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GP2X Linux Handheld Makers Don't Understand GPL

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the please-release-me dept.

Portables (Games) 284

Bjimba writes "Apparently, the developer community is having a lot of trouble convincing the makers of the GP2X Linux handheld to comply with the GPL by releasing source at the same time as binary firmware releases. This link leads to a synopsis of the issue, and yes, it's my own blog, but there's no ads."

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He's right about one thing (4, Funny)

Mateito (746185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450517)

Forbidden
You don't have permission to access /2006/01/gp2x-needs-gpl-lesson.html on this server.

Yep. There "is" no ads at all!

Re:He's right about one thing (1)

mysqlrocks (783488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450531)

You don't have permission to access /2006/01/gp2x-needs-gpl-lesson.html on this server.

I can read it. It's blogspot so it couldn't be slashdotted?

Re:He's right about one thing (5, Informative)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450567)

Works here, TFA in full :

I mentioned some time back that I was going to get myself a GP2X for Christmas. And so I did. Well, actually, under the Rules of Christmas at our house, my wife officially "got" it for me, just like I "got" her present for her. After seventeen years of marriage, shortcuts are allowed.

First impressions: I love this little unit. Runs a Linux 2.4 kernel, plays movies with mplayer, already has MAME ported to it... Really, it has everything in a handheld game/media machine that a hacker-in-the-old-meaning could want. Except for one thing. The kernel source code.

How could this be? This is Linux we're talking about! The open source poster child! (It most likely is GNU/Linux at that. I haven't poked around enough to see what other components surround the kernel. At the very least, bash is present.)

Well, it seems that the company that created the GP2X, Gamepark Holdings, is a couple of guys in some office space in Seoul. Perhaps some of you who follow the popular blogs remember Cory Doctorow's posts on BoingBoing.net when the GP2X was announced. He noticed the dreaded acronym DRM on their website, and raised alarms. Later, it was explained by the only person at Gamepark Holdings who speaks English that they didn't really understand what they were saying.

Apparently, they don't seem to understand the GPL, either. They (and their subcontractor Dignsys, who actually did the Linux port for the GP2X) have been approached repeatedly for release of their modified version of the Linux kernel. Reluctantly, they finally did so, releasing an early, out-of-date prerelease version of the source, which is useless to the developer community who would like to hunt down some of the current bugs. There are active discussions on the GP2X developer boards on the topic, as people try to find the best way to get Gamepark Holdings and Dignsys to comply with the GPL by releasing source concurrently with each new release of the GP2X kernel. Of course, as these sorts of threads tend to do, accusations have flown about all parties involved, most of it totally speculative.

So, herein lies the problem. This handful of early adopters, mostly in Europe and the Americas, is searching for a way to convince Gamepark Holdings and Dignsys to do what the GPL requires of them, without taking down the companies. This is a niche product, and they could complain until the cows come home and never get timely releases of the source. Someone with a bit of PR clout must be brought into the picture. But who? Linus? RMS? Cory? Larry? CmdrTaco?

After puzzling for a while (and yes, my puzzler was sore afterwards), I figured it was time to test the blogosphere. I decided to write a post about the situation as I saw it. This post. Now, I'll submit it to the tastemakers and see if anyone is interested.

Re:He's right about one thing (1)

Aurisor (932566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14451111)

It's checking your referrer.

Click your address bar and hit enter.

The Solution: (0, Troll)

rodgster (671476) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450521)

Post their URL in /. story

Massive influx of outraged /.'ers results in DDOS & increased bandwidth costs ($$$).

Re-post daily until GP2X concedes.

Re:The Solution: (1)

netkid91 (915818) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450848)

OK everyone,
sh slashdot
Run your BASH + Wget /. DoS scripts.

Re:The Solution: (4, Funny)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450986)

Re-post daily until GP2X concedes.

But that raises a giant moral issue: "Is duping OK if done for a good reason?" Man, that's deep.

That's encouraging... (1)

themysteryman73 (771100) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450523)

It's encouraging to hear that people programming handheld devices, which could possibly end up being things like GPS/sat-nav, don't understand the language.

Instead of Linking to your Blog.... (-1, Offtopic)

rubberbando (784342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450525)

Why didn't you just post the contents of the entry as the story?

Re:Instead of Linking to your Blog.... (1)

Bjimba (31636) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450960)

>> Why didn't you just post the contents of the entry as the story?

Simple. I had no way of knowing whether Slashdot was going to pick it up or not. As I said in the post, my intent was to summarize the issue, submit the link to some relevant high-readership sites, and hope one or more would consider it.

By the way, thanks, folks. There's been some good ideas in some of your responses.

Re:Instead of Linking to your Blog.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14451217)

Yeah, thats pretty sad when someone uses Slashdot to get hits on their blog.

A personal blog isn't a news site people!

Its also pretty sad when someone uses multiple accounts or their friends to mod down people who point out this fact too.

Violated? (3, Interesting)

Mr.Dippy (613292) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450536)

Does that mean that the collective geekiness of slashdot can sue them if they don't comply? How does the GPL get enforced?

Re:Violated? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14450629)


"Does that mean that the collective geekiness of slashdot can sue them if they don't comply? How does the GPL get enforced?
"

It gets enforced the same way as any other copyright infringement. The copyright holder files a lawsuit against the infringer seeking specific damages. The GPL is relevant, but only in the sense that the infringer has *rejected* the license, and therefore all rights under copyright law are reserved to the author. The infringer has no right to distribute the material, once he rejects the terms of the GPL.

Now if the party with standing to sue, chooses to take no action, then there will be no enforcement. It could be possible to serve a takedown order against electronic distribution, by a "good for the goose, good for the gander" reading of whatever copyright laws the media companies are using against consumers.

Probably much easier than pursuing a GPL violation case, would be to order them to cease and desist use of the trademark. The blog post indicates a desire among the community to persuade these people to follow the license without having to "Take them down." That's obviously not how it works. If this company can't be made to fear being ordered to cease production, they aren't going to be motivated.

If the FSF acted, they could probably get an order to stop distribution of the device in the US at least. Let the copyright holder file a motion for a temporary restraining order, stating the case against the distributor, the precise terms of the license, and the evidence that the license was violated. That's the first step. Do that. Don't expect a blog post to change anything!

Re:Violated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14451037)

And when they are in Seoul how much weight does any of this carry?

Re:Violated? (1)

Henk Postma (703916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14451067)

Read your parent: " If the FSF acted, they could probably get an order to stop distribution of the device in the US at least. "

Re:Violated? (5, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450658)

Well according to the GPL version 4, if you kill companies that violate the GPL, you will spend eternity in heaven with 72 virgins.

Cynics have said that the virgins are male and it just feels like eternity, but they are probably shills in the service of Microsoft, the Great Satan of software.

Re:Violated? (1)

gnujoshua (540710) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450840)

Not sure how the GPL gets enforced, but I imagine the people who do know can be found here:
GPL Compliance Lab
http://www.fsf.org/licensing/compliance.html [fsf.org]

Software Freedom Law Center
http://www.softwarefreedom.org/ [softwarefreedom.org]

Some of what the FSF has on GPL Violations (4, Informative)

twitter (104583) | more than 8 years ago | (#14451088)

How does the GPL get enforced?

The GPL is enforced like any other copyright and derives it's power from the same copyright laws used by some people to strip you of the four software freedoms [gnu.org] .

From what I've read, contact is made with the suspected violator. Most violations are not intentional and everyone is made happy right away. If not, you have to do what other publishers do. This is how the FSF does it [fsf.org] .

The free software foundation has plenty of good advice. Just Google for "gpl violation site:fsf.org" You will be taken to:

There would not be any confusion over the issue if there were not for a massive propaganda effort by people who prefer their power and wealth to your freedom [gnu.org] .

Re:Violated? (1)

TechnologyX (743745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14451133)

nuhahahah yeah right, nobody gives a fuck about the GPL. Go ahead and try to get mommy to fund your revolution.

Re:Violated? (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14451229)

umm try IBM Novell Redhat Sun (partly) NSA and thats just a short list i could go on

Linus once said (3, Funny)

biocute (936687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450537)

Never trust someone who writes GPL with a stylized L.

A more important question is, what can the Open Source community do about it? Legally and Koreanly?

sigh.... (2, Funny)

dr_labrat (15478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450554)

You will resp*ect*
Mah Authora*taih*.
gad dammit

Another blog. another bloog.

Only to be expected (4, Insightful)

pilkul (667659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450563)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't South Korea, like China, a place where lots of piracy goes on without being taken seriously? If so, we can't expect the reverse-copyright jujitsu of the GPL to be taken seriously in their legal system either.

Re:Only to be expected (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450576)

Them bastards! I bet they've got those a-bombs too. Oh.. sorry, that was North Korea.

Re:Only to be expected (1, Funny)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450582)

So, basically, South Korea or China is the ideal when it comes to GPL, since FSF doesn't believe in ownership of software [gnu.org] , and neither do these guys

Re:Only to be expected (1)

vchoy (134429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450737)

"...like China, a place where lots of piracy goes on without being taken seriously? If so, we can't expect the reverse-copyright jujitsu of the GPL to be taken seriously in their legal system either."

Ahhh but in China, I would assume they treat GPL seriously:
You see, because all GPL source belongs to the "PEOPLE"... ...of China....

hmmmm...yes....I mean no...I mean.... ...move along nothing to see here!

Re:Only to be expected (5, Interesting)

Tyrant Chang (69320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450813)

I don't know about China but it seemed that at least in my experiences, the big companies in Korea are cognizant about GPL licensing issues and are pretty good at complying with the license.

For example, when I was working there a year ago
(1) Korea-equivalent of BSA would conduct random audits of software licenses. Actually one consulting company that my company hired had to stop working for couple days because apparently they didn't have proper number of licenses for Visual Studio. The company I worked for also ran in-house audits from time to time to detect not only licensed software but unauthorized software like MSN, mp3, etc.

(2) The company actually had an entire group devote to GPL and there were several initiatives to educate engineers and product planners about various licenses including GPL (I attended several presentations on it) and I belive we also purchased (or acquired) several software that was supposed to detect presense of popular GPL software in our sources.

(3) Engineers and markets usually talked and argued about including GPL stuff in the product we developed. We would usualy opt for commercial libraries because we usually didn't want to go through the hassle (we were big enough not to care about costs most of the time - if we had to think about cost, it probably meant that marketing guys weren't doing a good job in product planning)

(4) Last group that I worked in actually forbade usage of linux because of GPL license and we spent couple mil buying commerical RTOS and was in the process of coverting linux to that OS.

So, while I don't think Korean companies are up to standards of U.S. companies, I think it is a mischaracterization that all Asian countries don't care shit about IP stuff. Maybe private citizens might not care (there weren't too many cases of Korean-equivilant of RIAA suing people but Korea is a much less-litigious society) but I think most companies by far are pretty good about complying with GPL.

For example: http://opensrc.sec.samsung.com/ [samsung.com] has the sources for linux used in this product: http://linuxdevices.com/articles/AT7933085076.html [linuxdevices.com] (pretty decent product, although concept-wise, it is a knock off of japanese products)

The reason why Korean companies would care is that while chances are low they will be sued in Korea, they will be sued in U.S. and almost all companies need to sell their crap in U.S. to make money. So basically U.S. law becomes more-or-less de facto "international" law.

Re:Only to be expected (1)

pilkul (667659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450845)

Thanks for the information. I stand corrected.

Actually, I purposely made a claim I thought might be false in the hope of prodding someone into replying with information on the topic :). Sorry, I guess that's technically trolling but it works rather well.

Re:Only to be expected (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450922)

Yeah, actually Korea and Japan are probably the most US-like in terms of copyright.

Re:Only to be expected (1)

typical (886006) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450997)

South Korea and Japan are also probably the most wealthy.

I think that a lot of copyright infringement derives more from the fact that the incentive to pirate something is an awful lot higher if the item costs, in terms of your buying power, two or three or four times as much.

f3\/\/L slashdotting ur 0\/\/N blog....before.. (1)

atarione (601740) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450569)

signing up for adsense...? just kidding... it is a good question the device itself looks pretty badass... I want one... but it is pretty weak that they are not complying with the GPL.... and of course if it came to legal actions then they might well get driven under then nobody could have one to Hack in the first place... Hopefully they will see the error of their ways and post up the source...

Re:f3\/\/L slashdotting ur 0\/\/N blog....before.. (3, Insightful)

syberdave (658106) | more than 8 years ago | (#14451043)

What would be so wrong with posting a blog entry on slashdot even if there were ads?

As long as the content is good and worth it, it's better than those sites that publish pre-written articles just to get indexed by Google.

Dignsys not Gamepark Holdings (2, Informative)

chrisrx (945226) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450574)

This is the fault of Dignsys not Gamepark Holdings. GPH have created the hardware and Dignsys are porting linux but they're not even doing a good job of it. They just keep introducing more bugs with each firmware upgrade. I mean who interlaces an lcd screen?

Re:Dignsys not Gamepark Holdings (2, Insightful)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450740)

No, it's the fault of the people distributing it. Since GPH is distributing the hardware, which contains the binaries, GPH is responsible for making available the sources that correspond to the binaries they are distributing.

Violators be warned - Slashdot is coming! (1)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450583)

FTA: Someone with a bit of PR clout must be brought into the picture. But who? Linus? RMS? Cory? Larry? CmdrTaco?

Hmm. Perhaps Slashdot? I have a feeling they are about to get an earful from a bunch of non high profile people. Call it a hunch.

they don't understand? (5, Informative)

revery (456516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450585)

from the blog:
Later, it was explained by the only person at Gamepark Holdings who speaks English that they didn't really understand what they were saying. Apparently, they don't seem to understand the GPL, either.

Well, they understood how to get up an English web site. And they understood how to design a device and market it and take people's money. I think they are like anyone else, in that they understand as well as they want to...

It's cool that they chose Linux, but if they wanted to do keep from disclosing the source code, they should have chosen BSD.

Re:they don't understand? (1, Interesting)

ankhcraft (811009) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450676)

I couldn't agree more. I've worked for types of people like this. Always trying to find some way around the licensing agreement for software that they receive for FREE. In my opinion, this is tantamount to stealing from a charity.

I'm sure they understand, too. What's more, I'm sure that they also understand that others are getting away with the same illegal actions everyday, without facing any legal ramnifications. And this is the real problem: NOBODY WHO MATTERS IS DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT. The GPL needs to be tested in court.

And to think that I wanted to buy one of these. Now, I just want them to comply or fry.

Re:they don't understand? (4, Informative)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450718)

Broadcom have been doing it for years, and nobody gave a shit then.. why now? It's going to be hard to test the GPL in court when willful infringement has been ignored.

Re:they don't understand? (2, Insightful)

ankhcraft (811009) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450894)

I don't think that past ignorances will have an effect on future lawsuits. That's like saying "How can you arrest me for breaking into your house for the 3rd time? You didn't say anything the first two times!"

Re:they don't understand? (1)

typical (886006) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450926)

Or rather "I ignored you the first two times you told me, so I should get to keep ignoring you!"

Re:they don't understand? (4, Interesting)

abbamouse (469716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450934)

That makes no difference. There is a legal duty to defend your trademarks in order to prevent them from being diluted or becoming common words. However, there is no such duty to defend copyright. The best example of this is "Happy Birthday" which was publically performed without royalty payments for something like 40 years before the copyright owner finally decided to start suing restaraunts and other venues that performed it without authorization. The rightsholders are raking in the dough to this day, despite their half century slumber.

What don't I understand here? (3, Informative)

twitter (104583) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450959)

Tony Holye posits:

Broadcom have been doing it for years, and nobody gave a shit then.. why now? It's going to be hard to test the GPL in court when willful infringement has been ignored.

That's about as silly as saying that because no one cares about the GPL, all copyright is invalid. It would be nice if that were true, but it's not. Nor is it true that any one person ignoring a GPL violation invalidates the GPL as a license or the copyright laws it's based on.

The FSF has this to say about GPL violations:

The FSF acts on all GPL violations reported on FSF copyrighted code, and we offer assistance to any other copyright holder who wishes to do the same. But, we cannot act on our own if we do not hold copyright. Thus, be sure to find out who the copyright holders of the software are before reporting a violation.

Only the copyright holder can protect their work. There's nothing I can do if you don't care. If the use of your work to rob someone else of their rights bothers you, do something about it. There are lots of people willing to help. If you don't care, release it under another license. The GPL will continue to serve it's purpose regardless.

Re:they don't understand? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450981)

Allowing willful infringement is, in effect, the granting of a limited license to the infringer. It has no effect on future enforcement against the infringer, let alone some unrelated party.

Copyright ain't trademark.

To the extent that either can be considered property at all trademark always remains to a large degree the property of "The People," who get to define who they ascribe association of the mark with, whereas copyright is assigned by law as a title to the holder.

If someone takes your car and you allow them to continue driving it that is simply a tacit grant of permission. However, that has no influence on your right to withdraw that permission as you wish, because it's your car.

KFG

Re:they don't understand? (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450823)

And to think that I wanted to buy one of these. Now, I just want them to comply or fry.

Buy one then ask for the source. Include a copy of the GPL to back up your claim. Maybe GNU Korea [gnu.org] can help.

Re:they don't understand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14451070)

Buy one then ask for the source.

Note that you don't actually have to buy one unless you want to. They didn't ship the source with the binaries, so they have to agree (for three years) to give the source code to anyone who asks for it.

Let that be a lesson to device makers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14450616)

Using GPL carries a very high risk that your company will be attacked by socialist whiners when you do anything out of lockstep with their beliefs.

Microsoft platforms are looking up... I'm bullish MSFT into 2006... if the socialists could kill it, it'd be dead already.

Re:Let that be a lesson to device makers (5, Insightful)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450648)

"Using GPL carries a very high risk that your company will be attacked by socialist whiners when you do anything out of lockstep with their beliefs."

Violating any software license carries a risk that you will be litigated against by the copyright holder whose license you refuse to honor. Doing this is not "going out of lockstep with beliefs", but is *BREAKING THE LAW.*

Re:Let that be a lesson to device makers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14450781)

So, even if you violate Microsoft EULA's?

Re:Let that be a lesson to device makers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14450820)

So, even if you violate Microsoft EULA's?

Yes, even then.

Re:Let that be a lesson to device makers (3, Informative)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450910)

Yes, if I violate the EULA there is a risk that MS will sue me or cause other problems. In addition there is a risk that some people may nag at me. If I was a company or working for one then the risk is much higher. Please do post in any decent computer related forum that you use pirated software for a company (or doing any other real EULA breaking), and enjoy the 50 replies making fun of you (and the 5 trying to find which company it is so they can report you).

You break the law, for whatever reason, you must accept the consequences. This does brings up the question of exactly how legal a EULA is in the first place however either way there is a chance of lawsuit/bad press no matter what you personally believe about its legality. Granted, if you're smart you will probably not admit any of this if you are caught, since it would probably hurt your case.

I don't see what the problem is, the GPL isn't very strict and you simply need to release the source code. If you don't want to then there are other solutions, free and otherwise (BSD comes to mind, Windows CE probably does as well). If you wish to fight the legality of the GPL have fun, although keep in mind that it grants you rights in addition to those of copyright and if you strike it down you won't be able to distribute the software anyway.

Re:Let that be a lesson to device makers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14450901)

The way you wrote BREAKING THE LAW in ALL CAPS, you'd think it was significant or something.

Re:Let that be a lesson to device makers (1)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450953)

Using GPL carries a very high risk that your company will be attacked by socialist whiners when you do anything out of lockstep with their beliefs.

And using MSFT carries an even higher risk that your company will be attacked by capitalist lawyers when you so much as think anything out of lockstep with their beliefs.

MSFT is a great investment - if your goal in the world is simply to make money and help people make money.

First time I have heard of GP2X (5, Informative)

JPriest (547211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450623)

For the other that have never heard of GP2X [gpx2.co.uk] , they have a vid section here [gpx2.co.uk] with demos. Just don't rape their bandwidth :)

Re:First time I have heard of GP2X (2, Funny)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450635)

Just don't rape their bandwidth :)

Nooo, we, the Slashdot horde, wouldn't treat the GPL infidels like that, would we?

Re:First time I have heard of GP2X (1)

OneSeventeen (867010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14451020)

Fair warning, the "Linux Powered GP2X" demo videos are in Windows Media Format. Be sure your windows machines are patched, rebooted, and sprinkled with holy water.

(I thought I remember hearing there was a security hole in the *insert core function of an operating system* engine of the windows kernel that could allow malicious scripts to take control of your computer and potentially give you cancer... Fortunately Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer, unfortunately he never cries.)

Unsure about GPL but it is a great console (1)

YokimaSun (930294) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450627)

Im not sure about GPL but what i do know is that the GP2X [gbax.com] i brought is the best homebrew handheld out of all of them, the releases are fantastic for fans of emulators and ported games alike. Every day i check out Emuholic [emuboards.com] and GP2X News [dcemu.co.uk] for new software for my beloved console.

You see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14450628)

...in South Korea, only old people respect the GPL.
There you have it.

Re:You see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14450701)

bitch! I was gonna say that

Gee, color me surprised! (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450650)

Seriously, no trolling or flamebait here...

A company released hardware that makes it easy and convenient to run all your favorite emulated copyright violations on portable hardware.

Does anyone really think they gave a damn about the GPL as a philosophy rather than a means of getting a cheap OS, for which a port of most emulators already exists?


I want one of these toys too, but don't mistake the manufacturer for "good guys" just because they chose Linux.

Re:Gee, color me surprised! (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450695)

If as you're implying they don't care about other people's copyrights, why do they care about not releasing their code?

Re:Gee, color me surprised! (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450721)

"A company released hardware that makes it easy and convenient to run all your favorite emulated copyright violations on portable hardware."

It just makes it easy write homebrew applications and run them on it. It doesn't have DRM to prohibit this. Much like oh say a computer? Or maybe... a PocketPc? Or a Palm handheld?

Just because it doesn't have DRM, the company is a bunch of evil people seeking to enable mass copyright violation? It plays videos and mp3s too without DRM! Oh no! Wait, now come to think of it Apple lets you play non-DRM MP3s on an iPod! Oh the humanity!

You should take a look at the GP2X software, in addition to the emulators there are a lot of nice homebrew games.

Re:Gee, color me surprised! (2, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450767)

Much like oh say a computer? Or maybe... a PocketPc? Or a Palm handheld?

While true, and as a geek I would even use a GP2X for more than gaming, spare me the insult of playing dumb. They MARKET the thing for its ability to run emulators, with a mention of "lots of native games" at some vague point in the undefined future.

So yes, any PC can run MAME. Any modern handheld can run emulated original GB and GG games. But Palms don't come with GBulator preinstalled, and Dell doesn't sell boxes preconfigured with an X-Arcade pad and raving about how well they run even those pesky CHD games at full frame rate.


in addition to the emulators there are a lot of nice homebrew game

Uh-huh... And most people run Snes9x for the wonderful collection of Anthrox demos available.


Apple lets you play non-DRM MP3s on an iPod! Oh the humanity!

Sarcasm aside... Most people can realistically rip their legal CDs to MP3s. Very few people know how to rip their SNES carts to a playable ROM image, and even fewer have the (admittedly not all that expensive) hardware needed to do so.

Re:Gee, color me surprised! (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14451119)

They market the device as a handheld media box which can do video/audio/text and gaming including emulation. And emulators are not illegal. If you have a stack of NES carts - is it illegal to use a ROM image?
Do you think everyone just rips their own CDs for use in an iPod? Or uses iTunes? How do you think that breaks down percentage wise? Realistically, most young kids I've talked with are well versed in the art of burning CDs, ripping MP3s and sharing with their friends. I would certainly argue that the iPod and related ripping software such as iTunes have caused way more copyright violation than the GP2X ever will.
So yes they released the GP2X as an open platform fully knowing that some people would make use of it to violate copyright. Just as Apple released the iPod with MP3 support with full knowledge that some (at the time of launch most) people who purchased it would use it for copyright violations.
I would argue that it is certainly possible that the GP2X developers:

1. don't understand the GPL
2. don't understand that what they are doing is wrong
3. don't really care either way

Perception of copyright law in parts of Asia is very different from in the US. The GP2X is a Korean product. You know Korea, the country that made the Rollex watch popular. They are notorious for producing shameless knock off products that violate trademark, and they really don't seem to care about it.

Re:Gee, color me surprised! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14451327)

They MARKET the thing for its ability to run emulators, with a mention of "lots of native games" at some vague point in the undefined future.

So? What's even slightly illegal about that?

Re:Gee, color me surprised! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14450771)

It does have DRM, but only for commercial games developed for the platform (None currently out yet)

Re:Gee, color me surprised! (2, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450782)

> A company released hardware that makes it easy and convenient to run all your favorite
> emulated copyright violations on portable hardware.

If you aren't Nintendo or Sony and want to launch a new handheld, your initial titles are going to be the easy ones, i.e. ports of existing titles. A port of MAME gets you a buttload of stuff for people to play with. If it is to survive beyond being a toy for a few leet types more content will be needed.

Sounds kinda interesting, but like the new Nokia gadget, not quite where I'm ready to drop the cash yet.

Instead of why release, "why not release"? (1)

typical (886006) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450988)

Does anyone really think they gave a damn about the GPL as a philosophy rather than a means of getting a cheap OS, for which a port of most emulators already exists?

First of all, directly and publically violating a well-known license is quite different from providing a general purpose system which can, as it happens, be used to violate licenses.

Second, I want to know what the benefit to them is in holding back. It's a safe guess that their kernel tweaks are pretty specific to their hardware. It's not *that* hard to do some Linux kernel work to get a new handheld going -- Nokia did the 770, and there are tons of other folks who have built embedded systems based on Linux. I just can't see a huge competitive advantage in *not* releasing their source.

I could maybe understand it if their source code infringed on someone else's copyright, but this is the Linux kernel -- there aren't that many places to crib things from to stuff into it.

Why can't the silly build script just pack up a tarball of the sources? It's not rocket science, and it doesn't seem likely to hurt them much.

Finally, it seems like most of the people who might develop for this machine are exactly the same people who would be offended by a manufacturer ignoring the GPL.

WMA? (2, Interesting)

Trip Ericson (864747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450690)

This may seem offtopic, but does anyone know if this company has paid the proper royalties to be able to sell a device that plays MP3 and WMA out of the box? From a company that feels like it can do what it's doing with GPL-ed software, it wouldn't surprise me if they haven't.

And now to call attention upon Linux's true master (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14450697)

First person to reply with a valid hotmail address gets a Windows Live Messenger beta invite! Woohoo!

Re:And now to call attention upon Linux's true mas (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14450784)

Whoever modded me as a troll rm -rf youself you fucking Linux cocksucker, but don't forget to suck Linus Torvald's dick before you do it! Open source sucks, all hail BILL!

how to get them to comply (2, Interesting)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450729)

The copyright holders should a preliminary injunction halting the distribution of the device in the US. That will get their attention. I suspect that once they have been served, they will comply quickly.

GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14450797)

Simple question does the GPL state you must show the most updated source or a version of the source? my personal opinion If i was this company i wouldnt have used linux. If they never said they used linux. or even used a copy of Fedora or any version. they write the drivers that is needed for their hardware... why should they have to release driver level detail as open source. and if everyone actually thinks about this. this is the same reason ATI, NVIDIA, 3Com, Creative ect. do not have quality drivers for linux. its not worth it. but once Apple starts competiting with microsoft. then they will WHY because they dont have to let their competitors see the souce which will help them reverse engineer the hardware.

