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Licensing: Amazon's Exploitation and GPL Compliance Perils

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  • MariaDB CEO on the open source enterprise – we can bridge the gap between bare metal and microservices

    MariaDB CEO Michael Howard prides himself on his database geek chops, but he’s not too shabby at grabbing headlines either.

    He certainly pulled off that off at this year’s MariaDB OpenWorks keynote, as in: MariaDB CEO accuses large cloud vendors of strip-mining open source, by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols.

    Behind the open source fisticuffs is an argument worth having. I won’t get into all of it here, as Vaughan-Nichols already got that job done. But: a MariaDB benchmark on AWS during the keynote stirred the pot.

    Howard told me something I didn’t expect. He said Amazon’s fear of MariaDB’s traction is in play here. Yep, it’s art-of-war time folks. I wanted to know: what type of MariaDB traction are we referring to? No, Howard isn’t talking about classic open source metrics like number of downloads.

  • Cloud vendors 'strip mining' open source: MariaDB's CEO

    While open source made what appeared to be an indelible mark on Wall Street in 2018 with deals involving acquisitions and listings valued at around $107 billion, it has not all been plain sailing.

    According to Michael Howard, CEO of MariaDB - the organisation behind the popular open source relational database management system - the community driven project still faces significant challenges from a variety of quarters, including large cloud vendors, who, he said, were 'strip mining' open source technology.

    Delivering the keynote address at the third annual MariaDB OpenWorks user and developer conference in New York last week (26 February), he did not name the culprits - "you know who they are" - but maintained that they "really abuse the licence and the privilege (of open source), not giving back to the community (and) forcing some (open source) companies to have awkward and weak responses."

  • Amazon Releases Corretto 8 GA: A Downstream Distribution of OpenJDK

    Corretto was introduced as a preview release last November at Devoxx Belgium by Arun Gupta, principal open source technologist at Amazon Web Services, and Yishai Galatzer, senior engineering manager at Amazon Web Services. Also at Devoxx was a surprise appearance by James Gosling, father of Java and distinguished engineer at Amazon Web Services, who delivered a special keynote address introducing Corretto. The timeline, shown below, for the GA releases of Corretto 8 and Corretto 11 was presented at Devoxx Belgium.

  • SAP builds its own Java distribution [Ed: IDG keeps posting this in more domains it has. SAP and other proprietary software companies now rebrand Java for themselves, sort of.]
  • Azul Systems Announces Extended Java Support Offerings and New Capabilities for Open Source Zulu Enterprise
  • VMware Touts Dismissal of Linux GPL Lawsuit

    Karen Sandler, attorney and the Conservancy's executive director, told ZDNet that "We strongly believe that litigation is necessary against willful GPL violators, particularly in cases like VMware where this is strong community consensus that their behavior is wrong. Litigation moves slowly. We will continue to discuss this with Christoph and his lawyers and hope to say more about it in the coming weeks -- after the courts provide their rationale for their decision to the parties (which has not yet occurred)."

    Meanwhile, VMware stated that it "continues to be a strong supporter of open source software development," adding that it's been "actively" working on removing vmklinux from vSphere in an upcoming release as part of a multi-year project -- "for reasons unrelated to the litigation."

  • VMware Essential PKS: Use upstream Kubernetes to build a flexible, cost-effective cloud-native platform [Ed: Openwashing below; it's a GPL violator whose parent company works for the NSA (so assume more uncovered back doors)]

    VMware contributes to multiple SIGs and open-source projects that strengthen key technologies and fill up the gaps in the Kubernetes ecosystem.

  • Kernel source code available for Nokia 1 Plus

    HMD Global published the kernel source code for the newly announced Nokia 1 Plus. Under the GPL, LGPL or any other type of license for the open source code HMD is using, the company is obligated to provide the changes they made to the public. For that purpose, Nokia Mobile has a dedicated site Nokia.com/phones/opensource, where all the source codes should be posted.

Licensing: Redis Breaking Up With FOSS, Perfectly Imperfect Marriage in Blockchain and Open Source, Copyright Trolls Leverage GPL Compliance

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MongoDB and Amazon Licence Battles

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  • Red Hat drops MongoDB out of Satellite

    Red Hat is prising MongoDB out of its Satellite infrastructure management platform in favour of PostgreSQL.

    The open source vendor made the announcement in a blog post yesterday saying it would “standardize on a PostgreSQL backend” and that it wanted to ensure users “were not caught by surprise as this is a change to the underlying databases of Satellite”.

    “No specific timing or release is being communicated at this time. At this point we’re simply hoping to raise awareness of the change that is coming to help users of Satellite prepare for the removal of MongoDB,” it added.

  • Google Cloud's new CEO used his first public talk to throw shade at Amazon over its feud with open source startups

    Amazon has a habit of taking free software created by other companies and selling it on its cloud. But Google Cloud isn't like that, new CEO Thomas Kurian says.

    At his inaugural appearance as the new CEO of Google Cloud on Tuesday, Kurian spoke about how Google Cloud allows customers to use a variety of open source tools to build applications on its cloud.

    Many of these tools are developed by other startups and made available as open source, meaning that they are free for anyone to use, download, modify — and even sell, something that Amazon Web Services frequently does.

Free Software Foundation Europe Calls for Open Source 5G License

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The Free Software Foundation Europe has said the recent controversy surrounding Huawei shows governments and consumers don’t trust tech giants. However, FSFE believes one potential fix would be for companies to publish code through the Free and Open Source Software license.

Huawei has been a long-time target of regulators around the world. The company is believed to be using its technology to backdoor spy for the Chinese government. There is an ongoing debate around Huawei’s 5G networks and concerns over privacy.

Canada could block Huawei 5G and the Chinese government has responded. It seems China suspects Huawei will be blocked, and the country’s ambassador said Ottawa will face repercussions if a bad is imposed.

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FOSS Licensing/Legal Disputes

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Linux Kernel: Btrfs/Zstd and Licensing Questions

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  • Configurable Zstd Compression Level Support Is Revived For Btrfs

    Since the Linux 4.14 kernel Btrfs has supported Zstd for transparent file-system compression while a revived patch-set would allow that Zstd compression level to become configurable by the end-user.

    Facebook, which is behind Zstandard and also the employer for several key Btrfs developers, started off on the Zstd compression level support for Btrfs previously. This would allow users to use a higher compression level to achieve greater compression but at the cost of increased memory usage and obviously more resource intensive or opt for lower compression.

  • VMware GPL case is back in court—will we finally get some clarity on the meaning of "derivative work"?

    One of the most active Linux kernel developers, Christoph Hellwig, backed by the Software Freedom Conservancy, (unsurprisingly perhaps) has struck again against a virtualisation giant—VMware. for breaching the GNU General Public Licence (GPL). More than two years after the Hamburg District Court’s dismissal, an appeal has been filed in the German Court of Appeal. This case has attracted a worldwide attention because the claims raised call for court’s interpretation of the scope of the GPL applicability and, in particular, the reach of its copyleft effect.

    [...]

    The notion of a derivative work in a GPL context has been a big unknown for nearly two decades. Such uncertainty and potential risk of having to open-source proprietary code has led many commercial entities and open source projects to refrain from including a GPL’ed software in their codebase. 

    Hellwig v VMware might become a gamechanger, if it provides for the first time much-anticipated judicial clarity as to what implications software architecture has for licence interpretation and how copyright law fits in. That said, given the wide diversity of the structure of software is built and how it is distributed any decision in this case will not likely be the last word.

  • Google v. Oracle – Supreme Court Petition

    After reading the Federal Circuit decision, I wrote that the case is “likely heading to the Supreme Court.”  Although I believe that the case has a very good shot – one difficulty is that it involves a decision by the Federal Circuit applying Ninth Circuit law — it effectively holds no weight and can be simply rejected by the next Ninth Circuit panel addressing the same issues.

‘It's Frankly Great for Us’: MongoDB CEO Welcomes Amazon Rivalry

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Amazon’s move follows competition from Microsoft and further validates MongoDB’s approach to the database market, which is centered on documents rather than tables, according to Ittycheria. Furthermore, he sees Amazon’s service as antiquated with about a third of the features that MongoDB has.

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MongoDB and Server Side Public License (SSPL) Controversy in the News This Past Week

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  • Red Hat Drops MongoDB Over License

    MongoDB's attempts to make some money from its NoSQL database have hit another snag as Red Hat has now dropped it from its Enterprise Linux distribution.

