FLOSS Research

Welcome new directors

Open Source Initiative - Mon, 2022-04-11 22:23
The 2022 election is over and the OSI has three new Directors Carlo Piana, Josh...
Categories: FLOSS Research

User beware: Modified AGPLv3 removes freedoms, adds legal headaches

Open Source Initiative - Thu, 2022-04-07 10:08

In a prior post, we reported on a decision from a U.S. district court holding that it was false advertising for a company to claim that software licensed under the Affero General Public License version 3 with the addition of the Commons Clause (referred to in the case as the “Neo4j Sweden Software License”) was “free and open source” software. Unfortunately that case contains one more decision that is already raising concerns among the open source community.

Defendants in this case had forked the Neo4j software and removed the Commons Clause from their now-AGPLv3 licensed fork. They did this relying on AGPLv3 Section 7 that permits a licensee to remove any "further restriction" – such as non-commercial use – imposed beyond those listed in AGPLv3. However, the court held that the defendants were not allowed to redistribute the software without the Commons Clause license.

That conclusion goes against the intent of the drafters of the AGPLv3. The GPLv3 Second Discussion Draft Rationale says in footnote 73 that the restriction was aimed at the copyright owners themselves: “Here we are particularly concerned about the practice of program authors who purport to license their works under the GPL with an additional requirement that contradicts the terms of the GPL, such as a prohibition on commercial use.”

Nevertheless, the Neo4j district court reached a different conclusion, with the judge relying on his own opinion in another, earlier case against related defendants, Neo4j, Inc. v. Graph Foundation, Inc. The Commons Clause is not a stand-alone license but designed as a modifier to an open source license. The Commons Clause adds a restriction on “Selling” software, with “Selling” a defined term of unclear scope. There is no question that adding the Commons Clause makes a free and open source license non-free, which the FAQs for the Clause itself say.

The part of the AGPLv3 license defendants relied on to remove the Commons Clause says that “If the Program as you received it, or any part of it, contains a notice stating that it is governed by this License along with a term that is a further restriction, you may remove that term.” Why didn’t the court permit the removal of the Commons Clause, and thus hold that the distribution of the fork under the AGPLv3 alone was correctly advertised as open source software?

The trial court held that this provision in the AGPLv3 applies only to downstream licensees, not when the original licensor adds them:

Neither of the two provisions in the form AGPLv3 that Defendants point to give licensees the right to remove the information at issue. Section 10 of the AGPLv3, which is incorporated into the Neo4J Sweden Software License, states: “You may not impose any further restrictions on the exercise of rights granted or affirmed under this License.” Section 7 states: “[i]f the Program as you received it, or any part of it, contains a notice stating that it is governed by this License along with a term that is a further restriction, you may remove that term.” Defendants argue that these provisions mean that “there can be no liability for removing the further licensing restrictions which Neo4j incorporated into the license,” namely the Commons Clause. As Plaintiffs point out, however, the AGPLv3 defines “you” as the licensee, not the licensor. AGPL § 0 (“Each licensee is addressed as ‘you’”). Thus, read correctly, Sections 7 and 10 prohibit a licensee from imposing further restrictions, but do not prohibit a licensor from doing so. Indeed, it would be contrary to principles of contract and copyright law to interpret these provisions as limiting Neo4J Sweden’s exclusive right to license its copyrighted software under terms of its choosing.

PureThink has now withdrawn consideration of this question from the lawsuit, so it will be up to another party to challenge the correctness of the court’s opinion.

Why this matters

There are several lessons to be learned from this. This is an unexpected outcome. The Software Freedom Conservancy called it “erroneous.” It was the intention of the FSF (footnote 73) that if the licensor added more restrictions, the downstream users could remove them.

But at the end of the day, courts interpret the meaning of legal agreements and, no matter how skilled the drafter, the outcome may be unexpected. This is one reason why the license review process is so rigorous. An OSI-approved license may be used for decades to come and we do our best to make sure that they will be interpreted as intended.

It is also a demonstration that combining an open source license with other terms will create a new license that is neither OSI-approved nor likely one that can gain approval. Any effort to change the terms of an open source license should be met with suspicion because they are likely designed to take away freedoms, or else an already OSI-approved license would have been suitable. The subterfuge is designed to “open wash” the software, claiming to use an open source license and hoping no one looks too carefully.

