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Please use the correct (perma)link to bookmark this article, not the page listing all wlog entries of the last decade. Thank you.</update>

Some updates inline and at the bottom.

The new Terms of Service of GitHub became effective today, which is quite problematic — there was a review phase, but my reviews pointing out the problems were not answered, and, while the language is somewhat changed from the draft, they became effective immediately.

Now, the new ToS are not so bad that one immediately must stop using their service for disagreement, but it’s important that certain content may no longer legally be pushed to GitHub. I’ll try to explain which is affected, and why.

I’m mostly working my way backwards through section D, as that’s where the problems I identified lie, and because this is from easier to harder.

Note that using a private repository does not help, as the same terms apply.

Anything requiring attribution (e.g. CC-BY, but also BSD, …)

Section D.7 requires the person uploading content to waive any and all attribution rights. Ostensibly “to allow basic functions like search to work”, which I can even believe, but, for a work the uploader did not create completely by themselves, they can’t grant this licence.

The CC licences are notably bad because they don’t permit sublicencing, but even so, anything requiring attribution can, in almost all cases, not “written or otherwise, created or uploaded by our Users”. This is fact, and the exceptions are few.

Anything putting conditions on the right to “use, display and perform” the work and, worse, “reproduce” (all Copyleft)

Section D.5 requires the uploader to grant all other GitHub users…

  • the right to “use, display and perform” the work (with no further restrictions attached to it) — while this (likely — I didn’t check) does not exclude the GPL, many others (I believe CC-*-SA) are affected, and…
  • the right to “reproduce your Content solely on GitHub as permitted through GitHub's functionality”, with no further restructions attached; this is a killer for, I believe, any and all licences falling into the “copyleft” category.

Note that section D.4 is similar, but granting the licence to GitHub (and their successors); while this is worded much more friendly than in the draft, this fact only makes it harder to see if it affects works in a similar way. But that doesn’t matter since D.5 is clear enough. (This doesn’t mean it’s not a problem, just that I don’t want to go there and analyse D.4 as D.5 points out the same problems but is easier.)

This means that any and all content under copyleft licences is also no longer welcome on GitHub.

Anything requiring integrity of the author’s source (e.g. LPPL)

Some licences are famous for requiring people to keep the original intact while permitting patches to be piled on top; this is actually permissible for Open Source, even though annoying, and the most common LaTeX licence is rather close to that. Section D.3 says any (partial) content can be removed — though keeping a PKZIP archive of the original is a likely workaround.

Affected licences

Anything copyleft (GPL, AGPL, LGPL, CC-*-SA) or requiring attribution (CC-BY-*, but also 4-clause BSD, Apache 2 with NOTICE text file, …) are affected. BSD-style licences without advertising clause (MIT/Expat, MirOS, etc.) are probably not affected… if GitHub doesn’t go too far and dissociates excerpts from their context and legal info, but then nobody would be able to distribute it, so that’d be useless.

But what if I just fork something under such a licence?

Only “continuing to use GitHub” constitutes accepting the new terms. This means that repositories from people who last used GitHub before March 2017 are excluded.

Even then, the new terms likely only apply to content uploaded in March 2017 or later (note that git commit dates are unreliable, you have to actually check whether the contribution dates March 2017 or later).

And then, most people are likely unaware of the new terms. If they upload content they themselves don’t have the appropriate rights (waivers to attribution and copyleft/share-alike clauses), it’s plain illegal and also makes your upload of them or a derivate thereof no more legal.

Granted, people who, in full knowledge of the new ToS, share any “User-Generated Content” with GitHub on or after 1ˢᵗ March, 2017, and actually have the appropriate rights to do that, can do that; and if you encounter such a repository, you can fork, modify and upload that iff you also waive attribution and copyleft/share-alike rights for your portion of the upload. But — especially in the beginning — these will be few and far between (even more so taking into account that GitHub is, legally spoken, a mess, and they don’t even care about hosting only OSS / Free works).

Conclusion (Fazit)

I’ll be starting to remove any such content of mine, such as the source code mirrors of jupp, which is under the GNU GPLv1, now and will be requesting people who forked such repositories on GitHub to also remove them. This is not something I like to do but something I am required to do in order to comply with the licence granted to me by my upstream. Anything you’ve found contributed by me in the meantime is up for review; ping me if I forgot something. (mksh is likely safe, even if I hereby remind you that the attribution requirement of the BSD-style licences still applies outside of GitHub.)

(Pet peeve: why can’t I “adopt a licence” with British spelling? They seem to require oversea barbarian spelling.)

The others

Atlassian Bitbucket has similar terms (even worse actually; I looked at them to see whether I could mirror mksh there, and turns out, I can’t if I don’t want to lose most of what few rights I retain when publishing under a permissive licence). Gitlab seems to not have such, but requires you to indemnify them… YMMV. I think I’ll self-host the removed content.

And now?

I’m in contact with someone from GitHub Legal (not explicitly in the official capacity though) and will try to explain the sheer magnitude of the problem and ways to solve this (leaving the technical issues to technical solutions and requiring legal solutions only where strictly necessary), but for now, the ToS are enacted (another point of my criticism of this move) and thus, the aforementioned works must go off GitHub right now.

That’s not to say they may not come back later once this all has been addressed, if it will be addressed to allow that. The new ToS do have some good; for example, the old ToS said “you allow every GitHub user to fork your repositories” without ever specifying what that means. It’s just that the people over at GitHub need to understand that, both legally and technically¹, any and all OSS licences² grant enough to run a hosting platform already³, and separate explicit grants are only needed if a repository contains content not under an OSI/OKFN/Copyfree/FSF/DFSG-free licence. I have been told that “these are important issues” and been thanked for my feedback; we’ll see what comes from this.

① maybe with a little more effort on the coders’ side³

② All licences on one of those lists or conformant to the DFSG, OSD or OKD should do⁴.

③ e.g. when displaying search results, add a note “this is an excerpt, click HERE to get to the original work in its context, with licence and attribution” where “HERE” is a backlink to the file in the repository

④ It is understood those organisations never un-approve any licence that rightfully conforms to those definitions (also in cases like a grant saying “just use any OSS² licence” which is occasionally used)

Update: In the meantime, joeyh has written not one but two insightful articles (although I disagree in some details; the new licence is only to GitHub users (D.5) and GitHub (D.4) and only within their system, so, while uploaders would violate the ToS (they cannot grant the licence) and (probably) the upstream-granted copyleft licence, this would not mean that everyone else wasn’t bound by the copyleft licence in, well, enough cases to count (yes it’s possible to construct situations in which this hurts the copyleft fraction, but no, they’re nowhere near 100%).


28.01.2016 by tg@
Tags: event

Of course, some MirBSD presence will be at FOSDEM this year. There’s no FOSDEM without mirabilos, after all.

We have no booth nor any other set place, and no planned talk schedule either, so coordination of meetups will be tricky. I’ll try to get into IRC at least occasionally, but WLAN is usually shitty.


FOSDEM preparations… done.

20.01.2014 by tg@
Tags: debian event fun grml mksh twitxr work

I’ve produced several pin-on buttons to take with me to FOSDEM for giving away (as long as there are any left):

Several pin-on buttons I made

First row (nice projects), from left to right: MidnightBSD; Glenda, the Plan 9 bunny; Teckids e.V.

Second row (The MirOS Project): mksh; the Shilouette Dæmon; the “Triforce” (Live+Install CDs for i386 and sparc, with MirGrml); “the m” (alternative logo, vector)

Third row (things originating from tarent): Freedroidz (now a Teckids project); OSIAM (Identity and Access Management); tarent (tarent AG, tarent GmbH), who sponsored production of these buttons

Hm… jupp needs a button’able logo!

FOSDEM meetup

FrOSCon is approaching, and all MirBSD developers will attend… but why’s there no MirBSD exhibit? The answer to that is a bit complex. First let’s state that of course we will participate in the event as well as the Open Source world. We’ll also be geocaching around the campus with other interested (mostly OSS) people (including those we won for this sport) and helping out other OSS projects we’ve become attached to.

MirOS BSD, the operating system, is a niche system. The conference on the other hand got “younger” and more mainstream. This means that almost all conference visitors do not belong to the target group of MirOS BSD which somewhat is an “ancient solution”: the most classical BSD around (NetBSD® loses because they have rc.d and PAM and lack sendmail(8), sorry guys, your attempt at being not reformable doesn’t count) and running on restricted hardware (such as my 486SLC with 12 MiB RAM) and exots (SPARCstation). It’s viable even as developer workstation (if your hardware is supported… otherwise just virtualise it) but its strength lies with SPARC support and “embedded x86”. And being run as virtual machine: we’re reportedly more stable and more performant than OpenBSD. MirBSD is not cut off from modern development and occasionally takes a questionable but justified choice (such as using 16-bit Unicode internally) or a weird-looking but beneficial one (such as OPTU encoding saving us locale(1) hassles) or even acts as technological pioneer (64-bit time_t on ILP32 platforms) or, at least, is faster than OpenBSD (newer GNU toolchain, things like that), but usually more conservatively, and yes, this is by design, not by lack of manpower, most of the time.

