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Legal

Some More Attacks on the GPL and Latest Compliance Story

Filed under
GNU
Legal
  • GPL Cooperation Commitment: Promise of Collaborative Interpretation [Ed: IP Kat perpetuates the Microsoft-connected (and funded) lie that GPL "popularity has dropped dramatically during the past decade," citing Jono Bacon and Microsoft-funded 'analysts', proxies like Black Duck. To this date, in light of the GitHub takeover, Microsoft managers are badmouthing the GPL and many anti-GPL 'studies' are based on this Microsoft site alone.]

    GNU General Public Licence version 2 (GPLv2) was written in the early nineties to ensure compliant distribution of copyleft-licensed software. Even though its popularity has dropped dramatically during the past decade, it nevertheless continues to be one of the most widely used and important open source licences.

    Notedly, GPLv2 was drafted by non-legal free (as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer”) software enthusiasts and yet it has necessitated legal interpretation and application in accordance with IP and contract law principles. For nearly two decades, compliance and enforceability of the licence by its users has had to deal with ambiguity and uncertainty with respect to its terms.

  • HMD releases source code for Nokia 8 Sirocco

    HMD has released the source code for Nokia 8 Sirocco and it is now available for download on the official Nokia website.

Fedora Decides To Not Allow SSPLv1 Licensed Software Into Its Repositories

Filed under
Red Hat
Server
OSS
Legal

Back in October, MongoDB announced the Server Side Public License v1 (SSPLv1) as their new license moving forward for this document-oriented database server over their existing AGPL code. SSPL was met with much controversy upon its unveiling and Fedora's legal team has now ruled it an invalid free software license for packaged software in its repositories.

The intent of MongoDB developing the Server Side Public License was to ensure that public cloud vendors and other companies using their software as a service are giving back to the community / the upstream project. SSPL v1 was based on the GPLv3 but lays clear that a company publicly offering the SSPL-licensed software as a service must in turn open-source their software that it uses to offer said service. That stipulation applies only to organizations making use of MongoDB for public software services.

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Licensing: GPL Compliance and the Server Side Public License (SSPL)

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • arter97’s custom kernel and vendor images greatly improve the Xiaomi Mi Pad 4’s performance

    Xiaomi (and a lot of Chinese OEMs) have had a difficult time complying with the rules of the GNU GPL when it comes to releasing the kernel source code for their Android products. The company said they would start doing this 3 months after the release of a new product, but that wasn’t the case with the Xiaomi Mi Pad 4. The device launched in June of last year and, as of October, they had yet to comply with the GPL. Thankfully, they finally released it (a month after we reported on their tardiness) and it has helped developers work their magic on the device.

  • Amazon Web Services’ DocumentDB Takes Aims At MongoDB Workloads

    DocumentDB uses version 3.6 of the MongoDB application programming interface (API) to interact with MongoDB clients.

    That version, dating back to 2017, is covered by the open source Apache licence, a move intended to circumvent MongoDB’s new licensing structure, based on the specially created Server Side Public License (SSPL).

Licensing/Legal: Android-Related Code and Amazon 'Forcing' Companies to Reduce Licence Freedom

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • Kernel source for Nokia 5.1 and 6.1 Plus, 7.1, Redmi Note 6 Pro, and LG G7 released
  • Kernel source for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro, Nokia 6.1 Plus/5.1 Plus/7.1, and LG G7’s Android Pie release are live
  • Nokia 5.1 Plus too] HMD releases kernel source code for the Nokia 7.1 and Nokia 6.1 Plus

    The Nokia 7.1 and 6.1 Plus are mid-range Android One devices that were recently updated to Android 9.0 Pie. Following the update, HMD Global has published their kernel source code on its website.

    [...]

    If HMD Global allows the rest of its Android phones to be bootloader unlocked too, it might just make them a more attractive option for the enthusiast crowd, who want to be able to run their favorite custom ROMs on their smartphones. And though the manufacturer is currently doing a good job of keeping its devices updated, if that support's ever to slow down, it sure would be nice to have the ability to root and unlock — just in case.

  • Amazon fires open-source shot with DocumentDB launch

    In a move that will surely upset the open-source community, AWS has launched a new database offering compatible with the MongoDB API called DocumentDB.

    The cloud giant describes its new product as a “fast, scalable, and highly available document database that is designed to be compatible with your existing MongoDB applications and tools.” However, it is essentially a replacement for MongoDB that uses its API but none of its code.

