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Who's Behind the Google-Linux License Ruckus?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the my-money's-on-the-joker dept.

Android 241

jfruhlinger writes "Yesterday, news broke that Android might have a Linux copyright problem, which would be big trouble for Google, already locked in an IP struggle with Oracle over the mobile platform. Blogger Brian Proffitt looks deeper into the alleged violations. He notes that, while it's possible that Google's on shaky ground, the motivations behind the news release are murky: the lawyer who outlined the violation is an ex-Microsoft hand, and the news was widely propagated by gadfly Florian Mueller, who's tangled with Google over patent issues in the past. Moreover, the alleged violations are in header files, and it's not clear that those are copyrightable; if they are, no actual copyright holders have come forward to complain."

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241 comments

He's still right in pointing it out (-1, Troll)

viablos (2018696) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537034)

So what if it's an ex-Microsoft hand pointing it out? He still seems to be correct.. Even if he would have something in mind when pointing it out, it doesn't change the fact.

It seems Android is going through lots of different violations. App developers violate GPL, Google violates licenses itself, malware is spreading via app market and the devices are still locked (and android should be open) and hardware and resolution and software that works on specific devices changes dramatically. It looks like iPhone and Windows Phone 7 are more mature and professional.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (4, Informative)

dclozier (1002772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537104)

The headers files are standards defined!

Can such standards defined files be copyrighted? IBM argued in its case against SCO that the Unix and Linux header files couldnâ(TM)t be copyrighted because of these issues. In the event, it was proved that Novell, and not SCO, owned Unixâ(TM)s copyrights and that issue, to the best of my knowledge, was never settled. Still, speaking for myself, it seems unlikely thereâ(TM)s any danger to Android or Android programmers from Linux header file copyrights.

Do they have a case? [zdnet.com]

This is just more FUD being generated by Microsoft's shills.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (0)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537140)

This is not about userspace API headers (which are partially defined by POSIX spec, but partially Linux specific, by the way).

This is about kernel headers. Their content is not defined by any standard.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (5, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537316)

This is not about userspace API headers (which are partially defined by POSIX spec, but partially Linux specific, by the way).

This is about kernel headers. Their content is not defined by any standard.

You're wrong. This is about a cleaned-up header file that lets user-space programs call kernel services, as permitted by the COPYING file (a non-standard modified version of the GPL that specifically says user-space programs can call kernel services without invoking the "derived works" clause) that comes with the linux kernel source code.

And the content of the cleaned-up file IS stuff defined by POSIX or other standards, structures, etc. This is not about including chunks of the kernel in user-space programs.

Astro-turf much?

(okay, you might have made an honest mistake, but wouldn't it have been easy to check first?)

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (3, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537350)

You're wrong. This is about a cleaned-up header file that lets user-space programs call kernel services, as permitted by the COPYING file (a non-standard modified version of the GPL that specifically says user-space programs can call kernel services without invoking the "derived works" clause) that comes with the linux kernel source code.

You're right, and I stand corrected.

Is it the same exception that permits glibc (which necessarily uses those headers) to not require linking apps to be GPL?

okay, you might have made an honest mistake, but wouldn't it have been easy to check first?

You must be... uhhh... nevermind. Off your lawn. ~

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (0)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537488)

Sorry that I didn't see this reply before replying to another one of your comments ...

That's one of the problems of a comment system that STILL doesn't let you update comments.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537732)

Had you been around here terribly long, you'd know that it is intended to be that way. If people could edit comments, they could backtrack and do other trollish things. It supposedly outweighs the detriments.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537384)

If you want to call someone an astroturfer, look no further than the OP. It's sad to see someone like shutdown -p being labeled one.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (0)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 3 years ago | (#35538022)

If your theory was correct then Google would not have needed to run the files through their de-GPLing process. They could have shipped them as is.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (2, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537214)

The headers files are standards defined!

And, ISTM, it wasn't that long ago that everyone around here was up in arms, saying headers couldn't be copyrighted, when SCO tried to claim infringement by Linux header files - saying there was copyrighted content taken from UNIX. <confused>Which is it, or does it depend on who's ox is getting gored?</confused>

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537482)

Header files are rather useless by themselves, and claiming copyright infringement only because they are referred to when building your binary is counterproductive.

In that case almost every application written is guilty of copyright infringement.

And is it a copyright infringement if you include stuff that is intended to be included when building a binary?

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (3, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537234)

This is just more FUD being generated by Microsoft's shills.

And though it's intended effect is to tarnish Google's image/brand consumers really don't give a shit. They're going to buy an Android phone if they want one despite any copyright issues or what could turn out to be platform propaganda.

I think this is W7P's first shot across Android bow.

Some headers may be copyrightable (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537314)

Some headers may be copyrightable. A header that merely contains #defines and prototypes may not be copyrightable, but a header that also contains macros or template definitions that implement logic may be copyrightable.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537132)

What a troll. Anti app developer, anti-google, pro microsoft, pro wp7, pro iphone and not an ounce of substance.... Hi Florian

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537262)

Duh. viablos has at least five other accounts [slashdot.org] .

His hypocrisy is amazing: in one article saying OSS sucks, in this one he says Android should be 'more open' (while claiming WP7 is better... lol), at one time he says he's not a shill, yet in the next article he makes his fifteenth first post promoting Microsoft.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (1, Insightful)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537348)

Unsubstantiated finger pointing by anonymous cowards doesn't make for an outing in any sense, no matter how morally outraged you may be that your opinion isn't the only one that is allowed to be expressed.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537464)

The only thing unsubstantiated here is your post. Anyone who has noticed his little /. ritual - posting within a minute of the story hitting the front page, and bringing up Microsoft even when it's unrelated to the topic - can easily associate all of his accounts. His posts are usually correct half the time - which is why people step out to defend him - but they always are (a) defending Microsoft at every turn, (b) criticizing any of Microsoft's competitors, or (c) defending corporate interests (such as anti-piracy movements).

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (2)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537928)

And people wonder why I don't 'out' the paid shills. There are several here. Watch the names and attitudes when an anti-FOSS, Apple, Google or pro-Microsoft post comes out.

They line up, either side of the fence, draw an arrow from the quivver, then take bead on the perceived threat..... and often miss.

I wish I had the time to do a spider on slashdot, sort the topics, rate them, then sort users vs bias, speed of reply, and thread extension. Might make for some interesting results.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35538016)

I don't know. I've been reading Slashdot for nigh on 10 years and I haven't seen an example this obvious. Florian ranks up there, though he used to make some cogent points. Bonch is the only other semi 'obvious' shill imo: just check out his submissions sometime.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537864)

I didn't believe it at first either. Read these few posts if you want to be convinced otherwise--

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2044216&cid=35536518 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2044200&cid=35536052 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2042408&cid=35522050 [slashdot.org]

hairyfeet (I love it when he gets mad) noticed how he sounds like a stereotypical marketing drone [slashdot.org] the other day.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537880)

I am not an AC and I agree with the GP. If android should be more open how is WP7 better?

viablos is at best a troll and at worst a paid shill.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537164)

And every time issues like this come out, it drives people further away from developing Open Source alternatives. They think "If Google is having this much trouble, we'll get sued in to bankruptcy!"

Drives people from GPL, not FOSS (3, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537276)

And every time issues like this come out, it drives people further away from developing Open Source alternatives. They think "If Google is having this much trouble, we'll get sued in to bankruptcy!"

Not quite. Replace "Open Source" with "GPL". There is no such fear among users of BSD and comparable licenses. I'm not saying the GPL is bad, I am just saying that there are costs associated with everything. If your license is viral, restrictive or ideological then its adoption will be impeded to some degree despite any idealistic motivations.

Re:Drives people from GPL, not FOSS (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537930)

Which explains why BSD is so much more popular than Linux, right?

I humbly suggest you go check out netcraft.

Re:Drives people from GPL, not FOSS (1)

Frnknstn (663642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537938)

I see. And would you characterise your support for BSD licenses as... ideological?

Perhaps you should reread what you replied to:

And every time issues like this come out, it drives people further away from developing Open Source alternatives.

Anything that drives people away from GPL sources also drives people away from Open Source licenses, if you agree that the GPL is an open source license.

I can understand that you might be merely trying to add specificity to that comment, but please read what you are replying to one more time:

And every time issues like this come out, it drives people further away from developing Open Source alternatives.

If you can concede that being able to use a mature existing codebase is one of the main reason people use open source code in their projects, and if you concede that a large amount of open source code is only available under the GPL, then it follows that anyone who wants to develop something related to said GPL-only code, would be dissuaded from developing an open source project at all. If the GPL is FUD-encumbered and there is no non-GPL open source code, the people would likely not develop an open source project.

Okay, please read what you replied to just once more:

And every time issues like this come out, it drives people further away from developing Open Source alternatives.

Pay attention to that part that says 'developing Open Source.' Note how OP DIDN'T say 'using open source code'. For all their benefits, BSD-style licenses do not have INTRINSIC reason to develop derivative projects as open source. In fact, if the code WAS BDS'd, this would not be an issue at all, as Google would have been free to do whatever they wanted with those damnable header files.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (5, Interesting)

HBI (604924) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537212)

Florian and the lawyer pointing this out are Microsoft paid shills. They are attempting to sell WP7. This makes whatever point they were making pretty much irrelevant. If it was a big issue, the kernel devs would be making noise, not these whores.

For details about Florian, just Google [google.com] ...

I agree (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537216)

All 3 Windows 7 phones have no malware (yet).

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (3, Insightful)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537266)

So what if it's an ex-Microsoft hand pointing it out? He still seems to be correct.. Even if he would have something in mind when pointing it out, it doesn't change the fact.

True, and if the ex-Microsoft exaggerates the issue then it is still a troll. Note that the best trolls always contain some grain of truth. I finally got around to reading the brownrudnick whitepaper-looking-thingy on this issue. It smacks of troll. It fails to convince me that Google's kernel header sanitizing process is different in nature from what is done to create libc kernel headers, without which userspace applications would have a tough time interfacing to the kernel.

On the other hand, I am convinced that Google did itself and our community a disservice by failing to do the obvious thing and consult with the kernel community on this question beforehand. Simply posting a link to the sanitized kernel headers to lkml would have done wonders. Google displays more than a small amount of arrogance in its handling of this and other important community issues. I do not think that is a good idea.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (1)

revscat (35618) | more than 3 years ago | (#35538200)

You know, there are two licensing-related problems Google is facing now with Android: the Oracle lawsuit, and now this. Both seem to have at least partially arisen because Google didn't float stuff past people who have interests in the technologies they chose to use. It makes me wonder if there was some development going on behind closed doors back when Schmidt was on Apple's board, but it was kept hush-hush to keep from letting Apple know what they were up to.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (1)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537298)

Your clueless about header files is clear; go read up on their historical use in Unix and Linux land.

Calling Windows Phone 7 "mature" is like calling MS-DOS 2.0 mature when compared to the CLI used in any version of Unix at that time. You must have a hard time speaking when setting.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537362)

Hmm.. someone pointed out that this guy is a troll and I disagreed, but then I looked at another mobile story and saw similarly pro-Microsoft comments from this user.

Then I looked at his comment history. You'll see he consistently praises Microsoft products on articles (Microsoft Access, Visual Studio, Windows Phone). Sure a dedicated customer, but come on, this is Slashdot.. that's not very common.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537472)

Yep, I gave him the benefit of the doubt at first because I personally also think some of Microsoft's products aren't that bad and don't really buy into the "Attack Microsoft about everything, for everything, just because they're Microsoft" mentality.

But one or two of his posts I've read now just make me want to vomit, this post is just the icing on the cake. I have to wonder if as someone else suggested he is in fact Florian or some other equally pointless waste of space.

Either way it's stupid, if Microsoft is paying this shill and it's not just some irrational fanboy who just isn't capable of even the slightest bit of objectivity - i.e. the SuperKendall of the Microsoft world perhaps, then it's one of Microsoft's more stupid moves. They've been making ground in recent years IMO in terms of becoming a slightly less evil tech company, and an action like this would just undo all of that. If it is just a fanboy then I fucking pity him.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537838)

viablos is a sock puppet use for MS astroturfing, ignore him.

Re:He's still right in pointing it out (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537932)

Mr. Viablos,

I am a frequent commenter on Slashdot, Digg, Reddit, and many other sites frequented by technology opinion leaders. I am also very poor, have no scruples, but with excellent persuasive writing skills.

Can you please put me in touch with some folks looking for people like me to act as insightful and frequent contributors to praise and defend companies and their products? I would appreciate it.

Thanks,

Floyd Markian

First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537036)

If the copyright holders don't complain, who cares?

Re:First Post (1)

viablos (2018696) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537050)

That's some shaky ground right there. Even if they don't complain now, they could complain later on. That would also mean that hardware manufacturers and users have to take the risk. They might just choose to use Windows Phone 7 and be sure there's no such problems.

Re:First Post (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537128)

If they do not complain then later on they should not be able to sure. The whole process of waiting and launching a lawsuit has gotten out of hand.

Re:First Post (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537356)

How is using software from MS any less risky? It isn't like MS products haven't contained illegally copied code in the past.

Re:First Post (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537960)

Even if they don't complain now, they could complain later on

So much for the theory that viablos is FM. I'm pretty sure that Florian knows about doctrine of laches [lectlaw.com] , and won't bother to post such ignorant nonsense.

Re:First Post (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35538350)

Not according to the law. Failure to bring action against an infringer in a timely manner is a suitable defense. From wikipedia: [wikipedia.org]

"However, a failure to bring a timely infringement suit or action against a known infringer may give the defendant a defense of implied consent or estoppel when suit is finally brought."

What copyright holders? (4, Insightful)

n2rjt (88804) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537124)

The Brian Proffitt blog spells it out nicely. The bionic library has standard header files. That's the API definition, not copyrightable sorry. So, even though glibc has very similar header files, using the same names and everything, Bionic did not steal anything from glibc. They simply implement the same API, so they must, by definition, have the essentially the same header files.
Nothing to see here, move along. But before you do, read the blog. I'd score it a 5 if it were on slashdot.

I blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537052)

The fearful, the uncertain, and the doubtful

Re:I blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537086)

feartain, uncertful, and the doubtain

don't know why i did that.

Header Files (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537112)

Files created so programmers can write code using the "header files" as
information about how to write the code. What was "header file" owner's intent
in releasing a header file?

This should be prima facie tossed.

Ed

Copyrighting Header Files (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537130)

Header files can most definitely be copyrighted. You can copyright just about anything.

a list of facts is not copyrightable. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537206)

And that is what is in the headers after purging Kernel specific macros.

All that are left is the list of definitions needed to interface usermode with the kernel.

This is the same old FUD MS has been spewing for years.

Re:a list of facts is not copyrightable. (1)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537292)

IANAL, but that's not true in the USofA (Australia, too, IIRC). Although the facts themselves are not copyrightable, specific aggregates of those facts are.

A 'phone book's copyright is held by the "person" publishing the book. In Australia, the case involved aggregation of TV schedules (the schedule entries were "facts", but the aggregated schedule was a "work"). Various data aggregations are sold by businesses, and a few government agencies, and those aggregations have copyrights.

Re:a list of facts is not copyrightable. (1)

dondelelcaro (81997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35538226)

IANAL, but that's not true in the USofA (Australia, too, IIRC). Although the facts themselves are not copyrightable, specific aggregates of those facts are.

That's incorrect. See FEIST PUBLICATIONS, INC. v. RURAL TEL. SERVICE CO for a case which deals with precisely this issue (and is widely quoted when someone brings this up.)

What I'd like to see with the GPL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537174)

is simply this... when a new version of the GPL comes out and you wish to continue using the GPL, all future licensed software must be released under the new GPL license. GPL 3 is amazing, but too few people are using it.

Re:What I'd like to see with the GPL (5, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537370)

is simply this... when a new version of the GPL comes out and you wish to continue using the GPL, all future licensed software must be released under the new GPL license. GPL 3 is amazing, but too few people are using it.

First, the GPL forbids that sort of restriction.

Second, what if some future version of the GPL contains something that makes it less free?

Third, the GPL v3 has some flaws. Android wouldn't be commercially possible if linux were GPL v3.

Re:What I'd like to see with the GPL (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537952)

Please do explain why android could not exist with a GPL v3 kernel. Tivoization is not necessary, nor is it a good thing.

Re:What I'd like to see with the GPL (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537406)

is simply this... when a new version of the GPL comes out and you wish to continue using the GPL, all future licensed software must be released under the new GPL license. GPL 3 is amazing, but too few people are using it.

Great idea, what could possibly go wrong with giving an ideological organization a blank check to do whatever they want with your work.

Want to use GPL 3, go ahead, but you would be wise to delete any "version 3 or any future version" type of language. Wait to see what that future version actually contains and make sure its goals are in line with your goals. Giving blind faith to the FSF seems equivalent to giving blind faith to a church. Do so if you like but at least be aware of your "follower" nature.

Re:What I'd like to see with the GPL (1)

dondelelcaro (81997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35538258)

Want to use GPL 3, go ahead, but you would be wise to delete any "version 3 or any future version" type of language. Wait to see what that future version actually contains and make sure its goals are in line with your goals.

While this advice is reasonable if there are very few contributors to a project, it doesn't work at all for large projects. By chosing only GPL vX, you have basically made it impossible for you to ever select a later version of the GPL unless you can get all contributors to sign off. But then again, some consider that to be a feature.

No complaints? (2, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537202)

There may be no specific complains yet, but Linus has been quite explicit and unambiguous [lkml.org] in the past about how he thinks the GPL applies to Linux kernel headers:

In short: you do _NOT_ have the right to use a kernel header file (or any other part of the kernel sources), unless that use results in a GPL'd program. ...
BUT YOU CAN NOT USE THE KERNEL HEADER FILES TO CREATE NON-GPL'D BINARIES.

Of course, Linus is not a lawyer, and his interpretation of GPL may not be correct. But the gist of the original story was that it was legal analysis made by an IP lawyer, and he essentially agreed with Linus.

Oh, I know, I know! Linus is a paid Microsoft shill! Right?

Re:No complaints? (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537294)

Of course, Linus is not a lawyer, and his interpretation of GPL may not be correct. But the gist of the original story was that it was legal analysis made by an IP lawyer, and he essentially agreed with Linus.

An alarm sounded in the dark, and Linus Torvalds groaned and shuffled under his covers. His wife lay lazily snoring next to him, and the alarm clock bathed their forms in red light as it pulsed.

Before long Linus slapped the snooze button on the alarm, grunted, stretched, and ambled out of bed.

Linus's alarm was was no ordinary one. For starters, it was a 386-based mini-ATX custom rig with 32 MiB that ran Linux 2.6.36.2 in a one-off distro Linus called Alarmix. He used emacs to edit his alarm configuration file every night, and in the morning when alarmd woke up it played a rather loud klaxon. But today it was far earlier than he had set his alarm, and this was a source of worry for Linus.

This klaxon was a special one, run when alarmd was remotely activated by the Git server, meant to alert the core Linux developers that someone was attempting to hack into the Linux kernel code repository. There would likely be a logfile of attempted intrusions displaying on Linus's workstation right now.

Stretching his back and cracking his neck as he wandered slowly to his study, Linus fell lazily into his chair.

"I wonder who it is this time," Linus thought to himself as he jiggled his mouse, temporality blinding himself as his 50" LCD TV came on.

But before Linus's eyes could adjust, he saw stars. Something hard and cold hit him dead-center in the forehead, flipping him backward in his chair onto the floor.

"Hello, Linus," a voice standing over Linus said. "Long time no see, isn't it?" the voice chided.

"What the fuck?" was all Linus could muster as he recovered from the blow.

"In case you're wondering, Linus, that was the butt of my Colt M1991A officer's model," the voice, high and whiny as Linus's ear tuned back in, said. "It's the small-frame six-shot 3-5/8"-barrel version of the classic .45 ACP design."

Linus's heart beat like a jackrabbit fucking on a hot tin roof. A gun? This was a first. His high Finnish forehead was still numb, but he could feel it swelling.

"This baby's small enough to conceal but has excellent stopping power, wouldn't you agree?"

The interloper laughed at his own joke and Linus's ears perked: the narcissistic sense of humor the whiny, nasal voice it finally came together in Linus's addled brain: his assailant was none other than Eric S. Raymond, the ruddy Open Source advocate and Jger-guzzling, gun-toting gas-bag.

