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Legal

On the boundaries of GPL enforcement

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Last October, the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) and Free Software Foundation (FSF) jointly published "The Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement". That document described what those organizations believe the goal of enforcement efforts should be and how those efforts should be carried out. Several other organizations endorsed the principles, including the netfilter project earlier this month. It was, perhaps, a bit puzzling that the project would make that endorsement at that time, but a July 19 SFC blog post sheds some light on the matter.

There have been rumblings for some time about a kernel developer doing enforcement in Germany that might not be particularly "community-oriented", but public information was scarce. Based on the blog post by Bradley Kuhn and Karen Sandler, though, it would seem that Patrick McHardy, who worked on netfilter, is the kernel developer in question. McHardy has also recently been suspended from the netfilter core team pending his reply to "severe allegations" with regard to "the style of his license enforcement activities".

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The Importance of Following Community-Oriented Principles in GPL Enforcement Work

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The GNU General Public License (GPL) was designed to grant clear permissions for sharing software and to defend that freedom for users. GPL'd code now appears in so many devices that it is fundamental to modern technology. While we believe that following the GPL's requirements is neither burdensome nor unreasonable, many fail to do so. GPL enforcement — the process to encourage those who fail to correct problems and join our open software development community — is difficult diplomacy.

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Linux Australia backflips on Appelbaum stance

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Linux
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Linux Australia has done a backflip on its stance over privacy advocate Jacob Appelbaum who was recently thrown out of several software groupings following numerous accusations of sexual harassment.

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Remaining Articles About PS3 Settlement Over GNU/Linux

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GNU
Linux
Legal

PS3 Settlement

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GNU
Linux
Legal

A Brief History of Free and Open Source Software Licensing

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Legal

Open source software licenses may not excite people as much as open source code, but they have been just as important in keeping software free. Open source licensing as we know it today didn't always exist, however. It evolved as programmers developed more sophisticated strategies regarding their intellectual property.

Below is a look at the major milestones in open source licensing history. It doesn't cover every twist and turn. That would take a book.

But it outlines the major arc in open source licensing strategies, from the days when free software promoters disdained licenses altogether through present-day battles about software licensing and the cloud.

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Also: Licensing resources series: A Quick Guide to GPLv3

Licensing and Compliance

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Legal
  • New API helps open-source developers 'become license-aware'

    The Open Source Initiative (OSI), the steward of the Open Source Definition (OSD), announced today it has created a machine readable publication of OSI approved licenses.

    According to the organization, the API will allow third parties to "become license-aware", giving businesses everywhere the means to determine if a license is open source or not.

    The Open Source Initiative considers this the next "logical step" and quite important, knowing all the copyright and license legal battles going on nowadays, and how expensive they can be.

    Open Source Lead at GitHub, Brandon Keepers offered, "A canonical, machine-readable source of license metadata is a great step towards enabling developers to build tools around open source licensing and compliance. We can’t wait to see what the community does with it".

  • Oracle's Lead Lawyer Against Google Vents That The Ruling 'Killed' The GPL

    Except, of course, tons of copyright experts predicted exactly this result (and many more argued that APIs should not be subject to copyright at all). Famed copyright scholar Pam Samuelson has been writing extensively about the case, focusing both on why APIs should not be covered by copyright (and, why basically every other court has agreed) as well as why, even if it is covered, it's fair use. Hell, she even wrote a response to the Hurst piece, explaining why Hurst was wrong. It's weird for Hurst to take a position that actually seems at odds with a huge number of copyright experts, and then state that none would take the position that many did.

    [...]

    Once again, this shows a rather unfortunate ignorance of how coding works. It's not about a desire to "copy freely." It's about building amazing and innovative services, and making use of APIs to increase interoperability, which increases value. Copying an API structure is also just much more about making developers comfortable in using new environments. You know, like how Oracle copied SQL from IBM. Because lots of people understood SELECT-FROM-WHERE and it made little sense to create a relational database that didn't use that structure. It's not about copying freely. It's about interoperability.