    According to AWS, its customers have found it difficult to build fast and highly available applications that are able to scale to multiple terabytes with hundreds of thousands of reads and writes per second. So instead, the company built its own document database that is compatible with Apace 2.0 open source MongoDB 3.6 API.

  • The week in tech: NHS long-term plan, Amazon vs. open source, plus more

    However, Amazon claimed that customers find it challenging to “build performant, highly available applications on MongoDB that can quickly scale to multiple Terabytes (TBs) and hundreds of thousands of reads and writes-per-second because of the complexity that comes with setting up and managing MongoDB clusters.”

    This is controversial, as Amazons’ announcement comes just months after MangoDB presented a new licence aimed at stopping tech giants taking advantage of their database.

CLA proliferation and the Island of Dr. Moreau

Filed under
OSS
Legal

The community response to license proliferation over the last many years has been positive, and I am pleased to see that the majority of open source projects are choosing to select from a certain set of options (e.g., GPL, LGPL, AGPL, BSD, MIT, Apache 2) that are all well-understood by engineers and lawyers. As such, there is no time wasted interpreting their terms and a low-friction ecosystem is fully enabled.

Once a project adopts an open source license, it usually adopts the standard "inbound=outbound" model; a phrase coined by Richard Fontana. Fontana describes the inbound=outbound model as contributions that are understood to be licensed under the applicable outbound project license, making it easy for contributors to participate in projects without intimidation and red tape. This is a very simple model that dovetails well with a smart license choice detailed above.

Unfortunately, many open source projects have chosen not to adopt inbound=outbound and, instead, require some form of a contributor license agreement (CLA). CLAs vary in scope and purpose. A good description of CLAs and Developer Certificates of Origin (DCOs; discussed below) may be found in Ben Cotton's article "CLA vs. DCO: What's the difference?"

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Linux Foundation's AGL, ACT (Copyleft Compliance) and Upcoming Copyleft Conf (Conservancy)

Filed under
Linux
OSS
Legal
  • Toyota Motors and its Linux Journey

    I spoke with Brian R Lyons of TMNA Toyota Motor Corp North America about the implementation of Linux in Toyota and Lexus infotainment systems. I came to find out there is an Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) being used by several autmobile manufacturers.

    I put together a short article comprising of my discussion with Brian about Toyota and its tryst with Linux. I hope that Linux enthusiasts will like this quick little chat.

    All Toyota vehicles and Lexus vehicles are going to use Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) majorly for the infotainment system. This is instrumental in Toyota Motor Corp because as per Mr. Lyons “As a technology leader, Toyota realized that adopting open source development methodology is the best way to keep up with the rapid pace of new technologies”.

  • Simplifying and Harmonizing Open Source for More Efficient Compliance

    Using open source code comes with a responsibility to comply with the terms of that code’s license, which can sometimes be challenging for users and organizations to manage. The goal of ACT is to consolidate investment in and increase interoperability and usability of, open source compliance tooling, which helps organizations manage compliance obligations.

    Software widely includes an assortment of open source code with multiple licenses and a mix of proprietary code. Sorting and managing all these can be a major hassle, but the alternative is potential legal action and damaged relations with the open source community.

    The projects in ACT are poised to boost existing Linux Foundation compliance projects like OpenChain, which identifies recommended processes and make open source license compliance simpler and consistent, and the Open Compliance Program, which educates and helps developers and companies understand their license requirements. ACT provides tooling to help support efficient workflows.

  • Copyleft Conf: Registration is Open

    Conservancy is very excited to share the schedule for the first ever Copyleft Conf with you! Copyleft Conf is a one day event, taking place in downtown Brussels at Digityser. Registration begins at 9:30am and we'll be finishing by 6pm. We'll have talks, a panel and participatory discussions near the end of the day.

    Participants from throughout the copyleft world — developers, strategists, enforcement organizations, scholars and critics — will be welcomed for an in-depth, high bandwidth, and expert-level discussion about the day-to-day details of using copyleft licensing, obstacles facing copyleft and the future of copyleft as a strategy to advance and defend software freedom for users and developers around the world.

