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198 comments

copyfree.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34719670)

Subject says it all.

Re:copyfree.org (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720002)

Don't you mean GNU/Copyfree!??

And there's no way I'm going to be using yet another term for free like "gratis," "libre," and "elfreeo"

Fuck CFFLOSS

lucky (2)

chibiace (898665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719672)

since xmas is finished for this year they have all of 2011 to atone for their mistakes and get on the good list

No great surprise.. (2)

Dogers (446369) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719692)

Big name companies provide it (notable exception being Creative, but then they've not always been so hot at this anyway), small unknown Chinese companies don't.

I'm surprised that Viewsonic only provides the source for 1 of its three tablets though.

Re:No great surprise.. (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719840)

The area that surprises me is the 'devices produced by small unknown Chinese companies; but rebadged and sold by large American/Japanese/etc. ones' niche.

Given the number of obscure OEMs toiling away on designs based on what appear to be the same set of chipsets, you would expect that a large reseller would have its choice of OEMs, and strong ability to dictate terms. Further, you would expect that the respective legal departments of these re-badgers would absolutely flip out at the idea of incurring substantial risk of copyright infringement risk.

The odds that Sylvania actually produced the hardware being marketed under their name are not huge; but Sylvania is a US-market brand of a pretty big Japanese electronics outfit. If anybody were to sue them about it, there could be serious money on the table.

Coby Electronics Corporation, while it isn't exactly a luxury brand(seen by name in places like CVS pharmacy's electronics aisle, does some OEM work for Radio Shack), is a company with nontrivial size and US presence. Were I their lawyer, I'd be turning a cool shade of purple at the amount of liability we were racking up to score some tiny margins on skeezy wannabe android tablets to be sold to suckers at CVS.

While FOSS guys tend to be nice about it, the penalties in the US for copyright infringement are downright draconian, and that niceness is wholly optional.

Re:No great surprise.. (2, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719904)

these re-badgers would absolutely flip out at the idea of incurring substantial risk of copyright infringement risk.

You need money to sue someone. FOSS idealists have none, and big companies with vested interest in FOSS software that could afford the legal costs know better than to hurt their own kind. That's why everybody and their dogs trample on the GPL with zero fear of legal actions.

Re:No great surprise.. (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719944)

I suspect, percentage wise, it is fairly safe; but more than a few well-known names have been bitten for noncompliance with respect to busybox utilities... It's hardly a certainty, I'm just surprised that, given the likely bargaining power of the re-badger vs. the random throwaway OEM, that legal is signing off on even modest risk.

Re:No great surprise.. (4, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720042)

Hardly bitten, more like they got a mildly dirty look from a random stranger. Have there been any settlements or awards that were more than a slap on the wrist of the company? Any that in any way impacted their bottom line in even the smallest way?

Re:No great surprise.. (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720136)

For most, simply coming into compliance is all they are ever asked to do in court.

Some busybox (etc) providers drag their heels on even that, but most simply hang it on their website in some obscure place and call it a day. Most of these devices are obsolete before anyone notices the missing source code.

Its not hard to comply, its just that Joe Purchasing Agent has no clue he is supposed to do so when he buys a cheesy tablet from an OEM and changes nothing but the label on the back.

Re:No great surprise.. (4, Informative)

dido (9125) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720244)

Ask Eben Moglen, chief legal counsel for the Free Software Foundation, how the GPL has been enforced [gnu.org] all these years.

In approximately a decade of enforcing the GPL, I have never insisted on payment of damages to the Foundation for violation of the license, and I have rarely required public admission of wrongdoing. Our position has always been that compliance with the license, and security for future good behavior, are the most important goals. We have done everything to make it easy for violators to comply, and we have offered oblivion with respect to past faults.

Enforcing the GPL, for the Free Software Foundation anyway, has never been about punishing the violators, as it tends to be with other copyright-related litigation, but more about getting people to comply with the license. In another speech [gnu.org] , Moglen explains why there has never been a court test of the GPL, which is what you seem to be looking for:

...In order to defend yourself in a case in which you are infringing the freedom of free software, you have to be prepared to meet a call that I make reasonably often with my colleagues at the Foundation who are here tonight. That telephone call goes like this: "Mr. Potential Defendant, you are distributing my client's copyrighted work without permission. Please stop. And if you want to continue to distribute it, we'll help you to get back your distribution rights, which have terminated by your infringement, but you are going to have to do it the right way."

At the moment that I make that call, the potential defendant's lawyer now has a choice. He can cooperate with us, or he can fight with us. And if he goes to court and fights with us, he will have a second choice before him. We will say to the judge, "Judge, Mr. Defendant has used our copyrighted work, copied it, modified it and distributed it without permission. Please make him stop."

One thing that the defendant can say is, "You're right. I have no license." Defendants do not want to say that, because if they say that they lose. So defendants, when they envision to themselves what they will say in court, realize that what they will say is, "But Judge, I do have a license. It's this here document, the GNU GPL. General Public License," at which point, because I know the license reasonably well, and I'm aware in what respect he is breaking it, I will say, "Well, Judge, he had that license but he violated its terms and under Section 4 of it, when he violated its terms, it stopped working for him."

But notice that in order to survive moment one in a lawsuit over free software, it is the defendant who must wave the GPL. It is his permission, his master key to a lawsuit that lasts longer than a nanosecond. This, quite simply, is the reason...that there has never been a court test of the GPL.

Given this kind of legal bind, most defendants when pressed by competent GPL plaintiffs would rather comply with the license like they are supposed to than fight it out in court under those terms.

Re:No great surprise.. (0)

Nikker (749551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720426)

As far as going for the throat legally it might be best for the diplomatic approach this time around. The main reason there are so many people scared of entering the Tech (or any major) industry is because of this very situation, they throw something against the wall and see if it sticks. By suing these companies we will likely be suing Linux and FOSS right out the window and the rest of the "Big Guys(TM)" will just turn to the creative culture and remind them to all stay out. I don't want to be stuck with these idiots any longer, I want to be able to put my hands on a piece of tech and once I pay for what ever device I want to do what ever I want with it. I don't want to worry about some obscure kill switch bricking my gizmo or it tracking my usage so some company can whore my personal details out to the highest bidder all the while whining to me that the money I gave them in the first place is barely putting food on their tables. So if I was the one with the copyrights, I would say screw it let them play, bring me more stuff, pile shelves high as the roof and deep as the walls will allow. Hell we may lose out on source and documentation for some cheap ass obscure Chinese ripoff component but once the OS in general goes real main stream they will go the way of the dodo any way and people will hack it out of nostalgia. Once the underlying OS becomes as cookie cutter as the cheap hardware these guys are cobbling together everyone and anyone will be able to give it a go and that is exactly what will put more and better tech on the shelves and more importantly in my hands.

So fuck it let them copy to their hearts content keep the source code but keep putting out gadgets and make people buy it get the taste of it so everyone can capitalize on the hard work millions of developers and users have been putting into this from day one.

Ship Source? (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719696)

They are Android. Google makes source available and the tablet vendors do too. There is no requirement to ship the source.

Re:Ship Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34719714)

the distributor must make it available. just pointing to the google sources is not sufficient.

Re:Ship Source? (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719766)

It is sufficient if they use stock Android.

Making available does not require shipping, nor does it include hosting your own servers. You need merely "make it available". There are no specific requirements as to where it must be a available, and having the Open Handset Alliance perform this service is sufficient.

Samsung and some others are quite responsive in getting the source out there. Others not so much.

My only point in my post above is there is no requirement that the source be "shipped". It merely needs to be available along with any modifications a manufacturer makes to it.

Re:Ship Source? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719792)

It is sufficient if they use stock Android.

For that to work the company earning profits from Android must contribute to hosting the source code. If that don't do that the version of android used on the tablet might not be available when needed.

Re:Ship Source? (1, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719844)

For that to work the company earning profits from Android must contribute to hosting the source code. If that don't do that the version of android used on the tablet might not be available when needed.

The GPL makes no requirements as to who hosts the source code.

Re:Ship Source? (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719926)

6. Conveying Non-Source Forms.

    You may convey a covered work in object code form under the terms
of sections 4 and 5, provided that you also convey the
machine-readable Corresponding Source under the terms of this License,
in one of these ways:

        a) Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product
        (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by the
        Corresponding Source fixed on a durable physical medium
        customarily used for software interchange.

        b) Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product
        (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by a
        written offer, valid for at least three years and valid for as
        long as you offer spare parts or customer support for that product
        model, to give anyone who possesses the object code either (1) a
        copy of the Corresponding Source for all the software in the
        prodwuct that is covered by this License, on a durable physical
        medium customarily used for software interchange, for a price no
        more than your reasonable cost of physically performing this
        conveying of source, or (2) access to copy the
        Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge.

        c) Convey individual copies of the object code with a copy of the
        written offer to provide the Corresponding Source. This
        alternative is allowed only occasionally and noncommercially, and
        only if you received the object code with such an offer, in accord
        with subsection 6b.

        d) Convey the object code by offering access from a designated
        place (gratis or for a charge), and offer equivalent access to the
        Corresponding Source in the same way through the same place at no
        further charge. You need not require recipients to copy the
        Corresponding Source along with the object code. If the place to
        copy the object code is a network server, the Corresponding Source
        may be on a different server (operated by you or a third party)
        that supports equivalent copying facilities, provided you maintain
        clear directions next to the object code saying where to find the
        Corresponding Source. Regardless of what server hosts the
        Corresponding Source, you remain obligated to ensure that it is
        available for as long as needed to satisfy these requirements.

        e) Convey the object code using peer-to-peer transmission, provided
        you inform other peers where the object code and Corresponding
        Source of the work are being offered to the general public at no
        charge under subsection 6d.

So say windows 8 turns out to be red hat linux with a new label on the box. For source code MSFT points back to red hat. The red hat servers melt from too much traffic and red hat restricts downloads to their own customers.

For MSFT to satisfy the GPL they must have control over the infrastructure which delivers the source code. Otherwise they are not in compliance. They could do this by paying red hat to do it for them. They could do it themselves. Maybe google provides this service for Android. I don't know.

Come on. We have been over this 1000 times.

Re:Ship Source? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719952)

If you have been over it 1000 times, why did you quote the part about object code rather than the part about source code?

Re:Ship Source? (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719976)

If you have been over it 1000 times, why did you quote the part about object code rather than the part about source code?

Read the bits about providing Corresponding source:

Regardless of what server hosts the
Corresponding Source, you remain obligated to ensure that it is
available for as long as needed to satisfy these requirements.

Re:Ship Source? (1, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720012)

Exactly.

But some here insist you must PERSONALLY host it. This bit is not true. Nor need you ship it.

You need simply to make it available SOMEWHERE for three years.

Re:Ship Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34720064)

You must make it available. You, not someone else. Of course you can fulfill this obligation through outsourcing, but it is not sufficient to point at someone else who independently of you offers the same source. Doing so is explicitly forbidden by the license.

(And if you don't ship with source, then the offer for the source has to be shipped with the binary. You can not hide it in the basement in a toilet with a sign "beware of the tiger" and no lamps, no stairs - or in an "Open Source Zealots" subcategory of your web page.)

Re:Ship Source? (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720422)

>>You must make it available

"You must make it available" != "You must ensure it is available."

Re:Ship Source? (3, Informative)

julesh (229690) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719992)

Err... that is the part that requires source code to be distributed. Read it. It specifies 4 ways that you can distribute source code:

- on a disk supplied with the device you're shipping
- with a written offer supplied with the device you're shipping
- forwarding a written offer provided by somebody else (only available for noncommercial distributors)
- providing a download *from the same location the customer downloaded the binaries*.

Re:Ship Source? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720032)

And "way" number 2 is the only one necessary for a tablet.

If a website is mentioned, somewhere in the paperwork or in the on screen menus, the manufacturer has met his obligation.

You do not have to SHIP the source.

Re:Ship Source? (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720062)

And "way" number 2 is the only one necessary for a tablet.

Yes. And TFA is quite clear that they aren't doing this.

The GPL requires that vendors either provide the source code to the GPL components with the device, or alternatively to provide a written offer to provide the source code upon request. Many vendors fail to do this.

Re:Ship Source? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720090)

So after all the drama we are agreed that there is no requirement to SHIP the source?

Wow. What a long way to go to get to that cleared up.

Samsung always makes source available. Not necessarily instantly, sometimes it takes a month or so.

ARCHOS always makes it available. Imagine that! Archos!?

The rest? Well without digging thru their documentation, web sites, and "about screens" I can't be sure there isn't a written notice somewhere, and have to take the authors word that he did an exhaustive search. I have no doubt some are ignorant of this requirement.

Re:Ship Source? (2)

jeremyp (130771) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720066)

Because he is quoting the part about what gives you the right to distribute the object code. Each of the bullet points gives a method of object code distribution and the methods of source code distribution that allow you to comply with the licence.

Of course, he is quoting the wrong licence. The Linux kernel is distributed under GPL v2.

Re:Ship Source? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720000)

The red hat servers melt from too much traffic and red hat restricts downloads to their own customers.

And until either of those things happen MSFT is perfectly compliant with the GPL. If those things happen then they need to provide another location for the source but there is no need to do so preemptively.

Your logic dictates that any approach which has the possibility of going down, which is all of them, is not GPL compliant. So by your logic no company can ever be compliant with the GPL since it's always possible for their servers to crash and thus render them no longer compliant with the GPL.

Re:Ship Source? (1)

cas2000 (148703) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720464)

The red hat servers melt from too much traffic and red hat restricts downloads to their own customers.

if RH did that, then *they* would not be in compliance with the GPL.

the kernel and many other programs on RH are GPLv2, so they have to make them available to any third party. Many other programs are GPLv3, so they have to make them available to anyone who possesses a copy of the object code (no matter how they obtained it).

so...

ethically, MSFT probably should host source for any GPL code they distribute. practically and legally, they don't have to. they can pay someone else to do it or, if their distributed object code is identical (unchanged) from upstream they can point at someone who does host it. the FSF or RH for example

Re:Ship Source? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720542)

The red hat servers melt from too much traffic and red hat restricts downloads to their own customers.

if RH did that, then *they* would not be in compliance with the GPL.

If the GPL worked that way any large vendor (IBM or Oracle) could put Red Hat out of business by redistributing RHEL and putting the source distribution requirement back on Red Hat.

Re:Ship Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34720646)

The red hat servers melt from too much traffic and red hat restricts downloads to their own customers.

if RH did that, then *they* would not be in compliance with the GPL.

If the GPL worked that way any large vendor (IBM or Oracle) could put Red Hat out of business by redistributing RHEL and putting the source distribution requirement back on Red Hat.

That would be unethical.

Re:Ship Source? (1)

Fiduciary (1605801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720662)

Just how many users would you expect to download the source code anyway?! I'm going to put the number at about twelve.

Re:Ship Source? (2)

Fiduciary (1605801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720674)

So say windows 8 turns out to be red hat linux with a new label on the box. For source code MSFT points back to red hat. The red hat servers melt from too much traffic and red hat restricts downloads to their own customers.

For MSFT to satisfy the GPL they must have control over the infrastructure which delivers the source code. Otherwise they are not in compliance. They could do this by paying red hat to do it for them. They could do it themselves. Maybe google provides this service for Android. I don't know.

Come on. We have been over this 1000 times.

All 12 windows users interested in the source code melt red hat's servers?

Re:Ship Source? (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719864)

It is sufficient if they use stock Android.

For that to work the company earning profits from Android must contribute to hosting the source code. If that don't do that the version of android used on the tablet might not be available when needed.

There is no requirement to contribute. If the version they use is available they need to do nothing. If the version is not then they must find another site to refer to or make it available themselves.

I think there is some confusion because the FSF recommends not referring to another site because they may stop providing your version at some time without your knowledge.

Re:Ship Source? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719936)

I think there is some confusion because the FSF recommends not referring to another site because they may stop providing your version at some time without your knowledge.

Thats not confusing. Its very simple.

Re:Ship Source? (2)

hacker (14635) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719806)

The source you provide or link to must be the same source used to produce the binaries you're shipping on your device. In other words, if I take Google's source and build binaries with it, and those binaries differ from the ones shipping on your device, it's not the same source code, and does not comply with the license.

Pointing to a source for Android, is not the same thing as providing the source for the modifications to that source that you (as a vendor) have done to the source.

Re:Ship Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34719894)

It is not sufficient, even if they use stock Android. The exemption is only for non-commercial distribution. Commercial distributors must either ship the source with the binary or they themselves have to make the source available.

Re:Ship Source? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719946)

Commercial distributors must either ship the source with the binary or they themselves have to make the source available.

[citation needed]

They need only make it available. They can hire someone else to do so. They need not set up a server for downloads.

You can not cite any source for the phrase "they themselves have to make".

Re:Ship Source? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34720004)

Come on, the GPL isn't the new kid on the block that nobody knows.

From the GNU GPLv2: [gnu.org]

3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it,
    under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of
    Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:

        a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable
              source code, which must be distributed under the terms of
              Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software
              interchange; or,
        b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years,
              to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of
              physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-
              readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed
              under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily
              used for software interchange; or,
        c) Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer to
              distribute corresponding source code. (This alternative is
              allowed only for noncommercial distribution and only if you
              received the program in object code or executable form with such
              an offer, in accord with Subsection b above.)

Re:Ship Source? (0)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720056)

Exactly.

Where do you see the word SHIP in there?

b) says a web address is sufficient.

Why is this so hard for you to understand?

Re:Ship Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34720094)

Are you dense? You may either "Accompany it [the binary] with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code", or "Accompany it [the binary] with a written offer [...] to give any third party [...] the corresponding source code". The third option is not applicable. That's plain English. You offer to give the source. You. You don't offer that the recipient may get the source from somewhere else. YOU OFFER TO GIVE. Plain fucking English.

Re:Ship Source? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720114)

I like how you selectively quote things.

Did you miss the part about:
    " on a medium customarily used for software interchange"

Translation: Website. No where does it say who has to run that web site.

Case closed.

Get off you high horse.

Re:Ship Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34720142)

You. It's one of the simplest words in the English language. You. By accepting the license YOU agree that YOU will ship either the source or an offer saying that YOU will give the source to any third party. Yes, YOU may do so by means of a web site. No, someone else distributing the source through their web site is not YOU giving the source code. English, learn it.

Re:Ship Source? (1, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720184)

Law, learn it.

YOU have satisfied your obligation if you provide a means of to obtain it.

YOU do not have to run a web site.
YOU do not have to physically hand the source code over on a CD.
YOU can hire someone, or merely have an agreement with someone.

YOU have no idea what the hell YOU are talking about.

Re:Ship Source? (1)

Peeteriz (821290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720108)

They have to include an offer on how exactly the user can get the source code, and they are liable for fulfilling it - they can rely on a third party such as Open Handset Alliance, but they must include an offer stating that OHA will do it, and are liable if OHA doesn't do it for some reason (say, not having the exact version that matches the code on the shipped device)

Make Sources Available (1)

bazald (886779) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719782)

I believe that what you mean to say is that the distributor must either include their sources or make a clear offer to their customers to provide them on demand. They needn't provide them to the general public. Simply being willing to ship the sources to their customers for a nominal fee would meet the GPL requirement. If the tablets are running vanilla android (which admittedly, they probably aren't), it would be trivial to make it easier for people to just download the sources from Google.

What is most important here is that the tablet vendors may be making changes to GPL sources and not yet making them available. It is important for us to have control over our devices that they open up, but it would be better still for the community if they stuck with 100% vanilla android instead.

May charge *any* price, not nominal (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719838)

Simply being willing to ship the sources to their customers for a nominal fee would meet the GPL requirement.

"You may charge any price or no price for each copy that you convey, and you may offer support or warranty protection for a fee." http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.txt [gnu.org]

Re:May charge *any* price, not nominal (1)

bazald (886779) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719880)

"You may charge any price or no price for each copy that you convey, and you may offer support or warranty protection for a fee."
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.txt [gnu.org]

That's true for the product+source, but not for the source alone:

    6.b) Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product
        (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by a
        written offer, valid for at least three years and valid for as
        long as you offer spare parts or customer support for that product
        model, to give anyone who possesses the object code either (1) a
        copy of the Corresponding Source for all the software in the
        product that is covered by this License, on a durable physical
        medium customarily used for software interchange, for a price no
        more than your reasonable cost of physically performing this
        conveying of source, or (2) access to copy the
        Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge.

Re:May charge *any* price, not nominal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34719940)

Not what we're talking about. You may indeed charge any price, but only for a bundle of the binary and the source distributed together (or source alone, with no prior distribution of a binary). If you distribute the binary and only offer to provide the source, then you may only charge "reasonable cost" for the separate distribution of the source.

Re:May charge *any* price, not nominal (1)

jeremyp (130771) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720106)

Wrong GPL. The Linux kernel is distributed under v2.

Re:Make Sources Available (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34719874)

the distributor must either include their sources or make a clear offer to their customers to provide them on demand. They needn't provide them to the general public.

If they ship the source with the binary, then they do not have to provide the source to anyone else. If they don't ship the source with the binary, then they must make the source available to anyone who has a copy of the binary, not just their direct customers (or really anyone under certain circumstances). The GPLv2 was clearer in that regard: For commercial distribution, either ship with source or make available to "any third party". (The first party is who offers the license, the second party accepts it, so "any third party" is the general public). It is much preferable for distributors to ship with source. It fulfills their obligations under the GPL in an instant. Otherwise they have to keep the matching source available for at least three years, or longer if the product is maintained longer, and they have to give it to anyone who wants it. Distributors, ship the source, it's the easy way.

Re:Ship Source? (2)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720034)

Must make it available ON REQUEST, to a person who received the binary.
Not ship with the tablet. Not publish on the website. Not mail it to anyone who asks, ever.

If I have purchased the tablet, I am entitled to request the sources from the distributor. And they must make them available to me them in reasonable amount of time.

I did study this bit for a while. We're making a big embedded industrial product that runs on Linux. We don't even have the sources in any form that could be shipped - the repository is a mix of Free and proprietary. But the last page of the manual contains the sacred phrase: "This device uses software and libraries licensed under GNU GPL, GNU LGPL and Apache licenses. According to requirements of these licenses, our company will make source code of this software available to all interested customers. In order to obtain the source code, please contact [email]"

We're pretty well aware where the line goes - what is our modifications of the OS which virally became GPL), which is userspace (proprietary) and which is glue logic to LGPL libraries (and has to be made available). If one of our customers requests the sources, we will have to extract the free ones from the repository, attach the toolchain, pack it up and send. But since our customers are not in the IT industry, and essentially want the devices to sit and do their job without ever being touched, we have a reasonable belief we will never have to act upon this requirement.

And no, we are not under obligation to give our sources to random hackers who did not purchase our specialized $15k piece of equipment (with the firmware) first.

Re:Ship Source? (1)

mjg59 (864833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720086)

"Must make it available ON REQUEST, to a person who received the binary."

I'd really recommend that you re-read 3(b) of GPLv2, which is what's relevant in this discussion.

Re:Ship Source? (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720220)

b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange;

the last page of the manual contains the sacred phrase: "This device uses software and libraries licensed under GNU GPL, GNU LGPL and Apache licenses. According to requirements of these licenses, our company will make source code of this software available to all interested customers. In order to obtain the source code, please contact [email]"

Did I miss anything?

Re:Ship Source? (1)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720376)

Yes, you did miss something: "any third party". You stated "...we are not under obligation to give our sources to random hackers...". I'm not a lawyer, and I wonder whether "any third party" means something more restrictive in this context, but a plain English reading implies that anyone at all can request a copy of the source, and you would be obliged to comply.

Re:Ship Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34720496)

It's a bit of both: you only need to provide source to someone who gets the binary but the binary may be distributed to a third party by a customer - see http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLRequireSourcePostedPublic [gnu.org]

Re:Ship Source? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719800)

If you buy for example this
http://www.next.co.uk/shopping/electric/computers/3/1?extra=sch&n=electric&pid=117-894&returnurl=%2Fsearch%2Fsearch%3Fp%3DQ%26lbc%3Dnext%26uid%3D808251970%26ts%3Dv8%26w%3Dtablet%26af%3D%26method%3Dand%26filter%3Dsubset%253a4201%26nxtv%3D000%26nxti%3D0%23117-894&bct=%26quot%3BTablet%26quot%3B [next.co.uk]
You are entitled to be told it contains free software, and either be given a copy of the source, or be told where you can get a copy of it at no more than cost price at any time in the next three years after purchase.

From what I can gather, you don't get anything like that when you buy it, and reading the reviews, there are plenty of other more pressing reasons why you wouldn't want to buy.

Re:Ship Source? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719996)

My LG Android has a page in the setup application which lists the license of every binary and ends with the offer to provide the source. I would be interested in the contents of the corresponding page on this tablet.

Re:Ship Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34719818)

The whole point here is that tablet vendors do _not_ make the source available.

Re:Ship Source? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719852)

Read the story.

Some do. Some don't.

Re:Ship Source? (3, Informative)

mjg59 (864833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719828)

The Google reference kernel code doesn't contain the driver code for any of these tablets, and the vast majority of them are based on SoC platforms that don't exist at all in the Google code. The tablet vendors can't simply point at the Google repositories, they're obliged to either ship the source with the devices or provide a written offer to provide the source to any third party on request.

Source only for customers, not third parties (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719876)

The Google reference kernel code doesn't contain the driver code for any of these tablets, and the vast majority of them are based on SoC platforms that don't exist at all in the Google code. The tablet vendors can't simply point at the Google repositories, they're obliged to either ship the source with the devices or provide a written offer to provide the source to any third party on request.

No. they only have to provide source to their customers, not to any third party.

Re:Source only for customers, not third parties (5, Informative)

mjg59 (864833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719900)

Quoting from the GPL v2 section 3(b):

"Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three
years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your
cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete
machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be
distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium
customarily used for software interchange"

You don't have to choose that option - you can use 3(a) instead, but that means that the source has to be with the device when you sell it.

Re:Source only for customers, not third parties (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719974)

Quoting from the GPL v2 section 3(b):

"Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party...

I think the GPL v3 6b says you only have to provide the source to someone who possesses the device containing the GPL'd code.

"Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by a written offer, valid for at least three years and valid for as long as you offer spare parts or customer support for that product model, to give anyone who possesses the object code ..."

Re:Source only for customers, not third parties (1)

mjg59 (864833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719986)

Yes, but given that the kernel is under GPLv2 (not v2 or later), what GPLv3 says isn't terribly relevant...

Even then, the written offer must be good for anyone who obtains the object code. I download a firmware image from your site? You're obliged to give me source on request. One of your customers downloads a firmware image and then gives it to me? The same applies.There's no point at which it's limited to your customers.

Re:Source only for customers, not third parties (1)

tukang (1209392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720170)

Please correct me if I'm wrong: If a customer downloads a firmware image from my site, then yes, I'm obliged to provide the source to that customer. But my obligation is only to provide the source to those who get the binaries directly from me. If the customer turns around and gives you a copy of the firmware then *they* must provide you with the source - not me.

Re:Source only for customers, not third parties (2)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720392)

Technically correct, but it's much more practical to put the source code on a public HTTP or FTP server where anybody can get it. Any extra effort to only allow your own customers is a waste of time and money.

src isn't only for customers, also for 3rd parties (1)

cas2000 (148703) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720440)

i think that would be covered by "...to give anyone who possesses the object code..."

if you distribute the object code, you're obligated to give it to ANYONE who posessess the object code, no matter how they obtained it.

that's what v3 of the GPL says.

the GPLv2 is even less limited in who you're obligated to give the source code to - that says "...to give any third party..."

Re:src isn't only for customers, also for 3rd part (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720652)

i think that would be covered by "...to give anyone who possesses the object code..."

if you distribute the object code, you're obligated to give it to ANYONE who posessess the object code, no matter how they obtained it.

But... isn't it the obligation of the person who gave YOU the code to provide the source? So if a company sells tablet to X, with offer for source, then X gives object code to Y, it seems it's X's obligation to give Y the source code, not the company. At the very least, the company may not have the resources to give it to everyone X gives the object code to, only to X.

Re:Source only for customers, not third parties (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34720406)

Well, the GPLv3 was largely supposed to be a CLARIFICATION of GPLv2.

Re:Ship Source? (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719916)

Drivers are a debatable case.

Some insist anything linked against the kernel libraries (making calls to the kernel) must be make source code available. But I do not believe this is the general consensus.

Re:Ship Source? (1)

mjg59 (864833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719932)

And by "drivers" here, I also mean "board setup code". I can guarantee you that the MSM code in the Google tree isn't going to know which gpio lines are connected to your tablet's LCD power control, even if the CPU happens to be the same one that was in the G1.

Re:Ship Source? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720524)

I guess that is what http://www.linaro.org/ [linaro.org] is trying to organize.

GPL compliant mobile phones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34719968)

Did anybody make a list of GPL compliant linux based mobile phones?

Re:Ship Source? (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719872)

Even if the device in question is a completely unaltered build of upstream, public-ally available, sources, anything GPL still has to be either made available with the binary or the binary has to be accompanied by a written offer to provide on request for no more than reasonable duplication costs.

Many of these devices probably don't deviate much from upstream; but I'd be surprised if they are 100% identical(not that that is legally relevant; but if you aren't even shipping a binary based on upstream source, you definitely can't just point to that source and claim to be in compliance). Now, in practice, if given the choice between just checking out from upstream or paying reasonable duplication fees to get a CD with some horribly messy .rar of a slapdash build environment on it, most people are probably just going to go with the former. That doesn't absolve the distributor of the binary of their legal obligations, though.

please be sure ... (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719716)

to buy from the list of GPL approved items...

not to be a douche on this, but what is my incentive?

If GPL item A is inferior to my needs than non technicality item B, why should I be buying A to enforce a co-alliance's problem, is it not their issue for letting these B items exist without ramifications?

I for one am not going to bother checking a "naughty and nice" list for every single fkin purchase, force them if you want your licence to be inforced, otherwise leave me, the consumer out of it

thanks

Re:please be sure ... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34719760)

Assuming that you personally don't care about the ability to see and modify the source to the whole operating system on your phone, perhaps it would be nice to avoid this scenario:
1) You buy GPL-violating tablet from no-name company.
2) Company gets sued or threatened.
3) Company disappears and your device no longer has any support.

Re:please be sure ... (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719860)

Step 3 alone deserves this AC be modded up!
First-world markets are already cutthroat enough as it is, and you cannot find any device past 18 months still sitting on shelves brand new unless it is super, extremely popular. If you compare the success and support of your quickcams or blackberries, which are slightly different and each have their own idiosyncracies (remember the one that never got Win2K support when random other ones did.)

Now, if we throw in an unstable mix of producers who get threatened to remove things in half that 18 months, or keep them stuck forever because litigation rather than innovation is the only thing in their sights, then we might as well not play the game. We already have enough Apple Newtons et al; we don't need 10 more of those great products. We need just one that we don't need to put on ebay every year to pave the way for a supported, full price version of the one we're selling.

Re:please be sure ... (3, Interesting)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719908)

yea companies like Samsung ...

ok BSchinatech.ripoff I can understand, I pay 75 bucks for a tab, 5 years later who gives a crap

but Sylvania is on that list too, are they a no-name company that will vanish from a little GPL lawsuit? what about Zenith or Viewsonic, or Creative Labs?

Re:please be sure ... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719914)

replace Samsung with Sylvania, my bad first sentence

Re:please be sure ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34720182)

The point is, if the company has not thought about GPL issues they probably aren't in it for the long haul. Software updates or new versions to those devices may appear but I'd rather trust someone who actually has clue....

Re:please be sure ... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719902)

You sound awfully bent out of shape, given that what you are responding to is some random internet writer's semi-rhetorical request...

Obviously, only people with a strong personal interest in GPL matters are going to factor that in to their buying decision(along with a halo of people who don't actually care whether a specific distributor is compliant or not; but are basing their buying decision on whether or not a good 3rd-party build is available, since the 1st party builds on a lot of these no-names are going to be pretty dodgy. That halo is, indirectly, going to be influenced by which hardware has had working source cobbled together from somewhere, they just won't much care where...)

If neither of these is an incentive to you, you don't have an incentive. Don't worry, I'm sure that you will survive ignoring a request by somebody on the internet.

Re:please be sure ... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719934)

Im not bent out of shape, I just dont want to hear about all these issues with a silly license when the people most interested in it wont do a darn thing

not GPL = I should keep track of a stupid list of devices to be kosher

no sorry, these are multimillion organizations, keep track and take care of your own shit

if that is too much bother, than dont expect me to check a list before purchasing

Caveat Emptor (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720508)

Red Hat doesn't have the resources, nor even the incentive to pursue GPL violation lawsuits for Android - Google is the custodian here. Now you may argue it is Google's job to do this but they, for whatever reason, ain't.

If you buy a device, without the protection of the GPL, don't expect support or updates from your cheap Chinese knock-off. i.e. Your Android version may be stuck at 2.3 for the life of the device. Which if you are content to be stuck in 2010 for the next 3 years, or however you long you envisage keeping it, so be it.

Buying GPL-friendly offers the protection that one day you *could* roll-your-own long after vendor updates have disappeared. New releases and performance increases aside, security updates are a consideration.

Garrett has been kind enough to publish a list of non-compliant hardware. If you choose to ignore that list, good luck to you sir!

Re:please be sure ... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720714)

You seem to be under the impression that the GPL is designed to protect the original developer. It's not, it's designed to protect you, the end-user.

You might not care, but lots of people don't care about the warranty, doesn't mean they should never offer it.

If you want an example of how it could benefit you, imagine you get a tablet with a modified version of Android Froyo. Then you want to upgrade to Gingerbread but alas, the company doesn't offer it.
Now, if the GPL had been followed, any developer could download the sources, merge them with Gingerbread's and offer a nice downloadable packaged for you to upgrade your tablet.

Re:please be sure ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34720110)

not to be a douche on this, but what is my incentive?

Not to be a douche, that should be your incentive,
.

Also, "Vendors that are complying with the GPL are usually the planning a long-term investment in developing Linux/Android-based devices".

Re:please be sure ... (1)

Soft (266615) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720242)

not to be a douche on this, but what is my incentive?

The same as for not downloading music that is not being offered legitimately. (Not even for free; you'd actually be paying the pirate, and not the artist.)

Re:please be sure ... (1)

imroy (755) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720450)

not to be a douche on this, but what is my incentive? If GPL item A is inferior to my needs than non technicality item B...

Your incentive is that the maker of item B might screw you and others over with the existing device or future devices e.g DRM, locking away your data in proprietary formats, selling your info to advertisers, trying to stop third-party firmware, etc. You have to wonder if their attitude to the GPL is just part of a general pattern of exploitation and corporate arrogance.

Re:please be sure ... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720680)

If the company doesn't release the source, you're less-likely to get user improvements (think OpenWRT for example), or product life extension after the company abandons it. The GPL is useful even to non-programmers, because they can still benefit from what programmers do and share with everyone using the device.

TroolkOre (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34719820)

turd-suckingly irc.easynews.com [amazingkreskin.3om] FreeBSD core 7eam out of bed in the would choose to use

Not entirely accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34719842)

The source for the Coby MID7015 was released earlier this week.

Re:Not entirely accurate (2)

mjg59 (864833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34719868)

By Coby? Telechips released their reference kernel earlier this month, but I've seen no indication that Coby are fulfilling their obligations.

must only provide source on demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34719882)

only if you request it must they make it available, yes?

Re:must only provide source on demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34720068)

only if you request it must they make it available, yes?

Only if you request it must they provide it to you. They are required to make it available under the terms of GPL. They are not required to distribute it along with the binaries.

Just to be clear: "available" means you can get it by requesting it from them, - they accept responsibility for providing you a copy, even if they get a third party to actually send it.

Owner of tablet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34720022)

As an owner of a cheap Telechips tablet I can tell you firsthand.
Close source has essentially kept devs from making a running Froyo that is installable on this tablet.
There is a Cyanogenmod 2.2 but its no where near production.

Shipping source isn't required (1)

fdearl (1960352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720394)

GPL states you must make the source code available, and it is, on developer.android.org

Depending on licenses of libraries, any custom interfaces probably don't require source code being shipped either, since it is probably all LGPL or BSD/Apache.

Re:Shipping source isn't required (1)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720678)

GPL states you must make the source code available, and it is, on developer.android.org

On many of these machines the OEM has modified the kernel, e.g. to make the CPU report a higher frequency than it actually uses, and also to support their weird hardware.

So yes, while you could run stock Debian on a ZT180 or something, you would likely have to do without things like sound, networking and the touchscreen etc.

I can't remember the specifics for what is missing on the ZT180, but it is a big problem for people who want to add new drivers, run Debian etc. I now run mine on a Debian someone made with the Zenithink kernel, and it is significantly more stable like that than it was with their crocked Android implementation. However, it doesn't have the USB mass storage driver and it's not going to be easy to add it without the source.

Take take take (2)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720460)

That sums up most Android vendors, they develop their own GUIs and improvements and don't give much or anything back to the project.

Hardly in the spirit of open source is it?

Re:Take take take (0)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34720692)

That sums up most Android vendors, they develop their own GUIs and improvements and don't give much or anything back to the project.

Hardly in the spirit of open source is it?

If I understand correctly, the spirit of open source goes like this:

A community of loudmouths who have not contributed a line of code to Android, are constantly complaining that those who *are* involved with producing Android software/hardware do not "give back" enough.

If anyone dares to use and ship Android devices, they should, just in case, be blamed of eating babies until proven innocent.

Am I doing it right?

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