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Free Software Foundation Filed GPL Violations Suit Against Cisco

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) - a non-profit corporation founded by Richard Stallman; today announced that it has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Cisco. The FSF's complaint alleges that in the course of distributing various products under the Linksys brand Cisco has violated the licenses of many programs on which the FSF holds copyright, including GCC, binutils, and the GNU C Library. In doing so, Cisco has denied its users their right to share and modify the software.
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Happy Birthday To GNU

GNU is a computer operating system composed entirely of free software. According to wikipedia:

The plan for the GNU operating system was publicly announced on September 27, 1983, on the net.unix-wizards and net.usoft newsgroups by Richard Stallman. Software development began on January 5, 1984, when Stallman quit his job at Massachusetts Institute of Technology so that they could not claim ownership or interfere with distributing GNU as free software.

FSF has started its month long celebration of the anniversary by publishing Happy Birthday to GNU film:

(Video.01: Freedom Fry — "Happy birthday to GNU" - short film by Stephen Fry)

I am looking forward to another 25 years!

Richard Stallman Attacks On Proprietary Software Vendors

Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation published an interesting article on BBC news website. From the article:

To pay so much attention to Bill Gates' retirement is missing the point. What really matters is not Gates, nor Microsoft, but the unethical system of restrictions that Microsoft, like many other software companies, imposes on its customers. But Gates didn't invent proprietary software, and thousands of other companies do the same thing. It's wrong, no matter who does it.

Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, and the rest, offer you software that gives them power over you. A change in executives or companies is not important. What we need to change is this system.

That's what the free software movement is all about. "Free" refers to freedom: we write and publish software that users are free to share and modify.

=> It's not the Gates, it's the bars

Read the Fine Print on "Open Source" Software

There is some good discussion going on about open source software licenses and confusion. From the article:

Back in the 1980s, when Richard Stallman was the only one talking about the need for "free software," no one quite knew what he was talking about. That's not just because people looked askance at someone who said it would be possible to write a version of Unix that could be given away for free, along with all of the compilers, editors, and utilities that a typical Unix installation included.

Stallman also managed to confuse people with the term "free" -- he used it as a political statement, saying "free as in freedom," or "free as in 'free speech'," contrasting it with "free as in 'free beer'." But no matter how hard he tried, Stallman was faced with the reality that most people thought of "free software" as programs for which you didn't have to pay money. The fact that Stallman's software was indeed designed to be given away without charge only added to the confusion.

=> Read the Fine Print on "Open Source" Software ( via Linuxtoday )

How To Make and Roll Out Your Own Linux Distribution

This article talks about various methods to roll out your Linux distribution such as simple remaster script in Puppy Linux distribution, LFS or Gentoo Linux. From the article:

Inspired by Richard Stallman, whose strategic vision and courage enabled revolutionary change in computer software, later joined by Linus Torvalds and a group of volunteers, created the greatest DIY operating system the world has ever seen. You, too, can create your own Linux distribution. Here's how. Whether you want to customize Knoppix, respin an existing distribution of the open-source operating system, like Puppy Linux, or are intent on creating your own package from scratch, we'll walk you through the process.

=> How To Roll Your Own Linux Distro [informationweek.com]

Qt To Be Licensed Under GPL version 3

Qt is the standard framework for high performance, cross-platform application development. Trolltech ASA is licensing its Qt cross-platform development framework under the GNU General Public License version 3 (GPL v3), with immediate effect. GNU founder Richard Stallman said:

I am very pleased that Trolltech has decided to make Qt avaliable under GPL v3. This will allow parts of KDE to adopt GPL v3 too. Even better, Trolltech has made provisions for a smooth migration to future GPL versions if it approves of them.

Qt is already available under the GPL v2 and will continue to be so in addition to the GPL v3.

The GPL v3 license will make it easy and safe for free software developers to use Trolltech's Qt with the most recent license framework from the Free Software Foundation. Trolltech hopes that its move will inspire free software projects to use GPL v3 when programming with Qt.

Trolltech to adopt GPL 3 for Qt

Video: History of GNU, Linux and Free Software Movements

This is an interesting documentary video which traces the history of GNU, Linux, and the open source and free software movements. It features several interviews with prominent hackers and entrepreneurs (and hackers-cum-entrepreneurs), including Richard Stallman, Michael Tiemann, Linus Torvalds, Larry Augustin, Eric S. Raymond, Bruce Perens, Frank Hecker and Brian Behlendorf.

The film begins in medias res with an IPO, and then sets the historical stage by showing the beginnings of software development back in the day when software was shared on paper tape for the price of the paper itself. It then segues to Bill Gates's Open Letter to Hobbyists in which he asks Computer Hobbyists to not share, but to buy software. (This letter was written by Gates when Microsoft was still based in Arizona and spelled "Micro-Soft".) Richard Stallman then explains how and why he left the MIT Lab for Artificial Intelligence in order to devote his life to the development of free software, as well as how he started with the GNU project.

(Note: There is a video embedded within this post, please visit the site to view the video - Time: 1 hr 25 min 9 sec)

Linus Torvalds is interviewed on his development of the Linux kernel as well as on the GNU/Linux naming controversy and Linux's further evolution, including its commercialization.

Richard Stallman remarks on some of the ideological aspects of open source vis-á-vis Communism and capitalism and well as on several aspects of the development of GNU/Linux.

Michael Tiemann (interviewed in a desert) tells how he met Stallman and got an early version of Stallman's GCC and founded Cygnus Solutions.

Larry Augustin tells how he combined the resulting GNU software and a normal PC to create a UNIX-like Workstation which cost one third the price of a workstation by Sun Microsystems even though it was three times as powerful. His narrative includes his early dealings with venture capitalists, the eventual capitalization and commodification of Linux for his own company, VA Linux, and ends with its IPO.

Frank Hecker of Netscape tells how Netscape executives released the source code for Netscape's browser, one of the signal events which made Open Source a force to be reckoned with by business executives, the mainstream media, and the public at large.

PS: You can download video from Google Video for Apple iPOD here.