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A Ready-Made MythTV Set-Top Box in Australia

timothy posted about 10 years ago | from the plug-and-go dept.

Television 263

Anonymous Coward writes "Australian Personal Computer magazine published a review of a new all-in-one set-top-box based on linux. A quick analysis of the device yields some cheats/hacks that not only allow you to enable the advertisment skipping feature they disabled, but could allow system compromise. The system also runs a GPL version of MythTV - anyone else see any licensing issues?" Only if they don't follow the GPL.

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first post (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677188)

Death to all kikes.

This post was made by the one and only Ralph JewHater Nader.

Re:first post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677217)

I am raping your ass in my mind.

Re: Beowulf cluster! (-1, Offtopic)

seaswahoo (765528) | about 10 years ago | (#8677191)

*inserts comment about "Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these!"*

sure, I have so much good karma now I can throw away a bit.

First (-1, Redundant)

TheTray (750213) | about 10 years ago | (#8677197)

woah first. They hide the fact that it is mythtv pretty well so maybe gpl problem.

Re:First (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677208)

YOU FAIL IT, you dumb kike. It's just like the greedy jews to try and steal the first post and prevent my important message from being heard. Get your zionist shit off Slashdot.

Re:First (2, Insightful)

gabebear (251933) | about 10 years ago | (#8677397)

Any GPLed software can be taken and totally rebraded, as long as you are re-brading it with something you own the copyrights to and then re-releasing it under the GPL

The GPL doesn't give any protection from getting ripped off(while still re-releases are under the GPL), and forbids authors from adding stipulations to the licence that would let you stop people from ripping you off.

How do you think people fork under a different name?

looking (1, Informative)

AnonymousCowheart (646429) | about 10 years ago | (#8677199)

looking at their downloads page [d1.com.au] it seems that they dont have the source listed, only iso's and HMC Filters for Windows. Unless someone else sees a link for the source?

Re:looking (0)

tokaok (623635) | about 10 years ago | (#8677212)

maybe its included on a cd that comes with the box. gpl does not demand that it be available to all on the web possible costing big $ on bandwith.

for some companies distributing gpl software on a limited basis it might be cheaper to to ship a 1$ cd.

Re:looking (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677219)

Doesn't the GPL state "upon request"?

Re:looking (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677220)

They don't NEED to give a link to the source. They only need to supply it free (or cost of media) if someone who has a binary asks. You, unless you bought this device, have no right to ask the company for the source. Nothing will stop recipients of it from spreading it, but the mere fact that a company looked at a GPL'd product doesn't mean they're obligated to host it for everyone.

Re:looking (5, Informative)

Ralph JH Nader (765522) | about 10 years ago | (#8677224)

It's a common myth that the source code to GPL'd software must be made available for download off an FTP site or something similar. That is not what the GPL requires. The GPL requires you make the source available upon request. That being said, it would appear the source is being distributed, anyways.

Shouldn't this be $500 USA or less? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677399)

I still fail to see how this is not being sold by a US based company for $500 at every best buy in the country

Re:looking (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677615)

From the owner's manual available here [d1.com.au]

GNU GPL License

Your Rights Under the GNU GPL

The software used in the Home Media Centre is based on GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) software, with some further enhancements and modifications. This gives you, the purchaser, certain legal rights including the right to examine, modify and re-distribute the source code without the permission of Development One. To allow you to do these things, Development One has placed a copy of the Home Media Centre source code on the unit itself. In order to access the source code you will need to connect a VGA monitor, keyboard and mouse to the appropriate ports on the back of the unit. You can then logon as user "root" with the password "HomeMediaCentre". You can find the source code in various directories under "/root/hmc/". For further information regarding the software and the modifications you may make to it, refer to the MythTV PVR Project at http://www.mythtv.org. However, be aware that you may only modify and distribute the source code in accordance with the GNU GPL. Before you do any of these things please ensure you fully understand your obligations by viewing the full text of the GNU GPL at http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.txt.

The GNU GPL and Your Warranty

You have been provided with a warranty by Development One. This warranty covers the parts, labour and software components of your Home Media Centre. In order to maintain this warranty you must meet certain obligations. One of these obligations is that you do not modify the software on your Home Media Centre in a manner not authorised by Development One (see your warranty card for further details and other obligations.) This warranty does not in any way derogate from the legal rights you have under the GNU GPL. You may examine the source code without affecting your warranty. You may also modify any copy of the source code not stored on your Home Media Centre without affecting your warranty. However be aware that modifying the original copy of the source code on your Home Media Centre, recompiling the source code or any other unauthorised modification of the software on your Home Media Centre will void your warranty. A Home Media Centre which has had unauthorised modifications, whether made pursuant to your rights under the GNU GPL or otherwise, is not covered by your warranty.

On the D1 download page (-1, Redundant)

ObviousGuy (578567) | about 10 years ago | (#8677202)

I don't see the link for downloading the sources.

Perhaps they want personal emails instead?

Re:On the D1 download page (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677705)

I'm not sorry, that your early posting inane bullshit karma whoring didn't work that time.

I hope you choke on your dinner.

myth cable boxes? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677206)

Is that the cable box that results in lower cable bills?

After seeing the prices they are asking, (4, Funny)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | about 10 years ago | (#8677207)

I am 100% certain they are both smoking from Darl's pipe and paying Darl's fees...


Re:After seeing the prices they are asking, (4, Informative)

child_of_mercy (168861) | about 10 years ago | (#8677334)

Those are Australian Dollars.

Multiply by 0.65 to get the price in USD.

Re:After seeing the prices they are asking, (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677367)

Make that 0.75

Re:After seeing the prices they are asking, (2, Interesting)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | about 10 years ago | (#8677379)

That's freaking HIGH for a PC with Linux on it...

Re:After seeing the prices they are asking, (4, Funny)

mcspock (252093) | about 10 years ago | (#8677409)

You've never tried setting up mythtv, have you?

Re:After seeing the prices they are asking, (1)

citog (206365) | about 10 years ago | (#8677469)

AUD$500 effort? Given the price of hardware in this region (I'm in Singapore, ~7 hours flight away) I reckon it's possible to get that machine for AUD$1200.

Re:After seeing the prices they are asking, (2, Informative)

Spacejock (727523) | about 10 years ago | (#8677522)

The AUD is now 0.74, and was recently 0.80 US cents. Makes Amazon much better value for us aussies ;-)

And The First Show Broadcast Will Be... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677646)

...'Welcome to Slashdot.org.au!'

How come EVERY SECOND POST on /. now is about some boring Australian shit? It wouldn't be so bad if any of the stories were relevant or vaguely interesting, but they aren't...they always seem like a desperately-biased editor's barrel-scrapings.

Well, is it a modified MythTV (2, Interesting)

DarkkOne (741046) | about 10 years ago | (#8677210)

I mean admittadly, it's a problem that they don't clearly mention and link to MythTV's webpage or whatever, but if it's an unmodified binary built from source readily available, wouldn't they just need to point to it?

Re:Well, is it a modified MythTV (2, Informative)

TheTray (750213) | about 10 years ago | (#8677221)

It's modified, but the source is available in the iso, possibly also on the system already. There is also a mention on the last page of the manual. Weither legal or not they should place mythtv links more prominetly, IMO.

Re:Well, is it a modified MythTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677238)

the GPL does not require ANY links to be placed anywhere last time i looked.

it requires source distrobution of soem sort. there is no advertisement clause (which is what i see requiring links as)

Re:Well, is it a modified MythTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677229)

The GPL makes no mention of an exception for unmodified binaries.

Re:Well, is it a modified MythTV (1, Informative)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | about 10 years ago | (#8677239)

No it isn't. To comply with the GPL the source should be available from the same source as the binary. This is to prevent someone from, say, putting up the sources on a server and choking the bandwidth to 1b/s or offering to mail a CD for $5million "shipping and handling"

Re:Well, is it a modified MythTV (3, Informative)

Ath (643782) | about 10 years ago | (#8677273)

That may be what you read into the GPL, but you cannot cite any text to that affect.

The GPL is pretty general about the issue of how to provide the source code. It primarily reinforces that 1) you have to provide it to those who ask for it and 2) it must be for a reasonable fee only to cover costs.

Re:Well, is it a modified MythTV (2, Informative)

DarkkOne (741046) | about 10 years ago | (#8677281)

Actually, it doesn't have to be on the same media or from the same physical source.
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,
Which offers all kinds of nasty things you can do, like put that notice on the copyrights page in the manual that most people don't even glance at.

Re:Well, is it a modified MythTV (1)

Peridriga (308995) | about 10 years ago | (#8677248)

IANAL nor a wealth of resource on the GPL

Can someone more knowlegable about the legal issues of using open source (GPL specifically) briefly summarize what legal requirements one would have to meet if a company did the following and wanted to charge money for their final product
  • Used OSS in a final product (OSS libs, programs for data proceessing, etc)
  • Distrubutes an OSS project for profit? (modified or unmodifed)
  • Created a fork of the CVS for a distributed product?
  • Used core code base but, different GUI (output parameters)
  • Any other salient conditions I left out?

I wondering for this product and I'm sure there are many other products that use one form or another of OSS in their final versions?

What do they have to do to be legal under the GPL for us unenglightened on the full text of the license?

Re:Well, is it a modified MythTV (1)

bfree (113420) | about 10 years ago | (#8677306)

Simple, all you have to do (assuming all the original stuff is GPL) is only distribute the derived work under the GPL and hence make the source available to people you distribute binaries to.

If you don't want to do that but you do want to use GPL code, you have to be very careful about keeping things seperate and not contaminating anything (simply putting them on a cd together doesn't contaminate anything though).

Does anyone know about the hardware in this device? For example it mentions free to air and pay tv, is that analog or digital, terrestrial/satellite/cable? What sort of pay tv systems, is their one card standard in Aus (or just one pay tv supplier)?

And to go further off topic, how does it play DVDs? What is the legal status of libdvdcss or the like in Aus? What about licensing fees for Dolby Digital or DTS (or mp3)?

Re:Well, is it a modified MythTV (1)

Peridriga (308995) | about 10 years ago | (#8677390)

If you don't want to do that but you do want to use GPL code, you have to be very careful about keeping things seperate and not contaminating anything (simply putting them on a cd together doesn't contaminate anything though).

So if I want to distribute a commerical product using GPL code I must seperate the GPL code from the commerical code? Differentiate then at a function based level? Class Level? File Level? Logical Level? Can I re-write functions internal to the GPL project to get the output I need?

After these things do I have to release 'my' privately created code along w/ the GPL parts of my code?

Re:Well, is it a modified MythTV (1)

DA-MAN (17442) | about 10 years ago | (#8677444)

After these things do I have to release 'my' privately created code along w/ the GPL parts of my code?

1st, I am not a lawyer (IANAL always looks like it should be pronounced I anal), but if you modify GPL code and sell it, the derivative (your code + their code = derivative) is covered by the GPL and must come with a means of distributing the source.

However if you rewrite all the GPL code, then you're no longer a derivative. Once again the GPL actually grants rights, and only comes into play when you distribute. If this is all for personal use, this discussion is moot.

Re:Well, is it a modified MythTV (4, Informative)

fucksl4shd0t (630000) | about 10 years ago | (#8677648)

So if I want to distribute a commerical product using GPL code I must seperate the GPL code from the commerical code? Differentiate then at a function based level? Class Level? File Level? Logical Level? Can I re-write functions internal to the GPL project to get the output I need?


First, decide if you want your product to be GPL. If not, then you can't use any GPL code at all, on the level you're talking. If you want to include GPL software on your CD, but your actual program is separate and independent of the GPL stuff, no problem. You must provide sources for the GPL product, but not yours.

Second, commercial or non-commercial is irrelevant. Forget about it. The only issue is when you charge for the source code, you can't charge more than "reasonable cost of media" or somesuch.

Third, if you don't want your program to be GPL, but you want to use open source code, make sure you link dynamically to libraries that are LGPL, or another open source license that allows dynamic linking in that fashion.

Fourth, you have to deal with license compatibility. I think it's possible to link to a GPL library statically, or to incorporate GPL code into yours without GPLing your own code, but you have to release your code under a GPL-compatible license. That area is complicated and I don't completely understand it myself.

So, in summary, if you want your program to be GPL, you don't have to worry about separating your code from theirs. You only have to make sure you keep all copyright notices intact, and you note what changes you made to the code and place your own copyright notices around your own code. The end result will all be GPL, so you just want to make sure your contributions are noted. This is important in the future because if you don't, and the core developers all agree to change the license, they could change the license on your code without your permission, but they don't know they need your permission because you didn't mark your code properly.

The GPL doesn't deal with commercial vs non-commercial uses of the software, it only deals with distribution--all distribution.

If you dynamically link to LGPL libraries, you must provide the source code upon request to those libraries, but you do not have to provide the source code to your program nor do you have to GPL your program. If a GPL library can reasonably be expected to be installed on someone's machine, you don't have to GPL your code, I think. Because it's a system library. So you don't have to GPL your code that uses the WinAPI and winelib to compile, since you can reasonably expect the end-user to have winelib. I think. I could be wrong.

Remember, I'm not a lawyer, and the answers to all of your questions can be found at the source [gnu.org].

Re:Well, is it a modified MythTV (1)

Hast (24833) | about 10 years ago | (#8677676)

There are entire sections devoted to what constitutes aggregation and what rules apply to distribution (commersial or otherwise) in the GPL FAQ [gnu.org].

Oops, slight misreading (1)

DarkkOne (741046) | about 10 years ago | (#8677264)

One of the paragraphs reads like it might be possible, if it were unmodified, for them to say "Binary and Source forms are available here" and point at MythTV's site. It says if binary or source is made available by offering access to copy from a designated site... which I misread slightly, but it does seem to imply that the site should be yours. Regardless, they aren't required to post the source code on their site, or anything, not even include it. Assuming they have a little note somewhere saying "The source is availabe, at media-cost, from *******"

A$1,1799 - Ouch (2, Interesting)

deniable (76198) | about 10 years ago | (#8677211)

Call me cheap, but this better do a lot for that much.

Re:A$1,1799 - Ouch (1)

-tji (139690) | about 10 years ago | (#8677295)

But that's Australian.. What's the Australian Peso valued at these days?

Re:A$1,1799 - Ouch (4, Informative)

vranash (594439) | about 10 years ago | (#8677357)

I got 1300 on a currency calculator.. From the looks of the source for this thing it's a via based motherboard (via-rhine chipset) which means it's prolly either whatever via chipset mobo shuttle has out, or an epia based board. Either way, doing some rough calculations, you can put together this whole damn box for like under a grand... In fact Fry's had a media mini-itx case here from somebody (non-shuttle I believe) for like 400 with the pretty little facepanel and dials and crap) Figure in an AMD or Intel cpu at 50-200 bucks depending on how fast you want this thing to be, plus a hard drive (100 bux since their min is 80 gig, and that's being pushy), plus a capture card (Happauge PVR 250 is like 150$ here), and a DVD drive (30-80 depending on brand), plus maybe 90 bucks for a 512 or 180 for 2 sticks of PC3200 DDR.

400+200+100+150+80+18 0=1110$

So even buying everything off the shelf you could probably put together one of these systems for less than that price. Coupled with the fact that they should be mass producing these bastards they should be selling them for sub 700 bucks, and probably 400-500 if they want to be competitive.

Just my many thousand cents :)

-- vranash

Re:A$1,1799 - Ouch (1)

deniable (76198) | about 10 years ago | (#8677445)

Quick and dirty prices in AUD.

Processors start around A$100. 512 MB of PC3200 for about A$115. DVD for ~A$50. Got a DVD burner for $145 a couple of weeks back. 80GB Deathstar A$90. Not sure about the specific motherboard, but unless the moneys in the fancy case and remote, there's a bit of padding in the price.

Re:A$1,1799 - Ouch (1)

vranash (594439) | about 10 years ago | (#8677530)

No kidding, somewhere farther down somebody lists anothher PVR system, with not so pretty of a case, put a pricetag of 749 (can't remember if it was AU or US), with room for expansion.

Re:A$1,1799 - Ouch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677532)

If you want to check approximate pricing for components in Australia, you could start at Aus PC Market [auspcmarket.com], or maybe CPL [cpl.net.au] (a generic parts supplier that's sited close to where I live).

My take: based solely on the cost of hard drives (the easiest thing to check compared with their pricing), they're charging way over the odds. Of course, having it all set up and ready to run is worth a bit of money to some people. Me? I don't watch enough TV (there isn't enough worth watching, IMO) to justify the cost.

Re:A$1,1799 - Ouch (2, Insightful)

darxpryte (108284) | about 10 years ago | (#8677686)

You're missing a very important part of the equation. I'm not sure if you've ever gone out and set up mythtv on your own but depending on your skillset it's not a walk in the park.

In other words they're saving most users a hell of a lot of time and stress by providing this all prepackaged and set up.This skips the pain of setting up linux, xwindows, alsa, xine, vid card drivers, dealing with kernel compiles (depending on your distro), lirc config files, xine config files, xine lirc config files, mysql database setup, and a lot of other things I'm probably forgetting. Not to mention the hours spent to figure out how to do it all and what goes where. If I wasn't such a geek and enjoyed this kind of torture I'd definately think an extra few hundred dollars was worth it.

Re:A$1,1799 - Ouch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677358)

Can I call you dumb for not realizing that that's in Australian dollars?

Re:A$1,1799 - Ouch (1)

deniable (76198) | about 10 years ago | (#8677465)

Not when the local cut rate PC shops are selling cheap systems for $700 Australian. And maybe I'm old fashioned using A$ not AUD, but yes I said Australian dollars. They're the ones with see through bits and pretty colours.

who cares? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677222)

Does anyone out there still actually sit down and watch the idiot box? It's called idiot box for a reason ya know. Because the people who watch it are fucking tards.

This is not the original source (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677223)

The Australian magazine seems to have lifted heavily from the original article at ZDNet [zdnet.com]

Christ people (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677237)

Don't get your panties in a twist every time someone is making money with a method that involves the GPL. Instead of asking the dumbass question "anyone else see any licensing issues?", do some research yourself for fuck's sake.

Re:Christ people (1)

Adam9 (93947) | about 10 years ago | (#8677446)

Ah yes, you have fallen victim to modern Slashdot flamebait. We call this ignorance.

Re:Christ people (1)

Zakabog (603757) | about 10 years ago | (#8677555)

Instead of asking the dumbass question "anyone else see any licensing issues?", do some research yourself for fuck's sake.

Well from what I understand that is what the Anonymous Coward sent in, the editor added "Only if they don't follow the GPL." And I think "Anyone else" implies "I see some liscensing issues, how about you guys?" And the editor answered, "Only if they don't follow the GPL do I see liscensing issues." Now if you take out the else, they're asking for us to find out, but if you have it in there it says I found issues now you find some too.

Atomic (5, Interesting)

haRDon (712926) | about 10 years ago | (#8677244)

Atomic Magazine [atomicmpc.com.au] this month had a cover CD featuring a modified Knoppix distro for MythTV. Haven't checked it out yet, but looks quite interesting.

Runs on Debian (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677246)

This runs on Debian. Apparently, they made no effort to contact the Debian staff, which pissed them off somewhat. Their statement of response is here [debian.org]

Above link is dodgy. (1)

Roman_(ajvvs) (722885) | about 10 years ago | (#8677287)

... yes. I'm an idiot for trusting an anonymous coward link. it's the first bogus debian redirect I've seen. Fool me once, shame on me, etc. etc.

I find SageTV to be even better (5, Interesting)

buddydawgofdavis (578164) | about 10 years ago | (#8677247)

I no longer use my old Series 1 tivo. The hacks are nice, but with something based on a PC, the sky's the limit.

Currently, I'm using SageTV [www.sage.tv] It's a PC based DVR software package. With it, I can currently;

- Record two standard def stations, and a high def station at the same time while watching a fourth video of any type. (Obviously, this requires having two tuners and an HDTV tuner.)
- Record standard TV to MPEG-2, MPEG-1, or just about any other format. This makes it easier to make VCDs, DVDs, or just play the program back on a standard PC.
- Playback using Dscalar to deinterlace the video.
- Play DVDs
- Play DivX
- Record shows as favorites (just like season passes) or let SageTV record things based on my past viewing habits (much like tivo's suggestions only I don't have to bother with thumbs up and down buttons)
- Do all of the above with an integrated schedule, which is free. No need to pay a monthly fee.
- Play and manage my MP3 library (I think you can do ogg, ape, etc. with some tweaks to the config)
- Stream video and audio to another PC over my LAN.

I'm sure I'm missing much more. This thing does way more than any tivo, even a hacked tivo, and it's constantly being expanded. It surpasses TiVo and ReplyTV in every way. I've even found it to be more flexible than MythTV and Showstopper (though they do have a few benefits in some areas.)

Re:I find SageTV to be even better (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677389)

The only thing you mentioned that mythtv can't do is record things you might like based on viewing habits.
Plus mythtv gives you an integrated weather viewer, photo gallery, caller id display, web browser, Multiple frontend and backend setups (Hello having the backend in the basement doing all the recording and nice little epia based wireless boxes upstairs doing the frontend stuff). Hell, once the mfd stuff is done (music will probably be in the next release with video and tv to follow) you won't even have to configure anything. Just plop a new box down on the lan and it'll automagically get access to the backend and livetv, etc.

also, your cost is 0, where sagetv costs 50 or 60 bucks.
Hell, you can even get knoppmyth, which makes installation a twenty minute breeze (that's a complete linux install).

Call me when sagetv catches up.

Re:I find SageTV to be even better (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677682)

I forgot. Mythtv also has a web interface to see what is recorded, set recordings, see what music/videos are available, etc.

Re:I find SageTV to be even better (1)

zakezuke (229119) | about 10 years ago | (#8677624)

Nice link... looks like they support only hardware encoding tuner cards, rather then software ones.

The conexant 878 doesn't seem to be supported under SageTV... but according to the mailing list one user is using the a card with the conexant 878 chipset with myth TV http://www.mythtv.org/pipermail/mythtv-users/2003- June/005778.html

Otherwise SageTV looks interesting enough to try.. I'd try it my self but I'm stuck with a kworld mpeg2 tuner card.

I'm no lawyer but... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677261)

according to the GPL...I thought they only had to provide source to paying customers at their request. No one ever said they had to offer it up for free...

I've been waiting for this... (1)

laird (2705) | about 10 years ago | (#8677274)

I've been waiting for someone to ship a box based on MythTV. But these guys are definately on the low end of the food chain. I'd hope that companies shipping MythTV-based boxes would have enough integrity/brains to contribute to the project, though, rather than just take the software sell a product based on it. I'd also hope that someone would have the brains to make a more optimized system (custom motherboard and plastics, etc.) rather than ship a generic shuttle case. I guess that this does save some effort configuring hardware and software...

Re:I've been waiting for this... (5, Informative)

Rukapul (547373) | about 10 years ago | (#8677386)

Company representatives and developers are in contact with the MythTV developers and participate in the MythTV mailinglists.

The source is in the ISO. Some people identified some minor issues of non-compliance but the company already made clear that they wanted to comply fully and also want to contribute some things to the project.

If all these GPL fanatics would do some research before crying out loud...

Re:I've been waiting for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677455)

But these guys are definately on the low end of the food chain. I'd hope that companies shipping MythTV-based boxes would have enough integrity/brains to contribute to the project


MythTV gives the source code away for free (GPL) - why should anybody who uses it any way automatically be obliged to contribute back to it? Yes, it probably makes good sense in that they'll help foster a relationship with the community - but by absolutely no means should you expect such contributions.

For a small company shipping their first consumer product, it wouldn't suprise me if they had less than 10 employees and only one or two software engineers. Their focus at up till now would have been "just make the damn thing work", not "how can we contribute ideas and code back to the community then sit around the campfire singing songs?"

If this was a large company like, say - Sony - who had been contributing bucketloads of code and proposing new directions for the project to take - I suppose you'd be complaining that they were stepping in, trying to take over the project and should leave the poor little open source project alone.

Some of you open source zealots come across as totally paranoid whiny control freaks. There's absolutely no pleasing you.

Re:I've been waiting for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677720)

OK I'll make it real simple for you...

- The MythTV developers chose the GPL as the license under which to distribute their code.
- The people who made this product took a BIG shortcut and used the bulk of their code from MythTV and then released it as their own.
- This is actually OK, as long as the people who made the PVR follow the terms of the license under which the MythTV developers released their code.
- One of these conditions is that they contribute back to the community and changes they have made.

Its simply not alright for them to chose not to release the updates. If they had coded their product from scratch, they could decide to contribute or not. That is their copyright. Equally, the copyright in MythTV gives the developers of MythTV the right to license their product as they chose.

So regardless of the size of the company or any other factor, if you release code that is derivative of GPL'd code, you are bound by the license.

For God's sake (4, Informative)

Nailer (69468) | about 10 years ago | (#8677291)

The system also runs a GPL version of MythTV - anyone else see any licensing issues?

Commercial does not mean proprietary. Selling commercial products using Open Source is great - it often helps pay OSS programmers rent.

Why on earth do the Slashbots immediately assume anyone selling OSS is a) violating the GPL and b) evil ?

Re:For God's sake (2, Interesting)

TheTray (750213) | about 10 years ago | (#8677359)

In response to a) they are being very shady about mentioning that it is mythtv. As for b) again I see shades of gray. I have been following this for a while now as I am on the mythtv users mailing list. They may or may not be contributing at all thus no OSS programmer getting paid. They may be in the legal clear with a one liner at the end of the manual but to me they should be more upfront and if possible(ie not if their chapter 11) donate to mythtv for the betterment of the project.

Re:For God's sake (5, Informative)

DAldredge (2353) | about 10 years ago | (#8677430)

They do not have to mention the MythTv name. The GPL doesn't require it.

Re:For God's sake (1)

TheTray (750213) | about 10 years ago | (#8677515)

Boy did you miss the point. They may or may not be inviolation of GPL. I am not stating what is and what is not required. AFAIK a reference someone is required and they do have one buried deep in the manual. What I am stating is that this company isn't exemplifying the fact that it's gpl'ed. It may not be required but it would be nice for them openly support this project.

Re:For God's sake (1)

DAldredge (2353) | about 10 years ago | (#8677553)

You accused them of being shady and of being in a 'grey' area. They are neither, they are following the GPL and if the MythTv people get upset about it, then perhaps they should have used another license.

Of course, you are doing the same think of the page linked to in your sig.

Re:For God's sake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677709)

Not mentioning MythTV is enough to be classified as "shady." Being shady doesn't mean anything's illegal, it's just that they're not being clear about whether they are using an open source project or not.

Frankly, I see nothing wrong with them being shady (using the above definition), but others do.

Pot. Kettle (1)

DAldredge (2353) | about 10 years ago | (#8677509)

I notice that on your site (at least the one linked to from your /. profile) that the Movible Type Identifer is down at the bottom of the page. On my 21" 1280x1024 monitor in a maximized window I can not see it unless I shrink the text size down. So does that make your site shady?

Re:For God's sake (1)

John Hurliman (152784) | about 10 years ago | (#8677628)

I got in to this last summer. I was looking at building a very similar product to what the Australian company has (IMO the market is much too saturated at this point unless they are hoping to sell two or three models and quit) based on MythTV. I actually had a large set of patches to the MythTV project to make it work better with a remote, put a GUI on some of the command-line steps, etc. Before marketing I posted to the mythtv mailing list and let everyone know, and the lead developer of the project seemed to be pushing for some sort of compensation. I could have brought up the point that HE chose the GPL, but wanting to keep a good relationship with the core developers I asked how he wanted the donations to work. Was I supposed to send the project founder a check in the mail for coming up with the idea? Should I figure out how many lines every single person has contributed to the project since it's inception, get their current mailing addresses and divide a percentage of my revenue between them? Send it to someone's PayPal account and let everyone fight over the money? Well noone could come up with an answer so that's where the donations idea ended.

I'm all in favor of the GPL, I release virtually all of my own software under it, but if you are trying to make money off it you'd have better luck panhandling.

We don't.. (1)

msimm (580077) | about 10 years ago | (#8677486)

And I don't know if 'Only if they don't follow the GPL.' was added later or not, but it looks like the editor knew it wasn't necessarily an issue too. Not to bang on you (or anyone in particular) but what I'm getting a little tired of is all the knee jerk 'your just having a knee jerk' comments lately. Its like on Slashdot it used to be cool to be a Linux zealot, but now its more in fashion to be an anti-Linux-zealot zealot. Its making my head spin. ;-)

Re:For God's sake (4, Informative)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 10 years ago | (#8677590)

The whole licencing thing for this product has been discussed at length on the Myth-Users list (have a look at the whole thread [gossamer-threads.com]). Most of the developers are reasonably happy with the state of affairs with the exception that most commented it'd be nice if they made more of a mention of MythTV in their documentation and publicity.

The company in question have also said that they will be contributing back (some of) their code shortly.

Why the lousy shape? (4, Insightful)

justMichael (606509) | about 10 years ago | (#8677348)

When are they going to realize that if I am going to buy something meant to go into my home theater, it needs to fit in. That means is should be ~19" x 2-5" not some silly ass cube, it looks like a bookshelf unit.

GPL Compliance (5, Informative)

Crossfire (15197) | about 10 years ago | (#8677352)

I heard about this a bit early - I did some digging around on their website.

The openly admit it runs MythTV (once you find the comments), and that the source code is available ON the device itself...

Technically speaking, I think that actually qualifies for compliance.

Re:GPL Compliance (4, Insightful)

Jameth (664111) | about 10 years ago | (#8677459)

Not only is it compliance, it's a damn good way around it. Even if they go under, if you have a right to the source, you DO have the source. If not, it's your own damn fault.

I can't find there modified source code... (0)

XMichael (563651) | about 10 years ago | (#8677361)

I can't seem to find there modified source code

This is not the first time Isaac at MythTV has had to deal with this. There are two other rip offs floating around...


I'm personally quite happy with my homemade version, and it was a hell of alot cheaper. Can anyone say Knoppmyth (-;

Fascinating (3, Funny)

flopsy mopsalon (635863) | about 10 years ago | (#8677378)

From the highlights page [d1.com.au]:
incorporating cutting edge magnetic storage technology, the HMC digitally encodes live television
I find this fascinating. It seems the future of digital media storage involves actually using magnets to encode data. I definitely need to read up on how this new technology works.

Re:Fascinating (1)

pineapples10 (685792) | about 10 years ago | (#8677440)

"the HMC uses state of the art laser technology to read standard optical storage discs....yes...thats right...lasrs...like ones on saceships"

really...the HMC is truly ahead of its time....

Re:Fascinating (4, Funny)

MrIrwin (761231) | about 10 years ago | (#8677502)

It actually says "cutting edge magnetic storage". Cleary this is a hybrid techniqe that combines the best concepts of core storage with punched cards.

OTOH, this is an Aussie site, perhaps Bruce was just a few tubes of Fosters over his bating average.

So many drinking haterade ! (5, Insightful)

oddbudman (599695) | about 10 years ago | (#8677385)

Its amusing how many of your cry about how Linux is still lacking desktop penetration, yet you are quick to run anybody down using it to make a product for PROFIT (Perish the thought!). Lay down your purism, pour your haterade down the drain and sit back and enjoy the fact that hardly anybody will buy that overpriced box.. Would you all rather it was running windows? I would! I wish it was running on window ME with 32 megs of ram for the power Tivo user. Yeh baby. Some nice pointed out specs on the site crediting those who have paved their way (ie Redhat etc) might be good though.

What about ogg support.... (1)

apdt (575306) | about 10 years ago | (#8677393)

Finally.... a story about a media server that won't have a thread complaining that it doesn't support ogg/vorbis.

Nice to see that in there...

Question: (5, Funny)

errxn (108621) | about 10 years ago | (#8677428)

What happens if you try to watch Mythbusters on MythTV? Something like matter-antimatter annihilation?

Re:Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677633)

only in your head. that show sucks ass.

yawn (1)

pbjones (315127) | about 10 years ago | (#8677485)

you can publish hardware projects, and link to software, or suggest that software is available, without breaking any law. YOU may be breaking the law if you use a particular conbination of hardware and software illegally. Another example is projects that program smart-cards, software is not provided with the hardware.

They posted to the Myth list today... (5, Informative)

ajayrockrock (110281) | about 10 years ago | (#8677505)

Andrew Jamieson who works for the company in question posted [gossamer-threads.com] to the mythtv list today and they have the full intention of being GPL compilent (if they're not already!).

According to the email, the developer sent a message to Issac (lead developer for Myth) and I'm assuming that they're going to be working together to make Myth a better product.

Don't listen to the 'tards, this is good for Mythtv.


Re:They posted to the Myth list today... (3, Interesting)

PerryMason (535019) | about 10 years ago | (#8677678)

OK, so they are planning to be GPL compliant.

Next question. Where are they scraping the tv guide data from? Currently the only tvgrab_au that I know of is scraping from yahoo without any permission to do so. What happens when yahoo realise this and do something about preventing it?

Suddenly you've got a PVR box that cost AU$2,000 with no guide data to program from. I presume that the market for these things is someone who can't setup their own MythTV box and so couldn't hookup a new tvgrab_au. Do they send out a whole new distro, do they setup the box to give themselves remote access so they can go and fix the things? Either way, its going to be a nightmare supporting them, especially if you sell a bunch of the boxes. (Not to mention the fun of defending yourself against consumers who don't having a working PVR (they were sold a PVR, not a computer) and against the Australian content providers who are on the verge of bringing out their own PVR hardware and who really aren't too keen on copyright breaches (well thats the grounds by which they'll crush the company by keeping them in litigation for the next 10 years)

I was honestly considering building and selling home-brew MythTV boxes like these (here in Australia) but MythTV is just too unstable/changing to put it in the hands of the complete novice. I envisage one or more of the following things happening;
1) They sell a few of them and the spend countless hours (and dollars) supporting them and then go bankrupt slowly.
2) Sell a stack of them and go bankrupt quickly when they can't support their userbase.
3) Get tied up in litigation and go bankrupt slowly.

Good lord (1)

Grimster (127581) | about 10 years ago | (#8677605)

Ok at first I was like "cool, sounds neat" then I saw the pricing and then I did my worst Shaggy impression "ZOIKS Scooby that fucker is expensive" (ok I did say worst).

While I applaud most any corporate/public/front page getting use of open source stuff, I just can't see anyone buying this - I mean yowza, talk about expensive.

Or does the Aussie dollar trade like 3 to 1 for US dollars (ok I'm a typical American and don't know what other money is "worth" but I thought Aussie dollars were in the ballpark of the same value as US).

Still kinda neat though, however it does just look like one of those little Shuttle "cubes" with some open source hacked up software on it.

Re:Good lord (1)

pineapples10 (685792) | about 10 years ago | (#8677661)

that is quite expensive, considering the software is free..perhaps you are paying for the installation on Linux + Myth, as most people arent well versed in Linux. Anyone have any idea what cpu/clock speed this thing has? Anyoen know anything aboubt any specs for that matter?

Myth project (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8677617)

The MythTV project, and Isaac in particular are aware of this project.
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