Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 25th Aug 2006 09:09 UTC, submitted by anonymous
GNU, GPL, Open Source "The cipherfunk web site, which made extra packages available to Ubuntu and MEPIS users, was shut down in response to complaints from Ubuntu team members Matthew Garrett and Philipp Kern. It is my understanding they alleged that cipherfunk was not making modified GPLed source code available in a timely fashion. You can read about it the website." "Well, the GNU GPL states as part of Section 3 of the licence that I must provide source code on request for no more than the cost of physically performing the distribution. Given that the host this box is on actually costs me 110.95AUD every 30 days to run, 9.90AUD, as nice as that is - still will cost me over 100AUD to distribute the code at all." Update: As Matthew Garret pointed out in the comments, he wrote his side of the story on his blog.
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not the source
by ebassi on Fri 25th Aug 2006 09:25 UTC
ebassi
Member since:
2006-02-28

it was the payment required for the source which was against what the GPL states; matthew garrett explained it right: the cost should have been the price for the bandwidth used for a *single* download - not "una tantum".

whining does not make a problem of license terms breach right.

Reply Score: 5

RE: not the source
by progster on Fri 25th Aug 2006 12:08 UTC in reply to "not the source"
progster Member since:
2005-07-27

which he does, hey charged $4 for binaries, source & docs.

Reply Score: 1

uh
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 09:37 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

"Well, the GNU General Public Licence states -- as part of Section 3) of the licence that I must provide source code on request for no more than the cost of physically performing the distribution."

Well that is ONE way of doing it. I am not familar with the whole issue so I don't know what the problem actually is...

If it is money then - Why didn't he just charge a few dollars for the download, and a few dollars for the source code and make the source readily available.

If it is just to bitch about OSS/GNU/Linux/GPL then that is a easy fix - install windows and be happy if that is what floats your boat. ;)
If it is something else then please enlighten me.

Reply Score: 2

Ugh
by moleskine on Fri 25th Aug 2006 09:42 UTC
moleskine
Member since:
2005-11-05

Garrett and Kern should be hanging their heads in shame. The tone of disgust on the Mepis site at their behaviour sounds about right to me.

Yes, they are absolutely right so far as the GPL goes: you must make source code available. However, if you read the cipherpunk site you will see that a seriously disabled person was trying to make his "contribution" as best he could, out of his own pocket. Which is more than most of us do. Perhaps he wasn't doing it 100 per cent correctly, but at least he was trying and - who knows - maybe it was helping his medical condition a little. Instead of receiving some thanks and understanding, and perhaps even help in working things out, he's been given (metaphorically, natch) a bop on the nose.

Not a clever public relations day for Ubuntu. Computing is one of the few things many disabled people can do. They need to be encouraged, not blown off.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Ugh
by twenex on Fri 25th Aug 2006 10:24 UTC in reply to "Ugh"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

That may well all be true, but speaking as a disabled person, let's be honest about it, if this were a dispute over a closed-source licence, no matter how disreputable the company "giving him a bop on the nose" was (say, one like SCO), people would be shrugging their shoulders and saying, "well, that's business".

Edited 2006-08-25 10:25

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Ugh
by moleskine on Fri 25th Aug 2006 10:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Ugh"
moleskine Member since:
2005-11-05

That may well all be true, but speaking as a disabled person, let's be honest about it, if this were a dispute over a closed-source licence, no matter how disreputable the company "giving him a bop on the nose" was (say, one like SCO), people would be shrugging their shoulders and saying, "well, that's business".

But it is not a closed-source licence. In fact it is Ubuntu, the distro that says it is "Linux for Human Beings" and talks about "humanity to others" - just so long as someone isn't suffering from a disability and runs afoul of some nasty types on their staff, apparently. If Ubuntu want to sell themselves as Mr Nice Guy then they should act the part.

This could very easily have been fixed with a little patience and understanding from Garrett and Kern. Or, shall we say, maturity. Not knowing when to turn a blind eye or stretch the letter of the law is the mark of a playground bully. Time those two grew up.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Ugh
by twenex on Fri 25th Aug 2006 10:47 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Ugh"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Like I said, if true, you're right. Maybe this just proves Ubuntu PR is the same as all other PR.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Ugh
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 10:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Ugh"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

All I seen was a note asking for compliance - what is so unhuman about that?

