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Legal

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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Leftovers: FSF/GNU

Filed under
GNU
Legal
  • Fighting For Social Justice Is a Major Contribution to Society

    I have something to say that I'm sure everyone is going to consider controversial. I've been meaning to say it for some time, and I realize that it's going to get some annoyance from all sides of this debate. Conservancy may lose Supporters over this, even though this is my personal blog and my personal opinion, and views expressed here aren't necessarily Conservancy's views. I've actually been meaning to write this publicly for a year. I just have to say it now, because there's yet another event on this issue caused yet another a war of words in our community.

  • Software Freedom Conservancy needs your support!

    Last August, Debian and Conservancy announced a partnership and formed the Copyright Aggregation Project where, among other things, Conservancy will be able to hold copyrights for some Debian works and ensure compliance with copyleft so that those works remain in free software.

  • The Free Software Foundation Updates Its Gift Giving Guide

Leftovers: FSF/GNU

Filed under
GNU
Legal
  • Software Freedom Conservancy Launches 2015 Fundraiser

    Today Software Freedom Conservancy announces a major fundraising effort. Pointing to the difficulty of relying on corporate funding while pursuing important but controversial issues, like GPL compliance, Conservancy has structured its fundraiser to increase individual support. The organization needs at least 750 annual Supporters to continue its basic community services and 2500 to avoid hibernating its enforcement efforts. If Conservancy does not meet its goals, it will be forced to radically restructure and wind down a substantial portion of its operations.

  • GIMP 2.8.16 Has Been Released
  • 20 Years of GIMP Evolution: Step by Step

    GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) – superb open source and free graphics editor. Development began in 1995 as students project of the University of California, Berkeley by Peter Mattis and Spencer Kimball. In 1997 the project was renamed in “GIMP” and became an official part of GNU Project. During these years the GIMP is one of the best graphics editor and platinum holy wars “GIMP vs Photoshop” – one of the most popular.

  • Infinity status

    I’m winding down for a month away from Infinity. The current status is that the language and note format changes for 0.0.2 are all done. Y

European Patent Office Threatens Blogger With Defamation Lawsuit For Criticism

Filed under
Legal
Misc

In fact, to argue that Schestowitz's post is defamatory is crazy. Threatening Schestowitz with a defamation claim is much crazier and dangerous than even Schestowitz's own interpretation of the EPO's memo. If you're working for a government agency, such as the EPO, you have to be willing to accept some amount of criticism, even if you disagree with it. To claim it's defamation and to threaten a lawsuit is really, really screwed up.

[...]

I'm having trouble thinking of any other governmental agency that has ever threatened a public critic with defamation. Basic concepts around free speech suggest that the EPO should suck it up. If it disagrees with Schestowitz's interpretation of what it's doing, then it can come out and explain its side of the story. Threatening him with defamation actually only makes me think that perhaps his interpretation hits closer to home than I originally believed.

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TPP Article 14.17 & Free Software: No Harm, No Foul

Filed under
GNU
Legal

The first official public release of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (known universally as the TPP) on November 5, 2015 generated much heated speculation. The ideal of “open agreements, openly arrived at” remains regrettably unattainable in international affairs. “Fast track” trade negotiating authority in the US means that parties excluded from the negotiating process have a short time in which to mobilize for or against the treaty as a whole in light of their specific concerns. The premium on speed of response to a very lengthy and complex legal document—and the presence of intense public attention—guarantees that hasty judgment and occasional self-promotion will always outrun professional analysis; this is one of the inherent defects of secret legislation.

In this context, early commentary on the TPP draft included much speculation that one provision in the draft’s chapter on electronic commerce might have serious negative consequences for free software and open source licensing, distribution, or government acquisition. Some lay readers marched immediately to the conclusion that, in less than 200 words ostensibly about something else, the negotiators had (a) abolished free licensing; (Cool prohibited governments from acquiring, supporting or preferring free software; or (c) had interfered with the enforcement of free licenses. Other non-professional readers invented complex demonstrations that one or more of these catastrophes had not occurred.

