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EU Law Threatens Free/Open Source Software

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • EU votes on copyright law that could kill memes and open source software

    The European Union has passed an initial vote in favour of the Copyright Directive, a legislation experts say "threatens the internet".

    As reported by Wired, the mandate is designed to update internet copyright law but contains two controversial clauses. Ultimately, it could force prominent online platforms to censor their users' content before it's posted—which could impact everyone from meme creators to open source software designers and livestreamers.

    Despite passing a vote yesterday—held by the EU's Legal Affairs Committee (JURI)—the directive needs parliamentary approval before becoming law.

  • The EU Parliament Legal Affairs Committee Vote on Directive on Copyright, David Clark Cause and IBM's Call for Code, Equus' New WHITEBOX OPEN Server Platform and More

    Yesterday the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee voted in favor of "the most harmful provisions of the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market", Creative Commons reports. The provisions include the Article 11 "link tax", which requires "anyone using snippets of journalistic content to first get a license or pay a fee to the publisher for its use online." The committee also voted in favor of Article 13, which "requires online platforms to monitor their users' uploads and try to prevent copyright infringement through automated filtering." There are still several steps to get through before the Directive is completely adopted. See EDRi for more information.

  • GitHub: Changes to EU copyright law could derail open source distribution
  • The E.U. votes to make memes essentially illegal

    On Wednesday, European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs voted to essentially make memes illegal. The decision came as part of the approval process for the innocuously named “Article 13,” which would require larger sites to scan all user uploads using content recognition technology in an attempt to flag any and all remotely copyrighted material in photos, text, music, videos, and more. Meaning memes using stills from copyrighted films could be auto-blocked, along with remixes of viral videos, and basically anything that’s popular on live-streaming sites like Twitch.

  • Europe takes step towards 'censorship machines' for internet uploads

    A key committee at the European Parliament has voted for a new provision in a legislative act that forces tech giants and other online platforms to share revenues with publishers. It is known as Article 13, and is part of an updating of the Copyright Directive.

    Article 13 proposes that large websites use “content recognition technologies” to scan for copyrighted materials, though it doesn’t explain how this works in practice. This means texts, sounds and even code which get uploaded have to go through an automated filtering system, potentially threatening the creation of memes and open-source software developers.

The EC’s Expected Decision Against Android Is an Unfortunate Attack on Open Source Software

Filed under
Android
OSS
Legal

The European Commission (“EC”) is preparing to release its decision against Android, and its framing of the issues makes clear that successful open source software will have a hard time in Europe. In its Statement of Objections, the Commission signaled that Apple’s iOS, Android’s fiercest rival, would be excluded from the market definition because it is closed source and not available to other hardware makers. The decision is expected to declare unlawful strategies to monetize a free product, provide a consistent user experience to customers expecting the Google brand, and to maintain code consistency to minimize problems for developers using the platform. The decision is not expected to contain any indication on how open source platform developers can solve these problems that are fundamental to their success.

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Zapcc Liberated, HMM and GPL

Filed under
Development
OSS
Legal
  • Zapcc high-speed C++ compiler now open source

    Zapcc, a caching C++ compiler built for speed, has gone open source.

    Ceemple Software, Zapcc’s builder, claims the compiler offers dramatic improvements in both incremental and full builds compared to building with Clang 4.0 and Clang 5.0. Based on heavily modified code from the Clang compiler project, Zapcc uses an in-memory compilation cache in a client-server architecture. All compilation information is remembered between runs.

  • Heterogeneous memory management meets EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL()

    One of the many longstanding — though unwritten — rules of kernel development is that infrastructure is not merged until at least one user for that infrastructure exists. That helps developers evaluate potential interfaces and be sure that the proposed addition is truly needed. A big exception to this rule was made when the heterogeneous memory management (HMM) code was merged, though. One of the reasons for the lack of users in this case turns out to be that many of the use cases are proprietary; that has led to some disagreements over the GPL-only status of an exported kernel symbol.

    The HMM subsystem exists to support peripherals that have direct access to system memory through their own memory-management units. It allows the ownership of ranges of memory to be passed back and forth and notifies peripherals of changes in memory mappings to keep everything working well together. HMM is not a small or simple subsystem, and bringing it into the kernel has forced a number of low-level memory-management changes. After a multi-year development process, the core HMM code was merged for the 4.14 kernel, despite the lack of any users.

