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Legal

Not So Open Any More: Elasticsearch Relicensing and Implications for Open Source Search

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Elastic, the company founded by the creators of the Elasticsearch search server, recently announced a change to the license of its core product. Previously under the permissive Apache 2 license, future versions of the software will be dual-licensed allowing users to choose between Elastic’s own license or the Server Side Public License (SSPL) created by MongoDB.

What does this change mean for users of the software? At this point I should note that although I am very familiar with open source search engines, I am not a lawyer — so please do take your own legal advice!

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I took FSFE to court. This is my story

Filed under
Legal

Soon after the first lockdown in Berlin this year I filed a public case in the Berlin Tribunal of Labour Court against the president of Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), Matthias Kirschner, for workplace bullying.
Why? A female colleague and me had dared to discuss wage transparency and gender pay gap in the office. Apparently it is common in Germany that this gap exceeds 20%, but we both felt secure that the free software movement is progressive, and cares about being inclusive and equal opportunities oriented.
Unfortunately we miscalculated – our boss Matthias was beyond furious.
After that office meeting, he told my colleague “there will be consequences”. Our efforts coincided with the resignation of Richard Stallman from the US-based sister organisation of FSFE due to careless revictimisation of female victims of sexual abuse- another gender discrimination issue in our community that would cause the situation in our office to deteriorate quickly.
In its reluctant press release on this pivotal change in leadership in the largest free software organisation in the world, the FSFE had opted to honour Stallman for his undeniably long service and overlook the social issues underlying the change – something with which I expressed dissatisfaction, and not without support from colleagues.
It led to immediate retribution.
I was ordered to rewrite the text and was warned that I had “three hours to do it. Whether we will publish it or not, is going to be my [Matthias', my rem.] decision, not yours”. Free software is in most of our digital infrastructure, and I care a lot about inclusivity in this community to ensure that our most basic tools can be developed by everyone's perspectives for everyone's needs, so I rewrote our announcement. But not only was it never published – it was not even honoured with his feedback.

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The road to software freedom is paved with licensing

Filed under
GNU
Legal

For many people, the path towards software freedom begins with a single program. They may not even know what free software is; they may just need a tool or a program to do a particular job. But in their search for that tool, the Free Software Directory, which is one of the key resources run by the Licensing and Compliance Lab, can often be a starting point for a much larger journey.

The Directory catalogues over 16,000 free software packages. Users can find free software packages for almost any activity, from playing games and reading books, to software libraries and developer tools. Every entry in the Directory is meticulously vetted by volunteers and FSF staff to ensure that users have the freedom to run, modify, copy, and share their modified versions of the work. Millions of users have visited the Directory looking for a particular piece of software, and upon finding it, have been introduced to the wider world of software freedom.

While the Directory already acts as a great starting point for many on their free software journey, there's so much more we can still do. We want to make it easier for people, once introduced to free software, to likewise help introduce others. We need resources and financial support for staff in order to organize and mentor volunteers to help us keep those thousands of entries up to date, and to write code to automate various kinds of imports and entry updates to help keep everything current, and so we can add thousands more.

The Directory is one of the best tools that we have for showing what is possible with free software, but we need your help to reach millions more.

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'Open' 'Invention' 'Network' Turns 15

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Legal
  • Open Invention Network Celebrates Its 15th Year Protecting Core Linux and Open Source from Patent Aggression [Ed: This is nonsense. OIN is not protecting us, it is protecting software patents from our scrutiny]

    Open Invention Network (OIN) is celebrating its 15th year protecting the Open Source Software (OSS) community from patent risk. OIN’s efforts have enabled businesses and organizations to confidently invest their resources to develop, integrate and use OSS, safeguarding them from patent risk in core Linux and adjacent OSS technologies.

  • Open Invention Network Linux patent protection group turns 15

    Now, 15 years later, the Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression consortium ever, is still protecting Linux and open-source software from patent attacks and patent trolls. Indeed, its scope has grown ever larger. Recently, it expanded its intellectual property protection from core Linux programs and adjacent open-source code by expanding its Linux System Definition. In particular, that means patents relating to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) 10 and the Extended File Allocation Table exFAT file system are now protected.

