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Legal

OSI and Conservancy Announce US Tax Exemption Working Group

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Software Freedom Conservancy and the Open Source Initiative are pleased to announce that they are the founding members of a working group focused on tax exemption issues for organizations in the United States.

Recent activity by the Internal Revenue Service in response to applications for tax exempt status have sparked a lot of interest and discussion amongst free and open source software communities.

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Oracle Embargoes FLOSS (Java)…

Filed under
OSS
Legal

So, Oracle is pushing the limits but apparently is legally doing so. Whether FLOSS can legally be embargoed by government is beyond me. After all, the source is out there and can’t be put back in the bottle. Further, if every country in the world had a random set of embargoes against every other country in he world, FLOSS could not be international at all. That would be a crime against humanity. If Java, why not Linux, itself? If such embargoes apply, Russia, Iran, Cuba etc. could just fork everything and go it alone. They certainly have the population to support a thriving FLOSS community behind their own walls.

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On Navigating Laws and Licenses with Open Source Projects

Filed under
OSS
Legal

A few years ago, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst made the prediction that open source software would soon become nearly pervasive in organizations of all sizes. That has essentially become true, and many businesses now use open source components without even knowing that they are doing so.
For these reasons and other ones, it is more important than ever to know your way around the world of laws and licenses that pertain to open source software. Leaders of new projects need to know how to navigate the complex world of licensing and the law, as do IT administrators. Here is our latest collection of resources to help you navigate in the arena of law and licenses.

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Bad Microsoft Android patents may lie behind Samsung lawsuit

Filed under
Android
Microsoft
Legal

Microsoft's wrestling match with Samsung may just be a contract fight, or it could be the beginning of a war over the validity of Microsoft's Android patents.

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Microsoft files Android patent-royalty suit against Samsung

Filed under
Android
Microsoft
Legal

Microsoft is seeking a ruling as to whether its acquisition of Nokia's handset and services business negates its intellectual-property licensing agreement with Samsung that dates back to 2011. Microsoft also is seeking unpaid interest from Samsung, resulting from the period of time last year when Samsung withheld patent royalties from Microsoft -- royalties which Samsung later paid.

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Lawsuit threatens to break new ground on the GPL and software licensing issues

Filed under
OSS
Legal

GPLv2 is one of the most widely used FOSS licenses, if not the most. It is the license for some of the most important and commercially valuable FOSS projects, including the Linux kernel, whose contributors include such uncomfortable bedfellows as Oracle and Google, Intel and AMD, and Cisco and Huawei. If XimpleWare is right, and a license under GPLv2 offers no protection from the licensor's patents, Linux would be a landmine for these companies, and really for any company with fewer patents than IBM.

Even without an explicit patent grant, lawyers advising businesses on FOSS issues generally agree that GPLv2 protects licensees (at least those in compliance with the license terms) from patent suits by licensors. This is because the law provides for an implied license (or judicial estoppel) where a licensor's conduct leads the licensee to believe it will not be sued, or where fairness otherwise demands that the licensor should be prevented from suing. Because the GPL encourages licensees to copy, modify, and distribute the licensed software—all conduct that would infringe any patents on the software absent a license—licensees can reasonably expect that the software's producers won't sue them for doing those things. (Adam Pugh and Laura A. Majerus of Fenwick & West discuss GPLv2's implied patent license in greater detail in this paper.)

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Tyler Livingston is one of the Licensing Team's summer intern

Filed under
GNU
Legal

Hello. I am a rising Third Year law student at SMU Dedman School of Law in Dallas, TX. I am working hard to master the technical aspects of law, electronics, and software. My current interests involve protecting individuals and investigating new technology, particularly in the communications field by utilizing licenses for authorship, art, and inventions. Prior to law school, I attained a bachelor's degree in History at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Licensing is where I began to be involved with free software; the FSF in particular utilizes a great strategy of working within the current licensing jurisprudence by using copyleft to support freedom and empowerment for users over their computers and software. My computer science skills are lacking, but I have worked with UNIX systems in the past and am now finally feeling comfortable enough to make a permanent switch to enjoy software on my own terms. Other interests include electronics and travel (with a trip planned to Eastern Europe later this year).

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FOSS & the IRS: Now We're Talking

Filed under
OSS
Legal

We've been watching with great interest this week as the travails of FOSS organizations with the US Internal Revenue Service have become a hot topic. When our client, Jim Nelson of Yorba, discussed blogging about the IRS rejection of Yorba's application for 501c3 status with us, we hoped but did not expect that the situation, to which we had discreetly called community and company attention for years, would finally receive some. We're very glad that's now happening. Unfortunately, it's really too late. Because of the long delays in determination imposed by the IRS in its increasingly anti-FOSS positioning, neither the full consequences of the IRS's present position nor the state of our legal technology in response can be seen from the materials currently under discussion.

