Morality and Legality of Open Source Code Forking

Free Software (or Open Source Software) aims not only to give the freedom to use software without restrictions, but also grants the user the freedom to modify, enhance and redistribute the modified code to others while simultaneously granting others the same freedom as well.

To this end, commercial companies have benefited from contributions made by online communities from all over the world on Free and Open Source Software, which some of the company gives back.

However there are also some quarters who are not prepared to face the reality of code forking, especially when the fork has the potential to compete with the original software.


9 GNU/Linux distributions endorsed by the Free Software Foundation

These are the 9 GNU/Linux distribution which are endorsed by Free Software Foundation as it meet the Guidelines for Free System Distribution as outlined by FSF.

The Free Software Foundation also provides a brief explanation behind the reason why some popular GNU/Linux distributions are not included in the lists, which is available here: Explaining Why We Don’t Endorse Other Systems

Debian published Community Patent Distribution Policy FAQ to address software patent risks

Last month, Debian has released the Community Patent Distribution Policy FAQ to educate Free Software developers and distributors regarding patent risks towards Free Software. The FAQ explains the terms associated with software patent such as infringement, liability, contributory infringement, willful infringement, injuction and how to minimize the risks.

debian open logo

For more information – please read the full documentation of Community Patent Distribution Policy FAQ from Debian website

Scientist: How to attribute free software contributions in journal article, proceeding and monograph

Scientists, academicians and researchers are a group of users that benefits greatly from Free and Open Source Software (FOSS / FLOSS). Most them would use free software not only to help in preparing graph and documentation, but also as the main tool in their investigation.

Although it is not explicitly required by the software license or by software authors, the role of free software should be appropriately attributed by academicians and scientists who used them in their investigations as it would not only acknowledge the contribution of free software authors (some of them are hardworking academicians or scientists themselves), but this will also done to fulfill the academic accountability on the researchers part.

Examples on how to attribute Free Software use in Academic Paper
1. Researchers/Academician may cite the software URL and the software author in the “Literature Review/Background”, “Methods”or “Acknowledgement section” in the articles.

2. The citation should include the software release number and the URL to download the software in order to help other researchers to replicate the work (publishing paper is all about guiding others to replicate the investigation)

3. If free software being used as the main tool in the investigation, it would be helpful if the academician/researcher could explain why this particular Free Software is chosen for the research, etc in their journal article or academic papers.

For more examples: Visit the Debian Free Software Guideline, there’s a section about attributing free software in scientific and academic papers.

Give credit to Free Software! Please share this post
If you are an academician or researcher, then please share this post because it will increase awareness about the need to properly attribute free software tools, software author and their role in scientific community.


vrms – check your Ubuntu for Non-free packages (Virtual Richard M Stallman)

vrms is an application that checks for non-free packages or components installed in your Debian-based system (including Ubuntu) and subsequently display a statistic of how many percentage of your system is non-free.

vrms can be installed using Synaptic Package Manager :

VRMS - Virtual Richard Stallman

To execute it, just type “vrms” in the terminal, here’s an example of vrms output for my system :
mypapit@mypapit-desktop:~$ vrms
Non-free packages installed on mypapit-desktop

bsdgames-nonfree rogue, the classic dungeon exploration game
Reason: No commercial use
fglrx-modaliases Identifiers supported by the ATI graphics driver
latex2html LaTeX to HTML translator
linux-generic Complete Generic Linux kernel
linux-restricted-modules- Non-free Linux 2.6.28 modules helper script
linux-restricted-modules- Restricted Linux modules for generic kernels
nvidia-173-modaliases Modaliases for the NVIDIA binary X.Org driver
nvidia-180-modaliases Modaliases for the NVIDIA binary X.Org driver
nvidia-71-modaliases Modaliases for the NVIDIA binary X.Org driver
nvidia-96-modaliases Modaliases for the NVIDIA binary X.Org driver
rar Archiver for .rar files
sun-java6-bin Sun Java(TM) Runtime Environment (JRE) 6 (architecture
sun-java6-demo Sun Java(TM) Development Kit (JDK) 6 demos and example
sun-java6-jdk Sun Java(TM) Development Kit (JDK) 6
sun-java6-jre Sun Java(TM) Runtime Environment (JRE) 6 (architecture
sun-java6-plugin The Java(TM) Plug-in, Java SE 6
tangerine-icon-theme Tangerine Icon theme

Contrib packages installed on mypapit-desktop

jetty Java servlet engine and webserver
nvidia-common Find obsolete NVIDIA drivers
openttd reimplementation of Transport Tycoon Deluxe with enhan

17 non-free packages, 1.1% of 1601 installed packages.
3 contrib packages, 0.2% of 1601 installed packages.

So if you prefer a completely free (as in freedom!) operating system, you can use install gNewsense instead of Ubuntu.

ImageMagick thumbnailer scripts for blog

Hey there, I’d like to share my dirt-easy script for creating thumbnail in blog post. The script will scale any image to the width of 456pixels which I find acceptable by most blog theme (actually the limit is around 460-465 pixel, but better be safe).

Why I wrote yet another script for scaling images? because I find and WordPress system of uploading images and photo annoys me, and I rather upload my pictures/photos on my own private server and create thumbnails on my own.

I licensed the download under WTFPL , don’t worry its a free software license.

Download :