As a consequence, using any software under a non-OSI-approved licensing combination requires professional advice on the scope of rights being granted. But this largely defeats the purpose of using an open source license, which is to rely on the community consensus that the license delivers all the rights necessary to enjoy the software without negotiating with its makers and most likely also to take advantage of the network effect that becomes available when using a license that all know and understand. Sticking to OSI-approved licenses is the way to ensure that everyone’s expectations are met.

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Categories: FLOSS Research

User beware: Modified AGPLv3 removes freedoms, adds legal headaches

Open Source Initiative - Thu, 2022-04-07 03:24
Courts interpret the meaning of legal agreements and, no matter how skilled the drafter, the outcome may be unexpected. This is one reason why the license review process is so rigorous. An OSI-approved license may be used for decades to come and we do our best to make sure that they will be interpreted as intended.
Categories: FLOSS Research

Google OSPO: Why we support the OSI

Open Source Initiative - Tue, 2022-04-05 08:30
We asked Google OSPO Director Chris Dibona to share the organization’s intrinsic ties to open source, its reasons for supporting the Open Source Initiative, and its hopes for the open source movement.
Categories: FLOSS Research

Google OSPO: Why we support the OSI

Open Source Initiative - Tue, 2022-04-05 08:30

This week, we’re pleased to spotlight another OSI sponsor, Google, and learn why open source is important to their organization.

Google's Open Source Programs Office (OSPO) supports open source innovation, collaboration, and sustainability through programs and services. Chris Dibona has been the Director of the Google OSPO since it began in 2004. Google’s commitment to supporting open source projects, communities, and maintainers across the entire open source ecosystem has only grown stronger, doubling its public repos in the past five years and investing $1 million in open source research.

We asked Director Chris Dibona to share the organization’s intrinsic ties to open source, its reasons for supporting the Open Source Initiative, and its hopes for the open source movement. Here’s what he said:

OSPO: Google has been using and releasing open source nearly since its inception in the late 90s. Google is keenly aware of the role that open source plays as the underpinnings of so many of our services; we happily use open source licensing as it allows us to have the best possible relationships, with little friction, with our friends in the larger world of mobile, cloud, systems, and machine learning development. Computer science (and the industry) is built on open source!

OSI: What are the 2-3 reasons your organization sponsors the Open Source Initiative?

OSPO: Googlers have been part of the OSI since the early 2000s, and we see OSI as the literal standard bearer, deciding what is and is not open source, and a strong administerial OSI is one that serves the world of open source developers well. I also have aspirations for OSI’s educational mission, presenting a fair view of what open source is and what responsibilities users of open source software have when using open source.

OSI: Why should organizations that consume open source software support the mission of OSI?

OSPO: A confused world of open source represents ambiguity in what you can or cannot do with open source licensed software. Commercial organizations should support OSI’s mission so that there’s no surprises when using software. Proprietary software isn’t bad at all, but knowing and maintaining the differences between commercial proprietary software and open source is pretty important to us. For non-profit organizations in the software development space, they should see the OSI as an important specialist organization preserving what open source and free software are to the world of software development.

OSI: What is the most important goal that the open source movement needs to achieve in 2022?

OSPO: More education and more clarity as to what open source is and is not and what one can and cannot do with it. I worry that there’s a lot of commercial and regulatory moats being dug that aim to remove the freedoms we associate with free and open source software, and OSI is an important voice in preserving what open source is, and how people can use, modify, distribute and reshare it.

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Categories: FLOSS Research

Six lessons learned from 2022 OSI elections

Open Source Initiative - Thu, 2022-03-31 08:30
Before I mark a major project as DONE, I always take time to write down what worked, what didn’t and fresh thoughts on how to do things better next time.
Categories: FLOSS Research

Six lessons learned from 2022 OSI elections

Open Source Initiative - Thu, 2022-03-31 08:30

Before I mark a major project as DONE, I always take time to write down what worked, what didn’t and fresh thoughts on how to do things better next time. The OSI elections occupied my mind for almost all of Q1. Here is my hot take on the 2022 elections.

Consider whether to run the elections separately

This was a recommendation from consultants in 2021 and we will need to discuss with the board how to implement it for future elections. Running two events of this magnitude in parallel is demanding for the limited staff we have. It’s easy to make mistakes, like putting links to the wrong page on an email, for example. The Board already has a “fall cycle” during which appointed Directors are renewed: it may make sense to run one election around that time. On the other hand, running both elections in one quarter will free up time for the rest of the year. We’ll have to evaluate this option very carefully.