    This is the latest in a sequence of moves and countermoves that started when MongoDB changed its license terms to use a Server Side Public License (SSPL) that explicitly says that if a company wanted to reuse and rebadge its database, explicitly to offer MongoDB as a service, then that company either needs to buy a commercial license or to open source the service.

  • Why more may be the wrong measure of open source contributions
  • Battle Of The Document Databases

    Cloud providers can be like sharks in that they have to keep moving forward – in their case, growing the number of services they can offer enterprises – or be overtaken by competitors.

    That need to continually grow the service portfolio isn’t going to go away any time soon. Cloud adoption is accelerating, moving past the early adopter stage and into what Paul Teich, principal analyst with Liftr Cloud Insights and a contributor here at The Next Platform, calls the “early majority” phase, and enterprises are moving forward with strategies that involve leveraging more than one public cloud provider.

    At the same time, the pile of data being generated by organizations is growing rapidly – and the cloud is becoming the place to collect, store, process, and analyze much of that data – but only a portion of enterprise workloads – about 20 percent – are being run in the cloud. That means that four out of five are still run in on-premises environments, so there is still a lot of applications that need to make their way from behind the firewall and into the cloud.

  • What Does Open Source Mean in the Era of Cloud APIs?

    One of the most interesting and unsurprising characteristics of conversations with organizations that have adopted one of the emerging hybrid or “non-compete” style of licenses is that they are universally insistent on being differentiated from one another. Which is understandable on the one hand, given that there are major structural differences between the Commons Clause and the SSPL, to pick two recent examples. Whether it’s reasonable to expect a market which by and large has little appetite for the nuances of different licensing approaches to care is, of course, a separate question.

    What is perhaps more interesting, however, is a central, foundational assumption that every member of this category of licenses shares. On the surface, examples like the Business Source License, the Cockroach Community License, the Commons Clause, the Confluent Community License, the Fair Source License, the TimeScale license or the SSPL would seem to have little in common. Some have ambitions to be considered open source, some do not but invoke open source-like terminology, and some are unambiguously and unapologetically proprietary. Some merely require contributions back copyleft-style, some prohibit usage within prescribed business models (read: cloud) and others restrict business usage without distinction. And so on; while typically rolled up and discussed as a category, they are no more unified in their intent and purpose than open source licenses broadly.

Server Side Public License (SSPL), Red Hat and Fedora

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  • Red Hat/Fedora decide MongoDB’s SSLP doesn’t fit

    MongoDB’s January blues deepened this week as the team behind the Red Hat-backed Fedora Linux distribution confirmed it had added the open source database’s Server Side Public License to its “bad”list.

    The move came as it emerged Red Hat – Fedora’s sponsor – had nixed MongoDB support in RHEL 8.0.

  • AWS Raised Its Hand Lest Of Open Source Platform

    Even though AWS stands by MongoDB as the best the customers find it difficult to build and vastly accessible applications on the open-source platform can range from multiple terabytes to hundreds of thousands of reads and writes per second. Thus, the company built its own document database with an Apache 2.0 open source MongoDB 3.6 API compatibility. The open-sources politics are quite difficult to grasp. AWS has been blamed for taking the top open-source projects and re-branding plus re-using it without providing the communities. The catch here is that MongoDB was the company behind putting a halt to the re-licensing of the open-source tools under a novel license that clearly stated the companies willing to do this will have to purchase a commercial license.

  • Red Hat gets heebie-jeebies over MongoDB's T&Cs squeeze: NoSQL database dropped from RHEL 8B over license

    MongoDB justified its decision last October to shift the free version of its NoSQL database software, MongoDB Community Server, from the open-source GNU Affero General Public License to the not-quite-so-open Server Side Public License (SSPL) by arguing that cloud providers sell open-source software as a service without giving back.

    The following month, and not widely noticed until this week, Red Hat said it would no longer include MongoDB in version 8 of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The removal notice came in the release notes for Red Hat Enterprise Linux Beta 8.0.

    Under section 4.7, the release notes say, "Note that the NoSQL MongoDB database server is not included in RHEL 8.0 Beta because it uses the Server Side Public License (SSPL)."

  • Server Side Public License struggles to gain open-source support

    MongoDB first announced the release of the new software license in October as a way to protect itself and other open-source projects like it from being taken advantage of by larger companies for monetary gain.

    At the time, MongoDB co-founder and CTO Eliot Horowitz explained: “This should be a time of incredible opportunity for open source. The revenue generated by a service can be a great source of funding for open-source projects, far greater than what has historically been available. The reality, however, is that once an open-source project becomes interesting, it is too easy for large cloud vendors to capture most of the value while contributing little or nothing back to the community.”

    Other open-source businesses have developed their own licenses or adopted others in recent months, citing the same issues. However, the problem with these new licenses is that if they are not approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI), an organization created to promote and protect the open-source ecosystem, the software behind the license is technically not considered open source, and it will have a hard time getting acceptance from members in the community.

  • Open source has a problem with monetization, not AWS
  • Why you should take notice of the open source in enterprise suckers conundrum

    In the MongoDB case, AWS is widely regarded as responding to a licensing change MongoDB made in October 2018 that has caused something of a stir among the open source cognoscenti.

  • Fedora Community Blog: FPgM report: 2019-03

    Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora Program Management this week.

    I’ve set up weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

ZFS On Linux Landing Workaround For Linux 5.0 Kernel Support

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Last week I reported on ZFS On Linux breaking with Linux 5.0 due to some kernel symbols sought by this out-of-tree file-system driver no longer being exported and the upstream developers not willing to adjust for the ZoL code. That's still the case but the ZFS On Linux developers have a patch so at least the file-system driver will be able to build on Linux 5.0.

This ZOL + Linux 5.0 issue stems from a set of functions used by this ZFS Linux port for vectorized file-system checksums no longer being exported. The kernel developers don't want to re-export the functionality since as Greg Kroah-Hartman put it, "my tolerance for ZFS is pretty non-existant."

Since that Phoronix article last week, Greg KH followed up on the mailing list with, "Sorry, no, we do not keep symbols exported for no in-kernel users." Longtime Linux kernel developer Christoph Hellwig also suggested users switch instead to FreeBSD if caring about ZFS.

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Games: Strange Loop Games and City Builder

Debian GNU/Linux riscv64 port in mid 2019

As it can be seen in the first graph, perhaps with some difficulty, is that the percent of arch-dependent packages built for riscv64 (grey line) has been around or higher than 80% since mid 2018, just a few months after the port was added to the infrastructure. Given than the arch-dependent packages are about half of the Debian['s main, unstable] archive and that (in simple terms) arch-independent packages can be used by all ports (provided that the software that they rely on is present, e.g. a programming language interpreter), this means that around 90% of packages of the whole archive has been available for this architecture from early on. Read more

Latest Security FUD

Software: Synapse, Qmmp and LibreOffice

  • How to install and use Synapse, the MacOS Spotlight alternative for Linux
    Mac OS is everybody’s favorite, and there are several reasons behind it. One of the most useful utilities you can find on Mac OS is Spotlight, which makes searching for things a piece of cake, all directly from the desktop. While most developers have already designed similar utilities for Windows, the open-source Linux based operating systems are no exception, as well. Most Linux operating systems like Ubuntu have its own search functionality, but it can sometimes be troublesome to reach there and isn’t as powerful as Spotlight. So with Synapse for Linux, you can do just that, and boost the power of the search functionality on your system. With Synapse for Ubuntu, you can even search for things on the web, which is cool, as well. Some Linux distros like Lubuntu, don’t offer decent search functionality, and Synapse can be a great solution in such cases. With Synapse, searching is easy with just the navigation buttons on your keyboard, and you are ready to go. Synapse can be downloaded and installed from the Linux official repository. Synapse can also be configured to run on startup so that too don’t need to search for, and open Synapse, each time you need to use it.
  • Qmmp 1.3.3 Released with Floating PulseAudio, ALSA, OSS4 Support
    Qmmp, Qt based audio player, released version 1.3.3 with improvements and bug fixes. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 18.10, Ubuntu 19.04.
  • Office Suites for Ubuntu 18.04
    Today we are looking at different office suites for Ubuntu 18.04. LibreOffice is the default LibreOffice suite for Ubuntu but it is by all means not the only one. In this article, we will look at different office suites for Ubuntu and all of its pros and cons. All these Office Suites are available for at least all Ubuntu based distros, and the installation method is the same for all the Ubuntu based distros.
  • Week 3 Report
    I continue working on Rewriting the logger messages with the new DSL grammar: