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SFC Expands GPL Compliance Efforts To Samba, Linux, and Other Projects

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the defending-free-software dept.

GNU is Not Unix 104

An anonymous reader tipped us to news that the Software Freedom Conservancy is expanding its GPL compliance efforts. Quoting Bradley Kuhn: "This new program is an outgrowth of the debate that happened over the last few months regarding Conservancy's GPL compliance efforts. Specifically, I noticed that, buried in the FUD over the last four months regarding GPL compliance, there was one key criticism that was valid and couldn't be ignored: Linux copyright holders should be involved in compliance actions on embedded systems. Linux is a central component of such work, and the BusyBox developers agreed wholeheartedly that having some Linux developers involved with compliance would be very helpful. Conservancy has addressed this issue by building a broad coalition of copyright holders in many different projects who seek to work on compliance with Conservancy, including not just Linux and BusyBox, but other projects as well." The anonymous reader adds: "This news was also discussed in the latest episode of the Free as in Freedom Oggcast." Update: 05/30 14:20 GMT by U L: It may not be entirely clear, but several Linux developers have assigned copyright so that the Conservancy can pursue violations for them.

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104 comments

Must be involved.... (4, Informative)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 2 years ago | (#40154523)

Linux copyright holders should be involved in compliance actions on embedded systems.

I believe they MUST be involved. As a 3rd party SFLC really has no say ( IIRC the legal term is "standing".). IANAL but If someone strips the GPL from some code and puts that code in their product, the copyright holders are the only one who can legitimately make a complaint. The users may notice, but their rights to source code are defined in the GPL - which is absent in such a case.

Re:Must be involved.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40154589)

Linux copyright holders should be involved in compliance actions on embedded systems.

I believe they MUST be involved. As a 3rd party SFLC really has no say ( IIRC the legal term is "standing".). IANAL but If someone strips the GPL from some code and puts that code in their product, the copyright holders are the only one who can legitimately make a complaint. The users may notice, but their rights to source code are defined in the GPL - which is absent in such a case.

Is that because you believe that they're the only ones whose code is infringed upon in embedded systems? If so then that's a bit of an odd belief. If not then the copyright holders of the other code are obviously sufficient to bring a case, and we're back to it being better, preferable, sensible for Linux copyright holders to be involved - not a MUST.

Re:Must be involved.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40154711)

Yeah, they would need to be involved, and no doubt among the thousands of Linux copyright holders they will find one or two people willing to help.

Though I certainly wouldn't help. The SFLC is just like a patent troll - it is funded by finding GPL violators and making them suffer unduly for minor mistakes and oversights. It is thanks to the SFLC that companies are afraid to use GPL code in their products... they think, quite reasonably, that it just isn't worth the hassle. Which is better, buy a licence for non-free software (fixed, one off cost) or use free software and pay for lawyers to be sure you are in compliance?

The canonical example of SFLC trolling is probably Busybox. The creator of Busybox just got sick of helping the SFLC line its pockets by discouraging the use of free software. I think in the end he disowned Busybox and started a new project to do the same thing, under the BSD licence.

Re:Must be involved.... (3, Insightful)

bug1 (96678) | about 2 years ago | (#40154815)

"It is thanks to the SFLC that companies are afraid to use GPL code in their products... they think, quite reasonably, that it just isn't worth the hassle. Which is better, buy a licence for non-free software (fixed, one off cost) or use free software and pay for lawyers to be sure you are in compliance?"

Its better to use free software and pay for lawyers, because;
  - You get the source code.
  - You _should_ have a lawyer review non-free software licences also, so its not an extra cost.

If corporations are afraid to use GPL software because they are terrified they might have to _share_ something then there are little or no benefits to the Free software community from them being involved.

i.e. The invisible hand will slap down such corporations.

Re:Must be involved.... (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40155165)

Paying for a proprietary software license is no guarantee that you are in compliance. Even buying the software puts you at risk of a BSA raid. All it takes is for one employee to install the software on a machine not covered by the license, and you're at risk of serious fines.

Re:Must be involved.... (3, Interesting)

dvNull (235982) | about 2 years ago | (#40155361)

Paying for a proprietary software license is no guarantee that you are in compliance. Even buying the software puts you at risk of a BSA raid. All it takes is for one employee to install the software on a machine not covered by the license, and you're at risk of serious fines.

Actually, all it takes is to not have the receipts or have purchased the software from ebay or Amazon. From what I understand , BSA does not consider software purchased from places like Amazon or Ebay as legit.

Broken Premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40155663)

IANAL but there is a flaw in your premise when you say:

"Which is better, buy a licence for non-free software (fixed, one off cost) or use free software and pay for lawyers to be sure you are in compliance?"

Nobody is getting sued for "using" GPLed software. Rather, some vendors think that they have the right to distribute code written by someone else in their product without complying with the terms of the programmer who actually wrote the code. Specifically the requirement that source be made available.

Often, violators are contacted and immediately comply. Sometimes they fight the compliance requirement. Either way, nobody is forcing any entity to use GPLed software in their product. Apple managed to avoid it when they built OsX on top of Unix, and when they built Safari on top of Konqueror.

Programmers don't have to use the GPL either. There are many other licenses to choose from - including the "Chicken Dance License". Programmers, like me, who use the GPL have made a choice to ensure that the source code is available for all to see and modify, and will not become "obsolete".

Whatever the license, don't just click through the terms, actually read them. If you don't agree with a license, don't use the product. That is why I haven't used Microsoft products in years.

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/04/15/online-shoppers-unknowingly-sold-souls/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/05/29/no_microsoft_class_actions/
http://slashdot.org/story/01/09/20/1443226/microsoft-frontpage-license-prohibits-anti-microsoft-speech

Re:Broken Premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40163829)

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/04/15/online-shoppers-unknowingly-sold-souls/

I'm sure those who did agree to that really took it seriously too...Gamestop claiming ownership of people's immortal souls...real believable there.

http://slashdot.org/story/01/09/20/1443226/microsoft-frontpage-license-prohibits-anti-microsoft-speech

FTA: "FWIW, the clause appears only in the EULA agreement for use of the FrontPage Logo, not with the product or server extensions license."
Nice try Google shill! Know the facts next time retard.

Re:Must be involved.... (5, Informative)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#40154993)

The creator of Busybox just got sick of helping the SFLC line its pockets by discouraging the use of free software. I think in the end he disowned Busybox and started a new project to do the same thing, under the BSD licence.

Just in case anyone is paying attention to the AC here... The creator of Busybox was Bruce Perens who went on to be the 2nd head of Debian where he authored the Free Software Guidelines. He worked with HP on their move into the Linux community and founded several more Linux projects. He currently works with the government of Norway in a Linux related role.

Re:Must be involved.... (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#40155249)

Line it's pockets? Were they actually getting monetary judgements or just source code and GPL compliance?

I think in the end he disowned Busybox and started a new project to do the same thing, under the BSD licence.

No, that was Tim Bird of Sony, who wanted to create "toybox" as a means of replacing Busybox so that GPL violations of the kernel harder to detect.

Re:Must be involved.... (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 2 years ago | (#40155357)

No, it wasnt to make violations of the kernels license harder to detect, it was to stop the BusyBox copyright holders from having sway over third party applications through their "compliance" requirements (basically they only allowed you to be relicensed for BusyBox if you also came into compliance with everything else, not just BusyBox). Tim Bird had a legitimate complaint - most kernel developers, Linus included, is fairly ambivalent to most kernel license violations.

Re:Must be involved.... (3, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#40155419)

But nonetheless it is hypocritical for someone at Sony, a company whose executives start frothing at the mouth when they get wind of someone violating their copyrights, to lead an effort to make it easier for others to violate GPL licenses and get away with it. It's good for them but not for you.

Re:Must be involved.... (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 2 years ago | (#40156251)

No, its not hypocritical at all - its software freedom, they wanted an alternative and so someone started to develop one.

Only here on Slashdot could that possibly be twisted to be a bad thing.

Re:Must be involved.... (2)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#40156647)

Please. Sony is part and parcel of all the RIAA/MPAA lawsuits against people violating their copyright. Yet one of their public representatives is concerned about someone enforcing the terms of the GPL and seeks a way to "protect" people from them.

They wanted an alternative not because it was superior but because it would allow for a legal dodge to avoid licensing compliance.

Re:Must be involved.... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 years ago | (#40160013)

An employee is not necessarily a public representative. An alternative to Busybox with less restrictive license would be a good thing I feel, but that does not make me a representative espousing my company's viewpoints. Rewriting Busybox is a very simple process, it takes a little time is all.

As far as the original issue, if the Linux devs aren't getting upset about license issues then it seems inappropriate for a third party group to try and step in on their behalf.

Re:Must be involved.... (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 2 years ago | (#40164001)

Please. Sony is part and parcel of all the RIAA/MPAA lawsuits against people violating their copyright. Yet one of their public representatives is concerned about someone enforcing the terms of the GPL and seeks a way to "protect" people from them.

While I think Tim will probably continue to give his personal support the ToyBox project (note: Sony has *not* given its support to ToyBox -- that was reported incorrectly), it was clear that much of Tim's worries about Conservancy's enforcement efforts were based on rumors spread by a few people and those rumors weren't accurate.
http://lwn.net/Articles/483016/ [lwn.net]

They wanted an alternative not because it was superior but because it would allow for a legal dodge to avoid licensing compliance.

Do you object to bionic as well? In any case here's the reasoning [elinux.org] behind the project, no real problem with that.

Re:Must be involved.... (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 years ago | (#40156483)

It's not hypocrisy. It's clear and consistent.

"We want what's good for us. Period. That means we keep our copyright and yours too."

Very straightforward. You have to commend them for being so forthright and unsubtle about their evil. No "Don't be evil" propaganda. No glossy friendly shiny fruit-themed attractive traps. With them, it's pretty clear that they're the bully, and they want your lunch money.

Re:Must be involved.... (1)

arose (644256) | about 2 years ago | (#40161457)

Shouldn't have violated the damn copyright than. Facing the copyright infringement lawsuit is always an option if you have a problem with the "sway".

Re:Must be involved.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40156273)

The typical victim of the SFLC settles out of court, paying the SFLC's fees for consultancy services on how to go back into compliance. It's either that or an even more expensive trial.

Hmm.. this business model is weirdly familiar. Does it remind you of anything [wikipedia.org] ? No [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Must be involved.... (1)

landley (9786) | about 2 years ago | (#40176021)

> > I think in the end he disowned Busybox and started a new project to do the same thing, under the BSD licence.
>
> No, that was Tim Bird of Sony, who wanted to create "toybox" as a means of replacing Busybox so that GPL
> violations of the kernel harder to detect.

No, toybox is by me, Rob Landley, ex-maintainer of busybox, and the guy who hooked busybox up with the SFLC to start legal enforcement of the GPL in the first place. Tim has nothing to do with it (other than writing the first pass of the "id" command implementation, which has since been replaced).

But thanks for trying to FUD an open source project. We people who actually write code really appreciate the efforts of those like yourself who don't to spread Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt about our efforts.

Rob

Re:Must be involved.... (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about 2 years ago | (#40155305)

I think he's talking about Rob Landley who had worked on Busybox before creating Toybox, which was apparently a replacement for Android's Apache-licensed busybox clone, rather than for busybox itself until recently.

I recall reading that he was upset because all of the lawsuits over busybox didn't add anything to busybox itself... few people using busybox had needed to modify it, so getting the source code released didn't really benefit anyone beyond enforcing GPL compliance.

Re:Must be involved.... (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#40155443)

As if enforcing GPL compliance (you know, respect for the license terms applied to a software product) was a bad thing. Oh right, it's the GPL. That makes violating it a worthy cause to be supported and championed.

Re:Must be involved.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40156119)

Landley is the guy. And even Mr Perens wasn't happy with the SFLC [h-online.com] .

But then, why would he be? This is a company of lawyers that doesn't do anything but copyright shakedowns.

If we apply the usual anti-MPAA/pro-piracy/anti-patent/information-wants-to-be-free reasoning, usually featured on this site, we see that the SFLC is a bad thing, because it closely resembles everything we hate. Doesn't it? Perhaps evil tactics are fine if they are used in the service of good?

Re:Must be involved.... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40156853)

And even Mr Perens wasn't happy with the SFLC.

But then, why would he be? This is a company of lawyers that doesn't do anything but copyright shakedowns.

Because Bruce Perens makes his living by talking about and participating in copyright shakedowns?

Re:Must be involved.... (1)

arose (644256) | about 2 years ago | (#40161477)

You'd think that also means that there is no reason not to release the damn source code.

Re:Must be involved.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40156989)

Hilarious Slashdot thread.

Its better to use free software and pay for lawyers, because you get the source code.

Opportunity cost? Anything to justify this statement?

You _should_ have a lawyer review non-free software licences also, so its not an extra cost.

Indemnity? Not a perpetual task?

Even buying the software puts you at risk of a BSA raid. All it takes is for one employee to install the software on a machine not covered by the license, and you're at risk of serious fines.

LOL, BSA "raid". LOLx2 @ the idea that a company would forego its revenue stream because some dude snuck a Photoshop CD home.

Often, violators are contacted and immediately comply.

No. Usually they are added to some freetarded "Hall of Shame" and make the front page of Slashdot before anyone contacts them. Then, when contact is made and they ask what the fuck is going on, they are told to figure it out themselves and that the hall is perpetual and removal is impossible so fuck you.

Apple managed to avoid it when they built OsX on top of Unix

What a moronic statement. So UNIX == GPL now?

and when they built Safari on top of Konqueror.

Hahahaha, yeah right. Unless you call two years of bitching from freetards as "avoiding". This was one of the most ridiculous GPL fiascos of all because Apple followed the license to the letter and STILL got called out for "violating the spirit of the community agreement".

The creator of Busybox was Bruce Perens who went on to be the 2nd head of Debian where he authored the Free Software Guidelines.

This has to be a troll. Both Debian and Busybox maintainers have said that Perens basically did nothing beyond some basic framework stuff in 1995 that was probably replaced in its entirety before 2000.

The best is the dude that's simultaneously defending the SFLC while railing against Sony and the RIAA/MPAA. What the fuck is wrong with these people? This is willful cognitive dissonance.

Re:Must be involved.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40158795)

SFLC has themselve never recive any no monetary rewards from sucessfull judgements (all money in each and every case has gone to the project), and the work itself is pro-bono, that is, they do not demand any money for the work they do.

In one particular case, one softeware project got rewarded with a quite large set of money (>1m). The software project decided to give it all to EFF.

Re:Must be involved.... (0)

InvisibleClergy (1430277) | about 2 years ago | (#40154979)

I realize this is way off-topic, but for the longest time I had no idea what "IANAL" meant. I couldn't help but interpret it as a pornographic version of the seminal work by Isaac Asimov.

For those who may not know, "IANAL" means "I am not a lawyer". Don't make the "I, Anal" mistake I did.

TMYK

Re:Must be involved.... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#40155513)

You could have just googled; that's what I do when I run across an unfamiliar acronym. And did you notice the ironic play on words, I Anal? Needing to point out that one is not a lawyer seems pretty anal to me.

Is SFLC good about... (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#40154551)

... not expecting GPL3 compliance from software that's only GPL2?

GPL2 vs GPL3 (2)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 2 years ago | (#40154933)

More FUD! I really do not see what Linus's problem is with the GPL3. What it does is add formal protection for 2 sneaky ways to violate the spirit of the GPL that GPL2 lacks. It is also *more* permissive, allowing more ways to comply with the requirements.

The first is "Tivoization". Vendors should not hardwire checks to prevent "unapproved" software from being run. Makes no difference whether these checks are done in the software or hardware. Such a check really is software no matter that it's been hardwired in. With a scheme like that in place, you can't fix so much as a typo let alone a simple bug. Linus is apparently okay with Tivoization.

More serious is the other problem, patents. Microsoft and Novell came up with a way to restrict access to software via patent law rather than copyright law. They'd add some code to free software, then once it had gained some adoption, they'd bring to the surface submarine patents they have on that software, for rent seeking and anti-competitive purposes. GPL3 prevents that by forbidding anyone who contributes code from seeking patent royalties for their contributions. Lest you think that's not a problem, consider SCO.

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (3, Informative)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40155167)

More FUD! I really do not see what Linus's problem is with the GPL3. What it does is ...

... require eighty bazillion historical authors (Linus didn't write every line of code) unfortunately including, I believe, the estate of some dead people and the current IP owners of some dead companies, to relicense their past work as GPL3 or have someone do a psuedo-cleanroom reimplementation of the GPL2 code.

Yes, the GPL3 is better than the GPL2, a little. But linux wasn't written by one dude last week.

Linus could, if he so desired, declare he will no longer accept GPL2 patches or code, and in probably just 10 or 20 years there would be no remaining GPL2 code in the kernel, probably. Aside from whatever personal views Linus has about the GPL3, re licensing linux just isn't going to happen, at least not any time soon.

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#40156413)

Linus could, if he so desired, declare he will no longer accept GPL2 patches or code, and in probably just 10 or 20 years there would be no remaining GPL2 code in the kernel, probably. Aside from whatever personal views Linus has about the GPL3, re licensing linux just isn't going to happen, at least not any time soon.

You do know it's against the GPL to combine GPLv2-only with GPLv3-only code, right? Even the FSF says so [gnu.org] . You can combine GPLv2+ with GPLv3 no issues, but using v3 code will violate the license of v2-only code!

The only thing that's come out of the GPLv3 license is that companies are now going through their software licensing policies, demanding the same scrutiny over open-source code as they are over commercially-licensed code. Including stuff like license reviews and software approvals. I've seen them mandate that if you wish to use software outside of a pre-approved list, it has to be reviewed by Legal - and it applies whether the software is for internal use only, or to be incorporated into the end product. Heck, even an edict came down along the lines of "No GPLv3 software will be approved - don't even try".

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (2)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 2 years ago | (#40160795)

Heck, even an edict came down along the lines of "No GPLv3 software will be approved - don't even try".

That's great for me to hear. You don't sound like the kind of company that has much of value to contribute. We just got permission to contribute back code to the external GPLv3 project we use. This is going to be another story like 10 years ago. Back then lots of companies were banning GPL, or even all open source software. The ones that could use (for example Apple, Google, IBM and Facebook) it had an edge which was crucial in many of them pulling ahead.

If what you say is true, GPLv3 becomes the differentiator license; the one which lets go ahead companies like mine cooperate with other similar companies who provide real benefit, whilst keeping the code away from another group who become the losers.

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40155181)

I really do not see what Linus's problem is with the GPL3...Linus is apparently okay with Tivoization.

Well, there you go.

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | about 2 years ago | (#40155215)

So are you going to rewrite the countless amount of code from the authors who can't be contacted or who don't want their code relicensed?

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40155243)

He probably wants Tivo and other vendors to use the Linux kernel over a BSD kernel. If you GPLv3 downgrade the Linux kernel, it will make it unsuitable for use in commercial products like the Tivo. Do you really think that companies will magically overnight want to comply with the GPLv3 terms?

If the Linux kernel gets downgraded, we will see one of several things:

1. Adoption of another OS kernel under a more permissive license.
2. A fork of the Linux kernel
3. Vendors using old versions of the kernel as long as they can to avoid the new terms

Linus like any OS guy wants people to use his stuff. That is the most important thing. If Linux loses the embedded people that's a lot of money no longer invested in kernel improvements. Linux is developed by people with day jobs at these companies. That can easily shift to FreeBSD or another system.

The Tivo clause is the problem with the GPLv3. In many other ways, it is an improvement. It's not realistic to capitalism.

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40155633)

If you GPLv3 downgrade the Linux kernel, it will make it unsuitable for use in commercial products like the Tivo.

Why? No one has ever explained to me just why a company wants to Tivoize Linux?
How does keeping me from changing the code on a device I've purchased help the manufacturer's bottom line?

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#40156139)

For something like a set top box, the manufacturer is fully justified in locking it so that customers cannot accidentally or deliberately alter the contents, and thereby affect the T&C of the EULA. To answer most of the questions above, had Linux been GPL3, TiVo and any other vendors making similar boxes would have had to look at using something else - maybe QNX, Minix, NetBSD or whatever other embedded OS there might be out there.

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (2)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 2 years ago | (#40160821)

For something like a set top box, the manufacturer is fully justified in locking it so that customers cannot .....

How the hell have we got to this distopian nightmare. These are the people who bought something from you. They own the set top box. They are in the privacy of their own homes. What they do with their own stuff in their own homes is none of your bloody business and you are certainly not "fully justified" in setting up systems to interfere with it. People are fully justified in taking serious action against people who do that kind of stuff.

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#40163233)

As zzatz pointed out below, content owners want control over delivery, and are okay with a recording being watched, but not distributed to other media. Locking down the system is a part of how it is achieved. If TiVo didn't control that part, they can say goodbye to the chances of any content being delivered to those boxes via the receiver, amd the whole purpose of making those boxes in the first place is defeated. Unlike the FSF, TiVo is in a business, not a cult.

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40164151)

Trying hard to restrict myself from makeing a Godwin comment. Basically, do you really accept any business decision no matter the harm to other beings, on the basis that "its business, not a cult"? What about electricity regulations? Medical regulations, food regulations? Should they all be scrapped? Is message here, "screw the customer, THIS IS BUSINESS!"?

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#40164187)

Make whatever Godwin comments you like, but are you seriously suggesting that an FSF license is the legal equivalent of Government regulations? Those exist to put a floor on what is or isn't allowed in business, but here, there is no screwing the customer involved. The customer is told upfront that this box allows them to record and view something on their TV as many times as they like, but they can't move it to, say their computers to upload on YouTube. A lot of it is at the behest of content providers, without whose participation this whole deal would be a non-starter. Don't like those terms? Heck, don't buy it!

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 2 years ago | (#40164095)

People are fully justified in taking serious action against people who do that kind of stuff.

Like not buying their products, problem solved.

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (1)

zzatz (965857) | about 2 years ago | (#40156431)

Why? No one has ever explained to me just why a company wants to Tivoize Linux?
How does keeping me from changing the code on a device I've purchased help the manufacturer's bottom line?

You need to look at entire ecosystem, not just the box maker. People don't buy hardware because they admire the hardware, they buy hardware to accomplish a task. For Tivo and others, that task is delivering content. The content providers require control over delivery; they want you to be able to watch a recording but not transfer the recording. That requires locked-down systems. Which sells more? Open systems that cannot record HBO, or locked systems that can?

I think DRM is a mistake, but I don't rule Hollywood. As long as Hollywood wants DRM, the ability to play Hollywood content is more important than GPLv3 licensing.

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (2)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#40156695)

As long as Hollywood wants DRM, the ability to play Hollywood content is more important than GPLv3 licensing.

Spoken like a true apologist. The correct answer is fuck Hollywood and their customer-hating ways.

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 2 years ago | (#40157053)

So, don't buy their products then. That's the best way to make companies go out of business.

I assume you have the same kind of thoughts about cars, airplanes and microwave ovens.

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#40160499)

I try to avoid it as much as possible. It's quite easy if you try.

I assume you have the same kind of thoughts about cars, airplanes and microwave ovens.

Care to go into detail, or are you trying to draw stupid parallels and hoping no one notices?

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 2 years ago | (#40160875)

I assume you have the same kind of thoughts about cars, airplanes and microwave ovens.

Care to go into detail, or are you trying to draw stupid parallels and hoping no one notices?

No, it was a serious question. Sorry if it didn't come out that way.

What I meant was. We have all kinds of devices around us that uses micro computers. Sometimes there are reasons why the companies making those kind of things don't want people to mess them up by changing the code running on them. In the case of Hollywood the reason (at least for now) is DRM, like it or not. Other kinds of businesses may have other reasons. If the Tivo's of this world should make it possible to alter the programs running on the device and not just share source code, should this also be true for all other types of hardware?

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (1)

zzatz (965857) | about 2 years ago | (#40163823)

I agree that the correct answer is "Fuck Hollywood". I don't have a Tivo, I built a MythTV box that records free over-the-air broadcasts. I haven't been to a movie or had cable for years. Hollywood doesn't get my money.

So my question for you is, why do you shoot the messenger? You asked a question, I answered it, and you call me an apologist. Fuck you. I told you that I think DRM is a mistake. Don't you understand the difference between an explanation and a justification? I find that I can make better arguments against positions that I disagree with if I make the effort to understand those positions. For example, if you want to end the War on Drugs, you need to understand why others support it. It's not going to end because you oppose it, it will end when you remove the reasons others support it.

Understanding why people do bad things is important. It is not an endorsement of bad things.

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 2 years ago | (#40162219)

No one has ever explained to me just why a company wants to Tivoize Linux?

The explanation B2B free software vendors gave to the FSF was apparently good enough that the FSF restricted the anti-tivoization provisions of the GPLv3, in its final form, to what amounts to consumer products.

B2C vendors weren't as concerned, as long as the license explicitly allowed two things (that it does): termination of any support responsibility and disconnection of modified-software devices from networks when the network owner (even when it is also the device supplier) doesn't like what the modified software does.

How does keeping me from changing the code on a device I've purchased help the manufacturer's bottom line?

Some parents might prefer products that they would use in their homes to not have published mechanisms available that would be accessible to parties other than the original vendor for replacing the manufacturer-supplied software, but might still prefer that the vendor software updates could be applied. The GPLv3 either requires the provision of software installation information for consumer products, or that the product not be updateable at all, which means that, to the extent that this preference exists, it can only be met with non-GPLv3 software.

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#40155409)

I really do not see what Linus's problem is with the GPL3.

Linus is primarily a developer, he wants to see the improvements Tivo has done, study them and if they're good enough roll them back into his own project. The GPLv2 fulfills his requirements and then he primarily wants it used - if it's used in locked down tivos, cell phones, tablets, set top boxes, embedded boxes or other appliances that's not a big concern for him, but if all those backed out plus a wave of fud it'd hurt his project. The FSFs agenda of user-modifiable software is not his agenda, he just wants the source code. Apparently that's the common opinion among the core Linux developers, they were pretty unanimously behind Linus on this one.

Tivoization (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 2 years ago | (#40156631)

I really do not see what Linus's problem is with the GPL3.

I don't know about Linus, but my problems include (but are not limited to) the fact that it restricts available software functionality and imposes restrictions on the use (without distribution) of software, contrary to the whole point of free software, and that it creates difference classes of users, with different rules that apply when targetting them.

The first is "Tivoization". Vendors should not hardwire checks to prevent "unapproved" software from being run.

I disagree, and so (in a different way) does the FSF, apparently. I disagree in that I think this rule is entirely unnecessary, the FSF appears to think that vendors of business hardware should may legitimately need to do this, but vendors of consumer hardware should not. Personally, I think that software freedom is enough, and hardware restrictions of the type imposed by the GPLv3 anti-tivoization provisions on "consumer" devices are not only unnecessary, but actually antithetical to software freedom. This is particularly the case because a mechanism for addressing the same concerns that is consistent with software freedom is suggested by the text of the GPL -- just require that hardware with which GPL software is distributed have specifications that are available under a particular set of license terms, and which is available on the terms as the software source.

Such a check really is software no matter that it's been hardwired in.

So? Since when does software freedom involve limiting the available functionality of software?

With a scheme like that in place, you can't fix so much as a typo let alone a simple bug.

Sure you can. You may not be able to deploy it on the original hardware, but that's a different issue.

Linus is apparently okay with Tivoization.

So is the FSF, so long as the user who wants the freedom to select a device with that feature is part of the privileged class of "business" users. Consumers who might prefer tamper-proof devices, and the manufacturers who want to sell to them, are locked out by the GPLv2.

Business vs consumer users (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#40158443)

I've never read about the FSF making any distinctions b/w business and consumer users. All they care about is the liberation of software. Do you have any links on either fsf.org or gnu.org where such a distinction is spelt out?

Read the GPLv3 (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 2 years ago | (#40162083)

I've never read about the FSF making any distinctions b/w business and consumer users

See the GPLv3, Sec. 6. Note, there, that the "anti-tivoization" provisions only apply to what the GPLv3 calls "User Products", which are, essentially, what would in normal parlance be consumer products as opposed to business products.

All they care about is the liberation of software.

That's what the advertisements say, but that's not what the license says. Which is the problem with the license.

Re:Tivoization (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 years ago | (#40160139)

Tivo goes and uses Linux, and sticks the GPL in the back of their end user manual. Linux and GPL are now noticed by basic everyday consumers. Many developers and technical oriented people see this and think "wow, it's great that free software is getting wide exposure, hurrah for Tivo. But many political activist oriented people are thinking "oh no, commercial use is bad, it's not homebrew hardware, must create a new license to prevent this or else we'll be seen as sell outs." The conflict between GPL as pragmatics and GPL as religion.

Re:Tivoization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40161541)

Then the same people notice that software freedom doesn't do what it claims. "GPL? Isn't that the weird thing that claims to let you improve your software but then bricks your TiVo when you try'?

Re:Tivoization (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#40163323)

Reading section 6 of GPL3, there is this section in it [gnu.org]

If you convey an object code work under this section in, or with, or specifically for use in, a User Product, and the conveying occurs as part of a transaction in which the right of possession and use of the User Product is transferred to the recipient in perpetuity or for a fixed term (regardless of how the transaction is characterized), the Corresponding Source conveyed under this section must be accompanied by the Installation Information. But this requirement does not apply if neither you nor any third party retains the ability to install modified object code on the User Product (for example, the work has been installed in ROM).

In other words, GPL3 ain't as pure as it proclaims either. If it can waive the condition where it is useless - such as use in a ROM - why can't they include a locked down flash device in it? After all, functionally, a ROM, a PROM, an EPROM, an MTP and a lockable flash (like ones coming out of Spansion and Micron) are the same. A PROM allows programming in assembly, an EPROM allows it to be erased, an MTP does the same as an EPROM except that it is electrically altered out of system, and a flash, after programming, can have any or all portions of the device locked for protection. But from an end user standpoint, they'll all look the same - like ROM.

Some vendors may move to masked ROM for the cost savings, others may decide that they don't have the volume to justify it, so they keep it in flash, but lock it down. For the license to make a distinction b/w the 2 cases is ridiculous. The way TiVo does it could have been treated exactly like it puts it on ROM, since that exception is there anyway. Or else, GPL3 should have decreed that 'Thou shalt not use ROMs', making the license even more worthless.

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (2)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 2 years ago | (#40156845)

The first is "Tivoization". Vendors should not hardwire checks to prevent "unapproved" software from being run. Makes no difference whether these checks are done in the software or hardware. Such a check really is software no matter that it's been hardwired in. With a scheme like that in place, you can't fix so much as a typo let alone a simple bug. Linus is apparently okay with Tivoization.

I believe hardware falls outside the purview of the GPL. All I'm concerned with is that the source code remains available for someone else's benefit and that people can't take my GPL code, make improvements, and distribute those improvements without the source code. This is important so that everyone including myself continue to have access to the source code and can benefit from all the changes. As far as I'm concerned the GPL is to enforce source code sharing and insuring that the code remains available. If someone wants to perform some integrity checks before running code on their hardware then fine I won't purchase that hardware.

However I do draw the line at firmware required to perform the improved functions. The GPL should prevent the need for a certain brand hardware to perform a function. The inability to take advantage of the source modifications due to system calls being implemented in proprietary firmware solely to circumvent the spirit and terms of the GPL should be prohibited and viewed as a GPL violation.

More serious is the other problem, patents. Microsoft and Novell came up with a way to restrict access to software via patent law rather than copyright law. They'd add some code to free software, then once it had gained some adoption, they'd bring to the surface submarine patents they have on that software, for rent seeking and anti-competitive purposes. GPL3 prevents that by forbidding anyone who contributes code from seeking patent royalties for their contributions. Lest you think that's not a problem, consider SCO.

I agree.

Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 2 years ago | (#40164083)

The first is "Tivoization". Vendors should not hardwire checks to prevent "unapproved" software from being run. Makes no difference whether these checks are done in the software or hardware. Such a check really is software no matter that it's been hardwired in. With a scheme like that in place, you can't fix so much as a typo let alone a simple bug. Linus is apparently okay with Tivoization.

Of course, Linus cares about the Linux kernel code, not imposing any kinds of restrictions on the other software that you run or imposing any kind of restrictions on the hardware that you run the software on, just the Linux kernel code. He outlines it pretty clearly here [informationweek.com] , a choice quote: "-- I'm against "you cannot do xyz with the code.""

Vendors should not hardwire checks to prevent "unapproved" software from being run.

Actually you should not buy vendor-locked hardware. Obviously alternatives exist and in the case of TiVo you even have the FOSS software modifications they made so you can see what they do. But for example if you want a tablet to run whatever software you want you don't go and buy an iPad, you choose from one of the many open alternatives, you don't try and force everyone to do things your way. No-one is forcing you to buy a closed device, that's your choice.

Oggcast (2)

Dot.Com.CEO (624226) | about 2 years ago | (#40154641)

Oggcast is a damn stupid word. Please kill it with fire.

Re:Oggcast (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 2 years ago | (#40154743)

That's what I thought when 'podcast' happened.

Nobody killed it :(

Re:Oggcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40154781)

Then you should have done it yourself. Waiting for other people to do things will lead you nowhere.

Re:Oggcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40154923)

That's what I thought when 'podcast' happened.

No argument there, but at least "podcast" rhymes with "broadcast." So it's stupid but catchy, which is why it survived in spite of itself.

Re:Oggcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40155033)

Keep telling yourself that.

Re:Oggcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40155429)

That's why we use rss with enclosures which is what all those terms are trying to describe

Re:Oggcast (1)

DOXEBf (2651219) | about 2 years ago | (#40155139)

At least "oggcast" is a technically accurate neologism. There is nothing "pod" about an Ogg Vorbis broadcast that I play on my Sansa Clip.

Re:Oggcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40175811)

I don't even know what it means!

"FREEDOM"? (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 2 years ago | (#40154685)

There is no freedom in class society, under capitalism for example. Only when we have COMMUNISM will we be truly free. If the FSF does not declare itself for the DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT then they are hypocrites like Ralph or Jenny.

Communism is a political system - not economic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40154825)

There is no freedom in class society, under capitalism for example. Only when we have COMMUNISM will we be truly free. If the FSF does not declare itself for the DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT then they are hypocrites like Ralph or Jenny.

Unless you're THE GUY (like Castro) or part of THE GUY's power elite, you're fucked under communism. There has never been a successful Communist government EVER; well we'll see about China. But rest assured, if or when China's economy hiccups, we'll be seeing some turmoil over there.

Secondly, Communism is a political system. Capitalism is an economic system.

Comparing the two is idiotic but that's the PROPAGANDA we American's have heard for decades, so I really can't blame you.

Re:Communism is a political system - not economic (1)

mitzampt (2002856) | about 2 years ago | (#40155593)

Ok, so how should we refer to the economic system of countries under 'traditional' communist governments? What makes such system (un)successful? Can you really compare the social response of people to the failure of one economical system based on political context? If you can tell apples are sweeter than lemons based on their color, tell me why comparing two types of licences that promote freedom with one of them requiring equality of freedom as analogy to the communist ideology in economic systems versus capitalist approach is such a nuisance to you, just enough to miss the joke?
We got it, your system is better 'cause the other one lost.. Mind you, I'm not holding my breath over your prediction about China. It was on the map longer than any of us.

Recursive FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40154695)

And the trouble is that there is soo much FUD, that it is causing the same effect as if the FUD were true - a self fulfilling prophecy - thereby making the FUD in fact true.

Yes, it's a situation of recursive FUD about GNU licenses; which is ironic considering that 'GNU' is recursive.

But do they want to enforce this? (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 2 years ago | (#40154767)

The question is whether most Linux developers really care that much. Linux is big and strong enough, that a modified version in a specific product is unlikely to have anything important Linux really needs. Most likely it will be modifications to work with some highly specific hardware.

The purchasers of the hardware might be interested in the source code if they want to hack it, but aside from that, it probably doesn't make a lot of difference to developers, who just want to hack code.

Re:But do they want to enforce this? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40154877)

Yes, but that's a sane, pragmatic view that doesn't pay the SFLC's lawyers.

Re:But do they want to enforce this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40155155)

If it's so sane and pragmatic then why doesn't the Business Software Alliance take that view? I mean, why bother enforcing MS', Adobe's, et al copyrights? Those companies are making billions? What happened to the sanity and pragmatism there? Or does that only apply when you want something for nothing from the little guys?

Re:But do they want to enforce this? (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#40155197)

Linux is big and strong enough, that a modified version in a specific product is unlikely to have anything important Linux really needs.

Of course it could. Lots if not most things inside the Linux kernel itself come from a small group or even an individual. With other software products that are part of the Linux eco system this is even more common. For example twenty years ago I was using Scientific Word for Windows which allowed me to do calculations (like Maple) and TeX. That's far more advanced than something like LyX which is still very popular.

This is a good thing (4, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | about 2 years ago | (#40154869)

IMO this is a good thing, especially if it means greater pressure on the likes of HTC and other Android vendors to be more proactive and release the kernel source for their devices when the devices and binaries are released instead of taking months and repeated prodding by the copyright holder to get code out there.

Re:This is a good thing (0, Flamebait)

kiwimate (458274) | about 2 years ago | (#40154945)

I get it.

Copyright is good if it means I get source code or something else I want for free.

Copyright is bad if it means I can't get music that I want for free but instead have to pay for it.

Re:This is a good thing (2)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#40155223)

How many people who support the GPL enforcement support pirating commercial music? Most GPL advocates would like to see weaker copyright laws knowing this would equally to GPL software and music.

Re:This is a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40164177)

How many people who support the "civil liberty" enforcement support "dictators suppressing the population"? Most "civil liberty" advocates would like to see weaker "dictators and oppression" knowing this would NOT effect "civil liberty laws".

fixed the confusion...

Re:This is a good thing (2)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | about 2 years ago | (#40155261)

I get it.

Copyright is good if it means I get source code or something else I want for free.

Copyright is bad if it means I can't get music that I want for free but instead have to pay for it.

The simple-minded "Average Joe" speaks up. *sigh*

Slashdotters have a problem with the ENFORCEMENT of copyright by Big Content; We don't have a problem with copyright in general. They use the legal system as a weapon against the citizens it is supposed to protect. They routinely assert rights over their content that they don't have (or are covered by fair use), and they make broad, unsubstantiated claims that are designed to cloud the judgement of the public and foolish lawmakers. One of those claims is usually that anyone who is against their systematic deconstruction of individual rights and liberties is pro-piracy. You seem to have bought that one hook-line-and-sinker.

-d

Re:This is a good thing (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 2 years ago | (#40160419)

We don't have a problem with copyright in general.

Don't pretend to speak for me.

Re:This is a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40156381)

Hey, do you have any fucking clue why the GPL and friends are called copyleft licenses? Idiot troll.
Copyleft 2012, all wrongs reversed

Pure copyleft licence (0)

daniel.benoy (1810984) | about 2 years ago | (#40155401)

Does anyone know if there's a licence out there which forbids using any part of the code in proprietary software, but which does not force derivative code to release its source?

I oppose copyrights, so I can't comfortably use a permissive license which allows proprietary developers to take my code and put it in theirs, but I also don't want to use a GPL style license which forces special conditions on people like releasing their source.

Re:Pure copyleft licence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40155783)

If it's a good idea, write one up and start using it. As an author you have authority (note how similar those two words are) to state the acceptable terms of use of your craft. If people like your model, it may be adopted by a group with the funds hire professional jerks to sue people into poverty on your behalf.

The only advantage of using an existing copy control license is the promise that some organization exists that shall throw lawyers at anyone who might be violating the terms.

Re:Pure copyleft licence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40155803)

I think that you need to define your terms much more carefully.

What happens if some non-proprietary project includes your code, and then that code is used in some proprietary software? Are you not forcing special conditions on the first project in that they must forbid the proprietary software from using the part of "their" code which you wrote?

Also, if your code can't be used in proprietary software, but can be used in software which doesn't release its source, what difference are you perceiving there? I'll hazard a guess (I may be wrong) that by "proprietary" you mean "for financial gain" perhaps?

Re:Pure copyleft licence (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#40156549)

Does anyone know if there's a licence out there which forbids using any part of the code in proprietary software, but which does not force derivative code to release its source?

The question doesn't make sense. Proprietary software is the opposite of Free Software (or Open Source, depending on your leanings). It is software where the person who receives the binary also receives the code, along with modification and redistribution rights. You can not require derived works not to be proprietary without also requiring their code to be released - it's like requiring them to include air, but not requiring them to include oxygen.

The GPL doesn't require you to release the code to anyone that you don't give binaries to, so it doesn't require public release. More importantly, it doesn't require giving back, only giving forward, which is why the 'I use the GPL so that companies that use my code have to give me their improvements' argument irritates me so much: 90% of all software is developed for in-hosue use and never distributed, so anyone using and improving the code for in-hosue use has no legal obligation to share it under the GPL.

Re:Pure copyleft licence (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#40160105)

I think by proprietary he meant commercial. I suggested http://pigale.sourceforge.net/license_Qt.html [sourceforge.net]

Re:Pure copyleft licence (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#40161421)

A license that does not allow commercial use would not meet the definition of free or open source software (Freedom 0: the freedom to use the software for any purpose), so his restriction would effectively make it impossible for anyone to incorporate his code into a larger project, open or proprietary.

Re:Pure copyleft licence (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#40161957)

That's not true.

1) A person could distribute a GPLed application themselves, redistribution would then be questionable but not neccesarily illegal. (This was precisely the situation with KDE when QT was under that license)

2) A person could distribute a BSD/MIT licensed code which depended on that library. They would just want to make sure the recipient understood that he's getting a conjoined work under 2 different licenses.

3) A person could distribute a closed source application using the QT style license as long as they didn't sell it.

Re:Pure copyleft licence (1)

daniel.benoy (1810984) | about 2 years ago | (#40185591)

I think by proprietary he meant commercial. I suggested http://pigale.sourceforge.net/license_Qt.html [sourceforge.net]

No I meant proprietary. I don't want my code to be in proprietary software. It can be in commercial software and that doesn't bother me.

But it can be closed source copyright free software and that's not a problem for me.

I can't find any license that suits this :(

Re:Pure copyleft licence (1)

arose (644256) | about 2 years ago | (#40161589)

You don't want a license which forces special conditions but not one that forces special conditions? You need to ponder this a bit more, particularly since even the BSD won't cut it, it forces special conditions like requiring code added to files to be under the same license when the source is distributed and attribution.

Re:Pure copyleft licence (1)

daniel.benoy (1810984) | about 2 years ago | (#40185647)

I want copyleft (Licence which, unlike public domain, doesn't allow you to include the code in proprietary, copyright restricted, software)
I don't want to require open source.

Good news! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40160723)

Inconsistent is the developer who first licenses his software under a copyleft license and then does not demand compliance to the terms involved.

Too many people think copyleft is public domain. Or at least pretend to do so. Human greed knows no boundaries...

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