POCO X3 kernel sources are still not available, despite a promise of launch-day release

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Legal

The POCO X3 NFC was launched back on September 7, 2020, bringing around a very high-value package at an affordable price tag. POCO repeated the same act with the POCO X3 in India, launched on September 22, 2020, but with slight differences from the globally launched variant: a bigger battery and no NFC. Two months on, the device remains one of the best purchases overall in the mid-range, for both the Global and the Indian variants. But what disappoints us is the fact that the kernel source for the device(s) has still not been released, despite a promise to release it on launch day.

[...]

Since it has been more than 2 months now since the phone has been released, there is very little excuse left on POCO’s end for not having released the source code. The phone is in the hands of consumers, and a fair few updates have also been delivered. Releasing kernel sources promptly should be something that every OEM does anyway. But POCO explicitly promised a very quick kernel release. And not releasing it so far trudges upon these claims of developer-friendliness and the trust of customers (and legal contracts, too).

The POCO X3/NFC remains an excellent value device in the age of rising flagship prices. While the phone is no flagship, nor does it pretend to be, it’s very easy to recommend to average users in the regions where it is officially sold. You get a lot of phone for the money. We hope POCO releases kernel sources as soon as possible, to keep up its promise to its fans. And while they’re at it, we hope they release kernel sources for the POCO M2 (device codename: shiva) and POCO C3 (device codename: angelicain) as well.

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NASA ROSES-20 Amendment 64: Release of Final text of E.8 Supplemental Open Source Software Awards

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OSS
Sci/Tech
Legal

Supplemental open source software awards are used to encourage the conversion of legacy software into modern code to be released under a generally accepted, open source license (e.g., Apache-2, BSD-2-clause, GPL). The supplement would add a software component to their previously selected "parent" research and analysis award.

ROSES-2020 Amendment 64 Releases Final text for E.8 Supplemental Open Source Software Awards. Notices of Intent are not requested. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis with a final due date of April 14, 2021.

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'This was bigger than GNOME and bigger than just this case.' GNOME Foundation exec director talks patent trolls and much, much more

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Interviews
GNOME
Legal

Patent assertion entities: do not pick a fight with open source. It won't end well for you. This is the message from GNOME Foundation executive director Neil McGovern, who will speak on the subject at the Open Source Summit Europe next week.

McGovern talked to The Register ahead of the event on patents, Microsoft, and more.

The open-source outfit develops the default desktop environment on major Linux distributions including Ubuntu and Red Hat. In late August 2019, Rothschild Patent Imaging filed a lawsuit against the GNOME foundation claiming that GNOME Shotwell, a photo manager, infringed one of its patents.

“We didn't receive a letter before the court documents were filed or any sort of warning, it was just filed and then within a week there was a settlement request for $75,000,” McGovern told us.

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USDOJ Takes on Google, Mozilla Responds

Filed under
Google
Moz/FF
Web
Legal
  • Justice Department Sues Monopolist Google For Violating Antitrust Laws

    oday, the Department of Justice — along with eleven state Attorneys General — filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to stop Google from unlawfully maintaining monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets and to remedy the competitive harms. The participating state Attorneys General offices represent Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Texas.

    “Today, millions of Americans rely on the Internet and online platforms for their daily lives. Competition in this industry is vitally important, which is why today’s challenge against Google — the gatekeeper of the Internet — for violating antitrust laws is a monumental case both for the Department of Justice and for the American people,” said Attorney General William Barr. “Since my confirmation, I have prioritized the Department’s review of online market-leading platforms to ensure that our technology industries remain competitive. This lawsuit strikes at the heart of Google’s grip over the internet for millions of American consumers, advertisers, small businesses and entrepreneurs beholden to an unlawful monopolist.”

