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Software Licensing News: GPL, Copyleft, and Beyond

Posted in News Roundup at 11:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Top 10 legal issues for free software of 2013

    Last year, I provided a look at the top legal issues from the year before. Continuing with this tradition, here is my take on the top ten legal developments in FOSS during 2013.

  • Choose The Best Licence For Your Open Source Project

    The licences page breaks down a number of popular options, including MIT, Apache and GPL. Each is explained in the form of Required / Permitted / Forbidden, so it’s clear what others can and can’t do with your work.

  • Science and Liberation: Science as Human Curiosity, as Authority and as Business

    Creative Commons and the GPL are legal tools to facilitate sharing, and in their domains they are analogous to peer review and publication in scientific journals for scientists. However, like the conflict between free and proprietary software, there is a conflict between open access and proprietary access to scientific publications, a conflict Aaron Swartz became aware of as an activist.

  • Copyright statements proliferate inside open source code

    Earlier today I was looking at a source file for the OpenStack Ceilometer docs and noticed that there’s a copyright statement at the top. Now, in no way do I want to pick on Nicholas. There are hundreds of such copyright statements in the OpenStack docs and code, and this is just the example I happened to be looking at.

  • Open Compute pushes GPL-like license for ‘open source hardware’
  • Should I use a permissive license? Copyleft? Or something in the middle?

    The open source license you choose for your project, or for the projects you choose to contribute to, can have significant effects on how what you contribute is used. One question that has garnered quite a bit of interest recently is the fall in popularity of copyleft licenses in favor of permissive licenses. An article last year looked at the issue of large number of projects on GitHub that have no explicit license and posited the question about whether we live in a ‘post open source software’ world, where seemingly open source software has no license. After some time, GitHub agreed that licensing is important and worked to improve the situation with a license chooser.

  • Which License Should You Use for Your Software?

    When I first started writing my little software programs, I borrowed some code from my chum Mike Field (a.k.a. The Mighty Hamster) who is based in New Zealand. At that time, I noticed that in the comments to his code, Mike had the line “// License: GPLv3″ (this refers to the GNU General Public License).

  • Apple Veteran Named PayPal’s First Head of Open Source Software

    Cooper has seen the benefits of open source collaboration first hand — and has learned the hard way what happens when developers don’t share code when they should. At Apple, she managed a team that developed a video chat program based on Apple’s QuickTime video format, and the code behind Quicktime wasn’t even shared with everyone inside the company. “There were some people in my group that helped write Quicktime, but because of an internal licensing struggle at the time, the QuickTime team shut them out of their own code tree,” she says. “It was really inefficient, and it really pissed me off.”

Links 20/3/2014: Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 11:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 20/3/2014: Games

Posted in News Roundup at 10:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 20/3/2014: Applications

Posted in News Roundup at 10:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Free/Open Source Software News: Beehives, Neuroscience, Video Editing, Events, Services, Databases, CMSs, and Funding

Posted in News Roundup at 3:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Open Source”

  • Qualcomm’s Liat Ben-Zur: Open Source Collaboration Works

    Earlier this year, Qualcomm wowed technology industry executives and analysts with a tour of its smart connected home at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The tour demonstrated how the Linux-based home automation platform AllJoyn connects all of the various in-home devices from appliances and lighting to TVs and talking teddy bears.

    “As they walked through the home, you could see the executives truly understand the power of various devices across brands and verticals and visualize the potential for collaboration,” says Liat Ben-Zur, senior director at Qualcomm Connected Experiences and chairperson of the AllSeen Alliance, in the interview below.

  • Founder Stories: When It Comes To Open-Source Technologies, Reverb’s Tony Tam Has A Word For It

    Have you ever watched a TED talk and thought, “That should be a company!” Well, that’s happened a few times, I’m sure, and one of them is right here in Silicon Valley. Years ago, wordsmith Erin McKean delivered a TED talk on her vision around the lexicography and meaning of words. This particular talk struck a chord with an investor named Roger McNamee, who in turn encouraged the team to build a company around this. Hence, Reverb Technologies was born.

  • This Open Source Coder Wants to be a Congressman

    The patent system. Online privacy law. Bitcoin regulations. Net neutrality rules. In the coming years, policy makers may have as much influence on technology as the world’s hackers do — if not more. So it should come as little surprise that a hacker is running for Congress.

    Twenty-eight-year-old software developer David Cole spent over two years working for the White House as the deputy director of new media, where he helped build the White House website, and now, he wants to make the switch from crafting code for the government to crafting policy. He’s seeking the Democratic nomination for his home district in New Jersey, which includes Atlantic City. If he wins, he’ll challenge the incumbent Republican, Frank LoBiondo, who has represented the district since 1995 — and is not a hacker.

  • Dutch greetings card firm goes open source to cut database licensing cost
  • Measuring Success in an Open Source Project

    Is Linux a success? Certainly. The Apache Web server? You betcha. Firefox, sure. But, what about smaller or newer open source projects? How can you tell if they’re on the right path or if they’re slowly spiraling into failure? This is a subject that was discussed at great length at the recent OpenDaylight Summit in Santa Clara, California.

  • Buffalo Tech: New 802.11ac router with Open Source firmware
  • How you can help encourage open source in the International Game Developers’ Association
  • Open source developers must examine the past to invent the future
  • Consume open source responsibly

    It is also the time when skeptics started sharing their doubts on the success of the open source model, stating that the security vulnerabilities that come from community contributions are a barrier for the project’s reliability. Some were and still are even more pessimistic and claim that financial institutions cannot assume the potential risks that come with adopting an open source solution for critical parts of their business.



Video Editing


  • Open source forum 2014, a first

    The first enterprise forum about open source ever held in Sri Lanka, ‘Open Source Forum Sri Lanka 2014’ took place at Hotel Galadari, Colombo recently. Participants included top executives and corporate leaders from Sri Lanka’s business community and the Government sector. The objective of the event was to maximise the value of big data, cloud computing, virtualization, content management systems and business intelligence through the adaptation of open source. This is aimed at bringing in affordability, control and openness.

  • SpinachCon Wants You: To Help Make Free Software Better

    Do you ever wish the free software was just a little bit better? As a longtime free software advocate, I certainly have had this thought many times. Sometimes nothing can be done because a particular feature is patent-encumbered, but sometimes clear user feedback is all that’s needed. Enter SpinachCon — it’s a hackfest for users. The idea is that sometimes free software “has a little spinach in it’s teeth” and it needs it’s friends to let it know in a friendly way. People try the software, answer a few questions and get a free lunch in return.

Services/Fog Computing


  • Open source has its place in the enterprise database management systems world
  • NoSQL vendor Basho restaffs executive team
  • How times have changed for PostgreSQL

    When I started teaching PostgreSQL education courses in 2001, PostgreSQL was the ugly one in the data center. Many of the people who were learning how to work with it were doing so grudgingly because of some specific requirement. They had inherited a PostgreSQL database, for example. As a result, many of them tried to learn just enough to do what they needed to do. The other population of students were serious technologists, die-hard open source devotees who wanted to use only open source solutions and were learning PostgreSQL because they needed a relational database for their operations.

  • PostgreSQL Gains Support For Logical Decoding

    PostgreSQL has picked up a new feature of logical decoding.

    This new PostgreSQL database feature adds over ten thousand lines of new code to the open-source server and allows the write-ahead log stream to be decoded into a series of logical changes, per this commit.

  • Bruce Momjian: PostrgreSQL Prefers the Scenic Route

    “Development is slower because we do not take shortcuts, but over the years, we have made a name for the [PostgreSQL] database as a product that is reliable and is backed by communities and companies that felt strongly about the value they were providing its users. … We have played the long game in not taking shortcuts and focusing on making the best database possible.”