It isn't like they submitted a article to crapdot or osnews ranting about the obvious violation and flaunting of the GPL.

What would of been more human? What would you suggest should of been the correct action?

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Ugh
by twenex on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:02 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Ugh"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

I'm not the one complaining about how inhuman this is, btw.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Ugh
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:14 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Ugh"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

I know. That is why I replied to moleskins post ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Ugh
by twenex on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:30 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Ugh"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

WHOOPS! My mistake, sorry!

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Ugh
by dylansmrjones on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Ugh"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

No, but it's still a license, and has to be respected. He didn't comply with the license and instead of complying with the license, he has ceased to distribute anything at all. And then he whines about it.

The fact he has disabilities is irrelevant. Many people have such disabilities. Personally I suffer from loss of auditory sense, as well as from tinnitus. But that doesn't mean I can disregard licenses.

An open source license is NOT an I-don't-care license. It's very much a I-care-about license. Follow it, or suffer the consequenses.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Ugh
by twenex on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:34 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Ugh"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Well said, sir.

I'll mod you up when I get some votes.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Ugh
by zerblat on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:11 UTC in reply to "Ugh"
zerblat Member since:
2005-07-06

No, I think the Mepis people should be the ones hanging their heads in shame. The tone of disgust on their site is...disgusting.

While I have sympathy with every disabled person struggling to have a meaningful life, being disabled doesn't mean that you can ignore laws and other people's work.

If he needs money, for whatever reason, he could simple ask for donations.

Matthew Garrett and Philipp Kern are two individuals who have made various contributions to Ubuntu, but that doesn't in anyway make them official spokespeople for the entire Ubuntu community.

As you said, computing is one area where physically impaired people can be equals with normal abled people. Encouraging them to get involved is indeed a great thing. However, your implication that they need special treatment and special rules is simply patronising.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Ugh
by twenex on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Ugh"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

However, your implication that they need special treatment and special rules is simply patronising.

I think it's stretching it a bit to say he was implying that, myself. YMMV.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Ugh
by moleskine on Fri 25th Aug 2006 13:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Ugh"
moleskine Member since:
2005-11-05

As you said, computing is one area where physically impaired people can be equals with normal abled people. Encouraging them to get involved is indeed a great thing. However, your implication that they need special treatment and special rules is simply patronising.

I knew there'd be a reply like this. There always is in a discussion like this. As I am mildly disabled myself, no I don't think I was patronising. But I don't like seeing people treated like this. There is no implication I've seen that this guy was behaving badly and deliberately ignoring other people's work. I think he lacked experience and just didn't know what the score was. It's hardly a hanging offence, is it?

Contrast this with the sour and conceited post (strictly imho) about it on Matthew Garrett's blog - http://mjg59.livejournal.com/ Being right about something is sometimes the saddest thing of all.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Ugh
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 14:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Ugh"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

Lacked experience? This guy is fairly active in gargnome and other projects. He should know and if not then all you need to do is ask the FSF.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Ugh
by spikeb on Fri 25th Aug 2006 13:21 UTC in reply to "Ugh"
spikeb Member since:
2006-01-18

disabled or not, following the license is rather important - this is how we keep our 'freedom'

Reply Score: 1

RE: Ugh
by rcsteiner on Fri 25th Aug 2006 16:45 UTC in reply to "Ugh"
rcsteiner Member since:
2005-07-12

Matthew Garrett's note was very polite and right to the point, and I'm not sure what in its contents would make Warren react the way he did.

http://www.codon.org.uk/~mjg59/polite_note.txt

I'm confused? Do those folks have some sort of prior history? As it stands, it looks like Warren is being completely unreasonable.

Edited 2006-08-25 16:48

Reply Score: 1

RE: Ugh
by rayiner on Fri 25th Aug 2006 18:25 UTC in reply to "Ugh"
rayiner Member since:
2005-07-06

It's often forgotten that the GPL is a legal document. The terms in the document are the terms in the document. There is no excuse for not abiding to them 100%. If exceptions are made here and there, for whatever reason, the whole point of the document becomes moot. The GPL becomes useless. The same exceptions that allow cipherpunk to not distribute source code could very well justify Linksys not doing the same.

