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Legal

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

Filed under
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

Filed under
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

Filed under
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

Filed under
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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Remix OS GPL Violations and More Android Leftovers

Filed under
Android
GNU
Legal
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More in Tux Machines

KDE Leftovers

  • Integrate Your Android Device With Ubuntu Using KDE Connect Indicator Fork
    KDE Connect is a tool which allows your Android device to integrate with your Linux desktop. With KDE Connect Indicator, you can use KDE Connect on desktop that support AppIndicators, like Unity, Xfce (Xubuntu), and so on.
  • FirstAid – PDF Help Viewer
    in the recent months, I didn’t find much time to spend on Kate/KTextEditor development. But at least I was now able to spend a bit more time on OpenSource & Qt things even during work time in our company. Normally I am stuck there with low level binary or source analysis work. [...] Therefore, as our GUIs are developed with Qt anyways, we did take a look at libpoppler (and its Qt 5 bindings), which is the base of Okular, too.
  • KBibTeX 0.6.1-rc2 released
    After quite some delay, I finally assembled a second release candidate for KBibTeX 0.6.1. Version 0.6.1 will be the last release in the 0.6.x series.
  • Meet KDE at FOSDEM Next Month
    Next month is FOSDEM, the largest gathering of free software developers anywhere in Europe. FOSDEM 2017 is being held at the ULB Campus Solbosch on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th of February. Thousands of coders, designers, maintainers and managers from projects as popular as Linux and as obscure as Tcl/Tk will descend on the European capital Brussels to talk, present, show off and drink beer.

Leftovers: OSS

  • D-Wave Unveils Open-Source Software for Quantum Computing
    Canada-based D-Wave Systems has released an open-source software tool designed to help developers program quantum computers, Wired reported Wednesday.
  • D-Wave builds open quantum computing software development ecosystem
    D-Wave Systems has released an open source quantum computing chunk of software. Quantum computing, as we know, moves us on from the world of mere 1’s and 0’s in binary to the new level of ‘superposition’ qubits that can represent many more values and therefore more computing power — read this accessible piece for a simple explanation of quantum computing.
  • FOSS Compositing With Natron
    Anyone who likes to work with graphics will at one time or another find compositing software useful. Luckily, FOSS has several of the best in Blender and Natron.
  • Hadoop Creator Doug Cutting: 5 Ways to Be Successful with Open Source in 2017
    Because of my long-standing association with the Apache Software Foundation, I’m often asked the question, “What’s next for open source technology?” My typical response is variations of “I don’t know” to “the possibilities are endless.” Over the past year, we’ve seen open source technology make strong inroads into the mainstream of enterprise technology. Who would have thought that my work on Hadoop ten years ago would impact so many industries – from manufacturing to telecom to finance. They have all taken hold of the powers of the open source ecosystem not only to improve the customer experience, become more innovative and grow the bottom line, but also to support work toward the greater good of society through genomic research, precision medicine and programs to stop human trafficking, as just a few examples. Below I’ve listed five tips for folks who are curious about how to begin working with open source and what to expect from the ever-changing ecosystem.
  • Radio Free HPC Looks at New Open Source Software for Quantum Computing
    In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at D-Wave’s new open source software for quantum computing. The software is available on github along with a whitepaper written by Cray Research alums Mike Booth and Steve Reinhardt.
  • Why events matter and how to do them right
    Marina Paych was a newcomer to open source software when she left a non-governmental organization for a new start in the IT sector—on her birthday, no less. But the real surprise turned out to be open source. Fast forward two years and this head of organizational development runs an entire department, complete with a promotional staff that strategically markets her employer's open source web development services on a worldwide scale.
  • Exploring OpenStack's Trove DBaaS Cloud Servic
    You can install databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, or even MongoDB very quickly thanks to package management, but the installation is not even half the battle. A functioning database also needs user accounts and several configuration steps for better performance and security. This need for additional configuration poses challenges in cloud environments. You can always manually install a virtual machine in traditional settings, but cloud users want to generate an entire virtual environment from a template. Manual intervention is difficult or sometimes even impossible.
  • Mobile Edge Computing Creates ‘Tiny Data Centers’ at the Edge
    “Usually access networks include all kinds of encryption and tunneling protocols,” says Fite. “It’s not a standard, native-IP environment.” Saguna’s platform creates a bridge between the access network to a small OpenStack cloud, which works in a standard IP environment. It provides APIs about such things as location, registration for services, traffic direction, radio network services, and available bandwidth.

Leftovers: Ubuntu and Debian

  • Debian Creeps Closer To The Next Release
    I’ve been alarmed by the slow progress of Debian towards the next release. They’ve had several weird gyrations in numbers of “release-critical” bugs and still many packages fail to build from source. Last time this stage, they had only a few hundred bugs to go. Now they are over 600. I guess some of that comes from increasing the number of included packages. There are bound to be more bad interactions, like changing the C compiler. I hate that language which seems to be a moving target… Systemd seems to be smoother but it still gives me problems.
  • Mir: 2016 end of year review
    2016 was a good year for Mir – it is being used in more places, it has more and better upstream support and it is easier to use by downstream projects. 2017 will be even better and will see version 1.0 released.
  • Ubuntu Still Planning For Mir 1.0 In 2017
    Alan Griffiths of Canonical today posted a year-in-review for Mir during 2016 and a look ahead to this year.
  • Linux Mint 18.1 “Serena” KDE – BETA Release

GNU Gimp Development

  • Community-supported development of GEGL now live
    Almost every new major feature people have been asking us for, be it high bit depth support, or full CMYK support, or layer effects, would be impossible without having a robust, capable image processing core. Øyvind Kolås picked up GEGL in mid-2000s and has been working on it in his spare time ever since. He is the author of 42% of commits in GEGL and 50% of commits in babl (pixel data conversion library).
  • 2016 in review
    When we released GIMP 2.9.2 in late 2015 and stepped over into 2016, we already knew that we’d be doing mostly polishing. This turned out to be true to a larger extent, and most of the work we did was under-the-hood changes. But quite a few new features slipped in. So, what are the big user-visible changes for GIMP in 2016?