  • GoGrid wants to be your open source alternative to Amazon’s cloud databases

    Amazon Web Services is a juggernaut in the infrastructure as a service market, but GoGrid, a midsize IaaS competitor that aims to be the cloud for big data, says it wants to offer an alternative to AWS’s platform. And it’s hoping to do so through open source databases.

  • 2013 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Award Winners

    Desktop Distribution of the Year – Ubuntu (23.59%)
    Server Distribution of the Year – Slackware (31.83%)
    Mobile Distribution of the Year – Android (59.15%)
    Database of the Year – MariaDB (36.41%)
    NoSQL Database of the Year – MongoDB (46.15%)
    Office Suite of the Year – LibreOffice (85.50%)
    Browser of the Year – Firefox (63.54%)
    Desktop Environment of the Year – KDE (35.77%)
    Window Manager of the Year – Openbox (18.88%)
    Messaghng Application of the Year – Pidgin (47.83%)
    VoIP Application of the Year – Skype (44.95%)
    Virtualization Product of the Year – VirtualBox (54.38%)

  • VoltDB looks to gain ground in crowded in-memory database market

    The company offers a community edition of VoltDB under the GNU Affero General Public License Version 3, but it omits a number of features found in the commercial version.

  • MariaDB Open-Source Database Gets Enterprise Release

    The open-source MariaDB database has emerged in recent years to be a real competitor to MySQL from which it was forked. Now at long last there is a generally available version of MariaDB Enterprise edition.


  • Zimbra Updates Community Groupware Collaboration Suite

    Zimbra has rolled out a new version of its cloud-friendly groupware collaboration software. Titled Zimbra Community 8.0, the release introduces a free edition of the platform, which the company is offering to businesses and individuals alongside the standard and professional editions it traditionally provided.

  • Why Not Diaspora?

    Diaspora really could be the answer. It’s open source, it’s decentralized and it has Aaron Swartz in its DNA. Its security people are answerable only to the community. Because it’s decentralized, there’s a node or “pod” element. Different servers offer users slightly different experiences, sort of like neighborhoods within a city. This is much different from Facebook where everything is the downtown business district.

Content Management


GNU News: What’s New in GNU

Posted in News Roundup at 2:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software Freedom

  • Live Stream: Richard Stallman, A Free Digital Society

    Tonight, Dr. Richard Stallman is presenting a talk titled A Free Digital Society. Dr. Stallman will address the many threats to freedom in our digital society. He’ll focus on issues of digital surveillance that undermine the foundations of democracy, including massive surveillance, censorship, digital handcuffs, non-free software that controls users, and the ‘War on Sharing’.

  • Free software and ethical consumption

    In September 1983, the GNU Project was born. GNU was to be a new kind of operating system: the first one with an explicit ethical goal.

    Perhaps a little background is needed. GNU stands for “GNU’s Not Unix.” Unix was an operating system (OS) that was in common use at the time, and the recursive acronym is a bit of programmers’ humour. The project emerged from the hacker culture at MIT, which had collapsed at the end of the 1970s when a technology company hired all but a few of the programmers.

  • What Happened to the Vision in Open Source?

    Last week, I was writing about MediaGoblin when I was struck by a sudden realization: the project was not about code for its own sake. Instead it was about the sort of vision that seems to be disappearing recently from free and open source software (FOSS).

    What makes MediaGoblin stand out is not just the idea of an all-in-one file-sharer, as convenient as that might be. Rather, the code is an explicit critique of centralized web services like Instagram, which require users to communicate through a single web site rather than directly with each other. As events of the past few years have proved, such centralization threatens privacy and makes surveillance all too easy.

FSF Internal


Popular GNU Programs

  • GNU Guile 2.0.10 released
  • grep-2.17 released
  • GNU Guix Package Manager Looks To Grow

    The GNU Guix package manager / distribution system is still active in development and the developers have planned a road-map to reaching version 1.0.

  • GNU Hurd Is Enjoying User-Space Device Drivers

    As some other good news for GNU Hurd, around 79% of the Debian archive is now building for GNU Hurd, including the Xfce desktop and Firefox web-browser. Future work planned for this GNU project is Xen PVH support, working x86_64 support, language bindings for translators, read-ahead, HDD/Sound/USB DDE support, and having a full GNU system with Hurd.

