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Popular Android ROM Accused of GPL Violation

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the small-details-like-compliance dept.

Android 197

An anonymous reader writes "A petition has recently been started to get the developer of the popular Android 'MIUI' ROM, Chinese based Xiaomi, to comply with the GPL. While Android itself is licensed under the Apache 2.0 License, and therefore does not actually require derivative works to be FOSS, the Linux kernel itself is GPL-licensed and needs to remain open. Unless Xiaomi intends to develop a replacement for the Linux kernel, they need to make their modifications public."

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they need to make the entire kernel available (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42050153)

not just their modifications, but all the gpl sources. they only need to make this available to their own customers.

Re:they need to make the entire kernel available (3, Informative)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 2 years ago | (#42050265)

It depends on how they distribute the sources. If they accompany the binaries with the source code, then you're right. However, if they offer the sources for download or by any method not accompanying the binaries, they have to offer the source to any third party regardless of whether they're a customer or not. That's because the Linux kernel is under the GPL v2 [gnu.org] with no option to use a later version, and section 3b of the GPL v2 specifically says the offer has to be good for any third party. 3a covers distribution only when the source accompanies the binaries, and 3c isn't available because it's only allowed for non-commercial distribution which this isn't.

Curious ... (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#42051995)

I'm curious as to how many of you are using the XiaoMi phones

As far as I know the XiaoMi only sells their phones in PRC - and even inside PRC their phones are in short supply

Not saying that they shouldn't release their MIUI code .... but if one does not have XiaoMi phones, MIUI won't do any good at all

They do indeed, and the blurb is simply wrong. (2)

Arker (91948) | about 2 years ago | (#42050901)

Unless Xiaomi intends to develop a replacement for the Linux kernel, they need to make their modifications public."

No. It doesnt matter what they intend. They still have to make their modifications public regardless.

Re:They do indeed, and the blurb is simply wrong. (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#42051047)

No. It doesnt matter what they intend. They still have to make their modifications public regardless.

Not if they write a new kernel and don't use any source from the previous one. Of course, they would still have to release source for the kernels they have already distributed.

Re:They do indeed, and the blurb is simply wrong. (2)

Arker (91948) | about 2 years ago | (#42051109)

It doesnt matter what they intend. They have shipped modified kernels and they must release those, period.

Of course, they would still have to release source for the kernels they have already distributed.

Exactly what I was saying. The ones they have shipped, the ones they are now shipping, and the ones they will ship in the future. If they 'intend' to do something different later, that changes nothing and matters not at all.

Re:They do indeed, and the blurb is simply wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42052713)

Or else what? If nobody who actually has the authority to sue them does so, then they don't have to do anything at all. Historically, many cases of GPL violation have been resolved simply by stopping distribution, with no subsequent release of any modifications.

Re:They do indeed, and the blurb is simply wrong. (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 2 years ago | (#42053365)

Usually, when a company (or a person) violates the GPL they are asked to either release the source code or remove all GPL code from their product. So for instance if they decided to drop their proprietary implementation tomorrow in favor of something else nobody would follow up on the GPL violation.

Granted, it's not to the letter what is in the GPL, but that's how these things usually pan out.

Re:They do indeed, and the blurb is simply wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42053401)

So go get them:

https://github.com/MiCode

Re:they need to make the entire kernel available (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#42052569)

Then the simple question becomes; did they make modifications to the kernel?

that's good but I want to know: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42050163)

does it support /etc/hosts file?

Re:that's good but I want to know: (3, Funny)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#42051775)

oh no you mentioned hosts

Re:that's good but I want to know: (2)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about 2 years ago | (#42052313)

Crutchy, the brave apk-baiter...

Greetings! (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 2 years ago | (#42050199)

I would like to greet you, Slashdort, in the name of popcorne! We love the great buttery taste of popped corne!

they are just bits (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42050253)

nothing was stolen, only copied

no big deal

Re:they are just bits (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42050321)

Ah, yes. The GPL. The only copyright most readers here defend.

Re:they are just bits (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42051675)

That's because the GPL is essentially the antithesis of copyright, hence that whole "copyleft" thing. It's essentially a way to fight copyright within the confines of copyright itself.

Re:they are just bits (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42053233)

The GPL may be an unconventional usage but it requires copyright. If there was no copyright (i.e., all works were public domain), then companies would be able to take code, modify it, and obfuscate it with impunity. We would see the behavior evidenced in the article, in short. In short, RMS would have encountered that same software issue and been in the same boat that caused him to start the FSF (the key difference would have been that it was legal to disassemble the binary).

That is, free (as in libre) software requires legal protection to exist.

Re:they are just bits (2)

AftanGustur (7715) | about 2 years ago | (#42051809)

Ah, yes. The GPL. The only copyright most readers here defend.

It may become as a surprise to you but most people are only interested in what they see as "their Social Group", if you feel like your life is/was a struggle then you will mostly be interested in people who struggle. If you are a billionaire you will most likely only be interested in billionaire's problems.

On the other side of the coin are people who don't believe the GPL is even a valid license.

Everyone will voluntarily defend their believes.

Welcome to slashdot!

Re:they are just bits (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42051937)

There are a few ultra ritch people, even less of those who don't believe in GPL.(some people don't believe in evolution) It doesn't make them right. GPL is fair license. It's worth defending it, so if many people here say it's good - they define meaning of word good, since they are the majority. And no, copyright breach is not theft, cause we said so.

Re:they are just bits (1)

bug1 (96678) | about 2 years ago | (#42053641)

people are only interested in what they see as "their Social Group"

People are part only part of social groups that they see as interesting.

Chicken and egg.

Re:they are just bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42052185)

It is not copyright. It is a license.

Re:they are just bits (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42052653)

>It is not copyright. It is a license.

Yeah, see that is why /. is so confused. Let me explain, so you understand why the stronger copyright is, the stronger the GPL is. The right that the license is granting is the copyright. Without the copyright, you don't need the license and can use it for whatever you want.

Source code is protected partially by copyright. The copyright holder has the right to prevent others from using/copying/distributing/performing/etc their work under copyright law. Thus, without copyright, if your source code leaks, there is nothing you can do to prevent others from abusing it to death, because you have no rights against them to stop it. Copyright is your ownership as an author of the source code. Thus, when you distribute it as open source, you usually grant a license that allows others to use your copyright material without fully surrendering your right. Those holdbacks are the conditions of the license. Again, if there is no copyright law of any strength, then I don't need a license to rip off your source code, I can just do it and there is nothing you can do to stop me.

Conversely, if copyrights are all-powerful, then I can't rip off your source code unless I comply exactly with the granted license that gives me limited rights to your copyright.

I sincerely hope that offers some clarity to you, and the others who don't understand copyrights. You can't argue that on one hand, copyright isn't theft when it is downloading an mp3 and listening to it, but then on the other hand, copyright is theft when you "steal" an open source library without following the GPL. They are the same law and rights.

Re:they are just bits (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42053183)

Again, if there is no copyright law of any strength, then I don't need a license to rip off your source code, I can just do it and there is nothing you can do to stop me.

So GPL allows people to 'rip off' source code does it? Careful, your colors are showing. And don't even try to argue I took your position out of context and highlighted a poor choice of words. That is the entire basis of your own argument.

Re:they are just bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42053259)

> Ah, yes. The GPL. The only copyright most readers here defend.

You're right of course, but I sense this is on the wane a bit.

The growing legions of apple fanbois (probably BSD refugees) on here are often enemies of the GPL, equivocating and defending apple's nefarious tactics even if that means using derogatory and misleading terms like "viral," and "restrictive" when talking about copyleft.

Re:they are just bits (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#42050409)

Copying something that is copyrighted without permission *does* deprive the copyright holder of some of the value behind their copyright.

Copyright literally is a "right to copy"... although it's a legally granted and not a natural right... but the value inherent in it comes from its exclusivity. The copyright holder has an exclusive right to control copies of their work, and everybody else is supposed to obtain permission first. "Exclusive", by definition, means that nobody else is doing it, so when somebody does copy it work without permission, that exclusivity is compromised, and the value of it lessened.

And after all... if the mere right to copy wasn't really of any value to creators, then why would people who bother to make freely distributable works bother to copyright it at all? Why not just put the work into public domain?

The point, therefore, is that copyright *DOES* have value... it's difficult to quantify, but when somebody does infringe on copyright, some measure of that value is actually lost to the copyright holder.

Just because what is lost to the copyright holder is of no value to the person who takes it, doesn't mean that it isn't stolen.

Re:they are just bits (0)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#42050537)

You can't possibly prove the holder loses something. To be able to say that, you would have to prove that if this specific copyright violation haven't take place the holder would earn more, which you can't. It is not just difficult to quantify, it is impossible, and the quantity may very well be zero in the end.

Re:they are just bits (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#42050745)

Its easy to calculate losses of GPL violations.

Since the original author makes no money from the distribution of their code, they suffer no losses. Damages awarded: $0.00

Re:they are just bits (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42051561)

That actually isn't necessarily the case. A GPL violation by another company on code I wrote may put my product at a disadvantage functionality wise. Even though I have given away my code and allow people to use it in other products it is not without benefits to me. Those benefits may be what sell my service/hardware/etc. The value isn't in selling exclusivity as it is in profiting from the benefits of software freedom.

Re:they are just bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42052675)

>The value isn't in selling exclusivity as it is in profiting from the benefits of software freedom.

Personal valuation is not damages for infringement purposes. If the value is your personal satisfaction of having software freedom, that is nominal damages and the above is correct in saying $0.00.

Re:they are just bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42053051)

How the heck did this get a score of 2?

The price of GPL software is the source code to the result. If we were talking about building Windows 9 on Linux, that would mean the price for Microsoft to be allowed to distribute the result would be putting the Windows source code under the GPL.

Now you're telling me that because neither part makes any money on the source code, the value of putting the Windows source code (the price demanded) is zero.

Try calling Microsoft, and asking what the price of a world wide, source, modifications allowed, source license for Microsoft would be. If they ever stop laughing, I bet the answer would be "sorry, there isn't enough money on this planet". That's the price being asked for GPL software.

Microsoft understands this. That's why they are very careful about not accidentally using GPL software for anything they don't want opened up.

Re:they are just bits (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#42053449)

Uh, the GPL doesn't prevent you from making money from the distribution of code, not even by selling it.

Value != Money... (4, Informative)

IBitOBear (410965) | about 2 years ago | (#42051389)

I can tell you are not a laywer, but even you should know that "value" doesn't mean "money". For instance, everything that is valuable that is not money, such as the things one trades money for, are themselves valuable.

So too are intangables valuable. For instance, you pay for the right (within limits) to determin who is allowed to access the contents of your house, apartment, and/or other real property. This is the same as how one might buy a mambership to a club so that one receives the right to enter the premises of owned by that club.

So a copyright is "valuable" as it allows the owner of that right to say how many of that thing may be brought into existence and under what circumstances.

When someone brings more of those things into existence than the owner wishes to allow, or does so in a way the owner doesn't wish to allow, they owners valuable right is diminished by misuse.

Much the way I might diminsih the value of any of your properties by misuse (like by ruining your carpet or driving your car into a ravine).

These are not difficult concepts, and many times as you grew to this age, you experienced a diminishment of yoru intangibles. Every time you ever said "That's Not Fair" and no cash was involved, you experienced circumstantial devaluation enough to prompt outcry.

Re:Value != Money... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42051955)

Wow, nice explanation.

Re:Value != Money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42052705)

> For instance, everything that is valuable that is not money, such as the things one trades money for, are themselves valuable.

I can tell you are not a lawyer. You should know that personal value and intangible benefits are not measured for damages. Remuneration is measured in dollars, or specific behavior that is not an involuntary servitude. The personal benefits and satisfactions that are intangible are not rewarded under either contract damages nor copyright statute.

If you disagree, please cite where you think this is incorrect in Title 35.

Re:Value != Money... (1)

gpmanrpi (548447) | about 2 years ago | (#42053393)

Title 35 is for Patents. Title 17 is for Copyright, and Chapter 5 is for infringement. Assuming, the ludicrous well its free calculation of damages would hold up in any court, which it would not, there is a statutory damages clause for just this reason. I will quote the statutory damages section for you just to shut this ridiculous line of log logic up 17 USC 5 (c) Statutory Damages (1) Except as provided by clause (2) of this subsection, the copyright owner may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages for all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally, in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just. For the purposes of this subsection, all the parts of a compilation or derivative work constitute one work. (2) In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed willfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $150,000. In a case where the infringer sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that such infringer was not aware and had no reason to believe that his or her acts constituted an infringement of copyright, the court in its discretion may reduce the award of statutory damages to a sum of not less than $200. The court shall remit statutory damages in any case where an infringer believed and had reasonable grounds for believing that his or her use of the copyrighted work was a fair use under section 107, if the infringer was: (i) an employee or agent of a nonprofit educational institution, library, or archives acting within the scope of his or her employment who, or such institution, library, or archives itself, which infringed by reproducing the work in copies or phonorecords; or (ii) a public broadcasting entity which or a person who, as a regular part of the nonprofit activities of a public broadcasting entity (as defined in section 118 (f)) infringed by performing a published nondramatic literary work or by reproducing a transmission program embodying a performance of such a work. (3) (A) In a case of infringement, it shall be a rebuttable presumption that the infringement was committed willfully for purposes of determining relief if the violator, or a person acting in concert with the violator, knowingly provided or knowingly caused to be provided materially false contact information to a domain name registrar, domain name registry, or other domain name registration authority in registering, maintaining, or renewing a domain name used in connection with the infringement. (B) Nothing in this paragraph limits what may be considered willful infringement under this subsection. (C) For purposes of this paragraph, the term “domain name” has the meaning given that term in section 45 of the Act entitled “An Act to provide for the registration and protection of trademarks used in commerce, to carry out the provisions of certain international conventions, and for other purposes” approved July 5, 1946 (commonly referred to as the “Trademark Act of 1946”; 15 U.S.C. 1127). (d) Additional Damages in Certain Cases.— In any case in which the court finds that a defendant proprietor of an establishment who claims as a defense that its activities were exempt under section 110 (5) did not have reasonable grounds to believe that its use of a copyrighted work was exempt under such section, the plaintiff shall be entitled to, in addition to any award of damages under this section, an additional award of two times the amount of the license fee that the proprietor of the establishment concerned should have paid the plaintiff for such use during the preceding period of up to 3 years. These can be awarded per infringement (See RIAA garbage) ALSO I am a lawyer. joe

Re:Value != Money... (1)

gpmanrpi (548447) | about 2 years ago | (#42053395)

That formatted marvelously

Re:Value != Money... (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 2 years ago | (#42053409)

Very nice explanation. Another analogy might be violation of privacy.

Let's say you are retired. Someone takes a pic of you taking a poop and displays it publicly in your town. You lost no money in the process. Have you lost nothing?

Re:they are just bits (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#42052635)

In the case of GPL, there is an implicit payment in the form of work. I give you many hours of my work in exchange for the hours of work you put in to improve it.

To me, GPL is an alternative to closed source rather than a true open source license. I use GPL when the quality and continued maintenance of a product is of greater strategic value to me than the monetary value I could get from it when sold. When GPL is violated, the monetary value of that violaton would be the monetary value I could have sold my work for.

Re:they are just bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42051017)

nothing was stolen, only copied

Nothing was stolen: true. Even so, it still doesn't make legal breaching the copyright law.

no big deal

You imply that only theft is a deal big enough?

Re:they are just bits (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#42051783)

try telling the mpaa that

Popular? (3, Funny)

the_humeister (922869) | about 2 years ago | (#42050277)

More popular than Cyanogenmod? As popular? Less popular? I've never heard of this thing. Must be popular in China.

Re:Popular? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42050289)

It is a fork of Cynogenmod, with better skins and themes. I dont think they have any kernel modifications to share.

Re:Popular? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42050423)

It looks and behaves similar to iOS. Seems laggy though, even on my Razr Maxx.

Re:Popular? (4, Informative)

CritterNYC (190163) | about 2 years ago | (#42050509)

It's a Cyanogenmod fork designed to look like iOS. It's been in violation of the GPL since its very first release. MIUI users always try and minimize the fact that it's basically illegal software.

Re:Popular? (5, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#42050543)

Xiaomi was launched last year to great applause in China. It was lauded as an original Chinese innovation in smartphones, the company was great, CEO smart, etc. I almost bought one myself, but decided I couldn't live without a physical keyboard (HTC Desire Z). They're coming out with a new phone soon [engadget.com] .

It's not that they are being selfish by refusing to share. It simply has never occurred to anyone at the company that there might be rules to follow and a community to participate in. To Chinese, IP is just something that may be freely copied by anyone, slightly modified, and released as your own (when it is no longer OK to copy it, naturally). Ten feet from where I am sitting right now, a man is watching videos of packaging machines in operation and drawing the mechanisms on a CAD program. He is in the R&D department.

Re:Popular? (1)

vivtho (834049) | about 2 years ago | (#42050823)

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but as long as he's only replicating the operation of the machine and not its internal working, isn't he just reverse-engineering the machine? AFAIK reverse-engineering is legitimate in the eyes of the law.

Re:Popular? (1)

msauve (701917) | about 2 years ago | (#42050941)

"reverse-engineering is legitimate in the eyes of the law."

Not if the device uses something which is patented. That holds, even if the "new" one is developed completely independently.

Re:Popular? (3, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 2 years ago | (#42051345)

Strange, patenting software is only legally allowed in what, three countries in the world? China is most certainly not one of them. Why should they care about it any more then a US woman cares about getting stoned for adultery?

Re:Popular? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42052153)

Getting high and cheating sounds awesome to me!

Re:Popular? (2)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#42053271)

The GPL isn't enforced via patents, it's enforced via copyright.

So you can copy software concepts in most countries if you want - but if you copy someone else's actual source code, that's illegal by default. They have to make the code available under an open license before you are allowed to copy/distribute it.

Re:Popular? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#42051069)

DNS-and-BIND specified the mechanisms, which I assume means the internal workings. It might not even be illegal in the US to do that anyways (IANAL, I don't know, but seems like unless it is patented you can copy it), mind you, it just illustrates that some Chinese consider that "research".

Re:Popular? (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#42051495)

Who cares about the legal niceties? To him, and the company, he is engaged in legitimate research and development. While there is always something to be learned from your competitors, in China the balance is way out of whack. At the end of the day, ask him if he spent his time ripping off a foreign company's hard work or developing new, fresh Chinese indigenously produced technology. Go ahead, guess what his answer will be.

Re:Popular? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42051137)

To Chinese, IP is just something that may be freely copied by anyone, slightly modified, and released as your own (when it is no longer OK to copy it, naturally). Ten feet from where I am sitting right now, a man is watching videos of packaging machines in operation and drawing the mechanisms on a CAD program. He is in the R&D department.

Chinks be chinkin'!

Re:Popular? (1)

tobiasly (524456) | about 2 years ago | (#42051799)

Ten feet from where I am sitting right now, a man is watching videos of packaging machines in operation and drawing the mechanisms on a CAD program. He is in the R&D department.

Using a fully licensed copy of AutoCAD, no doubt.

Re:Popular? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42052027)

Mechanical Desktop most likely.

Re:Popular? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#42052289)

I would say pretty damn popular. It's not as popular as Cyanogenmod, but it works on a wide range of devices and is probably second place in terms of custom roms for android supporting many devices

Petitioning China? (4, Insightful)

FSWKU (551325) | about 2 years ago | (#42050337)

You go ahead and sign that online petition to "force" a Chinese company to play fair. Hope you have better success than the hundreds of other companies from whom Chinese businesses have taken what they liked and given nothing back...

Re:Petitioning China? (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#42051107)

For that matter, it probably isn't even illegal in China (do they have a copyright agreement with the US? Seems unlikely), which looks to be the only place they make phones with it pre-loaded, so unless the FOSS people want to block people outside China from downloading it (which I, personally, would find deeply ironic), I don't think they even have any legal grounding whatsoever.

Re:Petitioning China? (2, Funny)

bug1 (96678) | about 2 years ago | (#42051633)

do they have a copyright agreement with the US?

So we need permission from the US to enforce international copyright agreements now ?

Re:Petitioning China? (1)

MrNaz (730548) | about 2 years ago | (#42051689)

RIAA says not only yes to that, but that sufficiently wealthy private parties have the RIGHT to demand that the US enforce their copyright for them.

Re:Petitioning China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42051697)

do they have a copyright agreement with the US?

So we need permission from the US to enforce international copyright agreements now ?

I doubt it, but you might need china to agree to give a crap before this could possibly mean anything.

Re:Petitioning China? (3, Insightful)

flimflammer (956759) | about 2 years ago | (#42051781)

Does China give a flying fuck about international copyright agreements? History has said no, thus far.

What possible "enforcement" can be levied against China for this?

Fundamental Misunderstanding of GPL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42050347)

GPL does NOT, I repeat, does NOT require PUBLIC release of derivative works. It only requires disclosure to the actual users of the software.

It is perfectly legal to create a derivative work of a GPL work and release the source code to the product users under NDA, forbidding public disclosure.

Re:Fundamental Misunderstanding of GPL (5, Interesting)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 2 years ago | (#42050413)

Not correct, at least not for the version of the GPL in question. Read the GPL v2 [gnu.org] and look at section 3 which covers distribution. Your options:

  • 3a: Distribute the source code along with the binaries. Using this option you only have to provide source to your customers.
  • 3b: Distribute the source code separate from the binaries. This option explicitly requires you to make the offer of source available to any third party, regardless of whether they received binaries from you or not.
  • 3c: Pass on the offer you received. This is only available for non-commercial distribution, so a company selling phones or software wouldn't qualify to use it.

You'd be correct for GPL v3, but the Linux kernel license lacks the "or any later version" language so v3's off the table as far as the kernel as a whole is concerned.

Re:Fundamental Misunderstanding of GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42050865)

Mikrotik is the worst (Blatently disregards the GPL by distributing binaries publically but charging $45 everytime you want a source drop).

Re: "or any later version" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42051403)

I think you'd be surprised how much of the Linux kernel does indeed include "or any later version."

Re: "or any later version" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42053111)

I think you'd be surprised how little that matters.

Re:Fundamental Misunderstanding of GPL (5, Informative)

Qubit (100461) | about 2 years ago | (#42050907)

GPL does NOT, I repeat, does NOT require PUBLIC release of derivative works. It only requires disclosure to the actual users of the software.

It is perfectly legal to create a derivative work of a GPL work and release the source code to the product users under NDA, forbidding public disclosure.

Let's look at the FAQ for the GPL...

Does The GPL Allow NDA? [gnu.org]

Does the GPL allow me to distribute copies under a nondisclosure agreement?

No. The GPL says that anyone who receives a copy from you has the right to redistribute copies, modified or not. You are not allowed to distribute the work on any more restrictive basis. If someone asks you to sign an NDA for receiving GPL-covered software copyrighted by the FSF, please inform us immediately by writing to license-violation@fsf.org. If the violation involves GPL-covered code that has some other copyright holder, please inform that copyright holder, just as you would for any other kind of violation of the GPL.

Re:Fundamental Misunderstanding of GPL (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about 2 years ago | (#42052919)

What about if I distribute the source code but tell them off the record that if they pass it on I will 'send the lads round to have a chat with them'.

Re:Fundamental Misunderstanding of GPL (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#42053069)

Then you can be both sued for breach of contract and charged with a felony.

Re:Fundamental Misunderstanding of GPL (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about 2 years ago | (#42053165)

The lads are only coming round for a chat though, i.e. using their rights to free speech and free assembly. The lads are very protective on their human rights, and don't like them being curtailed.

Re:Fundamental Misunderstanding of GPL (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about 2 years ago | (#42051209)

You're correct up to the NDA part. The GPL however requires that I give all the same rights I had to the software to the person I distribute it to. You can't remove rights you received via the GPL.

So I give my binaries to one person, I owe that one person the source, nobody else, but that person can then do whatever they want with both just like I could.

Re:Fundamental Misunderstanding of GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42053671)

The OP is actually correct for all of it, at least in the United States, where Contract Law is not trumped by GPL.

It is true that the user could redistribute the code without violating the GPL, but a user who VOLUNTARILY agrees to alienate their rights with an NDA would still be guilty of breach of contract if they did redistribute.

Your rights under GPL are not inalienable in the US. In the US you are perfectly free to alienate any/all of your rights, except those inalienable rights mentioned in the country's founding documents (life, liberty, property - in the 5th Amendment). Losing those rights requires due process - including life - which is why suicide is technically illegal in most jurisdictions in the US.

In any case, GPL does not convey any inalienable rights in the US, because it has no authority to do so. It also cannot trump Contract Law, nor forbid anyone requiring or voluntarily entering into an NDA.

I love all the armchair wannabe lawyers on Slashdot. They think the GPL is the supreme law of the land. Those who have actually gone to law school know better.

Only Aspergers nigger cunts use Linux (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42050379)

Slashdot user suck dolphin cocks while their mom gets fucked up the ass at KFC every night and their dad ejaculates over my little pony toys.

Re:Only Aspergers nigger cunts use Linux (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#42050977)

over my little pony toys.

Why do you collect small pony toys, and why do you let him ejaculate over them in the first place? :o

Re:Only Aspergers nigger cunts use Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42051457)

13 year olds used to troll better back in my day

China 3 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42050383)

Copyrights? Patents? License?

LOL

Re:China 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42051383)

I think you mean copylights, patents, and ricense. Those aren't quite the same things and don't fall under US jurisdiction. ;-)

Re:China 3 (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#42051819)

ricenses only apply in north korea

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42050427)

How can you force someone to comply with this? Just curious if anyone has ever been forced to release their source code in the past successfully, and the fact that they are based in China as well makes this even less chance this will happen I would think.

Pretty much (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 years ago | (#42051401)

I believe only one or two cases have actually made it to court - the vast majority of GPL violators voluntarily release their modified code once somebody complains to them and their legal department takes a look at the license. So yeah, so long as there's a strong legal framework to work in they can be "forced" - the penalties for bald-faced copyright violation are simply too high for a company to bear - especially if they want to continue distributing their product. Think of the outrageous threats made by the RIAA based on the skimpiest of evidence, then imagine they actually had rock-solid evidence of violations and that you're a company with deep enough pockets to actually pay the full amount. Those laws were after all originally written to keep companies in check, not individual file-sharers.

In the face of the Chinese lax approach to copyright law though... it'd probably come down to how badly they wanted to sell phones outside China - neither Microsoft nor Hollywood has managed to make any appreciable dent in the internal copyright violations, I doubt a handful of FOSS advocates would succeed where they failed.

On the other hand, if the company simply doesn't realize that in this case they're actually ENCOURAGED to copy the software in exchange for access to the (probably minor) modifications they've made... well the potential positive feedback loop might tempt them into compliance anyway.

Re:Pretty much (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#42051837)

linux+china=good for linux+bad for microsoft & apple

Why rattle the saber? Are they day dreaming? (2)

bogaboga (793279) | about 2 years ago | (#42050447)

From the linked article: -

Android Community Demands MIUI ROM Comply With FOSS Licenses

Question: Who exactly is the Android Community? Is it Google? Is it the folks at XDA? This statement is just confusing and vague!

Unless Xiaomi intends to develop a replacement for the Linux kernel, they need to make their modifications public."

What can the authors of the above statement really do? Sue the Xiaomi folks? Impose sanctions on China if it fails to toe the line?

Good luck with that!

Cyanogen fork (5, Interesting)

aaron552 (1621603) | about 2 years ago | (#42050487)

IIRC, it's a fork of Cyanogenmod, and (the non-Android part of) CM is also GPL, so they'd have to also distribute the modifications to CM. This, I think, is the larger infringement that people are annoyed about?

If they haven't changed it... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#42050691)

If they haven't made kernel modifications, they don't have to release their source code, just host a mirror of the original source.

It's also China and since when was copyright followed in China?

Re:If they haven't changed it... (1)

msauve (701917) | about 2 years ago | (#42050965)

"If they haven't made kernel modifications, they don't have to release their source code, just host a mirror of the original source."

If they haven't made kernel modifications, in exactly what way isn't "their source" the "original source," and what is the distinction you're drawing?

Re:If they haven't changed it... (0)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#42051097)

When I said "their source" I was referring to the source code for MIUI. The "Android Community" (read: a minority group of vocal freetards) wants to force Xiaomi into open-sourcing the entire project.

Re:If they haven't changed it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42052937)

Wrong - but the summary doesn't make that clear. TFA clearly says "they need to release their kernel modifications".

Android mod world (1)

Rotten (8785) | about 2 years ago | (#42050837)

Android mod world (modded roms, cyanogen forks, custom kernels, etc) has tons of examples like this. People who distributes compiled kernels and refuses to share their patches because that way they would "loose" their "exclusive l33t" kernel, since some other modder/coder may "steal" their job (which is basically some minor editing or patch merging on top of a real kernel...samsung kernel for example...plus 10 lines of code to make something happen).

Re:Android mod world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42050967)

*lose

Re:Android mod world (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about 2 years ago | (#42052885)

Maybe he means loose as in 'set loose'.

Re:Android mod world (3, Insightful)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about 2 years ago | (#42051215)

Yes and they're complete idiots for ignoring how much of the original work they got for free because of that same license and how many thousands of people lost their 'leet' exclusivity themselves to get them this far.

Re:Android mod world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42051859)

Android mod world (modded roms, cyanogen forks, custom kernels, etc) has tons of examples like this. People who distributes compiled kernels and refuses to share their patches because that way they would "loose" their "exclusive l33t" kernel, since some other modder/coder may "steal" their job (which is basically some minor editing or patch merging on top of a real kernel...samsung kernel for example...plus 10 lines of code to make something happen).

And the value they place on it varies inversely with the amount of work done.

Does a license written in English... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42052003)

even have any legal force in China?

Bullshit summary (3, Informative)

truedfx (802492) | about 2 years ago | (#42052187)

From the summary:

Unless Xiaomi intends to develop a replacement for the Linux kernel, they need to make their modifications public.

From the article:

unless Xioami wants to develop a replacement for the Linux side of Android, they need to make their kernel modifications public.

The article is correct. Xioami only needs to make their kernel modifications public. The fact that there happens to be a GPL program in Android (the kernel) doesn't mean all of Android is tainted by it. Showing whatever else they've modified is nice, but not required.

RIAA/MPAA is bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42052193)

GPL is good?

If you've EVER downloaded a song or movie without paying the people who created the item you have ZERO voice in this matter. The only people who can defend the GPL are those who have not pirated music/video/software themselves.

In other words... Nobody.

Re:RIAA/MPAA is bad (1)

unkiereamus (1061340) | about 2 years ago | (#42052295)

A foolish consistency is the hob-goblin of small minds.

Booby trap it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42053083)

If this is a Cyanogenmod fork then just add some nasty code to Cyanogenmod that will make it blow up on MIUI devices. The chinese Copy & Paste Department will never figure it out.

Captcha: anarchy

MIUI is already open source on GitHub (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42053413)

This article is bullshit. They have all their modifications accessible on their GitHub account: https://github.com/MiCode . This is way better than most Chinese companies using GPL.

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