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Legal

Patent case against GNOME resolved

Filed under
GNOME
Legal

Today, on the 20th of May 2020, the GNOME Foundation, Rothschild Patent Imaging, and Leigh M. Rothschild are pleased to announce that the patent dispute between Rothschild Patent Imaging and GNOME has been settled.

In this walk-away settlement, GNOME receives a release and covenant not to be sued for any patent held by Rothschild Patent Imaging. Further, both Rothschild Patent Imaging and Leigh Rothschild are granting a release and covenant to any software that is released under an existing Open Source Initiative approved license (and subsequent versions thereof), including for the entire Rothschild portfolio of patents, to the extent such software forms a material part of the infringement allegation.

Neil McGovern, Executive Director for the GNOME Foundation said “I’m exceptionally pleased that we have concluded this case. This will allow us to refocus our attention on creating a free software desktop, and will ensure certainty for all free and open source software in future.”

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FSFE calls for a more inclusive competition law in Europe

Filed under
OSS
Legal

In order to contribute to the EU Commission assessment of the Market Definition Notice, the FSFE has taken part in the public consultation to call for more attention to smaller stakeholders and civil society in topics of EU competition law.

The European Commission has launched an evaluation of some central concepts of EU competition law. The so-called EU Market Definition Notice (the "Notice") enables the Commission to identify actual competitors of relevant products and geographic markets to enforce prevailing competition policy and law. The purpose of this evaluation is to determine whether the Notice, introduced in 1997, remains fit for its purpose in light of recent developments. This is especially necessary when we also consider the dramatic digitalisation of the European markets that has occurred in the past 23 years.

In order to contribute to a fair and inclusive assessment, the FSFE took part in the public consultation to highlight the necessity of having the experience of grassroot organisations and civil society actors heard by the Commission. Notwithstanding the deep expertise in competition law in the software and telecommunications field these smaller stakeholders have, they might be disadvantaged in raising attention to essential competition topics, since the Commission might hear a biased account of the needs of the market when only large and well-funded business organisations have sufficient resources to effectively provide feedback in consultation procedures.

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FSFE nudges emergency ventilator project towards a Free Software License

Filed under
Legal

After a nudge by the FSFE, the Dutch OpenAIR initiative has provided licenses on their material to support reuse.

In the Netherlands an initiative has started to cope with COVID-19 by developing an easy producible emergency ventilator for which parts could mainly be sourced locally: OperationAIR. This project was started on 16 March by professor Harlaar and students of the Department of BioMechanical Engineering of Delft Technical University in order to ensure enough ventilator capacity for treating COVID-19 patients. The team intended their design to be publicly available for reuse. To adhere to the principles of Open Science all documentation, technical design and source code was published in a coherent fashion on their website.

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Licensing: FSF Against "Hippocratic License" (Denial of Freedom) and SPDX 2.2 Specification Outsourced by Linux Foundation to Microsoft

Filed under
Legal
  • A roundup of recent updates to our licensing materials: November 2019 to April 2020

    The Hippocratic License 1.1

    This license is the latest addition to our license list, but unfortunately, it falls in the nonfree category. It restricts uses of the software "that actively and knowingly endanger, harm, or otherwise threaten the physical, mental, economic, or general well-being of individuals or groups in violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights." While avoiding harm like this is of vital importance, a copyright license isn't necessarily the correct tool for achieving it. A restriction like this on Freedom 0 (the freedom to run the program for any purpose) may be difficult to enforce, as well as for users to understand, and may cause unintended consequences that could worsen the same problems it aims to solve.

  • SPDX 2.2 Specification Released [Ed: Linux Foundation outsourced SPDX to Microsoft]

    The SPDX technical community is delighted to announce that the 2.2 version of the specification has been released! We started working on the first version of the SPDX specification 10 years ago, and it has continued to improve and evolve to support the automation of more software bill of materials information over the years. This release incorporates a significant amount of input from our tooling and user communities to enable new use cases to be better represented.

    [...]

    The project members would like to thank our recent contributors to this release, who have enriched it with their new perspectives, as well as our ongoing participants. A full list of those who have contributed by participating in the many discussions, adding comments, and making suggestions for improvements to the SPDX specification as it’s evolved over the last 10 years can be found at the Credits page!

The Linux Ownership System Demystified

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Legal

Hence Linux would no longer be just a kernel. Torvalds ended up licensing Linux under the GNU general public license (GPL). This license allows users to modify and distribute the source code. However, whoever distributes Linux has to do so under the same terms. The terms basically assure that any modifications made to the Linux kernel also have to continue being free.

