The Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) have been bickering with Canonical since 2013 over concerns that certain clauses of the Ubuntu IP rights policy seemed to claim to override provisions of the GNU General Public License (GPL) – something the GPL explicitly forbids.
Today, Canonical, Ltd. announced an updated “Intellectual Property” policy. Conservancy has analyzed this policy and confirms that the policy complies with the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL), but Conservancy and the FSF believe that the policy still creates confusion and possible risk for users who wish to exercise their rights under GPL.
Compilation copyright is an idea exclusive to the US (or North America anyway). It restricts collections of items which otherwise have unrelated copyright restrictions. A classic example is a book collection of poetry where the poems are all out of copyright but the selection and ordering of poems is new and has copyright owned by whoever did it.
The Software Freedom Conservancy's Bradley Kuhn is probably best known for his work in enforcing the GNU General Public License (GPL). Enforcement-by-litigation might get the headlines, but Kuhn treats the courts as a last resort.
Longtime open-source graphics developer Luc Verhaegen has written on the Linux-SunXI about further Allwinner misbehavior. Five days ago they updated their media codec framework with various new "proprietary" files that is then being built together with LGPL-licensed code and the binary is being dlopen'ed into the LGPL'ed code.
The times are changing for open/free/libre software and OSes, and what the words mean. Make no mistake: collaborative, truly open projects are powerful sources of innovation and problem solving. The only way proprietary, corporate models can even survive is through sheer bullying and anti-competition tactics, as have been used for years to keep Linux from wider adoption. Now that that is changing, the tactics are changing too.
The latest trend in this area seems to be bringing disinformation and propaganda tactics into the fray.
Apple announced last week that its Swift programming language — a currently fully proprietary software successor to Objective C — will probably be partially released under an OSI-approved license eventually. Apple explicitly stated though that such released software will not be copylefted. (Apple's pathological hatred of copyleft is reasonably well documented.) Apple's announcement remained completely silent on patents, and we should expect the chosen non-copyleft license will not contain a patent grant. (I've explained at great length in the past why software patents are a particularly dangerous threat to programming language infrastructure.)
Allwinner Technology is the Chinese company producing a range of low-end SoCs for Android tablets and other devices. Allwinner hardware is popular with many in the open-source community due to their SoCs appearing in lower-cost hardware and the thriving Linux-SunXi community. Unfortunately, Allwinner as a company is still "learning" to be open-source friendly and to not violate the GPL and other licenses.
In this edition, we conducted an email-based interview with François Marier, a free software developer from New Zealand. He is the creator and lead developer of Libravatar. In addition to his passion for decentralization, he contributes to the Debian project and volunteers on the FSF licensing team.
Libravatar is a free network service providing profile photos for a number of Web sites, including bugs.debian.org and git.kernel.org. Its flexible architecture allows end users to host their own images and allows Web sites to use Gravatar as a fallback when necessary. It is licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License version 3, or end user can opt for any later version (GNU AGPLv3+).
Historically, Conservancy has published extensive materials about enforcement of the GPL, including blog posts, announcements regarding compliance actions, many sections appearing in the definitive Copyleft Guide (a joint initiative with the Free Software Foundation). After Conservancy's recent announcement of its funding of Christoph Hellwig's lawsuit against VMware, Conservancy has sought to answer as many questions as possible about GPL enforcement.
An international trade agreement under negotiation with Australia, the United States, the European Union and others may have wide-ranging implications for the technology users, according to civil liberties groups.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has analysed leaked drafts of texts for the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA) written in February this year, and claims it would prohibit countries involved from forcing vendors to disclose source code used for applications in their equipment.