Reply Score: 1

Actually
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 09:45 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

The part he quotes on over and out is this...

"Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange;"

So that only applies if he is including the written offer for source code which in my opinion is not a good way to go anyway.

People always quote parts of a or b or c when they should really read the whole thing and understand what license they are using and what it means. They can contact the FSF and ask.

And "cipherfunk shutdown by the gpl police" sounds very dramatic - a little over the top even. How about "RMS leads protests and followers attack cipherfunk headquarters" ;)

Reply Score: 2

Linux for human beings
by pfortuny on Fri 25th Aug 2006 09:50 UTC
pfortuny
Member since:
2006-02-05

I'd rather think those Philip and Matthew are bots than having to remind them what a HUMAN BEING is.

Why did they not wait for the FSF to get in touch with Mepis? (for example, 1)

Why did they not *negotiate*? (for example, 2)

Is having NO SOURCE CODE AT ALL and NO BINARIES and AN UNHAPPY DEVELOPER better than simply having NO SOURCE CODE? (for example, 3)

Those came without thinking... Sure, they must be either bots or ... ... ...

LINUX FOR HUMAN BEINGS... Have they understood the motto?

BTW: that is why I'll never reselase anything I do under the GPL. Better put things in the public domain or BSD them...

Edited 2006-08-25 09:54

Reply Score: 5

RE: Linux for human beings
by zerblat on Fri 25th Aug 2006 10:58 UTC in reply to "Linux for human beings"
zerblat Member since:
2005-07-06

What do you suggest they should do when someone distributes their copyrighted work without permission, apart from sending a polite note (which is exactly what they did)?

1. Why do you feel that the FSF has anything to do with this? The issue here is between a couple of copyright holders and someone who is distributing their work without their permission. The only case where the FSF needs to get involved is when the FSF is the copyright holder.

2. What is there to negotiate about? The GPL is quite clear. Making an exception for Cipherpunk would require the permission from everyone who owns the copyright to any piece of code in Linux.

I'm sure Cipherpunk just misunderstood the GPL (which can happen quite easily if you are not a lawyer), so the only reasonable thing to do would be to send a polite note informing him of the situation.

BTW: that is why I'll never reselase anything I do under the GPL.

That okay. However, if you choose to distribute other people's code, you need to follow the terms of their licence, even if you feel that they are being unreasonable.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Linux for human beings
by mjg59 on Fri 25th Aug 2006 12:21 UTC in reply to "Linux for human beings"
mjg59 Member since:
2005-10-17

Why did they not wait for the FSF to get in touch with Mepis?

Why? I'm one of the copyright holders.

Why did they not *negotiate*

I emailed Paul to say "You're not complying with the license. Would you mind fixing that?". What more negotiation was I supposed to engage in? I didn't ask Paul to take down the site or offer me compensation or anything like that.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Linux for human beings
by rcsteiner on Fri 25th Aug 2006 16:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Linux for human beings"
rcsteiner Member since:
2005-07-12

I thought your note was well-written and very polite, and I see nothing wrong with it. It wasn't a demand, but rather seemed more like a "heads up" message.

The Cipherfunk folks are behaving irrationally, IMSNShO.

Reply Score: 2

Uh
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 09:55 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

Why didn't cipherfunk just do what is required? Nobody shutdown cipherfunk except themselves.

Maybe the guy should post the WHOLE correspondence so we can read it and decide if someone was out of line. Sounds like he gave us a line out of context and that is about it.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Uh
by kaiwai on Fri 25th Aug 2006 19:26 UTC in reply to "Uh"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Because of the cost of bandwidth; that was the issue; he can't afford the cost, so he has asked others to share the burden.

I think the bigger question is this; why hasn't someone come forward with a donation to this; all these people who have leached off the site, why aren't they giving anything back to help the project, then the GPL issues would never have arrisen.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Uh
by Tweek on Sun 27th Aug 2006 02:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Uh"
Tweek Member since:
2006-01-12

The cost of bandwidth is a joke.

A torrent would have pretty much taken care of the issue, he could seed it from dialup, but there would be enough other people to seed it all

no one said you had to give it a T3 speeds.

anyone who bitches about "the cost of bandwidth" is just plain lazy and flat out a liar.

bandwidth is dirt cheap, and even if you cant afford the pennies a day... you can easily work around it, free mirrors are available, did he even contact sf.net for isntance?

