Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 22nd May 2006 17:43 UTC, submitted by anonymous
GNU, GPL, Open Source After Kororaa announced its GPL problems and me writing a column about it, the people behind Kororaa have now posted an in-depth follow-up: "I have been receiving lots of information which I have been sorting through, thank you to everyone who has emailed me (although I would have also thanked you personally via email). I contacted both ATI and nVidia for some clarification on particular issues, however neither have answered my questions. Nevertheless, this is what I have found so far."
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Thanks
by Tom K on Mon 22nd May 2006 18:22 UTC
Tom K
Member since:
2005-07-06

... And thanks to a few raging lunatics in the F/OSS camp, the Kororaa author will no longer be releasing Kororaa 0.3.

Productivity and propagation at their finest! Whoever started this ought to be proud.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Thanks
by Moulinneuf on Mon 22nd May 2006 19:17 UTC in reply to "Thanks"
Moulinneuf Member since:
2005-07-06

IF , REALLY BIG EMPHASIS ON THE *IF* , he break the law and dont respect the license , then he as to modify is code and software to be in compliance , where not thief , traitor , liar we whant Legal system that respect the law in GNU/Linux.

He can release Kororaa 0.3 , he as not received any court judgement blocking him from doing so , its is own decision , dont blame is decision on anyone else.

You seem to sugest that Kororaa is the only GNU/Linux project in existence , its one project , with very little users , IF ( AGAIN BIG EMPHASIS on the *IF* ) the accuser turn out to be right he as everything to be proud of , he as corrected a problem , yes breaking the law is a real problem for people who mather.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Thanks
by archiesteel on Mon 22nd May 2006 23:43 UTC in reply to "Thanks"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Leave it to Tom K to turn this into an attack on F/OSS...

The author of the Kororaa LiveCD basically says that it seems to much of a bother to make sure he can legally release version 0.3 of the LiveCD...He'll still continue working on the actual distribution.

Personally, I think he should have continued working on it, however I can understand that he didn't want to risk violating copyright law. That said, it seems pretty clear in his article that a) the NVIDIA/ATI drivers are NOT derivative works (the modules are, and are open-source, but not the drivers), and b) that mere aggregation of driver and kernel on the same disk do not represent a violation of the GPL.

Now, he prefers being safe than sorry, and I do understand that. However, I think Novell should come out with a Live SuSE CD that features Xgl and the NVIDIA/ATI drivers, if only to settle this issue once and for all.

I'll agree with you that the particular kernel dev who opened up this can of worm should spend more time improving the kernel, and less time speculating about whether or not a LiveCD violates the GPL (when all appearances point to the contrary)...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Thanks
by zerblat on Tue 23rd May 2006 11:08 UTC in reply to "Thanks"
zerblat Member since:
2005-07-06

By "a few raging lunatics" I'm assuming you mean the people who released Linux under the GPL. That is, Linus and the rest of the kernel developers.

Yeah, damn them for creating an open-source kernel. Damn them for letting anyone use their work freely, but not allowing it to be distributed together with proprietary modules. Who are they to decide how their own work should be licensed?

Reply Score: 3

Why pick on the little guy
by dark child on Mon 22nd May 2006 18:23 UTC
dark child
Member since:
2005-12-09

One thing I can't understand is why Kororaa was picked on, when other distros e.g. PCLinuxOS, Mandriva etc ship with nvidia drivers. It seems a little bit unfair and its sad that they will stop working on the live cd if this issue is not sorted out.

Reply Score: 4

The accuse those who break the law
by Moulinneuf on Mon 22nd May 2006 19:31 UTC in reply to "Why pick on the little guy"
Moulinneuf Member since:
2005-07-06

GPL violation is not picking on anyone , its enforcing the license in use by the software , *IF* ( emphasis on the IF ) the distributor as broken the license.

"PCLinuxOS, Mandriva etc ship with nvidia drivers."

Yes , but thats not a GPL violation , he must be doing something different then PCLinuxOS and Mandriva , with the driver. I personnaly dont know the details , but I think it as to do with making the NVDIA and ATI driver module inside the kernel directly , again only guessing here , because frankly so far , he is the only one making any noise about it and is details are always incomplete.

"It seems a little bit unfair"

IF he break the license its is action that are unfair.