Making Free Software Suffer Using New Laws

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • Free software is at risk in the EU -- take action now

    Members of the European Parliament want to turn upload platforms like GitLab into "censorship machines" that require user-uploaded materials to be monitored and automatically filtered, a process which would prevent modified and reused code from being uploaded. This provision is covered under Article 13 of the Copyright Directive.

    If Article 13, embedded within the proposal, becomes official policy, it will be impossible for developers to build off of one another's code -- which is not only a blow to the collaborative development of free software, but a push against the basic freedoms of free software. Software isn't free unless it can be modified and shared. Article 13 will affect all users of free software -- as development of free software suffers, the quality and availability of updates, new features, and new programs will also suffer.

  • Open Source Industry Australia Says Zombie TPP Could Destroy Free Software Licensing

    Without the ability to enforce compliance through the use of injunctions, open source licenses would once again be pointless. Although the OSIA is concerned about free software in Australia, the same logic would apply to any TPP-11 country. It would also impact other nations that joined the Pacific pact later, as the UK is considering (the UK government seems not to have heard of the gravity theory for trade). It would presumably apply to the US if it did indeed rejoin the pact, as has been mooted. In other words, the impact of this section on open source globally could be significant.

    It's worth remembering why this particular article is present in TPP. It grew out of concerns that nations like China and Russia were demanding access to source code as a pre-requisite of allowing Western software companies to operate in their countries. Article 14.17 was designed as a bulwark against such demands. It's unlikely that it was intended to destroy open source licensing too, although some spotted early on that this was a risk. And doubtless a few big software companies will be only too happy to see free software undermined in this way. Unfortunately, it's probably too much to hope that the Australian Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence & Trade will care about or even understand this subtle software licensing issue. The fate of free software in Australia will therefore depend on whether TPP-11 comes into force, and if so, what judges think Article 14.17 means.

Open Source Security hit with bill for defamation claim

Filed under
Security
Legal

Open Source Security, maker of the grsecurity Linux kernel patches, has been directed to pay Bruce Perens and his legal team almost $260,000 following a failed defamation claim.

The security biz, and its president Brad Spengler, sued Perens last year over a blog post, alleging defamation.

Perens, one of the early leaders in the open source movement, said it was his opinion that Grsecurity's policy limiting the redistribution of its software would expose customers to claims of contributory infringement and breach of contract under the terms of the GPLv2.

Open Source Security and Spengler challenged that claim, saying it was libelous and harmed the company's business.

Last December, San Francisco magistrate judge Laurel Beeler disagreed, ruling that Perens's statement was an opinion and not libelous.

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Wine Vulkan Preps For v1.1 Support With Licensing Issues Resolved

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
Software
Legal

Now that Vulkan's code licensing issue with Wine has been resolved, the Winevulkan code for supporting Vulkan within Wine to pass onto the host Linux system's Vulkan driver is being updated.

The Wine Vulkan code had been limited to supporting Vulkan 1.0.51 as that was the last release of Vulkan to be under an MIT-style license before migrating to the Apache 2.0 license. Now that there is the exception in place with Vulkan's current license, Roderick Colenbrander has moved forward in updating the winevulkan code.

There's been a lot of changes in that time and Roderick is working on addressing what needs to be modified in the Wine Vulkan code. But for now Winevulkan isn't exposing Vulkan 1.1 support until some of the features can be implemented within the Wine code, so for now it's being advertised as v1.0.76 rather than the current upstream of 1.1.76.

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Tesla Compliance

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • It Only Took Six Years, But Tesla Is No Longer Screwing Up Basic Software Licenses

    Tesla is actually doing it. The electric car maker is starting to abide by open source software licenses that it had previously ignored, and releasing the code it’s sat on for over six years, according to Electrek.

    Tesla’s super smart cars, specifically the sporty Model S sedan and Model X SUV, incorporate a lot of open source software, from Linux, the open source operating system, to BusyBox, a collection of tools that are useful when working with Linux and other UNIX environments (like macOS). All open source software is released under licenses and one of the most popular licenses is the GPL, or General Public License.

  • Tesla releases some of its software to comply with open source rules

    Tesla makes some of the most popular electric vehicles out there and the systems in those cars rely on open source software for operating systems and features. Some of that open source software that is used in Tesla products has a license agreement that requires Tesla to at least offer the user access to the source code. Tesla hasn’t been making that offer.

