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Legal

GPL Violations Related to Combining ZFS and Linux

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Legal

This post discusses an atypical GPL violation. Unlike most GPL violations Conservancy faces, in this case, a third-party entity holds a magic wand that can instantly resolve the situation. Oracle is the primary copyright holder of ZFS, and, despite nearly eight years (going back to the days of Sun's control of the code) of the anti-license-proliferation community's urging, Oracle continues to license their code under their own, GPL-incompatible license. While this violation has many facets, and Oracle did not themselves violate GPL in this specific case, they hold the keys to this particular kingdom and they forbid the Linux community to enter. While there are complexities that we must address, in this context, Oracle could make everyone's life easier by waving their magic relicensing wand. Nevertheless, until they do, since GPL-incompatible licenses are the root of all GPL violations, combinations of GPL'd code with Oracle's GPL-incompatible code yield GPL violations, such as the ongoing violation by Canonical, Ltd.

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Kuhn's Paradox

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OSS
Legal

I believe this paradox is primarily driven by the cooption of software freedom by companies that ostensibly support Open Source, but have the (now extremely popular) open source almost everything philosophy.

For certain areas of software endeavor, companies dedicate enormous resources toward the authorship of new Free Software for particular narrow tasks. Often, these core systems provide underpinnings and fuel the growth of proprietary systems built on top of them. An obvious example here is OpenStack: a fully Free Software platform, but most deployments of OpenStack add proprietary features not available from a pure upstream OpenStack installation.

Meanwhile, in other areas, projects struggle for meager resources to compete with the largest proprietary behemoths. Large user-facing, server-based applications of the Service as a Software Substitute variety, along with massive social media sites like Twitter and Facebook that actively work against federated social network systems, are the two classes of most difficult culprits on this point. Even worse, most traditional web sites have now become a mix of mundane content (i.e., HTML) and proprietary Javascript programs, which are installed on-demand into the users' browser all day long, even while most of those servers run a primarily Free Software operating system.

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ZFS Licensing Issues

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Ubuntu
Legal
  • Canonical Says There Is No ZFS and Linux Licence Incompatibility

    Canonical announced that support for the ZFS (Z File System) will be available in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, but a lot of users have been asking about a possible license conflict. Canonical’s Dustin Kirkland explained why that’s not a problem.

    ZFS (Z File System) is described as a combination of a volume manager (like LVM) and a filesystem (like ext4, xfs, or btrfs), and it’s licensed under CDDL (Common Development and Distribution License). Don’t worry if you didn’t hear about it. It’s not something that’s commonly used.

  • ZFS Licensing and Linux

    We at Canonical have conducted a legal review, including discussion with the industry's leading software freedom legal counsel, of the licenses that apply to the Linux kernel and to ZFS.

    And in doing so, we have concluded that we are acting within the rights granted and in compliance with their terms of both of those licenses.

Latest on SCO

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Linux
Legal
  • SCO vs. IBM legal battle over Linux may – finally – be finished

    A breach-of-contract and copyright lawsuit filed nearly 13 years ago by a successor company to business Linux vendor Caldera International against IBM may be drawing to a close at last, after a U.S. District Court judge issued an order in favor of the latter company earlier this week.

    Judge David Nuffer said that all of SCO’s claims against IBM are dismissed, and that briefs for a final legal certification of the judgment would be due Feb. 26, with responses, if necessary, on March 11. Nuffer re-opened the case in 2013.

  • SCO's last arguments in 'Who owns Linux?' case vs. IBM knocked out [Ed: some history]

    The end of the near-immortal “Who owns Unix?” case looks to be near after a US judge knocked out the two remaining arguments with which the SCO group hoped to attack IBM.

    As we reported on Tuesday, Judge David Nuffer of the US District court found against SCO's attempt to work a breach of contract angle in its long-running dispute with IBM, which centres on SCO code that may or may not have made it into Linux and AIX.

FOSS Licensing

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GNU
Legal
  • Confused by license compatibility? A new article by Richard Stallman may help

    Richard Stallman has published a new guide on gnu.org titled License compatibility and relicensing. Gnu.org is home to a whole host of resources on free software licensing, including frequently asked questions about GNU licenses and our list of free software licenses. Our license list contains information on which licenses are compatible with the GNU General Public License as well as a brief description of what it means to be compatible. This latest article by Stallman provides a more in–depth explanation of what compatibility means and the different ways in which it is achieved.

  • The most important part of your project might not even be a line of code

    What is licensing? Why does it matter? Why should you care? There are many reasons that licensing is an important part of a project you are working on. You are taking the time to write code and share it with the world in an open way, such as publishing it on GitHub, Bitbucket, or any number of other code-hosting services. Anyone might stumble across your code and find it useful.

    Licensing is the way that you can control exactly how someone who finds your code can use it and in what ways.

