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Palm Sued Over Palm Pre GPL Violation

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the license-quicksand dept.

GNU is Not Unix 374

zaxl writes "Palm is being sued by Artifex Software over the PDF viewer in Palm's Pre smartphone, which may violate the GNU GPL. Artifex alleges that Palm has copied Artifex's PDF rendering engine, called muPDF, and integrated it into the Palm Pre's PDF viewer application without the proper licensing conditions. The entire application must be licensed under the GPL if muPDF is part of the application. It seems more and more cell phones are shipping with open source code, but in a closed manner."

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Well (-1, Troll)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348684)

Well, if the GPL wasn't a bullshit license which states that you're subject to the GPL if you even use GPL software in your project, this wouldn't be a problem.

Honestly, I have some issues with the LGPL, but they're a hell of a lot less because that aspect is gone. The "linking to my code counts as directly using my code" clause in the GPL is complete and utter bullshit.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30348702)

Yes, those evil developers. Not wanting a company to just take their code, rename it, extend it and use it for free without contributing anything back.

Re:Well (2, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348704)

That's why we're very careful that any libraries we use in distributed software are licensed under BSD or MIT style licenses.

Re:Well (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30348916)

How careful are you to screen code that your new hire has placed into your product. Ever since OO came on the scene, the rate of scab programmers slapping pieces of code together just to finish the homework or project, has gone threw the roof in my eyes.

Piss-poor college professors encourage this OO mentality which bleeds over to structured programs as well.

Re:Well (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30349196)

Palm actually uses a bunch of GPL'd code (the Pre is Linux based) and they do make the code available. In fact, I think some of it even comes on the device itself.

I'm sure this is just an oversight if the code really is GPL and isn't available.

Re:Well (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349316)

Or, we can distribute our code under the GPL, and thus avoid these situations.

Re:Well (parent needs a clue) (1)

Big Jojo (50231) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348712)

Well, if the GPL wasn't a bullshit license which states that you're subject to the GPL if you even use GPL software in your project, this wouldn't be a problem.

Since it doesn't say that, I'm sure you'll agree that this is a problem.

Like all licences, GPL constrains how you may used the licensed thing. All you have to do is satisfy those terms and conditions and you're fine.

Re:Well (parent needs a clue) (4, Informative)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348762)

No, actually it only tells you what you are required to do if you distribute projects that contain it. You can use with out distribution however you want, no restrictions.

Re:Well (parent needs a clue) (1)

Big Jojo (50231) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349038)

Totally not seeing any way in which what you said could be read as disagreeing with what I wrote. Distribution is only one way to use software. It happens to be the one that Palm chose for this, so no other terms could apply.

Re:Well (parent needs a clue) (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349340)

wow ... I'm flabergasted.

Re:Well (parent needs a clue) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30349406)

Use is normally associated with consumption, primary function, or leverage. In that sentence, it would be referring to usage in regard to primary function of the software.

Re:Well (parent needs a clue) (5, Informative)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349408)

Like all licences, GPL constrains how you may used the licensed thing.

You said "used" which I assumed was supposed to be "use". Use and distribution are two different things. Distribution is not a way to use software. Even if it was, the gpl is very explicit in its goal to only cover only distribution. Many people get confused over this point and think that they are not free to use GPL in a personal project that will never be distributed.That's why I responded: to clarify your statement in the general sense. Yes, in the case of palm they did distribute. But, I think its more important that people understand what the GPL says, then the specifics of any one case. This is why you will notice any actual reference to this case in my first post.

A great example of this is something like MySql. I can change the software to do what ever I want, and use it on my server to build a facebook killer, without being required to distribute the source code for it, even though its licensed under the GPL. Because, again the GPL only covers distribution, not use( or other uses if you insist on your ridiculous definition of use that includes distribution).

Also, you misspelled licenses. I'm usually the guy that people point out grammatical errors to, rather than visa versa. But, still, if you are going to offer advice about a subject, it helps your creditability to actually spell it correctly. Or at least use a web browser with integrated spell checking. Again, the point of posting was not nitpicking, but clarifying as posts similar to your last one have led to quite a bit of misinformation about the GPL license.

Once again:GPL covers distribution only, not use.

Re:Well (parent needs a clue) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30349428)

You are both idiots; shut the hell up

Re:Well (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30348730)

If you don't like the GPL, don't use anything covered under it. Go away, nobody's stopping you.

Re:Well (5, Insightful)

Chysn (898420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348752)

Well, if the GPL wasn't a bullshit license which states that you're subject to the GPL if you even use GPL software in your project

The GPL is for open source software whose authors wish to encourage the development of open source software. If you're not writing open source software, you look for another solution or write it your damn self. If you ARE writing open source software, it's not a bullshit license.

Re:Well (0, Troll)

myrdred (597891) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349004)

If you ARE writing open source software, it's not a bullshit license.

Unless you want to license your open source code as BSD/MIT...

Suppose you're writing an open source app (let's say 20k LOC) and wish to license it under MIT. Now, suppose you need a specific functionality that's already been implemented by another open source project under GPL (let's say the functionality is 1K LOC).

