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.
Mr. Stephen Fry introduces you to free software, and reminds you of a very special birthday. Happy birthday GNU!
Gates may be gone, but the walls and bars of proprietary software he helped create remain, for now — Richard Stallman.
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.
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 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
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-Ã¡-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.
The founder of the Free Software Foundation asks readers whether they will fight for freedom or be too lazy to resist. In an interview he talks about GPL v3 and many other things:
The fact that Torvalds says “open source” instead of “free software” shows where he is coming from. I wrote the GNU GPL to defend freedom for all users of all versions of a program. I developed version 3 to do that job better and protect against new threats.
Torvalds says he rejects this goal; that’s probably why he doesn’t appreciate GPL version 3. I respect his right to express his views, even though I think they are foolish. However, if you don’t want to lose your freedom, you had better not follow him.
Let the flame war began 😉
This is an interesting information regarding usage of GPL v3 and proprietary code in embedded devices.
Tivoization is the creation of a system that incorporates software under the terms of a copyleft software license, but uses hardware to prevent users from running modified versions of the software on that hardware. Richard Stallman coined the term and believes this practice denies users some of the freedom that the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) was designed to protect. The term came about in reference to TiVo’s use of GNU GPL licensed software on the TiVo brand digital video recorders (DVR).
Generally hypervisors is used to optimize IT Infrastructure with Virtualization. You can improve productivity and development w/ software such as XEN or VMware Software. Now there is a new usage for hypervisors:
This guest whitepaper explains how hypervisors can isolate proprietary software from GPLv2 and GPLv3-licensed software. Authored by a Trango product manager, it uses Trango’s hypervisor as an example, showing how the technology could help safeguard copyright-encumbered multimedia content in a video playback device with a user-modifiable Linux OS component.
So how can hypervisors can defeat GPLv3’s “anti-tivoization”:
Use of a hypervisor can assist device vendors with GPL license compliance, both v2 and v3. It also allows vendors to maintain strong control over their other software components, and ensure that a modified version of GPL software cannot be used to gain access to their sensitive devices or data, or to modify the fundamental behavior of the system.