The case for educating judges on open source licensing

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OSS
Legal

Copyright is copyright, and open source licenses are just another license. What this case illustrates is the need for judges and lawyers to understand what open source software is: not just software made available under a license, but software that has an accompanying ethos.

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Oracle raises questions on open-source license for Android with OpenJDK

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Android
OSS
Legal

Oracle has raised questions whether a version of Google's Android operating system running OpenJDK code will at all get an open-source license.

Google told a court in California that it released on Dec. 24 new versions of its Android platform that are licensed for use under a free, open source license provided by Oracle as part of its OpenJDK project, a redesign that apparently aims to get around charges that the previous versions of Android infringed Oracle's copyrights on Java.

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No single license to success

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OSS
Legal

OSI (Open Source Initiative) has tracked many licenses and approved some as well, maintaining a list of the nine most widely used and popular. Each license has its unique requirements and benefits from the reciprocity of GPL (GNU General Public License) to the permissive MIT. Each has its strong proponents and opponents. Some feel that without GPL’s compulsion human greed will end open source as we know it. Others feel that freedom is the key to success and such compulsion hinders creative use.

The reality is that the strength of open source is in its diversity, including a diversity of licenses. No single license has been nor will be the pivotal point to open source success. License diversity is very evident from the data gathered by the Black Duck Knowledgebase. A quick view of the top 20 licenses used in open source projects today shows an even spread.

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Linux Foundation quietly drops community representation

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Linux
Legal

The Linux Foundation is an industry organisation dedicated to "promoting, protecting and standardising Linux and open source software"[1]. The majority of its board is chosen by the member companies - 10 by platinum members (platinum membership costs $500,000 a year), 3 by gold members (gold membership costs $100,000 a year) and 1 by silver members (silver membership costs between $5,000 and $20,000 a year, depending on company size). Up until recently individual members ($99 a year) could also elect two board members, allowing for community perspectives to be represented at the board level.

As of last Friday, this is no longer true. The by-laws were amended to drop the clause that permitted individual members to elect any directors. Section 3.3(a) now says that no affiliate members may be involved in the election of directors, and section 5.3(d) still permits at-large directors but does not require them[2]. The old version of the bylaws are here - the only non-whitespace differences are in sections 3.3(a) and 5.3(d).