    And, really, the idea that an Oracle lawyer is "concerned" about the future of the GPL is fairly laughable. Thankfully, many people have weighed in in the comments -- including plenty who are quite familiar with the GPL and software development to explain to Hurst why she's wrong. Somehow, I think she has some fairly strong reasons to ignore those responses.

Licensing and Coding

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Development
Legal
  • The Oracle v. Google Suit is Still an Anti-Open Move That Shouldn't Have Happened

    All the way back in 2010, when Oracle filed a complaint for patent and copyright infringement against Google regarding parts of the Java code found in Google's Android mobile OS, I wrote a post calling the move "the anti-open move of the year." Fast-forward to today, and in the Oracle v. Google trial that just concluded, a jury returned a verdict in Google's favor. It basically concluded that Oracle's suit against Google, claiming that the use of Java APIs in Android violated copyright law, was bunk.

    Now, in an op-ed piece for Ars Technica, Annette Hurst, an attorney who represented Oracle, equates the jury's decision with the death of open source.

    [...]

    Hurst makes a good point that dual licensing models are increasing, with many open source projects available for free, while commercial versions, often including support, come at a cost. But the Oracle suit originated because Oracle essentially perceived itself as owning a moat around Java that didn't really exist.

    [...]

    Indeed, one of the lasting images of this long running legal skirmish is going to be Oracle behaving in a decidedly anti-open fashion. It may have been wiser for Oracle to simply let this one go.

  • Here’s how to check if software license is open source

    The Open Source Initiative (OSI), the steward of the Open Source Definition (OSD), announced today it has created a machine readable publication of OSI approved licenses.

    According to the Initiative, the API will allow third parties to ‘become license-aware’, giving businesses everywhere means to determine if a license is Open Source or not.

  • 3 Things Infrastructure as Code is Not

    The role of the network engineer is changing. This is not a result of DevOps, although some would claim it is. As DevOps takes center stage in organizations, it can seem like network engineers are being asked to become developers.

    There have been a number of talks discussing this, some of which have surfaced at Interop Las Vegas. The shift has been Infrastructure as Code (IaC), which was fundamental to the start of the DevOps movement. So maybe you could say this is caused by DevOps.

  • Introducing Blue Ocean: a new user experience for Jenkins

    While this project is in the alpha stage of development, the intent is that Jenkins users can install Blue Ocean side-by-side with the Jenkins Classic UI via a plugin.

    Not all the features listed on this blog are complete but we will be hard at work over the next few months preparing Blue Ocean for general use. We intend to provide regular updates on this blog as progress is made.

    Blue Ocean is open source today and we invite you to give us feedback and to contribute to the project.

Google and Oracle

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Google
Security
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More in Tux Machines