Voters’ participation is quite low

For the Affiliates election we emailed 81 representatives of Affiliate organizations. 48 of them opened the ballot email, 41 visited the voting website but only 31 voted. A total of 50 organizations (62%) didn’t vote.

For the Individual election we emailed 567 Individual members: 312 opened the email, 212 people visited the website and 164 voted. 71% of members (403 in total) didn’t vote. What’s more disturbing, half of those who opened the email didn’t vote and, worst, one out of five who visited the page (22%) gave up on voting.

These numbers are not shocking given the fact that OSI at the moment doesn’t have staff and a program assigned to maintain relationships with Affiliates and individual members. We’ll have to get creative to improve the engagement in the near future.

Clean up the data early and often

A lot of time went to cleaning up the data to understand who is responsible for electing Affiliate representatives. Out of 81 registered Affiliates, only 47 responded confirming the contact person representing the organizations. It took us weeks to complete the process and that effort wasn’t paid off by larger participation. Ideally we’d want the Affiliates to keep their own records clean during the year. We already know that the Affiliate program needs a new approach.

Individual members' data is a lot easier to maintain because most of that is tied to payments. We also have Lifetime members (mostly former Board members and notable volunteers) who need to be reviewed manually but there are not that many to cause issues.

Reminder emails work

Any tool we use to run future elections will have to keep the reminder emails: The peaks below correspond to the nudge emails sent automatically every 3 days.

We need a better voting tool

In hindsight, we realized we didn’t dedicate enough time picking an alternative to Helios. The tool we used for 2022, Opa Vote has two major issues: It’s not Open Source although it used to be. In fact it was forked from OpenSTV and appears to be towards the end of a rights-ratchet cycle so is unsuitable for OSI to use. Additionally, it doesn’t send voting receipts to individual voters or offer them a way to ensure their vote has been counted.

We’ll need to research alternatives for the next elections, something that is as easy to use as Opa Vote for administrators and for users, is open source, doesn’t require double-opt in for the voting email, allows for different election methods, regularly sends emails and has minimal reputational issues.

The election cycle won’t restart until later this year, in Q4. We’ll start thinking about addressing these issues then. Stay tuned for more conversations on processes, tools and methods.

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Categories: FLOSS Research

Simplify Open Source License Compliance

Open Source Initiative - Tue, 2022-03-29 08:30
During our POSI 2021 event Marc Jones, General Counsel at CivicActions shared some of his top-level advice for anyone looking to open source a project
Categories: FLOSS Research

Simplify Open Source License Compliance

Open Source Initiative - Tue, 2022-03-29 08:30

Creative, exciting applications of open source software can be found worldwide, and who better to share the details of new use cases than the practitioners themselves. In this blog series we’ll feature guests who told their open source stories during Practical Open Source Information (POSI) 2021, an online conference hosted by OSI. Check this channel for more practical open source stories.

Marc Jones is General Counsel at CivicActions, a professional services firm providing design, technology, consulting and training services to the government. He started his law career at Software Freedom Law Center and has advised various open source and free culture organizations over the past nine years. In other words, he has a lot of experience in the licensing of open source software and shared some of his top-level advice for anyone looking to open source a project. Here’s what he had to say:

At the start of the project, these are the basic things to consider:

  1. What will you name the project?
  2. Where will you publish the code?

Pick a unique name that will have longevity with the project. Down the road it will need to fit into a software distribution ecosystem, so it should not be too common a name, and it should certainly not infringe on any trademarks.

Marc advises making the project publicly available from day one. Giving it to third parties is the whole point of licensing and open sourcing a project. GitHub and GitLab are the most common places to publish code with distributed version control. Coordination of many file changes is what open source software platforms like Git are designed to do. Publishing here means copies can be shared, changes can be made to those copies, and suggestions can be made to those changes. It is this exchange of drafts and changes that makes the project open source.

After your project is named and you’ve chosen a repository in which to publish the code, it’s time to look at licensing options and important steps in setting it up. Marc shares nine popular OSI-approved licenses that lawyers and engineers are most familiar with. He also suggests considering whether you want a Copyleft license, which is designed to encourage users to produce and give back to the comments, or a Permissive license, which maximizes the number of people using the code with less restrictions on how they do it.

