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Legal

Open Invention Network is a Proponent of Software Patents -- Just Like Microsoft -- and Microsoft Keeps Patents It Uses to Blackmail Linux Vendors

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Linux
Microsoft
Legal

OIN loves Microsoft; OIN loves software patents as well. So Microsoft’s membership in OIN is hardly a surprise and it’s not solving the main issue either, as Microsoft can indirectly sue and “Microsoft has not included any patents they might hold on exfat into the patent non-aggression pact,” according to Bradley M. Kuhn

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​Redis Labs and Common Clause attacked where it hurts: With open-source code

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OSS
Legal

After Redis Labs added a new license clause, Commons Clause, on top of popular open-source, in-memory data structure store Redis, open-source developers were mad as hell. Now, instead of just ranting about it, some have counterattacked by starting a project, GoodFORM, to fork the code in question.

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Vember Audio’s Surge Plug-in Liberated Under GNU GPLv3

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GNU
OSS
Legal
  • Surge Synth Set Free

    Vember Audio tells us that, as of 21th September 2018, Surge stopped being a commerical product and became an open-source project released under the GNU GPL v3 license. They say that, for the existing users, this will allow the community to make sure that it remains compatible as plug-in standards and Operating Systems evolve and, for everyone else, it is an exiting new free synth to use, hack, port, improve or do whatever you want with.

  • Vember Audio’s Surge synth plugin is now free and open-source

    Reviewing Vember Audio’s Surge synth over a decade ago, we said: “This is a big, beautiful-sounding instrument. It's not cheap, but few plugins of this quality are.” Well, the sound hasn’t changed, but the price has; in fact, Surge has just been made free and open-source.

    Thanks to its wavetable oscillators and FM-style algorithms, Surge is capable of creating some pretty sparkling sounds, but it also has analogue-style functions that make it suitable for producing vintage keyboard tones.

    Vember Audio says that it’s been set free so that it can continue to be developed by the community and remain compatible with current standards and operating systems.

The Software Freedom Conservancy on GPLv2 irrevocability

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GNU
Linux
Legal

For anybody who has been concerned by the talk from a few outsiders about revoking GPL licensing, this new section in the Software Freedom Conservancy's copyleft guide is worth a read.

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My code of conduct

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Linux
Legal

There are many “code of conduct” documents. Often they differ a lot. I have my own and it is probably the shortest one:

Do not be an asshole. Respect the others.

Simple. I do not care which gender people have when I speak with them (ok, may stare at your boobs or butt once) nor their sexual preferences. Colour of the skin does not matter as most of my friends I first met online without knowing anything about them. Political stuff? As long as we can be friends and do not discuss it I am fine. Etc etc.

It works on conferences. And in projects where I am/was involved.

Someone may say that part of it was shaped by working for corporation (is Red Hat corpo?) due to all those no harassment regulations and trainings. I prefer to think that it is more of how I was raised by parents, family and society.

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FOSS, standard essential patents and FRAND in the European Union

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OSS
Legal

As part of the research project on “The Interaction between Open Source Software and FRAND licensing in Standardisation”, a workshop was organised by the European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC) in collaboration with Directorate General Communications Networks, Content and Technology (CONNECT) to present and discuss the intermediate results to date. The workshop took place in Brussels on September 18, 2018. I presented a set of observations from the research on the case studies performed as part of the project that are outlined below. Other speakers where Catharina Maracke on the issue of legal compliance between Open Source and FRAND licenses, Bruce Perens on “Community Dynamics in Open Source”, and Andy Updegrove on “Dynamics in Standardisation”.

You may ask what the relevance of this debate is for the wider Free and Open Source Software community. The obvious answer is that to distribute software “without restriction”, the user needs all the usage rights associated with the program. While most FOSS contributors assume that this is naturally the central motivation for anybody to contribute in the first place, there is a long history of attempts to maintain some sort of exclusive control over a piece of FOSS code, possibly using other rights than copyright.

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The Commons Clause causes open-source disruption

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OSS
Legal

Redis Labs tried to legally stop cloud providers from abusing its trademark, but found it difficult because of the legal resources and budgets these giant companies have.

So the company took another route and decided to change the licenses of certain open-source Redis add-ons with the Commons Clause. This change sparked huge controversy within the community with many stating that Redis was no longer open source.

“We were the first significant company to adopt this and announce it in such a way that we got most of the heat from the community on this one,” said Bengal.

The reason for the uproar is because the Commons Clause is meant to add “restrictions” that limit or prevent the selling of open-source software to the Open Source Initiative’s approved open-source licenses.

“ … ‘Sell’ means practicing any or all of the rights granted to you under the License to provide to third parties, for a fee or other consideration (including without limitation fees for hosting or consulting/ support services related to the Software), a product or service whose value derives, entirely or substantially, from the functionality of the Software. Any license notice or attribution required by the License must also include this Commons Clause License Condition notice,” the Commons Clause website states.

According to the OSI, this directly violates item six of its open-source definition in which it states no discrimination against fields of endeavor. “The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research,” the definition explains.

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Is the ‘commons clause’ a threat to open source?

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OSS
Legal

There are discussions on various forums regarding this clause with conflicting views. So, I will try to give my views on this.

Opposers of the clause believe a software becomes propriety on applying commons clause. This means that any service created from the original software remains the intellectual property of the original company to sell.

The fear is that this would discourage the community from contributing to open-source projects with a commons clause attached since the new products made will remain with the company. Only they will be able to monetize it if they choose to do so.

On the one hand, companies that make millions of dollars from open source software and giving anything back is not in line with the ethos of open source software. But on the other hand, smaller startups and individual contributors get penalized by this clause too.

What if small companies contribute to a large open source project and want to use the derived product for their growth? They can’t anymore if the commons clause is applied to the project they contributed to. It is also not right to think that a contributor deserves 50% of the profits if a company makes millions of dollars using their open source project.

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The Commons Clause doesn't help the commons

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OSS
Legal

The Commons Clause was announced recently, along with several projects moving portions of their codebase under it. It's an additional restriction intended to be applied to existing open source licenses with the effect of preventing the work from being sold[1], where the definition of being sold includes being used as a component of an online pay-for service. As described in the FAQ, this changes the effective license of the work from an open source license to a source-available license. However, the site doesn't go into a great deal of detail as to why you'd want to do that.

Fortunately one of the VCs behind this move wrote an opinion article that goes into more detail. The central argument is that Amazon make use of a great deal of open source software and integrate it into commercial products that are incredibly lucrative, but give little back to the community in return. By adopting the commons clause, Amazon will be forced to negotiate with the projects before being able to use covered versions of the software. This will, apparently, prevent behaviour that is "not conducive to sustainable open-source communities".

But this is where things get somewhat confusing.

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Microsoft-Connected Black Duck and Salil Deshpande With Their Attacks on Copyleft

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OSS
Legal
  • The Big Legal Issue Blockchain Developers Rarely Discuss [Ed: The latest FUD from Black Duck]
  • Commons Clause stops open-source abuse [Ed: Salil Deshpande trying to rationalise his attack on Free as in freedom software]

    There are two key reasons to not use AGPL in this scenario, an open-source license that says that you must release to the public any modifications you make when you run AGPL-licensed code as a service.

    First, AGPL makes it inconvenient but does not prevent cloud infrastructure providers from engaging in the abusive behavior described above. It simply says that they must release any modifications they make while engaging in such behavior. Second, AGPL contains language about software patents that is unnecessary and disliked by a number of enterprises.

    Many of our portfolio companies with AGPL projects have received requests from large enterprises to move to a more permissive license, since the use of AGPL is against their company’s policy.

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