Today in Techrights

today's leftovers

  • iTWire - Microsoft to reduce global workforce
  • Microsoft Faces Two Lawsuits For Aggressive Windows 10 Upgrade Campaign
    The series of lawsuits against Microsoft doesn’t seem to terminate sooner.
  • Controlling access to the memory cache
    Access to main memory from the processor is mediated (and accelerated) by the L2 and L3 memory caches; developers working on performance-critical code quickly learn that cache utilization can have a huge effect on how quickly an application (or a kernel) runs. But, as Fenghua Yu noted in his LinuxCon Japan 2016 talk, the caches are a shared resource, so even a cache-optimal application can be slowed by an unrelated task, possibly running on a different CPU. Intel has been working on a mechanism that allows a system administrator to set cache-sharing policies; the talk described the need for this mechanism and how access to it is implemented in the current patch set.
  • Why Blockchain Matters
    If your familiarity with Bitcoin and Blockchain is limited to having heard about the trial of Silk Road’s Ross Ulbricht, you can be forgiven -- but your knowledge is out of date. Today, Bitcoin and especially Blockchain are moving into the mainstream, with governments and financial institutions launching experiments and prototypes to understand how they can take advantage of the unique characteristics of the technology.
  • Our Third Podcast, with Cybik, is Out Now
    Cybik comes back on how he came to know and use Linux in the first place, his gaming habits, how he got involved into the Skullgirls port, and shares with us his outlook on the Linux gaming landscape. The podcast is just an hour long and you can either download it below, and use our RSS feed (that has the additional benefit of making it easy for you to get new episodes from now on):
  • GSoC: final race and multi-disc implementation
    It’s been a while since I wrote a post here. A lot has happened since then. Now Gnome-games fully supports PlayStation games, with snapshoting capabilities. The next thing I’m working on is multi-disc support, specially for PlayStation titles. So far, there’s a working propotity although a lot needs to be re-engineered and polished. This last part of the project has involved working both in UI, persistance and logic layers.
  • This Week in GTK+ – 11
    In this last week, the master branch of GTK+ has seen 22 commits, with 6199 lines added and 1763 lines removed.
  • [Solus] Replacement of Release Schedule
    In the not so distant past, Solus followed a static point release model. Our most current release at this time is 1.2, with a 1.2.1 planned to drop in the near future. However, we also recently announced our move to a rolling release model. As such, these two schools of thought are in contradiction of one another.
  • First release of official ArchStrike ISO files! [Ed: last week]
  • July ’16 security fixes for Java 8
    On the heels of Oracle’s July 2016 security updates for Java 8, the icedtea folks have released version 3.1.0 of their build framework so that I could create packages for OpenJDK 8u101_b13 or “Java 8 Update 101 Build 13” (and the JRE too of course).
  • Pipelight update
    I decided to do an update of my “pipelight” package. I had not looked at it for a long time, basically because I do not use it anymore, but after I upgraded my “wine” package someone asked if I could please write up what could be done for wine-pipelight. As you know, pipelight is a Linux plugin wrapper for Mozilla-compatible browsers which lets you install and use Windows plugins on Linux. This configuration enables you to access online services which would otherwise be unavailable to you on a Linux platform. The pipelight plugin wrapper uses wine to load the Windows software.
  • Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) Current Analyst Ratings
  • Friday Session Wrap for Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)
  • Fedora @ EuroPython 2016 - event report
  • Android 7.0 Nougat could be release as soon as next month
  • Android gains anti-spam caller ID feature
  • Amazon Cloud Revenue Hits $2.9B
  • ServerMania – Discover High Availability Cloud Computing, powered by OpenStack
    Cloud computing is fast growing in the world of computer and Internet technology, many companies, organizations and even individuals are opting for shared pool of computing resources and services. For starters, Cloud computing is a type of Internet-based computing where users consume hosted services on shared server resources. There are fundamentally three types of cloud computing available today: private, public and hybrid cloud computing.