  • Tesla open sources some of its Autopilot source code

    ELECTRIC CAR MAKER Tesla tends to keep the details of its work under lock and key, but now Elon Musk's company is plonking some of its automotive tech source code into the open source community.

    Tesla dumped some of its code used to build the foundations of its Autopilot semi-autonomous driving tech and the infotainment system found on the Model S and Model X cars, which makes uses of Nvidia's Tegra chipset, on GitHub.

    Even if you're code-savvy, don't go expecting to build your own autonomous driving platform on top of this source code, as Tesla has still kept the complete Autopilot framework under wraps, as well as deeper details of the infotainment system found in its cars. But it could give code wranglers a better look into how Tesla approaches building infotainment systems and giving its cars a dose of self-driving smarts.

  • Tesla releases source code

    Tesla has taken its first step towards compliance with the GNU General Public Licence (GPL) by releasing some of its source code.

    The car maker has opened two GitHub repositories which contain the buildroot material used to build the system image on its Autopilot platform, and the kernel sources for the boards and the Nvidia-based infotainment system in the Model S and Model X.

More on Tesla's Compliance

Filed under
GNU
Legal

Congratulations to Tesla on Their First Public Step Toward GPL Compliance

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • Congratulations to Tesla on Their First Public Step Toward GPL Compliance

    Conservancy rarely talks publicly about specifics in its ongoing GNU General Public License (GPL) enforcement and compliance activity, in accordance with our Principles of Community Oriented GPL Enforcement. We usually keep our compliance matters confidential — not for our own sake — but for the sake of violators who request discretion to fix their mistakes without fear of public reprisal. As occurred a few years ago with Samsung, we're thrilled when a GPL violator decides to talk about their violation and works to correct it publicly. This gives us the opportunity to shine light on the real-world work of GPL and copyleft compliance.

    We're thus glad that, this week, Tesla has acted publicly regarding its current GPL violations and has announced that they've taken their first steps toward compliance. While Tesla acknowledges that they still have more work to do, their recent actions show progress toward compliance and a commitment to getting all the way there.

  • Tesla releases some of its software to comply with open source licences

    Tesla is a software-heavy company and it has been using a lot of open source software to build its operating system and features, such as Linux Kernel, Buildroot, Busybox, QT, and more.

    Some of the copyright holders have been complaining that Tesla hasn’t been complying with their licenses.

  • The Software Freedom Conservancy on Tesla's GPL compliance

    The Software Freedom Conservancy has put out a blog posting on the history and current status of Tesla's GPL compliance issues.

A short history of Gentoo copyright

Filed under
Gentoo
Legal

As part of the recent effort into forming a new copyright policy for Gentoo, a research into the historical status has been conducted. We've tried to establish all the key events regarding the topic, as well as the reasoning behind the existing policy. I would like to shortly note the history based on the evidence discovered by Robin H. Johnson, Ulrich Müller and myself.

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More in Tux Machines

Programming/Development: uTidylib, From Python to Rust, Programming Experiences and Go Tips

  • uTidylib 0.4
    Two years ago, I've taken over uTidylib maintainership. Two years has passed without any bigger contribution, but today there is a new version with support for recent html-tidy and Python 3.
  • Rewrote summain from Python to Rust
    I've been learning Rust lately. As part of that, I rewrote my summain program from Python to Rust (see summainrs). It's not quite a 1:1 rewrite: the Python version outputs RFC822-style records, the Rust one uses YAML. The Rust version is my first attempt at using multithreading, something I never added to the Python version.
  • Which programming language for work? For the weekend?
    Our writer community grows each month as new, interesting folks write for us and join in on the fun of sharing their expertise and experiences in open source technology. So, it's no surprise that they are brimming with fascinating information. It's just asking the right question to release it. Recently, I asked: What programming languages do you use at work, and which ones do you use on the weekend?
  • Go command and packages cheat sheet
    Of the many things the go executable can do, most people know only go run and go build. And, of the many packages in the standard Go library, most people know only the fmt package. This cheat sheet will list many uses of the go executable and the most important packages in the Go standard library.

