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Emacs Has Been Violating the GPL Since 2009

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the source-of-conflict dept.

GNU is Not Unix 295

Digana writes "Emacs, one of GNU's flagship products and the most famous software creation of Richard Stallman, has been discovered to be violating the GPL since 2009-09-28 by distributing binaries that were missing source. The CEDET package, a set of contributed files for giving certain IDE functionality related to static code analysis, has distributed files generated from bison grammars without distributing the grammar itself. This happened for Emacs versions 23.2 and 23.3, released during late 2009, and has just been discovered."

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How does this happen? (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 3 years ago | (#36921886)

Doesn't anyone test the source tarball to ensure you can recreate the binary from it?

Re:How does this happen? (2, Funny)

chrisj_0 (825246) | about 3 years ago | (#36921910)

Because no one uses Emacs any more ;D

Re:How does this happen? (3, Funny)

iceaxe (18903) | about 3 years ago | (#36922124)

Oh crap, I am no one and didn't even know it? No wonder I'm underpaid...

Re:How does this happen? (2, Insightful)

anyGould (1295481) | about 3 years ago | (#36922368)

Because no one uses Emacs any more ;D

I still use emacs from time to time. My biggest complaint is that it's not particularly friendly to occasional users. When I used it full time at university, I developed a fairly solid grasp of it. Now that I live in a world that expects Office, I find I have a heck of a time going back - if you don't remember the shortcuts, you're fairly SOL.

Re:How does this happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922040)

You can build the binary without the original grammar files. I suspect make clean/distclean/whatever didn't remove the generated files, so even that wouldn't catch it.

Re:How does this happen? (4, Insightful)

Enleth (947766) | about 3 years ago | (#36922054)

The problem in this case is that the concepts of "source code" and "object code" are a bit fuzzy with generated code that is GPL-licensed.

Someone wrote the bison grammar files (which are the missing source code in this case) and "compiled" them, by running bison over them. The resulting files were "object code" in the light of GPL, as they're not really intended nor suitable to be read or edited by a human (and the GPL's definition of source code is "the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it"), but at the same time, they were still technically source code, as in something that can be fed to another compiler, together with the actual source code of Emacs to build the executable Emacs binary.

Thus, the final binary can be recreated from those tarballs just fine, because *technically* it's the full Emacs source code all right. Legally, though, it's not, because of the definitions in GPL.

Re:How does this happen? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 3 years ago | (#36922258)

So the question is whether the Bison grammar or the generated code is the preferred form for modifications.
Were modifications made to the generated code? Did anybody even make modifications?

Re:How does this happen? (3, Insightful)

xouumalperxe (815707) | about 3 years ago | (#36922274)

because *technically* it's the full Emacs source code all right

Except that, if I wanted to change the grammar, I'd have to plod through the horrid code bison generated rather than the bison grammar files (which are the "true" source) so even technically it's no more the full Emacs source code than releasing the unassembled ASM output of gcc would be the full source for a C program. In this case, the common technical definition and the legal definition seem to be in unison.

Re:How does this happen? (1)

Enleth (947766) | about 3 years ago | (#36922372)

Yes, you have a point, the comparison to mnemonic assembly output of gcc is a good one. I was trying to find an example such as this, but couldn't think of anything at the moment.

My explanation, however, still answers the OP's question - what was distributed was enough to recreate the binary without raising any suspicions, and that's why this could happen.

Re:How does this happen? (1)

MichaelKristopeit404 (1978298) | about 3 years ago | (#36922306)

why would anyone ever want to modify the rules of grammar, ya fuckin' doofus?

you're an idiot.

MichealROFLKristopeit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922432)

You still have sub-2M UIDs as sleeper accounts? Impressive.

Did anyone ASK for that source? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922144)

If not, then it's not breaking GPL.

Re:Did anyone ASK for that source? (2, Informative)

msauve (701917) | about 3 years ago | (#36922316)

"If not, then it's not breaking GPL."

Yes, it is. See GPLv3, section 6. If you make the object downloadable, the source must be, too - no request necessary.

Re:Did anyone ASK for that source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922420)

You are wrong. Even for GPLv3, and it might very well be the case that GPLv2 suffices here.

Re:How does this happen? (1)

HalcyonBlue (596712) | about 3 years ago | (#36922224)

That's the problem - you can recreate the binary from the source tarball. Files generated from a bison grammar *are* source. As it's generated source it's not as useful for maintenance and feature enhancement as the original grammar file that's input into bison. So here's the low down on the process - bison grammer is input into bison (usually a .yy file IIRC), which outputs a file in C, which is then used when emacs is compiled. When you run the compilation, if the original grammar is present it'll generate the C file, and then build emacs. If the generated file is present and up to date it'll won't try to generate from the .yy because it already has the generated file. So if the .yy is not included, this goes completely unnoticed as one can build from source.

Re:How does this happen? (1)

WatchMaster (613677) | about 3 years ago | (#36922366)

no, you must use "one of" the methods in section 6, which include 6c- an offer to give it on request.

Re:How does this happen? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 3 years ago | (#36922272)

it's build fine since it has the bison output which is all the compiler needs. Basically there are some Elisp files that are actually generated by from some grammar files, those Elisp files were added without the grammar files being added. When doing a build you have no way of knowing that some random Elisp file isn't actually the "true" source code.

Oh, FFS... (2)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 3 years ago | (#36921902)

...just hit Ctrl + R and Alt + Shift + P + OMG and they're right there!

On a more serious note, It was probably a goof on their part. The fact that no one noticed until now is pretty strange, though.

Re:Oh, FFS... (2, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | about 3 years ago | (#36921934)

The fact that no one noticed until now is pretty strange, though.

Does anyone care?

The fact that no one has noticed/complained would to me indicate that no one wants them. If someone wanted them, they would look for them, not find them, inquire, and it would probably have been fixed.

Yes they should be there, and yes this should be fixed but is an (assumably) reasonable mistake this big a deal?

Would be different if someone was refusing to provide the source material or something, but this just seems like a case of “oops, forgot.. give me a sec..”. Certainly not what I would consider a VERY BAD MISTAKE!!! Can they be sued for this or something? Then maybe its bad

Then again this is RMS, and as we know he kind of sees things in a different .. reality .. then most of us.

Any before anyone accuses me of being a fanboy/astroturfing I _hate_ emacs. I’ve tried to learn to like it (it was used as the standard editor at a previous employer, with a variety of in-house plugins that made life easier) but I can’t.

For that matter, I’m not really a big fan of the GPL either in that I think it does more damage than it prevents in terms of wide scale open source adoption and especially compatibility.

Re:Oh, FFS... (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 3 years ago | (#36922078)

Can they be sued for this or something?

The damages are lower for unintentional copyright infringement, but yes, they can be sued. Just because you break the law unintentionally doesn't mean you still haven't broken the law.

Re:Oh, FFS... (1)

Anrego (830717) | about 3 years ago | (#36922206)

Who have they infringed on? (not a snarky reply, I really don't know. I don't know enough about how the FSF works). This seemed more an issue of contract violation (the contract the devs have with the FSF) in which case the FSF could sue RMS? Or the one who did the merging? Could someone who downloaded the software sue the FSF?

Ugh.. my head hurts now... we need less lawyers in the world ..

Re:Oh, FFS... (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | about 3 years ago | (#36922302)

They have infringed on whoever created the .yy source files that are missing, I guess.

Re:Oh, FFS... (2)

gknoy (899301) | about 3 years ago | (#36922440)

As an anonymous poster above mentioned, I believe it's only a GPL violation if they refused to provide it, right? If no one found out until now, that leads me to believe that no one had asked. This certainly seems in the realm of "whoops, my bad" than in any nefarious hypocrisy from RMS and the Emacs developers.

Re:Oh, FFS... (3, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#36922126)

Sued for what? I can see it now:

If you win, you get a hug from Stallman. if you lose you get 2 hugs.

Re:Oh, FFS... (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | about 3 years ago | (#36922268)

I just shuddered. No seriously, it started at the tips of my toes and went all the way to my head, giving me goosebumps and making my hair stand on end all along the way. I think I'll need to sleep with the lights on tonight.

