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openSUSE 13.1 Release Party [Austria]


This Monday 24.03, I will make a Release Party in Austria (Klagenfurt am Wörthersee) [1] , in collaboration with the local IEEE Student
Branch. Here you can find all the relevant information [2], [3],[4]  and also download the poster of the event [5].

If you are in Austria or close to Klagenfurt , feel free to pass by the Party! ;)

Have fun!

Ilias R.

openSUSE 13.1 Release Party

 


Am Montag 24.03 mache ich eine ‘Release Party’ im Österreich (Klagenfurt am Wörthersee) [1] . Hier konnen sie die relevanten Informationen finden [2], [3],[4]  und das Poster downloaden [5].

Bist du dabei? Komm auf die Party! ;)

Have fun!

Ilias R.

Using Hardware Devices while developing and Android Application

Many developers are using the emulator provided by Android SDK in order to test the application that they develop. There is although an other part of developers who wants to run the application in their device (android,tablet etc). So what happens in this case?The solution to the problem is very simple. By having a look on android developers documentation [1]  we can follow the steps given and emulate the application we develop in the device we wish.

“3) Set up your system to detect your device.

  • If you’re developing on Windows, you need to install a USB driver for adb. For an installation guide and links to OEM drivers, see the OEM USB Drivers document.
  • If you’re developing on Mac OS X, it just works. Skip this step.
  • If you’re developing on Ubuntu Linux, you need to add a udev rules file that contains a USB configuration for each type of device you want to use for development. In the rules file, each device manufacturer is identified by a unique vendor ID, as specified by the ATTR{idVendor} property. For a list of vendor IDs, see USB Vendor IDs, below. To set up device detection on Ubuntu Linux:
    1. Log in as root and create this file: /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules.Use this format to add each vendor to the file:
      SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTR{idVendor}=="0bb4", MODE="0666", GROUP="plugdev"

      In this example, the vendor ID is for HTC. The MODE assignment specifies read/write permissions, and GROUP defines which Unix group owns the device node.

      Note: The rule syntax may vary slightly depending on your environment. Consult the udev documentation for your system as needed. For an overview of rule syntax, see this guide to writing udev rules.

    2. Now execute:
      chmod a+r /etc/udev/rules.d/51-android.rules

It is very important to find the Vendor ID of your device . In order to do that just have a look at the following part . This part provides a table with companies and vendor id’s

USB Vendor IDs

This table provides a reference to the vendor IDs needed in order to add USB device support on Linux. The USB Vendor ID is the value given to the ATTR{idVendor} property in the rules file, as described above.”

 

Company USB Vendor ID
Acer 0502
ASUS 0b05
Dell 413c
Foxconn 0489
Fujitsu 04c5
Fujitsu Toshiba 04c5
Garmin-Asus 091e
Google 18d1
Haier 201E
Hisense 109b
HTC 0bb4
Huawei 12d1
K-Touch 24e3
KT Tech 2116
Kyocera 0482
Lenovo 17ef
LG 1004
Motorola 22b8
MTK 0e8d
NEC 0409
Nook 2080
Nvidia 0955
OTGV 2257
Pantech 10a9
Pegatron 1d4d
Philips 0471
PMC-Sierra 04da
Qualcomm 05c6
SK Telesys 1f53
Samsung 04e8
Sharp 04dd
Sony 054c
Sony Ericsson 0fce
Teleepoch 2340
Toshiba 0930
ZTE 19d2

 

Plug in your device, configure it and then  enjoy your application!!

Reference :

[1] http://developer.android.com/tools/device.html

Profit and FOSS

Introduction

I could blog about this topic for months but recently I found two interesting articles [1] , [2] related to how can somebody make profit from FOSS.  In this post I would like to mention the parts of the articles that called my attention .

About profit and challenges

First of all you can have a look at the following diagram

 

Challenges

” In spite of the future being increasingly open source, there are lurking challenges. One of the biggest challenges is competing against proprietary companies with a different model. “This means that it’s more difficult keeping things open source because a lot of senior partners don’t understand it. So, they think that open source could be a business risk,” says Google’s Sengupta. “But that barrier is now reducing each month and year,” says Evans.

Open source is hard to define and everyone has their own definition of it (see Box). Software’s legal dilemmas are probably messier than the bugs plaguing it. So there are always challenges with licences, software freedom and on reaching a consensus about what is open source and what is proprietary.