  • Mozilla Reaction to U.S. v. Google

    Like millions of everyday internet users, we share concerns about how Big Tech’s growing power can deter innovation and reduce consumer choice. We believe that scrutiny of these issues is healthy, and critical if we’re going to build a better internet. We also know from firsthand experience there is no overnight solution to these complex issues. Mozilla’s origins are closely tied to the last major antitrust case against Microsoft in the nineties.

    In this new lawsuit, the DOJ referenced Google’s search agreement with Mozilla as one example of Google’s monopolization of the search engine market in the United States. Small and independent companies such as Mozilla thrive by innovating, disrupting and providing users with industry leading features and services in areas like search. The ultimate outcomes of an antitrust lawsuit should not cause collateral damage to the very organizations – like Mozilla – best positioned to drive competition and protect the interests of consumers on the web.

  • DOJ May Force Google To Sell Chrome To Settle Antitrust Case: Report

    he U.S. Department of Justice may force Google to sell its Chrome browser. The development came after the US Congress’ antitrust report on big tech companies.

    It is also told that the DOJ is targeting Google’s advertising business as well. The prosecutors aim at breaking Google’s monopoly on the $162 billion digital advertising market. Politico reported the development via anonymous sources.

Open source licensing and why we're changing Plausible to the AGPL license

Filed under
GNU
Legal

Plausible Analytics is a software as a service open source web analytics project. With the increase in popularity of Plausible in recent months, we’ve become aware that there are risks associated with permissive open source licenses that corporations that don’t care about open source are happy to take advantage of.

So we’re making a change to our license. This change doesn’t affect anyone subscribing to the Plausible Analytics Cloud and anyone who’s running Plausible Analytics Self-Hosted on their server. Everything stays the same.

The change will affect corporations that want to take our code and use it to create and sell proprietary tools that directly compete with us. Let’s look at the details.

[...]

These corporations use Google Analytics to track their users, have Facebook pixels to target the same users with advertising across the web and so on. Everything we stand against.

Their motives don’t seem to be to make the web more privacy-friendly and reduce the dominance of Google. It seems purely a business opportunity to make money from open source.

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Via: Plausible relicenses to AGPL

Free Software Leftovers

Filed under
OSS
Legal
  • WordPress Mobile Engineers Propose Dual Licensing Gutenberg under GPL v2.0 and MPL v2.0

    During a Q&A session at WordCamp Europe 2020 online, Matt Mullenweg mentioned that Gutenberg contributors were considering dual licensing for embedding Gutenberg in mobile apps, along with the requirement that they would need to get an agreement from all contributors. WordPress mobile engineer Maxime Biais has just published a proposal for discussion, recommending dual licensing the editor under GPL v2.0 and MPL v2.0.

    [...]

    Mobile app developers are limited by the GPL, because it requires the entire app to be distributed under the same license. The team is proposing dual licensing under MPL v2.0, a weaker copyleft license that is often considered to be more “business-friendly.” It allows users to combine the software with proprietary code. MPL v2.0 requires the source code for any changes to be available under the MPL, ensuring improvements are shared back to the community. The rest of the app can be distributed under any terms with the MPL v2.0 code included as part of a “larger work.”

  • NoSQL databases: what is MongoDB and its use cases?

    Databases like MongoDB, a NoSQL document database, are commonly used in environments where flexibility is required with big, unstructured data with ever-changing schemas. This post explains what a NoSQL database is, and provides an overview of MongoDB, its use cases and a solution for running an open source MongoDB database at scale.

  • What Cassandra users think of their NoSQL DBMS

    With the NoSQL market expected to be worth $22 Billion by 2026, big business is paying Apache Cassandra a lot of attention. While MongoDB dominates NoSQL, 52.71% to Cassandra's 9.73%, Cassandra, with its ability to deliver continuous availability, high performance, and scalability to large volumes of unstructured data, will always be a player. Now, if only there were more expert Cassandra administrators!

    A global survey of 1,404 Cassandra practitioners found a plurality thought the lack of skilled staff and the challenge of migration was blocking Cassandra's adoption. To be exact, 36% of users currently using Cassandra for mission-critical apps said that a lack of Cassandra-skilled team members was deterring its broader adoption.

