Editor’s note: FOSS Force will be offering live video streaming of all OSCON keynote addresses beginning Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at noon EDT.
FOSS Week in Review
I was ready to pack my bags for OSCON on Friday with a pretty quiet week, and a quick roundup which would allow me to hit the road and head north to Portland. No such luck. We have OSCON coverage coming next week — more on this later — but some of the more scintillating stories of the week include the following:
FSF, Canonical Makes Progress on Licensing: The $140,000-plus in donations is still missing, but that’s not the biggest news coming from Canonical this week. After two years of wrangling between the Free Software Foundation and Canonical — with a little help from the Software Freedom Conservancy — the FSF announced that they have made some progress on updated licensing terms for, as the FSF calls it, “Ubuntu GNU/Linux.”
Two years of negotiations so far have produced this “trump clause,” which the FSF says “now makes Canonical’s policy unequivocally comply with the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) and other free software licenses.” This clause reads:
“Ubuntu is an aggregate work of many works, each covered by their own license(s). For the purposes of determining what you can do with specific works in Ubuntu, this policy should be read together with the license(s) of the relevant packages. For the avoidance of doubt, where any other license grants rights, this policy does not modify or reduce those rights under those licenses.”
That it. Three sentences. But the FSF isn’t finished yet: “The FSF will continue to provide feedback to Canonical in the days ahead, and urge them to make additional changes.” It remains to be seen whether there are additional changes and/or how long it will take for these to be put into effect.
Canonical CEO Jane Silber gave this assessment in Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols’ article in ZDNet, “We will continue to evolve our policies, in consultation with the very diverse groups that make up the open-source community, to reflect best practice and the needs of Canonical and the Ubuntu community.”
But those who were more attuned to the issue grabbed some popcorn and watched the drama unfold across the Internet. Jonathan Riddell, who until recently held a de facto leadership role with Kubuntu until this issue was one that led to his banishment, said in his blog that “I hope Ubuntu can re-find it’s community focus again, but from today’s announcement all I can take from it is that the issues I spoke about were real concerns, even if no more than that, and they haven’t gone away.”
It gets better. CoreOS Linux security developer Matthew Garrett didn’t pull punches in an item where he calls Ubuntu’s IP policy “garbage.” In a Reddit thread on the topic, Garrett contributes much to the shortcomings of this additional clause. Ubuntu Community Manager Michael Hall deserves credit for stepping into the firefight, however most of his answers come with the caveat that he can’t talk about it with any authority because he’s not a lawyer.
So there you have it. Oh, and did I mention that the donations are still missing? Okay.
On With the Shows: Everyone knows that OSCON starts on Monday, and we’ll — or more specifically, I’ll — be reporting from Portland next week. It looks like it’s leading up to be a good one, and you’ll have it first hand if you can’t be in the City of Roses. However, that’s not the only FOSS expo on the radar. Next month, Texas Linux Fest takes the center stage down near Austin in San Marcos from Aug. 21-22. With the schedule being set and some of the loose ends being tied up, the Lone Star expo looks like it’ll be a good one.
Quick Takes: SUSE is ready to enter the ARM-for-server derby, according to an article in ZDNet. With ARM becoming more attractive to server customers, SUSE joins Red Hat and Canonical in the hunt…Softpedia reports that KDE developers are working on building a simulated Android environment to allow users to run Android apps on Linux. According to the article, progress on this project will be presented at KDE Akademy 2015 in Spain later this month…That old chestnut about the best distro for Linux beginners — as if those who are new to Linux are akin to the simians in “2001: A Space Odyssey” — rears its ugly head once again in a ChannelWorld article. It’s the usual suspects couched in the usual banter about ease-of-use.
Just give ’em Linux Mint and let ’em go crazy.
I’ve got to finish packing. See you at OSCON.
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