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VX30 Ad-Stats Code Online

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the lo-his-wrath-is-righteous dept.

Software 248

tmk writes "Drunkenblog has done it again. After deconstructing Maui X-Stream has GPL Violations with reproducable proof, he put a copy of the VX30 Ad-Stats source online. There is also a copy of the phpAdsNew source to compare. Drunkenbatman says 'This is a community problem, and it's pretty much up to you.'"

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The GPL isn't all that (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610681)

Consulting for several large companies, I'd always done my work on
Windows. Recently however, a top online investment firm asked us to do
some work using Linux. The concept of having access to source code was
very appealing to us, as we'd be able to modify the kernel to meet our
exacting standards which we're unable to do with Microsoft's products.

Although we met several technical challenges along the way
(specifically, Linux's lack of Token Ring support and the fact that we
were unable to defrag its ext2 file system), all in all the process
went smoothly. Everyone was very pleased with Linux, and we were
considering using it for a great deal of future internal projects.

So you can imagine our suprise when we were informed by a lawyer that
we would be required to publish our source code for others to use. It
was brought to our attention that Linux is copyrighted under something
called the GPL, or the Gnu Protective License. Part of this license
states that any changes to the kernel are to be made freely available.
Unfortunately for us, this meant that the great deal of time and money
we spent "touching up" Linux to work for this investment firm would
now be available at no cost to our competitors.

Furthermore, after reviewing this GPL our lawyers advised us that any
products compiled with GPL'ed tools - such as gcc - would also have to
its source code released. This was simply unacceptable.

Although we had planned for no one outside of this company to ever
use, let alone see the source code, we were now put in a difficult
position. We could either give away our hard work, or come up with
another solution. Although it was tought to do, there really was no
option: We had to rewrite the code, from scratch, for Windows 2000.

I think the biggest thing keeping Linux from being truly competitive
with Microsoft is this GPL. Its draconian requirements virtually
guarentee that no business will ever be able to use it. After my
experience with Linux, I won't be recommending it to any of my
associates. I may reconsider if Linux switches its license to
something a little more fair, such as Microsoft's "Shared Source".
Until then its attempts to socialize the software market will insure
it remains only a bit player.

Thank you for your time.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (3, Informative)

perimorph (635149) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610690)

The GNU GPL (General Public License) states that you have to distribute the source code with any binaries you distribute. If no one outside your client's company will receive binaries of your program, then no one but your client is required to have the source code made available to them.

Thank you for your inaccurate trolling.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

BrynM (217883) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610698)

The GNU GPL (General Public License) states that you have to distribute the source code with any binaries you distribute.
The main issue here to me (and others) isn't the binaries, but what happened to the original copyright notices from the original GPL authors. There, we have a serious problem.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (0)

tobybuk (633332) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610737)

I might be talking out of my arse here but if something is uder the GPL you cannot put in extra clauses just because you own the copyright. So what is stopping them from removing the copyright notices? Its not the GPL is it?

Re:The GPL isn't all that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610752)

if you own the copyright to a piece of software, you can do whatever the hell you want with it.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610762)

So what is stopping them from removing the copyright notices? Its not the GPL is it?

FFS yes! Did you ever consider reading the license?

1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty; and give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this License along with the Program.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

BrynM (217883) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610764)

So what is stopping them from removing the copyright notices?
Go [gnu.org] re-read section 1 & 2.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (0)

tobybuk (633332) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610876)

haha - I know shit! I should have RTFGPL bagain before I posted.

I need coffee and lots of it.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611171)

Simple, They do not own the copyright. They are not allowed to remove the copyright notices because somebody else wrote the code and released it under the GPL. They are using code from another GPLed source. They are not allowed to remove the copyrights of the original authors and they must make the source of all GPLed portions of the program available to anyone whom receives the program. Additionally, all of their software which uses the GPLed libraries must be released under a GPL compatible license.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1, Informative)

DaHat (247651) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610707)

Partially correct, it says that you can distribute the code with the binaries, which would be 3a. You can also go with 3b and/or 3c by including a written offer simply saying "ask us for the code within the next 3 years and we'll give it to you" and attach a note saying "the source code is here" respectively.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

Maffy (806058) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610776)

This is true, although 3b says "Accompany it with a written offer ... to give any third party ... a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code".

It sounds as though the the original troll^W poster doesn't want to have to give the source to anyone outside the company.

(It's also possible that I've misinterpreted this and it actually means that the offer is made only to the receivers, but they could ask the distributor to give the source to a third party. Any thoughts?)

Matt

To save anyone else looking it up, the GPL is here [gnu.org] .

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

Maffy (806058) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610792)

On second thoughts, probably my second reading is the correct one. This would fit with 3c.

Is this right? Can someone confirm?

Matt

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

arkanes (521690) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610976)

This is something that could use some clarification, but my reading of is that you have to provide the source to any third party. You indicate your willingness to do this by putting a notice in your packaging. A third party without your product is entitled to the source - presumably, this is because they could have recieved the binary from someone who got the binary (but not the source) from you. It's strange to me that people do this when you can just include a CD with the source on it with your product.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610867)

3b says "Accompany it with a written offer ...

If it never leaves the company, then you're more than welcome to provide anyone you give it to (ie, nobody) with the written offer.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

halleluja (715870) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610787)

If no one outside your client's company will receive binaries of your program, then no one but your client is required to have the source code made available to them.

I can download a trial of the encoder, so according to GPL I'm entitled access to the source of this program.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (5, Informative)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610714)

Here's not advice:
Exchange your lawer for one that actually knows his trade.

IANAL: but the GPL FAQ clearly states that output generated by a GPL program isn't covered by the GPL, so it's 100% safe to use programs like GCC for compiling your program.

And another thing, pretty much all Open Source licenses only "restrict" you in one way when you distribute your creation. If it's kept in private you are not "restricted".

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610724)

Crap, should have used the "preview" feature.
And this new image protection for posting sucks too.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

nkh (750837) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610913)

pretty much all Open Source licenses only "restrict" you in one way when you distribute your creation

What is a "creation" to you? Is it the modified source code or the output of the program? I don't know how it works in the USA but french laws say that you own the output of every program you use (Word document, Photoshop picture, source code compiled with gcc or Lex/Yacc output...)

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611029)

Creation \Cre*a"tion\ (kr?-A"sh?n), n. [L. creatio: cf. F.
cr?ation. See Create.]
1. The act of creating or causing to exist. ...
2. That which is created; that which is produced or caused to
exist, as the world or some original work of art or of the
imagination; nature. ...

As for the rest, as I said before the GPL FAQ gives the correct answerss [gnu.org] :
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLOutput [gnu.org]
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#CanIUseGP LToolsForNF [gnu.org]

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

lobsterGun (415085) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611089)

This is true.

However it should be noted that if a program links against a GPL'd library then the product of that operation needs to comply with the GPL.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (2, Informative)

arkanes (521690) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611099)

FYI: Parent is a standard cut & paste troll that gets posted in pretty much any Linux/GPL related story.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (2, Interesting)

trandism (835011) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610715)

We could either give away our hard work, or come up with another solution. Releasing Code is NOT giving away your work. Applying the same logic, one could say that those people who made the kernel GAVE AWAY their work to you. You could 'touch' kernel and give back to the community that gave you the kernel in the first place.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (-1, Offtopic)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610734)

I'm bored of this one. I mean, OK, it's a time-honoured classic, and the bit about defragging ext2 still brings a smile to my face, but can the trolls please come up with some new material?

This is like watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail - yeah, it's good, but I've seen it too many times now.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (5, Insightful)

Marcion (876801) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610735)

You are misinformed on many points. Get a better laywer I think.

The GPL is not holding the GNU/Linux OS itself back, only people who want to hoard the code. If you use the software only in-house then there are some limited exceptions within the GPL, so you again should get a better lawyer.

"no business will ever be able to use it. "

Well IBM and many other companies have been able to get on with it. The GPL divides smart and innovative people from the cut and paste brigade. If you can't make a profit then it is your own stupid fault.

"Its draconian requirements"

You are clearly confused and are reading the situation backwards. A normal software license gives you no rights to use the code at all.

The GPL however gives you all the rights but one: you do not have the right to remove the rights of others. You can use the code that has been created at much expense only if you do not attempt to make free software unfree.

No one is forcing you to use GPL'd code. If you want to buy in code to save time then you have to pay for it. The cost for GPL'd software is that you have to share improvements.

There is no such thing as a free lunch, stop crying about it and get on with your life.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (3, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610763)

You are clearly confused and are reading the situation backwards. A normal software license gives you no rights to use the code at all.

Not true at all. The software we release uses source code under about a dozen different licences. None of them make any requirements on derived works. Al of them are compatible with each other. Many of them are negotiable.

The GPL is inconvenient in that it appears to be deliberately designed to be incompatible with other licences. Many other vendors bar us from releasing their code. As such there's no way we could possibly use GPL code in our applications. As such, it removes the right to use GPL code with non-GPL code

LOOK MAW ITS A TROLL (-1, Offtopic)

!the!bad!fish! (704825) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610798)

I think you forgot to click the Post Anonymously thing.

Re:LOOK MAW ITS A TROLL (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610860)

Uhmmm... It may have escaped your notice, but I am anonymous. My real name is not "91degrees".

Re:The GPL isn't all that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610799)

If, and only if, you distribute the code. Read the license closely. The GPL has no effect on using the code. Also, the license is negotiable, if you can get all authors to the table. There is nothing to the GPL that is more problematic than a proprietary license. If you think there is, name it and we'll be sure to prove you wrong.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (2, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610834)

If, and only if, you distribute the code.

Which is kinda what we do.

Also, the license is negotiable, if you can get all authors to the table.

There's the problem. If we want to use any other code, we talk to a single person. It's a lot easier.

There is nothing to the GPL that is more problematic than a proprietary license. If you think there is, name it and we'll be sure to prove you wrong.

I can not use GPL code with other code that is not licensed under the GPL. The GPL is incompatible with every other licence I've seen. Every other licence I've seen is incompatible with precisely one licence - The GPL.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610881)

So you want to distribute other people's work without following their rules? If you're going to harvest the power of Open Source, you'll have to accept that it comes with responsibilities. It's no different than with any other license. If you prefer to pay someone money for code, that's your problem.

If you think that other licenses are more negotiable, why don't you negotiate with these authors to make their license compatible with the GPL? Not all licenses are incompatible with the GPL. Several other Open Source licenses allow code to be merged with GPLd code. So it's really a limitation of the GPL-incompatible licenses that you can't merge some code with GPLd code.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (2, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610972)

So you want to distribute other people's work without following their rules?

No. We want the rules to allow us to agree to other people's rules for their code as well. The GPL does not allow this, hence we don't use GPL code.

If you're going to harvest the power of Open Source, you'll have to accept that it comes with responsibilities.

We do, and we do. We just don't use GPL code, because it is incompatible with other licences.

It's no different than with any other license.

Yes it is. Other licences are compatible with each other.

If you prefer to pay someone money for code, that's your problem.

We prefer not to. At times we have to. You'd be surprised how much code does not have a GPL licenced equivalent. Since we don't want to rewrite this from scratch, we tendto buy a licence. This precludes us from using any GPL code in the entire application.

If you think that other licenses are more negotiable, why don't you negotiate with these authors to make their license compatible with the GPL?

So, you can be absolutely sure that all potential software companies whose software we might want to use could be persuaded to allow us unlimited licence to sell copies of their software at a lower cost than them? Given that these companies make 100% of their revenue from selling copies of their software, I consider this unlikely. If you think they will dop this then you are rather naive about the realities of the software industry.

Name one other licence that makes demands on how software it is linked with may and may not be distributed. All of our software could be distributed with or without source, for free or for a fee. The only exception is the specific code that we have licenced from another company.

Of course, then there's the other problem. If we violate the licence of a commercial company, we have a legal problem. If we violate the GPL, not only do we have a legal problem. We have a PR problem.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

miscGeek (594829) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611187)

No. We want the rules to allow us to agree to other people's rules for their code as well. The GPL does not allow this, hence we don't use GPL code.

That's basically the same thing. You want the original authors to change their rules to suit you.

So, you can be absolutely sure that all potential software companies whose software we might want to use could be persuaded to allow us unlimited licence to sell copies of their software at a lower cost than them? Given that these companies make 100% of their revenue from selling copies of their software, I consider this unlikely. If you think they will dop this then you are rather naive about the realities of the software industry.

No, but why do you assume that OSS developers should change the way they license their software?

Of course, then there's the other problem. If we violate the licence of a commercial company, we have a legal problem. If we violate the GPL, not only do we have a legal problem. We have a PR problem.

That's not really a problem just don't violate the license!

I'm sorry it's just the same old complaint over and over, with the same solution. If you don't agree with the license terms don't use the code!

I'll give you this, at least it doesn't sound like you are advocating using GPL against the license, or claiming that it's not valid :) /p

Re:The GPL isn't all that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610934)

Fine, you don't want to obey the rules, so we'll just pinch your work in return.

Look, you've not had to put $'000s in man-hours work to get this code, so pay them back.

Also, your complaint is even MORE true of, say Microsoft's license. It's compatible with itself and that's all.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611030)

Fine, you don't want to obey the rules, so we'll just pinch your work in return.

What gives you the right to do this? We can't follow the rules, so we don't use GPLed code.

Also, your complaint is even MORE true of, say Microsoft's license. It's compatible with itself and that's all.

Really? We don't use any Microsoft source (not sure who does), but what specific clauses do they have that prevent their code from being used with other people's? Most companies have a allow us to distribute for a flat fee, or a per copy fee, often with limitiations that prevent our customers from distributing copies. All of these work reasonably well together. We can't take advantage of all the rights of a licence that allows redistribution, but since we're not obliged to, we don't.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (2, Informative)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611170)

I can not use GPL code with other code that is not licensed under the GPL. The GPL is incompatible with every other licence I've seen. Every other licence I've seen is incompatible with precisely one licence

I suggest you take a look at the 2 clause BSD license, you may find that:
1. It is compatible with the GPL
2. The GPL is compatible with it
3. There is quite a bit of software around that uses it and you might find the things you need among thoat.