Reply Score: 1

manjabes Member since:
2005-08-27

Yes , but thats not a GPL violation , he must be doing something different then PCLinuxOS and Mandriva , with the driver. I personnaly dont know the details,

But if a kernel developer says he is doing something bad then he certainly must be. No-one may doubt anything the kernel developers say 'cause the kernel is released under the almighty GPL. And despite that Chris quite convincingly proves that very likely he isn't doing anything illegal or in violation of the GPL, when the kernel developers say he is bad, then he IS BAD. Right?

Reply Score: 1

Moulinneuf Member since:
2005-07-06

"But if a kernel developer says he is doing something bad then he certainly must be."

No , Kernel developper are software programmer and not lawyer or judge and certainly not from the FSF. They can be wrong on License and legal issue ( just look at LT the champion of all Legal mistakes ), He as to verify the authenticity of the accusation first , he seem to be running to the people who have zero knowledge and jurisdiction over it and get advice over email over the net.

"No-one may doubt anything the kernel developers say 'cause the kernel is released under the almighty GPL."

Please keep your bulshit to yourself , kernel developper are human , they tend to make just as much mistake if not more then anyone else. Its a case by case situation.

"And despite that ... of the GPL"

Chris dont prove anything beside that he can run around like a chicken with no head , He is accused of GPL violation ( by who ? nobody is even fully certain its really the case ) , the first thing he should do is consult with the FSF to see if its true , if it is ask how he can be made to comply with it. No one else seem to be running in GPL violation beside him.

"when the kernel developers say he is bad, then he IS BAD. Right?"

Can you make a more stupid logical comment ? I dare you , I am sure you can.

Reply Score: 1

manjabes Member since:
2005-08-27

Stupid logical comments are there to demonstrate the cretinism of people's attitudes when it comes to GPL or the open source philosophy. Just like in this case: The author of Kororaa is acting quite sensibly and trying to make sense of the accusations (which seem to be not valid anyway) but then there come the gazillions of zealots who cry "foul" immediately without focusing on the matter at hand. This very much resembles the ideology of totalitarian states and the mentality that you are guilty unless proven otherwise. And that because the unmentioned kernel developer does not understand his/her rights within the "almighty" GPL.
Just like now: strictly speaking it is unclear if there is a violation of the GPL (though evidently there aint) but every goddamn zealot around starts bashing at the "evil bastard who doesnt't obey the almighty GPL". BUT,the effect that it causes is that one enthusiastic chap is not certain whether or not to continue releasing liveCDs which showcase the latest developments at a new and potentially groundbreaking technology. And for what? That some idiot's evangelist ego gets in the way?

THAT is what I am disgusted at.
THAT is what caused me spitting out right now and
THAT is why i tend to be disgusted at the GPL and Open source evangelists - they have lost it(their sanity that is).

I can repeat it, if necessary:

THAT is what I am disgusted at.
THAT is what caused me spitting out right now and
THAT is why i tend to be disgusted at the GPL and Open source evangelists - they have lost it(their sanity that is).

Reply Score: 3

Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

It is not a matter of ego.
The GPL is not almighty.

Closed source drivers are mines which will explode in the future, when all you can find is old, outdated, unmaintained, badly written drivers that kind of did their job in their time. If we let them in the Linux kernel, it will turn into a minefield.

The kernel is shared under the GPL license because the copyright owners want all of its development to be shared in exactly the same way, so that all parts are shared and free and can be updated and improved with the rest of the system. Opportunistically sidestepping this filosophy to gain economic advantage as nVidia and ATI do should not be allowed, even though it is convenient for many.

If you want to enjoy great closed-source drivers, then use Windows XP; you probably already own a license, and it works pretty well. But Linux exists because of its approach to free code; if you skip that approach for the sake of convenience, the reasons for using and developing it will become weaker, and it will soon stop existing.

Reply Score: 2

devurandom Member since:
2005-07-06

You don't get sarcasm, do you?

Reply Score: 1

DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

"Yes , but thats not a GPL violation , he must be doing something different then PCLinuxOS and Mandriva , with the driver. "

Actually he is doing something different. He is sending it out already compiled to run with the kernel. The other distros all send the Nvidia package, but it is not compiled against the kernel until installation, making it a different story on it. What is in question is not that he is shipping the modules, but rather they are already compiled to work.

Reply Score: 5

Moulinneuf Member since:
2005-07-06

Then clearly , he is shipping proprietary software linked and *inside* GPL one.

Reply Score: 1

ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Actually I think he's not doing anything substantively different from what Mandriva and PCLinuxOS and others do (exluding Ubuntu which makes the nvidia driver a download).
Maybe Mandriva gets away with it by putting it on a different disc; they do ship on 5 discs I believe. Or this could just be the first project whomever decided to pick on because he believes it's a serious problem and needs to be addressed immediately.