"Fuck you, Eric!" Linus shouted. After almost twenty years of tolerating the megalomaniacal bullshit that Raymond served on a regular basis, Linus was more angry than scared. "You can go fuck yourself!"

"I'm glad you brought that up!" Eric said, cheerfully. "That's exactly why I dropped in for a little visit tonight! But I won't be fucking myself"

Linus's moan was muted by the thin, pale, crooked penis covered in a dark brown syrup plunging rudely into his open maw. He gasped through his nose as the skinny, misshapen prick started pumping in and out of his slick mouth.

"Oh yeah" Eric said between breaths. "Ohhh yeah."

The room was silent except for muffled moaning and a wet, fleshy rhythmic pumping sound which reverberated off the dingy, tiled walls.

"Fuck your mouth, Linus!" Eric said. "I want to see cum and Jgermeister all over your pretty little Finnish face!"

Linus was crying, the eye-liner Eric forced him to apply at gunpoint running down his cheeks from his glassy, bloodshot eyes. He gagged and drool poured from his lips.

"I'll need a little lube first, though," Eric said, reaching for his Jger bottle. "Your mouth isn't quite wet enough for old uncle Eric"

Eric uncapped the bottle in one quick motion, not letting his Colt stray from Linus's forehead. Then, something dark and brown started raining on the festivities, covering Linus's face and Eric's bushy dick.

"This shit'll be good, Linus. Oh, fuck! Open up your mouth, you little bitch," the man said as he withdrew his cock from Linus's bitch-hole.

"Please No more Jäger Can't breath I'm going to be sick" Linus gasped as he desperately inhaled fresh air. The scent of unwashed hacker penis was strong in his nose.

"Open up and say ah, boy!" Eric shouted and Jer splashed around the unholy union of Linus's soft lips and Eric's gangly penis and balls. "I want you to get every last drop in that sweet little mouth of yours!"

Eric's face was aglow with the last of his Jäger and his grin, leering and anxious, spread his dropping orange mustache wide.

"Eric, no more. Please. I can't-" Linus said just as Eric cockslapped him.

"You'll do as I say or else", Eric said. "But you could use a break, couldn't you, you stupid little faggot bitch?"

Eric released his hand from around his junk and withdrew his cock from Linus's worn mouth.

Gasping, Linus sat against the wall in the bathtub. Covered in various body fluids, his eyes were dark and sunken. He had scrapes and bruises here and there, especially around his jaw. This was his sixth day of being locked in Eric Raymond's bathroom.

"You know, that's a good position there," Eric said. He laid his Colt on the nearby toilet tank, the metal clankingon the ceramic toilet tank lid. He took several gulps of his magic liqueur and likewise set the bottle down.

"Now open up and take it like a good little bitch," Eric said with a look of child-like glee on his face. "Here comes Hurricane Eric!"

With this remark, Eric turned around and pointed his ass at Linus, his shaky hands spreading his bulbous, white butt cheeks as far apart as they'd go. His yellow-brown ass crack was covered in a red fur that became darker as it neared his asshole. Eric's puckered anus shook and twitched for a second, and then the walls of the shower reverberated with a wet ripping noise.

"Oh god, take it boy!" Eric shouted in ecstasy.

Linus, at the business end of Eric Raymond, could do little more than cry as his face was covered in blast after blast of Eric's light brown ass-burps. One shot his him on the neck, the next shotgunned his forehead and hair, and one finally took him square in the mouth. After a few seconds the slimy assault slowed to a twitching trickle.

Linus sobbed and wiped his face with the back of his hand. He streaked the shit, but didn't remove it.

"Oh, you're not done yet, Rustard," Eric said from the other end. "One more little gift for you, coming up right about"

Eric began shitting the largest turd Linus had ever seen in his life. It was a reddish brown clay color with streaks of blood and mucus. It slipped from Eric's ass with ease even though it was already nearing a foot long and had to be as big around as Eric's wrists, which were straining to hold his ass-cheeks apart.

"Oh my god," Eric cried as the last of the dark beast left his ass. He turned to look at Linus and saw him against the wall, eyes rolled back in his head, with the turd halfway down his throat. He was convulsing, trying to breathe—or was he trying to inhale it? Eric watched in a mixture of shock and arousal for a second before stepping toward the beaten Linux developer.

"No you don't, not today, Linus," Eric said as he kicked Linus in the diaphragm with his good foot. "No suffocating yourself so you can get out of being my sex slave. No siree bob!"

Linus vomited the turd back up along with dinner from earlier. His hot wet sick smelled like an untended portable toilet that had seen use during an attack of dysentery. Linus was sobbing now between coughs, wishing for more than anything to die.

"Okay, Linus, you're done for now," Eric said. "Get upstairs and modify my privileges in the Linux Git server."

Linus looked at Eric with weary eyes. After days of shit and rape and Linux, he was finally broken. He would give Eric what he had been after for so long and had finally earned by pooping in Linus's mouth: root privileges on the Git server that maintained the Linux kernel source code.

"And remember, when you go to do it," Eric said, smiling as he turned on the shower head and began sweeping the shower curtain closed, "I am a core Linux developer!"