Not to mention the fact that while you have to distribute source code for your modifications on a GPLed program, there is nothing whatsoever preventing you from building an application on top of Linux for example and distribute only the binaries for that application.

You seem to be lacking a bit of information here.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611216)

I suggest you take a look at the 2 clause BSD license, you may find that:

Ah yes. Okay,I'll grant you, there are a few free licences around that are compatible. Of course, the BSD licence had to be modified explicitely because of GPL compatibility problems.

Not to mention the fact that while you have to distribute source code for your modifications on a GPLed program, there is nothing whatsoever preventing you from building an application on top of Linux for example and distribute only the binaries for that application.

I never said there was.

You seem to be lacking a bit of information here.

Yes, but the basic point that GPL software is incompatible with a lot of other software, purely for legal reasons, still remains. It is the only licence that causes this problem.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (2, Insightful)

fymidos (512362) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611066)

>The GPL is inconvenient in that it appears to be
>deliberately designed to be incompatible with other
>licences. Many other vendors bar us from releasing
>their code

See, it's not the GPL, it's the programmers that chose to license their work under the GPL.
You whould think of it as "The programmers bar us from *not* releasing their code."

BTW, if you some vendors bar you from releasing *their* code, can you please explain what does "None of them make any requirements on derived works." mean?

Re:The GPL isn't all that (2, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611082)

some vendors bar you from releasing *their* code, can you please explain what does "None of them make any requirements on derived works." mean?

We can still release our own code if we use their code.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

fymidos (512362) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611197)

Right, so if you use GPL'ed code you can't release yours ?!?!?!

You got it all wrong. Naturally you can release your code. You can do whatever you want as long as there is no GPL code in it.
You can even release it if it contains GPL code, you just have to license it under GPL as well.

You have made it pretty clear that you don't like the GPL. However, you must understand that whoever releases his code under GPL does *NOT* want you to use it in any other way. Respect their wishes and go on with your programming.

P.S. If you need to use some GPL library:
Contact the author, if he did release a library under GPL (Extremely rare, but it has happened) he propably made a mistake. Almost all of the libraries in the GPL world are licensed under LGPL, which allows you to link against them without making your code GPL.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611222)

You only have to release the portions covered by the GPL under the rules of the GPL. GPL software is built on top of proprietary libraries all of the time.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (2, Interesting)

xtracto (837672) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611013)

I am a programmer although actually I have stoped programming for quite some time (because I am making my PhD now) but, I think there is a really easy way of using GPL'd code in a closed source project, how?

APIs.

Ok, imagine I want to use some GPL'd source code program with some other propietary code I have written, well, what I will do is create a "distribution" CD with my program, in which I will put the GPL'd code, and I will add some API's which will be de MODIFICATION to the GPL'd program, of course those APIs would be open, and I will also add my Closed Source (i.e. commercial) software, which, uses the API I created to call the other program.

If the FSF, GPL's guys get really pissing then instead of an API I would use a TCP socket communication protocol, or whatever is needed, of course I WILL have to donate/open the code for the communication mechanism, but, I will be able to have my closed source program intact because they are 2 different programs.

I do not know why any company has thought about it...

Re:The GPL isn't all that (2, Insightful)

binarytoaster (174681) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611190)

This would work, but the reason that companies that don't comply with the GPL don't do this is that it takes much more work than just "s/phpAdsNew/AdStats/g" and whatnot.

They'd have to WORK for it. And even that patch to allow all the functions of the program to be accessible by API would be a huge plus.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610736)

Yeah. You said that last time. Please come up with a new one. As a troll, copy/pasting old trolls shows a complete lack of wit and intelligence.

Feel free to make shit up, and criticise the GPL. Just be original about it.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (5, Insightful)

jjleard (575385) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610784)

...and so one day me and my buddies stumble upon this remarkable tower which soared into the clouds. We talked to the natives who explained that local peasants had built the tower over a thousand years and that everyone was welcome inside. We were told we could even live in the tower, modify it or add to it if we wanted. Anywho, my buddies and I spent about three months adding a room to the top of the tower. That place was decked out too -- shag carpet, wall-to-wall speakers with a phat 8-track STEREO sound system, posters, a big fountain. I'm tell you, that place was the... well, it was quite nice. So one day we get a knock on the door. The local peasants want to come in and have a look at our addition. They said, "we often are inspired by the ideas of others and would like to see what you have done." Can you believe that?! Fucking pricks. Coming in to STEAL our ideas?! After all the work we had done even! Man, I just don't know about peasants sometime. I don't think they understand anything.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611049)

Hmm... that's an interesting idea for an MMO version of SimTower.
Mind if I *borrow* your idea?

Re:The GPL isn't all that (3, Informative)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610863)

This is nothing more than a copy and paste troll.

Please come up with something original.

Thanks.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610878)

Let me get this straight, you altered the kernel of Linux so it would work for you and now it's "unacceptable" that you have to show your changes? So you'd rather go to Windows where you CAN'T change the kernel, probably couldn't get Microsoft to alter it for you, and would be SOL? And all of this is the GPL's fault? As I understand the GPL, it's really very simple. If you alter GPL code, you have to post your changes. If you write any code that is comprised of GPL code, you have to post your code. I'm not absolutely certain using a GPL compiler would require your finished product to be open, but perhaps you're right there. What you're describing, in general, is someone who used GPL code, changed GPL code, but doesn't want to "give anything back." You came to the wrong place for sympathy.

Having worked with Token Ring... (3, Insightful)

Peter Simpson (112887) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610908)

...I wouldn't see lack of Token Ring support as a negative. More like leading the way.

But seriously...I have seen this exact text before. The author seems to have an agenda.

If you don't want to release the source code to your customer (who, by the way, paid you for "your hard work"), don't use GPL'd code as a basis for your work. Write it all yourself from scratch. Then, you own it all!

And, by the way, using GCC does not in any way, subject the code you compile with it, to the GPL.
I'd suggest you get a second opinion from another law firm.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611050)

Just to let you know, this is a repetitive Troll I have seen it in several other /. discussions so, do not botter in replying.

If someone else knows, can he/she post the /. links for the other messages in different news?

I am sure I've seen it before but I can not find it with /. awful and unuseful search engine.

Re:The GPL isn't all that (1)

daffmeister (602502) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611081)

Yeah. Not bad. You'll have to work just a little harder on this piece though before it's actually convincing that you did any such work.

I'll give it a C+.

FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610682)

FP!

So.. (1, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610683)

So when is it okay to use GPL code? I mean it seems alot of companies use it n beta "to test stuff" or "to use untill we code our own for the full version". When does this start becoming "well, it's easier"?

I mean unless you read every single bit of OSS code and every single bit of closed source code you'd never going to catch all these things.

How long is it untill people start to use GPL code in closed source software and sue anyone who reversse engineers it?

Re:So.. (3, Interesting)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610717)

Thanks to the DMCA, how will we (those of us in the US, or countries willing to extradite) even know if GPL code is in closed source software? We can't reverse engineer to find out!

Re:So.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610732)

You don't have to reverse engineer a piece of software to show that it contains GPLed code. In fact, some might say that using "strings" on a binary is fairly neophytic.

Re:So.. (2, Informative)

lokedhs (672255) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610879)

All you have to do is encrypt it (with a simple decrypter built in). IIRC, the DMCA disallows you from breaking an encryption.

Disclaimer: I'm not in the US so I don't really keep track of that that law says

Re:So.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610932)

In most countries with extradition treaties - at least in Europe, I presume elsewhere - to extradite someone requires that the crime they are accused of is illegal in both the parent country and the country in which it has been committed.

Re:So.. (0)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611035)

how will we even know if GPL code is in closed source software?

Why do we worry even if it is there?

I agree to some extent that there are some people stealing stuff from "Open Source", without contributing to OSS, either monetorily or in any other way. And the bottomline is "It is bad".

But, I seriously feel that this is hardly a problem. The OSS movement is much more like a religion and the contribution from the developers all over the world is already looking gigantic. If u look at the scale of operations, we have grown beyond anybody's imagination. M$ feels threatened by us, enuff said.

By making the stuff closed source, the comapny is choosing to get rid of all advantages coming from the software development process of OSS. Sooner or later, it will dawn to them. Meanwhile the OSS movement looks good, motivated towards providing great solutions, instead of finding reasons to harass some small companies.

Re:So.. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611113)

The DMCA does not make reverse-engineering illegal.

Re:So.. (1)

vhogemann (797994) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611202)

Outsourcing it to 3rd world countries!

Sorry, couldn't resist...

Re:So.. (1)

ilithiiri (836229) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610722)

You can use GPL-ed code "in-company" without releasing to anyone not even a single line of the stuff you've changed.

However, once you start giving it (free or for a fee or whatever) to third parties, you oughta give them the source (e.g. accompain the binary with it, or give a ftp site address), or a "written notice" for the source to be sent "at a nominal fee".

In this case, if really Maui-X has used GPLed source (and sold it, thus gave it to third parties not inside the company for testing) then they should have either:
- given the full source of THEIR product, cause derivative works falls in the GPL license
- given an FTP site address where people could've downloaded the source
- given a notice saying "write us and we will send you the source in a cdrom for $1 + posting"

On every case, since it's GPLed, everyone would also have been FREE to post the code on sourceforge or gna or whatever you like for other people to be downloaded for free.

Is it a little thing? ;)

Re:So.. (1, Flamebait)

keesh (202812) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610774)

Or they could do a Stallman and say "send us $80,000 and we'll give you the source-code on an 8 inch tape"...

Re:So.. (1)

dirty (13560) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611215)

Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't the charge much, much lower (somewhere around a couple hundred dollars), and at the time tape was the most effective way to distribute the source code.

Re:So.. (5, Informative)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610726)

That question is pretty easy to answer. It is ok to use GPLed code in a beta of your closed source software to 'test stuff' so long as you don't distribute it.

So by the first _public_ beta, that code had better be gone, before that it's all fair play.

Re:So.. (1)

getkashyap (678131) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610982)

So by the first _public_ beta, that code had better be gone, .

... unless they plan on GPLing the software :)

Re:So.. (1)

orlanz (882574) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610741)

Reverse engineering is perfectly legal. Though you can sue for just about anything, it would be difficult to win the case on just that.

I think a lot of people do what you describe. But not just with OSS. There are many programmers who will use other's work just to get work done on time. If it is used internally, I bet most forget or are too lazy about removing the illegal dependecies. For public releases, they are probably be much more careful (by buying licenses, or reimplementing). Unfortunately, an internally used program might someday become public and the management might forget or more likely not know about the internals of the program in question.

Re:So.. (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610790)

With regard to the copyright issue it is the extent of code, both with regards to the program as a whole and within in specific funtions with in a program. So it is not just a few lines of code which probability would allow to occur that will incur copyright infraction.

As for closed source, by definition it is closed source and you should not be reading it at all and any other closed source competitor should not ne reading yours either.

When you choose to use the major cost saving of an open source base for the construction of your code and fail to return that saving to the community, it just proves that you cannot be trusted. So why would anybody be foolish enough to by a closed source binary product from a company that cannot be trusted.

Re:So.. (1)

getkashyap (678131) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610973)

>> How long is it untill people start to use GPL code in closed source software and sue anyone who reversse engineers it?

What do you mean 'it seems' and 'until people start ...' ? I bet this stuff happens a lot. Maybe even the SCO thing got started this way ....

Re:So.. (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611235)

The other question is when are you actually using GPL code?
If you look at a piece of FOSS and then write a program that is similar is that a violation of the GPL?
If you do not cut and paste the code is it okay? How much code can you cut and paste before you are under the GPL. If I look at DBM an decide I want to use the hash function as a small part of closed source or even a BSD program will I be in Violation if I.
a. Cut and paste the one function into my code.
b. Type in the function by hand.
c. Re write the function using different identifiers.
e. convert it to a different language like Pascal, ADA, perl, python, or java?

Be careful how strict you want it to be. Remember the laws that effect the GPL also effect closed source as well. Too strict and you could effectively make every programmer a slave to what ever project they have worked on in the past. You could make it totally illegal for someone that worked on a GPL program from working on a BSD project. Or anyone that ever worked on a closed source project from ever working on an OSS project.

Talk about making Open-Source (0)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610684)

...out of the normally unsourcable. Bravo!

Despicable company (1)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610691)

I'm all for violating the spirit of the GPL at every turn, but the extent of actual violations of the license by Maui-X is incomprehensible to me. It's one thing to restrict source code to licensees who ask for it (who would obviously have the extended but rarely-used right of redistributing it to 3rd parties), it's a completely different thing to simply claim that the GPL code is all fresh, non-GPL work and that anyone claiming otherwise can go screw themselves.

There are a handful of ways around GPL licensing and Maui-X simply doesn't take any of those tacks.

This is a community problem, but it's really more of a problem of a company willing to break the law to accomplish their ends.

(tangent) Say what you will about Microsoft and their heavy-handed tactics, but for every action they take they usually have at least a smidgen of legal reasoning to back them up.

Gotta trackback... (5, Informative)

BrynM (217883) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610693)

For those who don't RTFA, you should. The second trackback from the post on the 18th points to a post on Rakaz's blog (he's the author of phpAdsNew) from the 19th. They admit guilt and dig their hole deeper. Damn. They're SCOing themselves in the foot.

MXS responds [rakaz.nl] ... round 2 from rakaz Totally out of the blue I received an e-mail from Jonathan Miller at Maui X-Stream. Okay, not totally out of the blue, but still a bit unexpected. In this email Jonathan concedes that VX30 Ad-Stats......
Get this quote: "As I believe you are aware we do have a product called VX30 Ad-Stats that is based upon phpAdsNew." - Jonathan Miller of Maui X-Stream

Darl must be beaming and handing out cigars by now...