Right now though people who are freaking out are freaking out over:
1.) One guy sending an e-mail.
2.) Another posting said e-mail and asking for thoughts.
3.) Thoughtful responses, combined with psychotic ravings occasionally, from the community.

To be upset about the way this is proceeding is a bit ridiculous.

It's my strongly held theory though that they aren't really angry about this situation. But they are in fact angry, for some other reasons, about the existance and popularity of the GPL and are using this to promote their spite for said license.

Reply Score: 1

vikramsharma Member since:
2005-07-06

What I don't understand is people want us the uphold the law and ignore the purpose for which the law was written/implemented. Now it would make sense to most people that proprietary hardware would require proprietary driver for it to work properly, preferably by the same hardware company. Now if that company chooses to not open source their driver that upto the company as long they make drivers, why do we want to force corporates to follow our ideals. Any law for that matter is not more important than the purpose it serves be it GPL or BSD licensing or any law in general. What has happened here with Kororaa is very sad, the law is serving against the purpose it was designed for atleast in this case.

Reply Score: 1

Ridiculous
by mattst88 on Mon 22nd May 2006 18:50 UTC
mattst88
Member since:
2005-08-27

Just Ridiculous, I say. Counter-productivity at its finest.

Thank you crazy GPL-zealots. You are the reason why I'll never release anything under this license.

Edited 2006-05-22 18:51

Reply Score: 3

RE: Ridiculous
by ValiSystem on Mon 22nd May 2006 19:29 UTC in reply to "Ridiculous"
ValiSystem Member since:
2006-02-28

Yeah, sure NDA and other stuff of proprietary software never lead Counter-productivity.

"Ouch, i've got a BIG problem and i can't ask my friend the genius because i've signed a NDA, support does not answer to phone, i'll loose my whole week on that" what a pity poor guy.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Ridiculous
by ma_d on Mon 22nd May 2006 23:47 UTC in reply to "Ridiculous"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Because people want to protect those who've licensed their works under it is the reason you wish to never use it?

I'm all for a perfect world with no legal overhead or any of that sort of thing; but I'm also not a complete idiot and I know some form of legal jargon is going to end up existing because there are people who will take advantage of a community that's not watching its rights.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Ridiculous
by Lobotomik on Tue 23rd May 2006 08:54 UTC in reply to "Ridiculous"
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

It might be interesting to know what software have you ever released under any license at all.

Reply Score: 1

sad
by Flatline on Mon 22nd May 2006 19:04 UTC
Flatline
Member since:
2006-03-06

I'm all for open licensing and the GPL, but this whole thing seems more than a bit ridiculous to me. It really is too bad.

Reply Score: 5

Derrived work?
by geleto on Mon 22nd May 2006 19:04 UTC
geleto
Member since:
2005-07-06

The NVidia drivers are quite portable and it's a bit of a stretch to say that they are derrived from Linux.
Here's what an NVidia developer had to say about how much the linux drivers are different from the BSD ones:

There are exactly 3 source files which need to be ported from linux to freebsd, then after that, it should be fairly simple to get all of our drivers running on FreeBSD.
http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/getmsg.cgi?fetch=171177+175462+/usr/loca...

And my guess would be that these files are from the opensource module.
Long time ago there was an effort to run the binary linux drivers on FreeBSD and I think they got the 2D part running and were close to running the 3D...
I think the problem with Kororaa was that the included drivers were staticaly linked into the kernel?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Derrived work?
by jonsmirl on Mon 22nd May 2006 19:59 UTC in reply to "Derrived work?"
jonsmirl Member since:
2005-07-06

The Nvidia drivers have always been developed on Windows and then ported to the other OSes. An easy way to verify this is to notice that the Windows releases are always a few rev numbers in front of the other OSes.

My Nvidia kernel module is 4.53MB. That is larger than my kernel. Nvidia has placed their entire OpenGL stack inside of the driver.

On Linux they provide a user space library to translate X.org calls into calls into their module.

They are forced to make some mods on Linux to interact with things like the AGP subsystem. The code for this is in the open source portion of the driver. If you unzip their download the code is in there.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Derrived work?
by Moulinneuf on Mon 22nd May 2006 20:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Derrived work?"
Moulinneuf Member since:
2005-07-06

jonsmirl , sorry if your not the right individual.

Are you planning on making another state of the linux graphic , that whas a really great piece of information ?

http://jonsmirl.googlepages.com/graphics.html

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Derrived work?
by jonsmirl on Mon 22nd May 2006 20:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Derrived work?"
jonsmirl Member since:
2005-07-06


jonsmirl , sorry if your not the right individual.

Are you planning on making another state of the linux graphic , that whas a really great piece of information ?

http://jonsmirl.googlepages.com/graphics.html


Nothing is in the works. If you are reading that article remember that it is a year old. It was written before AIGLX existed and XGL was just an unstable demo.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Derrived work?
by Moulinneuf on Mon 22nd May 2006 20:45 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Derrived work?"
Moulinneuf Member since:
2005-07-06

"Nothing is in the works"

Thats really sad , its the best piece I have ever read on the subject. Complete , informative , very well structured and researched. I really wish people would do as good a job all the time. You have my thanks for the former version and hopefully you will make a new one ;-)

Reply Score: 3

There are up-sides, kind of.
by betson on Mon 22nd May 2006 19:06 UTC
betson
Member since:
2005-12-17

Thinking about the issue objectively, Kororaa has raised some pretty interesting debates in the community. These are issues that have been raised before, but since they've never been resolved, bringing them back into the limelight is a good thing.

An added bonus is that this is a "real world" scenario: there's no need to conjecture on how the vague wording of the GPL, when applied to linking against the Linux kernal, "might" or "might not" affect an actual software product.

So, that's an upside, right?

Reply Score: 2

erm...
by Lakedaemon on Mon 22nd May 2006 19:10 UTC
Lakedaemon
Member since:
2005-08-07

now, what would happen if a bored teen would start sending mails to GPL-projects leaders saying

"you code is tainted..one of your developer has pasted code from [insert proprietary company] in you 10 millions line of code project"

or

"by distributing this driver, you are violating the GPL"


man....FUD is horrible....

Reply Score: 3

The real problem...
by grat on Mon 22nd May 2006 19:47 UTC
grat
Member since:
2006-02-02

is that no one knows if it's a violation.

There's a lot of emotional response, but very little *legal* opinion about it-- Although I'm certain that NVidia and ATI have already had this conversation with THEIR attorneys, or they wouldn't have shipped the drivers period.

It sounds like, based on the description(s) given, that there's not an actual GPL violation going on, just some FSF advocates bent out of shape.

If they want to bother sending a C&D to the Koroaa folks (and are willing to deal with the international issues), then let them. At that point Kororaa can decide if it's worth fighting, or to just shutdown.

As a number of other people have pointed out, there are other distros that have been far worse about bundling, but are large enough they could fight back. This makes the whole situation even sadder.

Personally, I think the developer in question needs to either stand up and announce themselves, or apologize. If they're not speaking for the kernel team, then they're abusing their "authority". Doing this in such a clandestine manner does nothing to help OSS, the FSF, or linux.

It *does* however, give a boost to Microsoft's FUD machine.

Reply Score: 5

RE: The real problem...
by zerblat on Tue 23rd May 2006 11:32 UTC in reply to "The real problem..."
zerblat Member since:
2005-07-06

There's a lot of emotional response, but very little *legal* opinion about it-- Although I'm certain that NVidia and ATI have already had this conversation with THEIR attorneys, or they wouldn't have shipped the drivers period.

The proprietary drivers aren't really the issue here. There's no doubt that Kororaa has permission to distribute them. The question is whether Linux' license (ie the GPL) permits distribution the way Kororaa is doing it.

AFAIK neither Nvidia nor ATI distributes Linux, so the GPL (in the context of it being the license for Linux) is irrelevant for them. The GPL only puts restrictions on distribution of the GPLd work itself. It doesn't (and can't) affect distribution of other works.

For example, it would be perfectly legal to create and distribute a Linux driver with a license that explicitly forbids using the driver with Linux. It would be pretty silly to do so, but perfectly legal. The only problem is that if someone decides to actually use that driver with Linux -- that would be illegal. So basically, Nvidia and ATI are letting distributors and users take any consequences of distributing and/or using their proprietary drivers with a GPLd kernel.

Anyway, it does seem like the Kororaa guy simply was unaware of the legal issues with what he was doing. I think that whoever complained about it could have been a bit more polite and assume that there were no ill intentions.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: The real problem...
by raboof on Wed 24th May 2006 08:26 UTC in reply to "RE: The real problem..."
raboof Member since:
2005-07-24

AFAIK neither Nvidia nor ATI distributes Linux, so the GPL (in the context of it being the license for Linux) is irrelevant for them.