Licensing in Mobile Devices (GPL Compliance)

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • Asus Zenfone Max M2 update brings EIS to the front camera, Max Pro M2 gets an update too

    So far, there have been mixed feelings about these two phones as the specs and price are impressive, but then the company ended up releasing the kernel source code for them that was encrypted. It’s required for an Android OEM to release the kernel source for their devices but releasing an encrypted file without proper means of decryption is pointless. This still ends up with ASUS violating the GPL and it’s not a good sign for the enthusiast community that was starting to swell around these two devices.

  • Nokia 7.1 and Nokia 6.1 Plus kernel source code now available for download

    HMD’s source code for Nokia Android smartphones is licensed under GPL or LGPL which allows source code distribution. And by distributing the source code the company also contribute to the open source community which in turn is beneficial to the end users. Visit Nokia’s official download page where you can find the source code for both the smartphones, Nokia 6.1 Plus and Nokia 7.1.

The Linux Foundation decides to ACT on compliance

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Compliance is big… so big, in fact, that ‘they’ now have an Open Compliance Summit.

The last Open Compliance Summit was held in Yokohama in Japan at the tail end of last year — the The Linux Foundation used it as a chance to load up on sushi and also announce a new project to help improve open source compliance tooling called Automated Compliance Tooling (ACT).

ACT is an umbrella brand that will host various open source projects related to compliance tooling — so the initial four projects to fall under ACT are: FOSSology (existing LF project); QMSTR (being contributed by Endocode); SPDX tools (existing LF project); Tern (being contributed by VMware).

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FOSS Legal Matters

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • Top 10 FOSS legal developments in 2018

    The year 2018 was a year in which the FOSS business model demonstrated its success: IBM purchased Red Hat, Inc. for $34 billion. The FOSS ecosystem also celebrated its durability: OSI celebrated the 20th anniversary of the open source movement and Linux celebrated its 25th anniversary.

    Meanwhile, however, old legal problems returned. The year 2018 has also seen another significant increase in decisions in litigation involving FOSS issues, and several of these cases are very important. This increase in litigation is a reminder of the importance of an active compliance program for all corporations that use FOSS (which now means virtually all corporations). Continuing the tradition of looking back over the top ten legal developments in FOSS, my selection of the top ten issues for 2018 is as follows:

  • Legal Issues And Compliance Pertaining To Open Source Software

    An Open Source Software (OSS) is a kind of software with source code which can be modified, enhanced and inspected by ANYONE. In case of an OSS, a person may alter how the software works or improve it by adding features or fixing parts that do not work properly, by modifying the source code of the software program. This is different from a closed software, where only the person/organization that created the software has the capacity to alter it, OSS is preferable and is considered to be a better option for the users than the former, as it grants them more freedom in relation to a closed software. Some prime examples of OSS are the Apache HTTP Server, the e-commerce platform os Commerce, internet browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Chromium. Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn all release OSSs, so that developers may share knowledge, create solutions, and contribute towards the creation of stable and functional products. There are certain landmark judicial pronouncements in the field of OSS that hold paramount importance in deciding the future of OSS.

Licensing: 'Cloud' Trap, Substrate and Asus Kernel Code

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • Stormy weather: To stop cloud giants, some open-source software firms limit licenses

    A heated debate has erupted in the open-source software world that’s pitting startups against cloud computing giants.

    The furor concerns, of all things, new licensing terms, which software companies are adopting to thwart what they believe is unfair competition from cloud provider in general and Amazon Web Services Inc. in particular.

    It’s the latest development in the ongoing struggle by open-source developers to come up with sustainable business models built upon software that is essentially free. Open source has transformed the software industry, but only a few companies such as Red Hat Inc. — itself likely to be acquired by IBM Corp. in a recently announced deal — are consistently profitable.

  • Parity Introduces Substrate, a Blockchain Building Tool Suite

    The beta version of Substrate is authorized under the GNU General Public License, but the safe storage of the system will be transferred to an Apache 2.0 license to provide utmost developer independence. Parity will also offer professional help to organizations in view of the development of apps with a substratum.

  • Asus to release encrypted kernel sources for their ZenFone Max Pro M1, Max Pro M2 and Max M2

    The Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 has been one of the more interesting smartphones from the company, especially in the budget segment in the past few years. The phone ticked a lot of boxes in terms of offering probably the best performance in its segment at that time along with a cleaner look with the stock Android. The Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 follows the path set down by their predecessor and goes on to compete against the Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro overcoming its predecessor’s shortcomings.

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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.
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    I continue working on Rewriting the logger messages with the new DSL grammar: