gpl

Tracking GPLv3 projects

GPLv3 logo

As you probably already heard, the GPL, version 3 has been released, together with the LGPL, version 3.

I haven't yet read the licenses in detail, so I cannot say much about them, but more information is available in the (updated) GPL FAQ. The compatibility table from the GPLv3 Discussion Draft FAQ can be pretty helpful, too. There's a Why Upgrade to GPLv3? text and even a video of Richard Stallman (Ogg Theora, transcript available) introducing the GPLv3, the rationale behind it and some of the changes in this new version.

(One nice advantage of the GPLv3 I like is that it's compatible with the Apache license now, btw.)

Probably the most interesting GPLv3 resource at the moment is Palamida's list of projects which already switched to the GPLv3, which includes a number of GNU tools (sed, tar, ed, bison, texinfo, cpio, coreutils) and some other major projects such as Samba. Currently the page lists ca. 140 projects which switched.

It'll be interesting to see how the adoption proceeeds. My guess is that in a few months it'll be hard to build distributions or embedded (GNU/Linux-based) hardware devices without GPLv3 code...

Testing stuff with QEMU - Part 2: MenuetOS, a tiny OS written in 100% assembly language

Note: This article is part of my Testing stuff with QEMU series.

MenuetOS screenshot

From Wikipedia:

MenuetOS is an operating system with a monolithic preemptive, real-time kernel, including video drivers, all written in FASM assembly language, for 64-bit and 32-bit x86 architecture computers, by Ville Mikael Turjanmaa.

MenuetOS development has focused on fast, simple, efficient implementation. It has a graphical desktop, games, and networking abilities (TCP/IP stack), yet still fits on one 1.44MB floppy disk. It also facilitates easy, full-featured assembly language programming. This stands in marked contrast to the (as of 2007) widespread view that assembly languages are useful mainly for old and embedded systems.

Testing (the GPL'd) MenuetOS in QEMU is easy:

wget http://mesh.dl.sourceforge.net/sourceforge/menuet/M32-084.ZIP
unzip M32-084.ZIP
qemu -fda M32-084.IMG -m 384

There's also Menuet 64, written in 64-bit assembly, but that's not open source'd for some strange reason I don't understand. But you can try that one, too (the binary images, that is), using QEMU:

wget 'http://www.menuetos.be/download.php?CurrentMenuetOS'
unzip M64-059.ZIP\?3.1
qemu-system-x86_64 -fda M64-059.IMG

Google Summer of Code and LinuxBIOS

LinuxBIOS logo

We're happy to announce that the LinuxBIOS project will have the possibility to take part in this year's Google Summer of Code™ (GSoC) program. coresystems GmbH was accepted as a mentoring organization for the GSoC and will mentor all LinuxBIOS-related projects.

There is a GSoC page in the LinuxBIOS wiki which collects a few ideas for student projects, among others:

  • Booting Windows and other Operating Systems in LinuxBIOS
  • Port Grub2 to work in LinuxBIOS
  • SCSI booting in LinuxBIOS
  • CMOS Config / Device Tree Browser Payload
  • LinuxBIOS graphical port creator
  • Open Firmware payload for LinuxBIOS
  • GNUFI or TianoCore payloads
  • Boot OpenSolaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD or other free OSes
  • Improve Linux as a BIOS

Feel free to post more ideas and wishlist items to the LinuxBIOS mailing list.

If you're interested in applying for a project, you need to hurry up. The deadline is March 24, 2007!

FOSDEM interview with LinuxBIOS founder Ronald G. Minnich

LinuxBIOS logo

A few interesting interviews with speakers at the upcoming FOSDEM 2007 have been published.

I especially recommend reading the interview with Ronald G. Minnich, the founder of the LinuxBIOS project.

Here are the questions he was asked:

  • What's your goal for your talk at FOSDEM?
  • We saw the mention on the LinuxBIOS website about one million devices shipped with LinuxBIOS. Could you tell us more about these devices?
  • What kind of support have you received from chipset and motherboard manufacturers so far?
  • Could LinuxBIOS theoretically replace all BIOSes, of are there certain limitations to be taken into account?
  • Could you tell us a bit more about the BIOS side of the OLPC laptop?
  • What exactly is the difference between "easy" hardware to write a BIOS for, and the "tough" hardware?
  • What are your thoughts on the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI)?

Answers here ;-)

Second Life client GPL'd - two weeks later...

A nice recent example of the benefits of open-sourcing software is Second Life, the well-known online virtual world. The Second Life client was released under the terms of the GNU GPL (version 2) roughly two weeks ago.

Since then a lot of community activity has been observed:

Most of these things (and others I might have forgotten) would certainly not have happened with the closed-source client anytime soon...

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