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Legal

Free 'law for Linux developers' class opens its virtual doors

Filed under
OSS
Legal

No one becomes a programmer to become an intellectual property (IP) expert. But, in today's lawsuit-happy world, with patent trolls ready to attack and licensing becoming increasingly complicated, developers needs to know some IP law.

So, at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, Jim Zemlin, the Linux Foundation's executive director announced the availability of Open Source Compliance Basics for Developers (LFC291), This free course is designed to provide software developers with the basic knowledge about legal and licensing issues they need for building and using open-source software.

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BMW complies with GPL by handing over i3 car code

Filed under
GNU
Legal

BMW has sent Terence Eden a DVD containing GPL-licenced code used in its electric i3 model .

Why should you care? Because Oxford resident Eden last month inadvertently caused something of a global stir when he pondered the quality of the i3's software and the security of BMW's update mechanisms. Along the way he noticed that the i3's on-board “About” screen mentioned it uses some GPL-licenced code and idly wondered if the auto-maker complies with the licence.

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Also: All’s Well That Ends Well With The GPL

Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: April 1st (not a joke)

Are you legally open source compliant?

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Meeting legal requirements is one of the key elements that large software companies factor in to their release cycles. They have teams that check for software patents that may impact their code, make sure that every copyright is acknowledged and look at the detailed usage clauses in any third-party software that they use.

One of the reasons for doing this is to avoid expensive litigation from companies often referred to as patent trolls. These are companies that have purchased large software patent libraries. Their business model is to then use those libraries to bring lawsuits against developers and over the last decade we’ve seen a number of high profile lawsuits against companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Google and others. Some of these have been dismissed by the courts but others have been upheld costing hundreds of millions of dollars in both fines and costs.

While open source developers might think that they are immune from this type of issue they are not. It may be that a piece of software that has been released as open source is later alleged to have infringed a software patent. This would mean that anyone using that software could be found guilty of an infringement.

To help reduce the impact of patent claims Google, IBM, Red Hat, SUSE, NEC, Philips and Sony created the Open Innovation Network. The goal was to create a pool of defensive patents that could be used to protect Linux and developers using Linux. This has been successful with over 1946 companies signing up to the OIN to use their patents to defend themselves from attack.

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Dr Stoll: Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the GPL

Filed under
GNU
Legal

My Free Software journey starts with The Cuckoo’s Egg. Back in the early 90s a family friend suggested I might enjoy reading it. He was right; I was fascinated by the world of interconnected machines it introduced me to. That helped start my involvement in FidoNet, but it also got me interested in Unix. So when I saw a Linux book at the Queen’s University bookshop (sadly no longer with us) with a Slackware CD in the back I had to have it.

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5 reasons Microsoft may never give up on Linux patent claims

Filed under
Linux
Microsoft
Legal

There are many reasons why Microsoft may not join the Open Innovation Network (OIN) anytime soon. First of all, if a company doesn’t want to use patents as a weapon, it won’t, whether or not it joins OIN.

At the same time, joining OIN doesn’t guarantee that a company won't use patents as a weapon. Both Oracle and Google are OIN members and they have locked horns in one of the fieriest battles in the open source world. IBM is one of the founders of OIN and it has also sued companies (like Groupon) over various patents.

So as much as I believe joining OIN sends a positive message, I don’t think that’s _the_ ultimate solution.

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Also: Microsoft's Linux Inquisitor Grand Master is off to Spotify

Is Microsoft Trying To Attack Open Source And Linux With Its “Patent Bombs”?

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft
Legal

Last week, Microsoft got involved in a legal issue and secured patent licenses from Wistron of Taiwan and Rakuten of Japan around Linux and Android technologies. While Microsoft is already making billions with its patents in Android, its history of Linux-related patent trolling isn’t hidden from anyone. The open source community remains frightened of Microsoft as no one knows who could be the next one to get a notice from Microsoft’s legal guys.

In another case that violates the trust of open source community, Microsoft has recently claimed that it came up with the idea for Continuum and “invented” the concept. On the other hand, Canonical has been working on Convergence since 2013, even though it was never released to the public up until recently.

There’s no doubt that Microsoft has made some serious contributions to the open source community and expressed its love for Linux. However, if Redmond really cares, it should work transparently to win the trust of the open source community as any company’s success in the world of open source depends on its users and developers.

Satya Nadella should also consider joining the Open Innovation Network (OIN) and sending a message the open source world to become a trusted member of the community.

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Ubuntu and ZFS: Possibly Illegal, Definitely Exciting

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Ubuntu
Legal

The project originally known as the Zettabyte File System was born the same year that Windows XP began shipping. Conceived and originally written by Bill Moore, Jeff Bonwick and Matthew Ahrens among others, it was a true next generation project – designed for needs that could not be imagined at the time. It was a filesystem built for the future.

Fifteen years later, it’s the future. Though it’s a teenager now, ZFS’s features remain attractive enough that Canonical – the company behind the Ubuntu distribution – wants to ship ZFS as a default. Which wouldn’t seem terribly controversial as it’s an open source project, except for the issue of its licensing.

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Is Canonical about to violate the GNU GPLv2?

Filed under
Ubuntu
Legal

Canonical's decision to offer the ZFS filesystem as default in the forthcoming April release of its Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution has put others in the free software and open source community offside.

The company is being accused of violating the GNU General Public Licence version 2, the licence under which the Linux kernel is released.

This is not the first time that Canonical and its founder Mark Shuttleworth have ended up on other side of the table as others in the community. This has been going on regularly since Ubuntu was first released in 2004.

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More in Tux Machines

How China Mobile Is Using Linux and Open Source

China Mobile is one of the biggest telecom companies in the world, with more than 800 million users in China -- all of whom are served with open source technologies. During the 2016 Mobile World Congress, China Mobile declared that the operational support system running their massive network would be based on open source software. China Mobile is not alone; many major networking vendors are moving to open source technologies. For example, AT&T is building their future network on top of OpenStack, and they have invested in software-defined technology so significantly that they now call themselves a software company. Read more

Today in Techrights

today's leftovers

  • [elementaryOS] AppCenter: Funded
    A few moments ago, we hit 100% funded for our AppCenter campaign on Indiegogo. Thank you, backers! More than 300 people backed us over just two weeks to help bring our pay-what-you-want indie app store to life.
  • Linux Lite To Have These New Features In The Next Release Linux Lite 3.4
    ...we contacted the creator of the Linux Lite “Jerry Bezencon” and enquired the upcoming new features in the latest version of the Linux Lite. We have also done a review of the latest available distro i.e. 3.2 (32 bit) so that the readers can understand easily where are the new features headed towards.
  • Buy or Sell? What Analysts Recommends: CMS Energy Corporation (CMS), Red Hat, Inc. (RHT)
  • What Does The Chart For Red Hat, Inc. (RHT) Tell Us Presently?
  • LEDE-17.01 is coming [Ed: it has actually just come out, just like LWN's paywall]
    For some years, OpenWrt has arguably been the most active router-oriented distribution. Things changed in May of last year, though, when a group of OpenWrt developers split off to form the competing LEDE project. While the LEDE developers have been busy, the project has yet to make its first release. That situation is about to change, though, as evidenced by the LEDE v17.01.0-rc1 release candidate, which came out on February 1. Many of the changes made in LEDE since the 2015 OpenWrt "Chaos Calmer" release will not be immediately visible to most users. The core software has been updated, of course, including a move to the 4.4.42 kernel. There are a number of security-oriented enhancements, including a switch to SHA256 for package verification, the disabling of support for several old and insecure protocols, compilation with stack-overwrite detection, and more. There is support for a number of new devices. Perhaps the most anticipated new feature, though, is the improved smart queue management and the WiFi fairness work that has been done as part of the bufferbloat project. It has been clear for some time that WiFi should work far better than it does; the work that has found its way into the LEDE release candidate should be a significant step in that direction. Your editor decided that it was time to give LEDE a try, but there was some shopping to be done first. Getting the full benefit from the bufferbloat and airtime fairness work requires the right chipset; most of this work has been done on the Atheros ath9k driver. So the first step was to go out and pick up a new router with ath9k wireless. That is where the things turned out to be harder than one might expect.
  • Microsoft Faces European Privacy Probes Over Windows 10
    Microsoft Corp. faces a coordinated investigation by European privacy regulators after it failed to do enough to address their concerns about the collection and processing of user data with a series of changes to Windows 10 last month. European Union data-protection officials sent a letter to Microsoft saying they remain “concerned about the level of protection of users’ personal data,” according to a copy of the document posted by the Dutch watchdog Tuesday. Regulators from seven countries are concerned that even after the announced changes, “Microsoft does not comply with fundamental privacy rules.”

Leftovers: OSS