If the project was started with a third-party library, it’s wise to license your project under the same license that library uses. If you choose a different license, make sure the licenses are compatible, and be sure to update your LICENSE file with the library’s license. And don’t delete anything from the third-party code. Remember, this is a community: if the ecosystem in which your project lives prefers a certain license, Marc suggests staying aligned with that ecosystem and going with that license.

Finally, once you choose your license, add a copy to the LICENSE file and complete the README file, including a copyright statement and a clear statement of your inbound/outbound policies. These are basic set up procedures that are best not to be overlooked.

Watching Marc’s video will offer more details if you’re serious about open sourcing your project. You can do that below:

Ospos And Lawyers Simplify Open Source License Compliance Or How Most People Do Open Source : OSI : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive This talk would walk through compliance steps from the perspective of a good faith effort to create open source software -- in other words, what most people... archive.org

The previous blog in this series features an OSI board member talking about “How to talk to your boss about open source”. This concludes the blog series for the Practical Open Source Information (POSI) 2021 event–thank you for reading along! To keep up on industry news, events, and insights from open source thought leaders and more, sign up for OSI's newsletter.

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Categories: FLOSS Research

Open source ‘protestware’ harms Open Source

Open Source Initiative - Thu, 2022-03-24 08:31

This week marks one month since the start of Putin’s war against Ukraine. We stated the OSI position at that time—the OSI condemns the attack on Ukraine by the Russian army at the direction of Vladimir Putin—but there is a new development that directly impacts the open source community, and it warrants a new commentary.

The new development is that angry maintainers have started adding code to a small number of open source repositories to protest against the war. When deployed, this ‘protestware’ expresses the maintainer’s opposition to the Russian government’s invasion of Ukraine. Most protestware simply displays anti-war or pro-Ukrainian messages when run. This is a non-violent, creative form of protest that can be effective.

But, in at least one case—the peacenotwar module in the node-ipc package—an update sabotages npm developers with code intended to wipe data stored in Russia and Belarus. In a March 16 blog post on the malicious code, Liran Tal at Snyk said, “This security incident involves destructive acts of corrupting files on disk by one maintainer and their attempts to hide and restate that deliberate sabotage in different forms.”

The “weaponization of open source” as Gerald Benischke calls it in his March 16 blog post is indiscriminate, and the collateral damage it causes damages the work of developers and operators solely because they have a Russia-assigned IP address. It harms peacemakers as much as the warmongers—even ethical hackers using a VPN to work against the invasion might become collateral damage.

Understandably, this has caused outrage. We share that outrage. Protest is an important element of free speech that should be protected. Openness and inclusivity are cornerstones of the culture of open source, and the tools of open source communities are designed for global access and participation. Collectively, the very culture and tooling of open source—issue tracking, messaging systems, repositories—offer a unique signaling channel that may route around censorship imposed by tyrants to hold their power.

Instead of malware, a better approach to free expression would be to use messages in commit logs to send anti-propaganda messages and to issue trackers to share accurate news inside Russia of what is really happening in Ukraine at the hands of the Russian military, to cite two obvious possibilities. There are so many outlets for open source communities to be creative without harming everyone who happens to load the update.

We encourage community members to use both the freedoms and tools of open source innovatively and wisely to inform Russian citizens about the reality of the harm imposed on Ukrainian citizens and to support humanitarian and relief efforts in and supportive of Ukraine.

Longer term, it’s likely these weaponizations are like spitting into the wind: The downsides of vandalizing open source projects far outweigh any possible benefit, and the blowback will ultimately damage the projects and contributors responsible. By extension, all of open source is harmed. Use your power, yes—but use it wisely.

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Categories: FLOSS Research

Open source ‘protestware’ harms Open Source

Open Source Initiative - Thu, 2022-03-24 04:31
There is a new development that directly impacts the open source community, and it warrants a new commentary. Angry maintainers have started adding code to a small number of open source repositories to protest against the war.
Categories: FLOSS Research

Comcast: Why we support the OSI

Open Source Initiative - Tue, 2022-03-22 08:30

This week, we’re pleased to spotlight another OSI sponsor, Comcast, and learn why open source is important to their organization.

Comcast is a global media and technology company that operates as three primary businesses: Comcast Cable in the U.S., Sky in Europe, and NBCUniversal globally. In addition, Comcast also provides communications services, including residential high-speed internet, phone, and wireless services.

Comcast embraces open source technology as a means of collaborative development toward digital transformation in a very interconnected world. Its Open Source Program Office (OSPO) is very active, and dedicated to being a part of the open source community and continuing to transform while delivering exceptional services to their customers.

We asked our sponsors at Comcast to share the organization’s intrinsic ties to open source, its reasons for supporting the Open Source Initiative, and its hopes for the open source movement. Here’s what they said:

Comcast is committed to open source software. We use it to build products, attract talent, and evolve the technology we use to improve the customer experience. We also encourage and support our software engineers in open-sourcing the projects they develop. We know the collective development ethos behind robust open source projects makes our products better and more powerful and we’re committed to being part of the global open source community now and into the future.

Beyond using open source technologies to build our products and experiences, we contribute actively to a wide range of open-source and open standards groups, including the Open Source Initiative. We believe open source is no longer optional, it is a business imperative and critical for innovation across our entertainment platforms. We also support and encourage the Open Source Initiative to sustain its work in maintaining the definition of Open Source.

OSI has been central to creating more trust in the open source community through its work on license due diligence which we all rely on. At a foundational level, the continued success of the OSI is important to the success of open source. We hope that the ongoing innovation in this space will help encourage more companies to give back to an industry we all benefit from significantly.

The open source movement is expanding globally, and it provides an excellent platform for people that are willing to utilize their skills. With an increasing number of users, we see growth in the contributors, projects, and the community. Because of this, we see sustainability as a fundamental goal to focus on in 2022.

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Categories: FLOSS Research

Comcast: Why we support the OSI

Open Source Initiative - Tue, 2022-03-22 04:26
We asked our sponsors at Comcast to share the organization’s intrinsic ties to open source, its reasons for supporting the Open Source Initiative, and its hopes for the open source movement.
Categories: FLOSS Research

2022 OSI Board Election Results

Open Source Initiative - Mon, 2022-03-21 16:52
The polls just closed, the results are in. Congratulations to the elected directors: Pamela Chestek, Carlo Piana, Josh Berkus and Amanda Brock.
Categories: FLOSS Research

2022 OSI Board Election Results

Open Source Initiative - Mon, 2022-03-21 12:56

The polls just closed, the results are in. Congratulations to the elected directors: Pamela Chestek, Carlo Piana, Josh Berkus and Amanda Brock.

Pamela Chestek has been confirmed and is joined by Carlo Piana as the directors elected by the Affiliate organizations. Josh Berkus and Amanda Brock collected the votes of the Individual members.

The OSI thanks all of those who participated in the 2022 board elections by casting a ballot and asking questions to the candidates. We also want to extend our sincerest gratitude to all of those who stood for election. Each year the OSI is honored with an incredible slate of candidates who step forward from across the open source software community to support the OSI's work, and advance the OSI's mission. The 2022 nominees were again, remarkable: experts from a variety of fields and technologies with diverse skills and experience gained from working across the open source community. The OSI is honored to include each of the candidates in our 2022 election.

We would also like to recognize and thank Josh Simmons, Megan Byrd-Sanicki and Italo Vignoli who are leaving the OSI board. We hope the entire open source software community will join us in thanking them for their service and their leadership. The OSI and the open source software movement are better off because of their contributions and commitment, and we thank them.

Next steps

The board of directors will meet before March 31st to formalize the election results. The new board members will be invited to a series of onboarding meetings to get to know the internal tools of the organization and familiarize with the mission, vision and strategy of the organization. And to know each other and the staff.

We’ll also run a post-mortem analysis of the voting process and tools we used to keep improving.

The complete election resultsOSI Affiliate directors elections 2022

There are 8 candidates competing for 2 seats. The number of voters is 31 and there were 31 valid votes and 0 empty votes.

