While these issues play out and garner the most attention, it is essential to view the consultations as an important opportunity to emphasize to policy makers that open source is where innovation is happening and that the policies they shape going forward need to acknowledge and embrace this reality. All who share this view need to make their voices heard.
That's the question Roy Schestowitz, a longtime advocate of open source software, asks in a recent blog post. His answer is a resounding "no."
Despite the declaration by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella earlier this year that "Microsoft loves Linux," Schestowitz points out, the company still seems to be funding patent cases involving open source software.
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced publication of "The Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement," co-authored with the Software Freedom Conservancy. The document lays out the principles that both organizations follow when they receive reports that a company is violating copyleft terms like the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL).
Germany’s constitution makes the use of vendor-neutral ICT standards mandatory, according to the PhD thesis of Felix Greve, a German lawyer. The constitution demands minimum requirements for interoperability standards, Greve argues. The current lack of interoperability rules are a major barrier to the country’s uptake of free and open source software, in public administration and elsewhere.
We recently updated our list of various licenses and comments about them to include the Universal Permissive License (UPL). The UPL is a lax, non-copyleft license that is compatible with the GNU GPL. The UPL contains provisions dealing explicitly with the grant of patent licenses, whereas many other simple lax licenses only have an implicit grant. While making the grant perfectly clear is a reasonable goal, we still recommend using Apache 2.0 for simple programs that don't require copyleft. For more extensive programs, a copyleft license like the GNU GPL should be used to ensure that all users can enjoy software freedom.
The issue of software freedom is, not surprisingly, not mentioned in the mainstream coverage of Volkswagen's recent use of proprietary software to circumvent important regulations that exist for the public good. Given that Volkswagen is an upstream contributor to Linux, it's highly likely that Volkswagen vehicles have Linux in them.
Thus, we have a wonderful example of how much we sacrifice at the altar of “Linux adoption”. While I'm glad for some Free Software to appear in products rather than none, I also believe that, too often, our community happily accepts the idea that we should gratefully laud a company includes a bit of Free Software in their product, and gives a little code back, even if most of what they do is proprietary software.
Over the last few weeks a discussion has flourished over the FCC’s Notification of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on modular transmitters and electronic labels for wireless devices. Some folks have felt that the phrasing has been too Chicken-Little-like and that the FCC’s proposal doesn’t affect the ability to install free, libre or open source operating system. The FCC in fact says their proposal has no effect on open source operating systems or open source in general. The FCC is undoubtedly wrong.