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More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: Software

  • [Video] Linux Audio Programs Compared 2017
    I made this video for those that are new to, or just interested in making music on the Linux OS. I go over the features, goods and bads of Rosegarden, LMMS, Ardour, Mixbus, and EnergyXT, as well as touch on Qtractor. I don't don't go much into details of the particular versions I am using, but the video was made in the early part of 2017 and I'm running Ubuntu 16.04LTS.
  • Green Recorder: A Simple Desktop/Screen Recorder for Linux
    Green Recorder is a simple, open source desktop recorder developed for Linux systems built using Python, GTK and FFmpeg. It supports most of the Linux desktop environments such as Unity, Gnome, Cinnamon, Mate, Xfce and so on. Recently it has been updated to work with Wayland too in Gnome session.
  • Komorebi: A New Way To Enhance Your Desktop Using Animated/Parallax Wallpapers
    In past there were applications that allowed us to run videos/Gif as wallpaper on the desktop and make desktop look much cooler but than all of sudden the development of such Apps stopped and I can't name any App that exist for this purpose. Komorebi is fairly new application designed to make your desktop experience much better and make desktop cool as well, we can say it is kind of 'live wallpaper' situation here or 3D wallpaper. It is developed by Abe Masri and available under GPL license for free.
  • Stacer Sytem Optimizer: A Must Have Application For Ubuntu/Linux Mint
    There are multiple ways to optimize your Linux, the most geeky way is using Terminal, there are also applications available that performs such actions like Bleachbit, Ubuntu cleaner and so on. Stacer is simple, open-source, quick and new application designed to offer you all-in-one optimizer for your Ubuntu/Linux Mint (It's alternative to CCleaner but only for Linux).
  • Qtox: Open Source and Fully Secure Skype Replacement for Linux
    Long years ago, we've talked about a Skype alternative called Tox which was still in its early developmental stages. Tox was supposed to become the anti-thesis of Skype by being a fully open-source video and voice chat client that placed user privacy and security at its center. Well, guess what, there are now fully active and well-maintained chat clients that are built on top of Tox protocol. qTox is one of them.
  • Rclone 1.36 Released With SFTP And Local Symlinks Support, More
    Rclone 1.36 was released recently, bringing support for SFTP, local symbolic links support, mount improvements, along with many other new features and bug fixes. For those not familiar with Rclone, this is a cross-platform command line tool for synchronizing files and folders to multiple cloud storages, which supports Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, Amazon Drive, Microsoft One Drive, Yandex Disk, and more. It can be used to sync files either from your machine or from one cloud storage to another.
  • Streamlink Twitch GUI 1.2.0 Adds Support For Communities And Team Pages, Basic Hotkeys
    Streamlink Twitch GUI (previously Livestreamer Twitch GUI) is a multi-platform Twitch.tv browser. The application is powered by Node.js, Chromium and Streamlink, though it can still use Livestreamer (which is no longer maintained) too.
  • Code Editor `Brackets` 1.9 Released, Available In PPA
    Brackets is a free, open source code editor focused on front-end web development (HTML, CSS and JavaScript).
  • Terminix Terminal Emulator Renamed To Tilix, Sees New Bugfix Release
    [Quick update] Terminix, a GTK3 tiling terminal emulator, has been renamed to Tilix due to some trademark issues.

today's howtos

Games and CodeWeavers/Wine

  • A Snapshot of Linux Gamers, Just One Year Ago
    It’s about time we share the analysis of that Q1 2016 survey (fielding occured in March last year), especially as we are about to launch the Q1 2017 one pretty, pretty soon. That way we will be able to compare how things have changed over the course of 12 months. As usual, the whole disclaimer about online surveys is valid here (data is only as good as your n size, the appropriateness of your sampling, and the quality of the responses, etc…), but assuming it’s not all that bad and all that unreliable, let’s dig in the results. As a reminder, most of the respondents for this survey were recruited through the r/linux and r/linux_gaming subreddits, as well as the readership of BoilingSteam. This is not our first survey, and you can see our previous ones done in the second quarter of 2015, and the following one in the last quarter of 2015.
  • Slime-san Coming To PC, Mac and Linux
    Headup Games and Fabraz proudly announce their upcoming action-platformer Slime-san for PC, Mac and Linux via Steam & Humble Bundle. Console releases will follow soon after. Jump and slime your way through 100 levels in a unique 5-colored, pixelated world and escape from a giant worm’s innards. Get your shopping done in Slumptown, a town full of survivors within the worm. Unlock different play styles, outfits, shaders and even multiplayer mini-games! Slime-san is developed by Fabraz, an independent development studio that also released the critically-acclaimed games Cannon Crasha and Planet Diver. Slime-san was minding his own business, sliming around in a peaceful forest when suddenly…A giant worm appeared and gobbled him up! Now deep within the worm’s belly, Slime-san has to face a decision: Be digested by the incoming wall of stomach acid... Or jump, slide and slime his way through the worm's intestines and back out its mouth!
  • CodeWeavers Announces CrossOver 16.2.0
  • The Wine Revolution is ON!
    As you know Codeweavers (and other WINE contributors) have been working on DX11 support for a while – they were supposed to have DX11 support by the end of 2016, but as with all complex projects, timelines tend to slip and only very DX11 titles could run a few months ago. Since then, there was no major announcement, but it seems that the progress has been very significant in the recent WINE versions (2.3 is already out).

Leftovers: KDE