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Legal

Announcing the Open Source License API

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OSS
Legal

Over the last 19 years, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) has been the steward of the Open Source Definition (or OSD), establishing a common language when discussing what it means to be an Open Source license, and a list of licenses which are known to be compatible with the OSD.

This is taken to its logic next step this year, with the OSI providing a machine readable publication of OSI approved licenses at api.opensource.org. This will allow third parties to become license-aware, and give organizations the ability to clearly determine if a license is, in fact, an Open Source license, from the authoritative source regarding Open Source licenses, the OSI.

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Win for APIs and FOSS (Android Case)

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Android
Google
Legal
  • Google beats Oracle at trial: Jury finds Android is “fair use”

    Following a two-week trial, a federal jury concluded Thursday that Google's Android operating system does not infringe Oracle-owned copyrights because its re-implementation of 37 Java APIs is protected by "fair use." The verdict was reached after three days of deliberations.

    "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, listen to your verdict as it will stand recorded," said the court clerk, before polling each of the ten men and women on the jury.

    There was only one question on the special verdict form, asking if Google's use of the Java APIs was a "fair use" under copyright law. The jury unanimously answered "yes," in Google's favor. The verdict ends the trial, which began earlier this month. If Oracle had won, the same jury would have gone into a "damages phase" to determine how much Google should pay. Because Google won, the trial is over.

    "I salute you for your extreme hard work in this case," said US District Judge William Alsup, who has overseen the litigation since 2010. "With the thanks of your United States District Court, you are now discharged. I would like to come in the jury room and shake each of your hands individually."

    Four of the ten jurors declined to comment to reporters gathered in the hallway. The other six went out through a back exit.

    "We're grateful for the jury's verdict," said Google lead lawyer Robert Van Nest before getting into the elevator with Google's in-house lawyers. "That's it." Oracle attorneys had no comment.

  • Google wins Oracle copyright fight over Android code

    Today, a jury in California's Northern District federal court declared that Google's use of copyright-protected code in Android was fair use, freeing it of any liability. Oracle, which controls the copyright on the code, had been seeking $9 billion for the use of the code.

    The case centers around an API developed by Java and owned by Oracle, which allows outside programs to easily interact with Java programs. Android uses the same API, and in 2014 a federal appeals court ruled that Oracle has a valid copyright claim on the API code, potentially putting Google on the hook for billions of dollars in damages. (The Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal.) In the latest round, Google argued that Android's reimplementation of the API constituted fair use, which would allow use of the code without invalidating Oracle's copyright. Ultimately, the jury found that case convincing.

German experts update free software legal review

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OSS
Legal

Two German legal experts have published the fourth edition of their review of legal issues regarding the use of free software. The book by Till Jaeger, a Berlin-based lawyer specialised in legal issues concerning open source software, and Axel Metzger, professor at the Humboldt University in the same city, appeared in March.

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Linux ZFS Compatibility

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Linux
Debian
Legal
  • ZFS comes to Debian, thanks to licensing workaround

    The ZFS file system has come to popular Linux distribution Debian, but in a way the distro's backers think won't kick up another row over compatibility of open source licences.

    Ubuntu 16.04 added ZFS, despite pre-release grumblings from Richard Stallman to the effect that anything licensed under the GNU GPL v2 can only be accompanied by code also released under the GNU GPL v2. ZFS is issued under a Common Development and Distribution License, version 1 (CDDLv1).

  • Skirting The Hole In The Ice Of ZFS

    The muddy part is how building and running a ZFS module with Linux is not a violation of copyright when a combined derivative work of Linux+ZFS is created. Making even one copy is probably a violation of both CDDL and GPL., so keep on skating.

  • What does it mean that ZFS is included in Debian?

    Petter Reinholdtsen recently blogged about ZFS availability in Debian. Many people have worked hard on getting ZFS support available in Debian and we would like to thank everyone involved in getting to this point and explain what ZFS in Debian means.

Debian Project Clarifies the Implementation of ZFS for Linux in Debian GNU/Linux

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Debian
Legal

We reported the other day that Debian developer Petter Reinholdtsen informed the community about the implementation of ZFS filesystem support in the Debian GNU/Linux operating system.

While the Debian community welcomed the native ZFS for Linux implementation in the acclaimed and widely-used GNU/Linux operating system, some were wondering how this stands from a legal point of view, as the license under which the ZFS for Linux project is distributed does not comply with the Debian Free Software Guidelines.

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FSF/GNU

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Development
GNU
Legal
  • GCC 6.1 Compiler Optimization Level Benchmarks: -O0 To -Ofast + FLTO

    Here are some extra GCC 6.1 compiler benchmarks to share this weekend, complementing the recent GCC 4.9 vs. GCC 5 vs. GCC 6 comparison and the GCC 6.1 vs. Clang 3.9 compiler comparison.

  • LinuxFest Northwest 2016: From TPP to saving WiFi, the FSF fights for you
  • Savannah suffering networking problems

    Last Friday May 6th Savannah was moved to new hosting in the same datacenter with many various assorted related and unrelated changes. Since that time there have been wide spread reports of networking problems. The FSF admins are aware of the problem and are trying to resolve it.

  • Enforcement and compliance for the GPL and similar licenses

    The Free Software Legal & Licensing Workshop (LLW) is a three-day event held every year for legal professionals (and aficionados) who work in the realm of free and open-source software (FOSS). It is organized by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and, this year, the event was held in Barcelona (Spain), April 13-15. The topics covered during the event ranged from determining what constitutes authorship, how to attribute it, and what is copyrightable, to the complexity of licenses and how to make them more accessible for potential licensees lacking in legal background. In addition, license enforcement and compliance were discussed, with a particular focus on how the GPL and related licenses have done in court.

FRAND Is Not A Compliance Issue

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OSS
Legal

The European Commission has been persuaded by lobbyists to change its position on standards to permit the use of FRAND license terms for patents applicable to technologies within those standards. This is a massive mistake that will harm innovation by chilling open source community engagement.

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EU jeopardises its own goals in standardisation with FRAND licensing

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OSS
Legal

On 19 April, the European Commission published a communication on "ICT Standardisation Priorities for the Digital Single Market" (hereinafter 'the Communication'). The Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy intends to digitise industries with several legislative and political initiatives, and the Communication is a part of it covering standardisation. In general, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) welcomes the Communication's plausible approach for integrating Free Software and Open Standards into standardisation but expresses its concerns about the lack of understanding of necessary prerequisites to pursue that direction.

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Also: A fresh look at the U.S. draft policy on 'federal sourcing'

A perfect marriage: YOU and Ubuntu 16.04

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GNU
Ubuntu
Legal

Canonical claims it has taken legal advice and that it is allowed to ship OpenZFS with its Linux.

What ever the legal rights and wrongs, Ubuntu's support is clearly aimed primarily at the server use case. ZFS is not an option within the installer. In fact you'll need to install the userland parts of ZFS yourself before you can format disks and get everything working. Still, if you're interested in trying Ubuntu atop ZFS, Canonical has a guide to using ZFS.

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Anti-innovation: EU excludes open source from new tech standards

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OSS
Legal

It's no surprise that the Commission was trying to keep that particular detail quiet, because FRAND licensing—the acronym stands for "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory"—is incompatible with open source, which will therefore find itself excluded from much of the EU's grand new Digital Single Market strategy. That's hardly a "balanced IPR policy."

The problem for open source is that standard licensing can be perfectly fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory, but would nonetheless be impossible for open source code to implement. Typically, FRAND licensing requires a per-copy payment, but for free software, which can be shared any number of times, there's no way to keep tabs on just how many copies are out there. Even if the per-copy payment is tiny, it's still a licensing requirement that open source code cannot meet.