Re:Gotta trackback... (2, Funny)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610955)

They're SCOing themselves in the foot.

I'll add this to my lexicon. SCO has become an Action Verb !!

Time to remake Schoolhouse Rock

Isn't Drunken Blog also violating? (0)

John Harrison (223649) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611000)

They are distributing the program themselves without offering source code. They are claiming that the GPL gives them this right, but they aren't offering source as required by the GPL. Yes, this is a technicality, but it seems like a violation.

Re:Isn't Drunken Blog also violating? (1)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611121)

I'd have thought not, although they should redistribute the written offer from vx30 to provide source...

Innovation (4, Informative)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610694)

Maui does seem to have a new mode of operation here. Whenever somone proves that they stole some source code, they say 'Oh, that... Yeah that was just a bit of test code we borrowed. The new release is clean.' Then they release a new version which is identical to the old version, except maybe they altered some text strings to make the release appear to be different.

Re:Innovation (4, Informative)

sosume (680416) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610793)

I compared the source code, and except for the copyright banners, they just did a global search-and-replace to change phpAds to AdStats.. pretty lame imo.

READ THE LICENSE before you blog about it (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610703)

Just because someone is selling something with GPL code, it doesn't mean they also have to offer the source files for everyone to download, but they do have to make it available for no more than a nominal fee to those they distribute it to.

YES THEY DO HAVE TO MAKE IT AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE. The only way to avoid that is to ship the source with the binaries. Otherwise you have to give the source to anyone who asks ("any third party") for no more than a nominal fee.

Re:READ THE LICENSE before you blog about it (5, Interesting)

drunkenbatman (464281) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610758)

YES THEY DO HAVE TO MAKE IT AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE. The only way to avoid that is to ship the source with the binaries. Otherwise you have to give the source to anyone who asks ("any third party") for no more than a nominal fee.


I was going by the GPL FAQ, which I've found to be very helpful but I could be misinterpreting something... Under "If I distribute GPL'd software for a fee, am I required to also make it available to the public without a charge? [fsf.org]

"No. However, if someone pays your fee and gets a copy, the GPL gives them the freedom to release it to the public, with or without a fee. For example, someone could pay your fee, and then put her copy on a web site for the general public."

The GPL FAQ [fsf.org] , under "What does this "written offer valid for any third party" mean? Does that mean everyone in the world can get the source to any GPL'ed program no matter what??" says:

""Valid for any third party" means that anyone who has the offer is entitled to take you up on it.
If you commercially distribute binaries not accompanied with source code, the GPL says you must provide a written offer to distribute the source code later. When users non-commercially redistribute the binaries they received from you, they must pass along a copy of this written offer. This means that people who did not get the binaries directly from you can still receive copies of the source code, along with the written offer.

The reason we require the offer to be valid for any third party is so that people who receive the binaries indirectly in that way can order the source code from you."

It would appear someone would have to receive that 'offer' in some way (I.E., the company distributed it to them) in order to be entitled to ask for the source, with the 'third party' bit coming in once a fellow user distributes it to you. Basically, if the company or someone else hasn't given you the software, the company doesn't have to give you anything.

Like I said, I could well be misinterpreting.

Re:READ THE LICENSE before you blog about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610773)

The license text is what's relevant. "Any third party" is not limited to people who have (a copy of) the written offer. If you're interested in the source, you have to be sure that the product contains GPLd code and that it has been distributed without source (so paragraph 3a or 3b is in effect). If you have the written offer, it shows that both provisions are true, so you know you're entitled to the source, but the license does not require that you have the written offer before you can ask for the source. If I have no legal agreement with the redistributing party, I can not force them to give me the code. But the original authors can, even if they have not received a copy of the written offer or the binary.

Re:READ THE LICENSE before you blog about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610791)

make that paragraph 3b or 3c

Inaccurate, read paragraph 3 of GPL2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610786)

Read paragraph 3 of the GPL - there are 3 ways to Free The Source(tm 2005 FSF), and your way, offering source to all third parties, is only one of them. If you give away the source with the program, you have fulfilled your main obligation.

Re:READ THE LICENSE before you blog about it (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610969)

As I understand it, if someone has the binary, then they are entitled to the source. If they don't have the binary, they have no entitlement to the source.

"Everyone" therefore means "everyone who has the binary".

So what? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610709)

This just goes to show that people are willing to pay extra for software that they believe isn't encumbered by the GPL.

What ELSE has Maui stolen? (5, Interesting)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610713)

OK, so they denied taking something and it was proven (at least to my satisfaction) that they did. Now Maui is "coming clean" that they "borrowed" GPL code and want to play nice. I guess they figure it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission. It makes me wonder if their other products have similar issues.
A slippery slope.

