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Is Linksys Violating The GPL?

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the could-just-be-a-glitch dept.

Wireless Networking 524

jap writes "According to this post on LKML, Linksys is shipping firmware for (at least their) 802.11g access-points based on Linux - without any sourcecode available or mentioning of it on their site. This could be interesting: it might provide the possibility of building an ueber-cool accesspoint firmware with IPsec and native ipv6 support etc etc, using this information!"

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darn de dumbina jojojo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144297)

jp fp!!! fucking tingy subjetinga

Cisco IOS ? (5, Funny)

berkeleyjunk (250251) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144299)

If you push too hard for publishing source code, this box will be running Cisco IOS soon, slowing down the box 4 fold.

Re:Cisco IOS ? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144361)

Nah, Free/OpenBSD can have commercial license where you don't need to publish the source e.g. MacOSX

Re:Cisco IOS ? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144452)

No, it'll run some BSD, as the BSD license allows this kind of usage.
Eg. OpenBSD would be ideal for an access point, with all the advanced networking&security features.

Welcome to the 21st century! *BSD IS DYING! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144461)

It is official; Netcraft now confirms it: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

Re:Cisco IOS ? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144600)

Interestingly enough, Cisco's Content Engine module (it's a web cache) for the 2600/3600 routers, run linux. So, is Cisco violating the GPL? Maybe, by not providing source. But, it doesn't mean they modified the source at all, much of the functions in it appear to be handled by external programs that they have written.

The module itself is just a PIII 500 mobile processor with a laptop drive and some memory. Basically, just a PC on a tiny card. It's neat.

GPL (0, Informative)

krisp (59093) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144302)

Tivo uses linux and has not released source code either. However, the GPL is in the appendix of the manual. Linksys can do something similar and be in compliance.

Re:GPL (2, Informative)

FattMattP (86246) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144329)

Tivo uses linux and has not released source code either.
Yes they have. [tivo.com]
However, the GPL is in the appendix of the manual.
With the source code notice and URL on the page right before it.

Re:GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144335)

Wrong.

http://www.tivo.com/linux/index.html

Re:GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144344)

Tivo has not released ALL of their source code, but here is some:

http://www.tivo.com/linux/index.html

I like Tivo. They play nice.

Re:GPL (5, Informative)

PhuCknuT (1703) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144403)

And I'm sure you know this, but they are not required to release all of their source code, only the code for gpl parts of tivo. Just because the OS is linux doesn't mean they have to release code for everything running on it.

Piles of dead jews.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144303)

love to read slashdot. oh snap to hweeboards $$ Lameness filter is gay :(

Re:Piles of dead jews.... (-1, Offtopic)

dannyweb2 (679813) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144326)

you are one lame motherfucker

I'm not sure (4, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144306)

I'm not sure whether this is just as damaging to Open Source as the SCO thing had the potential of being, or not. On one hand, it might deter use of linux at all, and on the other it'll just be a general 'bad business practice to use linux in our commericial products' type stigma.

Re:I'm not sure (5, Funny)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144351)

Not at all -- it just gives SCO another company to sue!

Re:I'm not sure (0, Redundant)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144355)

Shhh.

RMS wants his cookie. The fact that it's not particularly good for him is something he doesn't care to acknowledge.

This is why people should use my TDCAL license I've applied to LibTomCrypt and LibTomMath. Basically you may use my libraries for whatever you want including commercial redistribution, without having to please the author [e.g. release source, send money, etc...]

http://libtomcrypt.org

This sort of license permits all sorts of users to use my libraries. And yes, I do get feedback from commercial developers. They occasionally send in bug reports/suggestions that help the library.

So in a nutshell I release code that people like, they help me [occasionally] in return and they're not stuck up the ass to use it in their commercial software [like the GPL].

Tom

Re:I'm not sure (1)

someonehasmyname (465543) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144440)

So how does your license differ from the BSD license?

Re:I'm not sure (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144559)

Mine is called TDCAL to prove a point. :-)

Tom

Re:I'm not sure (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144442)

so, you copied the intent of the BSD license?

Re:I'm not sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144450)

What motivated you to write your own license instead of using the BSD license or the MIT license?

Re:I'm not sure (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144571)

There is a slight difference.

Under BSD you may not strip copyright or credit information from the binary/source.

Under TDCAL you may do that if you wish.

Tom

1997 called (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144528)

they want your website back.

oh, and use the bsd license, fucktard.

--
one of your foes.

Re:I'm not sure (2, Insightful)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144455)

I doubt it.

Software companies license code from other companies all the time. If you come to that conclusion, then the argument is really against using any licensed code at all.

The GPL is not that difficult to comply with. Compliance is simply the cost of licensing the GPLed code. It's still a hell of a lot cheaper than Linksys licensing some other embedded OS and paying a per-unit royalty.

Man... (4, Insightful)

rindeee (530084) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144311)

...think of the number of APs they'd sell based on this fact alone. They obviously should abide by the GPL, but they should also shout it from the hilltops that their AP is Linux based and therefore a hackers delight (and the FCC's nightmare).

ER

Re:Man... (2, Insightful)

LooseChanj (17865) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144395)

They don't need to, slashdotters'll shout it for them. And to mainly the right people too...

Does it matter ? (3, Interesting)

DumbMarketingGuy (171031) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144316)

The GPL has no real valid legal meaning until it has been tested in a court of law. I think the fact that no GPL violation case has ever made it into a courtroom speaks volumes!

Re:Does it matter ? (5, Insightful)

blackcat++ (168398) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144360)

The GPL has no real valid legal meaning until it has been tested in a court of law. I think the fact that no GPL violation case has ever made it into a courtroom speaks volumes!

Yes it does. It means that until now noone has had the guts to risk a legal confrontation to free themselves from the requirements the GPL imposes.

And even if the GPL has no valid legal meaning, what remains? Standard copyright law. So without the GPL you don't even have the right to download the source, let alone modify and republish it!

Re:Does it matter ? (0)

DumbMarketingGuy (171031) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144380)

It means that until now noone has had the guts to risk a legal confrontation to free themselves from the requirements the GPL imposes


That would be one interpretation. Another interpretation would be that since it carries no legal weight whatsoever, why waste money on lawyers to find out what we already know, i.e. that the GPL in its current form is UNENFORCABLE.

Re:Does it matter ? (4, Informative)

jonabbey (2498) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144488)

That's silly, and wrong. The GPL is an affirmative grant of rights, providing you comply with its terms. If you don't want to comply with its terms, no problem, you just don't have any rights to copy someone else's stuff. That prohibition on copying someone else's stuff isn't a consequence of the GPL, it's a consequence of copyright law in this country.

The only way for the GPL to lose all effectiveness in the way that you imply would be if a court someplace were to rule that the GPL's terms were ridiculously onerous, and that by handing it out to everyone for public download without requiring a click-through license, the stuff had effectively been placed in the public domain.

This is about as likely as a court someplace declaring that Microsoft's software was licensed with unduly onerous terms, and that their stuff was therefore public domain as well.

I.e., not likely at all. I don't think copyright is like trademark law, where if you don't take steps to protect your mark, you can lose it.

IANAL, but the guy who drafted the GPL [columbia.edu] is.

Re:Does it matter ? (1)

jonabbey (2498) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144509)

Note especially this link on his page..

Enforcing the GPL, part I [columbia.edu]

Re:Does it matter ? (3, Interesting)

Courageous (228506) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144529)

...the stuff had effectively been placed in the public domain.

IIRC, that can't really happen accidentally. About the only way something of significance can enter the public domain, sans copyright expiration, is an explicit statement of the legal copyright holder to that effect. i.e., "this work is entered into the public domain."

C//

Re:Does it matter ? (1)

Courageous (228506) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144503)

the GPL in its current form is UNENFORCABLE.

Very well, then. Since you say the license is unenforceable, you admit that you have no legal license to this copyrighted work? LOL.

C//

Re:Does it matter ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144429)

And even if the GPL has no valid legal meaning, what remains? Standard copyright law.

This is an oft-repeated falsehood. You can't have it both ways. You can't both give your work to anybody and everybody under terms that allow them (in fact REQUIRE them) to redistribute your work and yet still claim to hold an exclusive copyright on it. It just doesn't work like that.

Re:Does it matter ? (1)

mav[LAG] (31387) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144602)

This is an oft-repeated falsehood. You can't have it both ways.

Nice troll AC, to which the answer is: bullshit, the whole frigging point of the GPL is that it works exactly like that.

You can't both give your work to anybody and everybody under terms that allow them (in fact REQUIRE them) to redistribute your work and yet still claim to hold an exclusive copyright on it.

The GPL does not REQUIRE you to redistribute your work at all. You are perfectly welcome to incorporate GPLed code into any product you want. If and only if you want to redistribute the code or a derivative of it does the license kick in. And yes you can have it both ways. If it's my code, I can license it how I want. I can either charge millions of dollars to any development team who wants a copy (see these guys [idsoftware.com] for a good example) or I can release the code under a share and share alike license (again something that the same guys [idsoftware.com] have done) or I can choose something in between. None of these choices in any way changes the fact that I was the creator of the work and hence by the Berne Convention have the copyright.

Re:Does it matter ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144448)

Yes it does. It means that until now noone [no one] has had the guts to risk a legal confrontation...

...because if they do they'll have a mad mass of linux freaks humping them in the ass.

ueber? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144317)

Is "ueber" the UK spelling, like "colour?" Maybe LinkSys will be sued by FSF "uender" the terms of the GPL?

Re:ueber? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144370)

no, 'ueber' is not a word, in any language. however, its the way people not quite bright enough to type über often spell it, which is german for above.

Re:ueber? (1)

JPRelph (519032) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144430)

Actually the accepted German method of writing an umlaut where its not easy to add the umlaut (ie on some computer systems) is to put an e after the umlaut-ed letter. So über becomes ueber. I don't know how you add them on a PC, but on a Mac it's Alt-u. JP.

Re:ueber? (1)

MCZapf (218870) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144518)

It goes even farther than that. The two dots over the letter actually started out (long ago) as a little "e". But people started just using dots because it was easier.

Re:ueber? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144432)

And it's the way for people without umlauts on their keyboards to spell it. Duh. Remember this folks, an umlaut can be escaped by postfixing an e.

Re:ueber? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144484)

i definitely enjoyed reading the first two replies to your post humiliate you, ass fucker. and of course, your a real retard for going to a babelfish and saying "it means above".

the GPL is not free! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144318)

(* insert uninformed anti-GPL rant here *)

(* RMS is a communist and has poor personal hygiene *)

(* Compare violating the GPL to violating a Microsoft EULA, why complain about one and not the other, etc. *)

(* The GPL forces you to walk down the street with your pants down around your ankles *)

Re:the GPL is not free! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144513)

(* The GPL forces you to walk down the street with your pants down around your ankles *) /me startled, looks around "Ya, so??"

Better drivers? (4, Interesting)

CodeMaster (28069) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144319)

They have been using Linux for a long time on their routers/AP's.
Anyone who have one must have noticed it.

The one thing to say to their defence is that they are usually "driver friendly" with their PCMCIA WiFi cards.

I just hope that now they will wake up, straighten up the mess, and start helping the community with supporting 802.11g in Linux for their NIC's.

At least they're using Linux (3, Insightful)

PirateDave -) (679653) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144331)

What's got the higer priority: getting companies to print the GPL in their manuals, or getting companies to release high qulaity *ware with linux (for free!)
It could be argued that GPL compliancy will make it better, but as far as I can see it's still much better than what it could potentially have been.

Re:At least they're using Linux (2, Insightful)

PhuCknuT (1703) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144411)

enforcing the GPL is higher priority, letting companies ignore it would set a very bad precident.

Re:At least they're using Linux (1)

PirateDave -) (679653) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144463)

From what I read in the article, nobody is really *sure* that the licence has been violated.

Linksys are not profiting directly due to this violation which may or may not have even occured, so I do not see why people are concentrating on the negative aspects of this (that might not even be there).

What happened to the good old days of 'Corporate Interest of Linux' and various pro-penguin chants?
Getting a little offtopic now..

Re:At least they're using Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144568)

Linksys are not profiting directly due to this violation which may or may not have even occured, so I do not see why people are concentrating on the negative aspects of this (that might not even be there).

Because Timothy is trying to fill some space on Slashdot on a Sunday afternoon?

Oh, that was a rhetorical question. Never mind.

It's not using, it's exploiting (1)

RdsArts (667685) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144596)

If you break the GPL, then you've violated the main tenent that keeps GNU/Linux alive.

Assuming they did break the liscence, they didn't have to use GNU/Linux, in fact if they had done this with FreeBSD, you'd never even see a story like this.

It's not a question of profit, or "corperate interest." It's a question of honoring the liscence under which the code was released.

Re:At least they're using Linux (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144446)

If people didn't care, they would have used the BSD license.

Re:At least they're using Linux (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144515)

What, exactly, was Linksys releasing for free?

whats the big deal (0, Troll)

Zed2K (313037) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144334)

Its probably because linksys doesn't want all you kiddies out there that don't know what their doing screwing with the source code and messing up their routers then complaining to linksys that it doesn't work.

In case gets /.ed (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144336)

Hi,

Sorry for the very lengthly posting, but I want to be as precise as possible in describing this problem.

Awhile ago, I mentioned that the Linksys WRT54G wireless access point used several GPL projects in its firmware, but did not seem to have any of the
source available, or acknowledge the use of the GPLed software. Four weeks ago, I spoke with an employee at Linksys who confirmed that the system did use Linux, and also mentioned that he would work with his management to ensure that the source was released. Unfortunately, my e-mails to this
individual over the past three weeks have gone unanswered. Of course, I also tried contacting Linksys through their common public e-mail accounts (, ) to no avail.

However, it is hard for me to know if my contact in the company has just gone on a three week vacation (and not set an auto-responder), or has been asked to not answer anymore mail on this subject. Also, I should note that I don't own this product, so I can't determine if the source is shipped with it.

However, I have gone through all the available information on the Linksys website, and can find no reference to the GPL, Linux (as it relates to this product), or the firmware source code. Also, the firmware binary (see below) is freely available from their website. There is no link from the download page to the source, or any mention of Linux or the GPL. Finally, it would be
strange if the source was included in the physical package, as my contact at Linksys was initially unaware Linux was used in this product.

The following steps can be used to determine the exact nature of the possible GPL violation.

1. Go to the following URL:
http://www.linksys.com/download/firmware.asp?fwid= 178

2. Download the "firmware upgrade files":
ftp://ftp.linksys.com/pub/network/WRT54G_ 1.02.1_US _code.bin
(MD5SUM: b54475a81bc18462d3754f96c9c7cc0f)

3. While it is downloading, confirm that there is nothing on the webpage to indicate that this binary contains GPLed software.

4. Once the download is complete, copy the contents of the file from offset 0xC0020 onward into a new file.
dd if=WRT54G_1.02.1_US_code.bin of=test.dump skip=24577c bs=32c

5. Notice that this file is an image of a CramFS filesystem. Mount it.

6. Explore the filesystem. You will notice that the system appears to be based on Linux 2.4.5. Incidentally, there is at least one other GPLed project in the firmware: the BusyBox userland component: (http://www.busybox.net/)

7. The Linux kernel (I think) is mixed up with a bunch of other stuff in: bin/boot.bin

You might want to know why I am interested in getting the code for the kernel used in this device.

There's been some discussion here about Linux's lack of wireless support for a few of the newer 802.11b and (nearly?) all 802.11g chips. Incidentally, Linux has excellent support for at least one manufacturer's wireless family.
The following Broadcom chips all appear to be supported under Linux -- if you happen to be running Linux on a MIPS processor in a Linksys router:

Broadcom BCM4301 Wireless 802.11b Controller
Broadcom BCM4307 Wireless 802.11b Controller
Broadcom BCM4309 Wireless 802.11a Controller
Broadcom BCM4309 Wireless 802.11b Controller
Broadcom BCM4309 Wireless 802.11 Multiband Controller
Broadcom BCM4310 Wireless 802.11b Controller
Broadcom BCM4306 Wireless 802.11b/g Controller
Broadcom BCM4306 Wireless 802.11a Controller
Broadcom BCM4306 Wireless 802.11 Multiband Controller

This list was produced by running strings on:
lib/modules/2.4.5/kernel/drivers/net/wl/wl.o

I am trying to determine exactly how tightly coupled these drivers are to the kernel.

As an aside, I know that some wireless companies have been hesitant of releasing open source drivers because they are worried their radios might be pushed out of spec. However, if the drivers are already written, would there be any technical reason why they could not simply be recompiled for Intel hardware, and released as binary-only modules?

Finally, I know that traditionally, Linux has allowed binary-only modules. However, I was always under the impression that this required that the final customer be allowed to remove them at will. That is to say, you couldn't choose to implement a portion of the kernel critical to the system's operation in a module, and then not release that module under the GPL. In this particular case, I would argue that the wireless drivers are critical to this device's operation (after all, it is a wireless access point). In
addition, the final user in this case really can't just "rmmod" the wireless driver.

The Broadcom driver, kernel, and really everything else in the firmware, are (IMHO anyways) being used to form a discrete package -- the WRT54Gs firmware. Does/should this have any implication on whether the Broadcom wireless module
must be covered by the GPL?

I would be very interested in knowing if I am mistaken in any of my claims or conclusions, and if not, how I should proceed in getting this issue resolved.

-- Andrew Miklas

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Cool. (5, Insightful)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144549)

But his assumption about how kernel modules work is completely wrong.. though the INTENT might be something like he describes, it's not what Linus said.

The Linux kernel license says you can code proprietary modules, as long as the interface is part of the stock kernel (in other words, GPL)

So you can make a proprietary network driver, as long you don't haev to modify the main kernel to get it to work; you are under no obligation to release that source at all. If you have some way of hacking an entire realtime OS to look like a network drive to the kernel, that would comply.

So, linksys should be redistributing the linux sources, however, if their custom work is confined to modules & userland code, they are under no obligation to release the source to those drives. And as linux already has a kernel interface for network & wireless network, there is no reason to expect them to release that code.

Requirements (5, Informative)

TWX (665546) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144338)

If they're not rewriting the source code, using it in a form that they themselves obtained it in (pre-compiling), they might not have to provide source if they disclose their source location. Also, if they were smart enough to create independent kernel modules for the rest of the device, they wouldn't have to release those anyway.

It would be nice if they included at least a copy of the GPL and a linux installation CD in the back of their manual though, since that would be a way of distributing the code, if not more than the code, and would probably make them in compliance.

Hell, TurboLinux install CDs came with hardware that Linux couldn't even use, for a while...

More From the Kernel List (5, Interesting)

OctaneZ (73357) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144345)

A couple follow ups on the kernel mailing list:

A very interesting bit from the busybox maintainer, who has evidently already sent linksys two letters [lkml.org]

A post outlinging the possibility that Belkin is also shipping GPL'd code [lkml.org]

A few other people are throwing their two cents in, but those were the most interesting, code be an interesting test of corporate policey, and the ability of the GPL to withstand a court battle.

Alternate browser support (4, Funny)

kien (571074) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144347)

I sent an email asking Linksys why IE was required to use their web-based admin tool for my BEFSR41.

Here's their reply:
Again, thank you for contacting Linksys Customer Support. Unfortunately, we do not have an advice yet when will Linksys support other operating systems. Rest assure that your message will reach the right department. If you have further questions, please contact us at (800) 326-7114 or send us an email at support@linksys.com so that we may further assist you. Please use this phone number given as reference for future support calls. Thank you and have a nice day.


--K.

Re:Alternate browser support (1)

slugo3 (31204) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144371)

IE is required? I have no problem administering my BEFSR41 with Mozilla.

Re:Alternate browser support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144494)

Mine even works with Netscape 4.7 on Windows. I think there was a problem with Netscape for MacOS, however, but that's probably Netscape's fault.

The software also does not use <NOSCRIPT> to inform you that JavaScript needs to be enabled.

Re:Alternate browser support (1)

aschlemm (17571) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144583)

Agreed...Both Netscape and Mozilla work fine for configuring the WAP54G and WAP11 access points. I've tried using Konquorer and while it can display the basic page many of the radio buttons and stuff that show some of the settings infomration come up empty.

Linksys' web configuration screens are fairly simple and so I don't know why they can't support other reasonable web browsers. If they asked for voluteeers from Linux and other non-windows users in testing browser capatibility I bet they'd get pretty decent response back.

I guess that raises the question is if there's any support for the Linksys Wireless-G NICs? I have a WPC54G but right now and I only have support for it by using Win2K on my laptop. I'm hoping to have a Linux laptop but I don't know if I'll be able to use the WPC54G card I already have with it.

hotmail also requires IE or NS (2, Informative)

SHEENmaster (581283) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144504)

but setting konqueror or mozilla to send MSIE identification HTTP directives did the trick.

Is it actually required, or do they just say it is? Have you tried a different browser?

GUILTY (0)

Mike Rosopht (677749) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144348)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

If this is true!

Just think of all of the licensing fees Linus is entitled to!

(even if they change the code!)

Only if they changed something... (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144352)

Why does everyone always assume that any embedded device running Linux must have, in some way, violated the GPL?

I worked eight years as a firmware engineer. In the last three, I dealt almost exclusively with Linux.

And I can assure you that we didn't need to change any GPL'd code to get what we wanted. Even on fairly custom hardware, we could find preexisting GPL'd code to do 99% of what we needed (and wrote user-space drivers where possible, and modules where not). No need to release anything if you don't change anything, to comply with the GPL.

Whether ethical or not, plenty of legal ways of circumventing the intent of the GPL exist. And, like it or not, eliminating those loopholes (which would basically require forcing any program that runs under linux to use the GPL) would kill Linux in the business world.

Re:Only if they changed something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144436)

You don't always have to release source if you aren't modifying it, but you always have to acknowledge the license and provide info on where to retrieve the source.

Re:Only if they changed something... (4, Interesting)

runderwo (609077) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144474)

No need to release anything if you don't change anything, to comply with the GPL.
Erm, take a look at Section 3 of the GPL [gnu.org] -- it quite clearly states that if the program is redistributed in binary form, it must be accompanied by the source code or a written offer for the source code.

You may be thinking of the LGPL [gnu.org] instead, which relaxes redistribution requirements.

Re:Only if they changed something... (1)

xtal (49134) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144508)

At best, if nothing has been changed, they would mearly need to provide access to the linux kernel and stock utilities.

If they write code that is independant of the kernel, it is then theirs to license as they see fit. For example, while linux game ports might be based on the kernel, there is no obligation to release the source code to those games.

There is only a violation if they modified existing GPL code. It doesn't sound like they'd be stupid enough to do that.

Re:Only if they changed something... (2, Interesting)

BJH (11355) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144499)

I call bullshit.

Even if they made no changes, they still have to provide a copy of the GPL itself, and tell the user where they can obtain the source.

As for "legal ways of circumventing the GPL", I've seen plenty of people spout this line, but never seen any of them produce an actual legal loophole in the GPL. I'd bet that you're no different.

Re:Only if they changed something... (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144598)

It's important to note that pla, whom you quoted as saying "circumventing the GPL", actually said "circumventing the intent of the GPL".

Agreed. (5, Informative)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144507)

However, the GPL still requires that they provide source, even if they have not modified it. If you redistribute, you must provide source, or at least a written offer for the source.

You can (section c) simply pass along the written offer YOU received, if you are simply redistributing, and not modifying, but only if it's NON-COMMERCIAL, and only if you yourself received the written offer. IF they are using stock linux kernels, there is no written offer, so .. they are obligated to provide a copy of the source (sans their changes, if they are not within the scope of the gpl)

3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:

* a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

* b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

* c) Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer to distribute corresponding source code. (This alternative is allowed only for noncommercial distribution and only if you received the program in object code or executable form with such an offer, in accord with Subsection b above.)

Distribution, also. (1)

J. T. MacLeod (111094) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144525)

If they are distributing these tools, whether they're used in the end result or not, they should be distributing source.

Re:Only if they changed something... (1)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144603)

While I agree with you, Some minor nitpicking:
Section 9 of the GPL states
"Each version is given a distinguishing version number. If the Program
specifies a version number of this License which applies to it and "any
later version", you have the option of following the terms and conditions
either of that version or of any later version published by the Free
Software Foundation. If the Program does not specify a version number of
this License, you may choose any version ever published by the Free Software
Foundation."

So eliminating those loopholes is impossible .(Though IANAL)
It would be near impossible to get everyone that ever wrote a line of code in the kernel source tree to agree to relicense their code under a 'new gpl', and some how revoke all previous licenses (Should be impossible, but nullsoft/aol kind of pulled it off)

And in an office in Redmond... (0, Redundant)

Ciderx (524837) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144353)

Steve Bullmer is reading that post, shaking his head and muttering, "I told em. Viral". And then throwing another 50 dollar note onto the fire.

Re:And in an office in Redmond... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144476)

/me takes the bait
How is it viral.. They stole the code. Gpl code isn't "free", you pay for it by following the rules of the gpl.

Re:And in an office in Redmond... (1)

WereTiger (148010) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144497)

I was thinking the EXACT same thing.

If they wanted to release the source, they'd have done so by now. Trying to force them will just lead to 'Bad Things'.

Like the fools that keep ranting about Nvidia openning the source of their drivers. I'd never do it in a million years if I were them, and that's partially because I'd be cheating at benchmarks ;)

Re:And in an office in Redmond... (2, Insightful)

be-fan (61476) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144554)

Yet, if Linksys had stolen Windows code and used it in their routers, Balmer would be calling the lawyers on them. You can use GPL'ed code all you want, but you can't abuse GPL'ed code, just like you can't abuse proprietory code. At least the FSF tends to be nicer about working with potential violaters than most commercial entities are.

D-Link, too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144365)

ftp 192.168.0.1
Username: root
Password: [yourpasswordhere]

Mentions something about UNIX. File listing access is always denied.


Try it yourself.

Re:D-Link, too? (2, Interesting)

PhoenixK7 (244984) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144496)

Hmm, denied access for me, but when I nmap it and try and fingerprint my DI-614+:

Starting nmap V. 3.00 ( www.insecure.org/nmap/ )
Interesting ports on (192.168.0.1):
(The 1600 ports scanned but not shown below are in state: closed)
Port State Service
80/tcp open http
Remote operating system guess: LinkSys WAP11 wireless AP firmware ver. 2.2

Nmap run completed -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 8 seconds

hmm..

It might be available (4, Informative)

FattMattP (86246) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144373)

The source might be available but only mentioned in the documentation. He states in his message that he doesn't own one of these units so he doesn't have access to all the information that an owner of the unit would. The GPL doesn't require that the source be distributed with the binaries only that it be available. That doesn't mean downloadable. It's possible that people who have purchased the unit have instructions contained within on how to download or order a CD with the source code.

But.. (0, Offtopic)

key134 (673907) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144394)

Can it run lin... oh, wait...

IMAGINE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144420)

A Beowulf cluster of these!

Re:IMAGINE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144558)

1001- PROFIT!!!!

How did this work for the Tivo? (1)

DonWallace (119294) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144401)

Just curious. Did the source code to the Tivo firmware ever get released? I never remember any such controversy about Tivo, and I also don't recall any release of GPLd code for Tivo anyway - admittedly I wasn't paying attention.

Seems to me that the issue is the same: embedded use of GPLd code in a commercial product.

Oh, wait, I'm such a jerk... (1)

DonWallace (119294) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144412)

Looked in Google groups: "Tivo GPL" was the search. Move along, nothing to see...

http://www.tivo.com/linux/index.html

Re:How did this work for the Tivo? (4, Informative)

dsgrntlxmply (610492) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144481)

Tivo have made source code available since approximately day one of their product.

Even before they had an FTP site, they would ship promptly and for a very reasonable fee, source on CD-R.

The real guts of the product, including all substantial video-related drivers, are in loadable modules. The kernel and provided source have just enough hardware-specific code to calm the hardware down enough to allow the kernel to get started.

As far as I can tell, Tivo have done everything they need to under GPL.

[Disclosure of interests: I own a small amount of Tivo stock. When I ordered the source code way back when, they included a nice Tivo hat along with the CD.]

Would source be interesting? (4, Insightful)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144417)

It looks like what people want is the driver source, so that certain wireless chips can be supported under Linux.

If Linksys did things right, however, those drivers will be compiled as modules, which they don't have to release source for (well...unless they started from GPL'ed driver source, of course).

Aside from the drivers, everything else interesting should be implemented as applications, which can be closed source on Linux.

So, don't get too excited: becoming fully GPL-compliant might consist of them simply putting up source for a stock kernel, and putting something about the GPL in their documentation.

I thought the kernel was LGPLed (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144418)

Is it not? My understanding is that under this license, one could link against kernel headers and be a binary only module. Obviously if I made modifications to the kernel base itself and/or distributed it I would be obliged to distribute the source for my kernel. But, I might have a device in my system that for legal reasons I could not distribute source for and therefore wish to supply binary only drivers for it.

The author of the post mentionned in this story makes the statement that binary-only modules are only allowed if they don't control critical elements of the kernel... this concept seems to lend itself to a lot of subjectiveness in my opinion.

Anyone wish to comment?

No they're *not* violating the GPL (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144424)

If they didn't make changes to GPL'd programs, and if they acknowledge that they use linux and specify what version etc, they don't have to release the code. Technically you could ask them to send you a copy of 2.4-20.tgz, and they could charge you reasonable costs for doing so.

This assumes they didn't alter GPL code.

An (in)appropriate response (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144437)

Linksys do something cool with Linux and contribute it to the community, and all some of the zealots can do is whine about GPL technicalities?! Typical... haven't you ever heard of gratitude?

Obligatory "not a GPL violation" post. (5, Interesting)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144441)

Two points. I always have two points.

First, as someone else already said, just becuase it uses a linux kernel doesn't mean they modified anything, it could be a stock kernel. If they wrote userspace drivers and/or kernel modules using existing interfaces for their custom hardware, they are not obligated to release anything.

Secondly, if they weren't abiding by terms they had to according to the GPL, it would be COPYRIGHT violation, not license violation, as if you don't comply with the license, copyright law says they can't redistribute it. I know it seems like a silly point, but it's not.

People talk about the GPL being "tested in court" and whatnot.. but the fact is: If you don't accept the GPL as valid, then copyright law still stands, and says you can't redistribute, or make derivitive works. A judge can rule the GPL as invalid, but that would mean that nobody had any rights to redistribute anything.

It's not a license you had to accept and agree to in order to use the product.. so you can't "violate" it.

Linus, or any other kernel developer could go to linksys, and say "I have not granted you permission to use my copyrighted work, please demonstrate why you think you are allowed to do this". They can then either cite how the GPL allows them to do what they do, or concede that they have no right to distribute.

So as unclear as I can be.. it's not a GPL violation... and people are not forced to release code because of a nonexistant GPL violation... although that might be an acceptable remedy to all parties in most cases. They could also be forced to simply stop doing it.

Re:Obligatory "not a GPL violation" post. (2, Insightful)

jas79 (196511) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144592)

First, as someone else already said, just becuase it uses a linux kernel doesn't mean they modified anything, it could be a stock kernel. If they wrote userspace drivers and/or kernel modules using existing interfaces for their custom hardware, they are not obligated to release anything.

Even if they use a stock kernel. they still have to suply the source of the stock kernel if they distribute a binary. read the GPL.

über (0, Offtopic)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144471)

it might provide the possibility of building an ueber-cool accesspoint firmware with IPsec and native ipv6

Shouldn't that be "über"? The right faux Anglicization has a certain je ne sais quoi. N'est pas?

Re:über (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144480)

Shouldn't that be "über"? The right faux Anglicization has a certain je ne sais quoi. N'est pas?

Ay Carumba!

Just be happy... (1)

ByTor-2112 (313205) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144473)

Just be happy that people are using Linux. IMO this kind of public outcry over this -- especially with the comment that you could take advantage of the source to use for your own purposes, with no reimbursement for their development costs -- drives people to the open willing arms of the BSD folks (which includes myself). This kind of inflexibility in working with commercial entities while OSS is still in the infancy of corporate adoption just turns them away.

No, they are not. (-1, Troll)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144500)

Go fuck yourself.

Can you imagine... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144546)

Can you imagine a beowulf cluster of these?

Most interesting fact (1)

lkaos (187507) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144555)

Ok, I don't know if they have to release source for anything (they can point to other spots saying it's all unmodified).

If they have properitary drivers for their cards, good for them but they don't need to release the source.

On the other hand, it would be nice if they gave you the ability to insert your own ramdisk into the firmware upgrade (run your own code on the router).

Can you imagine the number of cool things you could do with such functionality.

Is Checkpoint violating the GPL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144560)

Is Checkpoint [google.com] violating the GPL? According to this post on Slashdot, Checkpoint is shipping products based on Linux - without any sourcecode available or mentioning of it on their site.

What happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6144564)

What happens if them, or anyone is found guilty in a court?
What would be the penalty?
A fine?
Who would get the money? The FSF?
Or is this a criminal offense that would require jail time?

Just curious.

Time to sue? (0, Offtopic)

baywulf (214371) | more than 11 years ago | (#6144575)

Time to sue for $1 billion!
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