    When asked what it would take for practitioners to use Cassandra for more applications and features in production, they said it needs to be "easier to migrate" and "easier to integrate." That's because "we don't have time to train a ton of developers, so that time to deploy, time to onboard, that's really key. All the other stuff, scalability, that all sounds fine," said a London-based senior Cassandra user.

    That may be in part because of those surveyed, 89% were using open-source Cassandra. If they were using DataStax, the most popular Cassandra distro, it might be a different story.

  • Olauncher gives your home screen an open-source, minimalist makeover

    Android's open, customizable nature is one of the things that attract a lot of enthusiasts to the platform. From manufacturer-specific tweaks to third-party default app replacements, there's usually a way to make your phone look and act how you choose. Olauncher is a new home screen replacement app that endeavors to bring an open-source, lightweight, and minimal setup to your phone.

    And minimal it is — there's time and date info up top, a list of apps below ... and that's it. The clock and app list can be set to left, center, or right orientations. A maximum of six app names can be displayed, but if you're the most minimal of minimalists, you can set it to show no apps at all. But wouldn't that render it useless? Not quite! By default, swiping to the left launches the camera and swiping to the right opens up the dialer, but you can customize these as you choose. A swipe up opens the full app list organized alphabetically.

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More in Tux Machines

Security, Internet and Containers

  • Security updates for Tuesday

    Security updates have been issued by CentOS (dnsmasq, net-snmp, and xstream), Debian (mutt), Gentoo (cfitsio, f2fs-tools, freeradius, libvirt, mutt, ncurses, openjpeg, PEAR-Archive_Tar, and qtwebengine), openSUSE (chromium, mutt, stunnel, and virtualbox), Red Hat (cryptsetup, gnome-settings-daemon, and net-snmp), Scientific Linux (xstream), SUSE (postgresql, postgresql12, postgresql13 and rubygem-nokogiri), and Ubuntu (mutt). 

  •  
  • WordPress security & hardening, the definitive guide

    WordPress is massively popular. Around every one in five sites on the Internet uses WordPress in some form. Be that to run a humble blog, or a multi-site Content Management System (CMS) or eCommerce site. As a result, it is no surprise that WordPress websites are a very popular target for both experienced hackers and script-kiddies alike. The last thing any webmaster wants is to find out that their website has been hacked; maybe taken hostage and is part of a botnet, spreading malware, or partaking in Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. In this article we’ll be sharing a number of tips and strategies to help you harden your WordPress website.

  • The Mozilla Blog: Why getting voting right is hard, Part V: DREs (spoiler: they’re bad)

    This is the fifth post in my series on voting systems (catch up on parts I, II, III and IV), focusing on computerized voting machines. The technical term for these is Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems, but in practice what this means is that you vote on some kind of computer, typically using a touch screen interface. As with precinct-count optical scan, the machine produces a total count, typically recorded on a memory card, printed out on a paper receipt-like tape, or both. These can be sent back to election headquarters, together with the ballots, where they are aggregated.

  • Jessica Rosenworcel’s appointment is good for the internet

    With a new year comes change, and one change we’re glad to see in 2021 is new leadership at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). On Thursday, Jan. 21, Jessica Rosenworcel, a longtime FCC commissioner, was appointed as acting chair. It’s an important role that will drive policy discussions affecting the internet and all of us who use it. Her appointment gives us hope that under her wing, the agency will develop strong policies that look out for everyday people. Here are a few reasons Jessica Rosenworcel’s appointment is good for the internet. [...] We look forward to working with the FCC to reinstate net neutrality protections and close the digital divide. Jessica Rosenworcel’s ascent to acting chair of the FCC bodes well for the future of both issues. And we can imagine a brighter future for a healthy internet if she were to be nominated for the role permanently.