Perhaps it's time... (4, Interesting)

Senor_Programmer (876714) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610772)

for investigative and prosecutorial branches in the OSS legal community. It might well be self supported from awards and even generate some $ to put in developers pockets.

Re:Perhaps it's time... (5, Funny)

bheer (633842) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610951)

Yup, we could call ourselves the Open Source Association of America. The OSAA would would be a cartel of orgs big (IBM, Redhat, Novell, etc) and small, and we could go about auditing businesses' code for GPL violations.

When PHBs see our 733T audits-required letters, they'll _finally_ take Open Source seriously, because everyone knows you're not a serious player in this biz unless you send threatening letters by the dozen.

i have suspicions about this, (3, Interesting)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610788)

It sounds all too much like an elaborate marketing scheme on their part. The formula is pretty simple. Build a junk product, use gpl'ed code, make sure someone in the oss community noticed you're not handing out the modified source, let them howl for a few months, brand recognition goes through the roof!

There's no such thing as bad press right ? Slashdot & everybody else shouldn't feed them what they want.. keep quiet and have the EFF sue their asses.

Like I said, this is gotta be a junk product they're building. I don't know what the hell it is and have not read the article(s) here on slashdot.

Re:i have suspicions about this, (0)

Evil Adrian (253301) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610890)

phpAdsNew is free; I don't see what suing the VX30 peeps would accomplish other than getting them to distribute their source with the product when they sell it... or is that the point? You can't really argue that they're hurting phpAdsNew profits -- because there aren't any.

this not about profits (2, Insightful)

tota (139982) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610911)

it is about abusing the license

Re:i have suspicions about this, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610930)

Do you really know what a "license" is? It's clearly written in the GPL that you HAVE to redistribute the source code that has been modified. It's very simple and the purpose is to share the improvments in the code, not make money out of it.

Re:i have suspicions about this, (1)

bloodredsun (826017) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611004)

It sounds all too much like an elaborate marketing scheme on their part

I can't believe that. No company in their right mind would run the risk of alienating their customers (especially the techies) by doing this. If the SCO thing has proven anything it's that you can't run roughshod over other peoples work and claim it for your own without paying a huge price, both financially and in your reputation

Community problem? Business ethics! (4, Insightful)

winchester (265873) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610822)

It's not a community problem... it's a business ethics problem. As long as companies can get away with using open source software in closed source products, they will continue to do so.

Only when the first cases are brought before court, we might see an improvement. Until that moment, this will continue.

Re:Community problem? Business ethics! (-1, Troll)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610925)

You write a program and make it freely available, including source code.
Someone takes that program, makes a few changes and releases it as their own.
You take legal action against them for "GPL violation"

Although *technically* you are justified for taking action, in reality, all you're really doing is being a prick.

Re:Community problem? Business ethics! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610986)

You're taking them court for "copyright violation" not "GPL violation". Note well that not even the "truly free" BSD licenses allow you to pass someone else's work off as your own. Also that code has been "freely released" provided a few simple rules are followed. When proprietary sw companies enforce their licences it's "understandable". When FOSS projects stop a proprietary company from plagiarizing them they're "being pricks". I don't get it.

In what way is stopping a plagiarizer from taking credit for your work "being a prick"?

Re:Community problem? Business ethics! (5, Insightful)

pcmanjon (735165) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610995)

" You write a program and make it freely available, including source code.
Someone takes that program, makes a few changes and releases it as their own.
You take legal action against them for "GPL violation" all you're really doing is being a prick.
"

Actually they're being a prick.

You see, they took the code but failed to open source it.

We code our hearts out and open source something only to have someone steal it, enhance it, and then not release the code like we did?

That's pretty prickish to me. That's like 'Hey, cool, nice code, lets fix this, there, and there, BUY OUR PRODUCT (source not included) PROFIT!!!'

In this case, the original developers of the code can't apply the enhancements made to their code. That isn't fair, or morally acceptable.

Threatoning to sue them if they don't open source their product under the GPL swiftly isn't being a prick, it's only fair.

Re:Community problem? Business ethics! (4, Insightful)

mpcooke3 (306161) | more than 9 years ago | (#12610946)

You mean GPL'd software in closed source products. Open source = many licenses (including LGPL, MIT and BSD which can be used in closed source products.)

It's a GREED problem (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12610842)


and it gets worse every day (witness corporate USA executives conduct, mega rich and they still want more)

the supposed "civilized world" people want that [$CONSUMER_ITEM] and will do anything to get it, ethics be dammned.

Thieves (0, Redundant)

andresin (858400) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611055)

We should start lawsuiting them. If companies think the Open Source Comunity (WE) don't care about OUR (everybody) rights they will break the GPL everyday.

Re:Thieves (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 9 years ago | (#12611132)

> We should start lawsuiting them.

Only the copyright owner can sue them.
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