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Copyleft Terms May Become Unenforceable in 11 Countries under CPTPP

1 week 1 day ago
by Jack Burton

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is an enormous (roughly 6,000-page) treaty between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam that was signed in Chile on March 8, 2018. So far, only Mexico and Japan have ratified it. CPTPP is almost identical to the original TPP, which included those 11 countries plus the United States. In early 2017, the US withdrew from the treaty, which its President had previously described as a "terrible deal".

CPTPP has many provisions of concern to the FOSS industries and communities in those countries. Open Source Industry Australia (OSIA) has raised a number of those issues with an Australian Senate committee's inquiry into CPTPP (see "CPTPP could still destroy the Australian FOSS industry" and "Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense & Trade regarding the 'Comprehensive & Progressive agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership'"). The figure below shows the likely consequences of one such provision, Art. 14.17 in the Electronic Commerce Chapter, which deals with transfer of or access to source code.

Linux Journal readers may be particularly concerned about one of those consequences: FOSS authors in the 11 CPTPP countries may lose the ability to use the courts to enforce the copyleft terms in licences such as the GPL.

To what extent that happens will depend on how each country decides two questions of legal interpretation: first, whether FOSS licences constitute "commercially negotiated contracts"; and second, how significant the omission of "enforcement" from the list of conditional actions in the provision may be.

At least some adverse consequences of Art. 14.17 are likely in any countries that ratify CPTPP regardless of the interpretation taken, and the risk of the more severe consequences in those countries seems grave.

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Jack Burton

BrowserStack Announces Enhanced Open-Source Program, EU's Web Censorship Plan, Qt for Python Now Available and More

1 week 1 day ago

News briefs for June 13, 2018.

BrowserStack this morning announced its enhanced open source program, which offers free testing of open source software on the BrowserStack Real Device Cloud. The press release states that "BrowserStack is doubling down on its support for open source projects with full and unlimited access to the BrowserStack platform and its capabilities. The goal is to empower open source developers with the tools and infrastructure necessary to test with speed, accuracy and scale." See the BrowserStack blog post "Supporting Open Source to Drive Community Innovation" for more on BrowserStack's commitment to open source.

Act now to stop the EU's web censorship plan. The Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament is voting on June 20 on the proposed reform of EU copyright rules. According to the Creative Commons story, "the final copyright directive will have deep and lasting effects on the ability to create and share, to access and use education and research, and to support and grow diverse content platforms and information services. As it stands now, the copyright reform—especially Article 13—is a direct threat to the open web." If you're in the EU, you can go to https://saveyourinternet.eu and ask Members of the European Parliament to delete Article 13 from the copyright directive.

The first official release of Qt for Python (Pyside2) is now available. It's based on Qt 5.11, and the project will follow the general Qt release schedule and versions. It's available for open-source and commercial Qt Development users. See the Qt blog post for more details and links to download packages.

Notepad++ is now available as a Snap package for Linux, It's FOSS reports. The package actually runs through Wine, but you don't need to set up Wine first. For Ubuntu users, Notepad++ is available in the Software Center.

Facebook has released its Sonar debugging tool to the Open Source community, ZDNet reports. Sonar was developed by Facebook engineers "to help them manage the social network, including the implementation of new features, bug hunting, and performance optimization." By releasing Sonar, the hope is to give programmers a tool to help accelerate app development and deployment.

News open source Cloud Application Development EU censorship qt python Facebook
Jill Franklin

Linux Gets Loud

1 week 1 day ago
by Joshua Curry

Exploring the current state of musical Linux with interviews of developers of popular packages.

Linux is ready for prime time when it comes to music production. New offerings from Linux audio developers are pushing creative and technical boundaries. And, with the maturity of the Linux desktop and growth of standards-based hardware setups, making music with Linux has never been easier.

Linux always has had a place for musicians looking for inexpensive rigs to record and create music, but historically, it's been a pain to maintain. Digging through arcane documentation and deciphering man pages is not something that interests many musicians.

Loading up Linux is not as intimidating as it once was, and a helpful community is going strong. Beyond tinkering types looking for cheap beats, users range in experience and skill. Linux is still the underdog when it comes to its reputation for thin creative applications though.

Recently, musically inclined Linux developers have turned out a variety of new and updated software packages for both production and creative uses. From full-fledged DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations), to robust soft-synths and versatile effects platforms, the OSS audio ecosystem is healthy.

A surge in technology-focused academic music programs has brought a fresh crop of software-savvy musicians into the fold. The modular synth movement also has nurtured an interest in how sound is made and encouraged curiosity about the technology behind it.

One of the biggest hurdles in the past was the lack of core drivers for the wide variety of outboard gear used by music producers. With USB 2.0 and improvements in ALSA and JACK, more hardware became available for use. Companies slowly have opened their systems to third-party developers, allowing more low-level drivers to be built.

Hardware

In terms of raw horsepower, the ubiquity of multicore processors and cheap RAM has enabled Linux to take advantage of powerful machines. Specifically, multithreaded software design available to developers in the Linux kernel offer audio packages that offload DSP and UI to various cores. Beyond OS multithreading, music software devs have taken advantage of this in a variety of ways.

A well known API called Jack Audio Connection Kit (JACK) handles multiple inter-application connections as well as audio hardware communication with a multithreaded approach, enabling low latency with both audio DSP and MIDI connections.

Ardour has leveraged multithreaded processing for some time. In early versions, it was used to distribute audio processing and the main interface and OS interaction to separate cores. Now it offers powerful parallel rendering on a multitude of tracks with complex effects.

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Joshua Curry

Private Cloud May Be the Best Bet: Report

1 week 1 day ago
News flash: Private cloud economics can offer more cost efficiency than public cloud pricing structures. Private, or on-premises, cloud solutions can be more cost-effective than public cloud options, according to a report by 451 Research and Canonical. That conclusion counters the notion that public cloud platforms traditionally are more cost-efficient than private infrastructures.
Jack M. Germain