Counting votes using Scottish STV.
R|Pamela Ches|Carlo Piana|Matt Jarvis|George DeMe|Marco A. Gu|Lior Kaplan
|tek | | |t |tierrez |
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------
|Benito Gonz|Gael Blonde|Exhausted |Surplus |Threshold
|alez |lle | | |
==========================================================================
1| 10.00000| 7.00000| 3.00000| 3.00000| 1.00000| 3.00000
| 1.00000| 3.00000| 0.00000| 0.00000| 11.00000
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Count of first choices. No candidates have surplus votes so candidates
| will be eliminated and their votes transferred for the next round.
==========================================================================
2| 10.00000| 7.00000| 3.00000| 3.00000| | 4.00000
| 1.00000| 3.00000| 0.00000| 0.00000| 11.00000
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Count after eliminating Marco A. Gutierrez and transferring votes.
| Candidates Marco A. Gutierrez and Benito Gonzalez were tied when
| choosing candidates to eliminate. Candidate Marco A. Gutierrez was
| chosen by breaking the tie randomly. No candidates have surplus votes
| so candidates will be eliminated and their votes transferred for the
| next round.
==========================================================================
3| 10.00000| 7.00000| 4.00000| 3.00000| | 4.00000
| | 3.00000| 0.00000| 0.00000| 11.00000
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Count after eliminating Benito Gonzalez and transferring votes. No
| candidates have surplus votes so candidates will be eliminated and
| their votes transferred for the next round.
==========================================================================
4| 12.00000| 7.00000| 5.00000| | | 4.00000
| | 3.00000| 0.00000| 1.00000| 11.00000
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Count after eliminating George DeMet and transferring votes.
| Candidates George DeMet and Gael Blondelle were tied when choosing
| candidates to eliminate. Candidate George DeMet was chosen by breaking
| the tie randomly. Candidate Pamela Chestek has reached the threshold
| and is elected. Candidates have surplus votes so surplus votes will be
| transferred for the next round.
==========================================================================
5| 11.00000| 7.08333| 5.16666| | | 4.16666
| | 3.58331| 0.00004| 0.00000| 11.00000
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Count after transferring surplus votes from Pamela Chestek with a
| transfer value of 1.00000/12.00000. No candidates have surplus votes
| so candidates will be eliminated and their votes transferred for the
| next round.
==========================================================================
6| 11.00000| 10.41665| 5.33332| | | 4.24999
| | | 0.00004| 0.00000| 11.00000
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Count after eliminating Gael Blondelle and transferring votes. No
| candidates have surplus votes so candidates will be eliminated and
| their votes transferred for the next round.
==========================================================================
7| 11.00000| 12.58331| 7.41665| | |
| | | 0.00004| 1.58331| 11.00000
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Count after eliminating Lior Kaplan and transferring votes. Candidate
| Carlo Piana has reached the threshold and is elected.
Winners are Pamela Chestek and Carlo Piana.

Details.

OSI Individual directors elections 2022

There are 9 candidates competing for 2 seats. The number of voters is 164 and there were 164 valid votes and 0 empty votes.

Counting votes using Scottish STV.
R|Josh Berkus|Jean-Brunel|Kevin P. Fl|Myrle Krant|Rossella Sb|Amanda Broc
| | Webb-Benja|eming |z |lendido |k
| |min | | | |
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------
|Jim Hall |Hilary Rich|Tetsuya Kit|Exhausted |Surplus |Threshold
| |ardson |ahata | | |
| | | | | |
==========================================================================
1| 37.00000| 6.00000| 14.00000| 16.00000| 13.00000| 37.00000
| 13.00000| 25.00000| 3.00000| 0.00000| 0.00000| 55.00000
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Count of first choices. No candidates have surplus votes so candidates
| will be eliminated and their votes transferred for the next round.
==========================================================================
2| 38.00000| 7.00000| 14.00000| 16.00000| 13.00000| 37.00000
| 14.00000| 25.00000| | 0.00000| 0.00000| 55.00000
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Count after eliminating Tetsuya Kitahata and transferring votes. No
| candidates have surplus votes so candidates will be eliminated and
| their votes transferred for the next round.
==========================================================================
3| 39.00000| | 14.00000| 17.00000| 14.00000| 38.00000
| 15.00000| 27.00000| | 0.00000| 0.00000| 55.00000
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Count after eliminating Jean-Brunel Webb-Benjamin and transferring
| votes. No candidates have surplus votes so candidates will be
| eliminated and their votes transferred for the next round.
==========================================================================
4| 41.00000| | 14.00000| 19.00000| | 45.00000
| 17.00000| 28.00000| | 0.00000| 0.00000| 55.00000
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Count after eliminating Rossella Sblendido and transferring votes.
| Candidates Kevin P. Fleming and Rossella Sblendido were tied when
| choosing candidates to eliminate. Candidate Rossella Sblendido was
| chosen by breaking the tie at round 2. No candidates have surplus
| votes so candidates will be eliminated and their votes transferred for
| the next round.
==========================================================================
5| 45.00000| | | 20.00000| | 50.00000
| 19.00000| 30.00000| | 0.00000| 0.00000| 55.00000
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Count after eliminating Kevin P. Fleming and transferring votes. No
| candidates have surplus votes so candidates will be eliminated and
| their votes transferred for the next round.
==========================================================================
6| 51.00000| | | 24.00000| | 53.00000
| | 36.00000| | 0.00000| 0.00000| 55.00000
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Count after eliminating Jim Hall and transferring votes. No candidates
| have surplus votes so candidates will be eliminated and their votes
| transferred for the next round.
==========================================================================
7| 59.00000| | | | | 63.00000
| | 42.00000| | 0.00000| 12.00000| 55.00000
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| Count after eliminating Myrle Krantz and transferring votes.
| Candidates Josh Berkus and Amanda Brock have reached the threshold and
| are elected.
Winners are Josh Berkus and Amanda Brock.

