and English. The decision seems to be based entirely on uncertainty over where his copyrights actually lie and not on the infringement claims.

  • diffutils-3.4 released
  • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: August 12th
  • Licensing resource series: h-node hardware directory

    This is the second installment in the Free Software Foundation's Licensing & Compliance Lab's series highlighting licensing resources.

    While our Respects Your Freedom hardware certification program gets lots of attention from all the new fully free hardware being certified, the FSF has actually had more resources on hardware for quite some time. In the past, we maintained a list of hardware that worked well with free software. But a few years back we made this into a community run project, h-node.

    Hardware listed on h-node doesn't come with FSF certification, but it does come with the information users need to find out the extent to which the hardware is supported by fully free GNU/Linux distros. Members of the community can submit entries to h-node whenever they get a chance to test it against one of these free operating systems. By sharing this information, everyone can help more users to make the switch to a fully free system by making it easier to know what hardware already works perfectly with a free system. Hackers looking to help increase support can also find hardware with some remaining issues and direct their efforts there.

  • GNU dico Version 2.3

    Version 2.3 is available for download from the Main GNU site as well as from its home. Mirrors worldwide are also available.

  • GnuTLS 3.5.3

    Released GnuTLS 3.5.3, a minor enhancement and bug fix release in next stable branch.

On the boundaries of GPL enforcement

Filed under
GNU
Legal

Last October, the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) and Free Software Foundation (FSF) jointly published "The Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement". That document described what those organizations believe the goal of enforcement efforts should be and how those efforts should be carried out. Several other organizations endorsed the principles, including the netfilter project earlier this month. It was, perhaps, a bit puzzling that the project would make that endorsement at that time, but a July 19 SFC blog post sheds some light on the matter.

There have been rumblings for some time about a kernel developer doing enforcement in Germany that might not be particularly "community-oriented", but public information was scarce. Based on the blog post by Bradley Kuhn and Karen Sandler, though, it would seem that Patrick McHardy, who worked on netfilter, is the kernel developer in question. McHardy has also recently been suspended from the netfilter core team pending his reply to "severe allegations" with regard to "the style of his license enforcement activities".

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The Importance of Following Community-Oriented Principles in GPL Enforcement Work

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GNU
Legal

The GNU General Public License (GPL) was designed to grant clear permissions for sharing software and to defend that freedom for users. GPL'd code now appears in so many devices that it is fundamental to modern technology. While we believe that following the GPL's requirements is neither burdensome nor unreasonable, many fail to do so. GPL enforcement — the process to encourage those who fail to correct problems and join our open software development community — is difficult diplomacy.

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Security Leftovers

Leftovers: Debian, Ubuntu and Derivatives

  • Debian Developers Make Progress With RISC-V Port
    Debian developers continue making progress with a -- currently unofficial -- port of their Linux operating system to RISC-V. There is a in-progress Debian GNU/Linux port to RISC-V along with a repository with packages built for RISC-V. RISC-V for the uninitiated is a promising, open-source ISA for CPUs. So far there isn't any widely-available RISC-V hardware, but there are embedded systems in the works while software emulators are available.
  • 2×08: Pique Oil
  • [Video] Ubuntu 17.04 KDE
  • deepin 15.4 Released, With Download Link & Mirrors
    deepin 15.4 GNU/Linux operating system has been released at April 19th 2017. I list here one official download link and two faster mirrors from Sourceforge. I listed here the Mega and Google mirrors as well but remember they don't provide direct download. The 15.4 provided only as 64 bit, the 32 bit version has already dropped (except by commercial support). I hope this short list helps you.

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • Overlayfs snapshots
    At the 2017 Vault storage conference, Amir Goldstein gave a talk about using overlayfs in a novel way to create snapshots for the underlying filesystem. His company, CTERA Networks, has used the NEXT3 ext3-based filesystem with snapshots, but customers want to be able to use larger filesystems than those supported by ext3. Thus he turned to overlayfs as a way to add snapshots for XFS and other local filesystems. NEXT3 has a number of shortcomings that he wanted to address with overlayfs snapshots. Though it only had a few requirements, which were reasonably well supported, NEXT3 never got upstream. It was ported to ext4, but his employer stuck with the original ext3-based system, so the ext4 version was never really pushed for upstream inclusion.
  • Five days and counting
    It is five days left until foss-north 2017, so it is high time to get your ticket! Please notice that tickets can be bought all the way until the night of the 25th (Tuesday), but catering is only included is you get your ticket on the 24th (Monday), so help a poor organizer and get your tickets as soon as possible!
  • OpenStack Radium? Maybe…but it could be Formidable
    OK the first results are in from the OpenStack community naming process for the R release. The winner at this point is Radium.
  • Libreboot Wants Back Into GNU
    Early this morning, Libreboot’s lead developer Leah Rowe posted a notice to the project’s website and a much longer post to the project’s subreddit, indicating that she would like to submit (or resubmit, it’s not clear how that would work at this point) the project to “rejoin the GNU Project.” The project had been a part of GNU from May 14 through September 15 of last year, at which time Ms. Rowe very publicly removed the project from GNU while making allegations of misdeeds by both GNU and the Free Software Foundation. Earlier this month, Rowe admitted that she had been dealing with personal issues at the time and had overreacted. The project also indicated that it had reorganized and that Rowe was no longer in full control.
  • Understanding the complexity of copyleft defense

    The fundamental mechanism defending software freedom is copyleft, embodied in GPL. GPL, however, functions only through upholding it--via GPL enforcement. For some, enforcement has been a regular activity for 30 years, but most projects don't enforce: they live with regular violations. Today, even under the Community Principles of GPL Enforcement, GPL enforcement is regularly criticized and questioned. The complex landscape is now impenetrable for developers who wish their code to remain forever free. This talk provides basic history and background information on the topic.

  • After Bill Gates Backs Open Access, Steve Ballmer Discovers The Joys Of Open Data
    A few months ago, we noted that the Gates Foundation has emerged as one of the leaders in requiring the research that it funds to be released as open access and open data -- an interesting application of the money that Bill Gates made from closed-source software. Now it seems that his successor as Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, has had a similar epiphany about openness. Back in 2001, Ballmer famously called GNU/Linux "a cancer". Although he later softened his views on software somewhat, that was largely because he optimistically claimed that the threat to Microsoft from free software was "in the rearview mirror". Not really: today, the Linux-based Android has almost two orders of magnitude more market share than Windows Phone.
  • New Open Door Policy for GitHub Developer Program
    GitHub has opened the doors on its three year old GitHub Developer Program. As of Monday, developers no longer need to have paid accounts to participate. "We're opening the program up to all developers, even those who don't have paid GitHub accounts," the company announced in a blog post. "That means you can join the program no matter which stage of development you're in,"
  • MuleSoft Joins the OpenAPI Initiative: The End of the API Spec Wars
    Yesterday, MuleSoft, the creators of RAML, announced that they have joined the Open API Initiative. Created by SmartBear Software and based on the wildly popular Swagger Specification, the OpenAPI Initiative is a Linux Foundation project with over 20 members, including Adobe, IBM, Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce.