Software

The Audacity: Audio tool finds new and exciting ways to annoy contributors with a Contributor License Agreement

Is that a tuning Fork we hear?


The saga of the Audacity takeover continued this week with the announcement of a Contributor License Agreement (CLA) by the project's new owners.

Contributors to Audacity will be expected to sign the agreement in order to give code to the project. "The purpose of the CLA," stated the explanation, "is to provide future flexibility in altering (ie, uplicensing, dual licensing) for the entire Audacity project, not just the parts of the code that we have written ourselves."

The audio tool is currently licensed under GPLv2 and plans are afoot to update the licence to GPLv3. However, in defence of the CLA, Audacity cited platforms such as Apple's App Store that have "policies or technical processes that make it difficult or impossible for Audacity to exist on them while it is licensed solely under the GPL (v2 or v3)."

Hmm. It is certainly possible to get code into the App Store without going all-in with a CLA – products such as the open source Nextcloud seem to have found ways to deal with Apple's needs.

Paid-for services, but Audacity itself still free

While insisting that Audacity would remain free and open source, the company noted that separate paid-for cloud services would probably be turning up in the future. It was, however, at pains to point out that a paid version of the product itself was not on the cards, nor were locked features that would require the wielding of a payment medium.

While the concept of a CLA is not alien to the open-source community, it is new to Audacity. Failure to grant MUSECY SM LTD (Audacity's new owner) "the ability to use the Contributions in any way" will result in those contributions being pulled from the platform.

Suffice to say, this has not gone down well with all contributors. Some described the Apple-related excuse as "BS" while others commented: "What you are doing is basically the antithesis of what Open Source stands for, and what allowed Audacity to be the open source success that it is."

Unlike the company's botched telemetry announcement, the CLA has "only" attracted just under 300 thumbs-down clicks and it has been left to Audacity's new owner, Martin Keary (aka tantacrul) to gather feedback. "The CLA was always going to be an issue many contributors would find unpopular," he said.

The Register asked Keary for his take on the reaction to the CLA, but he told us he had nothing to add. ®

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Thanks, Sir Clive Sinclair, from Reg readers whose careers you created and lives you shaped

Former staff, kids who got their first taste of tech, a Reg hack, and even Linus Torvalds share what the electronics pioneer meant to them

Sir Clive Sinclair's contributions to computing and business are well known, and we've done our best to celebrate his life in our obituary of the electronics pioneer, who passed last week aged 81.

To mark his life we felt it appropriate to also consider his impact on Reg readers.

Like many others, your correspondent's first computer was a ZX Spectrum. The machine led to my presence in these pages, because I eventually joined the Australian ZX Users' Association (AZUA), which published its own magazine and invited contributions.

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Space tourists splash down in Atlantic Ocean after three days in orbit

Some sightseeing, music, gambling, chatting to folks back home – just like a regular roadtrip

The space tourist crew who spent three days orbiting Earth in a SpaceX Dragon capsule has returned to our planet in one piece.

The gang, dubbed Inspiration4, splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast just after 1900 EST (2300 UTC) on Saturday. They were checked over by doctors and flown by helicopter to land.

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Apple, Google yank opposition voting strategy app from Russian software stores

Oh, sorry, we thought you wanted us to obey the law?! – Silicon Valley

A tactical-voting app built by allies of Vladimir Putin’s jailed political opponent Alexei Navalny is now unavailable in Russian Apple and Google app stores following threats from the Kremlin.

According to state-owned news agency TASS, Russian lawmaker Andrei Klimov told reporters on Thursday that the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office sent statutory notices to Google and Apple ordering a takedown of the Navalny app on the grounds it was collecting personal data of Russian citizens and sought to interfere in the nation's elections. Refusal to do so would result in penalties, or perhaps worse.

“The app particularly deliberately and illegally spreads election campaign materials in the interests of some candidates vying for positions in elective agencies or against the interests of such," Klimov said.

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Google extends right-to-be-forgotten to app permissions on older Android devices

Software unused after a few months will lose access to sensitive features unless exempted

In December, Google plans to have app runtime permissions expire on older versions of Android for apps that haven't been opened for several months, extending the availability of a privacy protection feature introduced in Android 11.

"In Android 11, we introduced the permission auto-reset feature," explained Google software engineers Peter Visontay and Bessie Jiang in a blog post on Friday. "This feature helps protect user privacy by automatically resetting an app’s runtime permissions – which are permissions that display a prompt to the user when requested – if the app isn’t used for a few months."

That behavior is the default in Android 11 and in Android 12, expected in a few weeks. Come December, it will become the default in older versions of Android that rely on Google Play services, specifically Android 6 (API level 23) through Android 10 (API level 29).

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Yes, of course there's now malware for Windows Subsystem for Linux

Once dismissed proof-of-concept attack on Microsoft OS through WSL detected in the wild

Linux binaries have been found trying to take over Windows systems in what appears to be the first publicly identified malware to utilize Microsoft's Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) to install unwelcome payloads.

On Thursday, Black Lotus Labs, the threat research group at networking biz Lumen Technologies, said it had spotted several malicious Python files compiled in the Linux binary format ELF (Executable and Linkable Format) for Debian Linux.

"These files acted as loaders running a payload that was either embedded within the sample or retrieved from a remote server and was then injected into a running process using Windows API calls," Black Lotus Labs said in a blog post.

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Microsoft does and doesn't require VMs to meet hardware requirements for Windows 11

Either way, it's bad news for VirtualBox – it's stopped working

Microsoft emitted a fresh build of Windows 11 last night, and piled on the woe for some customers hoping that virtual machines might be their way out of the hardware compatibility hole.

Despite Microsoft's efforts to distract users by showing off its updates to the Photos app – now rolling out to users in the Windows Insider Dev Channel – the alarming warning that "this build includes a change that aligns the enforcement of the Windows 11 system requirements on Virtual Machines (VMs) to be the same as it is for physical PCs" was the main news for many testers.

Microsoft also said Hyper-V VMs of Windows 11 need to be Generation 2 VMs, and virtual machines running on virtualization and emulation products from other vendors, such as VMware and Oracle, "will continue to work as long as the hardware requirements are met."

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Microsoft doles out Office Long Term Servicing Channel for cloud refuseniks

Redmond doesn't do things by half – unless it's Long Term Support

Microsoft has grudgingly admitted that not everyone will want to ascend to its cloud with the Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) version of its Office cash cow.

Earlier this year, the Windows behemoth announced that it was axing the length of support. No longer would customers enjoy decade-long delight. Instead, support would last for just five years, in line with Windows.

The release of this perpetual version is for commercial and government customers. The consumer version, Office 2021, will turn up on 5 October and likely be drowned out by users realising their PCs won't run Microsoft's latest version of Windows because OEMs want the gravy train to keep rolling of more stringent hardware requirements aimed at improving the user experience.

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Sir Clive Sinclair: Personal computing pioneer missed out on being Britain's Steve Jobs

Lifelong cost focus was his namesake company's corporate downfall

Obituary Sir Clive Sinclair, the visionary pioneer of computing for the British masses and creator of the legendary ZX Spectrum, has died at the age of 81. His legacy is the British tech scene as we know it today.

Born in leafy Richmond, Surrey, at the height of the Battle of Britain in July 1940, he came to epitomise the early era of British computing through his company Sinclair Research Ltd and its iconic Spectrum product line.

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Punchy Biden-lookalike grandad goes viral for fighting boxing gadget

'If you don't get your timing right you get whacked round the back of the head' admits scrappy octogenarian

An 80-year-old Lancashire grandfather has gone viral on TikTok and Instagram in a video featuring him squaring off with a sparring aid for boxers.

The video (see here) of Bob "Bruiser" Smith of Bamber Bridge near Preston ducking and diving around the Sparbar sparring device has received over 90 million views across the two social media sites.

The pugilistic pensioner – who was a fighter in his youth but banned from the ring by his father at the age of 14 out of concern for his safety – is treating his unexpected global fame with refreshing indifference.

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Something phishy: Tech recruiters jabbed by fake COVID-19 Passport scam

Tells clients it is tackling the issue

An IT recruitment agency says a "phishing scam" is behind a fake email sent to its customers with details on how to apply for a "Coronavirus Digital Passport."

The email – sent to applicants and clients of Concept Resourcing, based in Dudley, England, on 14 September and seen by The Reg – claimed users could "Get your Digital Coronavirus Passports (HPS) today" and showed recipients a big juicy link where they could do so.

The link was not a genuine NHS website and appears to have been deleted shortly after.

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How long till some drunkard puts a foot through one of BT's 'iconic, digital smart city communication hubs'?

Phonebox upgrade dishes out internet and more in Kensington and Chelsea

BT was joined by local dignitaries including the Mayor of Kensington to cut the silk sash on its 21st-century phone box that gives people access to free Gigabit Wi-Fi, rapid mobile phone charging, and free calls if needed.

The BT Street Hub 2.0 unit is now up and running in Notting Hill Gate with others due to be unveiled in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea shortly.

The pods are also plastered with advertising, with BT trumpeting that it's giving small businesses the chance to snap up £7.5m of free street advertising space as part of its launch promo.

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