"When it comes to defining open source, licensing is a critical topic since it's the license that helps to make an application or effort open. But for Michael Tiemann, president of the Open Source Initiative, it's not necessarily the only key success factor for open source projects."
Open Source Archive
Yesterday, we reported that the Software Freedom Law Center had started a lawsuit against several companies who they claim violated the GPL. The subject of the violation was BusBox, and the SFLC claims it is operating on behalf of the authors of BusyBox. Original BusyBox author Bruce Perens, however, begs to differ.
"On behalf of the developers behind the open source BusyBox project, the Software Freedom Law Center has launched a major lawsuit against 14 consumer electronics companies. According to a complaint filed by the SFLC, the companies named in the suit failed to comply with the requirements of GNU's General Public License, the free software license under which the BusyBox code is distributed."
From Free Software Magazine: "Google promises a much needed shift in the way small computers work. Problems like software updates, backups, installation, maintenance, viruses, have plagued the world for too long: a shift is way overdue. To me, however, the change about to happen shows us what many people have refused to believe for a long time: KDE and GNOME shot each other dead."
"I've been on a mission in recent months to establish just how common and mundane GPL violations are. Since 21 August 2009, I've been finding one new GPL violating company per day (on average) and I am still on target to find one per day for 365 days straight. When I tell this to people who are new to GPL enforcement, they are surprised and impressed. However, when I tell people who have done GPL enforcement themselves, they usually say some version of: Am I supposed to be impressed by that? Couldn't a monkey do that? Fact is, the latter are a little bit right: there are so many GPL violations that I might easily be able to go on finding one per day for two years straight."
Armijn Hemel (gpl-violtions.org, Loohuis Consulting) and Shane Coughlan (Opendawn, FSFE) complete a trilogy of articles examining FOSS licensing issues and best practice on LWN.net with an outline of FOSS license compliance for companies. Readers may also be interested in part one, introducing the topic and describing what developers can do to protect their rights, and part two, examining the field of compliance engineering.
Well, this is refreshing. While Richard Stallman is a staunch critic of anything closed and non-Free, his ire seems mostly directed towards DRM and Microsoft. However, a lesser known fact is that he often talks about Apple's Mac OS X too in his speeches. During those speeches, he repeatedly claimed Mac OS X contained a backdoor which allowed Apple to forcibly impose software changes upon users. Stallman has now posted a retraction for those claims.
David Chisnall casts a critical eye over the GNU General Public License and asks whether it's done more harm than good for the Free Software movement. "Looking back, has the GPL been a help, or a hindrance? And will it continue to be a help or hindrance in the future?"
InfoWorld has announced its 2009 Best of Open Source Software winners, spotlighting its top 40 picks among open source enterprise software, application development tools, networking and network management software, and platforms and middleware projects. The package also includes a 'Hall of Fame' for the 10 most indispensable open source projects of all time. InfoWorld's top picks among desktop productivity tools builds on its recent 'Best Free Open Source Software for Windows,' adding GIMP, Blender, and Audacity, among others.
When Windows Vista was launched, the Free Software Foundation started its BadVista campaign, which was aimed at informing users about what the FSF considered user-restrictive features in Vista. Luckily for the FSF, Vista didn't really need a bad-mouthing campaign to fail. Now that Windows 7 is receiving a lot of positive press, the FSF dusted off the BadVista drum, and gave it a fresh coat of paint.
The Airline Control Program, introduced by IBM around 1967, predated the term 'open source' by decades. But you may be surprised by how much of its development reflects the FOSS movement today.
The uphill battle that open-source programs face to steal ground from proprietary software comes with added pitfalls in China, where problems like software piracy take away strengths that open source has elsewhere. The Chinese government backs multiple domestic open-source projects, but their software is not widely used. Low awareness, a lack of big open-source projects and difficulty finding expertise in certain programming languages all hamper the development of open source in China.
InfoWorld reports on the fight over open source 'leeches' -- companies that use open source technology but don't give back to the open source community. While some view such organizations as a tragedy of the commons, others view the notion of 'freeloaders' as a relic of open source's Wild West era, when coding was a higher calling and free software a religion.
Keith Curtis worked at Microsoft for 11 years, coding on Windows, Office, and at Microsoft's research department, before leaving the Redmond giant. Call it a revelation, call it giving in to the devil's temptations, but he's now a complete open source and Linux advocate, and in his new book, "After the Software Wars", he explains why open source will prevail against Microsoft's proprietary model.
Red Hat today published a new study together with Georgia Tech mapping open source activity across 75 countries. Officially called the Open Source Index (OSI), the final score is made of a number of factors including policies, practices in the Government, Industry, and Community. Topping the list current is France with a score of 1.35. Spain is second at 1.07, Germany third at 1.05.
On June 29, 2007 the Free Software Foundation released the GNU General Public License, version 3. What happened since then? Federico Biancuzzi had the opportunity to discuss many subjects with the FSF's founder and president Richard Stallman.
Eric S. Raymond is one of the three big figures in open source, together with Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman. During a talk for the Long Island Linux User Group, he made some interesting statements about the GPL, namely that the GPL is no longer needed due to the way the open source movement works.
The whole FAT licensing saga between Microsoft and TomTom just got a whole lot more complicated. Microsoft sued TomTom because the satnav maker had not licensed FAT from Microsoft, even though several others have. This left TomTom in a difficult position: not license it, and face legal penalties - license it, and violate the GPL. The second part, however, is up for debate now: the terms under which Microsoft licenses FAT may not violate the GPL at all. Near-instant update: On Slashdot, Bruce Perens and Jeremy Allison have explained that the FAT terms are still a GPL violation. Allison accidentally emailed the journalist who wrote this story with the wrong information.
Even though some believe that Microsoft's recent patent lawsuit against TomTom is a prelude to an all-out legal assault on Linux, that doesn't stop Bob Muglia, the company's president of Server and Tools Business, to look into the future and state that Microsoft's products will look more and more to open source software. In fact, he predicts most Microsoft products will have open source in them at some point.