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M-Cam casts doubts on Microsoft's Android patent portfolio

Filed under
Android
Microsoft
Legal

The company then assessed "Microsoft’s alleged Android portfolio and commercially scored the U.S. granted patents using M-Cam’s commercial asset underwriting systems. This assessment measured the commercial strength and transferability of each patent. Commercial patents are linked directly with cash flows and may have a basis for licensing."

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Open source's identity crisis

Filed under
Interviews
Legal

For Karen Sandler, software freedom isn't simply a technical matter. Nor is it a purely ideological one.

It's a matter of life and death.

Sandler, Executive Director of the non-profit Software Freedom Conservancy, says software freedom became personal when she realized her pacemaker/defibrillator was running code she couldn't analyze. For nearly a decade—first at the Software Feedom Law Center, then at the GNOME Foundation before Conservancy—she's been an advocate for the right to examine the software on which our lives depend.

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More in Tux Machines

PC-BSD 10.1.2-RC1 Now Available

The PC-BSD team is pleased to announce the availability of RC1 images for the upcoming quarterly 10.1.2 release. Please test these images out and report any issues found on our bug tracker. Read more

Entroware Announces Aura, a Tiny PC That Runs Ubuntu or Ubuntu MATE 15.04

Entroware introduced today, May 2, their first mini-PC called Aura and powered by Canonical's recently released Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) computer operating system, or the popular Ubuntu MATE 15.04 flavor. Read more

Ubuntu-Based Black Lab Linux Enterprise Desktop 6.5 RC2 Released with KDE 4.14, MATE 1.8

Roberto J. Dohnert, the lead developer of Black Lab Linux and owner of Black Lab Software, announced the immediate availability for download and testing of the second and last Release Candidate (RC) version of the forthcoming Black Lab Enterprise Desktop 6.5 computer operating system based on Ubuntu. Read more Also: Black Lab Linux Will Standardize on the KDE Desktop Environment

today's leftovers

  • Kodi 15.0 Isengard Beta 1 Officially Released
    Kodi, a media player and entertainment hub that was named XBMC until a few months ago, has been upgraded to version 15.0 Beta 1 and is now ready for download and testing.
  • RcppArmadillo 0.5.100.1.0
    A new minor release 5.100.1 of Armadillo was released by Conrad yesterday. Armadillo is a powerful and expressive C++ template library for linear algebra aiming towards a good balance between speed and ease of use with a syntax deliberately close to a Matlab.
  • How many Chrome OS devices do you own?
    Chrome OS devices have proven to be quite popular with Chromebooks, Chromeboxes and Chromecast devices all regularly showing up in Amazon's various bestseller lists, and also getting good ratings and reviews by the people who have bought them.
  • Lucid sleep in the free desktop
    One of the areas I'm currently working on is what Google calls Lucid Sleep, which is basically the ability of performing work while the machine is in a low power state such as suspend. I'm writing this blog post because there has been interest on this in different communities and the discussion is currently a bit dispersed.
  • A Request for Help from a Linux Community Member in Nepal
    At the Linux Foundation we focus many of our programs on personalizing and connecting the talented network of Linux developers and users in all corners of the globe. Everyday we are witness to the Linux community innovating irrespective of geographic boundary; that is why this week we were moved by an email we received from one of our community asking for help.
  • Quicklisp and debian
    Common Lisp users are very happy to use Quicklisp when it comes to downloading and maintaining dependencies between their own code and the librairies it is using.
  • Qt4's status and Qt4's webkit removal in Stretch
    Hi everyone! As you might know Qt4 has been deprecated (in the sense "you better start to port your code") since Qt5's first release in December 19th 2012. Since that point on Qt4 received only bugfixes. Upstream is about to release the last point release, 4.8.7. This means that only severe bugs like security ones will get a chance to get solved.
  • LinuxFest NorthWest 2015, ownCloud 8 for stable Fedora / EPEL
    The Fedora booth was extra fun this year. As well as the OLPC XO systems we usually have there (which always do a great job of attracting attention), Brian Monroe set up a whole music recording system running out of a Fedora laptop, with a couple of guitars, bass, keyboard, and even a little all-in-one electronic drum…thing. He had multitrack recording via Ardour and guitar effects from Guitarix. This was a great way to show off the capabilities of Fedora Jam, and was very popular all weekend – sometimes it seemed like every third person who came by was ready to crank out a few guitar chords, and we had several bass players and drummers too. I spent a lot of time away from the booth, but even when I was there we had pretty much a full band going quite often.
  • Rugged, Linux-ready PC/104-Plus SBC offers onboard DAQ
    Diamond’s “Aries” is a Linux-friendly, Atom E3800 based PC/104-Plus SBC for data acquisition, featuring SATA, mSATA, mini-PCIe, and -40 to 85°C support.