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • Student survey data shows Open Source training uptake amongst women and young people remains extreme
    Future Cert, the UK and Ireland representative for the LPI (Linux Professional Institute), is calling for more awareness of Open Source software training amongst the under 21s and especially women, which the industry is so desperately in need of. New figures from a recent Future Cert student survey reveals that the number of women and young people taking LPI Certification in Open Source computing remains extremely low. Of those questioned, 98% were male, and just 2% were female, taking an LPI exam. This figure is significantly less than an already low figure of around 15% to 17% of women in IT careers in general. It raises the question, what does the industry need to do to make an Open Source career attractive to women?
  • Quality in open source: testing CRIU
    Checkpoint/Restore In Userspace, or CRIU, is a software tool for Linux that allows freezing a running application (or part of it) and checkpointing it to disk as a collection of files. The files can then be used to restore and run the application from the point where it was frozen. The distinctive feature of the CRIU project is that it is mainly implemented in user space. Back in 2012, when Andrew Morton accepted the first checkpoint/restore (C/R) patches to the Linux kernel, the idea to implement saving and restoring of running processes in user space seemed kind of crazy. Yet, four years later, not only is CRIU working, it has also attracted more and more attention. Before CRIU, there had been other attempts to implement checkpoint/restore in Linux (DMTCP, BLCR, OpenVZ, CKPT, and others), but none were merged into the mainline. Meanwhile CRIU survived, which attests to its viability. Some time ago, I implemented support for the Test Anything Protocol format into the CRIU test runner; creating that patch allowed me to better understand the nature of the CRIU testing process. Now I want to share this knowledge with LWN readers. [...] The CRIU tests are quite easy to use and available for everyone. Moreover, the CRIU team has a continuous-integration system that consists of Patchwork and Jenkins, which run the required test configurations per-patch and per-commit. Patchwork also allows the team to track the status of patch sets to make the maintainer's work easier. The developers from the team always keep an eye on regressions. If a commit breaks a tree, the patches in question will not be accepted.
  • Open-source Wire messenger gets encrypted screen-sharing
    Chat app Wire has been rapidly adding feature as of late as it looks to gain some traction against the myriad of competitors out there. The latest trick in its arsenal is screen sharing. Now you can click on the new screen-sharing button to, well, share your screen during a call (if you’re on a desktop, that is). It works during group chats too and, as with all Wire communications, is encrypted end-to-end. Wire believes it’s the first messaging app to include end-to-end encryption.
  • SPI board election results are available
    Software in the Public Interest (SPI) has completed its 2016 board elections. There were two open seats on the board in addition to four board members whose terms were expiring. The six newly elected members of the board are Luca Filipozzi, Joerg Jaspert, Jimmy Kaplowitz, Andrew Tridgell, Valerie Young, and Martin Zobel-Helas. The full results, including voter statistics, are also available.
  • SFK 2016 - Call for Speakers
    Software Freedom Kosova is an annual international conference in Kosovo organized to promote free/libre open source software, free culture and open knowledge, now in its 7th edition. It is organized by FLOSSK, a non governmental, not for profit organization, dedicated to promote software freedom and related philosophies.
  • Microsoft's Next Open Source Target Could Be PowerShell: Report
  • Open-source drug discovery project advances drug development
  • The First-Ever Test of Open-Source Drug-Discovery
  • Open-Source Drug Discovery a Success
  • CNS - Open-Source Project Spurs New Drug Discoveries
    Medicines for Malaria Venture, a nonprofit group based in Geneva, Switzerland, distributed 400 diverse compounds with antimalarial activity — called the Malaria Box — to 200 labs in 30 nations in late 2011. The findings from subsequent studies and analyses were published Thursday in the journal PLOS Pathogens. Distributing the Malaria Box to various labs enabled scientists to analyze the compounds and develop findings that have led to more than 30 new drug-development projects for a variety of diseases. As a stipulation to receiving the samples, the various research groups had to deposit the information from their studies in the public domain.
  • Wire and Launchkit go open source, a water flow monitoring system, and more news
  • Apache, astsu, Biscuit, Python, Puppet 4, systemd & more!
  • The Onion Omega2: The Latest Router Dev Board
  • Build a $700 open source bionic prosthesis with new tutorial by Nicolas Huchet of Bionico
    The 3D printing community has already successfully taken over the market for cosmetic prostheses, as fantastic initiatives like E-NABLE have proven. But the world of bionics is a different place and just a handful of makers have gone there with any form of success, such as the very inspiring Open Bionics. But even 3D printed bionic prostheses are definitely within our reach, as French open source fanatic Nicolas Huchet of Bionico has proven. Though by no means a making expert himself, he 3D printed his own open source bionic hand during a three month residency at FabLab Berlin and has now shared all the files – including an extensive tutorial – online. This means you can now 3D print your very own bionic prosthesis at home for just $700.
  • BCN3D Technologies develops open source 3D printed 'Moveo' robotic arm for schools
    Designed from scratch and developed by BCN3D engineers in collaboration with the Generalitat de Catalunya’s Departament d’Ensenyament (Department of Education), the BCN3D Moveo is an Arduino Mega 2560-powered, 3D printed robotic arm which could enable schools and colleges in Spain and elsewhere to teach students the basics of robotics, mechanical design, and industrial programming. When the Departament d’Ensenyament approached BCN3D one year ago regarding the possibility of an educative robotics project, the tech organization jumped at the chance to get on board.

Security Leftovers