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More in Tux Machines

Red Hat and Fedora

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • Learn from the Experts at The Linux Foundation’s Europe Events
    The Linux Foundation has released session details for three major conferences coming up this fall: MesosCon Europe, Embedded Linux Conference / OpenIoT Summit Europe, and LinuxCon + ContainerCon Europe. MesosCon Europe, which will take place August 31-September 1 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is an annual conference organized by the Apache Mesos community, bringing together users and developers for two days of sessions about Mesos and related technologies. This year, the MesosCon program will include workshops to get started with Mesos, keynote speakers from industry leaders, and sessions led by adopters and contributors.
  • The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
    Firebird distills its identity into the phrase "True universal open-source database" and boasts not only of being "free like free beer" but also, fittingly, of being "free like a bird". The latter permits anyone to build a custom version of the Firebird, as long as the modifications are made available for others to use and build upon.
  • Report: Austria can benefit from Big Data solutions
    Big Data solutions can contribute significantly to Austrian public administrations, a working group concludes in a report published in June. Benefits include improved quality of life, finding optimal business locations, and offering better guidance to citizens. The report by the Big Data working group aims to help public administration when considering Big Data solutions, providing legal, economic and technical context.
  • Report: over half of Spain’s regions now use SaaS
    In 2014, 59% of Spain’s regional governments used Software as a Service, according to the 2015 eGovernment report published on 30 June by PAe, Spain’s eGovernment portal. Next most-used cloud computing service is Infrastructure as a Service (40%), and third is Platform as a Service (20%). The usage of cloud computing is just one of the attributes of and indicators for eGovernment services that are aggregated in the report. The document shows the use of document management systems and support of electronic signatures. The text looks at interoperability, open data portals and eParticipation, lists region’s maturity levels of eGovernment services, from the availability to download forms online to the fully electronic management of applications.
  • Software Freedom in Kosovo, Waiting for Xfce Mint & More…
    It’s not FOSS, but I reckon the biggest story in tech this week, ignoring claims of Russia hacking for Trump, is the sale of Yahoo to Verizon for $4.8 billion. Considering that traffic watcher Alexa says the site is the fifth most visited address on the web, that seems like something of a bargain to me. Add to that Yahoo’s prime Silicon Valley real estate and the price seems to be in the “it fell of the truck” category. The sale puts Verizon in control of both America Online and Yahoo, so I suspect we’ll be seeing Verizon trying to compete with Google and Bing for a share of the search advertising market. [...] We’ve also heard from Software Freedom Kosova, which tells us it’s issued this year’s call for speakers, which will be open through September 15. This will be the seventh year for the Kosovo event, which aims to “promote free/libre open source software, free culture and open knowledge” — all laudable goals in my estimation. Potential speakers should know “the topic must be related to free software and hardware, open knowledge and culture.” Mike DuPont, the SFK member who made us aware of the event, told FOSS Force, “There might be travel expenses for qualified speakers.” The event will take place October 21-23.
  • Cloud, open source and DevOps: Technology at the GLA
    David Munn, head of IT at the Greater London Authority, explains what technology his organisation has adopted in order to help individuals keep innovating
  • Our attitude towards wealth played a crucial role in Brexit. We need a rethink
    Money was a key factor in the outcome of the EU referendum. We will now have to learn to collaborate and to share [...] Does money matter? Does wealth make us rich any more? These might seem like odd questions for a physicist to try to answer, but Britain’s referendum decision is a reminder that everything is connected and that if we wish to understand the fundamental nature of the universe, we’d be very foolish to ignore the role that wealth does and doesn’t play in our society.
  • France’s Insee and Drees publish microsimulation model to increase transparency
    Insee (Institut national de la statistique), the French public agency for statistics, and Drees (Direction des études du Ministère des Affaires sociales et de la santé), which is in charge of surveys at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, has published the source code of the microsimulation algorithmic model called Ines.
  • Plant Sciences pushing open-source berry model
    Several of those opportunities appear to lie in the development of so-called ‘open market’ breeding. Historically, Plant Sciences’ berry varieties have made it into the commercial arena under limited licensing arrangements, with individuals or groups of grower-shippers paying a premium to use them. While Nelson is eager to point out that this model continues to perform well, his company have decided to structure its business in Europe in such a way that it offers varieties to the “largest audience possible” at the most competitive price. “Given the price pressures that producers, marketers and retailers are under, we sense that such an approach is needed to remain most viable going forward and bring new varieties forward to the broadest market,” he explained.
  • Drug discovery test leads to malaria drug prospects at UW
  • Worldwide Open-Source Project Discovers Promising Disease-Fighting Compounds
  • Open-source drug discovery a success
  • The Global Open Data Index to be updated
    Open Knowledge International, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes openness and transparency, has decided to update the survey for its Global Open Data Index. This index measures Open Data publication in 122 countries.
  • This Startup Created the Ultimate Open-Source Prototyping Product
    The world has become a technologically focused place. Unless you’ve set up shop in a cabin in the woods, your life is likely filled with gadgets, wearables, devices, and doodads that control everything from your TV to your laptop. And with all this technology, it’s no wonder tech jobs have become so prevalent in the market. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to learn skills and prototyping projects that will impress even the most critical interviewer. And one startup has built the perfect product to do just that. Created by a group of students from the India Institute of Technology, evive is an open-source prototyping module that can make creating projects easier than ever. It has a power module, plug and play hardware interface, user interface, data acquisition module, shield stack space and more. It’s even IoT ready so it can connect to more devices than you can count. Plus, it works across multiple platforms like LabVIEW, MATLAB, Scratch, Eclipse, ROS, Python, Arduino IDE and many more.
  • Friday's security updates
  • Pwnie Express Open Sources Tools to Lock Down IoT/Android Security
    Pwnie Express isn't a name that everyone is familiar with, but in the security arena the company has a good reputation for its wired and wireless threat detection technologies. Now, the Boston-based firm has announced plans to open source key tools that it has used to secure the Internet of Things (IoT) and Android software. Blue Hydra is a Bluetooth utility that can detect Bluetooth devices, and also work as a sniffer to query devices it detects for threats. Meanwhile, the Android Open Pwn Project (AOPP), is an Android ROM built for security testers. It's based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and community-developed ROMS -- one of which is CyanogenMod. It lets developers on the Android front sniff out threats on mobile platforms.

Openwashing

Sailfish OS 2.0.2

  • Sailfish OS 2.0.2 In Early Access With Variety Of Improvements
    Jolla announced today that their Sailfish OS 2.0.2 "Aurajoki" mobile operating system release is available as early access. Sailfish OS 2.0.2 makes it easier to take screenshots via the volume buttons, a variety of new keyboard layouts, a new layout on the media app, a new Sailfish OS logo, simplified backups, browser improvements, support for flash when recording videos, the cloud services now supports the VK service, dual SIM support on capable devices, Dropbox and OneDrive integration in the photo gallery, and a wide variety of other fixes and improvements.
  • [Early Access] Sailfish OS 2.0.2 Aurajoki
    This update contains of many bug fixes and new added features such as taking screenshot by holding down volume buttons for 0.5 seconds, added keyboard layouts for Indian languages Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Tamil and Bengali, new layout on Media app’s front page, new Sailfish OS logo and many more.