Weeping, Linus climbed on unsteady feet and walked toward the door. He held his stomach and trembled as he went. Now that his playtime was over, he felt dread and nothing more: dread of CML2 running in Linux.

Re:No complaints? (1)

mattcasters (67972) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537364)

> root privileges on the Git server that maintained the Linux kernel source code

This is a fake story. Linus surely would never give up that easily!

Re:No complaints? (1)

smbell (974184) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537374)

That is from 2003. It certainly doesn't seem to be Linus complaining about Android. And, I think, that is the point. However Google has been behaving itself it has done so with minimal backlash (there has been some for certain actions, but those have generally been resolved peaceably). In fact Linus seems to be pretty OK with Android. http://torvalds-family.blogspot.com/2010/02/happy-camper.html [blogspot.com]

Re:No complaints? (1)

smbell (974184) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537410)

BTW from that same post when asked about the android kernel development: "Linus said... patrick/brabadu: I don't worry about out-of-tree development for odd devices too much. I wish we could merge android, but I also accept it likely being a few years away. We had similar out-of-tree issues with the SGI extreme scalability stuff, and it took quite a while before the standard kernel merged all of that."

Re:No complaints? (2)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537866)

That is from 2003. It certainly doesn't seem to be Linus complaining about Android. And, I think, that is the point. However Google has been behaving itself it has done so with minimal backlash (there has been some for certain actions, but those have generally been resolved peaceably). In fact Linus seems to be pretty OK with Android. http://torvalds-family.blogspot.com/2010/02/happy-camper.html [blogspot.com]

So from the fact that his statement on the specific issue of misappropriating Linux Kernel header files made in 2003 he doesn't mention Android in particular, and a blog-post saying he owns an Android phone because he uses it as a GPS unit and some games you conclude that Linus would not mind if they actually do what Florian Müller claims they do?

Re:No complaints? (1)

smbell (974184) | more than 3 years ago | (#35538062)

Maybe you missed my reply other reply with a quote from Linus about android. I don't claim to speak for Linus, but I would expect that if he had such a problem with it he might say so when asked directly.
Linus said... patrick/brabadu: I don't worry about out-of-tree development for odd devices too much. I wish we could merge android, but I also accept it likely being a few years away. We had similar out-of-tree issues with the SGI extreme scalability stuff, and it took quite a while before the standard kernel merged all of that.

Re:No complaints? (5, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537450)

There may be no specific complains yet, but Linus has been quite explicit and unambiguous [lkml.org] in the past about how he thinks the GPL applies to Linux kernel headers:

In short: you do _NOT_ have the right to use a kernel header file (or any other part of the kernel sources), unless that use results in a GPL'd program. ... BUT YOU CAN NOT USE THE KERNEL HEADER FILES TO CREATE NON-GPL'D BINARIES.

Of course, Linus is not a lawyer, and his interpretation of GPL may not be correct. But the gist of the original story was that it was legal analysis made by an IP lawyer, and he essentially agreed with Linus.

Oh, I know, I know! Linus is a paid Microsoft shill! Right?

Okay, now you're definitely trolling, seeing as we've dealt with that question numerous times, and the COPYING file makes it clear that you CAN use kernel headers to make user-land binaries without triggering the "distribution" clause.

What you can't do is make a closed kernel.

NOTE! This copyright does *not* cover user programs that use kernel
services by normal system calls - this is merely considered normal use
of the kernel, and does *not* fall under the heading of "derived work".
Also note that the GPL below is copyrighted by the Free Software
Foundation, but the instance of code that it refers to (the Linux
kernel) is copyrighted by me and others who actually wrote it.

Also note that the only valid version of the GPL as far as the kernel
is concerned is _this_ particular version of the license (ie v2, not
v2.2 or v3.x or whatever), unless explicitly otherwise stated.

Linus Torvalds

GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
Version 2, June 1991

So, since the limitations of the GPL (distribution of source) have been expressly waived for userland programs that only call kernel services, there is NO copyright violation for using the header files in such a fashion, ever.

But keep shilling. It gives more opportunity to refute your arguments.

Re:No complaints? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537656)

You realize that they have a special set of BSD header files in the kernel which specifically define the interfaces that glibc and other system library implementations use? In fact, they made a very special version called klibc to use for userspace programs that boot really early on during the boot process.

The interfaces exposed to userland are extremely stable, and there would be no need to every regen them. They would type of the matching declarations, and move along. The fact that Android has a process to regenerate them is a fairly clear indication that they are using stuff that isn't normally exposed to userland.

Re:No complaints? (2)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537926)

The COPYING file you quote makes no mention of kernel headers. It merely says that using the kernel via the mechanism of invoking system calls at runtime is OK.

So, since the limitations of the GPL (distribution of source) have been expressly waived for userland programs that only call kernel services, there is NO copyright violation for using the header files in such a fashion, ever.

That does not follow. There are many possible ways to produce a program that makes system calls into the kernel. The fact that making such system calls is OK does not mean that all ways of producing such a program are OK.

Re:No complaints? (1)

bodski (1109235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35538018)

So how do you propose to make system calls directly in your user-land program without including Linux header files? Note that calls via libc are not system calls themselves.

Re:No complaints? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35538132)

His second post was made before you replied to him the first time. If you'd read Slashdot occasionally you'd know that shutdown -p isn't a shill or a troll (unless he was bought out, but that's dumb). Maybe you should start reading the programming topics or something. *shrug*

Re:No complaints? (2)

tbird20d (600059) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537542)

Of course, Linus is not a lawyer, and his interpretation of GPL may not be correct. But the gist of the original story was that it was legal analysis made by an IP lawyer, and he essentially agreed with Linus.

I'll give you a specific example where Linus is dead wrong. errno.h. This header, from the kernel, is included in almost every Linux user-space program, whether open source or not. (glibc's errno.h includes the kernel's errno.h) If you can provide an example of a kernel header file you think would be a problem to include, please specify it.

Sez who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537246)

Who says header files can't be copyrighted?

Re:Sez who? (2)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537308)

Copyright law, and precedent. Header files are often functional descriptions of an API, without any creative element. Take for instance all the noise that SCO made about errno.h--a list of error numbers and names is not copyrightable because there is no creative element, the entire thing is driven by the functional requirement and is no more than data about errors.

This of course doesn't mean that no header files can be protected by copyright, just that the kind of material that is generally found in header files is a kind of material that is often not copyrightable.

Google's kind of cool so ... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537282)

Google's kind of cool, so it's important to play down copyright violations. Now if it were Microsoft or Oracle, it would be a completely different thing. The facts would be the same, but it would be a completely different situation. Google is so cool.

Re:Google's kind of cool so ... (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537474)

Nothing to do with Microsoft being uncool and everything to with them being a habitual law-breaker. When Google have a similar shady past then I'm sure they'll take just as much shit as Microsoft deservedly do now.

And Bionic is different from glibc how? (5, Insightful)

tbird20d (600059) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537338)

This whole thing just makes me angry, because it ignores legal standards that have applied to Linux and been accepted by all parties, for years. If Naughton's legal analysis is correct, and use of the Linux header files causes the GPL to apply to the utilizing work, then glibc is in more danger than Bionic is. glibc is LGPL, not GPL, and has been using "full" Linux kernel headers for years. How could Bionic, using a stripped down subset of the same headers, be subject to the GPL, if glibc is not?

Re:And Bionic is different from glibc how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537720)

Citation on the legal standards? Just because no-one has complained/sued about such use of headers before doesn't mean the legal contract doesn't actually cover them. Could make for a nice sleeper clause to force other programs to go GPL at a later time (although the ill will that would bring on... ).

What really gets me about this is Google stripping out the GPL copyright notices from the headers. Headers contain code, which is a copyrightable thing. Google is distributing the code in the headers without the mandated copyright notices. Even if the GPL allows compiling the headers into your own binary without your binary being GPL, it seems to me that Google is violating the express terms.

This confuses me a great deal as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537984)

I thought that this is what the whole GPL exception was for?
All this talk about Apache license vs GPL license, and I thought this was all dealt with years ago with the GPL exceptions? As long as what you release is also open source, you get an exception correct?

Why is it so hard to make a pure linux phone? (1)

awpoopy (1054584) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537394)

Not being sarcastic (this time), but is it really that hard to make a Linux phone? Something with Debian, Ubuntu, or something similar? OpenMoko looked like it was onto something and then everything seemed to stop. Why wouldn't Google do it with C or Go? (Google's own language) http://code.google.com/edu/languages/#_programming_with_go [google.com]

Re:Why is it so hard to make a pure linux phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537766)

It's called functionality

Linux phone (Android) is as much about Linux, as X is about Linux. It's just a bunch of FUD. Google only needs to license actual kernel patches under GPL.

X is clearly not licensed under GPL.

Re:Why is it so hard to make a pure linux phone? (1)

WatchMaster (613677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537804)

it is hard because of of the people trying to stop you from doing it. those people being the guys with their in-house systems that can't compete on their own merits.

Mobile website (0)

burisch_research (1095299) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537396)

Probably the easiest/cheapest way is to build a simple site where students register and can then vote using a simple POST form.

I could extend this comment to two sentences, but to be honest that's all that needs to be said.

It's SCO all over again (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537512)

Microsoft did the same thing after the Vista disaster. Throw mud on Linux so no one gets any big ideas about jumping off the MSFT treadmill.

Re:It's SCO all over again (0)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537818)

'cept this time it's Android they want to drub up a bit...

After all, WP 7 isn't exactly selling like hotcakes (or even like cold cakes for that matter).

This whole affair tells me a lot more about how bad Microsoft's phone sales numbers really are, than any cock-and-bull show about how many licenses they "sold" (read: stuffed into the channel) since launch.

poor artticle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35537592)

It is intellectually dishonest to criticize the motives and aims of those you disagree with in order to avoid countering their arguments. Often evil people are right and virtuous people are wrong, get used to it.

