Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Hosting Company Appears To Be Violating the GPL [Resolved]

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the ten-years-is-long-enough-for-anyone dept.

Open Source 418

palegray.net writes "A web hosting provider called Appnor has recently moved the network diagnostics utility WinMTR off of SourceForge, and is now claiming the program to be a closed source, commercial application (it was previously made available under the GPL). I emailed the current maintainer of the original mtr utility about this, and have been informed that this event most likely constitutes an overt GPL violation, as it is presumed that WinMTR contains mtr code. Appnor claims that they have the right to do this, as there have been no external contributions to WinMTR in over ten years. I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think copyright law works that way." Update: 01/10 18:24 GMT by KD : The CEO of Appnor, Dragos Manac, has posted a response, claiming that no GPL violation occurred, and promising to revert the code to GPLv2 by the end of the week.
Update: 01/11 14:01 GMT by KD : That was fast. WinMTR announced that the code is now available under the GPLv2.

cancel ×

418 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Abandonware? (0)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822464)

If the program hasn't been maintained or updated in 10 years, wouldn't it be classified as Abandonware (much as old PC games get classified by those who want to share them?)

Re:Abandonware? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34822494)

I don't know, it probably wouldn't be because there's no such thing as an Abandonware "classification". It's just a feel-good term made up by people so they feel less bad about blatantly distributing games with still-active copyrights.

Re:Abandonware? (-1, Troll)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822632)

No. It's a concept borrowed from real property. You know, that thing that idiots like you continue to try to conflate software with.

Re:Abandonware? (4, Informative)

Jabrwock (985861) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822790)

If there's no expiry date in the contract you agree to, then as long as you continue to use the service (the gpl'd code), then you are continuously agreeing to abide by the terms of the contract. There's no abandonment clause.

Re:Abandonware? (4, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34823060)

If copyright weren't so unbalanced by corporate lobbying, this work would eventually become public domain.

At that point, you can just ignore the GPL or any other license because it isn't required anymore.

The GPL only has any force because the default state of everything is "all rights reserved" and copyrights are effectively perpetual at this point.

Re:Abandonware? (5, Informative)

Wrexs0ul (515885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822526)

Doesn't make it legal. There's still copyright on Abandonware, the idea though is that the original authors will make no/cannot make an attempt to litigate, hence it being "abandoned". The classification doesn't usually come from the author, but people who find great software that's (typically) no longer available, then make an effort to keep distribution of that software alive.

Don't just take my word for it: Wikipedia on Abandonware [wikipedia.org] .

-Matt

Re:Abandonware? (-1, Troll)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822754)

"Don't just take my word for it" followed by a Wikipedia link? Really?

Yeesh. Talk about missing the point.

You could have provided directly relevant links instead:
http://www.d2ca.org/is-abandonware-legal.html [d2ca.org]

http://www.classic-pc-games.com/disclaimer.php [classic-pc-games.com]

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/369418/decompiling-and-redistributing-abandonware [stackoverflow.com]

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1001232/the-abandonware-dilemma [theinquirer.net]

There. Now hopefully nobody else has to have wikipedia inflicted on them.

Re:Abandonware? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34822960)

Or I can just go on wikipedia and get the same info without having to navigate 100 other sites. And if I wanna check the sources, I can just scroll down. Fuck you.

Re:Abandonware? (-1, Flamebait)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34823010)

And what you don't see in shittypedia is what any ass-hat with admin powers, an axe to grind, and no common sense decided to "blacklist" off of the page.

Wikipedia is basically worthless.

Re:Abandonware? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34822964)

Looks like anyone can add their own opinions to stackoverflow.com pages. What was the point of ignoring a Wikipedia article with several legal references again?

Re:Abandonware? (-1, Troll)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822984)

With Stackoverflow, you see all the listed opinions, rather than what some ass-hat with admin powers and no common sense decided should be the page content.

Re:Abandonware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34822530)

abandonware

-noun
1. illegal software that no-one really cares about so you can often get away pretending that it's legal.

Re:Abandonware? (3, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822554)

There's no such thing as "abandonware".
You've invented a term that is popular but doesn't actually exist in legal parlance. There's copyrighted work like 1928's Steamboat Willie, and then there's uncopyrighted work like 1946's It's A Wonderful Life (the license was not renewed) AKA public domain. Since this MTR program is only 10 years, the copyright has Not run out yet.

Re:Abandonware? (1)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822854)

Except there is a major flaw in your logic. There is no expiration date on the license. See its the General Public License and you will not find a time restriction. A license by any other name is still a license... at least when your talking about GPL.

Re:Abandonware? (2)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822944)

There is no expiration date on the license.

But there is an expiration date on the copyright that makes the use of the license compulsory.

Once the copyright expires, no license is required to use the code.

I mean, sure, you *could* opt to use the code under the GPL after the copyright has expired; but why would you when you can use the code completely unrestricted?

Re:Abandonware? (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#34823028)

Assuming that they're telling the truth about there not being any external contributions in the last 10 years, how do you know there's still GPL code in the codebase?

I'm not saying that there is, or that there isn't. Just trying to play devil's advocate here... Windows has changed a lot in the last 10 years, and it's entirely possible that in maintaining the code to keep up with those changes they have phased out all of the GPL code in the interim. Of course, until they open themselves up for an audit to prove that there isn't any copyrighted code in their codebase, there's not really any way to tell.

Re:Abandonware? (2)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822558)

Abandonware is just a justification for piracy, it just means that the (c) owner doesn't care enough to enforce their (c). IIRC X-Com was considered abandonware for a while, but with the rise of nostalgic video games it has been rereleased on just about every digital dist service.

Re:Abandonware? (1)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822688)

If the program hasn't been maintained or updated in 10 years, wouldn't it be classified as Abandonware (much as old PC games get classified by those who want to share them?)

Not exactly. The term "abandonware" refers to software for which there is no legal means of obtaining (other than by resale through the first sale doctrine). Some people are under the impression that abandonware is not subject to copyright, but that's not true at all.

Re:Abandonware? (2)

wisty (1335733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822766)

If the program hasn't been maintained or updated in 10 years, wouldn't it be classified as Abandonware (much as old PC games get classified by those who want to share them?)

Like Windows 95, which has had no support since December, 2001, and no updates for 13 years?

Can I fork that?

Re:Abandonware? (1)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822802)

No. There is no expiration date on GPLed software.

Re:Abandonware? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822860)

If the program hasn't been maintained or updated in 10 years, wouldn't it be classified as Abandonware (much as old PC games get classified by those who want to share them?)

MTR is not abandonware; it is still actively maintained. As for WinMTR however.... who knows.

Copyright law doesn't work that way (4, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822472)

It's been extended to the ridiculous, remember?

So even if they've somehow removed all the GPL code contributed by others, then there's the whole 'derivative works' thing.

Re:Copyright law doesn't work that way (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822856)

I agree. My first thought was in the lines of "it would be great if they actually were in the right, because it would mean that the copyright had expired". As it stands, copyright basically never expires. And that's not the idea behind copyright.

Re:Copyright law doesn't work that way (1)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822886)

Please explain "the whole 'derivative works' thing."

If I have a codebase that I'm the only contributor to, because anybody else's code has been removed -- why wouldn't that be entirely my copyright, which I'm allowed to do what I like with?

You can't copyright ideas in the US. Only specific manifestations of those ideas. So even if WinMTR is doing the same sort of thing, copyright doesn't come into play.

I'm not saying that's the case with WinMTR -- my guess is that they have MTR code in there and are not in GPL compliance.

Re:Copyright law doesn't work that way (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 3 years ago | (#34823108)

If you add code to a GPL'd project, your code is a derived work and must be GPL-compatible (if you redistribute). I don't think it suddenly ceases to be a derived work if you remove all the other contributor's code. And your replacements for their code is a derived work, too, unless you do the clean-room reimplementation thing.

Software Freedom Law Center (2)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822474)

From what I know, the Software Freedom Law Center ( http://www.softwarefreedom.org/ [softwarefreedom.org] ) provide pro bono legal representation to creators of Free and Open Source projects. Maybe you should contact both the SFLC and the maintainer of the mtr and see if there's any way of getting them together to file a GPL violation case or an injunction.

Re:Software Freedom Law Center (5, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822736)

Perhaps before going in with guns ablazing, some tact would be helpful. Their webpage doesnt exactly scream "hostile", as they are still offering the utility free (provided you sign up for a newsletter). They may be violating the GPL, but it may be entirely unintentional or out of ignorance-- could the author of MTR simply email them, informing them of the situation? He will eventually have to contact them anyways, I believe-- wouldnt any eventual lawsuit have to come from an author of MTR anyways?

I mean, its GOOD that someone is updating this utility; going after them with a lawsuit right off the bat doesnt exactly make "lets update abandoned GPL software" look like a good idea.

Re:Software Freedom Law Center (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34822852)

OMG, a voice of moderation recommending we look at both sides of the issue before we act?

Someone ban this guy!!!

(Seriously, thanks for the post, no mod points to give)

Re:Software Freedom Law Center (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822928)

What's a "GPL violation case"? The GPL is a license, not a contract. You'd have to find someone with a copyright interest in the source, and the cause of action would be breach of copyright, not "GPL violation".

Re:Software Freedom Law Center (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 3 years ago | (#34823088)

What's a "GPL violation case"? The GPL is a license, not a contract.

IANAL, but GPL is a License Agreement, so isn't it legally binding anyway? For instance, if you start using a GPL software, the distributor of the original software (be it the original author or a 3rd party) is obliged to provide the source code at least 3 years after you've agreed to the terms of GPL at least since GPLv3.

So let me get this straight: (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822490)

Somebody created a program called MTR, and a web company modified it to WinMTR and stole the author's labor without payment. Is that the general gist of it?
Sounds like something RIAA/MPAA, record, and Movie Companies would do.

Re:So let me get this straight: (2, Insightful)

homb (82455) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822544)

No, they didn't steal the author's labor without payment, at least not originally with WinMTR. They made a derivative work, still using the GPL, so all is acceptable.
It's only when they changed the license to commercial that they broke the contract with the original developer who specifically requires anyone using mtr code to provide their software under GPL (among others).
So unless they can prove that there is no more mtr code in WinMTR, they must absolutely provide WinMTR under the GPL. Otherwise they have no right to use mtr code.

Re:So let me get this straight: (4, Interesting)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822604)

The post just mentions it is 'presumed' that it was based on mtr...
I find that a bit week. First you have to prove that there ever was mtr code in winMTR, then you accuse them with a GPL violation.... Either the summary is incomplete/incorrect, or the submitter is jumping to the second part without doing enough fact checking.

Re:So let me get this straight: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34822744)

fact checking? on slashdot? mod parent funny?

Re:So let me get this straight: (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822764)

Guys, on the WinMTR page (linked in summary), it explicitly states that it is an update to a 10 year old abandoned linux/unix utility called MTR.

The summary isnt SUPPOSED to be complete, youre supposed to man up and "read".

Re:So let me get this straight: (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822900)

Guys, on the WinMTR page (linked in summary), it explicitly states that it is an update to a 10 year old abandoned linux/unix utility called MTR.

The trouble with this is that MTR was never "abandoned". If it was, there might be noone to pursue this, and they might have gotten away scott free with this, but there is still a maintainer for MTR and there are even recent releases.

Re:So let me get this straight: (5, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#34823030)

youre supposed to man up and "read".

Sorry to be such a noob, but I did man up, and the man pages for that command are completely useless in the context of this discussion.

I'm running Debian lenny if that helps.

Re:So let me get this straight: (1)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 3 years ago | (#34823014)

Read the comments in The Fine Article.

Yes. WinMTR does seem to contain mtr sources, or at least older mtr sources from before mtr supported IPV6. You can get the sources for WinMTR from http://winmtr.cvs.sourceforge.net/viewvc/winmtr/ [sourceforge.net] .

example code omitted

Definitely looks like there is verbatim copying. If they clear out the CVS, I will mirror the code on my blog [blogspot.com]

Re:So let me get this straight: (2)

Zibri (1063838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822680)

So unless they can prove that there is no more mtr code in WinMTR, they must absolutely provide WinMTR under the GPL. Otherwise they have no right to use mtr code.

Innocent until proven guilty, no? The burden of proof lies with the accuser.

Re:So let me get this straight: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34822796)

This is a civil matter, not criminal. "Innocent until proven guilty" is for criminal courts; civil suits need merely to establish a "preponderance of evidence" on one side or the other.

Re:So let me get this straight: (2)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822870)

No. I'm not a lawyer but I imagine the argument goes something like this:

"Burden of proof" in a civil (e.g. copyright) case is "preponderance of evidence."

WinMTR previously was GPL'ed and the source was available. Part of its licensing was the licensing of the mtr code. This constitutes prima facie evidence that at some point in time, at least, there was mtr code in WinMTR.

Therefore, the burden is now on WinMTR to prove that all mtr code has been removed from WinMTR. At bare minimum, there is enough evidence to file a GPL claim and request that a judge subpoena the source code of WinMTR for analysis as evidence.

Re:So let me get this straight: (1)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822872)

Point of clarification... they have to right to distribute. They would be fine if the code was kept in house.

Re:So let me get this straight: (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822568)

Nah, payment doesn't really come in to this. They legitimately benefited from the labour of the original artist, with certain conditions applied, but much later-on decided that these terms no-longer applied to them. Kind of like being allowed to stay rent-free in a house, on condition that the lawn is kept tidy, but after a few years deciding to screw the lawn and sell the lawnmower in order to buy crack.

Mind you, you're right about it sounding like RIAA/MPAA behaviour.

Re:So let me get this straight: (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822674)

The overly expansive nature of modern copyright meants that the actions of this company would be still considered "piracy" long after the authors are dead and long after we're no longer around to argue the point.

Interestingly enough, 10 years of abandonment is getting close to the limit of the original copyright term.

Thus the concept of "abandonware" for 20 or 30 year old discarded works.

Re:So let me get this straight: (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822810)

Or someone made a mistake? Geez, I see no indication that anyone actually tried to contact Appnor (despite the summary implying it), and people are labeling them as monsters (MPAA comparisons? Really?)

How about a polite "You guys might be violating the GPL, any chance we can discuss?" email, or something? You dont have to fire off a lawsuit immediately, and generally the places that help with enforcement (ie EFF) tend to NOT want to cram a lawsuit down someones throat until all other avenues have been tried.

I'm not a lawyer, bu (0)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822502)

if it's that big a deal then maybe you should consult a lawyer?

Re:I'm not a lawyer, bu (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822782)

They could just assume that any reply not prefixed with "IANAL" is advice from a suitable qualified legal profession. Blimey I'd like to see someone go to court with nothing but Slashdot comments as their case.

Yup, barring any contradictory facts emerging, this appears a pretty clear-cut GPL violation, meaning that they're now guilty of copyright violation of they continue to distribute WinMTR. FSF would probably sort this out pretty sharpish.

The GPL is so gay (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34822516)

So much for "FREE".

If it is only their code... (5, Informative)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822524)

They might actually have that right IF:

- It contains only code they have copyright over
- They have permission from (if any) all other copyright holders.

However they can't revoke the license they gave everyone who downloaded their gpl versions, these old versions and their license is still valid.

However if the code indeed contains mtr code and they have no permission from the copyright holders to distribute is under something else than the GPL.... Then they have a problem
But you have to prove that first.

Re:If it is only their code... (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822834)

Yeah, it IS possible to relicense GPL code, but you need to be able to prove in a court of law that you attempted to contact EVERY single contributor and give them plenty of time to reply.

(As I understand it, there were some Mesa GPL contributors that could not be contacted, but the Mesa developers went through a lot of trouble to try and contact everyone and gave them many months to object.)

In this case, it sounds like there were "no external contributions for 10 years", but even ONE contribution still present in the code from 10 years ago is enough. Based on the description (I can't access TFA from my current location), it sounds like they made no attempt to contact the original mtr authors.

Re:If it is only their code... (1)

kirthn (64001) | more than 3 years ago | (#34823008)

and if they didn't use gcc ;) or libs...

You're quite correct (4, Interesting)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822528)

Unless everyone who originally submitted code to the GPL project has explicitly agreed to the relicensing, they're breaking the law. You don't "implicitly" agree to relicensing of code you've submitted just by not contributing any more for a while. The only time that a time frame comes into it is when the copyright actually expires and the project falls into the public domain, which in our era of life-plus and Mickey Mouse Copyright Perpetuation Acts, is basically never. This is the exact type of scenario the GPL was designed to prevent.

Re:You're quite correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34822614)

Unless everyone who originally submitted code to the GPL project has explicitly agreed to the relicensing, they're breaking the law.

Well, they could also remove all code they're not the copyright holders for, couldn't they?

In theory, all external submissions could've been phased out over the last decade and replaced with freshly developed code.

Re:You're quite correct (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822684)

What ever else happens, the last release to make it into wild as GPL is still Free Software.

Re:You're quite correct (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822690)

Except that they've already released the code under the GPL. Someone can legally fork the GPL version. This seems to be something they want to prevent.

I am not a lawyer, BTW.

Re:You're quite correct (1)

j-beda (85386) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822794)

There is nothing requiring them to continue to make available any of their own code that they had previously released GPLed. Thus while there is nothing preventing someone to fork the old GPL version, if nobody has a copy of the source, there is no way practically to do so.

Re:You're quite correct (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822926)

There is nothing requiring them to continue to make available any of their own code that they had previously released GPLed.

However, they hosted the code on SourceForge. And SourceForge has a right to continue to make available the archives and version control history of their software from before it was GPL.

Part of the sourceforge terms of service is all products have to be GPL, and you can't destroy/remove your code, except under certain extenuating circumstances such as a court order requiring them to take down the archives

Re:You're quite correct (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822942)

Part of the sourceforge terms of service is all products have to be GPL

OOPS: all products have to be redistributable open source per the OSI definition

Re:You're quite correct (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822932)

Sure there is, you can't just plunk down new code into older GPL code and remove the licensing on it. I think you can do that if you own the original code and provided all of it originally, but I don't think you can do that once you're dealing with other people's GPL code. You only get to change the license on code that you own the rights to, not other people's patches.

Re:You're quite correct (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#34823092)

The GPL (at least version 2) requires them to make the source available. Distributing anything under GPL obliges the distributor to make the source available for at least three years. That contract though is between their customers and themselves, so I think it'd have to be someone who previously a version of WinMTR contained GPLed code who'd have to make the request.

Re:You're quite correct (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822832)

Im not sure it works like that; it might even then be derivative software.

Re:You're quite correct (2)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822668)

I believe as well that a project can be relicensed by the copyright holder if part of the submission process involves contributors assigning copyrights over to the person or project who run the show.

Yup, they're playing fast and free with the GPL. Based on their excuse I'm assuming that their legal team sees Yahoo Questions as an authoritative source of legal advice, or they're just dicks.

Re:You're quite correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34822958)

If you submit code to a GPL project, which is subsequently completely removed & replaced by some other code, do you still get a say? You have no current code in the project at all...

Interesting (1)

Wrexs0ul (515885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822574)

Does this depend on the version of the GPL? I thought you were allowed to hold-on to your source code except in cases where you provide a product with GPL'ed code in it (and in later versions a service with GPL'ed code), only then are you required to provide source access to those people on request. What the buyer does with it is after that doesn't apply.

Am I right in thinking there's no problem removing the source code and charging for a sale, but the authors would then (and only then) be required to provide the buyer with source?

-Matt

Re:Interesting (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822644)

Yes. That's pretty accurate. It does appears that this company isn't providing source to the purchasers.

It may be that they in fact are. Or they may hold the copyright to all the code within the product. It just doesn't look like it.

Re:Interesting (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822742)

I think that's been pretty consistent in all versions. If you distribute a GPLed product (excluding internal use within organisations) then you must make the source available to anyone receiving your product, and there are a number of ways suggested for this distribution. Technically they're not required to make the source available to the general public, but these days it tends to be the easiest option. I suppose limiting it to distribution of source based on distribution of the actual product made sense in the days when distributing source could have mean physical media. Since the GPL limits charges to pretty much covering the cost, it's understandable that Debian shouldn't be required to ship floppies to someone who picked up their copy of Vim from Canonical.

Re:Interesting (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822996)

I suppose limiting it to distribution of source based on distribution of the actual product made sense in the days when distributing source could have mean physical media.

I've always assumed it was more analagous to buying a physical device. So if you buy a device you have acces to the components (you need to take it apart but typically it's as easy to understand the operation of a sewing machine as a piece of source code). If you don't buy (or otherwise legally acquire) a sewing machine then you don't have any right to see how it works.

Who cares (0)

nighty5 (615965) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822590)

Spare me, a network utility.... Must be a slow news day.

Re:Who cares (1)

log0n (18224) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822628)

Big picture much?

Re:Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34822670)

This is akin to someone coming to your house and stealing a hammer from your garage. If you get pissed and protest, your neighbor cavalierly says, "Spare me...it's a hammer". I don't care if it's a bent nail, it MY bent nail and for someone to simply take it and claim ownership is wrong. Bent nail, hammer, car, software, whatever it is makes no diff.

Re:Who cares (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822902)

No it's akin to someone taking a flower from your garden and your neighbor getting pissed and protesting.

Re:Who cares (1)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822730)

And a frickin windows utility at that.

I'm thinking nothing of value was lost.

Still, prosecute, because if you don't exercise your rights you lose them.

Re:Who cares (1)

overlordofmu (1422163) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822824)

I know. Networking. No one networks computers anymore. Shit, this is a pointless as Australia. Who fucking care about some backward shit like networking or a continent? If I bet that it took you longer to write it than to think of what to write, I would be winning some cash, now wouldn't I? Yes, I know you are Australian.

shady (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34822592)

Legally, it depends on who is the author. If they didn't ask for CR assignment to them, all other contributions are GPL only (if contributed as such). For parts they wrote, they can change license any time (at least for their code). If their code is derivative on top of other contributions, then it depends on whether anything now in the code really is based on GPL contributions or not (while they could also ask or "buy" important contributors to agree with the license change...).

10 years and almost no development (1)

Novus (182265) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822650)

While Appnor could get away with this if they had, for example, rewritten all external contributions, the fact that the recent v0.9 was released after "only 8 years 11 months and 5 days of inactivity" (according to their own website!) makes it hard to believe they've actually done much in the way of rewriting during those 10 years mentioned in the summary.

While I'm not familiar with Romanian copyright law, the country has ratified the Berne convention, which I don't think allows as short a period of 10 years before copyright expires.

Since they've removed all downloads from SourceForge, it's a bit tricky to check the original copyright.

Re:10 years and almost no development (5, Informative)

Novus (182265) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822922)

I finally managed to pull a copy of the v0.8 source from archive.org [archive.org] , and it seems that you can still access the CVS repository [sourceforge.net] even though it seems to be missing from the SourceForge page. I can find references to contributions by Vasile Laurentiu Stanimir (the main developer) and Silviu Simen in the source code and Teodorescu Cristian in the commit logs. The latter is interesting as he seems to have started work on WinMTR 0.9 in 2004, contradicting Appnor's statement of inactivity.

Re:10 years and almost no development (1)

standbypowerguy (698339) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822936)

Since they've removed all downloads from SourceForge, it's a bit tricky to check the original copyright.

There's always the Wayback Machine....

(Google it, I hate typing HTML into Slashdot)

Cmdr Taco, why can't we just have a "link" button like most other forum sites?

Re:10 years and almost no development (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34822938)

The old repository can (at the moment) still be seen at http://winmtr.cvs.sourceforge.net/viewcvs/winmtr/winmtr_src

The License disclaimer states "GPL 2.0" and one of the last commits (6 years ago) states "Starting winmtr 0.9"

Question... (1)

zarthrag (650912) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822658)

Why does sourceforge allow the removal of GPL'd projects in the first place? You'd think that would be something you can't take back...

Re:Question... (1)

jarkus4 (1627895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822770)

And why not? Even with GPL I can decide I don't want to distribute my program anymore and stop doing this. I just can't stop other people that already got it from distributing it on their own.

Re:Question... (2)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822918)

In the case of derivative works under the GPL: That's assuming you've already given them the source code. If you distribute the executable with a link for downloading the source, but you don't package the source with it, you could end up in a situation where strict compliance requires you to host something you otherwise wanted to stop hosting - at the very least, a link to some other repository, or a means of contact for yourself or your company.

If you're not talking about derivative works under the GPL, though, but you're talking about purely original works licensed under the GPL instead, you're not even under an obligation to provide the source.

Re:Question... (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822914)

Good question. I know a Sourceforge database glitch or other outage caused the disappearance of files from a (long-defunct) project I briefly contributed to.

Five years later, I was trying to find that code (mainly curiosity) and found a bunch of rants from a guy claiming GPL violations because the project no longer existed.

Note that in this case:
1) The binaries disappeared in addition to the source. This guy was complaining that not being able to find ANY component of the project was a GPL violation.
2) Very early in the project, there WAS a fork of commercial code - the commercial branch forked even before the GPL release. The guy was under the false assumption that the project had been "taken closed" when in reality, the GPL fork just got abandoned. (There was a LOT of duplication of effort on the commercial side to reimplement the few things that had been added to the GPL branch since release.)

Re:Question... (4, Insightful)

e70838 (976799) | more than 3 years ago | (#34823024)

If, by accident, I have published copyrighted material on sourceforge in a gpl project, I need to be able to rectify my mistake and remove it.

I think, it is a mandatory use case.

It might be a fork (1)

mrnick (108356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822696)

If it didn't start off as a version of MTR, as discussed, then it's possible that this is a fork of a previous version. This is a pretty common practice.

All it does is Traceroute and Ping? (4, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822712)

It may be a GPL violation, but who cares? Those tools already ship free in every OS on the planet. Nobody's going to make any money off this. And the fact that nobody from the community contributed code in 10 years kind of tells us what level of interest there is.

Re:All it does is Traceroute and Ping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34822912)

Its the combination of the two that makes it usefull.

I'd have to say its commonly used by any network geek that knows about it.

Re:All it does is Traceroute and Ping? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822966)

The only person(s) who counts, is the copyright holder in that matter (there may be more than one, each having copyright on different parts of the software). If the copyright holder cares, s/he may do something about it. If the copyright holder doesn't care, there is no case. And indeed in this case there is a good chance the copyright holder doesn't care, or at least doesn't care enough to do something about it.

Re:All it does is Traceroute and Ping? (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 3 years ago | (#34823034)

It would be a valuable lawsuit if nothing more than setting precedent regarding the legal enforceability of the GPL.

It was already free (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822740)

So it still is free, is it not?

Re:It was already free (1)

standbypowerguy (698339) | more than 3 years ago | (#34823026)

So it still is free, is it not?

As in beer, perhaps. But there's no freedom in beer. The GPL provides the freedom.

Does the GPL prevent you from dual licensing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34822816)

Assuming company A is the copyright holder to a particular piece of software. Couldn't they license it out commercially and under the GPL. Perhaps some customers don't want the requirements of the GPL and are willing to pay for it.

From the summary (I don't even intend on RTFA), sounds like they are the copyright holders.

Re:Does the GPL prevent you from dual licensing? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34823022)

Assuming company A is the copyright holder to a particular piece of software. Couldn't they license it out commercially and under the GPL.

Yes. But they have to actually hold the copyright... if others contributed and didn't assign copyright to them then they can't really claim to own it.

Appnor (2)

6031769 (829845) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822818)

Are you sure Appnor is a hosting company? If so, it's not exactly a great advert that their site is slashdotted already.

Way too early (5, Funny)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822836)

It's 8:30 Monday morning after a night of insomnia. DO we REALLY need to deal with GPL this early? Can't we do something simple like create world peace?

Re:Way too early (4, Funny)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34823110)

# This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
# it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
# the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
# (at your option) any later version.
#
# This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
# but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
# MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the
# GNU General Public License for more details.

# You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
# along with this program. If not, see <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.
#
#include <stdio.h>
main()
{
    for(;;)
            {
                    printf ("World peace!\n");
            }
}

Somone who holds the copyright can sue them. (3, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822858)

Everyone else can do exactly nothing (well not use it and rant on the interwebs about it I guess).

Re:Somone who holds the copyright can sue them. (0)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34822976)

First post that actually gets it. Honest to Stallman, if I have to read another post screaming "ZOMG federal GPL violation class action lawsuit SUUUUUUE THEMMMMM!" I'm going to lose what little faith I had left in humanity. We might as well just give up, and let the lawyers drain us dry.

Link to what looks like the source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34822876)

winmtr_src.rar [hackchina.com]

Some Clarifications (5, Informative)

dmanac (1973926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34823048)

I think there is a need for some clarifications:

1) The company has rights over the entire source code, bought from the original maintainer. There is NO other code from contributors.

2) The whole thing is written from scratch for Windows. No MTR code is used.

3) The binary is available for free. We just thought nobody cared too much having it Open, since there were no contributions in almost 10 years.

Again, we are not trying to violate GPL and we will make sure there are no licensing issues. We are checking this with our lawyers.

Dragos MANAC
CEO Appnor MSP S.A.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>