Yes, but only if these drivers also don't "contain parts of Linux", which turns out to be a legally tough thing to define ;) .

I think that whoever complained about it could have been a bit more polite and assume that there were no ill intentions.

I don't think the original email was all that impolite, really.

Reply Score: 1

Use the distribution hole in the GPLv2
by jonsmirl on Mon 22nd May 2006 19:49 UTC
jonsmirl
Member since:
2005-07-06

Distribute the CD in an unlinked state. Add a question when you run it asking if you want non-GPL code inserted into the kernel, This process side steps the GPL. The GPL only prevents distribution of the linked code. In this case the linked code only exists in RAM and is not distributed. No distribution and the GPL does not apply.

This is a known hole in the GPLv2 that they are trying to close in GPLv3.

Reply Score: 1

Permission?
by Brendan on Mon 22nd May 2006 20:00 UTC
Brendan
Member since:
2005-11-16

Just wondering why Kororaa can't ask for an exclusion from the copyright holders (regardless of whether it is a violation or not).

Of course you'd probably have to figure out who the copyright holders are. This might be impossible (too many programmers/contributors scattered everywhere without up-to-date contact information), which makes me wonder if the copyright holders are organised well enough to take legal action in any case (even for blatant/deliberate violations without grey areas).

Reply Score: 1

RE: Permission?
by jonsmirl on Mon 22nd May 2006 20:23 UTC in reply to "Permission?"
jonsmirl Member since:
2005-07-06


Of course you'd probably have to figure out who the copyright holders are. This might be impossible (too many programmers/contributors scattered everywhere without up-to-date contact information), which makes me wonder if the copyright holders are organized well enough to take legal action in any case (even for blatant/deliberate violations without gray areas).


The complete list of kernel contributors is unknown and some of them are dead. This makes it impossible to get permission to relicense things. I'm still waiting to see how Linus gets around that problem when considering the GPLv3.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Permission?
by Brendan on Mon 22nd May 2006 20:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Permission?"
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

The complete list of kernel contributors is unknown and some of them are dead. This makes it impossible to get permission to relicense things. I'm still waiting to see how Linus gets around that problem when considering the GPLv3.

If I took the source code for Linux, removed all of the copyrights and inserted my own commercial/proprietory copyright, then used search&replace to change every occurance of the word "Linux" to "Foo", and then started selling it as "Foo, the greatest OS on earth" (for $100 per copy) with large international advertising campaigns, would anyone be able to stop me?

It seems to me that if the copyright holders aren't organised enough to prevent this then Linux effectively has no enforcable copyright, and the only thing stopping GPL violations is "bad press".

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Permission?
by jonsmirl on Mon 22nd May 2006 20:50 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Permission?"
jonsmirl Member since:
2005-07-06

If I took the source code for Linux, removed all of the copyrights and inserted my own commercial/proprietory copyright, then used search&replace to change every occurance of the word "Linux" to "Foo", and then started selling it as "Foo, the greatest OS on earth" (for $100 per copy) with large international advertising campaigns, would anyone be able to stop me?

It seems to me that if the copyright holders aren't organised enough to prevent this then Linux effectively has no enforcable copyright, and the only thing stopping GPL violations is "bad press".


You don't need all of the copyright holders to agree to pursure a violation suit, you only need one. The only time everyone must agree is when the Linux license is going to be changed. For example, the GPL is part of the mess between IBM and SCO.

Of course if you did this I doubt if anyone would waste money trying to stop you since they can download the maintained version for free.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Permission?
by Brendan on Mon 22nd May 2006 21:42 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Permission?"
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

You don't need all of the copyright holders to agree to pursure a violation suit, you only need one. The only time everyone must agree is when the Linux license is going to be changed. For example, the GPL is part of the mess between IBM and SCO.

Ahh - this would also mean that any kernel developer could initiate legal action against Kororaa (even when all other kernel developers don't agree to it).

I guess that it'd also be impossible for Kororaa to ask for an exemption (i.e. to get limited permission), as all copyright holders would need to agree.

Of course if you did this I doubt if anyone would waste money trying to stop you since they can download the maintained version for free.

If anyone tried to do what I described, then I sincerely hope that every Linux kernel developer takes action, one at a time, so that the person/s violating the copyright end up with hundreds of seperate court cases (if they ignore the hundreds of cease and desist orders).

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Permission?
by jonsmirl on Mon 22nd May 2006 21:52 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Permission?"
jonsmirl Member since:
2005-07-06


Ahh - this would also mean that any kernel developer could initiate legal action against Kororaa (even when all other kernel developers don't agree to it).


Any one developer can initiate the action. But they have to pay to see the action through and that can be very expensive. The GPL is completely murky on this subject so it is unclear which party would win. If you are going to fight this case you would be a fool to chase Kororaa. Because even if you win you aren't going to win anything because they don't have anything to take. If you really wanted to fight this you would pick on a company with a lot of money.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Permission?
by ma_d on Mon 22nd May 2006 23:55 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Permission?"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

This could provide a logical reason to attack Kororaa instead of a company like Mandriva: Because you _don't_ want to be accused of seeking money, fame, etc; but you just want to fish out this thing you view as a violation of the license on your code.

Of course, in the end people say you're picking on the little guy.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Permission?
by jonsmirl on Tue 23rd May 2006 00:01 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Permission?"
jonsmirl Member since:
2005-07-06

This could provide a logical reason to attack Kororaa instead of a company like Mandriva: Because you _don't_ want to be accused of seeking money, fame, etc; but you just want to fish out this thing you view as a violation of the license on your code.

So who's going to pony up the $100K minimum to finance the suit with no hope of a return?

Reply Score: 1

Email completely justified
by baafie on Mon 22nd May 2006 20:03 UTC
baafie
Member since:
2006-01-23

I'd like to respond to the people who are saying the person who complained about the potential GPL violation to the Kororaa developers is picking, or even a raging lunatic.

Since the person who sent the email is actually a Linux (kernel) contributor, he/she is thus entitled to cry foul over the work he co-owns the copyright to.

You are completely within your rights to claim a copyright violation when you believe someone is actually violating your copyright! I think the real lunatics here are the people who think the person shouldn't have sent the email.

As noted by other people, it is the Kororaa's developers' decision to suspend or halt the development of Kororaa. They alone are responsible for their decision. In fact, they could easily ship Kororaa without the proprietary drivers. There are quite a few 3d drivers which ship with X.org (including ones for many ATi cards), and some of them will work with Xgl out of the box.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Email completely justified
by jonsmirl on Mon 22nd May 2006 20:19 UTC in reply to "Email completely justified"
jonsmirl Member since:
2005-07-06

Since the person who sent the email is actually a Linux (kernel) contributor, he/she is thus entitled to cry foul over the work he co-owns the copyright to.

You are completely within your rights to claim a copyright violation when you believe someone is actually violating your copyright! I think the real lunatics here are the people who think the person shouldn't have sent the email.


It's a license violation not a copyright violation.

The GPLv2 is simply not clear on this point and there is a lot of disagreement on LKML about this subject. The copyright holder as agreed that their code can be distributed under the terms of the GPLv2, but until someone takes this to court and clarifies things Kororaa can interpret the GPLv2 however they want. The burden of proof is on the kernel developer.

The GPLv3 is trying to clear this area up.

Reply Score: 3

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

It's a license violation not a copyright violation.

If it's the former, then it's the latter. The GPL gives extra rights not normally given by copyright law. If you don't respect the license, then you don't have the right to redistribute the software (and therefore violate copyright laws if you still do).

Reply Score: 1

The real pisser
by deathshadow on Mon 22nd May 2006 20:17 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

in this case is how the GPL is little more than a overblown EULA being used to circumvent laws, much as pre-nuptual agreements and the EULA's of certain 'big evil' corporations do... like Network Associates 'No Benchmarks or Reviews' clause the New York courts ruled in violation of that states laws, or how some companies use "owner of a copy of a computer program" under 17 U.S.C. Section 117(a)(1) as a defense for siezing control of programs written by their employees, while at the same time sueing customers for patching/modding software to let it run on their machines... something that there's MORE than enough legal precedent on under the terms of "Owner of software copy may adapt as essential step in utilization." (Krause v. Title Serv for example) - a ruling that's the whole reason the GPL can be thrown out by the end user on personal use but not by anyone doing mass distribution of GPL'd software.

Which of course boils down to the truly ironic part of this whole situation. I'm kind of laughing at how it seems the lions share of software freedom advocates seem bound and determined to use contract law to quash what little software freedom is left.

Reply Score: 1

Thing is
by SlackerJack on Mon 22nd May 2006 20:55 UTC
SlackerJack
Member since:
2005-11-12

That when you install Kororaa It installs the nvidia driver straight away, is this because he has a precompiled kernel module or linked to the kernel?

The long story about how he explains still dont explain HOW he has the nvidia/ati driver setup to work pretty much straight away. What should have happened is that the screen should download the nvidia driver, accept the licence and then compile the module, just like the SUSE 10.1 tiny nvidia installer does.

Reply Score: 1

...
by Mitarai on Mon 22nd May 2006 21:16 UTC
Mitarai
Member since:
2005-07-28

Situations like this one are the ones who really makes me desire a good BSD based distro, Im sure some time not far we will have one and that day I will say good bye with all my glory to all the GPL bs in Linux, and say "Keep your license, keep you lawsy drivers. keep your hippie ideology Im going to enjoy the real world", by now, I encourage to any who is looking for an alternative to Windows or OSX, don't look at Linux or anything related to GPL.

Reply Score: 3

This is why I switched to FreeBSD
by tbcpp on Mon 22nd May 2006 21:37 UTC
tbcpp
Member since:
2006-02-06

I recently started working on my own distro/os as a hobby project. This issue with Kororaa is the chief reason that I decided to use FreeBSD instead of Linux as the base OS.

As much as I like OSS the Stalman, GPL3 attitude really sickens me. I like free software as much as the next guy, but not when it inhibits the free progress of technology.

Reply Score: 5

jmansion Member since:
2006-02-20

> Why do you get so embittered if someone tries to not let the proprietary shit pollute a free system?

Because, oh potty-fingered one, some of us respect nVidia and ATI's right to license what it pleases them to license, and like the 'free as in beer' for what it is. Its not as if *BSD licenses limit us. I like the freedom to choose to run proprietary stuff if I want, whether its a graphics driver or Oracle.

I can appreciate the desire to be able to audit all code, but I have a lot more sympathy for it in OpenBSD and there is less focus on desktop use. If you wantto be a player for teh desktop, then you'll have to embrace companies that want to ship firmware in this way, or be marginalised. Which is not to say that Linux would be unusable as a 2D workstation, at least until teh 2D stuff is all ripped from the cards' hardware.

Reply Score: 1

rycamor Member since:
2005-07-18

I recently started working on my own distro/os as a hobby project. This issue with Kororaa is the chief reason that I decided to use FreeBSD instead of Linux as the base OS.

As much as I like OSS the Stalman, GPL3 attitude really sickens me. I like free software as much as the next guy, but not when it inhibits the free progress of technology.


As another FreeBSD user who was blown away by the coolness of the XGL demo, why don't we see if we can encourage our friends at Kororaa to consider switching to FreeBSD? The BSD world is just a little more laid-back about such things.

I *will* say that I never expected an eye-candy thing like the XGL to be as useful and useable as it was. I want it for my workstation.

Reply Score: 1

From a technical point of view
by korpenkraxar on Mon 22nd May 2006 22:37 UTC
korpenkraxar
Member since:
2005-09-10

Couldn't they just provide two iso images? One with the distro and a separate small one with the drivers. If the user want to, he/she can then compile her own two-session CD using both isos, but the driver iso is just optional. Burning a two-session disk is not difficult. The point is, this way, they do not need to include or distribute the drivers in the actual distro, but leave an option to the USER to setup his/her PERSONAL disk with them. Problem soved?

Reply Score: 1

What protectable elements are at issue?
by IkeKrull on Mon 22nd May 2006 22:39 UTC
IkeKrull
Member since:
2006-01-24

What protectable elements from the Linux kernel are introduced into the nvidia module binary upon compilation?

There seems to be a lot of conjecture but very little solid analysis.

Use, or reproduction of header files for use in most cases is legal since most content in header files is purely descriptive - not protectable under copyright law, and hence the GPL. There is case law to back this up, e.g. Sega vs Accolade.

Interestingly, the same argument - that header files are not protectable - is made in the SCO case, and many posts on Groklaw flesh out this position.

Or are we all collectively admitting that use of information identical to that in UNIX headers puts Linux under an AT&T license, forbidding its distribution under GPL?

So, if we accept that header files are not protectable, and only when protectable elements from a copyrighted work are incorporated into another work, creating a derivative work, that the GPL applies to that derivative work, has anyone actually checked to see if protectable elements (e.g. due to compiler macro expansion etc.) are present in the nvidia.ko binary?

Because, if no such protectable content is present, then distributing that module as 'mere aggregation' seems totally legal.

Reply Score: 2

mjg59 Member since:
2005-10-17

That's actually an interesting question, and potentially the crux of the matter. The Linux header files are, arguably, not purely descriptive. They contain a large number of inline functions and functional macros. Some of these are sufficiently complicated that they probably merit copyright protection, and it's pretty much impossible to write a Linux driver without using some of them.

If so, it seems difficult to make the argument that any Linux driver isn't a derived work of the Linux kernel - using an inline function means that the (presumably copyrightable and GPLed) code is copied into your binary. But, again, there's no way to know for sure without a lawsuit.

Reply Score: 1

The only way to make a problem go away...
by raboof on Mon 22nd May 2006 22:39 UTC
raboof
Member since:
2005-07-24

... is by solving it.

In this case, the problem is that it is not clear what the GPL allows and forbids in this case (though it's quite obvious in most common cases).

One way or another, this unclarity needs to be cleared up. We cannot just ignore the issue because the possibly-violator(s) are such nice people.

If Kororaa takes this temporary hit and this exposure of the issue causes it to be cleared up (telling Kororaa what is needs to do to become compliant, if anything, so we can all be happy again), I think the net result is a positive one. I just hope that will happen....

(of course, the fact that many people consider the issue cleared up but disagree on the conclusion actually proves the unclarity ;) )

Reply Score: 1

Zealots ...
by poohgee on Mon 22nd May 2006 23:00 UTC
poohgee
Member since:
2005-08-13

Instead of picking on those that defend in what they believe in - why not see if we can solve the underlying problem of the flaws & ambiguities of the GPL ?

As said before grey areas are very much unliked by companies - & fact is that Linux is used by big companies .

I think for Linux kernel & all those distros based on it - these grey areas should be removed with a magic wand to make the rules of the "game" as clear as possible for anyone involved or wanting to get involved .

Just IMO ;)

Reply Score: 2

What I would do.
by mjmoran on Tue 23rd May 2006 01:36 UTC
mjmoran
Member since:
2005-08-13

It seems to me that he is following the right path on this one. However, he should release the next version, and continue as buisness as usual. Id advise that contacts the FSF or similar. The program is under "collective" copyright, essesnially, since its under the copyright of many people, the person who is claiming "foul" would have to prove that they are violating the GPL on *their* piece of code that they have contributed.

Also, it seems that i'd wait for the C&D on this one. Even if he was violating(which from what I can tell he's not) the gpl, the most that would occur would be him having to not distribute the product. Afterall, in a court case it would be impossible to claim damages of any kind.

Im not for violating the GPL(obviously). However, I think that the whole situation is a little fishy.

-Mike

Reply Score: 1

Blast the GPL!
by Lobotomik on Tue 23rd May 2006 06:53 UTC
Lobotomik
Member since:
2006-01-03

Hey, we could use the same trick as ATI and nVidia to write proprietary software using the GPL-licensed Qt libraries! That would really pave the way for KDE, and that choir of dumbed down Gnome users would have to shut up. Poor Trolltech would not win a penny out of their work, but that would serve them right for being an evil capitalist infiltrate in the free soft world.

All that would be needed is a step stone library or program that made any Qt call available through a different interface; maybe it could be a surrogate process that would call Qt when instructed to via some sort of interapp communication, sort of like X.

Is this not a great idea? Hey, let's all together give the GPL a big kick in the ass. If we can seemingly respect the letter while raping the spirit, we can give all those commie hackers in ponytails what they deserve for mining the fields of poor Microsoft and Apple and for favoring piracy with their anti DRM stance.

Only once commie freaks and evil capitalists are out of the way will we gain the true convenience of having to respect no rules and reach no compromise. Then we will be free.

Reply Score: 0

Berrylinux?
by henrikw on Tue 23rd May 2006 06:58 UTC
henrikw
Member since:
2006-03-03

Doesn't Berrylinux [1] do exactly the same thing? or are they including the drivers in a different way?

[1] http://distrowatch.com/?newsid=03450#0

Reply Score: 1

same story !!!
by lxnay on Tue 23rd May 2006 07:25 UTC
lxnay
Member since:
2006-05-16

It's always the same story: http://tinyurl.com/oz6sa
There are a lot of distributions that include nvidia drivers, why bugging the developer of the 30th distribution listed on distrowatch?

I include nvidia drivers into RR4 and RR64 since they are born, and no one have ever told me something like that.

In this way, Kororaa's sponsorship will be news websites.

Reply Score: 1