Category Archives: Free Software

Open Source Legal Notes

In his post “Is it time to revise the Open Source Definition?” the legal council of Red Hat Richard Fontana argues that the Open Source Definition (OSD) might need some review and improvement:

  • Aiming at OSD #7: Patents should be addressed to prevent recent (mis)interpretations that Open Source licenses are “Copyright only”.
  • Aiming at OSD #9: Unwanted licensing effects on non-related software should be excluded upfront to prevent any future disputes like about the SSPL.
  • Freedom 0 of the Free Software Definition – “to run the program as you wish” – should be included in the OSD for reasons of clarity.

The Software Freedom Conservancy received a $100,000 grant by the Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) for GPL enforcement.

A few days ago the oral hearing of the lawsuit between Oracle and Google were held at the U.S. Supreme Court, after it had been delayed by COVID-19. McCoy Smith shares his observations and interpretation in a detailed post “Oracle/Google” at Lex Pan Law. The litigation is over the copyrightability and if so infringement of certain parts of Java (mainly APIs) that were used within Android. If Oracle wins it will have significant impact on the whole software world and especially Open Source. Ultimately any API (use) would become subject to copyright.

Switching from Lightroom to Darktable on macOS

I started my digital photography life with a Nikon D80 and Lightroom 1.0 quite a while ago (2007). When Adobe stopped selling copies and only provided subscription options was one of the moments it became very clear that an alternative is needed. Let’s not talk about Lightroom CC, its unstable desktop app, and a recent user nightmare.

To be independent from the business needs of a company, the only option is to go for an alternative that is licensed under an Open Source license. With that preference in mind and if it is about RAW processing, you have the choice between digiKam, RawTherapee, and darktable.

I was following darktable since a few years. The 2.x versions have not really been working for me. In contrast the releases of 3.0 and 3.2 have been milestones in growing darktable into a serious and easy to use – not to say even more mature – alternative to Lightroom and it is time to do the final switch. Now or never.

To share it upfront: I did not get disappointed nor frustrated by this decision. I am just wondering, why the hell did I not switch earlier?

Continue reading Switching from Lightroom to Darktable on macOS

Yet another Open Source Organization?

Google just made some news – and controversy – with their ‘independent’ corporation The Open Usage Commons Foundation. Possibly some kind of 501(c) non-profit organization, we don’t know yet.

It has been instantiated for the sole purpose of trademark management (and enforcement?) for Open Source projects, who are said to be not well positioned to care by themselves. For a start Google assimilated their own projects: Angular, Istio, and GerritCode Review. Own Projects? Oh well, at least for Istio – that was co-developed with IBM – they now clarified who has ownership of its trademark.

In their introduction statement they claim: “[…] Accordingly, a trademark, while managed separately from the code, actually helps project owners ensure their work is used in ways that follow the Open Source Definition by being a clear signal to users that, “This is open source.” […]”

Josh Simmons, the president of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) maintaining the referenced definition has a diplomatic statement to that, which also serves well as a summary: “Of course, OSI is always glad when folks explicitly work to maintain compatibility with the Open Source Definition. What that means here is something we’re still figuring out, so OSI is taking a wait-and-see approach.[1]

Or is this yet another project for the Google Cemetery because the Open Source community is not that into trademarks as cooperations are?

There are more detailed summaries and discussions:

GPL compliance and the persistent cancer theory

In the golden age of Open Source compliance offerings, one of the key marketing argument still appears to be: “The General Public License (GPL) is sooo risky. In case of GPL infringement, you will have to release all of your code – speak your intellectual property (IP) – under the same terms. Take our license scanner as we are the best to protect you against such nightmares.”

That statement simply is not correct. But very effective if you want to sell your services. Which company wants to be forced to release its valuable IP into the public only by not following specific license terms?

This myth was supposedly framed by Steve Balmer of Microsoft who once said back in 2001: “The way the license is written, if you use any open-source software, you have to make the rest of your software open source. […] Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches. That’s the way that the license works.”

His general understanding of one of the basic principles of Free Software and the GPL – reciprocity – speaks of great intellectual power. However this muddle-headed theory in total is utterly wrong but still persistent today serving as one of the main arguments to sell license compliance offerings.

Even infringing the terms of the GPL will never force you to put your own source code under the same license. Simple as that.

Sure, in the worst case you have violated a software license. In this aspect there is no difference between the GPL or any other even proprietary license. Copyright infringement claims are caused by

  • the actual violation of the license and
  • the unlicensed use of software.

You have to cope with its consequences. Legal remedies are

  • punitive damages and
  • injunction to not distribute your product any further.

Not more, not less.

Continue reading GPL compliance and the persistent cancer theory

“All Creatures Welcome”

Wenn man von einem Chaos Communication Congress zurückkehrt, wird man oft interessiert gefragt: Und, wie war es? Erzähl mal, um was geht es da eigentlich?

Übervoll mit Eindrücken und übermüdet trotz regelmäßigen Mate-Konsums fällt es schwer, auf Anhieb passende Worte für einen allgemein verständlichen Abriss zu finden.

Wenn auf diese Art keine Zusammenfassung möglich ist, würde man als nächstes eigentlich zum mobilen Endgeräte greifen, um zumindest die bildlichen Impressionen für sich sprechen zu lassen. Doch halt, dort wird der Grundsatz noch ernst genommen, nur Photos anzufertigen, wenn alle auf dem Bild abgebildeten Personen damit einverstanden sind. Dementsprechend leer ist die eigene Bildergalerie.

“All Creatures Welcome” von Sandra Trostel (CC-BY-NC-SA)

Seit diesem Jahr gibt es Abhilfe in Form einer 86-minütigen Dokumentation: “All Creatures Welcome” von Sandra Trostel. Sie feierte (vermutlich) beim DOK Leipzig 2018 Premiere und wurde nun offiziell – zum 35. Chaos Communication Congress (35C3) – vorgestellt und steht online unter einer CC-BY-NC-SA-Lizenz zur Verfügung. In Zukunft soll auch Rohmaterial von den begleiteten Veranstaltungen – dem 32. Chaos Communication Congress und Chaos Communication Camp 2015 – zum freien Remixen zur Verfügung gestellt werden.

Also nicht fragen. Anschauen!

Homepage: http://www.allcreatureswelcome.net/
Film (in voller Länge): media.ccc.de | vimeo.com
Soundtrack: https://fairybotorchestra.bandcamp.com/releases

HowTo: Bulk exporting all of your image collections from Lightroom to a folder-based structure

Do you plan to switch from Adobe Lightroom to a different image management and raw editor, like its free alternatives darktable or RawTherapee? One of the main challenges is to preserve your carefully created collections’ structure whilst migrating. Ideally via the file system represented by a hierarchical folder structure to be independent from whatever software you choose.

As I am currently abandoning Lightroom, I have written a Bash-script to accomplish this task:

https://github.com/apfelkraut/ExportLRCatalog

For details please refer to the README.

HowTo: Thunderbird Maintenance

Over time Mozilla’s Thunderbird may happen to require some maintenance in order to continue running smoothly. Symptoms could be that either you cannot find mails that are supposed to be there, mails are doubling without any reason, or deleted mails show up again in its original folder.

Note that Thunderbird must be closed (and really not running) for the next steps to be successful. You then need to navigate to your profile folder and execute the given commands at the root of this directory.

Continue reading HowTo: Thunderbird Maintenance