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5 Best Linux Distribution With No Proprietary Components

Linux is a free and open source operating system. However, Linux (and other open source operating system) can use and load device drivers without publicly available source code. These are vendor-compiled binary drivers without any source code and known as Binary Blobs. Die hard open source fans and Free Software Foundation (FSF) recommends completely removing all proprietary components including blobs. In this post I will list five best Linux distribution that meets the FSF's strict guidelines and contains no proprietary components such as firmware and drivers.
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Open Source Software Licensing Stands Legal In Court

For the first time, court lays down a legal foundation for the protection of open source developers. This means now all open source licenses are enforceable. From the article:

An appeals court has erased most of the doubt around Open Source licensing, permanently, in a decision that was extremely favorable toward projects like GNU, Creative Commons, Wikipedia, and Linux. The man who prompted that decision could be described as the worst enemy a Free Software project could have. This is the story of how our community was able to benefit from that enemy.

For a decade there'd been questions: Are Open Source licenses enforceable at all? Are their terms, calling for a patent detente or disclosure of source code, legal?

=> Bruce Perens: A Big Change for Open Source (via ./)

You may find Software Freedom Law Center web site useful. It provide legal representation and other law-related services to protect and advance Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). The Center now represents many of the most important and well-established free software and open source projects.

Open Source Programming Contest – Can You Code 24 Hours Non-Stop?

Hackontest is a 24 hour programming competition between various open source software projects. The event takes place at OpenExpo on September 24/25, 2008 in Zurich, Switzerland. The contest is sponsored by Google. From the contest page:

The participating teams may win cash prizes of USD 1000, 2500 and 5000. Next to fun and competition, the elected open source developers receive a free trip to Zurich, Switzerland, including accommodation and meals from September 23 - 26, 2008 up to USD 1000 each person.

The idea of the Hackontest event is three-fold:

  • First of all, hackers (=smart programmers) of open source projects meet physically during 24h and enhance their software with a certain feature. Thus their Free Software project gets improved in terms of code and the developers have a fun time meeting in one place and competing for some nice prizes.
  • Second, users of open source software get the opportunity to file features they've missed in their favorite applications and operating systems. Therefore, during the selection process everyone who registers may file feature requests and others may vote and comment on them.
  • And third, visitors of the Hackontest event get the chance to see the commitment and team work with which open source software is created. Like this, the public becomes more aware of the creative processes and the power of collaborative effort by international open source communities.

Hackontest web site (via ./)

Red Hat Asks Court To Limit Patents On Software

Red hat's Open Source Assurance program is already used to safeguard customers developing and deploying open source solutions. Red hat now asking court to limit patents on software:

Open source software is one of the most dynamic, innovative sectors of the U.S. economy, but the U.S. patent system is a costly hindrance to open source innovation. We believe that although the patent system was created to foster innovation, it’s simply not an engine for innovation for open source. Software patents were barely recognized when open source began, and so the hope of obtaining a patent did not motivate the first developers. Those pioneers were generally opposed to software patents. The open, collaborative activity at the heart of open source is at odds with the patent system, which excludes the public from making, using or selling a patented invention. Open source developers seek to contribute code to the community – not to exclude others from using the code.

There is also Open Invention Network (OIN) backed by IBN, Red Hat, Novell, Sony and others. OIN is a company that acquires patents and offers them royalty free "to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux operating system or certain Linux-related applications". On a related note, Microsoft has claimed that free software such as OpenOffice.org and the Linux kernel violate 235 Microsoft patents and said that it will seek license fees.

=> Read more : Red Hat Asks Federal Court To Limit Patents On Software

Open Source Software Developers Make More Money

If you know open source based application development, you can make more money. A report from New York City-based consulting company Bluewolf says IT salaries across the board will continue to rise in 2008:

The rise of open source software in application development puts developers with a specialization in those technologies in a position to ask for a 30 or 40 percent pay increase, Kirven says. "We've gotten more requests from our permanent placement division for open source developers in the last six months than in the last five or six years combined," he says. "It's not as easy as getting free software, someone has to get it up and running. LAMP is everywhere now -- these types of technologies no one heard of 18 months ago are all the sudden becoming a hot commodity."