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More in Tux Machines

Red Hat and Fedora

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • Learn from the Experts at The Linux Foundation’s Europe Events
    The Linux Foundation has released session details for three major conferences coming up this fall: MesosCon Europe, Embedded Linux Conference / OpenIoT Summit Europe, and LinuxCon + ContainerCon Europe. MesosCon Europe, which will take place August 31-September 1 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is an annual conference organized by the Apache Mesos community, bringing together users and developers for two days of sessions about Mesos and related technologies. This year, the MesosCon program will include workshops to get started with Mesos, keynote speakers from industry leaders, and sessions led by adopters and contributors.
  • The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
    Firebird distills its identity into the phrase "True universal open-source database" and boasts not only of being "free like free beer" but also, fittingly, of being "free like a bird". The latter permits anyone to build a custom version of the Firebird, as long as the modifications are made available for others to use and build upon.
  • Report: Austria can benefit from Big Data solutions
    Big Data solutions can contribute significantly to Austrian public administrations, a working group concludes in a report published in June. Benefits include improved quality of life, finding optimal business locations, and offering better guidance to citizens. The report by the Big Data working group aims to help public administration when considering Big Data solutions, providing legal, economic and technical context.
  • Report: over half of Spain’s regions now use SaaS
    In 2014, 59% of Spain’s regional governments used Software as a Service, according to the 2015 eGovernment report published on 30 June by PAe, Spain’s eGovernment portal. Next most-used cloud computing service is Infrastructure as a Service (40%), and third is Platform as a Service (20%). The usage of cloud computing is just one of the attributes of and indicators for eGovernment services that are aggregated in the report. The document shows the use of document management systems and support of electronic signatures. The text looks at interoperability, open data portals and eParticipation, lists region’s maturity levels of eGovernment services, from the availability to download forms online to the fully electronic management of applications.
  • Software Freedom in Kosovo, Waiting for Xfce Mint & More…
    It’s not FOSS, but I reckon the biggest story in tech this week, ignoring claims of Russia hacking for Trump, is the sale of Yahoo to Verizon for $4.8 billion. Considering that traffic watcher Alexa says the site is the fifth most visited address on the web, that seems like something of a bargain to me. Add to that Yahoo’s prime Silicon Valley real estate and the price seems to be in the “it fell of the truck” category. The sale puts Verizon in control of both America Online and Yahoo, so I suspect we’ll be seeing Verizon trying to compete with Google and Bing for a share of the search advertising market. [...] We’ve also heard from Software Freedom Kosova, which tells us it’s issued this year’s call for speakers, which will be open through September 15. This will be the seventh year for the Kosovo event, which aims to “promote free/libre open source software, free culture and open knowledge” — all laudable goals in my estimation. Potential speakers should know “the topic must be related to free software and hardware, open knowledge and culture.” Mike DuPont, the SFK member who made us aware of the event, told FOSS Force, “There might be travel expenses for qualified speakers.” The event will take place October 21-23.
  • Cloud, open source and DevOps: Technology at the GLA
    David Munn, head of IT at the Greater London Authority, explains what technology his organisation has adopted in order to help individuals keep innovating
  • Our attitude towards wealth played a crucial role in Brexit. We need a rethink
    Money was a key factor in the outcome of the EU referendum. We will now have to learn to collaborate and to share [...] Does money matter? Does wealth make us rich any more? These might seem like odd questions for a physicist to try to answer, but Britain’s referendum decision is a reminder that everything is connected and that if we wish to understand the fundamental nature of the universe, we’d be very foolish to ignore the role that wealth does and doesn’t play in our society.
  • France’s Insee and Drees publish microsimulation model to increase transparency
    Insee (Institut national de la statistique), the French public agency for statistics, and Drees (Direction des études du Ministère des Affaires sociales et de la santé), which is in charge of surveys at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, has published the source code of the microsimulation algorithmic model called Ines.
  • Plant Sciences pushing open-source berry model
    Several of those opportunities appear to lie in the development of so-called ‘open market’ breeding. Historically, Plant Sciences’ berry varieties have made it into the commercial arena under limited licensing arrangements, with individuals or groups of grower-shippers paying a premium to use them. While Nelson is eager to point out that this model continues to perform well, his company have decided to structure its business in Europe in such a way that it offers varieties to the “largest audience possible” at the most competitive price. “Given the price pressures that producers, marketers and retailers are under, we sense that such an approach is needed to remain most viable going forward and bring new varieties forward to the broadest market,” he explained.
  • Drug discovery test leads to malaria drug prospects at UW
  • Worldwide Open-Source Project Discovers Promising Disease-Fighting Compounds
  • Open-source drug discovery a success
  • The Global Open Data Index to be updated
    Open Knowledge International, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes openness and transparency, has decided to update the survey for its Global Open Data Index. This index measures Open Data publication in 122 countries.
  • This Startup Created the Ultimate Open-Source Prototyping Product
    The world has become a technologically focused place. Unless you’ve set up shop in a cabin in the woods, your life is likely filled with gadgets, wearables, devices, and doodads that control everything from your TV to your laptop. And with all this technology, it’s no wonder tech jobs have become so prevalent in the market. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to learn skills and prototyping projects that will impress even the most critical interviewer. And one startup has built the perfect product to do just that. Created by a group of students from the India Institute of Technology, evive is an open-source prototyping module that can make creating projects easier than ever. It has a power module, plug and play hardware interface, user interface, data acquisition module, shield stack space and more. It’s even IoT ready so it can connect to more devices than you can count. Plus, it works across multiple platforms like LabVIEW, MATLAB, Scratch, Eclipse, ROS, Python, Arduino IDE and many more.
  • Friday's security updates
  • Pwnie Express Open Sources Tools to Lock Down IoT/Android Security
    Pwnie Express isn't a name that everyone is familiar with, but in the security arena the company has a good reputation for its wired and wireless threat detection technologies. Now, the Boston-based firm has announced plans to open source key tools that it has used to secure the Internet of Things (IoT) and Android software. Blue Hydra is a Bluetooth utility that can detect Bluetooth devices, and also work as a sniffer to query devices it detects for threats. Meanwhile, the Android Open Pwn Project (AOPP), is an Android ROM built for security testers. It's based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and community-developed ROMS -- one of which is CyanogenMod. It lets developers on the Android front sniff out threats on mobile platforms.

Openwashing

Sailfish OS 2.0.2

  • Sailfish OS 2.0.2 In Early Access With Variety Of Improvements
    Jolla announced today that their Sailfish OS 2.0.2 "Aurajoki" mobile operating system release is available as early access. Sailfish OS 2.0.2 makes it easier to take screenshots via the volume buttons, a variety of new keyboard layouts, a new layout on the media app, a new Sailfish OS logo, simplified backups, browser improvements, support for flash when recording videos, the cloud services now supports the VK service, dual SIM support on capable devices, Dropbox and OneDrive integration in the photo gallery, and a wide variety of other fixes and improvements.
  • [Early Access] Sailfish OS 2.0.2 Aurajoki
    This update contains of many bug fixes and new added features such as taking screenshot by holding down volume buttons for 0.5 seconds, added keyboard layouts for Indian languages Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Tamil and Bengali, new layout on Media app’s front page, new Sailfish OS logo and many more.