Re:Oh, FFS... (2)

anyGould (1295481) | about 3 years ago | (#36922434)

Certainly not what I would consider a VERY BAD MISTAKE!!!

It's a bad mistake in that one of the flagship GPL products isn't currently GPL-legal.

It's not so much a legal mistake as massively embarrassing - like the Apple Store signs that have a Windows blue screen of death showing.

The sad thing is... (1, Insightful)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | about 3 years ago | (#36921912)

...there are people to whom this matters.

Re:The sad thing is... (3, Funny)

rbrausse (1319883) | about 3 years ago | (#36921940)

RMS will sue himself?

Re:The sad thing is... (2)

Anrego (830717) | about 3 years ago | (#36922034)

RMS will sue himself?

Oh now that's just redicu... hmm

Yup, he actually might!

Re:The sad thing is... (1)

kenh (9056) | about 3 years ago | (#36921978)

Maybe now the FOSS zealots will believe the argument 'it could happen to anyone'...

Re:The sad thing is... (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | about 3 years ago | (#36922154)

Maybe now the FOSS zealots will believe the argument 'it could happen to anyone'...

What argument? They believe that distributing software without the source code is a bad thing, which is why the GPL was written. This incident only serves to illustrate their continued belief in that principle.

We have made a very bad mistake. Anyone redistributing those versions
is violating the GPL, through no fault of his own.

We need to fix those releases retroactively (or else delete them), and
we need to do it right away.

I see two quick ways to fix them: to delete the compiled files, or to
add the sources they are made from.

--
Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation

Re:The sad thing is... (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | about 3 years ago | (#36922204)

What argument?

That people can unintentionally violate the GPL. You know, the entire point of this whole incident?

Re:The sad thing is... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#36922300)

People unintentionally violate all kinds of laws and contracts. That changes nothing. It is not an argument for or against anything.

If a company or a person does that intentionally or not they can do what RMS said they would do. Delete the files or fix them.

Re:The sad thing is... (5, Insightful)

AdamWill (604569) | about 3 years ago | (#36922400)

Yes. And this is what happens all the time in F/OSS license violation cases. No-one pays out zillions of dollars: they fix the infringement. Happens to hardware vendors who haven't got a clue, malicious software vendors who got caught, well-intentioned ones who made a mistake...happens all the time. I dunno why this is suddenly news.

(For example, I suspect it's somewhat unlikely that any Linux distribution's 'F/OSS only' repositories are actually F/OSS only. The distros which take license compliance most seriously - Debian and Fedora/Red Hat - actively search out licensing issues, find them all the time, and get them resolved. This is a deeply un-sexy ongoing background process which most people are shielded from by the power of not giving a crap. But yeah, since we've been finding licensing issues that affect all distros that haven't been caught in years _all the time_, it seems unreasonable to assume that the last big one we found was the last one and everything's fine now.)

tl;dr summary: licensing is hard, mmkay?

Re:The sad thing is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922294)

Nope, they will plug their ears and pretend, as usual.

Watch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922018)

As this asinne excuse for a post gets modded up to +5 by pimple-faced teenagers within 10 minutes. Nevermind that the GPL has been a key driving force (along with BSD, Apache, and others) behind the open source movement for about 30 years.

Re:Watch (0)

Jorl17 (1716772) | about 3 years ago | (#36922068)

Exactly. I, for one, like to be able to change all my software. I do constantly alter the source code of most of my software, from the kernel to mumble-server, going through links2 and even libasound. And I don't give a damn how you mod me you Windows ball sucker.

Re:The sad thing is... (1)

Synn (6288) | about 3 years ago | (#36922342)

I keep getting this image of RMS standing in front of a podium, tears streaming down his facing and sobbing out "I have sinned!!"

BURN THE WITCH!! (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#36921914)

I saw them consorting with Lucifer in the fields--with mine own eyes, I did! They was compiling binaries with unreleased source and plotting against FOSS hippies, they was!

Re:BURN THE WITCH!! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922044)

And they compiled me into a newt.

Re:BURN THE WITCH!! (1)

iceaxe (18903) | about 3 years ago | (#36922252)

Does that mean they are made of wood?

