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Dish Network Dishes Source Code for DVR

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the half-the-battle dept.

Television 337

An anonymous reader writes "According to Dish Network they are accommodating 'requests for the portions of the DISH 921 DVR source code that are subject to the GNU Public License, or GPL. In compliance with the terms of the GPL, we are making this source code available to the public to download. Please note that the DISH 921 DVR software also includes some proprietary elements that are not subject to the GPL. You cannot create a working DISH 921 DVR software build without the additional proprietary code. Do not replace or add any software to the DISH 921 DVR with items compiled from these source trees. Doing so will void all warranties and cause the unit to fail.'"

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337 comments

52 Megs of source? (1)

damonsmith (811051) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529222)

Holy crud.

More actually: (1)

nietsch (112711) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529445)


fLinux (34,784 KB)

GNU Source Code (54,281 KB)

games (4,258 KB)

So it is more like ~95Mb of source. That crud has reached nirvana even!

Re:More actually: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529583)

Not really, the 1st and 3rd packages are included in the 2nd archive...

GPL != GNU Public License (5, Informative)

gimpboy (34912) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529237)

Actually, GPL is the General Public License [gnu.org] .

Re:GPL != GNU Public License (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529369)

It should be called the GPL Public License... :)

Re:GPL != GNU Public License (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529412)

Actually, that's the GNG license

Re:GPL != GNU Public License (3, Funny)

uss_valiant (760602) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529567)

Actually, GPL is the General Public License.
Well, actually GPL is a recursive acronym for "GPL's a Public License".

cool (2, Insightful)

sabernet (751826) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529243)

A larger media conglomerate fulfilling their end of the bargain? I think I like Charlie:)

On a more serious note, it's good to see some companies actually doing the right thing(aka the anti-SCO).

Re:cool (2, Informative)

Curtman (556920) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529462)

A larger media conglomerate fulfilling their end of the bargain?

Are they though? I don't care to RTFA to find out, but doesn't this:

You cannot create a working DISH 921 DVR software build without the additional proprietary code.

... go directly against this [gnu.org] :

You have a GPL'ed program that I'd like to link with my code to build a proprietary program. Does the fact that I link with your program mean I have to GPL my program?

Yes.


I thought this was what the LGPL was created to allow people to do.

Re:cool (2, Insightful)

Bradee-oh! (459922) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529678)

This point is exactly what I was thinking the moment I read that story and they seem to be in violation.

However, I've always wondered (and maybe there's a simple answer for this but googling it would help only me and keep it out of the discussion) - What if you ran the GPL code and your proprietary code seperately (different processes?) and just had them communicate via IPC? Sockets, pipes, shared memory... whatever. It seems like a cheap way around that rule in the GPL but I fear that it is valid...?

Odd caveat (4, Interesting)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529247)

"Do not replace or add any software to the DISH 921 DVR with items compiled from these source trees. Doing so will void all warranties and cause the unit to fail.'""

Is this the normal "no user-serviceable parts inside" caveat, or does it suggest that they, in fact, haven't released all the modifications to GPLed code in their product?

Re:Odd caveat (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529271)

It's the latter. The 921/721 kernel does checksumming on various binaries upon mounting the root partition to make sure they haven't been modified, and that part of the code is MIA.

Re:Odd caveat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529278)

I doubt they're giving away the details of how to decode the satellite portion, so you're going to be left with something that doesn't replace the original.

Unless FOSS is putting up their own satellites, it seems like a reasonable restriction given the cost of running their network.

Re:Odd caveat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529299)

They are just trying to warn people that they will not get help if they screw things up for themselves. Manufaturers put the same type of warning stickers on diskmans and vcr's, but they are "servicable" with a little know-how.

Re:Odd caveat (1)

DaHat (247651) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529304)

That and the fact that they look to be releasing only their Linux kernel, a few basic utilities and games... not the actual high level DVR software.

From the looks of it (and not surprisingly) there is no code related to the actual DVR functionality, nor interfacing with 8VSB or QPSK demodulators.

Re:Odd caveat (0)

rdc_uk (792215) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529305)

This means what they said; their changes to GPL code rely on proprietary code. They don't have to, and hence have not, released the proprietary code. Therefore, you can't make a working system from whats relesed.

Example:

if this is GPL code:

int func_a()
{
return 3;
}

and this is your own PRIVATE code:

int func_mine_all_mine()
{
return 3003;
}

and you change the GPL code thus:

int func_a()
{
return (fun_mine_all_min() % 3);
}

You have to release your changed func_a to the world. But you DON'T have to release ANY VERSION of func_min_all_mine to anyone. And without that function, the new version of func_a does nothing but cause a compiler error.

Re:Odd caveat (1)

file-exists-p (681756) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529364)


I am not a GPL expert, but what you are saying is likely to be incorrect. This would be a major loophole in the GPL (basically, put all your changes in a file my_changes.c, link with it and never give it).

I think you can not distribute a binary derivated from a GPL source code and which is linked (statically or dynamically) with a closed library. There may be exceptions though (or lot of GPL things would not dynamically link on proprietary UNIX).

--
Go Debian!

Re:Odd caveat (5, Informative)

resiak (583703) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529365)

No, that's not true. If you're calling a function like that, you have linked the GPLed code to your homebrew code, and so the GPL's "viral" nature kicks in --- if you release the binaries to the world, you must release your own code under the GPL to anyone to whom you supply binaries.

The example you were looking for is something like the following:

#!/usr/bin/perl
# This file is covered by the GPL, blah blah.

sub frobnitzigate {
#return "No frobbing possible!";
return `a-binary-we-dont-want-to-gpl`; # Added by Evil Company(TM)
}

# blah

Now you don't have to release the source to a-binary-we-dont-want-to-gpl --- this is what the GPL calls "mere aggregation", and is (probably) what has happened with the DVR stuffs.

Would you at least... (1, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529374)

...try to get a clue, before you post? That code must be released under the GPL, hell even the LGPL as it is an internal change. There are other ways like having a kernel stub which are legal, but I think their function would be completely lost on you.

Kjella

Re:Odd caveat (3, Informative)

po8 (187055) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529399)

Nope. Read your GPL carefully. If func_mine_all_mine() is part of a GPL-ed program, you'll have to release its source anytime you release the binary to that program.

Now there's some controversy about what counts as "part of a GPL-ed program." Shared libraries? Kernel modules? Driver scripts? RMS and the FSF legal team, Linus Torvalds, and others have all released opinions on this, but so far I'm not aware of any court cases that have defined these limits legally. It may be that DN's lawyers think that they have a legal case for keeping some code out.

Re:Odd caveat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529632)

My opinion on this topic is that if I can't get the "non-GPL" parts in a functional product from you which doesn't contain the GPL parts, then every part of your product is subject to the GPL. Note that this doesn't apply to normal Linux-only programs unless they are exclusively distributed with Linux.

Re:Odd caveat (1)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529432)

If they're both included in the same program you do, ie: if the binary compiled by your source includes both functions then the source to both functions must be released.

Signed binaries? (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529337)

Could be the apps in the PVR are digitally signed to prevent them being replaced / infected. A home-compiled module would lack the necessary signature.

Re:Odd caveat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529352)

A custom app written in C that uses no GPL'd code does not fall under the GPL.

Re:Odd caveat (1, Informative)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529592)

As someone who used to work for that company, I'd be willing to bet that the DVR will simply refuse to work if unblessed software is loaded.

The original DishPlayers *COULD* be upgraded with much larger hard drives than they originally came with. The company found out that people were doing this and updated the software so that the units would refuse to run if a hard drive larger than the original was in place.

They said that it was about compatibility issues, I suspect that it was because they wanted to force people to buy the newer, more expensive DVRs.

LK

Sounds like reverse psychology (4, Insightful)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529273)

Don't try and make some code that'll fit in place of our proprietary code - YOU CAN'T DO IT!

Re:Sounds like reverse psychology (2, Insightful)

hhawk (26580) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529310)

It would be of course interesting to know if they are holding something back or just keeping their own code private... but doesn't things like the DMCA prevent "the community" from taking a look...

If it is something private, non-GPL code is it likely to be something small but critical like some driver? or is it likely to be something resulting from 1000's of staff hours..?

Perhaps we will never know.

Wow (-1, Troll)

jgee242 (823881) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529286)

This sounds like an invitation to get hacked.....

Re:Wow (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529357)

No kidding. This is going to blow up big time in the faces of open sores zealots. Just wait and see.

GPL is viral no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529291)

I didn't think that you could mix proprietry and gpl code? How are they releasing parts of a source code tree - I thought it was all or nothing if you include GPL in your source?

I think there needs to be a monetary penalty for this sort of messing with GPL'd code.

No (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529342)

GPL is viral no?