But none of that means that Torvalds himself or any other single entity has ownership of the Linux source code in full. Torvalds himself approves a number of changes made to Linux, but that doesn’t give him the copyright to those changes. Therefore you can contribute code to Linux, which then gets approved by the community, but you get to retain the copyright to that piece of code.

That means you will become one of the thousands of collective owners of Linux. But keep in mind that because of the terms of the GPL, you can’t forbid anyone else from using or modifying your code in the future. Very many people own a copyright in the different parts of the Linux source code. That makes it hard to imagine that the terms Linux is licensed under will ever change.

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Licensing and Tricks/Openwashing

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • April 2020 Zeta Alliance Weekly Call Summaries

    Changes To Zimbra’s Open Source Policy
    John E. explained that Zimbra 9 introduces a change to Synacor’s open source policy for Zimbra. Starting with Zimbra 9, a binary version of Zimbra 9 will no longer be released to the community and will instead only be made available to Zimbra Network Edition customers. There are currently no plans to release the source code for Zimbra 9 to the community. Zimbra 8.8.15 will remain open source for the community and continue to be supported for the remainder of its lifecycle through December, 31, 2024 (https://www.zimbra.com/support/support- ... lifecycle/). Version 8.8.15 will also continue to receive patches during this time frame. John E. described this new model for Zimbra 9 as “open core” where the open source products on which Zimbra is built will continue to be freely available, but the Zimbra 9 product itself will not be open source. Marc G. asked if Synacor’s plans involved introducing new features to Zimbra 8.8.15, or if the focus for introducing new features will shift exclusively to version 9. John E. said that he did not have the answer to this question. John also shared that starting with Zimbra 9, a source code license will be made available to customers who are licensing Zimbra Network Edition.

    Reactions To Zimbra Open Source Policy Change
    Noah P. said that part of his customer base values that Zimbra is open source and that it has been a marketing advantage over other proprietary email platforms. Marc G. said he felt this change will be hard for the open source community to support. John E. shared his personal opinion that Zimbra has struggled for several years to engage the open source community, as the ratio of people using Zimbra, compared to the number of people contributing back to Zimbra, has been very low. He said the biggest difference currently between Zimbra 8.8.15 and 9.0 is the addition of the new, Modern UI and welcomes feedback from Zimbra partners and the open source community on this policy change. Mark S. shared that many developers he has discussed it with have said that they have found it very difficult (if not impossible) to contribute to the Zimbra project in the past, mainly due to issues with an earlier version of the contributor’s agreement, which was finally updated a couple of years ago. Randy L. mentioned that another open source project, VyOS (https://www.vyos.io/community/), overcame issues with soliciting contributions back to their open source project by making binaries available to those who could demonstrate a meaningful contribution to the project in code or documentation work and suggested that such an approach might be something that Synacor should look at too. John E. invited Zimbra partners concerned about continued open source access to make a business case explaining how the loss of open source access would have a financial business impact for Synacor.

  • Changes To Zimbra's Open Source Policy

    The Zimbra email and collaboration suite will change its open source policy. This post from the Zeta Alliance notes the changes for Zimbra 9. "John E. explained that Zimbra 9 introduces a change to Synacor's open source policy for Zimbra. Starting with Zimbra 9, a binary version of Zimbra 9 will no longer be released to the community and will instead only be made available to Zimbra Network Edition customers.

  • Free Software Legal and Licensing Workshop 2020 cancelled due to COVID-19 outbreak

    This year's FSFE's Free Software Legal and Licensing Workshop has been cancelled. The FSFE thanks our contributors and looks ahead to organizing the event next year.

    Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 currently gripping the world, in early March the FSFE had to make the difficult decision to cancel our upcoming Free Software Legal and Licensing Workshop 2020 (the "Workshop"). Originally scheduled to take place from 15 - 17 April in Barcelona, Spain, the Workshop is an annual conference held every year since 2008 for the FSFE's Legal Network, and serves as a meeting point for FOSS legal experts to discuss issues and best practices surrounding Free Software licensing.

    Many exciting sessions were scheduled for this year's Workshop, including discussions on the technological relevance of copyleft licenses, on the challenges facing Free Software with machine learning and big data, on ongoing litigation from various jurisdictions on software licensing, as well as many other talks and workshops.

  • Update from the CommunityBridge Development Team [Ed: The Linux Foundation works for Microsoft. Not for Linux;
    watch who drives this thing...]
  • TOC Welcomes Dragonfly Into CNCF Incubator

    The CNCF Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) has accepted Dragonfly as an incubation-level hosted project. Dragonfly, which was accepted into the CNCF Sandbox in October 2018, is an open source, cloud native image and file distribution system. The goal of Dragonfly is to tackle distribution problems in cloud native scenarios.