  • Compute confidently at the Edge with Rancher and Longhorn 1.1 | SUSE Communities

    Today’s announcement of Longhorn 1.1, a Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Sandbox project, is exciting news for users of Rancher, SUSE’s Kubernetes management platform and the Kubernetes community. Longhorn is an enterprise-grade, cloud native container storage solution that went GA in June 2020. Since then, adoption has increased by 235 percent. Now Longhorn is the first cloud native storage solution designed and built for the edge, with ARM64 support, new self-healing capabilities and increased performance visibility.

  • Longhorn 1.1 Offers ‘ReadWriteMany’ Support Across Containers

    SUSE has announced the release of Longhorn 1.1 which allows DevOps teams to manage persistent data volumes in any Kubernetes environment while bringing an enterprise-grade but vendor neutral approach to cloud-native storage.

Free Software Leftovers

  • Ingo Juergensmann: Migrating from Drupal to WordPress

    If you can read this on planet.debian.org then migrating my blog from Drupal to WordPress was successful and the feed has been successfully changed by the Debian Planet Maintainers (thanks!). I’ve been a long term Drupal user. I think I started to use Drupal since it was included in Debian. At some point Drupal was removed from Debian and I started to use Serendipity instead. Later Drupal was included in Debian again and I moved back to Drupal. I think this must have been around Drupal 4 or Drupal 5. No idea. I even became active in the Drupal community and went to one of the first Drupal barcamps in Germany, namely in Cologne. This was shortly before Dries Buytaert started a business off of Drupal and went to the USA. I met with many devs of Drupal in Cologne and enjoyed the community and started with others a local Drupal User Group in Rostock. [...] So, after all the years my Drupal journey will come to an end. It was a long time with you. Sometimes joyful, sometimes painful. I wish you all the best, Drupal!

  • The round-the-world trip to fix a bug

    Mrs. Vera Cavalcante (@veracape), from Brazil, a long-time contributor for the Portuguese documentation on LibreOffice, was reviewing the translation of the Calc Guide and double-checking the translated text, with respect to the current user interface and the Help pages. Vera noticed that the Help pages on conditional formatting were not correct any more, and reported in the Brazilian team Telegram group (Bugzilla is still very hard for non-native English speakers).…

  • Red Kubes Container Platform Flies Open Source Flag

    Red Kubes, a Dutch-based startup, open sourced a free community edition of its Otomi Container Platform in a bid to remedy the ongoing complexity surrounding Kubernetes configurations. The scalability, agility, and speed-to-market advantages that Kubernetes offers have been handsome enough to capture a growing share of the enterprise market, but this very strength can become an Achilles heel for container deployments. In this sense, it’s far too easy – and common – to create thousands or even tens of thousands of containers across applications. Not only does this create an operational money pit, but management becomes a herculean feat to any container newbie.

  • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache® ECharts™ as a Top-Level Project

    The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today Apache® ECharts™ as a Top-Level Project (TLP). Apache ECharts is an intuitive, interactive, and powerful charting and visualization library ideally suited for commercial-grade presentations. The project originated in 2013 at Baidu and entered the Apache Incubator in January 2018.

  • Shots fired in disputes over OSS-as-a-Service

    Cloud services are the great disruptor of both IT organizations and vendors, and wrapping open source software around a service is the latest flashpoint. The open source development model has proven to be an incredible incubator of innovative software by democratizing and distributing the conception, design, implementation and debugging of new titles, advantages that were thoroughly explored more than two decades ago in the book, The Cathedral and the Bazaar. Although open source has since been adopted, encouraged and sponsored by every major software company, its origins were decidedly non-commercial with utopian overtones of liberating code from the tyranny of proprietary shackles. The earliest open source projects, notably Gnu Emacs and other tools from the Gnu Project, embraced this idealistic ethos with a restrictive, comprehensive license, GPL, that applies to derivative work using the code.

  • AWS to Fork Elasticsearch as Elastic Moves Away from Open Source

    Elastic’s license change from open source ALv2 to SSPL appears to have moved Amazon Web Services to “launch new forks of both Elasticsearch and Kibana.” Elasticsearch’s move towards the more restrictive Server Side Public License has already begun to ruffle feathers among developers.