Another perception is that being open source means not only free source code but also free of cost, monetarily. This is partly because of the double meanings of the world “free” and partly because there are some very strong free products by organizations like Apache, which are fully free of cost. Then, there’s the trouble of the community: which is the very engine of open source. There are hundreds of thousands of developers. You have to find the right meaningful segment of the developer community, fit for your need, and excite them into building your specific application.

Being open means that your competition can see what you are up to. This may keep you constantly on your toes and ensure that you always keep your products’ quality top-notch. “But because everyone knows what you are up to, you can never have the Steve Jobs/Apple moment of ‘wow!’. So, purely from a PR perspective, open source can be tough,” says Sengupta.

Cloud Computing

” Finding the right line between the indie cult spirit of developer community and a sturdy, trustworthy enterprise-ready product is also another challenge for open source. Things like firewall, storage, and others could not be disrupted by open source for a long time due to reliability issues. But then times are changing and open source’s merits nevertheless outshine its flaws. And even open source red flags like storage are doing well. In October, Babu sold Gluster, his open source storage startup, to Red Hat for $136 million. For a software startup, being open will eventually not be a matter of choice.

Rather than waste precious funds in marketing, being open popularises the startup’s product resulting in a wider adoption. Counter-intuitive as it sounds, opening up its technology can bring a business more money.”

According to some, OpenStack got started when NASA was building their Nebula infrastructure cloud, and were working with Eucalyptus to get the job done. But, there were problems.

Eucalyptus uses an open core model with its customers, which means there’s an open source “core” software product they give to community users for free and commercial add-ons for which they charge customers. “

Business models

“The freedom to change and rework software can be fairly profitable too. Although open source is a buzzword today, RedHat — the company synonymous with open source — showed way back in the early 1990s that it could be a profitable and sustainable business model. RedHat’s is a subscription-based model wherein users subscribe to its consulting services for free products like ‘Red Hat Enterprise Linux’ and ‘JBoss application server’. Today, the public company has revenue of well over $900 million.

Like RedHat put value into a free product like Linux, IBM too did quite well improving and adding value to existing free products like the Apache web server. It added hooks, which enabled IBM to use its own custom web server platform. IBM also has a basic enterprise software based on Apache Geronimo, wherein again it offers a better product with better capacity.

RedHat’s service offering and IBM’s product offering represent the two major business models in open source. “But just like there is no perfect one-for-all software, there is no particular open source model that’s good for all. You need to focus on what your customer wants,” says Babu. That’s for software, but the philosophy of freedom which open source embodies, is spreading. “If you have a commodity, you may as well be open,” says Greg Stein, an advocate of open source software and director of the Apache Software Foundation. That includes hardware, which might be very proprietary today. But things like Apache’s Arduino platform for instance, are beginning to make inroads into open hardware experimentation.

And as hardware gets increasingly commoditised — with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) becoming ubiquitous — it is destined to go more open source. “Where we are with open hardware today is where we were with open source software a decade ago,” says Stein. Though relegated primarily to enterprise spaces, open source as an idea might be coming to consumers too. Apple’s trademark iTunes was forced to move away to include playing music on non-Apple devices as well. Today, the TV market is in a flurry with a lot of player technology moving into cable boxes. People use their XBoxes to access Netflix movies. Others plug in their tablets to projectors or television sets. And Internet TV is on the rise.

Personal preferences mean that consumers will make their own choices and not be locked into devices like earlier. “Now with everything getting so customized that we will see more open source software at a consumer level,” says Stein. ‘”

Conclusion

While there are load of people who have issues with Red Hat, SUSE Linux, and Canonical (to name three commercial vendors), those issues don’t seem to center around that these companies are out to make a buck (or euro or pound). Making a profit is not immoral. People recognize that delivering value, be it human or code or materials, deserves to get paid. The moral issues come into play when someone goes too far and takes advantage of the customer.

[1] http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-11-15/news/30401682_1_open-source-opensource-software-products

[2] http://www.itworld.com/cloud-computing/257812/profits-considered-immoral-open-source-community

Linux profitability [Red Hat , SUSE , Canonical]

Introduction

People involved in the FOSS movement ,claim that FOSS companies do have profits and benefits of open source. In this post  I will present some piece of information about the most significant ones [Red Hat , SUSE , Canonical] [1]

Case studies

SUSE :

In the summer 2012, at “SUSEcon 2012,” [3] SUSE itself was announced to be profitable, with revenues above $200 million (USD), with expectations of continued revenue growth into 2013.