Reply Score: 1

Good grief.
by albalbo on Fri 25th Aug 2006 10:01 UTC
albalbo
Member since:
2006-08-25

First, I don't see what this has to do with Mepis, apart from the fact that they're known GPL-haters. Why they even bother distributing software whose license they so obviously don't like, I don't understand.

Second, why should authors of software (who have released it under _any_ licence, not just the GPL) have to accept people who distribute it contrary to the licence?

It doesn't matter if it's people not distributing source for a GPL'd app, or someone who took the copyright notices off a BSD app, or any other infringement: either you distribute the app properly, or you don't distribute it. It's pretty simple.

I suggest people actually read Matthew's request that 'cipherfunk' fix the situation (http://www.codon.org.uk/~mjg59/polite_note.txt) - he didn't request he take down the binaries, or stop charging: he could have easily remedied the situation by charging for all access, and that would have covered his bandwidth charges. cipherfunk chose to whine about the licence and then close down his download section: that was his choice out of a number of options, and nothing required him to "shut down", let alone the "GPL police" (aka software authors who would like their software distributed according to the terms of its licence).

Reply Score: 5

RE: Good grief.
by REM2000 on Fri 25th Aug 2006 10:05 UTC in reply to "Good grief."
REM2000 Member since:
2006-07-25

i agree, i must be missing something, but if he's hosting the binaries, why couldn't he zip up and host the src code aswell, source code is usually pretty small.

If it was a case of bandwidth then surly the binaries would zap that quicker than the src code.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Good grief.
by JonathanBThompson on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Good grief."
JonathanBThompson Member since:
2006-05-26

It sounds quite like he had to (or felt he had to) include a huge amount of surrounding source code to what he fixed, based on the statistics on the site. Tell me: have you actually done much software development on a large project? I just did a check on the Haiku source code versus the generated binaries, and guess what: the source code was more than 3 times the size of the binaries! While the source code will likely zip at a better compression ratio than the binaries, it won't zip *that* much, and the source code is still very significant, even with zipping.

What he *should* have done to reduce bandwidth overhead is distribute only the zipped up diffs: if someone is truly serious about using the source code for whatever reason, surely they have the ability to get the code that the diffs refer to, and apply them themselves. Perhaps I'm wrong, but that wouldn't violate the license terms, though a lot of people would be rather displeased about having to actually think about the whole thing and do an extra step ;) I wouldn't be the least bit surprised that 99% of the people demanding the source code distribution did it purely for the sake of testing his compliance with the terms of the license: most sane people that aren't overwrought about their machines getting the absolute top performance by applying compiler optimizations are satisfied with working binaries, especially if it takes a lot of time to do a build. Heck, here's a thought I love that he could have done: hired someone to copy all the source onto floppies and have those mailed via standard mail, one floppy at a time, to all those that request and pay for it ;) As long as it were "at cost" it would be perfectly valid, right??? Right??????

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Good grief.
by zerblat on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Good grief."
zerblat Member since:
2005-07-06

If the extra bandwidth cost of hosting source code was the issue, he could have used Sourceforge or Savannah or Berlios or any other free hosting solution.

Reply Score: 4

Full source, not diffs
by preater on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Good grief."
preater Member since:
2005-08-31

What he *should* have done to reduce bandwidth overhead is distribute only the zipped up diffs: if someone is truly serious about using the source code for whatever reason, surely they have the ability to get the code that the diffs refer to, and apply them themselves.

No, you have to distribute complete source. This is covered in the GNU GPL FAQ:

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#DistributingSourceIsInconv...

Charging $4.95 for a download of binaries and source was OK though.

I don't see why Cipherfunk could not just include a written offer for the source along with the binary-only download he made available for i386. Is an extra few KiB of text really that much more painful to host?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Good grief.
by pfortuny on Fri 25th Aug 2006 10:09 UTC in reply to "Good grief."
pfortuny Member since:
2006-02-05

Yes, in some sense you are right. However, now only this guy will enjoy his patch. Is this good for human beings?

Just a question...

but *strictly speaking* yes you are right.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Good grief.
by macisaac on Fri 25th Aug 2006 13:55 UTC in reply to "Good grief."
macisaac Member since:
2005-08-28

" I don't see what this has to do with Mepis, apart from the fact that they're known GPL-haters. "

Indeed. While I rather like Linux and GPL'ed software myself (though I'm actually more a free software advocate than specifically a GPL advocate. overall I dislike licenses in the first place), I don't see why Warren continues to use it as the base for his distribution. PCBSD (which I haven't used mind you) appears to have shown that a BSD-based desktop distro is very much possible. Why not just use some upstream BSD source, and be done with it (and stop the complaining...)?

From what I understand, Mepis' touch is really more on the application level (X on up), not the kernel and more base components. As such, as long as it's a free *nix, technically it shouldn't really matter that much what he's using to build it off of.

Reply Score: 2

Strange
by segedunum on Fri 25th Aug 2006 10:21 UTC
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

All this seems to leave a bad taste in the mouth, but it seems this guy has completely misunderstood what would be required of him in complying with the GPL.

Yes, bandwidth and hosting costs money, but you can't charge people the total cost of the bandwidth for every download they make of the source code. If you're involved in modifying and distributing free software then you have to find a way of covering your costs as a hobby, or covering your costs via other means such as a business. Asking for free hosting or for someone else to host the files would have been a good idea as well.

I mean it wouldn't have been a hard thing to circulate around and ask for. And honestly. How hard could it have been for him to have submitted his patches as attachments to Bugzilla or on forums somewhere? It wouldn't cost him $100 to distribute the code at all. There were, and are, various avenues open to him.

From this page:

http://64.71.152.24/original.html

He seems a bit bitter that he's given six to ten hours a day, four to seven days a week, for free software, but for goodness sake, find something else to do with your time, OK? He claims he has cerebral palsy, and other ill family members, and he's spending that amount of time? Contributing to free software is a worthwhile endeavour, but that just seems like complete overload to me. Even better, find a way of starting a business so you can use that free software and knowledge you've built up and make it pay off. It just smells a bit fishy. Mepis Warren will jump up and down as he usually does, but the Ubuntu guys are correct here.

Oh, and if someone demands you port to another platform, or for you to produce code to order tell them to get lost. You're contributing your free time and it is your perogative how you spend it. If things are becoming really to much for you to handle, throw your code to others in the community and ask for some help. That's why people submit patches to things like Bugzilla - so they don't have to maintain that code by themselves.

It just seems as though the guy running Cipherfunk is yet another open source contributor and geek who can't work with others, manage his own finances or keep his open source contributions in perspective. Hans Reiser has been rather like this, and has expected the Earth sometimes because he's decided to run his business at a massive loss and go through a divorce. Don't kill yourself, keep your contributions to the community in perspective, keep your finances in order and people will respect you, you will feel good and you won't be out of pocket either.

Edited 2006-08-25 10:26

Reply Score: 5

RE: Strange
by twenex on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:00 UTC in reply to "Strange"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

He seems a bit bitter that he's given six to ten hours a day, four to seven days a week, for free software, but for goodness sake, find something else to do with your time, OK? He claims he has cerebral palsy, and other ill family members, and he's spending that amount of time? Contributing to free software is a worthwhile endeavour, but that just seems like complete overload to me. Even better, find a way of starting a business so you can use that free software and knowledge you've built up and make it pay off. It just smells a bit fishy.

What if he can't get a job? do you realise the impact that cerebral palsy can have? many disabled people - with less severe problems than cerebral palsy - are out of work or in crappy jobs because of the proportion of "normal people" (a horrible word, but that's how they see themselves) who think they're incapable of doing decent jobs, or any at all.

It just seems as though the guy running Cipherfunk is yet another open source contributor and geek who can't work with others, manage his own finances or keep his open source contributions in perspective. Hans Reiser has been rather like this, and has expected the Earth sometimes because he's decided to run his business at a massive loss and go through a divorce.

Insulting, and irrelevant. What about all the businesses which are successful despite crap products? There's plenty, believe you me. And are you telling me that only "open source geeks" go through divorce? Before you answer, remember that the highest rate of divorce in the United States is in the Bible belt, i.e. supposedly the most anti-divorce demographic. And, I would think, the most un-/anti-open source geek.

Don't kill yourself, keep your contributions to the community in perspective, keep your finances in order and people will respect you, you will feel good and you won't be out of pocket either.

Thankyou for ending on a high note, with some good advice.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Strange
by historyb on Fri 25th Aug 2006 18:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Strange"
historyb Member since:
2005-07-06

What if he can't get a job? do you realise the impact that cerebral palsy can have? many disabled people - with less severe problems than cerebral palsy - are out of work or in crappy jobs because of the proportion of "normal people" (a horrible word, but that's how they see themselves) who think they're incapable of doing decent jobs, or any at all.

I have to agree there, being in a wheelchair all a lot of employeers see is that. Primarily that's why I went in to business for myself. Than I don't have to worry about that.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Strange
by segedunum on Fri 25th Aug 2006 19:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Strange"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

What if he can't get a job? do you realise the impact that cerebral palsy can have?

We're not debating his condition here. He's obviously well enough to do coding, able to spend money on setting up hosting, able to distribute binaries and able to set up a system of e-mailing someone a link to the source code when money above and beyond any reasonable cost has been collected. Under the GPL, that's just not allowed.

Insulting, and irrelevant. What about all the businesses which are successful despite crap products? There's plenty, believe you me.

You've utterly misunderstood the meaning of what was written, as I thought many might ;-). There are simple things that anyone can do where they can increase their chances of success - even with crap products ;-).

And are you telling me that only "open source geeks" go through divorce?

No. But trying to run a failing business and contributing a ton of code to the open source community where you feel people 'owe you' is not a good thing to be doing at the same time.

There are more important things to worry about. Leave software behind for a while. It's you who is important.

Before you answer, remember that the highest rate of divorce in the United States is in the Bible belt, i.e. supposedly the most anti-divorce...

Spare me the drivel please.

Edited 2006-08-25 19:36

Reply Score: 2

Necessary move under copyright requirements
by kvorg on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:12 UTC
kvorg
Member since:
2005-12-29

Assuming this was a violation, please, do not forget that if the copyright owners do not enforce the copyright, as is their duty, they can loose the rights to enforce the copyright in the future. So the owners of a GPL-licenced piece of software have no choice where they face a possible violation: they have to either licence the software with a different licence to the perpertator or prosecute, if they don't want to loose their rights. When in doubt, unfortunately, you have to do something about it, it won't just go away.

I do not want to go too deep into the details with this case since I have not researched them in any way, but the fact is that the software contribution was being made in an unusual way, and the end decision was probably a result of bad feelings rather than any actual prosecution.

I am sure it would be better the patch became a part of the tree, and the developper a part of the team. But not at any cost. And endangering a kernel licence is too much of a cost.

It would be interesting to see what are the legal intricacies and detail here. Groklaw?

Reply Score: 1

zerblat Member since:
2005-07-06

Nope. You're thinking of trademarks, which need to be defended to be valid. When it comes to copyright, it's perfectly okay to enforce your rights selectively or not at all, without losing your copyright.

But it's not like they sued the guy or sent their lawyers after him. They simply emailed him, politely pointing out that he wasn't following the terms of their licence.

Reply Score: 2

Disgusting
by Luis on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:24 UTC
Luis
Member since:
2006-04-28

No matter how right those Ubuntu developers are about the GPL, I think they should better use their time to fix bugs instead of sending "advices" to those who are fixing them instead for not fully comply with the GPL.

And why people give so much importance to the words of a license and so little to it's spirit? I'm not a lawyer and didn't waste my time looking carefully at the GPL and all the distributions out there, but I can safely guess that many (if not most) of them don't fully comply in every single statement witht GNU's GPL. Yet most (if not all) of them respect the spirit of it. If people like those Ubuntu devs started "hunting" these distributions, most of them would have to change or disappear.

Moreover, if all of us would have to fully comply with all the licenses, agreements and laws in our lives, we wouldn't be able to live. We would all be paying fees all day or even in jail. And it's not good to say "Well, if you don't like the law, go live to another planet (or commit suicide). Sorry for being dramatic, but really, this story was disgusting and I can't understand why people justify it.

Edited 2006-08-25 11:44

Reply Score: 1

RE: Disgusting
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:30 UTC in reply to "Disgusting"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

In the wake of the Dutch Secretary of Immigration, someone (forgot who) made an excellent quote that perfectly describes this situation.

"The law is there for the people. The people are not there for the law."