The MirPorts Framework, while technically superiour in enough places, is something that just cannot happen without manpower. I (tg@) am still using it exclusively, continuing to update ports I use and occasionally creating new ones (mupdf is in the works!), but it’s not something I’d recommend someone (other than an Mac OSX user) to use on a nōn-MirBSD system (Interix is not exactly thriving either, and the Interix support was only begun; other OSes are not widely tested).

The MirBSD Korn Shell is probably the one thing I will be remembered for. But I have absolutely no idea how one would present it on a booth at such an exhibition. A talk is much more likely. So no on that front too.

jupp, the editor which sucks less, is probably something that does deserve mainstream interest (especially considering Natureshadow is using it while teaching computing to kids) but probably more in a workshop setting. And booth space is precious enough in the FH so I think that’d be unfair.

All the other subprojects and side projects Benny and I have, such as mirₘᵢₙcⒺ, josef stalin, FreeWRT, Lunix Ewe, Shellsnippets, the fonts, etc. are interesting but share few, if any, common ground. Again, this does not match the vast majority of visitors. While we probably should push a number of these more, but a booth isn’t “it” here, either.

MirOS Linux (“MirLinux”) and MirOS Windows are, despite otherwise-saying rumours called W*k*p*d*a, only premature ideas that will not really be worked on (though MirLinux concepts are found in mirₘᵢₙcⒺ and stalin).

As you can see, despite all developers having full-time dayjobs, The MirOS Project is far from being obsolete. We hope that our website visitors understand our reasons to not have an exhibition booth of our own (even if the SPARCstation makes for a way cool one, it’s too heavy to lift all the time), and would like to point out that there are several other booths (commercial ones, as well as OSS ones such as AllBSD, Debian and (talking to) others) and other itineries we participate in. This year both Benny and I have been roped into helping out the conference itself, too (not exactly unvoluntarily though).

The best way to talk to us is IRC during regular European “geek” hours (i.e. until way too late into the night – which Americans should benefit from), semi-synchronously, or mailing lists. We sort of expect you to not be afraid to RTFM and look up acronyms you don’t understand; The MirOS Project is not unfriendly but definitely not suited for your proverbial Aunt Tilly, newbies, “desktop” users, and people who aren’t at least somewhat capable of using written English (this is by design).

This weekend, the FOSDEM 2012 took place in Brussels. We gave away DVDs with the latest MirOS BSD snapshot and about 3 GiB of binary packages for pkgsrc.

I gave a talk entitled “pkgsrc on MirBSD”. It gives a short introduction to both MirBSD and pkgsrc and details how we managed to get MirBSD supported as a platform, including some details on the new-developer process at the NetBSD foundation. The slides are now available on slideshare or as a PDF for download. —

The showcase is doing strange things. The NetBSD-current kernel panics reproducibly when the network card, an alc, does not have a link. Thus, I put it on a switch with no other connection to “fix” the problem. Furthermore, I have a half-finished pkg_rolling-replace on the NetBSD side; various things now give Memory Errors, including running xfce4-session. Oh well. WindowMaker to the rescue … I am planning on redoing the setup on this machine anyway, once NetBSD-6-alpha will have been branched. I would also like to use LVM to set up the partitions for the Xen domains, to avoid going through a vnd(4) device.

benz’ wedding, fun before

24.10.2011 by tg@
Tags: debian event fun

My dear MirBSD co-developer Benny did not only get his Doctor title but also recently married. There will be another post detailing this, including better photos of the two Doctors and the cake (with a Dæmon she made herself) on the wlog, but this is some fun beforehand:

No GPL cars!

Apparently, it is forbidden in France to drive GPL cars. (Without safety valve – but you have to admit the picture was fun. And we were like WTF? since the thing actually meant is LPG in German. Just like UTC is CUT (Coordinated Universal Time) in English, TUC (Temps Universel Coordonné) in French…)

I’m also working on improving our xterm(1) and GNU screen config, and other things. Explaining acronyms on our webpages is also coming some time. Benny is importing weird stuff from TNF for better pkgsrc® support, so there is activity. Just we’ve got dayjobs and a life… and mksh(1) still rocks (pdksh got orphaned in Debian today).