More noise from Microsoft, obviously (4, Informative)

eee_eff (1254240) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537636)

Microsoft has been shown to be behind the SCO lawsuit rather convincingly by groklaw. This is just more noise, and I am not surprised to see Florain Mueller, paid Microsoft stooge, jumped very quickly on this astroturfed bandwagon. See that Ed Naughton's bio used to list all of the work he had done for Microsoft and now it is suddenly revised. Microsoft is one of the most deeply immoral companies ever with no respect for the idea of truth, let alone integrity. As covered at Groklaw news picks:

"Edward J. Naughton bio gets revised [PJ: Edward J. Naughton, the attorney Huffington Post just published claiming Android may be in violation of the GPL has done work for Microsoft. Surprised much? His article states this at the end: "The views expressed are my own individual views and should not be attributed to any clients." Nevertheless, at least one of them may be delighted. His bio has changed recently. The link above is to its current state, where you will not find any mention of Microsoft. It's been changed to a "Fortune 50 software company". Here's what used to be on it, still in Google cache, a snapshot taken recently, on March 8]: - Co-counsel defending Microsoft against a putative consumer class action alleging that it had violated wiretapping statutes and common law privacy rights by designing Windows to permit third parties to place cookies on computers. Obtained dismissal of complaint.... - Represented Microsoft in several dozen lawsuits against resellers and corporate end-users of counterfeit, infringing, and unlicensed software. - Brown Rudnick bio page for Naughton

Others pointing fingers... (3, Insightful)

novar21 (1694492) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537730)

always makes me suspicious. If you have nothing to gain (financially or otherwise) what is the purpose of making statements that someone may be doing something illegal or that ramifications could be disastrous. The only purpose would be to spread fear, uncertainty, or doubt to benefit another entity. It seems like gossip to me. It is very distasteful, and I try to avoid reading things of that nature. Although I must state that I am an android phone owner and very happy with the device. I will probably buy my wife one this June. If the Linux Kernel writers do not like what has been done, so be it. I can write software. And I am willing to release it under a GPL'ed license. This is not a big deal to me.

Florian Mueller? (4, Insightful)

Trufagus (1803250) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537760)

Florian Mueller has zero credibility left.

Remember? He was the guy who claimed that Android included source stolen from Oracle's Java. After getting enormous publicity the whole thing was debunked:
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/burnette/oops-no-copied-java-code-or-weapons-of-mass-destruction-found-in-android/2162 [zdnet.com]

So, why are we still listening to him? There are millions of voices on the Internet, shouldn't we listen to one of the ones that still has credibility?

Re:Florian Mueller? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35538148)

Florian Mueller actually shows up in the comments in TFA and mentions that he has rebutted those "debunkings", and posts this link:
http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2011/01/android-device-makers-distribute-oracle.html

The author of TFA, who also said his claims had been debunked, had to change it from saying "proven wrong" to "being disputed".

please ignore this scare tactic... (1)

dirtyhippie (259852) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537814)

Well, what bionic does with headers is arguably questionable, but nothing half as questionable as the oracle stuff. But the idea that you can claim copyright on header files is a bit bizarre. Header files are supposed to be a definition of an interface, not an implementation. So if you want anything to work on your system, you'd best not claim copyright over your headers.

But the idea that android app developers have to comply with the GPLv2 because of headers that interface between two and one layers below (the kernel and libc) is laughable on its face, and clearly a scare tactic. I don't see what's special about bionic in this regard - if android app developers must all release gplv2 code, how is it legal for adobe (or anyone else) to make flash (or any other closed source program) for "traditional" linux systems?

Google not pursuing GPL Copyright Violations (1)

lkcl (517947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537850)

of much more serious concern - to google - is the fact that they are *knowingly* not pursuing GPL Copyright Infringement cases against Android-Linux GPL violators. if you fail to pursue a Copyright violation, it can be argued that you have "no interest" in protecting the Copyrighted material. as it is not in google's interests to pursue copyright violations because that would reduce the number of google android systems in the world, thus affecting their bottom line by reducing advertising income, they're in a bit of shit.

Re:Google not pursuing GPL Copyright Violations (1)

WATist (902972) | more than 3 years ago | (#35538262)

I believe your confusing trademark law with copyright law.

What Google is Really Doing Wrong (2)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 3 years ago | (#35537974)

OK, I know this is going to get voted way down as a troll attempt or something, but seriously--the real thing Google is doing wrong is using Linux. Since they want Android to be licensed as much as possible under more open licenses (they used Apache 2 for nearly all of their original code), they should have went with a BSD kernel. There's no real technical advantage to Linux over BSD in this kind of application, and it would sidestep all risk of this kind of potential license problem.

Same for all the various router manufacturers, set top box makers, TV makers, and so on that have run into GPL problems. I have no idea why no one has made something like BusyBox, but built around BSD and similarly licensed software.

Re:What Google is Really Doing Wrong (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35538134)

Do you mean exactly like Apple did?

Re:What Google is Really Doing Wrong (1)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#35538244)

Pretty much, yes. Not necessarily implemented the same (Apple run Mach with BSD userland), but the BSD license is the ideal license for what they are trying to do. The BSD license is essentially "do what you want, just credit us". No legal bollocks to trip you up later. Linux vs BSD in terms of technical capabilities is close enough to make any comparison on that basis pretty much moot.

isn't this completely irrelevant anyway? (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 3 years ago | (#35538040)

Unless the copyright holders actually try and pursue this with legal action it doesn't actually matter what license applies.

Richard Stallman (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35538170)

Well, this is the world he wanted to create with the viral nature of the GPL, i hope everyone is happy with it. And no, I'm not flaming him, its what he wanted and its what he got, for better or for worse.

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