And that is all there is to this issue, really. If you want to act like a bureaucrat over a license, go ahead, act like one. But trust me, you won't be making any friends along the way.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Disgusting
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Disgusting"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

If we aren't going to ask/require people to follow the requirements of the license then why would I bother choosing one for my work?

Taking others work that they hold copyright over and deciding you do not want to follow the license that goes with it probably will not win you any friends either or at least it shouldn't.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Disgusting
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Disgusting"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Taking others work that they hold copyright over and deciding you do not want to follow the license that goes with it probably will not win you any friends either or at least it shouldn't.

The guy gave access to the source code, while at the same time trying to cover the costs of all his hard work. Ok, so he may have charged a little too much... But not really THAT much. It feels like to me this is more of an issue of Ubuntu devs being unable to fix a bug, and then pick on the guy that could.

The world isn't as black and white as some here want it to be. I also assume the people coming down on this guy NEVER complain about parking tickets, speeding tickets for going 4kph too fast, never complain about anything that the law imposes on them?

Yes, he may have breached the GPL by a little bit, that much may be true. But get a grip guys, as someone else already said, he has acted completely in the spirit of the GPL.

Take a look at yourself, how you are, what you do, and how you respond to various laws and guidelines in the world, then come back, and take a look at this case again.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Disgusting
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:49 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Disgusting"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

Actually, no I don't complain when I am breaking the law and get busted for it. I kick myself since that is where the blame lays.

Nobody said he couldn't cover his costs. Nobody said he couldn't make money from it. He did it incorrectly and was informed about it. So why not just correct the situation instead of closing shop and whining about it.

He should develop something else under his own license if he wants to dictate the requirements.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Disgusting
by mjg59 on Fri 25th Aug 2006 12:16 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Disgusting"
mjg59 Member since:
2005-10-17

I also assume the people coming down on this guy NEVER complain about parking tickets, speeding tickets for going 4kph too fast, never complain about anything that the law imposes on them?

I can't speak for Phillip (since I don't know him in the slightest), but in my case, yes. But thanks for suggesting that I'm a hypocrite without having any evidence to back that up.

Yes, he may have breached the GPL by a little bit, that much may be true. But get a grip guys, as someone else already said, he has acted completely in the spirit of the GPL.

Well, no, he didn't. The GPL requires that you make source available to anyone you provide the binaries to, for (at most) the cost of distribution of the source. That's the most important, fundamental aspect of the GPL. And yes, if someone breaches the license of software I've contributed to, the first thing I'll do is point that out to them. I won't demand they remove it. I won't threaten to sue. I'll simply request that the situation be rectified.

Just to be entirely clear here, I hold the copyright to some of the code that was being distributed.

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: Disgusting
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 12:28 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Disgusting"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

Actually you are just mentioning one method that satisfies the requirements of the GPL. He could of done other things as well but instead of choosing to do anything differently he just took his toy and went home. ;)
That is my complaint is that he didn't try to fix the situation. Everyone keeps saying he tried and he put in effort yet I see none of either. I don't get it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Disgusting
by biteydog on Fri 25th Aug 2006 12:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Disgusting"
biteydog Member since:
2005-10-06

Is this argument another example of the difference between the European and US view? Akin to the Linus/Stallman disagreement over GPL3? I definitely get the impression that US citizens take a more rigid legalistic view, possibly because their court system seems to have greater prominence in everyday life, whereas Europeans seem to be more prepared to overlook minor "offences" in pursuit of a differing view of the common good. Which is right? - I can't really judge. What I do think is that in this case the complainants could possibly have made helpful suggestions as to how the software could be made to comply, or suggested possible free hosts et. etc. instead of coming out with guns metaphorically blazing.

My viewpoint? - Well, I'm a European.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Disgusting
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 12:24 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Disgusting"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

This isn't a minor offense. This is a HUGE offense in relation to the GPL. What is the common good that comes out of this anyway? He was told how to comply. Heck, it is in the GPL about how to comply.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Disgusting
by Daniel Borgmann on Fri 25th Aug 2006 12:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Disgusting"
Daniel Borgmann Member since:
2005-07-08

Your analogy is wrong. If this guy would have been punished in some way for his mistake, then I would have agreed that this would have been way out of line. But all they did is ask him to comply. Since when has this become disgusting?