Red Hat Summit and License Track at FOSS-North

Filed under
Red Hat
OSS
Legal
  • A partner’s guide to the Red Hat Summit virtual experience

    Partners play a critical role in Red Hat’s efforts to drive innovation with enterprise open source technology. From OEMs to global systems integrators to cloud and service providers, Red Hat’s extensive partner ecosystem helps customers around the world achieve success and IT modernization. We appreciate our partners and look forward to showcasing their innovative work at the first-ever Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience, a free, immersive multi-day event.

    If you’re a partner participating in Red Hat Summit, you won’t want to miss any of the action. Here are a few insider tips and tricks to help you navigate our newly virtual event.

  • What a License Track!

    This year we had a great set of licensing related talks, and I’d like to discuss them all in this post.

    Monday morning started with Frank Karlitschek and his talk Why the GPL is great for business. This a great overview of how you can build an free and open source business – pros and cons and pitfalls to avoid.

Huawei in OIN

Filed under
Legal

Gresecurity maker finally coughs up $300k to foot open-source pioneer Bruce Perens' legal bill in row over GPL

Filed under
Linux
Security
Legal

After three years of legal wrangling, the defamation lawsuit brought by Brad Spengler and his company Open Source Security (OSS) against open-source pioneer Bruce Perens has finally concluded.

It was clear that the end was nigh last month when California's Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling against the plaintiffs.

Spengler and OSS sued Perens for a June 2017 blog post in which Perens ventured the opinion that grsecurity, Open Source Security's Linux kernel security enhancements, could expose customers to potential liability under the terms of the General Public License (GPL).

OSS says that customers who exercise their rights to redistribute its software under the GPL will no longer receive software updates – the biz wants to be paid for its work, a problem not really addressed by the GPL. Perens, the creator of the open-source definition, pointed out that section six of the GPLv2 prohibits modifications of the license terms.

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Antitrust Regulators Turn Attention to Standards Organizations

Filed under
OSS
Legal

It’s well recognized by courts and regulators in many countries that standard setting among competitors can be procompetitive and good for consumers. As noted by the 5th Circuit Court in 1988, “it has long been recognized that the establishment and monitoring of trade standards is a legitimate and beneficial function of trade associations . . . [and] a trade association is not by its nature a ‘walking conspiracy’, its every denial of some benefit amounting to an unreasonable restraint of trade.”(1)

But regulatory sands can shift, and especially at a time when broad and dramatic changes (political and otherwise) seem to be the rule rather than the exception, it makes sense for collaborative organizations to keep vigilant, and to review their policies and procedures on a regular basis to help ensure antitrust compliance.

In my recent blog regarding Antitrust Laws and Open Collaboration, I briefly mentioned recent U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations into standards organizations. There were two, in particular, both focusing on internal policies and the importance of avoiding rules that might potentially disadvantage consumers or competitors. In this blog entry, we’ll take a deeper look at the specific types of conduct that concerned the regulators, and how the standards organizations under examination were eventually able to address those concerns.

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More in Tux Machines

Android Leftovers

Devices/Embedded: MiTAC, Raspberry Pi and ESP32/Arduino

  • Fanless Linux embedded system makes a compact IoT gateway

    ICP Germany has recently introduced the MiTAC ME1-8MD series family of compact, fanless Linux embedded systems powered by NXP i.MX 8M processor and designed to be used as IoT gateways, data acquisition and processing systems, and mini servers. Three models have been launched with a choice of dual or quad-core processors, up to 4GB LPDDR4 RAM, and 32GB eMMC flash storage. The embedded computers also come with up to two Ethernet ports, support up to two displays, and include an internal Raspberry Pi compatible 40 pin GPIO header.

  • Official Raspberry Pi 4 case fan adds cooling to Raspberry Pi 4 case

    When the Raspberry Pi Foundation first introduced the Raspberry Pi 4, they claimed the board would work just fine under most cases without a heatsink, and the latter was only really needed under load. That may have been true when using the board in a temperate climate like in the United Kingdom, but then Raspberry Pi 4 met Thailand with some benchmarks results lower than on a Raspberry Pi 3. People using plastic enclosures had even more troubles. It’s only when I installed a heatsink on Raspberry Pi 4 that the board could really shine. The company also provided some firmware optimizations later on to further cool-down the board. But you can only do much with software, and many third-party cooling solutions such as fansinks or metal cases have been introduced for the popular SBC.

  • Pi-oT 2 IoT module adds 24V digital inputs, RS-485, and UPS to Raspberry Pi (Crowdfunding)

    Pi-oT was launched last year as a Raspberry Pi add-ons designed for commercial and industrial IoT automation. It features 5V I/Os, relays, and ADC inputs suitable for light-duty projects and prototyping. The company, called Edge Devices, has now launched an update with Pi-oT 2 adding optional support for 24V digital inputs, RS-485, and an uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

  • M5Paper ESP32 IoT development kit features a 4.7-inch e-Ink touchscreen display

    M5Stack has just launched its unique and latest core device with a touchscreen e-Ink display. M5Paper ESP32 IoT Development Kit is a fully programmable microcontroller-based platform that can be an ideal choice for your IoT applications. This low-power device could suit such purposes as an industrial controller or smart weather display.

today's howtos

  • Enable Timestamp For History Command In Fish Shell - OSTechNix

    Whenever a command is entered in the terminal, it will be saved at the end of the history file in Linux. You can easily retrieve these commands at any time using history command. The shell is also tracking the timestamp of all command entries, so that we can easily find when a specific command is executed. We already have shown you how to enable timestamp in Bash and Zsh shells. Today we will see how to enable timestamp for history command in Fish shell in Linux. In addition, we will also learn how to create a simple function to show the date and time stamps in history command output in fish shell.

  • Linux: How To Encrypt And Decrypt Files With A Password
  • How to convert pdf to image on Linux command line - nixCraft

    I have many PDF files, and I need to convert them to a png file format, add a border to those images, and convert back all those images to pdf format. How can I convert pdf to image format on Linux and vice versa using the CLI?

  • How To Install PHP 8 on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS - idroot

    In this tutorial, we will show you how to install PHP 8 on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a popular server scripting language known for creating dynamic and interactive Web pages. PHP is a widely-used programming language on the Web. This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of PHP 8 on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian based distribution like Linux Mint.

  • How to Restrict WordPress Site Access - Anto Online

    A lot of the time, you need to restrict access to various users on your website. Whether you’re cordoning premium content, sensitive pages, or content targeted to specific individuals, there are various ways you can restrict user access easily and effectively on your WordPress website. The easiest method is using plugins that you can just download and link with your website. If you have coding skills, you can also edit various functions to achieve the same thing. We shall also take a look at how you can restrict site managers with various levels of access. Whatever kind of site restrictions you need to accomplish, stick with us and we will help you do it.

Linux Kernel: Greg Kroah-Hartman's Talk and Panics

  • Greg Kroah-Hartman: Lessons for Developers from 20 Years of Linux Kernel Work [Ed: "The Linux Foundation is a sponsor of The New Stack" for the latter to write puff pieces such as these, so it's basically marketing]
  • Greg Kroah-Hartman: 'Don't Make Users Mad'

    Kroah-Hartman explains that one of Linus Torvalds' most deeply-held convictions: don't break userspace. "Other operating systems have this rule as well — it's a very solid rule — because we always want you to upgrade. And we want you to upgrade without worrying about it. We don't want you to feel scared. If you see a new release, and we say, 'Hey, this fixes a bunch of problems,' we don't want you to feel worried about taking that. That's really really important — especially with security...." If you do make a change, make sure there truly is a compelling reason. "You have to provide enough reason and enough goodness to force somebody to take the time to learn to do something else. That's very rare." His example of this was systemd, which unified a variety of service configurations and initialization processes. "They did it right. They provided all the functionality, they solved a real problem that was there. They unified all these existing tools and problems in such a way that it was just so much better to use, and it provided enough impetus that everybody was willing to do the work to modify their own stuff and move to the new model. It worked. People still complain about it, but it worked. Everybody switched... It works well. It solves a real problem. "That was an example of how you can provide a compelling reason to move on — and make the change."

  • What to do in case of a Linux kernel panic

    Linux is used everywhere in the IT world. You've probably used Linux today, even if you didn't realize it. If you have learned anything about Linux, then you know it is indeed a kernel. The kernel is the primary unit of the Linux operating system (OS) and is responsible for communications between a computer's hardware and its processes. In this article, you will learn about one situation related to the Linux kernel: The kernel panic. The term itself can make you panic, but if you have the proper knowledge, then you can remain calm. Every system admin faces this issue at least once in their career, but reinstalling the system is not the first solution you should turn to. [...] Now, anytime you see a kernel panic error, you will definitely not panic because you know why this error occurred and how to resolve it. This article covers one of the common Linux boot problems: kernel panic. There are so many other potential boot problems that can occur in Linux, but resolving those issues will become much less of a panic when you gain some advanced knowledge of your system.