On Day 0, we were at my favourite Jugoslawian restaurant, and during eating and verpeiling, Andi took some pictures:
Jana und Jupp “ich habe die Macht” cnuke@ Henni und ciruZ (Jonathan) gecko2@ “geh weg” und bsiegert@ “waaah!” deer in the headlights
Take special note of the fun expressions everyone has…

Day 2, nothing of note at the conference itself – according to Jana, the only interesting talk (that tcpdump(8) GUI) was cancelled, and everything else was PHP and Web 2.0 crap. The food also was different, at least what I got, from Day 1. But it wasn’t as hot as on the previous day, and we did more socialising. I also managed to get the MirBSD ISO distributed some more.

Then I took my fellow DDs Enrico and madamezou geocaching for their first time, together with benz; they then took a Travelbug I found on Day 1 (with rsc) to Italy so it’ll end up in Rome, a next step on its mission.

Other rarely-seen people, such as Dr. Pfeffer, made an appearance, but overall the second day was quite relaxed. Ah, and Benny is a Doctor in Germany now as well.

On Monday, I slept quite a bit ☺

Built the ISO [torrent link deleted 2014-05-13] in the morning, today. Finally. Whew. It was much too warm in the mēnsa, and why did I have to get up so early anyway? Real Conferences™ don’t start before 10 o’clock, and there are no sensible activities before 11 o’clock anyway…

Talked to a lot of people, introduced my favourite Fedora Packager to Geocaching. Now my throat is sore and I’m tired. Social Event was not my case, as usual. (And even the vegetarian food now costs money as opposed to, I think, two years ago.) At least dry and not too loud. Still, best thing of FrOSCon is the Friday Evening Jugoslawian Food Mealtime ;-)

FrOSCon 2011

18.08.2011 by tg@
Tags: debian event grml news

This year without our friends from Grml, but The MirOS Project (all two active developers and our Booth Babe gecko2@) will of course attend FrOSCon, nicknamed Froschkon, again.

We’ll have a pre-event meal time at my favourite Jugoslawian Restaurant on Friday (20:00 CEST) – contact me privately for the coördinates if interested. On Saturday and Sunday we’ll staff a booth and answer questions about the many projects we have (more or less) running, including but not limited to paxmirabilis (aka MirCPIO), The MirBSD Korn Shell aka mksh(1), jupp the editor, and developers’ private projects such as slowly undermining Debian or Google-Go. While slow we are still working on World Domination. And teaching people good shell programming by example code.

We might even bring CDs, but I’m still working on the ISO… last night’s build aborted because the OS grew a bit making the floppy image not fit any more. (Solution, drop ping(8) and rtsol(8), but re-add sf(4) and bce(4) now that they fit again.)

The pictures are hypertext references to large versions. Of course, your photographer (me, although Samuel helped to set up the PocketPC’s camera application correctly, 10x) also had some Kruškovac ☺ (imported from Croatia into Bosnia)…

spontaneous late night meeting at Front Desk

Of course we were not above closing Front Desk either ☻☺

Best Friends

Been hot and dry today (although the sky is now back full of dark clouds), so I had a headache most of the morning until way past noon. Better now though, and I found a place where I could get Cevapi, which are really some sort of quick imbiss / fast food here (no Đuveč pirinač though, and she didn’t have any Ajvar nor did she speak any language other than the local, but that wasn’t a problem, only a bit dry because I didn’t give in and took the offered Ketchup). Bought a 1ℓ bottle of Kruškovac (from Hrvatska, though) and some small plastic glasses, then.

I wonder how many people would, now, be willing to give Bosna i Hercegovina a try as holiday region (which might have been the intent of having a Balkan DebConf). I’m sure I do.

To all attendees: the hotel will give you some kind of stamped hardpaper card which states where you stayed on the trip, and for how long – give that to the border guards when exiting Bosnia.


25.07.2011 by tg@

Sitting in Бања Лука, Република Српска, Босна и Херцеговина (Banja Luka, Republika Srpska, Bosna i Hercegovina) let’s just say the country is pretty nice. People are okay, the beer is not called “Nektar” by accident, and the Mark (subunit Fennig, funnily enough) is worth 1 DM. Price niveau is below Germany (even when we had the DM) in some things, below or at modern European in others. In short, very affordable. They don’t accept paper money though, it’s really hard to get coins in most places, and they only want those. The food is okay, and my hotel is very luxurious. It’s also got LAN.

The weather is not so nice at the moment though: raining a lot, and expecting 30°C too-hot sun in two days. And there are still no Geocaches in the area.

Anyway, DebConf is going on, I’m acclimating and trying to get people, faces, nicknames and realnames connected. And accents. (And pronunciation of names – for example, Ian differs totally from what I’d use.) We even have working wire network (LAN) most of the time ;-)

We’re indeed still working on resurrecting m68k, but that’s no news. More on that later, I’d say.

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