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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

Purism’s next product could be a smartphone that runs Linux/free software

Purism is a company that’s been developing laptops and tablets that run Linux-based, free and open source software for a few years. Now Purism is considering building a smartphone and the company is soliciting feedback from potential customers. The idea would be to release a Librem Phone that runs GNU/Linux rather than Android, and which offers security and privacy features to help set it apart from most other phones on the market. Read more

Cinnamon 3.2 in Linux Mint 18.1 Supports Vertical Panels, Better Accelerometers

After informing the community a few days ago about the Mintbox Mini Pro PC and the upcoming improvements and new features shipping with the XApps software projects in Linux Mint 18.1, Clement Lefebvre just published the monthly Linux Mint newsletter. Read more

Blender 2.78 Open-Source 3D Graphics Software Released with Spherical Stereo VR

Today, September 30, 2016, the Blender Foundation is proud to release Blender 2.78, the latest stable and most advanced version of the popular, open-source, free, and cross-platform Blender 3D modelling software. Blender 2.78 comes six months after the release of Blender 2.77, and it's a major update that adds numerous new features and improvements, among which we can mention rendering of spherical stereo images for VR (Virtual Reality), viewport rendering improvements, as well as brand new freehand curves drawing over surfaces. Moreover, the Grease Pencil received awesome improvements and it now doubles as both an animation and drawing tool, powerful new options have been added for B-Bones, it's now possible to import and export basic operators in the Alembic support, and the Cloth Physics feature received new Simulation Speed option and Dynamic Base Mesh support. Read more

