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DrDOS Inc Breaking GPL

Hemos posted about 9 years ago | from the bad-news-bears dept.

GNU is Not Unix 460

Bob Dobbs writes "DR-DOS 8.1 (DrDOS Inc) came out at the begining of this month, however instead of an upgrade to DR-DOS 8.0 the new product is based on work available on the internet. The work includes shareware utilities, a badly patched version of the kernel work by Udo Kuhnt, drivers (Samsung, ESS) and utilities from FreeDOS and others (e.g. pkzip). Full information on the FreeDOS site. (Cheers FreeDOS!)"

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asdfsadfasdf (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13864226)

morgotz purgel froggoptz

Kuhnt (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13864228)

A more appropriate last name for a stripper I cannot imagine...

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13864230)

Or not?

um (1, Offtopic)

Alphabet Pal (895900) | about 9 years ago | (#13864231)

The work includes shareware utilities, a badly patched version of the kernel work by Udo Kuhnt,

Huh huh... huh huh...

Yeah... hehe... hehe...

Re:um (1, Funny)

Southpaw018 (793465) | about 9 years ago | (#13864253)

*makes that whooshing sound while passing his hand over his head*

Re:um (1)

rylin (688457) | about 9 years ago | (#13864281)

The parent poster was referring to the phonetic similarity between female genitalia and the surname of the person mentioned in the summary.

Re:um (1)

Southpaw018 (793465) | about 9 years ago | (#13864316)

Damn. I never thought I'd see the day where it was too early in the morning for my mind to be in the gutter.

Re:umYeah... hehe... hehe... (1)

ettlz (639203) | about 9 years ago | (#13864357)

Yeah... hehe... hehe...

My God.

And when I think they tried to get rid of Family Guy.

I remember... (1, Redundant)

guruevi (827432) | about 9 years ago | (#13864242)

DR-DOS being the best DOS around in the time of PC-DOS and MS-DOS with their EMM386 (I even changed the DOS in Windows 95 once to get faster games)

What is this? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 9 years ago | (#13864433)

April Fools? We get a story about a new version of DR-DOS and Minix in the same day. What's next? An update to GS/OS?

And this Suprises anyone HOW ? (4, Interesting)

MajorDick (735308) | about 9 years ago | (#13864245)

I mean, Caldera, err...SCO

The funny thing is DrDOS was Sued , pre Caldera, and won, then Sued MS once (or right before) Caldera Bought it, I think Caldera pulled something like 200 Mil if I remeber out of the suit against MS

Maybe we should have taken it as a sign of things to come

obvious (-1, Offtopic)

BushCheney08 (917605) | about 9 years ago | (#13864251)

*Insert random comment about Caldera, SCO, GPL, and Darl here*

Hmmm.... (1, Redundant)

brilinux (255400) | about 9 years ago | (#13864258)

And wasn't DR DOS originally owned by Caldera...?

Which turned into...SCO!

Re:Hmmm.... (5, Informative)

kpharmer (452893) | about 9 years ago | (#13864369)

> And wasn't DR DOS originally owned by Caldera...?
> Which turned into...SCO!

No, DR DOS was originally owned by Digital Research. These were the guys that IBM originally was going to buy their dos from, but their CEO at the time blew off IBM and went sailing instead(!). He was fired soon thereafter.

Anyhow, DR DOS 5 was a fine product - *far* better than MS or PC DOS. It was a completely compatible replacement to DR DOS that worked great with windows. If I remember correctly, it also included a very cool disk cache and set of memory management utilities. Anyhow, in reaction to its reviews & success, Microsoft:
    - upgraded its MS DOS from 4.1 (a horrible product) to 5 (a reasonable one)
    - dropped price for MS DOS from over $100 to something like $19
    - generated fake compatibility error messages that DR DOS users would get when using Microsoft applications
    - etc, etc, etc

Microsoft never did release a dos as good as DR DOS - with its conditional config.sys lines, online command help, etc, etc. But it did kill the product through illegal competition. Eventually, Caldera bought it out - just for the opportunity to sue microsoft over it. And won.

Re:Hmmm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13864466)

"It was a completely compatible replacement to DR DOS".

That's nice - so, what you're saying is that DR DOS was a replacement to DR DOS?

Also, your story about how MS-DOS beat out CPM/86 is just misinformed.

And, you got modded up, too.

Re:Hmmm.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13864506)

In his defense he did bash MSFT.

Re:Hmmm.... (2, Informative)

petermgreen (876956) | about 9 years ago | (#13864495)

hmm you do have some level of conditionals in config.sys in ms-dos (you can create a menu that choses a section and then that section can use an include command to run other sections).

This is bad? (0, Troll)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 years ago | (#13864264)

I thought information wanted to be free. If it's okay for me to download music from russian sites at a nickel a track or watch movies from bit torrent trackers (and I do both of these readily and happily), who am I (and most of us) to criticise a little GPL violation here and there?

Re:This is bad? (1)

MajorDick (735308) | about 9 years ago | (#13864277)

When its SCO Stealing and Violating the GPL, errr, Yeah its bad....

Not find a naked man running around your house with a butcher knife bad, but bad nonetheless.....

Re:This is bad? (1)

BushCheney08 (917605) | about 9 years ago | (#13864285)

It's good to see someone being honest with themselves...

Re:This is bad? (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 9 years ago | (#13864308)

Actually, if you read the FreeDOS page, the FreeDOS author only requests that Dr. DOS Inc. do something about complying with the GPL. i.e. He's asking them to distribute a copy of the GNU General Public License with the software, and make an offer to provide the source code to anyone who asks, as per the GPL. So all that's really required (assuming they haven't changed the FreeDOS software) is that Caldera be ready to send people over to the FreeDOS site, and perhaps burn a CD or two for a fee.

The incredulous part of the whole thing is that the page makes it sound like a major step back for Dr. DOS. Instead of moving forward on the source base they have, they're moving backwards by kit-bashing a bunch of old OSS software and then trying to sell it. Or at least, that's what I got out of TFA.

Re:This is bad? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13864360)

MOD PARENT UP!

Yes, the DRDOS guys are violating the GNU GPL, and all that's required here to make amends is to comply with the GNU GPL. Include a copy of the license, and (at least) make an offer to distribute source code upon written (email) request. If they even mentioned that users could download a copy of the same program + source that they used from the FreeDOS web site, but they would still make a copy for you if you wanted it, I think that would satisfy the GNU GPL (section 3).

Re:This is bad? (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 9 years ago | (#13864455)

From the article:
Especially the stolen work of Udo Kuhnt which they now sell as theirs!
To use the words of the Information-wants-to-be-free movement: "It's not stolen! Mr. Kuhnt is not deprived of his work! It is Copyright infringement, not piracy or theft!"
Actually, if you read the FreeDOS page, the FreeDOS author only requests that Dr. DOS Inc. do something about complying with the GPL. i.e. He's asking them to distribute a copy of the GNU General Public License with the software, and make an offer to provide the source code to anyone who asks, as per the GPL.
So Dr. Dos are not even depriving the original author of any potential income, they are just.... well, what exactly? Freeloading on his work? I thought that what the Creative Commons idea was all about...

Just playing the Devil's advocate here.

Re:This is bad? (1)

jadavis (473492) | about 9 years ago | (#13864566)

To use the words of the Information-wants-to-be-free movement: "It's not stolen! Mr. Kuhnt is not deprived of his work! It is Copyright infringement, not piracy or theft!"

That's the funny thing about arguing based on a double standard. Maybe the Dr. Dos guys (I can't read the article because it's slash-Dos-ed) were using the words of the anti-GPL folk by calling it "stolen".

GPL guy: "By your own words, these guys stole my code!"
anti-GPL guy: "By your own words, it's just a minor copyright violation."

It's sort of like one of those dumb sentences like "This sentence is false." It doesn't matter what side of the argument you're on: you're wrong.

Re:This is bad? (0, Flamebait)

Ancil (622971) | about 9 years ago | (#13864486)

Actually, if you read the FreeDOS page, the FreeDOS author only requests that Dr. DOS Inc. do something about complying with the GPL. i.e. He's asking them to...
Yes, and the movie and record companies are only asking that you comply with their licenses. Ie, they're asking you to pay for the content you're consuming so they can pay their workers to produce more of said content.

Perhaps it's only ok to demand compliance when the license is GPL?

Re:This is bad? (1)

m50d (797211) | about 9 years ago | (#13864570)

Yes, and the movie and record companies are only asking that you comply with their licenses.

And you snip the important part of his comment, that complying with the GPL only involves them distributing things they already have and can reproduce at no cost to their customers.

Perhaps it's only ok to demand compliance when the license is GPL?

There are some things which are acceptable to demand and some which aren't. Most people break some laws but would still insist you follow the law on things like murder.

Re:This is bad? (5, Informative)

JediTrainer (314273) | about 9 years ago | (#13864526)

He's asking them to distribute a copy of the GNU General Public License with the software

This is one of three things that they can do to be compliant. There are two others, which given their commercial nature they may decide to undertake:

1 - stop distribution, remove all GPL code from their application immediately and rewrite those parts before distributing again

2 - negotiate an alternative (commercial?) license with the copyright holders of the GPL portions of code. This can be problematic when there's a lot of authors, but it can be done.

Generally if a company effed up in (mis)using GPL code they should be given the opportunity to fix their mistakes. If this is an intentional misuse and they do not intend to correct things they may open themselves up to a lawsuit.

Any way you slice it, of course, the GPL software is still copyrighted. Without the GPL it doesn't become public domain. Eliminating the GPL means that you don't have *any* permission to use the code.

Re:This is bad? (5, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 9 years ago | (#13864310)

The difference is that violating the GPL makes the information less Free, whereas violating most other copyrights and/or licenses makes the information more free.

Re:This is bad? (1)

black mariah (654971) | about 9 years ago | (#13864390)

You know, up until I read this I'd never heard anyone make a GOOD point about why violating one thing was fine but the other wasn't.

It's still nonsensical, but it DOES shut up the wankers that trot out the "I thought information wanted to be free" bullshit.

Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13864392)

The difference is that violating the GPL makes the information less Free, whereas violating most other copyrights and/or licenses makes the information more free.

Ahh yes, and this makes it "ok". So when I break into your house/computer and publish your ssn, credit card#'s, and whatever other dirt, since I'm "freeing" information, it's ok. If the govt wants to tap your phone line and packet capture all your internet sessions, well, that's freeing even more information, right?

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 9 years ago | (#13864539)

Read my previous comment more carefully, and you'll notice that I never actually advocated violating copyright.

Re:This is bad? (1)

Otter (3800) | about 9 years ago | (#13864400)

The difference is that violating the GPL makes the information less Free, whereas violating most other copyrights and/or licenses makes the information more free.

To be precise, violating the GPL makes the information more free but less Free, while violating most copyrights makes the infomation more free but equally Free.

It astonishes me that we're in the 21st century and people are still confused by this.

Re:This is bad? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 9 years ago | (#13864462)

I disagree. For example, in this case the GPL violation makes the information less free, because they're charging for the source code (the page says "Email sales@drdos.com for price quote"). Also, violating copyright doesn't make the information any more Free, because it doesn't cease to apply just because you broke it.

Re:This is bad? (2, Insightful)

IDontAgreeWithYou (829067) | about 9 years ago | (#13864519)

Precisely explained apparently does not mean clearly explained. Perhaps this is why people are still confused. How about instead of precision we aim for clarity? The purpose of the GPL is to make information more free. Violations of it, therefore, actually make information less free. The purpose of most copyrights is to make information less free, so violations of them make the information more free.

Re:This is bad? (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | about 9 years ago | (#13864524)

I find that the situation is compounded by an extrememly judicious choice of words by RMS. The above statement, "To be precise, violating the GPL makes the information more free but less Free, while violating most copyrights makes the infomation more free but equally Free," is understandably confusing. However, "To be precise, violating the GPL makes the information more free but less Liberated, while violating most copyrights makes the infomation more free but equally Liberated" is clearer, but also makes RMS sound more like the crazy and cunning coot he is.

Re:This is bad? (4, Insightful)

suitepotato (863945) | about 9 years ago | (#13864408)

The difference is that violating the GPL makes the information less Free, whereas violating most other copyrights and/or licenses makes the information more free.

The ultimate point of all this nonsense about information wanting to be free is that no one wants to pay anything for anything so ANY license makes the information less free because a license automatically signifies it is in some way tied to someone who owns it more than anyone else. Truly free information has no owners. We used to call that public domain. The GPL and so on is just a way for the cheapskates in amature socialist garb to have their cake and eat it too, but eventually the dogma generates the karma that runs it over.

Calling anything free with a license is just self-deception and there because those using it want to have the power of Intellectual Property OWNERSHIP and still look cool because they are LETTING people not pay money. It's not free as long as someone has to LET me use it.

Re:This is bad? (3, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 9 years ago | (#13864518)

No, stuff licensed under the GPL IS Free. It's just a different kind of freedom, or freedom from a different perspective. It's merely a different balance of where my freedom ends, and yours begins.

In the case of public domain, a person using the code is Free because they can do anything they want to it, including restricting others from Freely using their changes.

In the case of the GPL, the code itself is Free, because all parts of it are Freely available.

MOD PARENT UP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13864522)

You hit it on the button my friend.

Re:This is bad? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13864419)

And violating property/ownership laws makes objects more free.

Re:This is bad? (4, Interesting)

complexmath (449417) | about 9 years ago | (#13864353)

It's one thing to play a copy of a Michael Jackson CD and enjoy it. It's another to play that CD for a friend and tell them you just recorded it in the studio. In the first case, Mr. Jackson is getting credit for having produced the music, and may be indirectly gaining fans (and therefore potential revenue) as a result. In the second, the artist is getting no credit for having created the material. This comparison roughly applies to software copyrights, though attributing the use of libraries with software typically requires the company's legal team and often adding stuff to documentation that no one wants there. I've had to avoid the use of some very popular free software before simply because legal refused to put the required blurb where it needed to be.

Re:This is bad? (1)

m50d (797211) | about 9 years ago | (#13864505)

It works both ways for DrDOS inc. too. If they can violate other people's copyrights (which is what you do when you break the GPL terms, it's not like some bullshit EULA) then they shouldn't care about me violating theirs. In which case, anyone got a download link?

Re:This is bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13864508)

Perhaps you misunderstand -- a few loud people think it is morally right to download media without compensation. It is likely that a majority does so with an understanding that it is likely unethical to some degree. Others don't download without compensation at all and buy all their music or download free tracks.

This is not a homogenized group; some of us have even sold music that we've created and are very much against music piracy and are also paid to write software and are very careful about copyright.

Information may want to be free, but authors want to eat. Funny how that works.

--
Evan

People use DOS? (2, Insightful)

ajiva (156759) | about 9 years ago | (#13864270)

Do people out there really use DOS? I can understand an old point of sale system that might still be running DOS 3.3 or 5.0, but why upgrade something that is still working fine. And if you do upgrade, why to DOS?

--
http://blogs.sun.com/javawithjiva [sun.com]

Re:People use DOS? (1)

GoodOmens (904827) | about 9 years ago | (#13864283)

You would be surprised how many corporations still use dos based programs out there.

Trust me its scary.

Re:People use DOS? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 9 years ago | (#13864287)

It is used in many specialized situations.

I use CNC machines that were built around DOS-based PCs.

Re:People use DOS? (1)

Bachus9000 (765935) | about 9 years ago | (#13864577)

Command & Conquer was a fun game, wasn't it? :)

(For those who don't know, CNC is a sort-of-popular abbrievation for C&C--see planetcnc.com for example...)

Re:People use DOS? (2, Insightful)

Enigma_Man (756516) | about 9 years ago | (#13864297)

Try upgrading the BIOS on your PC without it.

Re:People use DOS? (1)

gagge (808932) | about 9 years ago | (#13864343)

Which newer motherboard does not support flashing your BIOS in Windows? Oops, forgot, this is slashdot, you don't use Windows.

Re:People use DOS? (3, Informative)

avdp (22065) | about 9 years ago | (#13864382)

Award Bios has a windows-based fully-graphical utility to upgrade its BIOS. you don't boot into it or anything, it just runs in Windows. Not sure how they do it, but there is no DOS involved. The new BIOS is just there after you reboot.

Re:People use DOS? (1)

Enigma_Man (756516) | about 9 years ago | (#13864422)

Manufacturers have their own windows-based flashers also, but the original BIOS needs to have special switches built into it to enable flashing from Windows, even with the Award Winflash utility (which is a terrible program by the way) (it's dumb, I know, but that's how it is). So if your BIOS is older than the date they started including the switches, or your manufacturer chose not to (or didn't know to) include them, you can't ever use the windows flashers.

Re:People use DOS? (1)

avdp (22065) | about 9 years ago | (#13864499)

I know, you can't do it with every motherboard. I am just saying, flashing your BIOS does not neccessarily require DOS anymore. I haven't had to deal with a DOS-based flashing utility in a long while, but it will be a while before old hardware are decommissioned...

Re:People use DOS? (1)

Cramer (69040) | about 9 years ago | (#13864402)

Many of my machines can flash it's own BIOS. Yes, this is the "recovery" method, but it gets the job done without DOS. And all of my Tyan "server" hardware supports "Remote BIOS updates" -- serial transfer of the bios image.

And with a bit of hackery, the BIOS can be reprogrammed from most *NIX's.

Re:People use DOS? (1)

JediTrainer (314273) | about 9 years ago | (#13864460)

Actually my IBM/Lenovo T42 Notebook can upgrade its BIOS pretty much automatically within Windows. I have this 'Software Installer' tool by Lenovo which downloads all driver, software and BIOS updates, and with one click installs everything in one go (after agreeing to the EULA, of course).

The BIOS update actually gets applied at the next reboot, where it prompts me to make sure the notebook is plugged in with a fully charged battery, but there's no DOS in there as far as I can tell (it's an interface without a GUI, yes, but it doesn't look like it boots into DOS).

Re:People use DOS? (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | about 9 years ago | (#13864563)

On my old ThinkPad X21, it does the rebooting into a GUI-less environment thingy.

That GUI-less environment is most definitely IBM PC-DOS on mine.

Re:People use DOS? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13864311)

most rollercoasters run DOS in their embedded pc's as well as lots of other computing hardware doing real work (data collection etc...)

DOS is still a real-work (tm) operating system unlike windows.

linux is starting to take over in the embedded OS arena simply because you can do much more than you can in dos.

windows = plaything. DOS = real work OS.

Re:People use DOS? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 years ago | (#13864341)

A lot of people actually do. Sometimes the old systems do all they really need and they have no desire to spend lots of cash upgrading hardware and operating systems just for the sake of going through the motions.

I know my local GameStop has something like 1.5ghz boxes running an earlier (6.22, maybe?) version of DOS for their tracking and accounting system. Kind of crazy, but if it works, why waste cash on something else?

Re:People use DOS? (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | about 9 years ago | (#13864358)

I use it regularly for turning old PC's into Citrix clients. When a donated 486 can be turned into a functioning PC for free there's a lot of value in that. I would love a version of DOS with a built in TCP/IP stack and a LANMAN client, it would save me a lot of work having to do all the voodoo magic that it takes to get that stuff working under plain old MSDOS or its clones.

Re:People use DOS? (2, Interesting)

Cramer (69040) | about 9 years ago | (#13864441)

A little company called ThinkNIC did the same thing with Linux. (they used a tiny mediagx system complete with a freakin' winmodem.) It'd likely take the same amount of work to build a linux image from scratch, but it'd be much easier to maintain once you had it in hand. (Seriously. Who makes DOS drivers anymore?)

Re:People use DOS? (3, Informative)

ankarbass (882629) | about 9 years ago | (#13864431)

It's used for embedded applications. Yes, I know linux is also. For some applications, however, all you need or want is a dos compatible file system and an easy way to input and output text information or simple vga graphics. With an embeddable DOS, and an old copy of TurboC (or Quickbasic, believe it or not), a few hours spent rewriting the startup code, just about any old-school engineer can be up and running. The code is understandable by one person AND you can buy licenses for cheap. Yes there's no charge for GPL'd code, but, it comes with strings attached which often seem like a poor risk compared to the oem cost of something like DRDos.

Re:People use DOS? (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 9 years ago | (#13864494)

It's considerably easier to produce a bootable DOS system from scratch and in less space than it is Linux or something else. Therefore, I expect there's a whole range of applications where it has its place. Basically anywhere a PC is expected to do one thing and one thing only would be a candidate for FreeDOS.

Re:People use DOS? (1)

Cramer (69040) | about 9 years ago | (#13864500)

Sadly. Yes, they do.

I was dealing with the BS last night, as a matter of fact... Toshiba's Stratagy (DK and IVP8) voice mail systems are DOS based. The management application is also a [censored] DOS application. It is, in fact, so DOS I have to run it inside VMWare to get it to work correctly. And it CONSUMES the cpu -- it is a DOS app after all; it's supposed to have the whole machine to itself, right?

(I'm told they have an NT based VM, but it's buggy as all hell.)

bah, here we go again (5, Informative)

psycho8me (711330) | about 9 years ago | (#13864274)

You cannot "break" the gpl. It is a license, not a contract. If you do not agree to it or violate it's terms, you have no license to use the software or make derivative works. If that occurs it is simple copyright infringement.

Re:bah, here we go again (4, Informative)

schon (31600) | about 9 years ago | (#13864366)

you have no license to use the software or make derivative works

s/ or / to /g

From the GPLv2, section 0:

"Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License; they are outside its scope."

Re:bah, here we go again (1)

ari_j (90255) | about 9 years ago | (#13864414)

You absolutely can break a license. However, I believe you're correct as far as the GPL goes - although there doesn't seem to be an explicit statement to this effect, it appears that an acceptance of the GPL followed by a violation of its terms constitutes automatic revocation of the license.

I'm confused (-1, Troll)

mymaxx (924704) | about 9 years ago | (#13864278)

Why is this in the YRO section?

Re:I'm confused (1)

slavemowgli (585321) | about 9 years ago | (#13864317)

Why shouldn't it be? Licensing issues, "intellectual property" (no matter whether it's copyrights, patents, trademarks or whatever) stories and all that belong in here.

mod me redundant but... (-1, Flamebait)

Ramses0 (63476) | about 9 years ago | (#13864302)

...http://www.drdos.com/products/sourcecode.htm [drdos.com]

???

What's the issue? Remember: GPL sez: "If I give you binaries, I have to give you code. If I give you code, I can't stop you from giving other people the code."

For the license illiterate out there:

    Microsoft.com: Sells you "GPL FireFox" for $100.

    CrazyUnixHippie: Buys "GPL FireFox", requests source code.

    CrazyUnixHippie: sets up CrazyUnixHippie.org and gives away source / binaries.

Until #2 happens, don't worry that #3 hasn't happened yet. Please don't pick on my incorrect use of Trademarks in an example about GPL rights, don't confuse the fledgeling hackers out there.

--Robert

Re:mod me redundant but... (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 9 years ago | (#13864348)

no mod you somewhat oblivious.

sorry but you cant SELL the sourcecode under the GPL, you have to give it to me freely. and that webpage talks about pricing for access to the sourcecode. Most likely for their closed source items.

nowhere do they offer the sourcecode to the GPL products nor admit that any gpl items in DRDOS exist.

Re:mod me redundant but... (2, Informative)

avdp (22065) | about 9 years ago | (#13864410)

Actually, the GPL does allow you to charge a fee to package and ship the source code. There is no requirement that it has to be freely available from a FTP site.

The site says "email for price quote". Have you asked what the price is? I don't know what the magical number is. $8 would be reasonable, $1000 would not.

Re:mod me redundant but... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 9 years ago | (#13864420)

Or, more accurately, you can't charge additional money for the source code, beyond what you sold the binary for. The source code must be provided for free if and only if you have a copy of the binary.

Aside from that, yeah, you're right: the page for the source code says "Email sales@drdos.com for price quote" whereas the 8.1 binary page has "1 User License $45.00" and a pick that says "buy now" and has Visa and MasterCard logos. Obviously, that implies that the source code is

  1. a separate purchase from the binary, and
  2. [much] more than $45.

And that's the problem.

Re:mod me redundant but... (1)

black mariah (654971) | about 9 years ago | (#13864442)

You can charge for the work involved with providing someone a copy of the source. You do not HAVE to give it away freely. You have to provide it per the customer/user's request, and it states specifically that you may charge for materials and other things involved in providing that copy. Please, RTFGPL before you start spouting off about it.

Re:mod me redundant but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13864489)

sorry but you cant SELL the sourcecode under the GPL, you have to give it to me freely.

Can the people posting this crap and modding it up please read the GPL [gnu.org] ? Section 3b in particular.

Yes, it's true, you cannot sell the source code. But you can "charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution".

So until you email them and find out they are charging more than a couple of bucks or so, please refrain from assuming that any form of pricing for the source code is automatically bogus. And I say this as somebody who does actually expect to find that they are infringing.

Re:mod me redundant but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13864562)

Sure you can, as long as you didn't sell the binaries first. Like for scripting languages, there really is no binary, so you sell the source.

Re:mod me redundant but... (4, Insightful)

Pedrito (94783) | about 9 years ago | (#13864356)

What's the issue? Remember: GPL sez: "If I give you binaries, I have to give you code..."

And if you RTFA, you'll see that's PRECISELY the issue. Not only are they not releasing the source code with the FreeDOS binaries they've included, they're not even mentioning that they're GPLed.

Re:mod me redundant but... (1)

Otter (3800) | about 9 years ago | (#13864365)

The submitter neglected to explain what the supposed GPL violation might be, but it seems from R'ingTFA that the DR-DOS bundle includes GPL'd products without adequately crediting the authors or including license information.

Re:mod me redundant but... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 9 years ago | (#13864565)

No. The GPL says that:

  1. If I give you binaries, I have to give you code.
  2. If I give you code, I can't stop you from giving other people the code.
  3. I can modify the code I give you, but I must display prominent notices for each file in the code I change that I changed it, I must offer the code to you under the terms of the GPL, and most importantly, my program must display an appropriate copyright notice and a notification that the program is available under the terms of the GPL.
From TFA:
The other programs and drivers included are old versions of some popular open source, freeware and shareware products without licenses, documentation or even credit to their authors...

Furthermore, the offer for the source code needs to be available to any third party (you need not have purchased DR-DOS to get it), plus they can charge for no more than their cost of physically distributing the source (i.e., $1-2 for burning a CD-ROM and $1-2 or so to mail it). The offer they have seems to imply that you need to get a price quote -- I'm guess a they're not gonna quote you $4-5 for the cost of the open source utilities.

Dell? (4, Interesting)

GrEp (89884) | about 9 years ago | (#13864312)

Doesn't Dell sell some computers with DrDOS? You might try harrasing Dell's lawyers about it. You would probably get a much quicker response. I don't think Dell will be happy knowing that one of their vendors is giving them "pirated" software to install.

Re:Dell? (1)

77Punker (673758) | about 9 years ago | (#13864340)

I don't think so. What Dell does is sell some computers with no OS installed and a FreeDOS CD in the box with the computer.

Re:Dell? (1)

GrEp (89884) | about 9 years ago | (#13864474)

They have a Dell logo on their customer page so they must sell them something: http://www.drdos.com/customers/index.htm [drdos.com]

Yeah, I just looked and couldn't find any DrDos PCs in Dell's online catalog either. Who knows. Maybe they just do consulting for Dell.

Re:Dell? (1)

OctaneZ (73357) | about 9 years ago | (#13864361)

Dell offers specific machines (the n-series I beleive) with FreeDOS [freedos.org] .

eula and gpl (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13864337)

Why is that the open source fan boys bash EULA, claim it is not enforceable - yet tout the GPL and whine whenever a violation is perceived?

THE GPL IS NOT AN EULA! (4, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 9 years ago | (#13864435)

EULAs restrict USE, and therefore violate the Doctrine of First Sale. The GPL only applies to DISTRIBUTION, and only removes some of the restrictions of copyright law.

GPL is not an EULA (4, Informative)

metamatic (202216) | about 9 years ago | (#13864437)

Because the GPL isn't an EULA, troll-boy.

You can download and use GPL software without agreeing to any part of the GPL whatsoever.

The only time the GPL applies is if you wish to negotiate extra rights beyond those to download and use the software--specifically, the right to copy and re-distribute it yourself. In which case, the GPL is merely one possible set of terms for such redistribution; often the copyright owner has other terms available too.

The GPL is basically a convenience document saying "Hey, by the way, if you want to copy and distribute this, I'll tell you in advance that you're allowed to do so under these terms. No need to contact me and ask. If you want other terms, go ahead and ask. If you don't want to copy and distribute, ignore all this."

Re:eula and gpl (4, Informative)

ettlz (639203) | about 9 years ago | (#13864452)

Why is that the open source fan boys bash EULA, claim it is not enforceable - yet tout the GPL and whine whenever a violation is perceived?

Let me try to answer this. Other people may do a better job. The GPL and most commercial EULAs are not the same type of animal. EULAs seek to restrict the user's freedoms. "Open source fan boys" tend to object to the EULAs because of this, and even more so because many EULAs attempt to impose restrictions outside the immediate scope of the software to which they are attached (e.g., mandating spyware, no benchmarking, etc., there was a story here earlier). The GPL, on the other hand, places no restrictions on use: you can do whatever you damn well like to the software so long as you keep it free. This, I believe, is the crux. "Open source fan boys" don't like people taking GPL'd code, locking it up where others can't get to it, and worse still (in some cases) claiming ownership of it.

There is no hypocrisy in asking that the GPL (which in my opinion is very reasonable, and anyone who thinks otherwise is probably trying to build a baby mulching machine) be respected whilst denouncing these jackbooted EULAs.

Re:eula and gpl (2, Interesting)

dwandy (907337) | about 9 years ago | (#13864497)

perhaps b/c certain (portions of) certain eula's have been found unenforceable, but the gpl has never been found unenforceable?
search "Eben Moglen" for more...

Re:eula and gpl (1)

ValentineMSmith (670074) | about 9 years ago | (#13864507)

Why is that the open source fan boys bash EULA, claim it is not enforceable - yet tout the GPL and whine whenever a violation is perceived?

Because, in most instances, you have to break the seal on a CD or some other sort of media before you can even get to the EULA on a commercial package. Once you break that seal, you usually cannot return the software for any sort of refund or even store credit. This means that you have no opportunity to effectively read a common commercial EULA to decide whether or not you want to use a package covered by that EULA unless you commit to purchasing that package anyway.

However, anyone can go here [gnu.org] and read the GPL in all its glory before deciding whether or not they wish to use a particular package.

Simple enough?

DrDos Source Code (3, Interesting)

graemecoates (592009) | about 9 years ago | (#13864363)

Having looked at the DR-DOS pages, there's a link to "Source Code" (here [drdos.com] ).

"Email sales@drdos.com" regarding source code so the site says. However, if there's no GPL file included then it'd be a breach.

Additionally, from TFA, it'd be interesting to see whether the distribution breaks the terms of the two shareware products that have apparently been included. (Ranish Partition Manager 2.44 & PKZIP 2.04g by PKWARE)

Re:DrDos Source Code (2, Informative)

ari_j (90255) | about 9 years ago | (#13864463)

The actual language from the site you linked to is "Email sales@drdos.com for price quote." A price quote is not distribution.

Re:DrDos Source Code (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 9 years ago | (#13864569)

It's also a breach if, after buying the binary for $45, the quoted price for the source code is nonzero.

The quoted price if you haven't bought the binary could be anything they want, but it would be dumb to try to charge more than $45 because everyone would just buy the binary and exercise their GPL rights instead.

I posted that! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13864372)

I posted that story (word for word!), yet somehow it says 'posted by hemos' how does that work then?

Haha! (0, Offtopic)

i64X (582393) | about 9 years ago | (#13864384)

You said "Kuhnt"

Reminds me of something ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13864427)

I've been wondering something as of late about a company I'm working for/with (anonymous and all, you see).

Say there is a company with a small hardware device that ran a hacked up version of linux embedded with quite a few of the GNU tools. There is a good deal of custom code that runs on the device as well. As far as I know there are jack and sh*t for download from the company. The devices are network enabled with thttp and encryption and ssh.

Anyway, er, what does the GPL have to say about this?

How is this illegal? (3, Insightful)

iambarry (134796) | about 9 years ago | (#13864439)

I'm not sure if I understand correctly.

It sounds like DRDOS's latest version is just a bunch of software that can be downloaded free from the internet. A collection of GPL'd or other OSS licensed software. They are trying to charge $45 for what would otherwise be free.

But why would this be illegal? If they have not modified any of the software, how would this even violate the licenses?

I don't get it. Apologies in advance if I'm being dumb.

--Barry

Re:How is this illegal? (1)

benoitg (302050) | about 9 years ago | (#13864469)

RTFA, they changed the copyright notice on many of these utilities.

Re:How is this illegal? (1)

iambarry (134796) | about 9 years ago | (#13864561)

I read TFA. Just re-read it looking for where they said that the copyright notice was changed.

Maybe I can't read, but I don't see where they say that.

You have a quote or an URL?

--Barry

Wow, flashback 15 years ago... (0, Redundant)

Kevin108 (760520) | about 9 years ago | (#13864444)

C:\>del config.sys C:\>copy con config.sys SHELL=C:\DRDOS\COMMAND.COM ^C C:\>Alt+Ctrl+Del

Slashdot, LET US RALLY! (0, Troll)

itistoday (602304) | about 9 years ago | (#13864450)

Grab your pitchforks--No! Mice! Yes! Grab your mice and let's stab--NO! CLICK! YES! AND LET'S CLICK THEIR WEBSITE TO DEATH!!

It's too damned early here (5, Interesting)

RLiegh (247921) | about 9 years ago | (#13864479)

I haven't had my coffee yet, so I may be wrong; but here's what I understand of the issue:

1)OpenDOS is released circa 1996 by Caldera, with source code for the kernel included. Not sure under what license, but I don't think it was GNU/GPL (correct me if I'm wrong).

2)Someone starts independent work on the OpenDOS source code and creates several revisions.
But relicenses under the GPL

3)A company named Device Logics comes along, buys the rights to DR-DOS from Lineo (who was split off from Caldera a couple of years before they became SCO) and releases a new version (8)

4)THe guy independently working on the kernel releases Fat32 inhancements, which are snatched (against the terms of teh GPL) by DR-DOS nee' Device Logics

5)According to the letter by Jim Hall ITFA they also distribute two FreeDOS programs without providing source (this is cut and dried; the maintainers of those programs clearly have a case there; but I'm mentioning this for completeness).

SOooooooo, what I wonder is this: if the Original IP belonged to Caldera (and now, through aquisition, DR-DOS inc) aren't they free to do with it -and with derived products as
they see fit?

If TFA is true, I don't have a really high opinion of these guys (charging $45 for a couple of 3rd-party kernel inhancements and distributing GNU software illictly -without source); but look back at the original license for the kernel source and I bet you ten to one that there is a clause in there which allows this behavior by the owner of the DR DOS code base.

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13864529)

...Kuhnt Udo something about this?

Illegal vs. Against the terms of the license (2, Interesting)

iambarry (134796) | about 9 years ago | (#13864536)

IANAL (BIWIW)...

Illegal means that a law has been broken, and implies a violation of criminal law.

AFAIK, violating a license is not illegal. A license is essentially an agreement between two parties (a form of a contract?). Violating the terms is allowed under the law, however there may be specific consequences of violating terms.

Am I being too picky? Anybody out there that IAL want to correct my ignorance?

--Barry
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