Re:GPL (3, Informative)

zcat_NZ (267672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450972)

The GPL says (and has said ever since the very first version) that you must distribute the SAME version of the sources that was used to compile the binaries. Not a barely-working BETA version from 6 months ago, not the version before this one, not even a later version, but the exact same source code used to build THIS binary.

Which they're apparently not doing.

If they want to add DRM and not give out the source, they're going to have to do it as a standalone binary application or module, similar to the NVidia drivers, Macromedia's flash plugin, or Acrobat Reader.. there are ways of doing things like this that _don't_ violate the GPL.

Re:GPL (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14451204)

Sigh. If you have time to read Slashdot, you have time to read the GPL [gnu.org] .

Serious question (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14450798)

All the text says the device is called the GP2x but if you go to their website http://www.gpx2.co.uk/ [gpx2.co.uk] you can clearly see the units logo says GPX2 but the website and literature says GP2X.. its so confusing.. is this even dodgier than first assumed?

-Sj53

Re:Serious question (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14450872)

The GPX2 was renamed to GP2X just before it went into production. Something to do with trademarks similarities or something like that.

GP2X.co.uk is a reputable dealer. You can find the main guy (craigix) on #gp2xdev on irc.efnet.org or posting in the gp32x forums.

Plagued? (2, Informative)

PhakeDC (932887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450802)

The GP2X according to the online community suffesr a number of problematic issues right now like battery life and slow video playback, which made me refrain from purchasing one. Perhaps if they choose to release an improved revision would I consider getting my paws on it. Bad karma for them since they declined to release the code. Serves them right in my book.

Release Source before binary? (0, Redundant)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450803)

Umm where in the GPL that says you have to give out 'work in progress' on demand?

If they are offering the code that matches their released binaries, id say they are being compliant.

And yes, i may not have the entire story here, seems your blog site is dead.

Re:Release Source before binary? (1)

idonthack (883680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450865)

But the source releases don't match thier binaries - it's a buggy and incomplete prerelease version.

Re:Release Source before binary? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14451170)

Ok, that would change my statement if true.

Mine is on the way (1)

wobedraggled (549225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450830)

So they better get thier stuff sorted in due fashion, There are multiple issues with the device that can be EASILY remedied but they are not releasing source.

Korean contact for gpl violations (2)

mattr (78516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450844)

Found a page, http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/enforcing-gpl.ko.htm l [gnu.org] which links to http://korea.gnu.org/ [gnu.org] and mentions this email address (embedded in a lot of hangul which I can't read).

license-violation@gnu.org

Anyway it looks like a translation of this page [gnu.org] which mentions the same email address, so why not just email them there in English?

Re:Korean contact for gpl violations (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450973)

so why not just email them there in English?

Because it's irrelevant. The most important part of that page is "With software for which the Free Software Foundation holds the copyright".

News Flash! (1)

BobNET (119675) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450866)

This just in: someone doesn't understand the GPL! Dog bites man! Details at 11!

LOL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14450885)

LOL, this is why I don't support open source. I still want a job when I get out of school, I say if you want to give it out for free fine don't make others do it too. I never use GPL stuff for this exact reason. ~Shan

Hackerslab (2, Interesting)

mattr (78516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450919)

I posted above with gnu address for gpl violations. Also found an interesting looking site, HackersLab.org [hackerslab.org] at least the link to the Korean page looks like there are people who might listen to what you want to say. They are doing security and hacking of some time and maybe if there are bugs on this device it could be a security problem and that would also be up their alley? Good luck.

Matt

GP2X or GPX2? (1)

dogbreathcanada (911482) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450942)

What the hell is this thing called? Website uses GPX2.co.uk, but on the main website they call it the GP2X. Yet the branding on the unit itself says GPX2.

Could someone make up their mind what to call this thing?

Lesson 1 (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14450952)

Lesson 1: Read the GPL [gnu.org] .

Why? (Source w/ binary) (0, Troll)

nodnarb1978 (725530) | more than 8 years ago | (#14451000)

I still don't understand why the source distribution is compulsory in the way that it is. I would argue, and I'm sure others have, that from a purely "end-user" perspective, including the source code is both confusing and superfluous.

I absolutely agree with the philosophy that produced this clause, but the execution leaves much to be desired. I suspect that there will be many more cases like this one to provide flame-fodder for slashdotters, and that this clause will be somewhat revised sooner or later to more reasonably balance the needs of simplicity versus the need to "spread the revolution" virally.

We need to ask ourselves: Is the OSS cause materially harmed by not including the source itself in distributions? While the license (as I understand it, correct me if I'm wrong) does allow alternative means of "providing" and/or linking the source, how many people who know enough to look for it wouldn't know that it can easily be found via resources like Sourceforge?

I don't think anybody wants to get into a position where the Forces of Good start stumbling down RIAA Road. Enforcement of license provisions like this one can only serve the purposes of proprietary FUD, and detracts from time better spent coding and/or evangelizing.

Re:Why? (Source w/ binary) (2, Insightful)

karlto (883425) | more than 8 years ago | (#14451101)

It doesn't really matter what your philosophy is on whether the GPL is right or not though - if you choose to use this software, which has this license, you must comply...

Re:Why? (Source w/ binary) (2, Informative)

mrsbrisby (60242) | more than 8 years ago | (#14451311)

I still don't understand why the source distribution is compulsory in the way that it is. I would argue, and I'm sure others have, that from a purely "end-user" perspective, including the source code is both confusing and superfluous.

With the GPL [gnu.org] , source distribution isn't compulsory. You really should read it. End users don't care about source code and they probably would never ask for it.

In fact, if you're not redistributing someone elses' work, but instead have released your own software under a GPL redistribution license, nobody can redistribute your software unless they have the source code, and you are completely free to decide whether or not you're going to give anyone your source code.

However, once you do give someone the license and ability to redistribute your software to the satisfaction of the GPL, anyone they redistribute your software to automatically gets those same rights.

In this case, Linux isn't your software. It isn't GP2X's software either. They are redistributing it, and as a result, need to provide that written offer. It seems like people want to take them up on it- presumably those that have received the binary, and these people are entitled to do it!

Best Outcome? (1)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14451026)

Is there some "best outcome" for the GPL/FSF that they are aiming for?

E.g. does Stallman want to go to court, get the GPL upheld and get a recall of some hardware? Would that be the best thing?

Or is the best thing to get the HW manufacturer to give up the source, promise to be good and so on?

I'm hoping that Stallman and the FSF have some big plan in mind, so that things eventually wind up being better.

Re:Best Outcome? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14451169)

Is there some "best outcome" for the GPL/FSF that they are aiming for?

Can't speak for the FSF and their agendas, but as the owner of a GP2X, I can tell you that, in my eyes, releasing the source would be the best outcome. Why? Because Dignsys makes Microsoft software look reliable. At least gung-ho amateurs have a CHANCE of making it better.

GPL is not viable for coprate usage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14451105)

Sorry boys by i work for a company like this.. we used GPL code internally and we will NOT realease the product OR the source code... its the open source communities lose not ours.. most of us here love GPL and would release under it BUT...

1) we need money to survive
2) GPL forces us to release ALL the code.. even code that isnt an advancement of or the original GPL
3) GPL directly cotests Patent rights of IP owner.. while claiming it doesnt...

GPL needs to be rewritten in a more company friendly mannor.. allowing them time to make money out of the advancement and then later releasing the source to the public AS A CHARAITY!... OPEN SOURCE=CHARAITY never forget that.. and charaity that is harshing its contributors dies very quickly!.. think about it will GP2X EVER use linux again?

AND it must be more careful about its contesting of patents and ownership of indirectly related sections of code.. it should allow precompiled libs to be part of the system and not require code for them

Now here is an experinment for u... in theroy GPL can be used to claim rights on most of M$ OS.. if u dont believe me try to distrubute some GPL code with a some of the new openM$ stuff.. and then watch how fast M$ sues u into the void and rips the GPL to shreads..

my advice is back off GP2X and let them release the code at a later date and hope that they still decide to support GPL after this.. because if u keep going like this fewer companies will support open source in the future...

Re:GPL is not viable for coprate usage (1)

CaptainPotato (191411) | more than 8 years ago | (#14451292)

Correct me if I am wrong (and stop me feeding trolls...), but the GPL does not insist that you release modifications to the source that are used internally [gnu.org] - only when the binary use is available publicly.

Firstly, if nothing is released publicly, how the hell is anybody meant to know that you've made changes, and secondly, it's the distribution that is the ket issue. Don't distribute binaries created from modified sources, no need to distribute changes. Cannot say fairer than that.

Anyway, as others have pointed out, the source code is available [gp32x.com] . There's no story here.

How does GPL promote R&D and Inventions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14451138)

It may not be GP2X does not understand GPL, it may be you don't understand business!!! May be GP2X does not want to release their R&D work and Inventions to the world to use it for free which they invested considerable amount of money to develop.

In business, to be successful, you must be one step ahead of your competition.

Today, world at large is locked into the monopoly of one company from handheld devices to laptops thru desktops. So how do we attract companies to spend millions of dollars on R&D and come up with useful devices which are not based on Microsoft?

How does GPL promote R&D and Inventions? Or do you want everybody to reinvent the wheel?
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