The licensing text in the Linux kernel source files is inconsistent in verbiage and format. Typically, in each of its ~100k files there is a license text that describes which license applies to each specific file. While all licenses are GPLv2 compatible, properly identifying the licenses that are applicable to a specific file is very hard. To address this problem, a group of developers recently embarked on a mission to use SPDX® to research and map these inconsistencies in the licensing text. As a result of this 10 month long effort, the Linux 4.14 release includes changes to make the licensing text consistent across the kernel source files and modules. Linux Kernel License As stated on its COPYING file, the Linux kernel’s default license is GPLv2, with an exception that grants additional rights to the kernel users:
NOTE! This copyright does *not* cover user programs that use kernel
services by normal system calls - this is merely considered normal use
of the kernel, and does *not* fall under the heading of "derived work".
Also note that the GPL below is copyrighted by the Free Software
Foundation, but the instance of code that it refers to (the Linux
kernel) is copyrighted by me and others who actually wrote it.
Also note that the only valid version of the GPL as far as the kernel
is concerned is _this_ particular version of the license (ie v2, not
v2.2 or v3.x or whatever), unless explicitly otherwise stated.
The kernel’s COPYING file produces two practical effects: User-space applications can use non-GPL […]
Open source compliance is often overlooked, but is a critical component of a successful open source software strategy. If your company is going to use or contribute to open source software, failure to comply with the software licenses can lead to costly cleanup efforts, or even lawsuits if license violations are found. To mitigate these risks, it’s important to establish an internal organizational program that manages compliance with open source licenses. For many companies, open source compliance is often the first major step into open source engineering, so it’s vital to establish proper organizations and procedures that build a foundation for continual success. That’s why Ibrahim Haddad joined forces with the Linux Foundation to create Open Source Compliance in the Enterprise, and released it as a free handbook to download. This book covers the essentials of establishing a successful open source compliance strategy in an enterprise setting, including the structure […]
Open Source Wrap Up: November 14-20, 2015 Group of Biohackers Start Work on Open Source Insulin More than 370 million people suffer from diabetes worldwide, and these people rely on regular insulin injections to regulate the amount of sugar in their blood. Despite this major need for insulin, there is no generic version available on the market, and the high cost results in it having limited availability in poorer parts of the world. A group of citizen and academic researchers and biohackers, led by Counter Culture Labs, have launched a project to develop a simple method for producing insulin and release the process to the public domain. They have launched a crowdfunding campaign (that has already exceeded their goal) to fund the first stage of this research. For stage 1, ” the team will insert an optimized DNA sequence for insulin into E. coli bacteria, induce the bacteria to express […]
Open Source Wrap Up: November 7 -13, 2015 Google Releases Open Source AI Engine: TensorFlow Google has released TensorFlow, deep learning that is used in many of the company’s products, as open source. The software uses a library for numerical computation inside data flow graphs that pass dynamically sized, multi-dimensional arrays, called tensors, between nodes. The nodes perform processing asynchronously, in parallel once all tensors on their incoming edges become available. This design makes TensorFlow flexible and portable as it is relatively simple to reconstruct data flow graphs and use high-level programming languages to develop new computational systems. Google has used this to connect artificial intelligence research with product teams that build new products that use this software. By releasing it as open source, the company hopes to bring more people into this convergence effort and standardize the set of tools people rely on for this work. To learn more, […]
Open Source Wrap Up: November 1 – 6, 2015 Linux Foundation Launches Open API Initiative The Linux Foundation continues to expand their reach in the tech industry by launching the Open API Initiative (OAI) aimed at creating a vendor neutral, portable, open specification for providing metadata for RESTful APIs. This specification will be built on top of Swagger: a description system that makes APIs autodiscoverable and self-documenting. Open APIs have become a key component when creating new technologies, and are particularly important for sectors like the banking and health care industries. Any effort to improve standardization will certainly be valuable. More information can be found at the project home page. Open Source Mobile Voter Registration System Developed for Libya If you have followed international news at all in recent years, you are certainly aware of the ongoing instability throughout much of the Middle East. Libya has been hit particularly hard by […]
A few of us from the Samsung Open Source Group had the pleasure of attending LinuxCon in Seattle this week. It attracted more than 1,500 professionals from the Linux community and the rest of the open source industry for presentations, conversations, and general mingling. For the first time, LinuxCon was colocated with ContainerCon which, in addition to CloudOpen, brought quite a few experts from companies that work on cloud technologies and virtualization. Linux is at the Center of an Ever-Growing Ecosystem Anyone familiar with the Linux Foundation probably knows the community is as strong as ever and shows little sign of slowing down. Jim Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation, explained this in his opening keynote when he stated that nearly 3,000 developers have contributed more than 64 million lines of code to Linux Foundation collaborative projects (not including the Linux Kernel). These contributions represent $5.1 billion in […]
Open Source Wrap Up: June 27 – July 2, 2015 Linux Foundation Announces R Consortium The Linux Foundation (LF) has announced the launch of the R Consortium, a collaborative project aimed at strengthening the technical and user communities of the R programming language. R is an open source programming language used by statisticians and data scientists to extract value from data, and it is used by millions of researchers around the world. This is the newest collaborative project of the many that have been launched by the LF, which all focus on the promotion and development of their respective communities. To learn more about the R Consortium, visit the project website. Tizen 3.0 Common 2015.Q2 is Released The Tizen community has announced the release of Tizen 3.0 Common 2015.Q2. This release features a number of upgrades and improvements; most notably, major changes have been made to system security. The Crosswalk […]