Category Archives: Free Software

MontyLingua3 – GPLed fork of MontyLingua

MontyLingua is a popular Natural Language processing tool which can understand english language and also correct it based on common sense – used by many people around the world for research. It did have a small problem – licensing. The author released it under two licenses which states that:

If it is your intent to use this software for non-commercial,
non-prioprietary purposes, such as for academic research purposes,
this software is free and is covered under the GNU GPL License,
given here: <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.txt> and in the
APPENDIX of this document.

If you are interested in this software for commercial purposes,
commercial licensing information is available.  Please email
([email protected]) for more information.

In my company, we have been trying to get to the author for the commercial license but he hasn’t replied to any emails. So we decided to make use of another NLP tool and move on. But a few days back there was a discussion at Reddit where it was noted that someone can get the software for non-commercial use under GPL – which gives him the full right offered by GPL. So he can copy, modify and share the software to anyone and the person who gets the software from him (not Hugo) can get it under GPL. This essentially avoids the commercial license path of MontyLingua Version 2.0 license.

I thought since I was already working on improving the code, why don’t I fork it, do the bug fixes and release it under GPL. This will allow anyone else to come up and fix the code and improve the project. Since the author isn’t actively working on this project, I think using this fork will benefit everyone to get a better version.

I have created a public repository in bitbucket called MontyLingua3 (the old one is in version 2.1). Right now I am going to clean up the code and since I am not a NLP expert there won’t be any new additional features. If someone can contribute with new features/functions then I would be very happy to include their patches.

To get the source code, install mercurial and clone the repository as

$ hg clone http://bitbucket.org/cnu/montylingua3/

So, please contribute to the project.

GPL Version 3 out

GPL Version 3GNU General Public License has been atlast updated to version 3 after nearly a year of drafts and lot of arguments. It was release yesterday – which is also the release date of Apple’s iPhone. The final text of GPLv3 is accompanied with a rationale document explaining the few changes since the “Last Call” draft. The final text of LGPLv3 is available as well. The GPL FAQ has already been updated with additional information and will be improved over the next few weeks. AGPLv3, FDLv2, and SFDL are still being revised.

Google Summer of Code 2006

Google has announced the Summer of Code this year too. Summer of Code is a program started by Google last year to make more students to develop Free/Open Source Softwares. The students will be aided by organisations which develop Open Source softwares. Each student will be assigned one mentor and will also get stipend. If a student is selected in the program, then Google pays $500 initially. Then during the middle of the program (if sufficient progress has been made), then it pays $2000, and at the end of the program, will pay $2000. The mentoring organisation will also get $500 for every student it helps. So, Google spends $5000 for every student. Last year of the 8744 applicants, 419 students were accepted into the program and more than 80% of them succeeded, which means they received the full stipend of $4500. This year, Google plans to take in more students.

This is a nice oppurtunity for students to showcase their coding skills and also contribute to the open source community – also get paid for it.

google, summer of code, open source, free software

25+ reasons to switch to Linux

The Linux users group (LUG) of Bellevue, Washington, recently published an article titled “25 Reasons to Convert to Linux” on the group’s Web site. The comprehensive list discusses the well-known reasons why “Businesses, educational institutions, governmental agencies and other organizations around the world are converting their computer operating systems from Microsoft Windows to Linux at an increasing pace”–cost, licensing issues, support from the community and security.

Other reasons on the list for switching center around ideas of openness, in terms of the source code and file formats, and the benefits that openness offers users. By the end of the list, which also notes that Linux is an ethical and law-abiding computing option (unlike others).

Though the rate of acceptance of linux is increasing, I wonder how much it has penetrated the Indian market. Even in my college, there are systems with Red Hat Linux(old version), it coexists along with Microsoft Windows. And to my knowledge, they are used only by the final year students who do their projects. But, one real good thing is that we are accustomed to Mac OS and we have 70% of systems as iMac and EMac.

What steps can we take to improve the penetration on GNU/Linux in Colleges and Schools?

linux, gnu, mac+os, imac, emac, windows

PyPy – Python Implementation in Python

PyPy is a Python implementation written in Python. Of late people have started to implement a language in itself to demonstrate the versatility of the language and to show its applicability for large projects. Writing operating systems and compiler/interpreters for languages are the most complex things in software development. Since PyPy is implemented in Python, it provides the high level of abstraction and compactness of the language. This makes the implementation easy to understand than in C. Currently it is not well optimised, but in future they may be optimisations to allow prorgams to run faster than CPython.
python, pypy, cpython, c

GNU GPLv3 first draft release

The first draft of the revised GNU General Public License (GPLv3) will be released during the “First International Conference on GPLv3″, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on January 16 and 17 2006. The conference is open to the public and free of charge, though advance registration is required. The FSF has also launched the GPLv3 Development and Publicity Project which will bring together organizations, software developers, and software users from around the globe during 2006, in an effort to update the world’s most popular free software license.
Free Software advocates are hoping that effective provisions for software patents as well as GPL compatibility with other licenses will be prominent in the draft.

gnu,gnu+gpl, gpl, license, fsf, free+software, open+source, gpl3, mit

Which GNU/Linux distro do you use

I have installed a poll plugin for this blog and have started a new poll. The question is

Which GNU/Linux distro you use

I have added the following choices

  • Red Hat Linux
  • SuSe Linux
  • Mandriva
  • Debian GNU/Linux
  • Ubuntu GNU/Linux
  • I don’t use Linux

If your favourite distro is missing, please comment under this post. Also try to tell what are the best features that you find here. If anyone wants me to remove the poll (cause it is a lame question), feel free to comment.

Update: Added Gentoo as one of the choices.

redhat, red+hat, debian, linux, gnu/linux, ubuntu, suse, mandriva, mandrake, distro

Microsoft wins FAT patent case

According to TheRegister, Microsoft has won its claim over the patent rights over its File Allocation Table(FAT) which was the default filesystem used on Windows. This could mean that Microsoft could go after FLOSS developers by forcing them to pay a royalty for using FAT. The US Patent and Trademark Office ruled that the file system is “novel and non-obvious” and, therefore, deserving of a patent. Do you really think so?

microsoft, patent, fat, floss, file+system

One Day One Site series in New Linux User

Jon from New Linux User has started a new blog series called One Day One Site. He would be writing about the various sites/forums where one frequents if they face some problem while on their GNU/Linux box. So, he is going to visit such sites and forums and make a small review of that site. It sure helps to get to know more sites other than to just depend on out LUG‘s mailing list.

linux, tux