OSS Leftovers

  • Tools for writing the next best seller
    I am using bibisco in conjunction with LibreOffice on my Ubuntu 16.04 Asus laptop that I converted over from Windows 7 to develop my characters, scenes, and plot. I tried Manuskript, but find that I like bibisco better, although the results are similar. For one, it gives helpful prompts.
  • GNOME Calendar App to Feature a New Sidebar, Week View & Attendees in GNOME 3.24
    GNOME developer Georges Stavracas wrote an in-depth blog post the other day to inform the GNOME, Linux, and Open Source communities about the upcoming improvements and new features coming to the GNOME Calendar apps. Now that some of us are already enjoying the recently released GNOME 3.22 desktop environment, the GNOME developers are hard at work to improve the GNOME apps and core components by either adding new exciting features and technologies or improving existing ones.
  • PHP version 5.6.27RC1 and 7.0.12RC1
  • Kubernetes Arrives in New Flavors
    Kubernetes has taken center stage in recent days, and, as we’ve been noting in recent posts, the open source container cluster manager is heading in new directions. Google has just announced the release of Kubernetes 1.4, which makes the tool much easier to install. Meanwhile, Canonical has now launched its own distribution of Kubernetes, with enterprise support, across a range of public clouds and private infrastructure. It's Kubernetes at the core, but features a number of extra bells and whistles.
  • 2016 Women in Open Source Award Winners
    We hope you enjoy and are inspired by this short video celebrating Preeti Murthy and Jessica McKellar, the winners of this year’s Red Hat Women in Open Source Awards.
  • Tech, talent and tools: The secret to monetizing open-source
    “In California during the gold rush, you didn’t make money digging for gold; you made money selling shovels,” said Mehta. A fitting metaphor for the idea that investing in talent and tools, especially tools, is how to turn a profit. The actual data, databases, algorithms and so on would be open source. Money would come from the tools to use that technology to benefit specific areas, such as automation of healthcare. And healthcare is a good place to start. “Big Data is all about making life cheaper, better. … If we forget about how to solve problems for humans, we’ve lost. We want to be known for enriching life,” said Mehta.
  • Changing the way we design for the web
    On the one hand, open source should mean lower cost of entry for people from poorer communities (like me, growing up). But on the other, I feel it is hard to contribute when under- or unemployed. I had a grant to work on the Web Animations API documentation, but I can't do as much as I'd like with other animation features (motion paths, advanced timing functions) because I need to spend a lot of time working on my own business, getting paid. Essentially this leads to an awkward model where the only contributors are employed programmers—and when it comes to open source animation or design APIs, platforms, etc, this lack of user input really starts to show. Or, the only products with thriving open source development teams are those that have financially lucrative futures, turning the open source software (OSS) model into a capitalist one.
  • Leaders in Data Management and Open Source Innovation to Gather for Postgres Vision 2016
  • CloudReady by neverware
    I thought I would put together a quick “installation” review of a product called CloudReady by neverware. What is CloudReady? CloudReady is basically a project to bring Chromium OS to those who would like to convert traditional laptops into Chromebook-like devices. I stumbled on them several months ago and finally decided to see how hard it was to install Chromium OS and how functional it actually was as a Chromebook-like device. I have a few low end (netbook-like) devices and I have been trying to figure out how I could make them functional for my boys, I thought this might be the solution.
  • Mozilla tells Firefox OS devs to fork off if they want to chase open web apps vision
    The Mozilla Foundation's Firefox development team has decided enough is enough and will stop supporting Windows XP and Vista in March 2017 and also bin Firefox OS. The OS first. In this post Mozillans Ari Jaaksi and David Bryant, respectively the head of connected devices and veep for platform engineering, write that “By the end of 2015 Mozilla leadership had come to the conclusion that our then Firefox OS initiative of shipping phones with commercial partners would not bring Mozilla the returns we sought.” That decision means that “as of the end of July 2016 have stopped all commercial development on Firefox OS.”
  • Cloudera Delivers Release Built on Apache Spark 2.0, and Advances Kudu
    Cloudera, focused on Apache Hadoop and other open source technologies,has announced its release built on the Apache Spark 2.0 (Beta), with enhancements to the API experience, performance improvements, and enhanced machine learning capabilities. The company is also working with the community to continue developing Apache Kudu 1.0, recently released by the Apache Software Foundation, which we covered here. Kudu is an open source columnar storage engine built for the Apache Hadoop ecosystem designed to enable flexible, high-performance analytic pipelines. Taken together, Cloudera's new tools are giving it more diverse kinds of presence on the Big Data scene. Cloudera claims it was the first Hadoop big data analytics vendor to deliver a commercially supported version of Spark, and has participated actively in the open source community to enhance Spark for the enterprise through its One Platform Initiative. "With Spark 2.0, organizations are better able to take advantage of streaming data, develop richer machine learning models, and deploy them in real time, enabling more workloads to go into production," the company reports.
  • Cloudera Delivers Enterprise-Grade Real-Time Streaming and Machine Learning with Apache Spark 2.0 and Drives Community Innovation with Apache Kudu 1.0
  • INSIDE Secure and Marvell Deliver Open Source Open Data Plane Security VPN Solution [Ed: “open source Open Data Plane (ODP) security API” sounds like nonsensical openwashing]
    INSIDE Secure (Paris:INSD), at the heart of security solutions for mobile and connected devices and network equipment, today announced the Marvell-INSIDE Secure solution, a collaboration that provides open source Open Data Plane (ODP) security API support on Marvell’s ARMADA® 8K and ARMADA 7K System-on-Chip (SoC) families with embedded INSIDE Secure Security Protocol Accelerator IP technology. The Marvell-INSIDE Secure solution provides customers with an easy and efficient way to secure their high-speed networking applications with access to all of the ARM ecosystem’s software support.
  • GE, Bosch Combine Resources to Bolster IoT
  • OpenBSD 6.0 Limited Edition CD set (signed by developers)
    Five OpenBSD 6.0 CD-ROM copies were signed by 40 developers during the g2k16 Hackathon in Cambridge, UK. Those copies are being auctioned sequentially on ebay. All proceeds will be donated to the OpenBSD Foundation to support and further the development of free software based on the OpenBSD operating system.
  • Friday Working together for Free Software Directory IRC meetup: September 30th
  • Machine Learning with Python
    I first heard the term “machine learning” a few years ago, and to be honest, I basically ignored it that time. I knew that it was a powerful technique, and I knew that it was in vogue, but I didn’t know what it really was— what problems it was designed to solve, how it solved them and how it related to the other sorts of issues I was working on in my professional (consulting) life and in my graduate-school research. But in the past few years, machine learning has become a topic that most will avoid at their professional peril. Despite the scary-sounding name, the ideas behind machine learning aren’t that difficult to understand. Moreover, a great deal of open-source software makes it possible for anyone to use machine learning in their own work or research. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that machine learning already is having a huge impact on the computer industry and on our day-to-day lives.