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FSF/FSFE/GNU: GNU Automake 1.16, Geniatech v McHard, The Noble Volunteer

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  • GNU Automake 1.16 released

    We are pleased to announce the GNU Automake 1.16 minor release.

    This release follows 1.15.1 which was made 8 months ago.

    See below for the detailed list of changes since the previous version, as summarized by the NEWS file.

  • My Affidavit in the Geniatech vs. McHardy Case

    As many people know, last week there was a court hearing in the Geniatech vs. McHardy case. This was a case brought claiming a license violation of the Linux kernel in Geniatech devices in the German court of OLG Cologne.

    Harald Welte has written up a wonderful summary of the hearing, I strongly recommend that everyone go read that first.

    In Harald’s summary, he refers to an affidavit that I provided to the court. Because the case was withdrawn by McHardy, my affidavit was not entered into the public record. I had always assumed that my affidavit would be made public, and since I have had a number of people ask me about what it contained, I figured it was good to just publish it for everyone to be able to see it.

  • GNU developer abandons action against Geniatech

    Former Linux developer Patrick McHardy dropped his Gnu General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) violation case against Geniatech in a German court this week.

    Some are seeing the case as a victory for those who want to convince companies to mend their ways and honour their GPLv2 legal requirements.

    Normally if a developer is hacked off with an outfit ignoring the GPU legal arrangements he or she asks the Free Software Foundation, Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), and the Software Freedom Law Center to approach violators. But these groups tend to lean on companies to get their act together rather than suing them for lots of cash.

    McHardy, however, after talking with SFC, dropped out from this diplomatic approach and went his own way. In fact, McHardy was accused of seeking financial gain by approaching numerous companies in German courts.

  • The Noble Volunteer (Again)

    I have written about how the Python Software Foundation raises and spends money before. For the most part, nothing has changed since then: the PSF appears to raise and then spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year (apparently down from over $300000 in 2016 to under $250000 in 2017, though), directing this money mostly towards events and promotion. In fact, the largest contribution to core-related Python software development in 2017 was actually from the Mozilla Open Source Support programme, with a $170000 grant to fix up the Python Package Index infrastructure. So the PSF is clearly comfortable leaving it to others to fund the P in PSF.

    Lots of people depend on the Python Package Index, but like with Free Software in general, the people making good money while leaning on these common, volunteer-run resources never seem to pitch in significantly themselves. It is true that the maintainer of this resource was allowed to work on it as his day job, but then got “downsized”, and now works in a role where he can work on it again but only as part of his day job. But I imagine that the people at Mozilla, some of whom have connections to the world of Python packaging, quite possibly relying on the package infrastructure to get their own stuff done, were getting fed up with “volunteers” as being the usual excuse for nothing getting done.

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