Details.

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Categories: FLOSS Research

Court affirms it’s false advertising to claim software is Open Source when it’s not

Open Source Initiative - Thu, 2022-03-17 08:30
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently affirmed a lower court decision concluding what we’ve always known: that it’s false advertising to claim that software is “open source” when it’s not licensed under an open source license.
Categories: FLOSS Research

Court affirms it's false advertising to claim software is Open Source when it’s not

Open Source Initiative - Thu, 2022-03-17 08:30

Stop saying Open Source when it's not. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently affirmed a lower court decision concluding what we’ve always known: that it’s false advertising to claim that software is “open source” when it’s not licensed under an open source license.

You can read the decision here. The facts, as described by the trial court, are that Neo4j, Inc. had been through several releases of its software and several license choices along the way, ending with what the court called “the Sweden Software License,” because the licensor was a Swedish subsidiary of the plaintiff.

This “Swedish license” was simply the combination of the Affero General Public License with an additional restriction known as the Commons Clause. The defendants forked the software, renamed it “Open Native Graph Database” (ONgDB), and started distributing their version as AGPLv3-only licensed. They advertised ONgDB as “free and open source,” “100% free and open,” and “100% open source.”

The parties didn’t dispute that the use of the Commons Clause makes a license non-free. There was also no allegation that Neo4j had claimed that its software under the AGPLv3 + Commons Clause was open source. However, the court held that it was improper for the defendants to remove the Commons Clause, and therefore the defendants’ claims in advertising that its ONgDB software was open source was false advertising.

For a false advertising claim, there must be a false statement in commercial advertising and the statement must be deceptive in a material way. The trial court held that characterizing software that was under the Commons Clause as “free and open source” was false. This deception was also material: “Because Defendants misrepresented ONgDB as a free version of Neo4j EE licensed under the APGLv3, there is no doubt that this price differential (free versus paid) was likely to influence customers’ purchasing decisions. Thus, the Court finds that Defendants' statements suggesting that customers could obtain a ‘free and open source drop in replacement’ for Neo4j EE were material.”

The court only confirmed what we already know – that “open source” is a term of art for software that has been licensed under a specific type of license, and whether a license is an OSI-approved license is a critically important factor in user adoption of the software. Had the defendants’ desire to license its software as AGPLv3-only been permissible, its claims of “100% open source” wouldn’t have been false and there would have been no false advertising. But adding the non-free Commons Clause created a different license such that the software could not be characterized as “open source” and doing so in these circumstances was unlawful false advertising.

There's another interesting aspect to this case. Even though the AGPL has a clause specifically allowing downstream recipients to remove "further restrictions" like the Commons Clause, the court stopped the defendant from doing just that. We'll cover that in our next post.