Programming Leftovers

  • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Tcl - LinuxLinks

    Tcl (Tool Command Language) is a dynamic programming/scripting language based on concepts of Lisp, C, and Unix shells. Here's our recommended free tutorials to learn Tcl.

  • ROC and Precision-Recall curves - How do they compare?

    Both curves offer two useful information: how to choose the positive class prediction threshold and what is the overall performance of the classification model. The former is determined by selecting the threshold which yield the best tradeoff, in adequation with the prediction task and operational needs. The latter is done by measuring the area under the curves which informs about how good the model is, because by measuring the area under the curves, one computes the overall probability that a sample from the negative class has a lower probability than a sample from the positive class. With scikit-learn, the values can be computed either by using the roc_auc attribute of the object returned by plot_roc_curve() or by calling roc_auc_score() directly for ROC curves and by using the average_precision attribute of the object returned by plot_precision_recall_curve() or by calling average_precision_score() directly for PR curves.

  • Write GIMP scripts to make image processing faster | Opensource.com

    Some time ago, I wanted to give a blackboard-style look to a typeset equation. I started playing around with the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) and was satisfied with the result. The problem was that I had to perform several actions on the image, I wanted to use this style again, and I did not want to repeat the steps for all the images. Besides, I was sure that I would forget them in no time.

  • Bash wait Command | Linuxize

    wait is a command that waits for the given jobs to complete and returns the exit status of the waited for command. Since the wait command affects the current shell execution environment, it is implemented as a built-in command in most shells. In this article, we’ll explore the Bash built-in wait command.

  • Santiago Zarate: Cron do not send me empty emails
  • Rust & the case of the disappearing stack frames | Inside Rust Blog

    Now that the FFI-unwind Project Group has merged an RFC specifying the "C unwind" ABI and removing some instances of undefined behavior in the "C" ABI, we are ready to establish new goals for the group. Our most important task, of course, is to implement the newly-specified behavior. This work has been undertaken by Katelyn Martin and can be followed here.

Open Hardware: Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Thomas Petazzoni (Bootlin) on Training

  • Qsync fixed on the Pi4 and FF compiled

    The Raspberry Pi4 does not have a hardware battery-backed clock, so relies on getting the date and time from an Internet time server. In EasyOS, Qsync is the utility that does that. At first bootup, QuickSetup has a checkbox to enable getting time from the Internet, which will launch Qsync. At first bootup on the Pi4, if you are going to connect to Internet via wifi, not ethernet, then there won't be an immediate Internet access. No problem, Qsync will run once the Internet connection is established. Qsync will run just once at bootup and after Internet connection. That's fine, but I couldn't understand why it would suddenly stop working. Then discovered that /etc/init.d/qsync was getting its executable-flag cleared.

  • Arduino Blog » This children’s console looks like something straight out of a superhero’s lair

    Kids have wonderful imaginations, and to help students at a primary school have a super time, creator “palladin” was asked to construct a console for them to use. The device features a variety of lights and sci-fi additions, including glowing “reactor” tubes that diffuse light using hair gel and a “memory bank” that emits flashing patterns for a 1950s supercomputer look.

  • Arduino Blog » This pen plotter draws detailed maps the size of walls

    Christopher Getschmann wanted a wall-sized map of the world. He soon realized, however, that it’s tough to actually buy such a map that’s both beautiful and detailed enough to satisfy his cartographic tastes. While many would simply move on to the next “thing,” Getschmann instead took things into his own hands, and built a pen plotter specifically to draw massive 2×3 meter map for his wall.

  • New training course: embedded Linux boot time optimization

    For many embedded products, the issue of how much time it takes from power-on to the application being fully usable by the end-user is an important challenge. Bootlin has been providing its expertise and experience in this area to its customers for many years through numerous boot time optimization projects, and we have shared this knowledge through a number of talks at several conferences over the past years. We are now happy to announce that we have a new training course Embedded Linux boot time optimization, open for public registration. This training course was already given to selected Bootlin customers and is now available for everyone.