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Legal

The GDPR Takes Open Source to the Next Level

Filed under
GNU
OSS
Legal

Stallman pointed out that running a free software operating system—for example Google's ChromeOS—offered no protection against this loss of control. Nor does requiring the cloud computing service to use the GNU Affero GPL license solve the problem: just because users have access to the underlying code that is running on the servers does not mean they are in the driver's seat. The real problem lies not with the code, but elsewhere—with the data.

Running free software on your own computer, you obviously retain control of your own data. But that's not the case with cloud computing services—or, indeed, most online services, such as e-commerce sites or social networks. There, highly personal data about you is routinely held by the companies in question. Whether or not they run their servers on open-source code—as most now do—is irrelevant; what matters is that they control your data—and you don't.

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Xiaomi aims to release Kernel Source Code for new devices within 3 months after launch

Filed under
Linux
Legal

Xiaomi is a company that’s largely renowned for their devices that offer excellent specifications relative to price. Smartphones is just one of their many ventures, but it’s how the company has made its name known globally. The company’s rapid expansion in markets like India has brought millions of new users onto smartphones running Android, which has resulted in a wave of new users on our forums looking to customize their devices. Unfortunately, Xiaomi has a poor history of complying with open source licenses as they have shown time and time and time again that they are willing to violate the General Public License v2 (GPLv2) by failing to release kernel source code for their devices. The GPL is what makes the developer community on our forums possible, as all Android phones run on the Linux kernel and without access to the source code it would have been nearly impossible for custom AOSP-based ROMs to take off the way they’ve done on our forums.

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Also: Conservancy Welcomes the Common Workflow Language as a Member Project

​Symantec may violate Linux GPL in Norton Core Router

Filed under
GNU
Legal

For years, embedded device manufacturers have been illegally using Linux. Typically, they use Linux without publishing their device's source code, which Linux's GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) requires them to do. Well, guess what? Another vendor, this time Symantec, appears to be the guilty party.

This was revealed when Google engineer and Linux security expert Matthew Garrett was diving into his new Norton Core Router. This is a high-end Wi-Fi router. Symantec claims it's regularly updated with the latest security mechanisms. Garrett popped his box open to take a deeper look into Symantec's magic security sauce.

What he found appears to be a Linux distribution based on the QCA Software Development Kit (QSDK) project. This is a GPLv2-licensed, open-source platform built around the Linux-based OpenWrt Wi-Fi router operating system.

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How the EU's Copyright Reform Threatens Open Source--and How to Fight It

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OSS
Legal

Translated into practical terms, this means that sites with major holdings of material uploaded by users will be required to filter everything before allowing it to be posted. The problems with this idea are evident. It represents constant surveillance of people's online activities on these sites, with all that this implies for loss of privacy. False positives are inevitable, not least because the complexities of copyright law cannot be reduced to a few algorithmic rules that can be applied automatically. That, and the chilling effect it will have on people's desire to upload material, will have a negative impact on freedom of expression and undermine the public domain.

The high cost of implementing upload filters—Google's ContentID system required 50,000 hours of coding and $60 million to build—means that a few big companies will end up controlling the market for censorship systems. Their oligopoly power potentially gives them the ability to charge high prices for their services, which will impose burdens on companies in the EU and lead to fewer online startups in the region. Other problems with the idea include the important fact that it seems to go against existing EU law.

Article 13 has been drawn up mainly to satisfy the barely disguised desire of the European copyright industry to attack successful US companies like Google and Facebook. But the upload filter is a very crude weapon, and it will affect many others who—ironically—will be less able than internet giants to comply with the onerous requirement to censor. For example, it is likely that Wikipedia will be caught by the new rule. After all, it hosts huge amounts of "subject-matter" that is uploaded by users. As a post on the Wikimedia blog pointed out: "it would be absurd to require the Wikimedia Foundation to implement costly and technologically impractical automated systems for detecting copyright infringement."

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Keep the IoT Free (Patent Battles Not Welcome)

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OSS
Legal

While it has experienced nearly exponential growth, the successful adoption and use of open-source by banking networks, mobile phone manufacturers, telecom networks, smart cars, cloud computing and blockchain platforms, among numerous others, was not a foregone conclusion. In 2003, there was an IP-based attack on Linux, the most prevalent open-source software project.

While the claims underlying the litigation ultimately were found to be without merit in the court proceeding, it was a wake-up call to several IP-savvy companies as to the potential negative impact of patent aggression on the growth of Linux and open source software projects. IBM, Red Hat and SUSE (then Novell) coordinated an effort with Sony, Philips and NEC to conceptualize and implement a solution designed to create a patent no-fly zone around the core of Linux.

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​FOSSA: Open-sourcing open-source license management

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OSS
Legal

Kevin Wang, CEO of FOSSA, has a different approach. The 22-year-old founder told me at Open Source Leadership Summit in Sonoma, CA: "Code scanning is not enough anymore. FOSSA's approach to dependency scanning leverages both static and dynamic code analysis. Dynamic analysis allows FOSSA to get an accurate, live view of what dependencies are pulled into builds. Static analysis supplements the results with metadata on how dependencies are included to power deep intelligence features and recommendation engines. Both these approaches are used to build the most accurate, performant, and intelligent infrastructure for managing your open source."

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EUPL planned actions

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OSS
Legal

A revised set of guidelines and recommendations on the use of the open source licence EUPL v1.2 published by the Commission on 19 May 2017 will be developed, involving the DIGIT unit B.3 (Reusable Solutions) and the JRC 1.4 (Joint Research Centre – Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer). The existing licence wizard will be updated. New ways of promoting public administrations' use of open source will be investigated and planned (such as hackathons or app challenges on open source software). The target date for the release of this set of guidelines on the use of the European Public Licence EUPL v1.2, including a modified Licence Wizard, is planned Q2 2018.

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FOSS Licensing: Good Compliance Practices and "Do I Have to Use a Free/Open Source License?"

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OSS
Legal
  • Good Compliance Practices Are Good Engineering Practices

    Companies across all industries use, participate in, and contribute to open source projects, and open source compliance is an integral part of the use and development of any open source software. It’s particularly important to get compliance right when your company is considering a merger or acquisition. The key, according to Ibrahim Haddad, is knowing what’s in your code, right down to the exact versions of the open source components.

  • Do I Have to Use a Free/Open Source License?

    That, as we all probably already know, is not the case. The only licenses that can be called "open source" are those that are reviewed and approved as such by the Open Source Initiative (aka OSI). Its list of OSI-Approved licenses allows developers to choose and apply a license without having to hire a lawyer. It also means that companies no longer need to have their own lawyers review every single license in every piece of software they use. Can you imagine how expensive it would be if every company needed to do this? Aside from the legal costs, the duplication of effort alone would lead to millions of dollars in lost productivity. While the OSI's other outreach and advocacy efforts are important, there's no doubt that its license approval process is a service that provides an outsized amount of value for developers and companies alike.

Microsoft Openwashing and Revisionism

Filed under
GNU
Microsoft
Legal
  • Microsoft joins effort to cure open source license noncompliance [Ed: Pushing Microsoft lies under the false pretenses that Microsoft plays along with the GPL (it violates, smears and undermines it)]
  • Microsoft joins group working to 'cure' open-source licensing issues [Ed: Mary Jo Foley uses this initiative to whitewash Microsoft after it repeatedly violated the GPL and attacked it publicly, behind the scenes etc. And watch the image she uses: a lie.]

    It's kind of amazing that just over a decade ago, Microsoft was threatening Linux vendors by claiming free and open-source software infringed on 235 of Microsoft's patents. In 2007, Microsoft was very openly and publicly anti-GPLv3, claiming it was an attempt "to tear down the bridge between proprietary and open source technology that Microsoft has worked to build with the industry and customers."

  • Today's channel rundown - 19 March 2018

    The six have committed to extending additional rights "to cure open source license noncompliance".

    The announcement was made by Red Hat, which says the move will lead to greater cooperation with distributors of open source software to correct errors.

    In a statement, Red Hat referenced widely used open source software licenses, GNU General Public License (GPL) and GNU Lesser General Public License, which cover software projects including the Linux kernel.

    GPL version 3 offers distributors of the code an opportunity to correct errors and mistakes in license compliance.

  • Tails Security Update, Companies Team Up to Cure Open Source License Noncompliance, LG Expanding webOS and More

    According to a Red Hat press release this morning: "six additional companies have joined efforts to promote greater predictability in open source licensing. These marquee technology companies—CA Technologies, Cisco, HPE, Microsoft, SAP, and SUSE—have committed to extending additional rights to cure open source license noncompliance. This will lead to greater cooperation with distributors of open source software to correct errors and increased participation in open source software development."

What legal remedies exist for breach of GPL software?

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Legal

Last April, a federal court in California handed down a decision in Artifex Software, Inc. v. Hancom, Inc., 2017 WL 1477373 (N.D. Cal. 2017), adding a new perspective to the forms of remedies available for breach of the General Public License (GPL). Sadly, this case reignited the decades-old license/contract debate due to some misinterpretations under which the court ruled the GPL to be a contract. Before looking at the remedy developments, it’s worth reviewing why the license debate even exists.

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More in Tux Machines

Graphics: Wayland, RadeonSI, NVIDIA and More

  • Session suspension and restoration protocol
  • A Session Suspension & Restoration Protocol Proposed For Wayland
    KDE Wayland developer Roman Gilg who started contributing to Wayland via last year's Google Summer of Code is proposing a new Wayland protocol for dealing with desktop session suspension and restoration. This protocol extension would allow for more efficient support for client session suspension and restoration such as when you are logging out of your desktop session and want the windows restored at next log-in or if you are suspending your system. While Roman Gilg is working on this protocol with his KDE hat on, he has been talking with Sway and GNOME developers too for ensuring this protocol could work out for their needs.
  • RadeonSI Lands OpenGL 3.3 Compatibility Profile Support
    Thanks to work done over the past few months by AMD's Marek Olšák on improving Mesa's OpenGL compatibility profile support and then today carried over the final mile by Valve's Timothy Arceri, Mesa 18.2 now exposes OpenGL 3.3 under the compatibility context. Hitting Git tonight is the enabling of the OpenGL 3.3 compatibility profile for RadeonSI.
  • NVIDIA Releases DALI Library & nvJPEG GPU-Accelerated Library For JPEG Decode
    For coinciding with the start of the Computer Vision and Patern Recognition conference starting this week in Utah, NVIDIA has a slew of new software announcements. First up NVIDIA has announced the open-source DALI library for GPU-accelerated data augmentation and image loading that is optimized for data pipelines of deep learning frameworks like ResNET-50, TensorFlow, and PyTorch.
  • NVIDIA & Valve Line Up Among The Sponsors For X.Org's XDC 2018
    - The initial list of sponsors have been announced for the annual X.Org Developers' Conference (XDC2018) where Wayland, Mesa, and the X.Org Server tend to dominate the discussions for improving the open-source/Linux desktop. This year's XDC conference is being hosted in A Coruña, Spain and taking place in September. The call for presentations is currently open for X.Org/mesa developers wishing to participate.
  • Intel Broxton To Support GVT-g With Linux 4.19
    Intel developers working on the GVT-g graphics virtualization technology have published their latest batch of Linux kernel driver changes.

Fedora and Red Hat: Fedora Atomic, Fedora 29, *GPL and Openwashing ('Open Organization')

  • Fedora Atomic Workstation To Be Renamed Fedora Silverblue
    - Back in early May was the announcement of the Silverblue project as an evolution of Fedora Atomic Workstation and trying to get this atomic OS into shape by Fedora 30. Beginning with Fedora 29, the plan is to officially rename Fedora Atomic Workstation to Fedora Silverblue. Silverblue isn't just a placeholder name, but they are moving ahead with the re-branding initiative around it. The latest Fedora 29 change proposal is to officially change the name of "Fedora Atomic Workstation" to "Fedora Silverblue".
  • Fedora 29 Will Cater i686 Package Builds For x86_64, Hide GRUB On Boot
    The Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo) approved on Friday more of the proposed features for this fall's release of Fedora 29, including two of the more controversial proposals.
  • Total War: WARHAMMER II Coming to Linux, Red Hat Announces GPL Cooperation Commitment, Linspire 8.0 Alpha 1 Released and More
    Starting today, Red Hat announced that "all new Red Hat-initiated open source projects that opt to use GPLv2 or LGPLv2.1 will be expected to supplement the license with the cure commitment language of GPLv3". The announcement notes that this development is the latest in "an ongoing initiative within the open source community to promote predictability and stability in enforcement of GPL-family licenses".
  • Red Hat Launches Process Automation Manager 7, Brackets Editor Releases Version 1.13, Qt Announces New Patch Release and More
    Red Hat today launched Red Hat Process Automation Manager 7, which is "a comprehensive, cloud-native platform for developing business automation services and process-centric applications across hybrid cloud environments". This new release expands some key capabilities including cloud native application development, dynamic case management and low-code user experience. You can learn more and get started here.
  • A summer reading list for open organization enthusiasts
    The books on this year's open organization reading list crystallize so much of what makes "open" work: Honesty, authenticity, trust, and the courage to question those status quo arrangements that prevent us from achieving our potential by working powerfully together.

Server Domination by GNU/Linux

  • Security and Performance Help Mainframes Stand the Test of Time
    As of last year, the Linux operating system was running 90 percent of public cloud workloads; has 62 percent of the embedded market share and runs all of the supercomputers in the TOP500 list, according to The Linux Foundation Open Mainframe Project’s 2018 State of the Open Mainframe Survey report. Despite a perceived bias that mainframes are behemoths that are costly to run and unreliable, the findings also revealed that more than nine in 10 respondents have an overall positive attitude about mainframe computing. The project conducted the survey to better understand use of mainframes in general. “If you have this amazing technology, with literally the fastest commercial CPUs on the planet, what are some of the barriers?” said John Mertic, director of program management for the foundation and Open Mainframe Project. “The driver was, there wasn’t any hard data around trends on the mainframe.”
  • HPE announces world's largest ARM-based supercomputer
    The race to exascale speed is getting a little more interesting with the introduction of HPE's Astra -- what will be the world's largest ARM-based supercomputer. HPE is building Astra for Sandia National Laboratories and the US Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The NNSA will use the supercomputer to run advanced modeling and simulation workloads for things like national security, energy, science and health care.

HHVM 3.27 Released