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Categories: FLOSS Research

GitHub’s The ReadME Project elevates the open source community through education and mentorship

Open Source Initiative - Wed, 2022-03-16 18:10
GitHub is committed to open source and building solutions that support the open source community. The ReadME Project amplifies the voices of the developer community by telling stories about open source, culture, security, DevOps, and more.
Categories: FLOSS Research

GitHub’s The ReadME Project elevates the open source community through education and mentorship

Open Source Initiative - Tue, 2022-03-15 13:14

GitHub is committed to open source and building solutions that support the open source community. With The ReadME Project, GitHub is building an editorial platform where open source maintainers and contributors can share expertise in an effort to grow the collective knowledge base and inspire everyone to become better together. The ReadME Project amplifies the voices of the developer community by telling stories about open source, culture, security, DevOps, and more.

Through featured stories, how-to guides, developer profiles, and podcast conversations, members of GitHub’s open source community regularly publish articles relevant for every stage of the developer journey. From those looking to land their first job to managers or leads onboarding new employees, The ReadME Project aims to elevate the whole community by amplifying expertise and personal stories and giving maintainers and contributors more opportunities to lift each other up.

"A mentor once told me, 'Lift as you climb': As you move up in the tech industry, lift people along with you," said Cassidy Williams in a recent Developer Story. "They’ll fill in the gaps you leave behind, and the industry is so much better when everybody gives back. You get a lot by giving."

This is great advice not just for building a career, but an encapsulation of the open source ethos. Williams shares her conference talk slides and notes, and even her speaker rider, in a repo. She not only shares her technical knowledge, but also helps people learn to give their own talks so they can advance their careers and deepen their own technical knowledge.

Regardless of what motivates them to contribute, they're creating positive feedback loops where the whole community benefits. "Being a developer is priceless," Hoppscotch creator Liyas Thomas shared in an article on his open source journey. "I love building tools that help the community. I want to show others that it is possible for a guy like me to create a tool like Hoppscotch."

Thomas created Hoppscotch initially to scratch his own itch. His job involved testing APIs and he wasn't satisfied with the tools available at the time. "My day-to-day consisted of manually testing each one to get a schema of every response, which was hectic," Thomas wrote. "When I see an opportunity to make something easier from a developer’s point of view, I try to hack a solution and make it open. So I created an MVP called Hoppscotch with buttons, an input path, and a list box, and open sourced it."

It's a project with an amazing multiplier effect. Not only did it help Thomas do his job, and set an example for others to follow, it helped other developers in their own API testing, which in turn helps the end-users of the software built by all of those developers. Hoppscotch, now a thriving open source project with more than 175 contributors, also created a new opportunity for developers, designers, technical writers, community managers, and others to hone their own skills by contributing to the project.

Spreading these opportunities generally takes active stewardship. According to GitHub's 2021 State of the Octoverse report, projects that use the "Good First Issues" tag see significantly more contributors than those without. For example, projects with around 25% of their Issues marked "Good First Issue" saw 13% more contributors, as opposed to those without.

Others take an even more hands-on approach. For example, CHAOSS, the organization behind the open source community analytics tools Augur and GrimoireLab, shared their experience onboarding new contributors in a ReadME Project article. In particular, they underscored the importance of mentorship.

"Having a dedicated person who engages with new community members helps them overcome hurdles and stay involved with the project,” CHAOSS co-founder Georg Link said. The State of the Octoverse report found that mentorship increased productivity in open source projects by 46% percent and tripled the chances of having a healthy culture.

“It's a paradoxical constraint,” says Sean Goggins, another co-founder of CHAOSS and maintainer of Augur. “Fostering a strong community takes pressure off maintainers so that they can focus more on the technical side because there are other people to take care of non-technical things. But community management takes time away from the technical side of the maintainer role.”

Creating community engagement roles within an open source project also provides still more opportunities for people to get involved and enhance not just the project, but themselves. But the growing pressure facing maintainers is real. The emerging field of "contributor relations" aims to establish healthy best practices for open source communities that benefit both maintainers and contributors.

There are plenty of challenges in the open source community, but they're being met in just the same way that technical challenges are: collaboratively and in the open. And with every advance, the whole community grows stronger. You can follow the latest by subscribing to The ReadME Project newsletter—or help out by pitching your own Guides or suggesting topics for future coverage.

Developers, and the technology industry as a whole, benefit enormously from open source software. Science, businesses, careers and humanity advance on open source platforms like Ruby on Rails, Node.js, and Kubernetes. The culture of open source is full of individuals who want to give back to communities that they've benefitted from, whether that's by contributing code and documentation, building new tools to support an open source ecosystem, or by volunteering time to answer questions, organize events, or help with community management.

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