IPFire 2.21 - Core Update 124 released

This is the official release announcement for IPFire 2.21 – Core Update 124. It brings new features and immensely improves security and performance of the whole system. Read more

Mozilla: Featured Extensions Advisory Board, Extended Mind, Firefox Deprecating TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 Support, Google's Lies, Mozilla Reps

  • Apply to Join the Featured Extensions Advisory Board
    Do you love extensions? Do you have a keen sense of what makes a great extension? Want to help users discover extensions that will improve how they experience the web? If so, please consider applying to join our Featured Extensions Community Board! Board members nominate and select new featured extensions each month to help millions of users find top-quality extensions to customize their Firefox browsers. Click here to learn more about the duties of the Featured Extension Advisory Board. The current board is currently wrapping up their six-month tour of duty and we are now assembling a new board of talented contributors for the months January – June, 2019. Extension developers, designers, advocates, and fans are all invited to apply to join the board. Priority will be given to applicants who have not served on the board before, followed by those from previous boards, and finally from the outgoing board.
  • Mozilla VR Blog: How XR Environments Shape User Behavior
    In previous research, The Extended Mind has documented how a 3D space automatically signals to people the rules of behavior. One of the key findings of that research is that when there is synchrony in the design of a space, it helps communicate behavioral norms to visitors. That means that when there is complementarity among content, affordances, and avatars, it helps people learn how to act. One example would be creating a gym environment (content), with weights (affordances), but only letting avatars dress in tuxedos and evening gowns. The contraction of people’s appearances could demotivate weight-lifting (the desired behavior). This article shares learnings from the Hubs by Mozilla user research on how the different locations that they visited impacted participant’s behavior. Briefly, the researchers observed five pairs of participants in multiple 3D environments and watched as they navigated new ways of interacting with one another. In this particular study, participants visited a medieval fantasy world, a meeting room, an atrium, and a rooftop bunker.
  • Removing Old Versions of TLS
    In March of 2020, Firefox will disable support for TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1. On the Internet, 20 years is an eternity. TLS 1.0 will be 20 years old in January 2019. In that time, TLS has protected billions – and probably trillions – of connections from eavesdropping and attack. In that time, we have collectively learned a lot about what it takes to design and build a security protocol. Though we are not aware of specific problems with TLS 1.0 that require immediate action, several aspects of the design are neither as strong or as robust as we would like given the nature of the Internet today. Most importantly, TLS 1.0 does not support modern cryptographic algorithms.
  • Wladimir Palant: So Google is now claiming: "no one (including Google) can access your data"
    A few days ago Google announced ensuring privacy for your Android data backups. The essence is that your lockscreen PIN/pattern/passcode is used to encrypt your data and nobody should be able to decrypt it without knowing that passcode. Hey, that’s including Google themselves! Sounds good? Past experience indicates that such claims should not always be taken at face value. And in fact, this story raises some red flags for me. The trouble is, whatever you use on your phone’s lockscreen is likely not very secure. It doesn’t have to be, because the phone will lock up after a bunch of failed attempts. So everybody goes with a passcode that is easy to type but probably not too hard to guess. Can you derive an encryption key from that passcode? Sure! Will this encryption be unbreakable? Most definitely not. With passwords being that simple, anybody getting their hands on encrypted data will be able to guess the password and decrypt the data within a very short time. That will even be the case for a well-chosen key derivation algorithm (and we don’t know yet which algorithm Google chose to use here).
  • Rabimba: Voting impartially for fun and profit a.k.a Mozilla Reps Council Voting
    I am part of a program called Mozilla Reps. Though I am involved as a volunteer contributor with Mozilla for quite some time now, I am relatively new to the Mozilla Reps program and hardly know anything about the program apart from my scope of work in it. Apparently, this is the Election time for voting the nominated candidates for the Council who will spearhead the program for the next session. Since I am new to the program reading about everyone's election campaign and hearing about what they will do for the program was not giving me any clear motivation to vote for anyone specific. Though this wasn't anything super important, I still thought since I have a bit of time in my hand why not do something interesting about it.

Xfce Screensaver 0.1.0 Released

  • Xfce Screensaver 0.1.0 Released
    I am pleased to announce the release of Xfce Screensaver (xfce4-screensaver) 0.1.0! This is an early release targeted to testers and translators. Bugs and patches welcome!
  • Xfce4-Screensaver Has Its First Release - Fork Of MATE Screensaver, Forked From GNOME
    As a new alternative over XScreenSaver or using other desktop environments' screensaver functionality, xfce4-screensaver has out its first release albeit of alpha quality. The xfce4-screensaver project made its preliminary (v0.1.0) release today that is described of alpha quality intended for testers and translators. This new screensaver option for Xfce users is forked from the MATE Screensaver code, which in turn was forked from the GNOME Screensaver.