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Legal

GNOME starts campaign to protect its trademarks

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GNOME
Legal

GNOME has launched a campaign to raise funds for protecting the GNOME trademarks.

Recently, Groupon launched Gnome, a tablet-based point of sale (POS) system that Groupon describes as a “platform” and an “operating system”.

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Why all software needs a license

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OSS
Legal

All software developers should add a copyright license. Why? Because open source licensing is all about granting permission in advance

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3 great reasons to give away your precious tech under an open-source license

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OSS
Legal

Earlier this week, cloud provider Joyent did a surprising thing: It shared its finely tuned cloud software, SmartDataCenter, under an open-source license.

But while it might seem like the company is giving away its high-value intellectual property at a time when Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have made the public cloud market ultra-competitive, Bryan Cantrill, the company’s chief technology officer, actually has some very smart justifications for the move, which he spelled out in a blog post.

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Software Freedom Conservancy and Free Software Foundation announce copyleft.org

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GNU
Legal

This new site will not only provide a venue for those who constantly update and improve the Comprehensive Tutorial, but is also now home to a collaborative community to share and improve information about copyleft licenses, especially the GNU General Public License (GPL), and best compliance practices.

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Updated UK public information licence adds attribution

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Legal

The Open Government Licence (OGL) is recommended as the default licence for public sector information in the UK.
The licence is part of the UK Government Licensing Framework. This was launched in 2010 to organise best practices and to standardise the licensing principles for government information. By making government-held information public, the government aims to increase openness and allow others to use the information.
“The OGL permits the use and re-use of a wide range of government and other public sector information”, the National Archives said in a statement published Friday. “This supports the government's policy on transparency and open data.”

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Charting new licensing territories with the Open Definition standard

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OSS
Legal

The CC BY and CC BY-SA 4.0 licenses are conformant with the Open Definition, as are all previous versions of these licenses (1.0 – 3.0, including jurisdiction ports). The CC0 Public Domain Dedication is also aligned with the Open Definition.

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Let's Pay for Open Source with a Closed-Source Software Levy

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OSS
Legal

This column has often explored ways in which some of the key ideas underlying free software and open source are being applied in other fields. But that equivalence can flow in both directions: developments in fields outside the digital world may well have useful lessons for computing. A case in point is a fascinating post by James Love, Director of Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), a non-governmental organisation concerned with public health and other important issues.

It is called "The value of an open source dividend", and is a discussion of the problems the world of pharma faces because of the distorting effect of patents - problems it shares with the world of computing...

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Patent trolls have one fewer legal loophole to hide behind

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Legal

Using this form, patent trolls can attack their victims without having to explain why they think the patent has been infringed. A similarly weak charge in any other lawsuit could be brushed aside early in the process. By using the approved, simple form, the attacker can ensure its victims are unable to successfully stem the attack in an inexpensive "motion to dismiss."

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What Google's petition to the Supreme Court really means

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Android
Google
Legal

Google makes a series of compelling points in its petition. The company asserts that there's split opinion on the applicability of copyrights to APIs in the circuit courts -- a classic cue to SCOTUS to intervene -- and the matter is "a recurring question of exceptional importance." These points alone seem strong to me. But Google also says CAFC has made a serious error that ignores the precedent of earlier SCOTUS decisions and violates the distinction between copyright and patent as monopolies.

On the first point, Google refers back to the SCOTUS Lotus v Borland case in 1996. Google points out that "methods of operation embodied in computer programs are not entitled to copyright protection," then asserts that the Java class APIs are a method of operating the Java class implementations. Since Android's implementations of the Java APIs are Google's original work, the company claims copyright does not apply.

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Free Software & Money

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OSS
Legal

In fact, it is not really that money and Free Software are strange bedfellows. Not only is there nothing prohibiiting anyone to generate revenues with Free Software, it is even encouraged. We have adopted a (sane) practice for years, which is to provide binaries and source code of entire Free Software stacks for free. Reading the GPL you may notice that this is not at all something to be expected; if anything, you may sell your binaries tomorrow, and only give away your source code. The unhealthy part comes when the expectation that not only all this should be free, but that your time, expertise and your entire work should always remain free.

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Development News

Security Leftovers

  • How To Improve The Linux System’s Security Using Firejail
    As you already know, Linux kernel is secure by default. But, it doesn’t mean that the softwares on the Linux system are completely secure. Say for example, there is a possibility that any add-ons on your web browser may cause some serious security issues. While doing financial transactions over internet, some key logger may be active in browser which you are not aware of. Even though, we can’t completely give the bullet-proof security to our Linux box, we still can add an extra pinch of security using an application called Firejail. It is a security utility which can sandbox any such application and let it to run in a controlled environment. To put this simply, Firejail is a SUID (Set owner User ID up on execution) program that reduces the risk of security breaches by restricting the running environment of untrusted applications.
  • “Httpd and Relayd Mastery” off to copyedit
  • Kalyna Block Cipher

Containers vs. Zones vs. Jails vs. VMs

  • Setting the Record Straight: containers vs. Zones vs. Jails vs. VMs
    I’m tired of having the same conversation over and over again with people so I figured I would put it into a blog post. Many people ask me if I have tried or what I think of Solaris Zones / BSD Jails. The answer is simply: I have tried them and I definitely like them. The conversation then heads towards them telling me how Zones and Jails are far superior to containers and that I should basically just give up with Linux containers and use VMs. Which to be honest is a bit forward to someone who has spent a large portion of her career working with containers and trying to make containers more secure. Here is what I tell them:
  • [Old] Hadoop Has Failed Us, Tech Experts Say

    The Hadoop community has so far failed to account for the poor performance and high complexity of Hadoop, Johnson says. “The Hadoop ecosystem is still basically in the hands of a small number of experts,” he says. “If you have that power and you’ve learned know how to use these tools and you’re programmer, then this thing is super powerful. But there aren’t a lot of those people. I’ve read all these things how we need another million data scientists in the world, which I think means our tools aren’t very good.”

Wine and Games

  • [Wine] Packaging changes
    Today we want to announce some important changes regarding the Wine Staging packages provided at repos.wine-staging.com and dl.winehq.org. We completely reworked our build system to make the packages available sooner after a release and also added some new features, like downloading old packages for Debian / Ubuntu. The complete list of changes can be found in the announcement email on the Wine mailing list.
  • Planescape: Torment Enhanced Edition Announced for PC, Mac, Linux, and Mobile
  • Podcast #6 with Ethan Lee, Porter on Fez, Transistor
    Have you ever played Fez on Linux ? Transistor ? Speed Runners ? Shenzen I/O ? Bastion ? or more recently, Owlboy ? Well if you have, you have benefited from the work of Flibitijibibo who is directly responsible for the port of such titles to your platform.