Re:BURN THE WITCH!! (2)

FadedTimes (581715) | about 3 years ago | (#36922262)

I assume you got better?

Re:BURN THE WITCH!! (2)

Obyron (615547) | about 3 years ago | (#36922354)

I saw Goody Stallman with the Devil!

Re:BURN THE WITCH!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922456)

Stallman!!!

He's nothin' but a low-down, double-dealin', back-stabbin', larcenous, perverted worm!!

Hangin's too good for 'im!!

Burnin's too good for 'im!!

He should be torn into little bitsy pieces, and BURIED ALIVE!!!

*** NERD RAGE!!! ***

Accident or Malice? (2)

captaindomon (870655) | about 3 years ago | (#36921916)

That's the most important question.

Re:Accident or Malice? (2)

grimmjeeper (2301232) | about 3 years ago | (#36921996)

On the face of it, this looks like an accident. There really wasn't a lot to be gained by not publishing the source. And the initial message notifying the public was a "we need to fix this yesterday, one way or another". Someone who was doing this out of malice would have put out a "we were notified of the problem and are taking appropriate steps to address the issue" while they covered their asses.

No, it's who cares about Emacs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922036)

No, it's who cares about Emacs?

Down with Stallman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36921928)

that greedy corporatist pig!

oh wait, we're not in a MS thread are we?

Is that really a GPL violation? (5, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 3 years ago | (#36921944)

I was really under the impression that the GPL said you had to distribute the source to anyone you sent the binaries if they actually bothered to request it. I mean, usually that means you publish both, just as a matter of convenience, but not of necessity.

Re:Is that really a GPL violation? (1)

Tim C (15259) | about 3 years ago | (#36922070)

That seems to be the point though - not only are the sources not included, they're not made available either. That means that you or I can download that binary and (incomplete) source distribution of EMACS, give it to someone else, and thus be in violation of the GPL as we cannot make the full source available.

Re:Is that really a GPL violation? (2)

WatchMaster (613677) | about 3 years ago | (#36922334)

please refer to GPL, section 6, part c. There is no obligation to bundle source with the object/binary distribution.

one of the acceptable methods of distributing source code is :

c) Accompany the work with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give the same user the materials specified in Subsection 6a, above, for a charge no more than the cost of performing this distribution.

Re:Is that really a GPL violation? (1)

m50d (797211) | about 3 years ago | (#36922416)

Sure. But not the only way. The point is someone could entirely innocently distribute the binary and "source", as downloaded from the FSF's site, without accompanying written offer (because the source is just there, right?). And that would be violating the GPL.

Re:Is that really a GPL violation? (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 3 years ago | (#36922116)

I was coming here to post this. A quick check on Wikpedia:

The fourth section for version 2 of the license and the seventh section of version 3 require that programs distributed as pre-compiled binaries are accompanied by a copy of the source code, a written offer to distribute the source code via the same mechanism as the pre-compiled binary, or the written offer to obtain the source code that you got when you received the pre-compiled binary under the GPL

source [wikipedia.org] . So, in other words, not distributing the source with it isn't a problem necessarily, although I imagine they didn't add any written offers to provide the source, so it may be a technical violation. Since I'm sure they would distribute the source on request, and since I imagine you can get the source easily enough if you want, this really doesn't seem to be an issue at all. Except that RMS is... well, a little on the obsessive side, to say the least.

The LICENSE.txt is the offer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922448)

The GPL license included with what they had is the offer.

Re:Is that really a GPL violation? (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 3 years ago | (#36922132)

Not quite. You basically have two options (simplifying here, and this goes for v2 or v3):

1) Include the source
2) Include an offer to provide the source

Merely publishing the source somewhere isn't enough, and you can't just reactively provide the source when requested. If you don't want to include the source with the binaries, you have to include the offer with the binaries instead.

Re:Is that really a GPL violation? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922136)

Mod parent up. There is no stipulation in the GPL that source code must accompany any distribution of binaries. Total myth.

Section 6 of the GPL

"You may convey a covered work in object code form under the terms of sections 4 and 5, provided that you also convey the machine-readable Corresponding Source under the terms of this License, in one of these ways:
[...]
"# b) Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by a written offer, valid for at least three years and valid for as long as you offer spare parts or customer support for that product model, to give anyone who possesses the object code either (1) a copy of the Corresponding Source for all the software in the product that is covered by this License, on a durable physical medium customarily used for software interchange, for a price no more than your reasonable cost of physically performing this conveying of source, or (2) access to copy the Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge.
"# c) Convey individual copies of the object code with a copy of the written offer to provide the Corresponding Source. This alternative is allowed only occasionally and noncommercially, and only if you received the object code with such an offer, in accord with subsection 6b.
"# d) Convey the object code by offering access from a designated place (gratis or for a charge), and offer equivalent access to the Corresponding Source in the same way through the same place at no further charge. You need not require recipients to copy the Corresponding Source along with the object code. If the place to copy the object code is a network server, the Corresponding Source may be on a different server (operated by you or a third party) that supports equivalent copying facilities, provided you maintain clear directions next to the object code saying where to find the Corresponding Source. Regardless of what server hosts the Corresponding Source, you remain obligated to ensure that it is available for as long as needed to satisfy these requirements."

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html

Re:Is that really a GPL violation? (4, Interesting)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | about 3 years ago | (#36922232)

Mod parent up. There is no stipulation in the GPL that source code must accompany any distribution of binaries. Total myth.

Then you better make sure rms knows this since he's the one apparently pertuating this "total myth". You know, since he was the one who wrote the email saying that Emacs was in violation of the GPL.

Re:Is that really a GPL violation? (1)

msauve (701917) | about 3 years ago | (#36922166)

Actually, you're supposed to make it available if you're distributing downloadable copies, no request necessary. The "by request" is if you distribute physically (in a device, or on physical media). See Section 6, Conveying Non-Source Forms, of GPLv3 [gnu.org] .

Re:Is that really a GPL violation? (1)

Shimbo (100005) | about 3 years ago | (#36922198)

I was really under the impression that the GPL said you had to distribute the source to anyone you sent the binaries if they actually bothered to request it.

You need to provide the source or make an explicit offer to do so on request. If I've assumed the former and not done the latter, it is a GPL violation.

Re:Is that really a GPL violation? (3, Informative)

0racle (667029) | about 3 years ago | (#36922214)

That is the basic gist of it. Source doesn't have to be shipped together with binaries. GPLv3 changes the 'bothered to request it' part as that is something of an artifact of physical media distribution of GNU software.
Quick Guide to GPL v3 [gnu.org]

One of the fundamental requirements of the GPL is that when you distribute object code to users, you must also provide them with a way to get the source. GPLv2 gave you a few ways to do this, and GPLv3 keeps those intact with some clarification. It also offers you new ways to provide source when you convey object code over a network. For instance, when you host object code on a web or FTP server, you can simply provide instructions that tell visitors how to get the source from a third-party server.

The actual wording for network distribution in the GPLv3 says you just have to make or have the source available in the same methods that the binaries were
GPLv3 [gnu.org]

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

I bet we can find Emacs source on the same server we can find Emacs binaries.

Shit just got real (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36921954)

Subject says it all.

Overblown (3, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | about 3 years ago | (#36921956)

The source code is included. Just not the source for the source code.

Re:Overblown (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922326)

That's why the GPL specifically defines "source code" to mean "the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it." The "preferred form..." is the "source for the source code", as you call it.

Re:Overblown (1)

m50d (797211) | about 3 years ago | (#36922466)

Autogenerated "source" is basically useless - trying to edit it will make you want to stab your eyes out. It's exactly as big an issue as it sounds like.

Emacs? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36921966)

This would *never* have happened with vi!

Re:Emacs? (1)

Jorl17 (1716772) | about 3 years ago | (#36922098)

Haha :p Honestly, I started out as an emacs user but got fed up with it (I couldn't stand the keybindings in my PT keyboard -- why is every fucking thing made for american keyboards even while I have localized packages? Just change the keybindings according to LINGUAS!!). Moved to vim and am never coming back.

This is just a bunch of false accusations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36921988)

There is no obligation to distribute source, or to publish source. The obligation is to give people source when they ask. If you said to the GNU people: "this doesn't have the grammars, please give me the grammars" and they refused, that would be a violation.

Re:This is just a bunch of false accusations (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | about 3 years ago | (#36922032)

How can it be a false accusation if rms admits that it's a GPL violation himself?

Re:This is just a bunch of false accusations (1)

iceaxe (18903) | about 3 years ago | (#36922394)

I think it would take a panel of judges and a legion of lawyers to fight out how many angels would fit on the head of this particular pin, and afterward people would still disagree.

Better to err on the side of doing it right (admitting fault and correcting the issue) than to open up a gray area precedent that might be exploited by someone else.

Re:This is just a bunch of false accusations (1)

msauve (701917) | about 3 years ago | (#36922184)

You're wrong. See GPLv3, section 6. "By request" only applies when object code is distributed via physical media or in a physical product. If it's downloadable, you must also provide downloadable source, no request needed.

Not a violation (1)

baffle (144921) | about 3 years ago | (#36921998)

I don't think it is a violation of the GPL before the distributor of the binaries say "No, you can't have it" or fail to deliver within a reasonable timeframe.

Re:Not a violation (1)

MichaelKristopeit404 (1978298) | about 3 years ago | (#36922090)

i don't think you are qualified to determine if it is a violation

Re:Not a violation (1)

iceaxe (18903) | about 3 years ago | (#36922452)

I don't think you are qualified to determine the qualifications of others to determine the terms of the GPL. :P

(is this infinitely recursive?)

hang on... (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 3 years ago | (#36922014)

is this the same as getting Richard Stallman to say his name backwards?
does this mean Emacs must now be ferried away back to the hell-mouth from which it came?

Re:hang on... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 years ago | (#36922142)

haha, ok, now my next character will be 'Namllats Drahcir'.

Ha ha - only serious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922020)

While the intensity of the revelation may be amusing, consider the legal angle. FSF is in some sense the spiritual custodian of the GPL - and if they don't have their house in order, a lawyer could point to it in a case where the GPL is contested and make some claim along the lines of "GPL is a joke since even the people who promote it are violating it". I'm not saying a court would necessarily buy this, but it opens up the door, and I can understand how Stallman could be worried about it - an awful lot of running code hangs on the GPL. That's not a foundation you want being called into question.

Emacs vs vi - Question answered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922024)

Now we know why vi is more commonly distributed and thus more used.

Nuff said.

Re:Emacs vs vi - Question answered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922186)

People still use vi? I thought it was supposed be be vim that was good now...

richard stallman is an ignorant hypocrite (1)

MichaelKristopeit501 (2018074) | about 3 years ago | (#36922052)

completely pathetic.

Emm (1, Informative)

kikito (971480) | about 3 years ago | (#36922064)

Bison's output isn't binary, it's C (a somewhat contrived and difficult to understand C, but C nevertheless). It doesn't generate "compiled binaries", as the article points out.

It's still source code. Maybe not the original source code, but source code anyway. I don't think that violates the GPL intrinsically (maybe it violates its spirit, but not the license by itself).

Re:Emm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922284)

This!

No, it isn't source (2)

AlecC (512609) | about 3 years ago | (#36922392)

No, it is not source code in the sense the GPL requires: "the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it". Just because something is in compilable ascii code doesn't make it the source code. You could no doubt convert a binary into some huge hex constant which would be valid C and would compile back to the binary, but nobody would accept that as the source code.

That said, the problem is trivial. It is obviously just a minor cock-up which no-one has noticed. Formally, they should either have included the bison source, which they have just realised they didn't. or have include a formal offer to provide it on demand, which they probably didn't do because they thought they were offering full source. But I think anybody would realise that such an offer was implicit in any software released by the FSF. To worry that the FSF would /not/ releas source should they have been found to have accidentally omitted something, as appears to have happened here, is frankly perverse.

Re:Emm (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 3 years ago | (#36922474)

Bison's output isn't binary, it's C (a somewhat contrived and difficult to understand C, but C nevertheless). It doesn't generate "compiled binaries", as the article points out.
It's still source code. Maybe not the original source code, but source code anyway. I don't think that violates the GPL intrinsically (maybe it violates its spirit, but not the license by itself).

Which would you prefer to have to make changes to ?

One good thing comes out of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922086)

At least they're rectifying the problem free of charge.

Fucking Hypocrite Stallman (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922096)

Hippies never actually stand for anything. They're all talk.

Disgusting.

Just another reason to use VI! (1)

ArtificialPulse (1462259) | about 3 years ago | (#36922108)

Accept second place Emacs, hjkl is where it's at!

Moral of the story (1)

lseltzer (311306) | about 3 years ago | (#36922134)

Just goes to show how few people really give a shit about this stuff.

Re:Moral of the story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922190)

Mod up!

It's not really Emacs... (2)

mmcuh (1088773) | about 3 years ago | (#36922146)

...that has violated the GPL, it's anyone who has _redistributed_ Emacs. The original distributors (FSF, I assume) have presumably had the source available and could have given it to anyone who asked for it, which is what the GPL requires. They just forgot to put it in the tarball.

But people who have redistributed the Emacs package, like for example GNU mirrors or every desktop Linux distribution in the world, could not have made the source available upon request, since they never had it.

text of RMS's mail (4, Informative)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | about 3 years ago | (#36922174)

For anyone who didn't click the link, here's RMS's reaction:

We have made a very bad mistake. Anyone redistributing those versions is violating the GPL, through no fault of his own.

We need to fix those releases retroactively (or else delete them), and we need to do it right away.

I see two quick ways to fix them: to delete the compiled files, or to add the sources they are made from.

From the mail linked to in the story: http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/emacs-devel/2011-07/msg01155.html [gnu.org]

Re:text of RMS's mail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922468)

RMS should sue himself until he fixes this!

vi (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36922200)

This is an outrage. Everyone should dump emacs and start using vi instead.

Yea, peopel make mistakes (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | about 3 years ago | (#36922208)

They would obviously have fixed it the moment somebody points it out. If somebody was daft enough to go to court over it. They'd basically say "yea, this was a mistake, we didn't notice it because nobody seems to have been bothered with it, so we don't think it really affected anybody. When we became aware of it we fixed it." If that kind of thing did not stand up in court you'd basically be liable every time you had a network problem. Now granted some countries have fucked up legal systems, but that is not the fault of the Emacs developers.

Rally the troops! (1)

daedae (1089329) | about 3 years ago | (#36922254)

I'm waiting for the email from Defective By Design demanding that we boycott emacs and/or send large amounts of some token object to Stallman.

FSF owns Emacs (2)

Alan Shutko (5101) | about 3 years ago | (#36922296)

The FSF is the copyright holder of Emacs. All code that is integrated with Emacs is covered by a copyright assignment. They can't violate the GPL when they distribute Emacs, because they are not bound by it.

You know what to do, RMS (5, Funny)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | about 3 years ago | (#36922332)

It's a good thing people gave Stallman that katana [xkcd.com] after the xkcd strip came out, because there's now only one option [wikipedia.org] . Reclaim your honor, sir.

Oh no, not missing the grammer (1)

sacridias (2322944) | about 3 years ago | (#36922356)

Nit picking is why GNU blows chunks as a license. Seriously maybe the grammar sucks and should not be resent. Lets not shoot ourselves with crappy code or excessive junk when we could clean it up and republish. It would be one thing if they tried to resell it as their own, but including only a portion of something is not a reason to go to war. This is why I hate much of the open source community, they have a great idea, but get so fanatical about it. Instead of being a progressive group dedicated to improving life for the future they turn into a politically weighed down propaganda machine that cries about a broken nail.

Looking forward to (1)

tele (246082) | about 3 years ago | (#36922376)

see RMS sue RMS :-)

No violation here (1)

Artefacto (1207766) | about 3 years ago | (#36922406)

The GPL doesn't require the source code to be provided together with the binaries, just that the source code be made available to the recipient of the binaries, possibly even charging him for the transportation costs. So unless someone requested the source code and didn't get it, no one violated the GPL.

In other news (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 3 years ago | (#36922418)

RMS's head deflated today raising world temperatures by 5 degrees.

: p

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