Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Legal

Patent Pledges and Open Source Software Development

Filed under
OSS
Legal

For all its benefits, one aspect of open source software does cause headaches: understanding the legal terms that control its development and use. For starters, scores of licenses have been created that the Open Source Initiative recognizes as meeting the definition of an “open source license.” While the percentage of these licenses that are in wide use is small, there are significant and important differences between many of these popular licenses. Moreover, determining what rights are granted in some cases requires referring to what the community thinks they mean (rather than their actual text), and in others by the context in which the license is used.

Read more

The Curious History of Komongistan (Busting the term “intellectual property”)

Filed under
GNU
Legal

The purpose of this parable is to illustrate just how misguided the term “intellectual property” is. When I say that the term “intellectual property” is an incoherent overgeneralization, that it lumps together laws that have very little in common, and that its use is an obstacle to clear thinking about any of those laws, many can't believe I really mean what I say. So sure are they that these laws are related and similar, species of the same genus as it were, that they suppose I am making a big fuss about small differences. Here I aim to show how fundamental the differences are.

Fifty years ago everyone used to recognize the nations of Korea, Mongolia and Pakistan as separate and distinct. In truth, they have no more in common than any three randomly chosen parts of the world, since they have different geographies, different cultures, different languages, different religions, and separate histories. Today, however, their differentness is mostly buried under their joint label of “Komongistan”.

Few today recall the marketing campaign that coined that name: companies trading with South Korea, Mongolia and Pakistan called those three countries “Komongistan” as a simple-sounding description of their “field” of activity. (They didn't trouble themselves about the division of Korea or whether “Pakistan” should include what is now Bangladesh.) This label gave potential investors the feeling that they had a clearer picture of what these companies did, as well as tending to stick in their minds. When the public saw the ads, they took for granted that these countries formed a natural unit, that they had something important in common. First scholarly works, then popular literature, began to talk about Komongistan.

Read more

GitHub: Now Supporting Open Source License Compliance

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Ask any developer where to turn for access to the latest software code for open source projects, and you’ll likely be directed to GitHub—one of the largest providers of open source code online.

While GitHub has always been a great site for developers to come together, network and share code, up until a few years ago, the website had a problem. Though it was easy for developers to share code, finding the right software license to go along with it was much harder. The majority of downloads on GitHub, therefore, were taking place without the critical software license component.

Read more

Latest TPP leak shows systemic threat to software freedom

Filed under
GNU
Legal

Key congressional leaders have just agreed on a deal to fast track the fast-tracking of TPP. While the threat of TPP has persisted for years, now is the time to fight back!

Read more

European Commission finalises the draft EUPL v1.2

Filed under
OSS
Legal

After this presentation, a specific point was still under investigation: the possibility of an “opt out” clause regarding the updated list of compatible licences. This list is not only extended to the GPLv3 and AGPLv3, but also to other copyleft licences like the MPL or the LGPL that protect the covered files or the derivatives of the covered works against exclusive appropriation (prohibition of re-licensing the covered files or their derivatives under a proprietary licence) without any ambition to extend their coverage to the whole work or application in which the covered file is integrated or linked.

Read more

Allwinner: "We Are Taking Initiative Actions Internally"

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Allwinner has been taking a lot of heat lately for violating open-source licenses with their Linux binary blob components. They then got caught obfuscating their code to try to hide their usage of open-source code, shifted around their licenses, and has continued jerking around the open-source community.

Read more

Allwinner Continues Jerking Around The Open-Source Community

Filed under
Hardware
Legal

While Allwinner has been caught violating the (L)GPL and resulted in obfuscating their code and playing around with their advertised licenses, now this ARM vendor is taking things a step further.

Read more

Also: Allwinner Plays Around With Licenses On Its Media Codec

Did VMware Flout Open Source License Terms?

Filed under
GNU
Legal

A long-standing dispute over proprietary software developers' use of licensed open source software code ultimately could be settled in a case against VMware. "[Developer Christoph] Hellwig sees his creation being used commercially," noted tech attorney Ray Van Dyke. "VMware feels persecuted for using a bit of free code. Now, a German jurist will make a decision sometime in the future."

Read more

VMware wants amicable end to 'meritless' Linux-lifting lawsuit

Filed under
Linux
Legal

VMware thinks it will be possible to find an amicable resolution to the lawsuit alleging it has pinched parts of the Linux kernel.

The lawsuit was brought two weeks ago by kernel developer Christoph Hellwig, who set the ball rolling in his native Germany. Hellwig's complaint alleges VMware has combined code issued under GPLv2 with its own code into products “without providing nor offering complete, corresponding source code for that combined work under terms of the GPLv2.”

Read more

Open Source Licensing and Community Intent

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Christoph Hellwig, supported by Software Freedom Conservancy (Conservancy), has initiated a lawsuit in Germany against VMware for alleged violations of the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2, an OSI approved license. If you aren’t following the case yet, it’s worth starting with the statements published by Conservancy, the Free Software Foundation, and VMware.

Read more

Syndicate content

More in Tux Machines

Red Hat News

Tizen and Android

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • Making your OpenStack monitoring stack highly available using Open Source tools
    Operators tasked with maintaining production environments are relying on monitoring stacks to provide insight to resource usage and a heads-up to threats of downtime. Perhaps the most critical function of a monitoring stack is providing alerts which trigger mitigation steps to ensure an environment stays up and running. Downtime of services can be business-critical, and often has extremely high cost ramifications. Operators working in cloud environments are especially reliant on monitoring stacks due to the increase in potential inefficiency and downtime that comes with greater resource usage. The constant visibility of resources and alerts that a monitoring stack provides, makes it a fundamental component of any cloud.
  • InfraRed: Deploying and Testing Openstack just made easier!
  • The journey of a new OpenStack service in RDO
    When new contributors join RDO, they ask for recommendations about how to add new services and help RDO users to adopt it. This post is not a official policy document nor a detailed description about how to carry out some activities, but provides some high level recommendations to newcomers based on what I have learned and observed in the last year working in RDO.
  • Getting to know the essential OpenStack components better
  • Getting to know core components, speed mentoring, and more OpenStack news
  • Testing LibreOffice 5.3 Notebookbar
    I teach an online CSCI class about usability. The course is "The Usability of Open Source Software" and provides a background on free software and open source software, and uses that as a basis to teach usability. The rest of the class is a pretty standard CSCI usability class. We explore a few interesting cases in open source software as part of our discussion. And using open source software makes it really easy for the students to pick a program to study for their usability test final project.
  • [Older] Drupal member sent out after BDSM lifestyle revealed

    Drupal, like many other open source projects, has a stated goal of welcoming and accepting all people, no matter their heritage, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity or other factors.

  • Controversy Erupts in Open-Source Community After Developer's Sex Life Made Public
    Drupal is a popular open-source content-management system, used to build websites. Like many other open-source projects, Drupal is guided by several committees that are supposed to be accountable to the community and its code of conduct, which enshrines values like "be considerate" and "be respectful." Also like many other open-source projects, Drupal attracts all sorts of people, some of whom are eclectic. Last week, under murky circumstances, Drupal creator Dries Buytaert banned one of the project's technical and community leaders, Larry Garfield. Buytaert attributed the decision to aspects of Garfield's private sex life. Many Drupal users and developers are up in arms about the perceived injustice of the move, exacerbated by what they see as a lack of transparency.
  • HospitalRun: Open Source Software for the Developing World
    When open source software is used for global health and global relief work, its benefits shine bright. The benefits of open source become very clear when human health and human lives are on the line. In this YouTube video, hear Harrisburg, Pennsylvania software developer Joel Worrall explain about HospitalRun software – open source cloud-based software used at developing world healthcare facilities.
  • Scotland emphasises sharing and reuse of ICT
    Scotland’s public administrations should focus on common, shared technology platforms, according to the new digital strategy, published on 22 March. The government says it wants to develop “shared infrastructure, services and standards in collaboration with our public sector partners, to reduce costs and enable resources to be focused on front-line services.”
  • [Older] OpenSSL Re-licensing to Apache License v. 2.0 To Encourage Broader Use with Other FOSS Projects and Products

    OpenSSL Launches New Website to Organize Process, Seeks to Contact All Contributors

  • Austria state secretary promotes open data
    The State Secretary at Austria’s Federal Chancellery, Muna Duzdar, is encouraging the making available of government data as open data. “The administration must set an example and support the open data culture by giving society its data back”, the State Secretary for Digitalisation said in a statement.
  • Study: Hungary should redouble open data initiatives
    The government of Hungary should redouble its efforts to make public sector information available as open data, and actively help to create market opportunities, a government white paper recommends. The ‘White Paper on National Data Policy’ was approved by the government in December.
  • Williamson School Board OKs developing open source science curriculum
    Science textbooks may be a thing of the past in Williamson County Schools. The Williamson County school board approved a proposal Monday night to use open source science resources instead of science textbooks. The switch will require a team of nine teachers to spend a year developing an open source curriculum.
  • How Elsevier plans to sabotage Open Access
    It was a long and difficult road to get the major publishing houses to open up to open access, but in the end the Dutch universities got their much awaited ‘gold deal’ for open access. A recently revealed contract between Elsevier and the Dutch research institutes lays bare the retardant tactics the publishing giant employs to stifle the growth of open access.
  • #0: Introducing R^4
  • RcppTOML 0.1.2

Security Leftovers

  • Security updates for Monday
  • FedEx Will Pay You $5 to Install Flash on Your Machine
    FedEx is making you an offer you can’t afford to accept. It’s offering to give you $5 (actually, it’s a discount on orders over $30) if you’ll just install Adobe Flash on your machine. Nobody who knows anything about online security uses Flash anymore, except when it’s absolutely necessary. Why? Because Flash is the poster child for the “security-vulnerability-of-the-hour” club — a group that includes another Adobe product, Acrobat. How unsafe is Flash? Let’s put it this way: seven years ago, Steve Jobs announced that Flash was to be forever banned from Apple’s mobile products. One of the reasons he cited was a report from Symantec that “highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009.” Flash security hasn’t gotten any better since.
  • Every once in a while someone suggests to me that curl and libcurl would do better if rewritten in a “safe language”
  • An insecure dishwasher has entered the IoT war against humanity

    Regel says that he has contacted Miele on a number of occasions about the issue, but had failed to get a response to his missives, and this has no updated information on the vulnerability.

    He added, bleakly that "we are not aware of an actual fix."

  • Monday Witness: It's Time to Reconize a Civil Right Not to be Connected
    Along with death and taxes, two things appear inevitable. The first is that Internet of Things devices will not only be built into everything we can imagine, but into everything we can't as well. The second is that IoT devices will have wholly inadequate security, if they have any security at all. Even with strong defenses, there is the likelihood that governmental agencies will gain covert access to IoT devices anyway. What this says to me is that we need a law that guarantees consumers the right to buy versions of products that are not wirelessly enabled at all.
  • Remember kids, if you're going to disclose, disclose responsibly!
    If you pay any attention to the security universe, you're aware that Tavis Ormandy is basically on fire right now with his security research. He found the Cloudflare data leak issue a few weeks back, and is currently going to town on LastPass. The LastPass crew seems to be dealing with this pretty well, I'm not seeing a lot of complaining, mostly just info and fixes which is the right way to do these things.