Look at nVidias drivers. There's nothing but a stub in the kernel. The rest is in userspace and closed. Everyone seems ok with that. And any user-space program running on top of Linux can be non-free/closed.

Just because they are required to share all code that is being linked to, doesn't mean it is complete or in reality useful. That being said, I don't know anything about what this specific code is missing.

Kjella

Re:GPL is viral no? (4, Insightful)

Ed Bugg (2024) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529359)

I didn't think that you could mix proprietry and gpl code? How are they releasing parts of a source code tree - I thought it was all or nothing if you include GPL in your source?

Well kinda... What you do is write an abstraction layer, kinda of a hook into your proprietry software. You'll need to release the abstraction layer (The functions and routines that call GPL routines and use the variables from the GPL modules) but not the proprietry stuff.
That is perfectly legal (not neccaryly ethical) and many companies do it.
It would look something like this (assume code sprinkled in different source files
gpl_code() {
do stuff here;
abstract_api1();
}

abstract_api1() {
proprietry_func();
}

abstract_api2() {
do other stuff here;
}

proprietry_func() {
abstract_api2();
}

Re:GPL is viral no? (1)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529442)

More to the point...

Vendor has custom hardware, that (say) has flash on it.

Decides to use Linux as the OS... The flash is preloaded with an updater and linux.

Of *course* the vendor puts the source for Linux on her site -- why not?

What is kept proprietary are the tools needed to generate and sign the flash load.

Now, you COULD try to reprogram the flash, by "cracking" the Linux installation, and reprogramming the hardware. But, if it breaks -- you own both pieces.

Ratboy

Re:GPL is viral no? (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529518)

It's ethical if you want to protect your IP. Also, the open source code project gets back all modifications to the code base. I hope the next version of the GPL would formerly recognize this relationship. The interests of both parties are protected.

Re:GPL is viral no? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529620)

Not that I don't agree with you, but you are missing the yackfucker's whole point.

He doesn't believe you have the right to keep your IP private. He thinks that all your IP should be open to the public. To him, it is unethical to keep it a secret.

He knows the rest of the world disagrees with him, so he drafted the GPL to allow like minded folk to start a mini-revolution. If I write some cool shit, and GPL it, and you want to use some of my cool shit, in your even cooler shit, great, but then you need to publish your cool shit to the world, and it grows. The point is, that sooner or later, if enough "starter cool shit" is out there, it would be virtually impossibly to write code that wasn't infected with the GPL, and so sooner or later, all source would be open.

This is the main difference between the yackfucker and other licenses like BSD style licenses. He doesn't want you to share, he wants it all. The BSD wants you to share what you want to share, and not share what you don't want to share.

Stated differently, Yackfucker doesn't believe in sharing, he is selling his IP for your "code futures", or probably better stated as "code options". BSD believes in sharing; once you have it, you are free to do whatever.

Re:GPL is viral no? (1)

NovaX (37364) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529539)

I don't believe that is exactly correct. You would still include GPL code in the proprietary code, just seperated slightly, but not as a seperate process. That would work for the LGPL, but not for the GPL. See this [n0i.net]

At one end, the "mere aggregation" certainly makes it safe to ship GPLed software on the same media with your proprietary code, provided they do not link to or call each other. They may even be tools operating on the same file formats or on-disk structures; that situation, under copyright law, would not make one a derivative of the other.

At the other end, splicing GPLed code into your proprietary code, or linking GPLed object code to yours, certainly does make your code a derivative work and requires it to be GPLed.

It is generally believed that one program may execute a second program as a subprocess without either program becoming thereby a derivative work of the other.

The case that causes dispute is dynamic linking of shared libraries. The Free Software Foundation's position is that if a program calls another program as a shared library, then that program is a derivative work of the library. Some programmers think this claim is overreaching. There are technical, legal, and political arguments on both sides that we won't rehash here. Since the Free Software Foundation wrote and owns the license, it would be prudent to behave as if the FSF's position is correct until a court rules otherwise.

Different executables, you mean. (1)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529570)

That "abstract_api1" better be calling system(" proprietary_prog args") if you want to be GPL-compatible. What's more, you'd better be sure that proprietary_prog doesn't even include more GPL header files than fair use allows.

What you're describing is LGPL-compatible: with the LGPL you only have to release code to a library and modifications to that library. With the GPL, you have to release modifications to the entire derived work.

Now, you might be able to convince a court that sufficiently abstractly linked code isn't a derived work. I'd at least make sure nothing is statically linked in that case, but I know RMS considers even dynamically linked binary-only code to be a GPL violation - who knows what a court would say. I know Nvidia's walking on thin ice with this one - Linus considers binary modules that don't require core kernel changes to be GPL-compatible, but IIRC there are other kernel developers who disagree and just aren't angry enough to sue about it.

Not viral, but derivative work = GPL (1)

nietsch (112711) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529423)

The GPL is not viral in that everything that comes into contact with it gets ill/becomes gpl. There is absolutely no problem for a non-free program to run an a free OS, so dish can use a linux kernel for their os, and run their own non-free software on top of it. That is at least, if you regard the box a a 'regular' computer that users can run their own programs on.

However if you regard it as an appliance, where the only program the user can run is non-free, maybe then you can regard the whole appliance as a derivative of linux => GPL. Also if their proprietary code uses specific linux calls that are not offered by any other OS, one can still argue that the complete product is a derivative work.
Let's hope they are not using any netfilter code in there, otherwise Harald Welte (of gplviolations and author of said code) might give them some 'free publicity'. ;-)

Microsoft Marking is viral, no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529513)

GPL is not viral. Microsoft/SCO FUD is viral.

You cannot create a working... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529295)

They are kidding, right?

Dragged kicking and screaming into the light... (5, Insightful)

pieterh (196118) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529298)

Some of the ways companies try to avoid complying with the spirit of the GPL, even if they comply with its letter:

1. The "Vogon" strategy... the source code is available on the web site but you have to go down the stairs, look in the bottom shelf of a filing cabinet behind a locked door with a sign "beware of the leopard" on it.

2. The "Proprietary pieces" strategy... the source code is released, oh yes, but with significant pieces missing.

3. The "Under development" strategy... coming soon folks, as soon as we get it ready.

All these are quite hard to sustain.

But what really amazes me is how slow companies like Dish are to understand the benefits that the GPL brings them. They are building on top of commodity software. They have access to hundreds of skilled engineers at little or no cost. These people ask nothing better than to act as a volunteer R&D department, in exchange for appropriate credit and possibly some long term kudos.

But no... instead we get these "compliance" releases, basically useless.

The key is this: if you are selling a device and your software is GPLd, you have created a platform and you can potentially sell 10, 100 times more if you provide a decent product at a reasonable cost.

Not only does it make excellent business sense to re-release improvements to GPL'd software as cleanly and transparently as possibly, but it makes sense to release proprietary software exactly the same way.

Re:Dragged kicking and screaming into the light... (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529329)

I find it a bit strange that a company that chooses to use open source code wants to hide the source. If they wanted to hide the source why didn't they just make their own code instead of using someone elses?

Re:Dragged kicking and screaming into the light... (2, Funny)

BiggyP (466507) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529338)

the vogon strategy you suggest doesn't sound terribly vogon to me, more like terrestrial bypass planning.

Re:Dragged kicking and screaming into the light... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529426)

But what really amazes me is how slow companies like Dish are to understand the benefits that the GPL brings them. They are building on top of commodity software. They have access to hundreds of skilled engineers at little or no cost. These people ask nothing better than to act as a volunteer R&D department, in exchange for appropriate credit and possibly some long term kudos.

What make you think Echostar wants outside help? What would they have to gain? We're not taking about a commodity hardware here; we're talking about a box that is useless without a satallite subscription.

Consider the heavy amount of security in this box. Signals from the satellite are encrypted. THey are decrypted by the box based on the user's subscription. The unencrypted stream is then re-encrypted with a key unique to the box before being stored on the hard drive. They've gone through a lot of trouble to make damn sure nobody can get access to the unencrypted data stream.

Given how locked down this box must be, why would Echostar ever want to encourage 3rd party hacking of it?

Re:Dragged kicking and screaming into the light... (2, Insightful)

pieterh (196118) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529508)

You are suggesting that because (e.g.) the stream must be secured, that the user interface cannot be improved upon, translated, whatever?

The two issues can be separated, more or less easily. A secure application can run on top of an open platform, and vice-versa. It requires a clean API, documentation and run time binding (rather than build-time binding). All perfectly feasible. This is why, for instance, I can run Linux on proprietary hardware, something we all take for granted, but which is fundamentally exactly the same issue.

Further, a clean separation between the two makes GPL compliance easy while still encouraging people to play with and improve the open layers.

Re:Dragged kicking and screaming into the light... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529672)

You are suggesting that because (e.g.) the stream must be secured, that the user interface cannot be improved upon, translated, whatever?

The two issues can be separated, more or less easily.
... if and only if your security is 100% perfect.

I am a long time Echostar customer, and over the years I've seen them take ever increasing measures to lock down their boxes. They (or their content providers) are completely paranoid on this issue. The DVR is question, the 921, initially came with firewire ports. Some content provder(s) complained, and Echostar deactivated the ports. Subsequent production runs omitted the firewire port completely.

Other posters have already covered the business reasons to not open up their DVRs. I just wanted to highlight the security reasons for them not to.

Re:Dragged kicking and screaming into the light... (3, Insightful)

Bloater (12932) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529436)

The problem is they are building on top of commodity hardware, with the only advantage being the software. A competitive market has no room for openness. In such a market, every dollar you grow is a dollar that your competition shrinks. You don't want that to happen the other way around. For everything you do that helps your competitor, your competitor grows a little faster. That means you grow a little slower or shrink.

Embedded consumer entertainment appliances are a very, very competitive market. That's why prices are so low, and there are so many small players. All those niche's have converged to one market leaving it over-crowded and over-supplied. Nobody can be expected to give up their share of that market without at least a fight.

Longer lasting = added value (3, Insightful)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529572)

But what really amazes me is how slow companies like Dish are to understand the benefits that the GPL brings them. (..) Not only does it make excellent business sense to re-release improvements to GPL'd software as cleanly and transparently as possibly, but it makes sense to release proprietary software exactly the same way.

I think most businesses still underestimate the added value it gives to customers, if products can be extended/upgraded in 'unintended' ways. I suppose the thinking may be something like "this year, we sell you something with a fixed set of functions, so if you want something extra that we come up with next year, then you'll have to buy again". If customers can upgrade and extend functionality themselves, the product may last a lot longer, and businesses may feel they lose out on sales of newer products. And maybe business feel that added value for customers != added value for the company. Note this is a lot of speculation on my part.

What they fail to realize, is that a longer lasting product is one that is a) more appreciated, and b) is worth more (=could be sold at a higher price). It's no different from the pricing difference between a cheap model car, and say... a <insert your favourite top-of-the-line car maker here>. The latter is a lot more expensive, but still very much worth its money. Not only because of the name, but by including quality parts, more attention to detail, better service, and so forth. Both cars will get you from A to B, but the expensive model may even be cheaper... in the long run, when you drive enough miles in it. And by breaking down less often, and give you more time before you need a new car.

The 'quality' part gives a product a higher profit margin, and the 'customer satisfaction' keeps customers coming back. So that added customer value does equal added value for the company.

It just shows that few companies understand this, or prefer to go for the quick buck as opposed to keeping their customers happy for a long time.

They call this compliance? (4, Interesting)

McGregorMortis (536146) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529302)

"Do not replace or add any software to the DISH 921 DVR with items compiled from these source trees. Doing so will void all warranties and cause the unit to fail."

The whole point of the GPL is that users can make modify the code. If the deriviative code they have released cannot be loaded without rendering the unit unusable, then they have clearly violated the spirit of the GPL. Maybe they've found some kind of loophole, I don't know.

If the device will not work without linking in proprietary code, well, then they gots themselves a problem. But it's their problem, not the GPL's. Either the proprietary code goes, or the GPL code goes.

Re:They call this compliance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529333)

They may have violated the spirit of the GPL, but there could be a good chance that their programs are completely stadalone from the GPL'd code, i.e. something like a smart card verifier running on top of a linux base

Re:They call this compliance? (3, Insightful)

theonlyholle (720311) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529336)

Pretty much depends on your definition of "linking in proprietary code". If the devices boots into Linux, but there are no applications to start (because they are proprietary and so you didn't have the source to compile them), so it doesn't do anything, that's not against the GPL - neither letter nor spirit of the GPL. You still get the source for the parts based on the GPL - but you'd have to write your own application software to run on top of it.

Proprietary BIOS (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529347)

A PC will not even boot without running at least some proprietary code. Upwards of 99 percent of desktop PCs come with a proprietary BIOS.

Re:Proprietary BIOS (1)

wasabii (693236) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529470)

www.linuxbios.org

Re:They call this compliance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529397)

I bet the device will work just fine; but then you won't be able to connect to their network, ala xbox live and the modded xbox problem.

With the size of the cable descrambler market, I can see why they are paranoid of DVRs based on derivative works.

I think i'm gonna go play some "backup" games on my xb0x... yeah...backup games...

Re:They call this compliance? (1)

windows (452268) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529578)

I can't comment on the device failing as a result of loading the code.

That being said, the part about voiding the warranty is hardly unreasonable. The unit is designed to run software that DISH Network distributes with it and not other software. Since GPL software is distributed without any warranty, and loading the "third party" software voids the original warranty, you would not have any warranty on the unit. I use the term third party software in a loose sense because it could be the same software but since they didn't compile it, they don't support it.

It's a little shaky, I agree, but not necessary as anti-GPL as it initially sounds. Minus the part about causing the unit to fail, that is.

Re:They call this compliance? (1)

matthew.thompson (44814) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529599)

It's only their problem if the GPL code is linked to the proprietary stuff. If they pipe stuff through or don't directly interface the two then it's not an issue.

OR at least thats how I understood the GPL to work.

You should be able to discover from the code they're released what the case is but please don't tar them until you or someone else has done the research and had it ratified.

Nice to see (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529318)

This is a little off topic, but it's nice to see Dish with a little honesty for a change. When I started EFT service after being with them for 2 years. They turned my service off for non-payment twice after the EFT had started withdrawing funds. Like clockwork, every 2 months it was turned off. When I called them, they turned it back on, but then I got charged a reconnect and late fees.

Second time I told them not to turn it back on and I was cancelling service. I turned around and got DTV that day and canelled any EFT from dish.

Long story short, 6 months later I got a collection letter for $400. Turns out they turned the service back on and charged me for 2 months of service I didn't use plus the receiver I sent back to them. The collections still there with a note saying that it's invalid. After numerous conversations, they still swear that I owe them 2 months of service and a receiver even though I've sent them records of the receiver sent back to them via UPS and the start date of my DTV service.

I've spoken with 9 different Dish customers that have had similar cases but kept service. I also had a friend that took a job with them. They even lied to him about working around his school. He ended up having to quit because they wouldn't schedule him around his classes.

Anyone paying Dish for service deserves the screwing they're getting.

Re:Nice to see (1)

uofitorn (804157) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529394)

Sounds like they're up to their old tricks to me
http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid =149501&cid=12529298

Re:Nice to see (Helpful, but way off topic) (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529525)

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act it is up to them to prove that you didn't cancel service and not the other way around. In a court case with your shipping information you have the preponderence of evidence. Send them a certified letter telling Dish they have 30-days to send you their evidence or they must cease all collection efforts. Be sure to reference the Reporting act and be sure to detail the damages you have suffered due to the lower credit score and higher interest rates they have caused. The Act specifies that recovery of damages is permissible. If they do not comply, talk to an attorney as you have a case. They count on people not knowing the rules....

Doing so will void all warranties (3, Funny)

a_greer2005 (863926) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529321)

warranties? warranties???? This is slashdot! WE DONT NEEDNO STINKING WARRENTIES!!!

Re:Doing so will void all warranties (1)

republican gourd (879711) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529519)

You, my friend, are experiencing one of the common blunders! Besides fighting a land war in asia (assuming you are an american), you are also mixing WARRANTIES up with BADGERS!

Violating the GPL (2, Insightful)

Trevin (570491) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529334)

Do not replace or add any software to the DISH 921 DVR with items compiled from these source trees. Doing so will void all warranties and cause the unit to fail.

This is an obvious violation of the spirit of the GPL. From the Preamble:

The licenses for most software are designed to take away your freedom to share and change it. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free software ...

When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for this service if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.

Of course, they are well within their rights to say that modifying the software will void their warranty, but they can't forbid you to modify the software, and they shouldn't rig the system so that it intentionally fails if the software is modified.

Re:Violating the GPL (2, Insightful)

jericho4.0 (565125) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529396)

Modifying the software doesn't void the warranty, modifiying the hardware does.

Re:Violating the GPL (1)

Luthair (847766) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529488)

A warranty is for manufacturers defects, you modifying the software obviously wouldn't qualify.

Re:Violating the GPL (2, Insightful)

l2718 (514756) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529670)

There may be a GPL violation here, actually. They say:

You cannot create a working DISH 921 DVR software build without the additional proprietary code.

There are two ways to interpret this statement; I think they are honest and mean the first, but someone (not me) might want to verify that:

  1. The OS for the device derives from GNU/Linux/etc and is covered by the GPL; they run their written-from-scratch DVR software on top. The code they released will compile and run, but will not give you a DVR by itself.
  2. In order to get the OS to run on the hardware, or perhaps even to compile it, you need to add in the proprietary elements they are not releasing. This would violate the terms set in the last two paragraphs of Clause 3 of the GPL.

Kernel .config file (1)

paulproteus (112149) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529343)

They did release the .config file used to build their kernel. If you don't want to download their whole "fLinux" source tree just to look at it, I put it up on my web space [jhu.edu] . Give it a look-over; I imagine this would be the easiest component of the device to replace. Modify the kernel with e.g. Sebek [honeynet.org] and you should be able to get a good idea of what's going on under the hood.

Also, the GNU_Source_Code.zip includes fLinux.tar.gz and games.tar.gz, so if you get the zip file the other two are redundant.

The Apple approach... (0, Flamebait)

Jerry (6400) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529367)

This sounds familiar.

The KDE-Konqueror team was elated two years ago with the news that Apple was going to use KHTML in their browser. Like the CEO's of new software startups that were wined & dined by Microsoft before they were deflowered of their innovative software, the Konqueror coding crew now knows what it is like "working with" a company whose motivation is not community but profit if not just plain greed.

Apple used KHTML to build their browser but made calls to their own proprietary API, resulting in source that could not be effectively back ported to KDE's Konqueror. The effect of this software 'sharing' of GPL code was that a corporation selling proprietary hardware driven by proprietary software was able to exploit GPL software WITHOUT actually allowing the FOSS community to benefit from their exploitation. The "two street" of code sharing was downhill on one side and uphill on the other ... in fact a wall. Apple's OS now includes a browser built on Konqueror GPL code but, IN VIOLATION OF THE GPL, the enhancements to that code were added in such a way that the FOSS community cannot benefit from them. This effectively turned the GPL license into a BSD license! The GPL needs to be modified to address this subtle form of code theft.

The only difference between Microsoft's "thought thefts" and Apple's is that Apple used a little more finess and polish. The RESULTS are identical, however, which puts them both in the same class -- corporate thieves.

But, it is not a violation. (4, Insightful)

beldraen (94534) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529485)

They used GPL code. Anything they modified, I presume, is re-released. The fact that they call external code that you cannot have access to is your problem.

If you give people a free hammer to use any way they wish, you cannot be justified when they make a building that you are not allowed to enter. GPL gives people the freedom to use it as the people see fit as long as they do not try keep the source code to themselves. Apple has not.

What you are really mad about is that you want anything the GPL code to which it is linked to be free as well. If this is what your idea of GPL means, then I can understand why Gates calls GPL viral. Your idea is viral and Apple's proprietary code is not yours to have. KDE's team was naive to expect they would get a free lunch in return for handing out free lunches. The GPL's purpose is to keep the code free, not its use.

Re:But, it is not a violation. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529565)

Apple is doing more harm to the OSS. They are hiring OSS developers, forking OSS projects and selling their expensive hardware with what they claim to be the best OS/Desktop ever. Meanwhile they contribute crap back to the FOSS projects which are then seen as competitors to their best OS/Desktop ever. A lame way to sell hardware apple.

Open Source FUD? (3, Insightful)

screwthemoderators (590476) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529489)

Perhaps they have violated the spirit, but I don't beleive they have actually violated GPL. The requirement is to share code, not share code that can be "effectively backported." They have given proper credit to Konqueror and the developers, and that's all the "FOSS community" really asks for. This is like the "I bought her a nice dinner and she won't put out!" argument. It may be irritating, but its not theivery.

Re:The Apple approach... (2, Insightful)

jvd (874741) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529490)

Yes, the community can benefit from it. Not in they way they might like, but still, they can still benefit from it. The source code is available, they can use that source code to get ideas. What Apple is doing is perfectly fine and above all, legally and morally OK.

Re:The Apple approach... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529556)

What Apple is doing is perfectly fine and above all, legally and morally OK.

Go fuck yourself.

While you're fuming... (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529512)

A "preamble" or "spirit" is not a legal obligation.

a) Apple is under no requirement to release individual patches, nor any big patch at all. Only the complete source.
b) Apple is under no obligation to give anything at all to the KHTML team (only to those who got their browser as part of a Mac).
c) The source files as they stand are obviously the "perferred form" of editing the source code internally in Apple. The GPL does not cover any other form of material, such as structural documents, documentation, bug database or any other material required to understand the source. If anything, it is an oversight of the GPL, not Apple.

In short, you are asking for kindness above and beyond their obligations. They have forked the project, and I don't see why they should have to maintain someone else's code tree. Are the *BSDs required to make compatible patches, because they came from the same source? No. I assume Apple has released everything they are required to under the GPL, and so your allegations of closing the source like a BSD license is groundless, as are your allegations of a GPL violation. If I had mod points I would mod you as -1, Troll, UID not withstanding.

Kjella

Re:While you're fuming... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529612)


If I had mod points I would mod you as -1, Troll

Because, according to your own summary he makes a point you don't agree with ?

Thanks for clarifying the position on how mod points are abused on Slashdot to silence criticism on Apple, Google or BBC related topics.

Mod parent up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529534)

Well said, and sums up perfectly all of yesterday's angst in the Safari/KHTML thread. I hope you get modded up more (you were at 2 points when i started writing and 0 Troll when I hit Preview), but you know as well as I do that there are dark forces here who will mod you down because of their Apple obsession/fetish.

The problem with Apple is though, and what many conveniantly switch off from is that beauty is only skin deep. Underneath the nice cases, nice graphics and heaps of spin is a ruthless taking machine which will help itself to anything it wants. Hoprefully that situation may improve if Jobs can be got rid of again.

TO MODERATORS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529622)

This post had so much controversal moderation, that is thus interesting and must be moded up.

I don't think you read the Apple case (1, Offtopic)

arete (170676) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529641)

As I understand it, Apple released all of their changes - enough that you can completely build Safari from that source. What they didn't do was spend extra time making it easy to merge back into KHTML.

From what I know of Safari and Konq from a user point of view they ought to be porting Safari to other platforms more than they ought to be trying to pick and choose each patch.

This Dish thing - it depends on details of how linked they are. Details I certainly don't know at this time.

Happy Fun Ball (4, Funny)

flood6 (852877) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529370)

You cannot create a working DISH 921 DVR software build without the additional proprietary code. Do not replace or add any software to the DISH 921 DVR with items compiled from these source trees.

Do not stare at DISH 921 DVR, do not taunt DISH 921 DVR, if DISH 921 DVR begins to smoke, seek shelter and cover head.

Re:Happy Fun Ball (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529689)

I'm just glad the dish network folks haven't noticed all the code we snuck past them. The antenna array is go. And speaking of the antenna array... if you enter simply 'antennaarray' in Firefox's address bar you'll get a document returned entitled 'THIN CERAMIC FERROELECTRIC PHASE SHIFTER FOR STEERABLE MICROSTRIP PATCH ANTENNAARRAY'. Isn't that cool?

Re:Happy Fun Ball (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529697)

a PDF document that is

Heh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529402)

Maybe this receiver won't suck quite so badly with open-source user input! As it is, it's a $500+ boat anchor!

Don't believe me? Go visit the 921 user support forum over at dbstalk [dbstalk.com] .

Are there headers / dynamic libs that require src? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529440)

Are there dynamic libraries or header files provided in Linux(RH9) that would require commercial source code to be released to comply with the GPL? If a product has #include or -llib, does doing so require a companies source code to be released?

If so which libraries and is there a roadmap of them?

Note this question does not include statically linked libraries.

Is there a way to find them with RPM? That would be nice.

Why? (1)

PrivateDonut (802017) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529506)

I know that every step towards an OSS model is a great, but can this be considered as anything more than Dish Networks trying to cover its own ass? They have released the GPL'ed bits, but are they relevent to anyone except Dish Networks (who has the proprietary bits as well)? What I am really asking is; Do they care about themselves, the community or both*? *both being mainly themselves.

i.e. non-compliant (4, Informative)

Dwonis (52652) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529585)

You cannot create a working DISH 921 DVR software build without the additional proprietary code.

That doesn't sound like GPL-compliance to me. From the GPL [gnu.org] :

The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it. For an executable work, complete source code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable.

violates intent of the GPL (2, Interesting)

cahiha (873942) | more than 8 years ago | (#12529623)

Do not replace or add any software to the DISH 921 DVR with items compiled from these source trees. Doing so will void all warranties and cause the unit to fail.'"

Almost the whole point of the GPL is that you can do exactly this: you should be able to change the behavior of GPL'ed software components and replace the existing versions of it.

I suspect future versions of the GPL are going to try to limit these kinds of abuses: if you distribute systems containing GPL-derived binaries, you must ensure that people can reasonably replace your GPL'ed software components with components they recompiled. You should not be permitted to use either cryptographic means, warranties, patents, or proprietary development tools to prevent that.

Dish is for Faggots (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12529643)

Buy a cable modem, dork.
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