  • GIMP free alternative to subscription model Photoshop updated

    That would be the oddly-named GIMP (acronym for: GNU Image Manipulation Program), an open source, high-end image editing and creation alternative to Adobe’s Photoshop and its now open-ended, monthly wallet-siphoning distribution mode for tasks like photo retouching, image editing and composition, and image authoring.

  • You Say GIMP Was Right

    The split was the result of GIMP’s concern over policies at SourceForge, primarily SourceForge’s use of DevShare, an installer for Windows that bundles third party software offers with FOSS downloads. In addition, the GIMP folks had reservations about potentially deceptive “download here” buttons on ads being served by the likes of Google’s AdSense.

  • Announcing GNU ease.js v0.2.0 and the Importance of Free JavaScript
  • Updated GNU Framework Tries To Push “Free JavaScript”

    Out this Sunday is a major update to GNU ease.js, which relicenses this JavaScript framework to the GPLv3 and has several other changes. GNU ease.js helps the Free Software Foundation’s case for the “importance of free JavaScript” on the web.


  • Possible Summer Improvements To The GCC Compiler

    For any students looking to get involved with this year’s Google Summer of Code, the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) has several interesting projects that are looking to be tackled.

  • GCC 4.9 Is Working Towards A Possible Release In April

    While GCC 4.9 is running behind schedule compared to where GCC 4.8 was at this time last year, open-source developers banding together still might get out the GNU Compiler Collection 4.9 release in early April with its many new compiler features.

  • Samsung Brings OpenACC 1.0+ Support To GCC Fortran

    Samsung is still working towards bringing OpenACC support to GCC. We’ve seen Samsung developers working on OpenACC for GCC over the past several months — along with other OpenACC initiatives out of CodeSourcery, etc — and now there’s some new OpenACC GCC Fortran patches.

  • Clang’s Competition For GCC On Intel Haswell

    This testing is quite simple and straightforward as it’s intended to just complement the AMD A10-7850K compiler benchmarks of the previous days. The processor being used this time around was the Intel Core i5 4670 that is a true quad-core CPU with a 3.4GHz base frequency and 3.8GHz Turbo Frequency. Being a Haswell CPU, it supports SSE 4.2, AVX 2.0, and all of the other latest-generation Intel extensions.

  • GCC & LLVM Developers May Begin Collaborating

    Renato Golin of Linaro volleyed an interesting message to the GCC mailing list on Friday about “LLVM collaboration?” While controversial, he suggested LLVM and GCC developers begin collaborating due to an “unnecessary fence” between the competing compilers and decisions that need to be shared. He acknowledges while there’s licensing differences (GPL vs. UIUC / BSD) there’s differences between the compilers and their stacks that really shouldn’t exist as it hinders the users and developers.

  • GCC, LLVM, Copyleft, Companies, and Non-Profits

    Most people know I’m a fan of RMS’ writing about Free Software and I agree with most (but not all) of his beliefs about software freedom politics and strategy. I was delighted to read RMS’ post about LLVM on the GCC mailing list on Friday. It’s clear and concise, and, as usual, I agree with most (but not all) of it, and I encourage people to read it. Meanwhile, upon reading comments on LWN on this post, I felt the need to add a few points to the discussion.

  • Beignet Is Now Friendly With LLVM/Clang 3.5

    Intel’s Beignet open-source OpenCL implementation for their Linux graphics driver now switches to LLVM/Clang 3.5 as its preferred version.

  • LLVM Leaps Ahead With Its Migration To C++11


  • LulzBot TAZ 3 3D printer now FSF-certified to respect your freedom

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today awarded Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification to the TAZ 3, the fifth model in the LulzBot line of 3D printers by Aleph Objects, Inc. The RYF certification mark means that the product meets the FSF’s standards in regard to users’ freedom, control over the product, and privacy.

  • Coreboot Gets Ported To The Lenovo X230 Ultrabook

    Lenovo’s X230 is an “ultraportable business laptop” with 12.5-inch display, 2.96lb weight, and other modern features while boasting an Intel Core i5 series processor.


  • Cryptography Apps: How To Keep Your Personal Info Private

    As consumers living in a post-Edward Snowden world, we should remain aware of what cryptography applications are out there, and how we can utilize them to keep our information (and thus, ourselves) safer. This article is intended to discuss some of the more practical usages of cryptography in modern computing, including PGP/GPG encryption, encrypted chat programs such as Cryptocat, the anonymous Tor browser, and will touch on a major buzz item of 2013, Bitcoin.

Kernel Progress: Linux 3.14 (Final) Imminent, More DRM Code Expected in Linux 3.15

Posted in News Roundup at 2:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux 3.14

  • Linux Kernel News – January and February 2014

    Linux 3.13 was released on Sunday January 19th 2014. Please read What is in Linux 3.13. 3.14-rc5 was released on March 2 2014. Based on the rc release progress so far, it is looking very likely that the Linux 3.14 release will be out before the end of March 2014.

  • Linux 3.14-rc7

    Now, things might change, and maybe next week ends up being another ugly week, but with some luck that won’t happen and this is the last rc.

    Go out and test. It all looks good..


  • Linux 3.14-rc7 Released, Linux 3.14 Might Come Next Week
  • Recapping The Top Changes Of The Linux 3.14 Kernel

    In talking about the Linux 3.14 kernel on pretty much a daily basis now for the past few months and already having run dozens of benchmarks from Linux 3.14 in its Git state, here’s a recap of some of the most exciting work for this new kernel:

Linux 3.15


  • OpenDaylight Developer Spotlight: Madhusudhan Ananderi Kandadai
  • Linux Kernel Developer Panel Preview: Introductions and Projects

    The Linux kernel developer panel at Collaboration Summit in Napa, Calif. next week is our first opportunity this year to hear directly from Linux kernel developers about which issues and features are top-of-mind for the kernel community now and in the year ahead. Kernel developers Jens Axboe, Matthew Garrett, Mel Gorman, Greg Koah-Hartman, and Dave Chinner will take the stage for a technical discussion moderated by Jon Corbet. Here, the panelists have answered a few of Corbet’s preliminary questions to get the conversation started.

Graphics Drivers/Cards



Desktop Environments: GNOME 3.12, KDE Wins Award, Enlightenment Updates

Posted in News Roundup at 2:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


  • New in GTK+ 3.12: popovers

    One of the nice things about popovers is that they are just normal containers – you can put any widget into them, and keyboard navigation and input works like everywhere else. This is a marked contrast to menus, which are very specialized. Attempts to put entries, sliders or buttons into menus usually end badly.

  • Setting Up GNOME Is Easier With Version 3.12
  • More HiDPI Changes Land For GNOME 3.12

    As a quick update to the HiDPI support on top of yesterday’s article about GNOME Shell 3.12 getting last minute HiDPI improvements, more work has landed today for supporting high-resolution Retina displays within this next GNOME desktop environment update.

  • TARBALLS DUE: GNOME 3.11.92 release candidate + HARD CODE FREEZE

    Here comes the 3.11.92 release candidate, last stop before 3.12. Tarballs are expected on Monday, this is the last chance to get your fixes in, we will then enter the hard code freeze, and you will need a big bunch of approvals to get changes in. Let’s repeat, tarballs are due on 2014-03-17 before 23:59 UTC for the GNOME 3.11.92 rc release, which will be delivered on Wednesday. Please make sure that your tarballs will be uploaded before Monday 23:59 UTC: tarballs uploaded later than that will probably be too late to get in 3.11.92.

  • App folder configuration

    GNOME has been moving away from hierarchical menus for applications. It is problematic for many reasons. One problem is the need for a global, hierarchical classification (‘categories’) – the world is just not that simple, and applications don’t always fit into these predefined categories. Another problem is that menus don’t really scale beyond a single level of submenus or beyond more than 10-15 items per menu. Not to mention that menus are hard to use on touch devices.


