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Legal

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

FSF/GNU/GPL

Filed under
GNU
Legal
  • The Future of the Free Software Foundation: Your Input Requested

    Addressing questions about the Free Software Foundation (FSF)'s future direction seems long overdue. For that reason, the FSF's current online survey seems a step in the right direction.

    In many ways, the survey is a necessity. Although the FSF regularly tackles too many major issues to count, its entire operating budget for 2013 was $1,250,498, approximately five percent of the budget for the more corporate-oriented Linux Foundation during the same year. Under such budget restraints, some selection seems inevitable if the FSF is to avoid spreading itself too thin.

  • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: January 15th
  • Qt Does Some Licensing Changes

    Qt will be introducing a "start-up license" to help small companies make use of the Qt tool-kit for commercial desktop and mobile applications. The Qt open-source licenses have also now been updated.

  • Qt is Guaranteed to Stay Free and Open – Legal Update

    The KDE Free Qt Foundation already played an important role when Nokia bought Trolltech, the original company behind Qt, and later sold Qt to Digia, which then founded The Qt Company. The contracts are carefully worded to stay valid in cases of acquisitions, mergers or bankruptcy. The history of the past 17 years has shown how well the legal set-up protects the freedom of Qt – and will continue to protect it in the future.

Qt open source licensing changed and product structure updated to strengthen community and extend adoption

Filed under
Development
KDE
Software
Legal

The Qt Company has announced changes to the open source licensing and product structure of the Qt cross-platform application development framework that will further strengthen the Qt community and make additional functionality available to software developers using the open source license. A new “start-up” license has also been announced that will help small businesses that want to utilize Qt in commercial desktop and mobile applications.

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Top 10 open source legal developments in 2015

Filed under
GNU
OSS
Legal

In 2015 there were a variety of legal issues of importance to the FOSS (free and open source) community.

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Shining a spotlight on free software: the FSF's Licensing & Compliance Lab's interview series

Filed under
GNU
Interviews
Legal

In August of 2012, the Licensing & Compliance Lab kicked off a series of interviews with developers of free software. With 2015 in the rear-view mirror, we take a moment to look back on the series and highlight these great projects once again.

In August of 2012, the Licensing & Compliance Lab kicked off a series of interviews with developers of free software. These interviews were a chance to highlight cool free software projects, especially those using copyleft licenses, and learn more about why they are dedicated to free software. What started as a single interview has grown into a regular feature of the Licensing & Compliance Lab blog. With 2015 in the rear-view mirror, we take a moment to look back on the series and highlight these great projects once again.

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Law schools lag behind on open source law

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Many organizations use at least some open source code within their programs. So it is surprising that recent graduates who work with companies using open source software are usually ill prepared (or not prepared at all) to deal with open source legal issues. However, it is not the attorneys’ fault.

Open source legal training is not easy to find, and if available it is not cheap. In the Bay Area, some law schools support an "open movement" policy. For example, some of them create and promote their own commons, meaning that the journals' articles are uploaded and distributed for free online. The schools' open access policies allow attorneys to stay up-­to-­date on their education, without the stress of paying for a subscription. (See SCU commons and UC Hastings.)

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Also: Why I'm not using your open source project

A referendum on GPL enforcement

Filed under
GNU
Legal

One of the key provisions of the GNU General Public License (GPL) is that derivative products must also be released under the GPL. A great many companies rigorously follow the terms of the license, while others avoid GPL-licensed software altogether because they are unwilling to follow those terms. Some companies, though, seem to feel that the terms of the GPL do not apply to them, presenting the copyright holder with two alternatives: find a way to get those companies to change their behavior, or allow the terms of the license to be flouted. In recent times, little effort has gone into the first option; depending on the results of an ongoing fundraising campaign, that effort may drop to nearly zero. We would appear to be at a decision point with regard to how (and whether) we would like to see GPL enforcement done within our community.

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German court addresses GPLv3 section 8 termination provisions

Filed under
OSS
Legal

GPLv2, first published in 1991, provides for automatic termination of the license in the event of violation, with no stated opportunity for cure. By the time of the drafting of GPLv3, the Free Software Foundation, steward of the GPL license family, had come to consider automatic termination to be an unduly harsh policy. GPLv3, introduced in 2007, formally retained automatic termination in its section 8 but moderated it in certain ways, including by providing for automatic reinstatement of the license for first-time GPLv3 violators who cure the violation prior to 30 days after receiving notice from the copyright holder. The precise wording of section 8 was drafted with German preliminary injunction procedure in mind.

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FOSS projects and their legal structures

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Free Software has been growing pretty much everywhere around the world, and so much so that we now face challenges nobody would have thought possible even ten years ago. One of these unexpected issues is the need for proper legal structures. Traditionally, only a handful of entities used to exist. They could be dedicated to one, large project or act as a hub for a “forge” or a set of more or less related projects: that’s the case with the Eclipse or the Apache Software Foundation. Others were one of kind: Software In the Public interest, SPI, is handling funds for large and small projects and has been doing so for well over 15 years. The Free Software Foundation both directly and through the Free Software Conservancy has also hosted many FOSS projects developments, infrastructure and financial resources.

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Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS Delayed Until February 2, Will Bring Linux 4.8, Newer Mesa

If you've been waiting to upgrade your Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system to the 16.04.2 point release, which should have hit the streets a couple of days ago, you'll have to wait until February 2. We hate to give you guys bad news, but Canonical's engineers are still working hard these days to port all the goodies from the Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) repositories to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, which is a long-term supported version, until 2019. These include the Linux 4.8 kernel packages and an updated graphics stack based on a newer X.Org Server version and Mesa 3D Graphics Library. Read more

Calamares Release and Adoption

  • Calamares 3.0 Universal Linux Installer Released, Drops Support for KPMcore 2
    Calamares, the open-source distribution-independent system installer, which is used by many GNU/Linux distributions, including the popular KaOS, Netrunner, Chakra GNU/Linux, and recently KDE Neon, was updated today to version 3.0. Calamares 3.0 is a major milestone, ending the support for the 2.4 series, which recently received its last maintenance update, versioned 2.4.6, bringing numerous improvements, countless bug fixes, and some long-anticipated features, including a brand-new PythonQt-based module interface.
  • Due to Popular Request, KDE Neon Is Adopting the Calamares Graphical Installer
    KDE Neon maintainer Jonathan Riddell is announcing today the immediate availability of the popular Calamares distribution-independent Linux installer framework on the Developer Unstable Edition of KDE Neon. It would appear that many KDE Neon users have voted for Calamares to become the default graphical installer system used for installing the Linux-based operating system on their personal computers. Indeed, Calamares is a popular installer framework that's being successfully used by many distros, including Chakra, Netrunner, and KaOS.

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