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Legal

FSF/FSFE/GNU: The Commons Clause Against Copyleft, GCC/Loongson and Sustainable Computing (FSFE)

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GNU
Legal
  • A Fresh Concern About Open-Source Software

    The issue came to a head last week due to two separate licensing decisions in the space. First, the database project Redis, which is known for its ability to store data in memory, announced it would use a new kind of license called “The Commons Clause,” which looks like open source (in that the source is available to use and modify) but doesn’t fully fit the standard because it allows the project to require that some commercial clients pay for use.

    The problem for Redis Labs, the maker of the software, was that many cloud providers, such as Amazon, use its software but don’t contribute to its upkeep.

    “Cloud providers contribute very little (if anything) to those open source projects. Instead, they use their monopolistic nature to derive hundreds of millions dollars in revenues from them,” the company wrote on its licenses page. “Already, this behavior has damaged open-source communities and put some of the companies that support them out of business.”

  • Loongson 3A1000/3A2000/3A3000 Processor Support For GCC

    A compiler engineer working for Loongson Technology Co is looking to land a number of improvements to these newer MIPS64 processors into the mainline GCC code-base.

    Paul Hua of Loongson Tech sent out a number of patches to improve the GNU Compiler Collection's support for these Chinese MIPS64 CPUs. In particular, the six patches officially add support for the 3A1000, 3A2000, and 3A3000 series processors. Also, there is support for the older Loongson 2K1000 processor series.

  • Sustainable Computing

    Recent discussions about the purpose and functioning of the FSFE have led me to consider the broader picture of what I would expect Free Software and its developers and advocates to seek to achieve in wider society. It was noted, as one might expect, that as a central component of its work the FSFE seeks to uphold the legal conditions for the use of Free Software by making sure that laws and regulations do not discriminate against Free Software licensing.

    This indeed keeps the activities of Free Software developers and advocates viable in the face of selfish and anticompetitive resistance to the notions of collaboration and sharing we hold dear. Advocacy for these notions is also important to let people know what is possible with technology and to be familiar with our rich technological heritage. But it turns out that these things, although rather necessary, are not sufficient for Free Software to thrive.

Dutch government to remove legal barriers to sharing code as open source

Filed under
OSS
Legal

The Dutch government plans to remove legal roadblocks to allow public services to publish the source code of their ICT solutions. A pending proposal from the government to the parliament will change the country’s rules of conduct that minimise interference with the private sector. Next year, the government will begin encouraging public services to publish their source code publicly.

In recent months, the government has been working on a proposal to change itsrules of conduct. The proposal has not yet been submitted to the Dutch parliament, but the changes are anticipated in NL DIGIbeter, a brochure detailing the country’s digital agenda that was published in August. This week, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry referred to the brochure when asked about pending changes to the rules of conduct.

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Limiting Free Licences and New FUD From Veracode/CA

Filed under
OSS
Security
Legal
  • ​Javascript Tool Maker Relents After Mixing Immigration Politics with Open Source Licensing

    In very short order, Lerna, a company that offers some Javascript tooling, has learned the hard way not to mess with the integrity of an open source license. In other words, don’t decide you’re going to take an existing OSI-certified open source license, modify it to suit your agenda, license your code under the newly derived license, and still continue to refer to your offering as "open source.”

    First, this analysis piece is really just a follow up to my previous post about why it’s time to reject the latest attack on open source software (OSS). The main point of that post was to point out that all of us who have experienced the benefits of open source (ok, that’s nearly all human beings) should play a role in defending it. Otherwise, it will whither and so too will the benefits most of us have come to enjoy, blind to the fact that open source is playing such an important role in our lives.

  • Does Redis' Commons Clause threaten open-source software?
  • Get a Jump on Reducing Your Open Source Software Security Risks [Ed: Anti-FOSS firm Veracode/CA pays IDG for spam which stigmatises FOSS as lacking security]

It's Time To Reject The Latest Attack On Open Source Software

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Open source software is under attack. Again. And so it's beholden on all of us to take a stand before the current scourge marginalizes the wonderous benefits of open source (which accrue to every human) and the organization which looks after both the sanctity of the open source movement and the integrity of the licenses behind it: the Open Source Initiative.

Whether you know it or not, all humans are the beneficiaries of open source software in almost everything we do in our digital lives. Most of everything we use -- the smartphones, the cable modem routers, our desktops and laptops, the Web sites and services we access, the APIs at work under the hood of it all -- is built using open source software (in all or in part). It can be easily argued that all of our user experiences would be a lot suckier and slower were it not for the open source model and how it drives innovation (much of it charitable) which trickles into every digital moment without exception. Some experiences that add value to our lives might not exist at all were it not for open source.

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Also: Open Source Devs Reverse Decision to Block ICE Contractors From Using Software

Licensing/Legal: Public Money, Public Code and Linux Foundation Stuff

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • Software created using taxpayers’ money should be Free Software

    It might seem obvious that software created using tax money should be available for everyone to use and improve. Free Software Foundation Europe recentlystarted a campaign to help get more people to understand this, and I just signed the petition on Public Money, Public Code to help them. I hope you too will do the same.

  • Major Open Source Project Revokes Access to Companies That Work with ICE [iophk: "former open source now ... however, it is their code and they can change the license"]

     

    On Tuesday, the developers behind a widely used open source code-management software called Lerna modified the terms and conditions of its use to prohibit any organization that collaborates with ICE from using the software. Among the companies and organizations that were specifically banned were Palantir, Microsoft, Amazon, Northeastern University, Motorola, Dell, UPS, and Johns Hopkins University.  