Now, you can either use that functionality, but would be forced to relicense your project as GPL (thereby giving up your freedom of being able to choose how you want to license the code you have written), or re-implement the same functionality yourself and license it as MIT (thereby duplicating effort).

As an open source software developer wishing to license my code liberally, I am forced to either give up my freedom of choosing the license for my code or re-implement functionality (thereby taking away my time from improving other parts of my open source app).

So, the GPL license IS a bullshit license even if you are writing open source software (in certain circumstances).

Re:Well (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349026)

Now, you can either use that functionality, but would be forced to relicense your project as GPL (thereby giving up your freedom of being able to choose how you want to license the code you have written), or re-implement the same functionality yourself and license it as MIT (thereby duplicating effort).

That is exactly the point. You have the freedom to use GPL code so long as you release any linked code as GPL as well, or you can rewrite it yourself or use an alternative. Everybody wins!

However, if you take GPL code, obfuscate it and try to pass it off as your own, everyone loses.

Re:Well (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349086)

Is anything that stands in the way of you getting whatever you want at zero cost "bullshit"?

The developer of the hypothetical 1kloc library is under no obligation whatsoever to licence his code in any particular way(unless you have him on contract or something).

Re:Well (1, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349254)

If you ARE writing open source software, it's not a bullshit license.

As an open source software developer wishing to license my code liberally, I am forced to either give up my freedom of choosing the license for my code or re-implement functionality (thereby taking away my time from improving other parts of my open source app).

[Emphasis mine.]

You're forced? Is the GPL being implemented at gunpoint now? Nobody forced you to use GPL software. It's your choice if you want to avail yourself of the hard work of others or not. If you do, then the least you could do is to respect their wishes about how the fruits of their labour are used.

So, the GPL license IS a bullshit license even if you are writing open source software (in certain circumstances).

If by 'certain circumstances' you mean that the GPL is a bullshit license because you want to use it in ways that it wasn't intended to be used, well... you have less than my fullest sympathy.

Look, I respect software licenses - even the ones I don't agree with. I personally think that BSD is fine (though my preference is for GPL). And while I don't like a number of proprietary EULA's I've encountered over the years, I respect the right of the author to put conditions on how his work is used.

It's clear that you don't agree with the GPL, but that doesn't mean you have to go casting aspersions on the license. The only argument you've made so far is that it sucks because it's not what you want. I sympathise, but the solution couldn't be clearer: Just use a different one, and stay away from GPL-licensed code in the future.

Re:Well (1)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349282)

You completely missed the "encourage the development of open source software" part of the grandparent post.

The GPL doesn't allow conversion to BSD/MIT because it would be way too easy to go GPL to BSD/MIT to Closed.

To reiterate, the GPL encourages the development of open source software. This is intentional and highly desired by software authors who use the license. If you don't like it, write your own code under your license of choice.

Re:Well (5, Insightful)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349374)

In other words, you would like the freedom to choose the Free Software license of your choice, but you don't think that the folks writing GPLed software should have the same freedom.

Re:Well (1)

myrdred (597891) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349462)

Actually I never said I wish to restrict the freedom of others.

I follow the "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" school of thought.

Your freedom to write GPL'd code should not be restricted. My point was the license is not the golden chalice for any open source developer (which was the GP's point).

Re:Well (1)

myrdred (597891) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349466)

I meant "every developer" instead of "any developer" in the above post. Doh.

Re:Well (4, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348758)

You use GPL source, you agree to the GPL. You use GPL libs/external executable, you MAY, but only a small number of terms actually apply to you in those cases.

The GPL is a distribution license; you only need to actually agree to and follow it if you plan on distributing it or derivatives of it to others.

Other than BSD trolls, I don't see how anyone could find the above complicated. Would you rather take proprietary EULAs? Those DO govern what you can do with the software itself.

If you want to be able to use source without having to give back, there is PLENTY of it under more permissive licenses like the BSD/MIT. Use those, don't bitch about the GPL.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30348800)

Some of us prefer to do both :P

Re:Well (3, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348890)

Some of us are CDDL trolls, you insensitive clod!

Re:Well (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348790)

Well, if the GPL wasn't a bullshit license which states that you're subject to the GPL if you even use GPL software in your project, this wouldn't be a problem.

Honestly, I have some issues with the LGPL, but they're a hell of a lot less because that aspect is gone. The "linking to my code counts as directly using my code" clause in the GPL is complete and utter bullshit.

Can you please point to that clause in the GPL? My google search [google.com] for that clause isn't working very well.

Re:Well (5, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348792)

Please refrain from using GPL licensed code in your projects, then. Now that we've solved the problem for you, let's fix your first statement with regard to Palm: "Well, if Palm hadn't decided to include code licensed under the GPL and subsequently ignore the requirements of the license, shipping shitloads of infringing units, this wouldn't be a problem."

I don't license my stuff under the GPL; I prefer BSD-style licensing. However, the copyright holder is free to choose how they want their stuff distributed. Palm should have secured a commercial use license from Artifex, failed to do so, and will now have to pony up a whole lot of "oopsie" money.

Re:Well (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349242)

Palm should have secured a commercial use license from Artifex, failed to do so, and will now have to pony up a whole lot of "oopsie" money.

I'd prefer them to just publish the viral parts of the app. These private entities should pay the real price for including GPL code with their own. By taking bribe money, the copyright owners only reinforce bad behavior, showing that instead of abiding by the terms, these devs can be bought.

Re:Well (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349314)

I can definitely see the value in your view. However, I'm not advocating them just having to pay the licensing fees they originally should have. I'd love to see them pay a nasty punitive damages fine (enough to really hurt both their cash reserves and their public image). Of course, if they were forced to disclose a bunch of source on top of that, all the better.

Re:Well (5, Informative)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348856)

If you use someone else's (copyrighted) code you must abide by the license restriction. If it would be too costly to do so then you can't use the code.

Developers should fully understand whatever license they release under. If someone wants to restrict usage of their code to only open-source projects they are free to do so. If they want to release for the benefit of everyone they are free to do so. If they want to try to make some money off their efforts they are free to do so. The key is understanding what you're doing when you choose a license.

New GPL code is not a donation to the community. It is a payment to those who have written GPL code in the past, released on the understanding that others will pay for it by contributing further code. GPL carries restrictions, learn what they are before you use or write GPL code.

Re:Well (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30348862)

Bullshit license? Listen buddy, nobody is making you, Palm, or anyone else use it. I am sure if you used a proprietary company's source code you would be bound to worse restrictions. I honestly don't see what is with you anti-GPL trolls. Here's the deal with the GPL, I am offering you code to inspect, compile, and distribute to anyone on the planet. The only thing I require in return is that if you DISTRIBUTE changes to the code that you contribute with your changes. You may not like it but tough. You didn't write the software and you have no right to tell people how to license their code. You are free to use a competitor's product if they provide what you want.

On that note I have said it a million times before. If you really want to use a GPL'ed product under a new license where you don't have to distribute your changes, stop being cheap and cough up the money. You do have options. Allow me to recap

- Use it under the terms of the GPL and show your changes
- Use a competitors
- Contact the author(s) of the code and offer to purchase a special license for your product.

On the latter, the author has the power to do that since they are the copyright holder and I am sure many would be happy to offer you a proprietary license for your company for the right price. You anti-GPL trolls need to get over yourselves and you are the same guys who accuse GPL fans or being cheap and not wanting to pay for software, yet you scumbags turn around and cry because you can't turn around you use whatever code you want without abiding by the license. Companies have legal departments and if they are creative enough to write elaborate EULAs, I am more than confident these guys can read a relatively simple license and *gasp* weigh their options.

Re:Well (1)

mdenham (747985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349166)

On the latter, the author has the power to do that since they are the copyright holder and I am sure many would be happy to offer you a proprietary license for your company for the right price.

Do I risk being labeled as an anti-GPL troll for saying that the people who aren't willing to offer one for any price are assholes?

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30348904)

Well, if the GPL wasn't a bullshit license which states that you're subject to the GPL if you even use GPL software in your project, this wouldn't be a problem.

If you don't want to comply with the GPL, write the f*cking code yourself and quit whining. The world doesn't owe you free source code.

Guess what's also bullshit: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30349012)

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10410074-1.html [cnet.com]

Hell, some snot-nosed terror banging away on a picture of his absentee mother is probably 10x smarter than most Twitterers. "Look at me! Look at me! I'm special! I feel so empty inside if I'm not prattling on about my inane life to other depressed losers!"

the FSF? (5, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348706)

Those patent trolls...

Re:the FSF? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30349240)

I know you were joking, but copyrights (which is what the GPL is based on), and patents are entirely different things.

Re:the FSF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30349362)

Copyright trolls isn't as funny, though.

GPL: Intellectual Theft (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30348766)

Hello,

As a consultant for several large companies, I'd always done my work on
Windows. Recently however, a top online investment firm asked us to do
some work using Linux. The concept of having access to source code was
very appealing to us, as we'd be able to modify the kernel to meet our
exacting standards which we're unable to do with Microsoft's products.

Although we met several technical challenges along the way
(specifically, Linux's lack of Token Ring support and the fact that we
were unable to defrag its ext2 file system), all in all the process
went smoothly. Everyone was very pleased with Linux, and we were
considering using it for a great deal of future internal projects.

So you can imagine our surprise when we were informed by a lawyer that
we would be required to publish our source code for others to use. It
was brought to our attention that Linux is copyrighted under something
called the GPL, or the Gnu Protective License. Part of this license
states that any changes to the kernel are to be made freely available.
Unfortunately for us, this meant that the great deal of time and money
we spent "touching up" Linux to work for this investment firm would
now be available at no cost to our competitors.

Furthermore, after reviewing this GPL our lawyers advised us that any
products compiled with GPL'ed tools - such as gcc - would also have to
its source code released. This was simply unacceptable.

Although we had planned for no one outside of this company to ever
use, let alone see the source code, we were now put in a difficult
position. We could either give away our hard work, or come up with
another solution. Although it was tough to do, there really was no
option: We had to rewrite the code, from scratch, for Windows 2000.

I think the biggest thing keeping Linux from being truly competitive
with Microsoft is this GPL. Its draconian requirements virtually
guarantee that no business will ever be able to use it. After my
experience with Linux, I won't be recommending it to any of my
associates. I may reconsider if Linux switches its license to
something a little more fair, such as Microsoft's "Shared Source".
Until then its attempts to socialize the software market will insure
it remains only a bit player.

Thank you for your time.

Re:GPL: Intellectual Theft (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30348784)

"Furthermore, after reviewing this GPL our lawyers advised us that any
products compiled with GPL'ed tools - such as gcc - would also have to
its source code released. This was simply unacceptable."
Either you're a troll or your lawyers are idiots. the FSF specifically explains this isn't the case.

Re:GPL: Intellectual Theft (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30348806)

Pls don't feed the copy&paste troll ... ... this very same 'story' has been posted way too many times *sigh*

Re:GPL: Intellectual Theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30348824)

Both. Mod parent up and GP down.

Obvious troll needs feeding (-1, Troll)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349380)

"So you can imagine our surprise when we were informed by a lawyer that we would be required to publish our source code for others to use. It was brought to our attention that Linux is copyrighted under something called the GPL, or the Gnu Protective License. Part of this license states that any changes to the kernel are to be made freely available. Unfortunately for us, this meant that the great deal of time and money we spent "touching up" Linux to work for this investment firm would now be available at no cost to our competitors."

Get a new lawyer, the GPL only requires you to release your source code when you distribute a modified copy of a covered work, and it only requires that the code be distributed to those who receive a copy of the modified work. So, unless you are in the habit of giving your touched up versions of the Linux kernel to competitors, you need not worry about your competitors seeing your changes.

"Furthermore, after reviewing this GPL our lawyers advised us that any products compiled with GPL'ed tools - such as gcc - would also have to its source code released. This was simply unacceptable."

Maybe it is time to find yourself a competent set of lawyers, who actually know what they are talking about. The output of gcc is not covered by the GPL, you can distribute it under any license you see fit. Case-in-point: FreeBSD is compiled using gcc, and distributed under the BSD license.

"Although we had planned for no one outside of this company to ever use, let alone see the source code, we were now put in a difficult position."

Yes, you are in the difficult position of paying incompetent lawyers to give you bad legal advice that costs you money. I have seen that scenario play out in the past, and the companies did not fair very well in the long run.

"We could either give away our hard work, or come up with another solution. Although it was tough to do, there really was no option: We had to rewrite the code, from scratch, for Windows 2000."

Your lawyers never even bothered to call up the Linux foundation and ask about the licensing "dilemma" you were in? When you were given the flatly wrong advice from your lawyers, did you ever think to call up the people you received Linux from and ask them about it? Did you even think to ask them if they were willing to license it in such a way that you would not have to release those changes (that they already did notwithstanding)?

What company do you work for? I see a great opportunity to make some money short selling.

"I think the biggest thing keeping Linux from being truly competitive with Microsoft is this GPL. Its draconian requirements virtually guarantee that no business will ever be able to use it."

This explains, of course, why Red Hat, Novell, Oracle, and IBM have made such enormous businesses out of GPL covered software. Which large companies do you consult for that are not already using Linux in some way?

I think you might be lying or trolling, though I am not really sure what the difference is.

GNU Icon (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30348816)

What the hell is that thing supposed to be? I've seen it for years and want to know, since I can't find info on it anywhere and no-one seems to know.

Why the hell does it look like a dick with two red balls being stroked by a hand with a blue napkin?

Re:GNU Icon (1)

Jahava (946858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348852)

It's a cartoon [gnu.org] wildebeest [wikipedia.org] .

Re:GNU Icon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30348944)

I think it's supposed to be a gnu holding a blue blanket (i.e., a reference to Linus van Pelt.) Not entirely sure what the implication there is supposed to be.

Re:GNU Icon (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30349200)

It's like a Rorschach Test. You see penises in everything because you're gay. Get it? :)

Settlement is probably inevitable... (4, Interesting)

Chysn (898420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348818)

...since Palm mentions muPDF in their documentation, and they don't have a commercial license for it. Anyone in the software industry, anyone using libraries they didn't write, should understand that there's a difference between "open source" and "public domain."

Re:Settlement is probably inevitable... (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348828)

Maybe a palm pre owner should just ask for the source code. They may get it.

Re:Settlement is probably inevitable... (3, Interesting)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348900)

The pre actually ships with a fair amount of code on it: It's based on a Linux system, after all. Hook it up as a USB drive, and there will be a folder with a copy of the GPL and the full code for much of the OS.

If Palm actually shipped this without the right licensing, I'll bet it's an oversight. I'm betting the first Palm knew of this was when the lawsuit reached them.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348970)

I don't suppose someone here with a Pre would mind checking out that folder and seeing if the source for the PDF viewer is there?

Re:MOD PARENT UP (4, Insightful)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349058)

I don't suppose someone here with a Pre would mind checking out that folder and seeing if the source for the PDF viewer is there?

Umm, don't you think that is probably something they checked before filing the lawsuit?

Re:MOD PARENT UP (2, Informative)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349414)

Umm, don't you think that is probably something they checked before filing the lawsuit?

You never know. :-P

Re:Settlement is probably inevitable... (1, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348930)

The GPL doesn't require the source to be included, just that it be available in the same place. Which one would assume in this case would require that Palm provide that code in their store. I forget about cases where the code is itself completely unmodified from the originals are dealt with specifically.

In this case if Palm is dynamically linking rather than statically linking the software and isn't modifying the GPL software, they have a legitimate argument as to whether or not they have to comply with the more onerous licensing terms. Meaning that they don't have to license their application as GPL. This is a legitimate interpretation of the licensing terms and it's one which is accepted by many projects that use GPL code.

It would be a bullshit license if they required that code that uses dynamic linking had to be GPLed as well.

Re:Settlement is probably inevitable... (1, Informative)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349118)

Uh, no.

The terms are really simple here, and the violation is obvious. If you distribute mods, you must distribute code. No evidence of code out there.... and the app doesn't exist in a vacuum. The argument really isn't legitimate. If fact, it's quite clear what the problem is: violation.

Another example of Not Really Free (-1, Troll)

cstec (521534) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348848)

Just another example of why the industry is moving to BSD-style licenses. Face it, the GPL is dead and Stallman's socialist dream along with it.

There's no such thing as "Free - with conditions"

Re:Another example of Not Really Free (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30348912)

[Citation Needed]

Re:Another example of Not Really Free (4, Insightful)

bieber (998013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348920)

The industry is moving to BSD-style licenses because they're just now finding out that they can and will be sued if they blatantly violate the terms of the licenses on other persons' code? Is this seriously a revelation to anyone, and do you honestly believe that it's changing anything? I'd really like to see some backing to the statement "The GPL is dead," because last I checked there was a pretty immensely large body of GPL code still in use, and there's no indication of any significant portion of it fading into obscurity because ZOMG IT'S UNDER TEH EVIL GPL.

Re:Another example of Not Really Free (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349128)

This simply isn't true. The choices have been there for a long time. Palm could have used something else. They didn't. They could have also complied with the GPL license, and no sweat, no harm, no fowl. They didn't, it appears.

Re:Another example of Not Really Free (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348926)

Oh, the industry is moving to BSD-style licenses? When? What industry? Did they actually use GPL-style licenses before? Got anything to back this up? This is one of the most opaque attempt at spreading FUD [wikipedia.org] I've seen here on slashdot.

Re:Another example of Not Really Free (5, Funny)

bug1 (96678) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348998)

Oh, the industry is moving to BSD-style licenses? When? What industry?

FATI (Freeloaders And Takers International) made public anouncements that no longer will they stand by and take software that demands they do more than stand by and take software !

FATI have declared they will setup a protest webpage at becomeafati.com where freeloaders and takers from all over the globe can declare their intent to idly stand and waiting for other people to give them what they want when they want it.

LATE NEWS: FATI are demanding somebody else setup their webpage NOW and place it under an anything goes style license.

Re:Another example of Not Really Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30348956)

Yeah right, we live, free no conditions, every day.

Re:Another example of Not Really Free (1)

Random5 (826815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349010)

So today there's a news story about it being used without permission and suddenly it's dead? If it's good enough to make it into the end product of a company as well known as Palm obviously it's working and there will be more companies who decide to licence GPL code and have an end product out faster that was cheaper to code.

Re:Another example of Not Really Free (2, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349028)

Just another example of why the industry is moving to BSD-style licenses.

Your source for this fact?

Face it, the GPL is dead

It doesn't matter to me what "the industry" does. "The industry" can do whatever it wants, and it has no effect on my ability to run open-source software on my own machine.

and Stallman's socialist dream along with it.

Extra points for red-baiting.

Re:Another example of Not Really Free (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349164)

Your source for this fact?

I'm not sure what the OP's source is, but he's probably referring to how the GPL is often thought of as the holy grail or end-all-be-all free license, and how most companies releasing free code nowadays tend to stick with MIT and Apache2.0 among others. That, plus the GPL probably isn't as prevalent as many assume. Many small, inconsequential projects and doodads choose the GPL (hey, it's what people think of when they think open source), but beyond the obvious big projects Linux and MySQL, there are a lot of big projects who have chosen other, arguably freer licenses, including Postgresql, Apache, postfix, etc.

It doesn't matter to me what "the industry" does. "The industry" can do whatever it wants, and it has no effect on my ability to run open-source software on my own machine.

Which is why the common argument that the GPL magically protects users' interest more than other free software licenses is so silly. The GPL could cease to exist tomorrow and we would all still be running our free software irregardless of what other companies choose to do with or without the free code. User experience would probably improve because there would be a lot less "incompatible" code and presumably a lot less reinventing the wheel and therefore better software.

Anyway, concerning the story at hand, if Palm violated the GPL, they should settle. What else needs to be said about it? Yeah...

Fix the Slashdot moderation system (0, Offtopic)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349030)

+5 Insightful? FFS, can we please get something better than "randomly assign mod points to people who never contribute to the site" please? please?

Re:Fix the Slashdot moderation system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30349114)

I contribute to the site, and I recognise that a lot of the GPL movement including the original intention was to promote socialist ideals. Destroying proprietary software qualifies well in my opinion. Hence, they are evil assholes with less value than maggots. Why show consideration for evil?

Re:Another example of Not Really Free (1)

xiando (770382) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349112)

Just another example of why the industry is moving to BSD-style licenses. Face it, the GPL is dead and Stallman's socialist dream along with it.

The LGPL, notice the L, will do just fine in those cases where software authors find that the GPL is too restrictive. And the GPL does a great job at protecting real people, if some corporation has a problem with releasing their code under GPL then that is their problem. The GPL says that you can not take free code and make it non-free, I do not see the lack of being able to take freedom away as a problem. But then again, I am not a evil corporation.

Re:Another example of Not Really Free (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349184)

That is one hell of a wild-assed assertion. GPL is far from dead. BSD licenses guarantee that business and industry will take what they want and give nothing in return. BSD licensed code begs to be abused and to be used as a means to abuse the very public it came from. One look at Mac OS or MS Windows should that much easily enough.

I can't say I fully agree with the whole GPL thing, but I get the general idea and I'm pretty okay with it. So it comes with strings attached -- strings that guarantee that it remains free. BSD is very idealistic and optimistic and I appreciate that it is. But it is clear that it can and will be abused and can and will be used against the public that created it. It is pretty immoral to take advantage of BSD licensed code in this way, but many people are simply not moral... or at least place profits above morals.

Re:Another example of Not Really Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30349244)

Consider that some people might not care if "business and industry" use their code, would be happy that someone found their work useful, and therefore would not consider this type of usage "abuse".

In fact, I would go as far to say that there is nothing immoral or unethical about using said permissively licensed code in the way in which the license permits.

Re:Another example of Not Really Free (3, Interesting)

caseih (160668) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349214)

Yeah the "industry" would love all open source code to be BSD so they can use it with impunity. Honestly let's stop this FUD. It's simply not true. Code under the GPL is no different from code under any other license. If you don't use it in compliance with the license then you are in a copyright violation situation, and the law allows financial remedies for such a case. The fact that it is GPL is irrelevant to this. Also the summary is incorrect. Palm is in a copyright violation now and have three choices: 1. remove the GPL code, 2. license the code under a different arrangement, and 3. License their derivative product as GPL.

Why are you upset when copyright holders exercise their rights under the law to prevent a company from knowingly or unknowingly rip them off? How would BSD help this situation? Because the GPL actually has teeth we're starting to see the tip of the ice berg as far as willful license violations go. It's impossible to judge how much code is being used illegally in proprietary products. We're not talking GPL either. Any license. Microsoft code, code from some other source.

Do liberty and capitalism allow one the right to violate copyrights? The GPL exists to protect the rights and freedoms of the developers and the end users while allowing free redistribution of code. I know of no other license that does this so effectively. In my opinion, if all open source code was BSD, there really would be no open source community or ecosystem. Like Adam Smith said, sometimes you have to balance self-interest with self-interest. The BSD doesn't do that really well. Certainly there is zero incentive for a company to release code under the BSD if it's just going to be used directly against them. The GPL allows companies to foster communities and promote development, while maintaining a level playing field for all the players.

How hard is it? (3, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348896)

How hard is it to just release a totally OSS version of your OS with all applications and stuff there and let people modify it and put it on your phone? I really don't see the point of trying to complicate things by closing the OSS. Release everything for free and you can take a lot more free code and not having to worry about paying lots of money when you are caught.

Re:How hard is it? (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348974)

I think the most common reason in this market might be meaningless product differentiation by simply switching bits. Customers shouldn't know that the only difference between two devices is the "if( expensive ){ enable_features() }" line.

Another reason is that people will see how many patents they use without permission, and stuff like that.

The publicly given reason is of course that it would enable the competition to gain advantage of their oh-so-valuable-software.

Re:How hard is it? (1, Insightful)

FlyingGuy (989135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349024)

In Palm's case, they would never sell any phones, not because the software is Open Source but because no carrier would let it on their network.

Just like Android phones, iPhones or any phone for that matter. The TelCo's will only go so far before they say ( and rightly so ) stop, this has to be locked down, we cannot risk the entire cell ecosystem on a phone that can be completely modified to do anything. That is why you can write apps for the iPhone the BackBerry, the Android phone, but there are parts of the phone that you just cannot screw around with and so your app runs in a proprietary sandbox. To allow a completely open source re-programmable phone is to invite disaster. It is one thing when you are talking about jacking up the web for a few hours it is entirely another when you take out a whole cell tower or several cell towers do to either malicious programing or just bad programming. People lives can depend on the cell system, they don't depend on the web.

Re:How hard is it? (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349122)

they would never sell any phones

Sure they would, if they sold directly to their REAL customers, the end-user who uses the damn thing.

The TelCo's will only go so far before they say ( and rightly so ) stop, this has to be locked down, we cannot risk the entire cell ecosystem on a phone that can be completely modified to do anything.

This is entirely false. If it were true, then there is no way GSM providers would ever allow an unlocked device on their network. After all, there's no way they could ever be certain about such a device. And the only thing preventing a GSM baseband is patents.

To allow a completely open source re-programmable phone is to invite disaster.

Is it? I suppose to allow any fully open source, reprogrammable computer on the internet is an invitation to disaster. And yet the least open source of OSes, Windows, causes the most havoc. What's your logic in this?

If your phone can screw up the towers, then there's something wrong with the towers. Eventually they will ignore your device, if it persists the company will register an FCC complaint. You aren't going to knock out a tower because of bad programming, at worst your phone will be ignored, and if you're unlucky you'll see a bunch of minutes or data billed on your account because it bugged out (after the battery dies in a flash.)

Re:How hard is it? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349308)

To clarify some stuff:

- OpenMoko was open down to the interface between the Applications processor and Baseband, which were attached over USB link (I believe, some are RS-232.)
- GSM patents are preventing an open source firmware, since they're all done in software as it is.
- Selling directly to the true customers is why I'm buying an N900.

The only legal eagles in this to worry about are the FCC, who generally don't care unless you're causing interference.

Re:How hard is it? (3, Interesting)

bendodge (998616) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349366)

The truth is in the middle. No, a truly open phone isn't going to wreck anything. But the carriers won't sell it, because that would endanger their nickle-and-dime model. They do NOT want people to see them as just a mobile ISP.

Yeah, a handset maker could sell them directly to the customer, but that market is simply too small. Almost everybody leases their phone directly from the carrier. What we need is an Android-type device running on a WiMAX network that realizes it's just a dumb pipe...then we'll get some progress.

Re:How hard is it? (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349126)

Don't the latest FIC phones allow complete access to all parts of the system code, including the bits that control the radios?

Re:How hard is it? (2, Interesting)

iammani (1392285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349130)

Why not? The GSM/CDMA part can still be implemented separately, say on a separate chip and the all other functions of the phone on an arm processor which can run any compatible OS of your choice, may be even an OSS OS.

This way, the cell tower is safe and you get to run any application/library, add external devices to the phone without requiring the blessings of the manufacturer or the cell phone providers.

I dont understand why this is not possible. Hell, they could even make a USB based GSM/CDMA card, that could be used with any laptop/palmtop that supports USB. Want to switch providers, just use a new usb card.

The only reason why they dont make these is that, the cell phone providers want *complete* control over any thing related to cell phones.

Re:How hard is it? (1)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349338)

Most smartphones are already set up like that! WinMo and iPhone both use this setup for sure, even if the radio is just a separate core on the same die. The application/OS processor talks to the radio using - ready for this? - good old AT commands over a serial line.

Re:How hard is it? (1, Informative)

xiando (770382) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349146)

In Palm's case, they would never sell any phones, not because the software is Open Source but because no US carrier would let it on their network.

fixed that for ya, in EU you can buy any phone (at a higher price) and 3 pay as you go sim cards from different carriers and use whichever card you want when you want. The US is the only country I am aware of with a phone-tied-to-carrier system.

Re:How hard is it? (2, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349330)

The US is the only country I am aware of with a phone-tied-to-carrier system.

Even in the US, as long as you use GSM pones, they are not tied to the network. T-Mobile will provide unlock codes for phones they sell, so you can unlock your phone and take it to AT&T. I know this works because I have done it. I have also used phones bought in Europe on T-Mobile's network.

Re:How hard is it? (4, Informative)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349342)

Oh come on... I can buy a GSM modem and stick it on an embedded board from embeddedarm.com. I now have a fully programmable open phone that, according to you, I can now use to wreak utter havoc on the cell phone industry. (I know, I programmed one. A direct bridge between the GSM network and our wifi network. Wneee! Hear those towers toppling!)

Not really. It's the same bullshit argument you hear about almost anything these days - can't trust the user, have to lock it down, we need DRM, those users are all thieves.

BULLSHIT! It only inconveniences the legit users, not those who really want to destroy civilization.

Re:How hard is it? (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349412)

we cannot risk the entire cell ecosystem on a phone that can be completely modified to do anything.

So, if it's possible to bring down the cell ecosystem using a cell phone, then why isn't anyone doing it? I'm sure there are plenty of anti-social types that would get a kick out of it, so motivation isn't a factor. And it's not all that difficult to send any arbitrary radio signal, so that's not an issue. So there's both the means and the desire, yet the towers have withstood the test of time. Something doesn't quite add up here.

I'm confused (2, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#30348986)

Is Slashdot for or against copyrights this week? You know, since the GPL is a copyright license and relies on copyright law to have any power.

Re:I'm confused (3, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349082)

Is Slashdot for or against copyrights this week?

Well, that depends. If the discussion revolves around people wanting to share files regardless of copyright, this community is probably against copyright law. If the discussion is about [insert large company here] violating the GPL, then copyright law is awesome. It's a simple conditional.

Re:I'm confused (5, Insightful)

afaik_ianal (918433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349124)

Contrary to popular belief, comments on Slashdot are written by multiple users just like yourself (but different!).

As it actually happens, the set of people who feel compelled to comment and moderate on "Pirate Bay" stories may not be exactly the same set of people that comment and moderate on GPL licensing stories.

Of the users who comment or moderate on both kinds of stories, some might have what appear to you to be contradicting viewpoints, but you may need to stop looking at everything as black and white - maybe you'll learn something.

I understand how "RIAA should not be destroying people's lives for downloading songs" could be interpreted by you to mean "Copyright sucks, and anyone should have the right to copy anything they want." But there's actually a not-so-subtle difference between those two viewpoints.

I also understand how you might interpret "Corporations need to comply with the terms under which they licensed others' software by releasing their source code or remove the copyright software from their product" as "Burn the evil corporations at the stake", but again, these arguments are not the same thing.

I hope this helps resolve at least some of your confusion.

Re:I'm confused (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349168)

Uh, no, the GPL isn't a copyright license, it's a procedural use of code that may or may not otherwise be bound by copyright. The 'open' side of the license, should a coder be bound by it, doesn't nullify copyright, and never did. It's a usage license that defines the procedure under which the code can subsequently be used, how modifications are treated, and says how the use of the code binds one to the obligations of the license.

Re:I'm confused (1)

JonJ (907502) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349256)

It's a usage license

The GPL never has, and never will be, about usage. It's about distribution.

Re:I'm confused (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349292)

RTFGPL:

"This License explicitly affirms your unlimited permission to run the unmodified Program."

The rest of the license details the conditions under which you may distribute copies of the work, but as with all software licenses, the GPL must give you permission to install and run the program in the first place.

Re:I'm confused (4, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349276)

Actually, copyrights are the basis of the GPL, RMS and the FSF have never denied this. The copyleft strategy is intended to reverse the normal manner in which copyrights are used, but copyrights still form the basis of the license. This is why the GPL carries legal weight, why it stands up in court, and why companies bother paying attention to it.

The only reason we have software licenses at all is copyright. Installing software requires at least one copy of the software to be made; thus, unlike a paper book, you must get the permission of the copyright holder to use their software even after you purchase (or otherwise obtain) a copy. The copyright holder can give you such permission with all sorts of restrictions, or without any restrictions at all (such was with the BSD license).

I am not saying that this system is ideal or that I support it, but it is the reality that we have to deal with.

Re:I'm confused (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349208)

In general /. seems to support the easy spread of information. Slashdot isn't inherently against copyright, just cases where it restricts the flow of information (basically everything but GPL). Of course many people like to over generalize and take sides for or against copyright without boiling it down to the basic issues.

If your comment is taking a stab at those who over generalize, you understand this already. I realize I'm generalizing too.

Re:I'm confused (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349278)

A common view on Slashdot (though certainly not held by everyone) is less a position on copyrights than a position on DIY hackability: that it should be 1) possible; and 2) legal.

From that perspective, the GPL's use of copyright law is good, because it forces companies to both release their code and permit derivative works of it. Other uses of copyright law might be bad, because they attempt to make DIY modifications illegal: either prohibiting sharing your modifications (conventional copyright law) or prohibiting you from even making them at all (DMCA reverse-engineering restrictions). And of course there are non-copyright impediments to DIY modifications as well, like DRM and simple obfuscation, all of which are also sort of unpopular on Slashdot.

http://opensource.palm.com/ looks like it... (5, Informative)

originalhack (142366) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349382)

http://opensource.palm.com/1.3.1/index.html seems to have the source and patches. Is this the end of it or is something missing?

Re:http://opensource.palm.com/ looks like it... (2, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349446)

They've been busy, haven't they? The patch to busybox I looked at was well commented. Looks like the kind of thing which could be taken upstream.

The ipkg changes might be useful on the openmoko.

Palm Mentions mupdf on the phone (2, Informative)

xrayspx (13127) | more than 4 years ago | (#30349448)

On the phone is a PDF called "Open Source Information.pdf". In this document they list the projects they used for the phone:

libgpg-error (only certain files are licensed under GPL), linux-hotplug, libsamplerate0, fuse, freefont, vpnc, sysfsutils, iptables, dosfstools, alsa-plugins, busybox, ipkg, netbase, oprofile, pmeloop, alsa-utils, PPP (only certain files are licensed under GPL), readline, setserial, upstart-initscripts, e2fsprogs (only certain files are licensed under GPL), module-init-tools-cross, module-init-tool, base-passwd, iproute2, usbmon, mupdf, libpurple, makedevs, update- modules, netcat, gdbm, cifs, rsync, update-rc.d, upstart, wireless-tools, udev, bootchart, fbset, dnsmasq, binutils, libgcrypt (only certain files are licensed under GPL), libfuse, Sysvinit, Linux Kernel, pulseaudio, procps, psmisc, mtools, UN Batang Korean True Type Font, faad2, e2fsprogs-libs (portions are licensed under GPL, other portions are licensed under LGPL), sysstat, screen

I don't know why there's a suit unless someone requested the code and was denied, but Palm clearly advertise the fact that they use the app. The document is 37 pages long, but it's not hard to find references to the software they use.

Isn't Artifix based on Ghostscript? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30349496)

isn't Artifix based on Ghostscript which is GPL, Artifix packages a version of ghoscript with support? Can anyone in the know clarify the situation with regards to ghostscript?

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