  • KDE wins Linux New Media Readers Choice Award 2014

    Last week at CeBIT, KDE won the Linux New Media Readers Choice Award 2014 (link to German language Linux Magazine) for the best Linux Desktop Environment. 46% of the readers of Linux New Media’s global publications voted for KDE. Runner-ups were GNOME with 18% and XFCE with 13%. Other awards went to CyanogenMod, Raspberry Pi, Bitcoin, Puppet, Tor and Git.

    Cornelius Schumacher, President of KDE e.V. received the award on behalf of the KDE Community from Mathias Huber, Editor at Linux Magazine. The video of the award ceremony will be available on the Linux Magazine web site later.

  • Second beta of KDE 4.13 Applications arrives, install it on openSUSE, Arch Linux
  • KDE Ships Second Beta of Applications and Platform 4.13

    The KDE community today released the second beta of Applications and Development Platform 4.13. With API, dependency and feature freezes in place, the focus is now on fixing bugs and further polishing. We kindly request your assistance with finding and fixing issues.

  • Plasma/KDE: Progressing towards Next

    In the Plasma team, we’re working frantically towards the next release of the Plasma workspaces, code-named “Plasma Next”. With the architectural work well in place, we’ve been filling in missing bits and pieces in the past months, and are now really close to the intended feature set for the first stable release. A good time to give you an impression of what it’s looking like right now. Keep in mind that we’re talking Alpha software here, and that we still have almost three months to iron out problems. I’m sure you’ll be able to observe something broken, but also something new and shiny.

  • Applications 4.13 Coming Soon, Help Us Test!

    Some of your existing data will need to be migrated from the current Nepomuk backend to the new ‘Baloo’ backend. Running the nepomukbaloomigrator should take care of that. The old Nepomuk support is considered “legacy” (but it is still provided). The programs that have not yet been ported to the new architecture have Nepomuk integration disabled. One significant regression is file-activity linking, which will not work until KDE Applications and Platform 4.14. If you rely on this feature, we recommend not upgrading at this time. For the final release, distributions might choose to optionally have the old search (Nepomuk) available.

  • KDE Works On Input Redirection, Wayland Cursor Themes

    The initial release of KDE Frameworks 5 and Plasma Next will likely not have perfected Wayland support but many components should be usable within Weston and other improvements — including KWin as its own Wayland compositor — will come with time.

  • MyKolab.com users: As green as you can be.

    Here at MyKolab.com we are often surprised when companies flaunt having turned to green energy to power their services. We always considered this the lowest bar of sustainability everyone should meet. After all, this is the 21st century and we have known for decades the damages and risks of fossil and nuclear energy. That’s why for all of MyKolab.com’s history, every server and all of Kolab Systems have run on green energy. Our energy mix is mostly hydroelectric, some solar, and a little bit of wind, due to the geographic conditions in Switzerland.

  • Overview of Kate Editor in KDE 4.12.3

    Kate (the KDE Advanced Text Editor) is the well know, powerful text editor that ships by default in KDE, and has plenty of powerful features for both simple text editing as well as programmers. Some of the well-known functions that it offers include indentation, syntax highlighting for hundreds of programming languages, block-selection mode or check-spelling.

  • KDE Commit-Digest for 9th February 2014
  • Desktop Effects Control Module in KWin5

    KWin5 will feature a new configuration module to control Desktop effects. KWin5 will be a part of the upcoming Plasma Next Workspace. The control module is rewritten with QtQuick controls.The focus of the control module will be on Desktop Effects.

  • making friends with kontact again


  • Enlightenment Foundation Libraries Application Round Up

    Most folks who have been around Linux and/or open source software for awhile are aware of what GTK and QT are – tool kits for building applications. Something that not as many may be aware of is that there is another open source tool kit out there – the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries. These serve as the building blocks not only for the Enlightenment desktop, but also for a growing number of applications.

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