  • Solving License Compliance at the Source: Adding SPDX License IDs

    Accurately identifying the license for open source software is important for license compliance. However, determining the license can sometimes be difficult due to a lack of information or ambiguous information. Even when there is some licensing information present, a lack of consistent ways of expressing the license can make automating the task of license detection very difficult, thus requiring significant amounts of manual human effort. There are some commercial tools applying machine learning to this problem to reduce the false positives, and train the license scanners, but a better solution is to fix the problem at the upstream source.

    In 2013, the U-boot project decided to use the SPDX license identifiers in each source file instead of the GPL v2.0 or later header boilerplate that had been used up to that point. The initial commit message had an eloquent explanation of reasons behind this transition.

  • Arm and Facebook join Yocto Project

    Arm and Facebook have joined Intel and TI as Platinum members of the Yocto Project for embedded Linux development. Meanwhile, the Linux Foundation announced 47 new Silver members.

    The Linux Foundation’s seven-year old Yocto Project was originally an Intel project, and the chipmaker has continued to nurture it over the years. Yet, the Yocto Project’s collection of open source templates, tools, and methods for creating custom embedded Linux-based systems was quickly embraced by the Arm world as well as x86. Now, the technology’s presence in Arm Linux has been reinforced at the membership level with Arm and Facebook joining Intel and Texas Instruments as Platinum members. In other news, the Linux Foundation announced 51 new Silver and Associate members (see farther below).

  • Google Hands Off Kubernetes to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Kinetica Joins Automotive Grade Linux, NordVPN Releases NordVPN Linux App, Storj Labs Announces The Open Source Partner Program and Update on Librem 5 Phone

    Google is handing over control of the Kubernetes project to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. According to the TechCrunch post, Google is providing the foundation $9 million in Google Cloud credits to help cover the costs of building, testing and distributing the software.

Redis modules and the Commons Clause

Filed under
OSS
Legal

The "Commons Clause", which is a condition that can be added to an open-source license, has been around for a few months, but its adoption by Redis Labs has some parts of the community in something of an uproar. At its core, using the clause is meant to ensure that those who are "selling" Redis modules (or simply selling access to them in the cloud) are prohibited from doing so—at least without a separate, presumably costly, license from Redis Labs. The clause effectively tries to implement a "no commercial use" restriction, though it is a bit more complicated than that. No commercial use licenses are not new—the "open core" business model is a more recent cousin, for example—but they have generally run aground on a simple question: "what is commercial use?"

Redis is a popular in-memory database cache that is often used by web applications. Various pieces of it are licensed differently; the "Redis core" is under the BSD license, some modules are under either Apache v2.0 or MIT, and a handful of modules that Redis Labs created are under Apache v2.0, now with Commons Clause attached. Cloud services (e.g. Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine, and other smaller players) provide Redis and its modules to their customers and, naturally, charge for doing so. The "charge" part is what the adoption of the clause is trying to stamp out—at least without paying Redis Labs.

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Copyrights on APIs (Java) Update

Filed under
Development
Legal
  • No do-overs! Appeals court won’t hear $8.8bn Oracle v Google rehash

    Over eight years of feuding between Oracle and Google over the use of Java code in Android may be nearing its end following a Tuesday court ruling.

    The US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has declined [PDF] to re-hear the case in which it found Google to be in violation of Oracle’s copyright on Android API code. The Chocolate Factory faces a demand from Oracle for $8.8bn in damages.

    Tuesday’s ruling means that the only remaining hope for Google to avoid a massive payout to Oracle is a hearing and decision from the US Supreme Court, something Google said it will pursue after today's verdict.

    "We are disappointed that the Federal Circuit overturned the jury finding that Java is open and free for everyone," Google told The Register.

  • Federal Circuit denies Oracle v Google en banc rehearing

    Google has already said it will appeal to the Supreme Court in the latest development in the dispute over unauthorised use of 37 packages of Oracle’s Java application programming interface

Open-source licensing war: Commons Clause

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Most people wouldn't know an open-source license from their driver's license. For those who work with open-source software, it's a different story. Open-source license fights can be vicious, cost serious coin, and determine the fate of multi-million dollar companies. So, when Redis Labs added a new license clause, Commons Clause, on top of Redis, an open-source, BSD licensed, in-memory data structure store, all hell broke loose.

Why? First, you need to understand that while you may never have heard of Redis, it's a big deal. It enables real-time applications such as advertising, gaming financial services, and IoT to work at speed. That's because it can deliver sub-millisecond response times to millions of requests per second.

But Redis Labs has been unsuccessful in monetizing Redis, or at least not as successful as they'd like. Their executives were discovering, like the far more well-known Docker, that having a great open-source technology did not mean you'd be making millions. Redis' solution was to embrace Commons Clause.

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GPL Violations Cost Creality a US Distributor

Filed under
OSS
Legal

One of the core tenets of free and open source software licenses is that you’re being provided source code for a project with the hope that you’ll “pay it forward” if and when you utilize that code. In fact some licenses, such as the GNU Public License (GPL), require that you keep the source code for subsequent spin-offs or forks open. These are known as viral licenses, and the hope is that they will help spread the use of open source as derivative works can’t turn around and refuse to release their source code.

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Deutsche Bahn Intercity software under EUPL

Filed under
OSS
Legal

This software, distributed under the EUPL, is the open European Train Control System (OpenETCS), the signalling and control component of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). It is kind of positive train control, replacing the many incompatible safety systems previously used by European railways. It is becoming a standard that was also adopted outside Europe and is an option for worldwide application. It is managed by the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) and it is a legal requirement that all new, upgraded or renewed tracks and rolling stock in the European railway system should adopt it, possibly keeping legacy systems for backward compatibility

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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.
  • Week 3 Report
    I continue working on Rewriting the logger messages with the new DSL grammar: