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GNU/FSF, Conservancy and Heritage of Free Software

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GNU
Legal
  • GIMP 2.10 Is Finally Here! Here’s How to Install it on Ubuntu

    It’s finally here: GIMP 2.10 is available to download for Windows, macOS and Linux.

    The latest stable release of this insanely popular open source image editing tool – oft touted as a Photoshop alternative – has been 6 years in development.

    Yes, six years.

    Given the long gestation period you won’t be too shocked to hear that GIMP 2.10is jam-packed with changes, improvements and new features, both big and small, visible and non-visible.

  • Guile-CV version 0.1.9
  • Deb Nicholson joins Conservancy as Director of Community Operations

    Today Software Freedom Conservancy announces its newest employee, Deb Nicholson. Nicholson is a prominent software freedom advocate and organizer. Nicholson’s professional roots are in the world of local community organizing in Massachusetts. Her first roles in the free software movement were as a staff member at the Free Software Foundation. Nicholson won the O’Reilly Open Source Award for her volunteer work with GNU MediaGoblin, a federated media-hosting service and OpenHatch, an initiative to help bring newcomers into free software. She is also a founding organizer of the Seattle GNU/Linux Conference, an annual event dedicated to surfacing new voices and welcoming new people to the free software community in the Pacific Northwest. Most recently, she served as the Community Outreach Director for the Open Invention Network, a company that builds a defensive patent pool for open source software. Nicholson has volunteered for Conservancy for many years, including on Conservancy’s Evaluations Committee since 2015.

    [...]

    “Deb has been a force for software freedom,” said Karen Sandler, Conservancy’s Executive Director. “In her jobs and as a volunteer she has had a strong impact on the communities she’s participated in. She’s a great fit for Conservancy and we’re all excited to work with her.”

  • A Wayback Machine for Source Code

    In March 2016, software developer Azer Koçulu famously broke the internet by taking 11 lines of open source computer code he had written offline. The problem: millions of software packages written in the programming language JavaScript had been built on top of Koçulu’s code, or they were built on top of other packages that, in turn, were built on top of the code Koçulu wrote. “I think I have the right of deleting all my stuff,” Koçulu wrote bluntly in an email at the time. 

    [...]

     Since 2015, archivists at the Software Heritage project, which is hosted by the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation, have been collecting open source code available at various online repositories and websites. To date, the archive contains more than 4 billion source files from more than 80 million projects, says Roberto Di Cosmo, a computer scientist who is directing the project in Paris. In cases where open source code disappears, or the server it is stored on is hacked, destroyed or lost, the platform aims to become the go-to place for a backup version.

The GDPR Takes Open Source to the Next Level

Filed under
GNU
OSS
Legal

Stallman pointed out that running a free software operating system—for example Google's ChromeOS—offered no protection against this loss of control. Nor does requiring the cloud computing service to use the GNU Affero GPL license solve the problem: just because users have access to the underlying code that is running on the servers does not mean they are in the driver's seat. The real problem lies not with the code, but elsewhere—with the data.

Running free software on your own computer, you obviously retain control of your own data. But that's not the case with cloud computing services—or, indeed, most online services, such as e-commerce sites or social networks. There, highly personal data about you is routinely held by the companies in question. Whether or not they run their servers on open-source code—as most now do—is irrelevant; what matters is that they control your data—and you don't.

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Xiaomi aims to release Kernel Source Code for new devices within 3 months after launch

Filed under
Linux
Legal

Xiaomi is a company that’s largely renowned for their devices that offer excellent specifications relative to price. Smartphones is just one of their many ventures, but it’s how the company has made its name known globally. The company’s rapid expansion in markets like India has brought millions of new users onto smartphones running Android, which has resulted in a wave of new users on our forums looking to customize their devices. Unfortunately, Xiaomi has a poor history of complying with open source licenses as they have shown time and time and time again that they are willing to violate the General Public License v2 (GPLv2) by failing to release kernel source code for their devices. The GPL is what makes the developer community on our forums possible, as all Android phones run on the Linux kernel and without access to the source code it would have been nearly impossible for custom AOSP-based ROMs to take off the way they’ve done on our forums.

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Also: Conservancy Welcomes the Common Workflow Language as a Member Project

​Symantec may violate Linux GPL in Norton Core Router

Filed under
GNU
Legal

For years, embedded device manufacturers have been illegally using Linux. Typically, they use Linux without publishing their device's source code, which Linux's GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) requires them to do. Well, guess what? Another vendor, this time Symantec, appears to be the guilty party.

This was revealed when Google engineer and Linux security expert Matthew Garrett was diving into his new Norton Core Router. This is a high-end Wi-Fi router. Symantec claims it's regularly updated with the latest security mechanisms. Garrett popped his box open to take a deeper look into Symantec's magic security sauce.

What he found appears to be a Linux distribution based on the QCA Software Development Kit (QSDK) project. This is a GPLv2-licensed, open-source platform built around the Linux-based OpenWrt Wi-Fi router operating system.