I have to point out that, SUSE offers some pretty interesting services and products, including SUSE Linux Enterprise (in both Server and Desktop versions), server management tools, enterprise level support deals and SUSEStudio.

Red Hat :

The last December reported a profit of $38.2 million, with a revenue of $322 million for the quarter. Like SUSE, their success is not terribly surprising. Red Hat Enterprise server alone (and its various support deals and tools) is a huge business with a large user base. You can find more about Red Hats profit and financial statement here [2]

Cannonical :

In Canonical case , things seems to be different as Canonical is a privately held company and hasn’t released a great deal of financial information. But what we do know is this: Back in 2009, Mark Shuttleworth (founder of Canonical) stated that it was “creeping” towards its break-even point in revenue (roughly $30 million).

Then, during the announcement for Canonical’s latest project (Ubuntu for Tablets), Shuttleworth stated that the company was not yet profitable. And that’s just about the most detailed information we’ve gotten so far. Canonical estimates that there are roughly 20 million Ubuntu users worldwide. But, for SUSE and Red Hat, things are a bit more complicated, as there are multiple flavors to consider (Red Hat Enterprise, Fedora, openSUSE, Suse Linux Enterprise).

Conclusion

In 2010, openSUSE installations were estimated at over 2 million. Fedora (the Open Source, community distro that Red Hat Enterprise is based on) reports roughly 3.5 million unique IPs connecting to their software repository for the most recent version. Seems that companies have many and different ways to measure their success and profit.

 

References

[1] http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/linux-profitability-how-successful-are-companies-behind-biggest-versions-linux

[2] http://investors.redhat.com/financials-statements.cfm

[3] http://www.susecon.com/archive.html

The Academic aspect of FOSS Legal Issues

Searching in the web for FOSS legal issues you can find articles , posts in blogs -forums and various piece of information. The aim of this post is not to to show how to search for this kind of information but to mention how universities and the academic interpret legal issues related with FOSS..

Let’s see what’s going on then :

a) The Software Freedom Law Center published , before 5 years , a great paper called A Legal Issues Primer for Open Source and Free Software Projects ( it is also available as  PDF).  So if you are a software user, this is a great read and gives you a better understanding of why software licenses are so important. Furthermore if you are a software developer,  and particularly if you are a developer working in the FOSS world  I couldn’t find any reason not to read this paper.

b) Fitzgerald, Brian F. and  Suzor, Nicolas P.  in 2005 published a paper with title “Legal issues for the use of free and open source software in government”[Melbourne University Law Review, 29(2), pp. 412-447.]. It is also available in PDF format and you can download from here.

c)  Andrés Guadamuz González [University of Edinburgh, UK]  published a paper , in 2005 , with title “The calm before the storm? Legal challenges to open source licences” .  It is also available in PDF format and you can download from here

d) Steve H. Lee [Harvard University,MA,USA] published a paper [in draft form] , in 1999 , with title “Open Source Software Licensing” .  It is also available in PDF format and you can download from here.

For sure you can find more papers and publications related to FOSS legal issues , in my opinion I listed the most important ones.

 

Top FOSS Legal Issues [part2]

As in the previous post we saw the first part of the Top 10 FOSS Legal Issues , in this article we will focus on other Top 10 FOSS legal issues not for the year 2007 but for the year 2012.

1. Android Patent Litigation. The litigation surrounding the Android operating system has continued around the world. Although some of the cases have settled, the litigation has continued to result in multiple decisions in different countries. One of the most important decisions occurred in Silicon Valley: on August 24, 2012, the jury awarded Apple Computer, Inc. (“Apple”) $1.05 billion in damages for Samsung’s violation of its patents. The decision is particularly interesting because the lawsuit involved four design patents and three utility patents (Since we represent some of the parties in other matters, I offer no opinion on the correctness of the decision). Many intellectual property lawyers have been skeptical about the value of design patents, particularly in comparison to utility patents. This decision will undoubtedly cause a re-assessment of the value of design patents. However, more recently, in the same case, the judge refused to grant Apple a permanent injunction against the distribution of the Samsung products found to be infringing. This decision will be appealed and we will not know the final answer for some time. The multiple cases will undoubtedly continue next year.

2. Protection of APIs: Oracle v. Google. A separate but related case also involved the Android operating system. Oracle sued Google for the alleged infringement of Oracle’s copyrights in the Java software (which it had acquired from Sun Microsystems, Inc.) and certain Oracle patents. Oracle alleged that Google’s Android operating system infringes the copyrights in “twelve code files and 37 specifications for application programming interface packages”. The results of the dispute were complicated because the judge first had the jury make a decision about copyright infringement but reserved for himself the decision about whether the application programming interfaces (“APIs”) were copyrightable. Thus, in early May, the jury found that Google had infringed the copyrights in Oracle’s APIs (although they deadlocked on whether the copying was “fair use”).

3. EU Copyright Law Does Not Protect Computer Language and Functions. The SAS Institute, Inc. (“SAS”) v. World Programming, Limited (“WPL”) decision in the European Court of Justice involved the scope of copyright protection for computer programs and has important implications for FOSS and the scope of “derivative works” under copyright law http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2012-05/cp120053en.pdf. The case addresses issues similar to the Oracle v. Google case described above (in fact, Judge Alsup asked for a briefing from the parties in the Google case after the SAS decision was announced). The case involved the copying of the scripts and certain functions of the SAS analytical software. The SAS software enables users to write and run their own application programs in order to adapt the SAS software to work with their data. These “application programs” are called “scripts” and are written in a language which is peculiar to the SAS software. WPL recognized that a market existed for alternative software capable of executing application programs written in the SAS language. WPL produced the ‘World Programming System’, designed to emulate the SAS components as closely as possible in that, with a few minor exceptions, it attempted to ensure that the same inputs would produce the same outputs. This approach would enable users of the SAS software to run the “scripts” which they have developed for use with the SAS software on the ‘World Programming System’.The court found that such functions and programming language were not protected under the EU Directive on Protection of Computer Programs: Article 1(2) of Council Directive 91/250/EEC of 14 May 1991 on the legal protection of computer programs must be interpreted as meaning that neither the functionality of a computer program nor the programming language and the format of data files used in a computer program in order to exploit certain of its functions constitute a form of expression of that program and, as such, are not protected by copyright in computer programs for the purposes of that directive.

4. Expansion of Open Source Initiative. The Open Source Initiative (“OSI”) has decided to broaden its base by expanding its role as an advocacy organization. The OSI has reached started membership programs for individuals and affiliated organizations (as a matter of transparency, I am outside general counsel to the OSI on a pro bono basis). OSI describes this change as follows: “The OSI is moving its governance from a model of volunteer and self-appointed directors to one driven by members. Our high-level objectives in doing so are to provide a broad meeting place for everyone who shares an interest in open source software, with the continuing aim of strengthening the OSI so that it can more effectively fulfill its goals over the long term.” The Affiliate Program has successfully signed up over twenty open source organizations include among others the Linux Foundation, Mozilla Foundation, Debian and OW2.

5. Unlicensed FOSS. One disturbing trend is the posting of FOSS modules without licenses. Simon Phipps focused on this problem in his recent blog, particularly on the problems raised by the terms of service at Github. James Governor, the founder of analyst Red Monk, is quoted by Simon as stating: “”younger devs today are about POSS – Post open source software. f*** the license and governance, just commit to github” http://www.infoworld.com/d/open-source-software/github-needs-take-open-source-seriously-208046. As I mentioned in my earlier post, http://lawandlifesiliconvalley.com/blog/?p=708, this approach will undercut the major desire of most FOSS developers: the broad use of their code. The lack of a license ensures that the software will be removed from any product meant to be used by corporations. Corporations are very sensitive about ensuring that all software that they use or which is incorporated in their products is properly licensed. I have worked on the analysis of hundreds of software programs and the response to software without a clear license is almost always “rip it out”. In addition, as I discuss in more detail in the post, this approach could also subject the developer to liability under the Uniform Commercial Code (an admittedly low probability).

6. Qualification of FOSS under the Trade Agreement Act. Talend, a licensor of open source enterprise software, has recently received a ruling from the U.S. Customs Service corroborating that its software complies with the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (19 USC 2511 et seq.) (“TAA”). FOSS adoption by the US Federal government must comply with many regulations, some of which can be difficult given the nature of modern software development.

7. Contributor Agreements Redux. Recently, the issues of contribution agreements arose in the departure of Nikos Mavrogiannopoulos from the GnuTLS project http://lwn.net/SubscriberLink/529522/854aed3fb6398b79.  GnuTLS is “a secure communications library implementing the SSL,TLS and DTLS protocols”. The project was commenced in 2000 under the GNU project. As is true of all GNU projects, the copyrights in the contributions are assigned to the Free Software Foundation (“FSF”). When Nikos left, Richard Stallman reminded him that he could fork the project, but that the FSF would retain ownership of copyright in the project code. The LWN article concludes that the basis for copyright assignment “seems to be weak”. I disagree with this conclusion and Bradley Kuhn makes some very cogent arguments in the comment sections. Copyright assignment does provide the manager of the FOSS project (in this case, FSF) with significant advantages in enforcement as well as changing the license of a project. Without an assignment, a licensee can raise several potential defenses (such as a license from an alleged joint copyright owner) whose strength is uncertain. In addition, any change in the project license would require the approval of each contributor to the project. However, copyright assignments also mean that the community needs to be comfortable that the project strategy of the project manager is aligned with the community. However, as FOSS projects continue for a longer period, this alignment may be more difficult to determine in advance. And this approach also poses practical problems for the FOSS project manager: the project manager needs to be very disciplined about getting the written assignments from all contributors. Such assignments may be difficult to obtain from developers employed by a corporation because corporations are reluctant to assign intellectual property rights. This dispute emphasizes the importance of FOSS projects and their contributors carefully considering the needs of the project when deciding on how to obtain the necessary rights in contributions. Project Harmony provides information and proposed agreements to assist FOSS projects to make these decisions http://harmonyagreements.org/. Once determined, the method of implementation of a contribution agreement is important: the Eclipse Foundation also provides an excellent summary of their approach to due diligence issues relating to accepting contributions http://www.eclipse.org/legal/EclipseLegalProcessPoster.pdf.

8. Rise of Open Source Collaborations. Open source collaborations have become an increasingly important strategy for companies to address major software development problems. This trend is best illustrated this year by the creation of the OpenStack Foundation (“Foundation”). The Foundation takes over the OpenStack project from a Rackspace who had managed project for several years (as a matter of transparency, I represent the Foundation). OpenStack is a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter. The Foundation is run by a board of twenty four members, with eight members representing individuals, eight members representing Gold Members and eight members representing Platinum Members. The Foundation has over 150 corporate members and more than 6,000 individual members http://www.openstack.org/. In a second example, Deutsche Bank announced in September the formation of the Lodestone Foundation to coordinate the development of IT solutions for capital market companies http://lodestonefoundation.com/. The OpenStack Foundation and the Lodestone Foundation join the many foundations who manage open source collaborations for combinations of corporations which include, among others, the Linux Foundation, Genivi Alliance and Eclipse Foundation.

9. UK Government Adopts Open Standard Principles. The UK government adopted Open Standards Principles in government IT procurement through a Cabinet Report http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/open-standards-consultation-documents. The report adopted Open Standards to encourage “software interoperability, data and document formats in government IT specifications.” One of the goals of the adoption of the Open Standard Principles was to ensure that FOSS and proprietary software could compete on an equal level. One important requirement of UK Open Standard Principles is that the patent rights for the standards must be available on a royalty free basis: “rights essential to implementation of the standard, and for interfacing with other implementations which have adopted that same standard, are licensed on a royalty free basis that is compatible with both open source and proprietary licensed solutions.

10. More Standardized Process on FOSS Compliance by Large Companies. In my practice, I have seen an acceleration of an existing trend: many large companies are much more focused on FOSS compliance and are developing standardized procedures to ensure compliance. I work with many small companies entering into commercial relationships with large companies as well as large companies entering into commercial relationships and purchasing smaller companies. Although some technology companies have developed and implemented such procedures for commercial relationships for several years, such processes have recently become much more widespread and sophisticated. They range from elaborate contractual provisions relating to remedies to special procedures for “remediation” through removal of certain modules and developing functionally compatible software. Although a limited number of technology companies have also implemented a separate due diligence process for FOSS compliance in acquisitions for several years, these practices are also spreading more widely to both technology companies and non-technology companies. Acquiring companies are even willing to change the form of a transaction to avoid potential FOSS compliance problems: recently, I worked with a company that shifted an acquisition from a merger to a sale of assets primarily based on FOSS compliance concerns. This development emphasizes the need for small companies to have a structured approach to the management of the use of FOSS and to be able to demonstrate such management to both potential commercial partners and potential acquirers.

Reference : http://lawandlifesiliconvalley.com/blog/?p=721

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