free software

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...

LinuxBIOS at LinuxTag 2007

LinuxBIOS ROM Chip Logo

If you're coming to LinuxTag 2007 in Berlin (May 30 - June 2), you might want to also visit the LinuxBIOS booth (Hall 12, Stand 80).

We will be showing a couple of different systems all using LinuxBIOS to boot. There is a boot time competition in the booth (nice T-shirts to win!).

On Saturday there's a hands-on LinuxBIOS workshop by Peter Stuge titled "Bring your EPIA, EPIA-M or EPIA-MII board and make it run LinuxBIOS!". Please register in advance at LinuxBIOS booth (Hall 12, Stand 80).

If you always wanted to know what this LinuxBIOS stuff is all about — here's your chance to find out!

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!

LinuxBIOS talk video recording from FOSDEM 2007

LinuxBIOS logo

Highly recommended for anybody who might be even remotely interested in LinuxBIOS:

There's a video recording (OGG, 234 MB) of the LinuxBIOS talk at FOSDEM 2007 by LinuxBIOS-founder Ron Minnich.

The talk is about LinuxBIOS, its history, how it works, what the main challenges are, where it's used today and what the future will likely hold. Watch it, you won't regret it.

And if you want to know more, or maybe even consider contributing, head over to linuxbios.org or contact the mailing list.

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