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How the EU's Copyright Reform Threatens Open Source--and How to Fight It

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OSS
Legal

Translated into practical terms, this means that sites with major holdings of material uploaded by users will be required to filter everything before allowing it to be posted. The problems with this idea are evident. It represents constant surveillance of people's online activities on these sites, with all that this implies for loss of privacy. False positives are inevitable, not least because the complexities of copyright law cannot be reduced to a few algorithmic rules that can be applied automatically. That, and the chilling effect it will have on people's desire to upload material, will have a negative impact on freedom of expression and undermine the public domain.

The high cost of implementing upload filters—Google's ContentID system required 50,000 hours of coding and $60 million to build—means that a few big companies will end up controlling the market for censorship systems. Their oligopoly power potentially gives them the ability to charge high prices for their services, which will impose burdens on companies in the EU and lead to fewer online startups in the region. Other problems with the idea include the important fact that it seems to go against existing EU law.

Article 13 has been drawn up mainly to satisfy the barely disguised desire of the European copyright industry to attack successful US companies like Google and Facebook. But the upload filter is a very crude weapon, and it will affect many others who—ironically—will be less able than internet giants to comply with the onerous requirement to censor. For example, it is likely that Wikipedia will be caught by the new rule. After all, it hosts huge amounts of "subject-matter" that is uploaded by users. As a post on the Wikimedia blog pointed out: "it would be absurd to require the Wikimedia Foundation to implement costly and technologically impractical automated systems for detecting copyright infringement."

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Keep the IoT Free (Patent Battles Not Welcome)

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OSS
Legal

While it has experienced nearly exponential growth, the successful adoption and use of open-source by banking networks, mobile phone manufacturers, telecom networks, smart cars, cloud computing and blockchain platforms, among numerous others, was not a foregone conclusion. In 2003, there was an IP-based attack on Linux, the most prevalent open-source software project.

While the claims underlying the litigation ultimately were found to be without merit in the court proceeding, it was a wake-up call to several IP-savvy companies as to the potential negative impact of patent aggression on the growth of Linux and open source software projects. IBM, Red Hat and SUSE (then Novell) coordinated an effort with Sony, Philips and NEC to conceptualize and implement a solution designed to create a patent no-fly zone around the core of Linux.

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​FOSSA: Open-sourcing open-source license management

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OSS
Legal

Kevin Wang, CEO of FOSSA, has a different approach. The 22-year-old founder told me at Open Source Leadership Summit in Sonoma, CA: "Code scanning is not enough anymore. FOSSA's approach to dependency scanning leverages both static and dynamic code analysis. Dynamic analysis allows FOSSA to get an accurate, live view of what dependencies are pulled into builds. Static analysis supplements the results with metadata on how dependencies are included to power deep intelligence features and recommendation engines. Both these approaches are used to build the most accurate, performant, and intelligent infrastructure for managing your open source."

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EUPL planned actions

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OSS
Legal

A revised set of guidelines and recommendations on the use of the open source licence EUPL v1.2 published by the Commission on 19 May 2017 will be developed, involving the DIGIT unit B.3 (Reusable Solutions) and the JRC 1.4 (Joint Research Centre – Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer). The existing licence wizard will be updated. New ways of promoting public administrations' use of open source will be investigated and planned (such as hackathons or app challenges on open source software). The target date for the release of this set of guidelines on the use of the European Public Licence EUPL v1.2, including a modified Licence Wizard, is planned Q2 2018.

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FOSS Licensing: Good Compliance Practices and "Do I Have to Use a Free/Open Source License?"

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OSS
Legal
  • Good Compliance Practices Are Good Engineering Practices

    Companies across all industries use, participate in, and contribute to open source projects, and open source compliance is an integral part of the use and development of any open source software. It’s particularly important to get compliance right when your company is considering a merger or acquisition. The key, according to Ibrahim Haddad, is knowing what’s in your code, right down to the exact versions of the open source components.

  • Do I Have to Use a Free/Open Source License?

    That, as we all probably already know, is not the case. The only licenses that can be called "open source" are those that are reviewed and approved as such by the Open Source Initiative (aka OSI). Its list of OSI-Approved licenses allows developers to choose and apply a license without having to hire a lawyer. It also means that companies no longer need to have their own lawyers review every single license in every piece of software they use. Can you imagine how expensive it would be if every company needed to do this? Aside from the legal costs, the duplication of effort alone would lead to millions of dollars in lost productivity. While the OSI's other outreach and advocacy efforts are important, there's no doubt that its license approval process is a service that provides an outsized amount of value for developers and companies alike.

Microsoft Openwashing and Revisionism

Filed under
GNU
Microsoft
Legal
  • Microsoft joins effort to cure open source license noncompliance [Ed: Pushing Microsoft lies under the false pretenses that Microsoft plays along with the GPL (it violates, smears and undermines it)]
  • Microsoft joins group working to 'cure' open-source licensing issues [Ed: Mary Jo Foley uses this initiative to whitewash Microsoft after it repeatedly violated the GPL and attacked it publicly, behind the scenes etc. And watch the image she uses: a lie.]

    It's kind of amazing that just over a decade ago, Microsoft was threatening Linux vendors by claiming free and open-source software infringed on 235 of Microsoft's patents. In 2007, Microsoft was very openly and publicly anti-GPLv3, claiming it was an attempt "to tear down the bridge between proprietary and open source technology that Microsoft has worked to build with the industry and customers."

  • Today's channel rundown - 19 March 2018

    The six have committed to extending additional rights "to cure open source license noncompliance".

    The announcement was made by Red Hat, which says the move will lead to greater cooperation with distributors of open source software to correct errors.

    In a statement, Red Hat referenced widely used open source software licenses, GNU General Public License (GPL) and GNU Lesser General Public License, which cover software projects including the Linux kernel.

    GPL version 3 offers distributors of the code an opportunity to correct errors and mistakes in license compliance.

  • Tails Security Update, Companies Team Up to Cure Open Source License Noncompliance, LG Expanding webOS and More

    According to a Red Hat press release this morning: "six additional companies have joined efforts to promote greater predictability in open source licensing. These marquee technology companies—CA Technologies, Cisco, HPE, Microsoft, SAP, and SUSE—have committed to extending additional rights to cure open source license noncompliance. This will lead to greater cooperation with distributors of open source software to correct errors and increased participation in open source software development."

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More in Tux Machines

Server: HTTP Clients, IIS DDoS and 'DevOps' Hype From Red Hat

  • What are good command line HTTP clients?
    The whole is greater than the sum of its parts is a very famous quote from Aristotle, a Greek philosopher and scientist. This quote is particularly pertinent to Linux. In my view, one of Linux’s biggest strengths is its synergy. The usefulness of Linux doesn’t derive only from the huge raft of open source (command line) utilities. Instead, it’s the synergy generated by using them together, sometimes in conjunction with larger applications. The Unix philosophy spawned a “software tools” movement which focused on developing concise, basic, clear, modular and extensible code that can be used for other projects. This philosophy remains an important element for many Linux projects. Good open source developers writing utilities seek to make sure the utility does its job as well as possible, and work well with other utilities. The goal is that users have a handful of tools, each of which seeks to excel at one thing. Some utilities work well independently. This article looks at 4 open source command line HTTP clients. These clients let you download files over the internet from the command line. But they can also be used for many more interesting purposes such as testing, debugging and interacting with HTTP servers and web applications. Working with HTTP from the command-line is a worthwhile skill for HTTP architects and API designers. If you need to play around with an API, HTTPie and curl will be invaluable.
  • Microsoft publishes security alert on IIS bug that causes 100% CPU usage spikes
    The Microsoft Security Response Center published yesterday a security advisory about a denial of service (DOS) issue impacting IIS (Internet Information Services), Microsoft's web server technology.
  • 5 things to master to be a DevOps engineer
    There's an increasing global demand for DevOps professionals, IT pros who are skilled in software development and operations. In fact, the Linux Foundation's Open Source Jobs Report ranked DevOps as the most in-demand skill, and DevOps career opportunities are thriving worldwide. The main focus of DevOps is bridging the gap between development and operations teams by reducing painful handoffs and increasing collaboration. This is not accomplished by making developers work on operations tasks nor by making system administrators work on development tasks. Instead, both of these roles are replaced by a single role, DevOps, that works on tasks within a cooperative team. As Dave Zwieback wrote in DevOps Hiring, "organizations that have embraced DevOps need people who would naturally resist organization silos."

Purism's Privacy and Security-Focused Librem 5 Linux Phone to Arrive in Q3 2019

Initially planned to ship in early 2019, the revolutionary Librem 5 mobile phone was delayed for April 2019, but now it suffered just one more delay due to the CPU choices the development team had to make to deliver a stable and reliable device that won't heat up or discharge too quickly. Purism had to choose between the i.MX8M Quad or the i.MX8M Mini processors for their Librem 5 Linux-powered smartphone, but after many trials and errors they decided to go with the i.MX8M Quad CPU as manufacturer NXP recently released a new software stack solving all previous power consumption and heating issues. Read more

Qt Creator 4.9 Beta released

We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.9 Beta! There are many improvements and fixes included in Qt Creator 4.9. I’ll just mention some highlights in this blog post. Please refer to our change log for a more thorough overview. Read more

Hack Week - Browsersync integration for Online

Recently my LibreOffice work is mostly focused on the Online. It's nice to see how it is growing with new features and has better UI. But when I was working on improving toolbars (eg. folding menubar or reorganization of items) I noticed one annoying thing from the developer perspective. After every small change, I had to restart the server to provide updated content for the browser. It takes few seconds for switching windows, killing old server then running new one which requires some tests to be passed. Last week during the Hack Week funded by Collabora Productivity I was able to work on my own projects. It was a good opportunity for me to try to improve the process mentioned above. I've heard previously about browsersync so I decided to try it out. It is a tool which can automatically reload used .css and .js files in all browser sessions after change detection. To make it work browsersync can start proxy server watching files on the original server and sending events to the browser clients if needed. Read more