What community will own SOFTWARE FREEDOM?

Two non-profits providing services to free and open source software projects – Software Freedom Conservancy (Conservancy) and the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) are in a dispute over the SOFTWARE FREEDOM CONSERVANCY registered trademark.

You can read the timeline of all events and my legal analysis, so now it’s time to get to the important issue: what the community effects are from the SFLC’s petition to the TTAB and the blog posts on both sides.

UPDATE: Karl Fogel and Neil McGovern have both blogged in detail on this.

Continue reading What community will own SOFTWARE FREEDOM?

Legal Issues Around SOFTWARE FREEDOM Trademarks

The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) recently filed with the USPTO to cancel the registered trademark SOFTWARE FREEDOM CONSERVANCY, owned by the non-profit of the same name. Both SFLC and Conservancy have a long history together with several people working for both.

Since this is a TTAB legal proceeding – not in federal court – here’s a brief review of the legal aspects of this case, from an experienced layperson.

Continue reading Legal Issues Around SOFTWARE FREEDOM Trademarks

A SOFTWARE FREEDOM Trademark Timeline

There’s a trademark battle over the SOFTWARE FREEDOM name going on right now – and it’s not actually about the FSF.  Here’s a brief timeline of interesting facts of the case and how the two organizations are related, along with some community reactions. Reminder: this is about the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC, petitioner to cancel) and the Software Freedom Conservancy (Conservancy, the registrant of the SOFTWARE FREEDOM CONSERVANCY mark in question).

Continue reading A SOFTWARE FREEDOM Trademark Timeline

The battle for the SOFTWARE FREEDOM name

There’s a conflict happening right now over the future of what SOFTWARE FREEDOM means that you’re probably not aware of. Like many conflicts over trademarks, it’s complicated – but it’s critically important to any open source project that wants to keep their own name and branding.

By Mari Helin-Tuominen on Unsplash

Why does this matter?  Because it may affect who can call themselves SOFTWARE FREEDOM® in the marketplace.

Continue reading The battle for the SOFTWARE FREEDOM name

November Goals: #NaBlWriMo

It’s important to have useful goals that you can measure, but more important that help you focus your work.  It’s doubly important to have goals when you work for yourself and are trying to start your own business!  Getting Punderthings off the ground can go in so many ways, and focus is important.

November is National Novel Writing Month – which is a great motivator, although I’m no novelist myself.  My stories are either short and goofy, possibly with some science fiction thrown in – or are about open source projects, people, and brands, and those are more about teaching.  So instead of attempting a novel, I’ll be blogging or otherwise writing essays each day this month.

I was thinking that writing is (often) more useful than reading. Reading something can be an escape, can be inspirational, or can teach you something. But when you write something (and share it, of course) then not only can you learn something, but others might be able to learn (or be entertained, or inspired) along the way.  I often forget how important sharing our stories and organizing thoughts into more than 140 characters can be.

To keep myself motivated, I’m planning to write some sort of content every day in November – mostly on open source topics either here or at Choose A FoundationThe Apache Way, or some other websites I run, but some topics will be about local life.

I hope to improve on my goals as well – mostly by writing and publishing something earlier in the day than bedtime!  See you tomorrow morning on the internet!

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. ― Marie Curie

 

FAQ for Facebook React.js BSD + PATENTS License issue with the Apache Software Foundation

(Today we’re interviewing Shane Curcuru about the recent issues reported with Facebook’s React.js software’s BSD + PATENTS file license, and what the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has to do with it all. Shane serves in a leadership position at the ASF, but he wants you to know he’s speaking only as an individual here; this does not represent an official position of the ASF.)

UPDATE: Facebook has relicensed React.js as well as some other software under the MIT license, without the FB+PATENTS file. That’s good news, in general!

Hello and welcome to our interview about the recent licensing kerfuffle around Facebook’s React.js software, and the custom license including a custom PATENTS file that Facebook uses for the software.

Continue reading FAQ for Facebook React.js BSD + PATENTS License issue with the Apache Software Foundation

Three React-ions to the Facebook PATENTS License

There are really three aspects to your project’s decision (to use React.js or not based on the BSD+Patents license), and it’s important to consider each of them. You really need to consider which aspects are important to your project’s success — and which ones don’t really matter to you.
(See the updated FAQ about the PATENTS issue on Medium!)

  • Legal — both details of the license and PATENTS file that Facebook offers React.js under, and some realistic situations where the patent clauses might actually come into play (which is certainly rare in court, but it’s the chilling effect of uncertainty that’s the issue)
  • Technology — are other libraries sufficiently functional to provide the features your project needs? Does a project have the capacity to make a change, if they decided to?
  • Community — how does the rest of the open source community-of-communities see the issue, and care about your choices? This includes both future buyers of a startup, as well as future partners, as well as future talent (employees) or contributors (open source developers).

Continue reading Three React-ions to the Facebook PATENTS License

Improving the Apache Member’s Meeting Experience, Part 2

Our annual Member’s Meeting for the ASF went well, resulting in some new members getting elected as well as two new directors being elected to the board. While we wait for a bit of paperwork to get filed, let’s document what needs to happen after a Member’s Meeting at Apache.

Continue reading Improving the Apache Member’s Meeting Experience, Part 2

Improving the Apache Member’s Meeting Experience, Part 1

The ASF is a membership corporation and holds an Annual Member’s Meeting every year to elect the board and nominate/elect new members.  As a volunteer-run software organization, we run this process by – wait for it – by emailing around a set of cryptically formatted text files from our private Subversion repository.  Of course, as (mostly) software people, we could make it easier on ourselves… with better software.  Shoemaker’s children, indeed.

Continue reading Improving the Apache Member’s Meeting Experience, Part 1

Vote Counting At The Apache Member’s Meeting!

The ASF is holding it’s annual Member’s meeting now, where Members get to elect a new board as well as elect new individual Members to the Foundation.  We do this by holding a live IRC meeting on a Tuesday, then we vote with secure email ballots asynchronously during the recess, then reconvene on Thursday to announce results.  But how does the meeting really work?

Continue reading Vote Counting At The Apache Member’s Meeting!