Imagine a police officer politely asking you to drive out of the no-parking zone, not even a disability would give you the moral right to complain about that.

Besides, there are two perfectly reasonable ways to ask for money for free software: Either sell only the binaries or sell the entire package. Why choose the only illegal option? In fact he could still change his mind and try to make some money from the publicity, nothing wrong with that.

Considering his situation I can perfectly understand his reaction and anger and I probably would have reacted the same way, but it still was a mistake and the outcome unavoidable. Don't shoot the messengers.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Disgusting
by kanwar.plaha on Sun 27th Aug 2006 23:51 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Disgusting"
kanwar.plaha Member since:
2006-02-20

"Imagine a police officer politely asking you to drive out of the no-parking zone, not even a disability would give you the moral right to complain about that. "

I would want to qualify this as:

Imagine there are two parking slots next to each other and one of them has been reserved in my name but the next one is 'free'. Someone parks in such a way that his/her car juts out into my parking slot by a feet and hence I am unable to park there. Do I not, at least, have the right to ask the person to move his/her car out of my parking slot politely???

I feel some people here are calling the above scenario disgusting!

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Disgusting
by AdamW on Fri 25th Aug 2006 17:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Disgusting"
AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

How is asking - politely - for them to fulfill the single most important requirement of the GPL 'acting like a bureaucrat'? As far as I can see no-one's even bothered to check why Matthew and Phillip made their request. Maybe they actually needed to do something with the modifications cipherfunk had made to the kernel, just as was the entire intention of the GPL all along?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Disgusting
by rayiner on Fri 25th Aug 2006 18:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Disgusting"
rayiner Member since:
2005-07-06

The law is the law, and both the United States and Europe are very pedantic about the letter of their laws and legal contracts. In that environment, the only choice is to be pedantic. The premise behind the GPL is explicitly to not challenge the existing legal status-quo behind IP law, but to create a community of free software while working within, and indeed leveraging, the existing infrastructure of copyright law.

RMS had some insight when he created the GPL that I think is often overlooked. The GPL has some very socialistic ideals behind it, but its expressly designed so that a socialistic software community can be created in an intellectual property environment that's rather harsh to it. As a result, the GPL has a "freedom protected by men with guns" type rigidness that some find at odds with its progressive philosophy, but one that is necessary to achieve its primary objectives.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Disgusting
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:32 UTC in reply to "Disgusting"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

So we should just let everyone decide which parts they actually comply with and they can just say they believe they are right i to do so since they have the right "spirit" of the license.

The spirit is to protect the freedom of software and that entails source code - no more and no less. No exceptions granted. The GPL is the one of the easiest license to comply with and the main part of it is - provide source code. How hard is that? How can you provide a binary and then say it is too hard to provide the source?

paying fees all day or in jail???huh???

Reply Score: 4

RE: Disgusting
by spikeb on Fri 25th Aug 2006 13:23 UTC in reply to "Disgusting"
spikeb Member since:
2006-01-18

yeah well, in this case, many people feel it's important - the GPL (and ESPECIALLY DISTRIBUTING THE SOURCE) is what gives free software its free nature.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Disgusting
by rayiner on Fri 25th Aug 2006 18:34 UTC in reply to "Disgusting"
rayiner Member since:
2005-07-06

And why people give so much importance to the words of a license and so little to it's spirit?

Because that's not the kind of world we live in. The people defending the GPL have a hard enough time defending the letter of the license from commercial companies. The job would become impossible if they introduced ambiguity by making special provisions for certain people in the "spirit" of the license.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Disgusting
by kaiwai on Fri 25th Aug 2006 19:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Disgusting"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Because that's not the kind of world we live in. The people defending the GPL have a hard enough time defending the letter of the license from commercial companies. The job would become impossible if they introduced ambiguity by making special provisions for certain people in the "spirit" of the license.

Not true; laws have the 'spirit of which they were written' - just because the marriage act of 1840 (or what have you) doesn't unequivocally state that its between a man and a women doesn' MEAN that the original law makers were some what enlightened to the idea of same sex marriage, it was simply assumed that such a debate would never occur in the future.

If you want the legislation changed, you must go through the usual channels, lobbby for changes to be put forward to parliament, pray that maybe your ammendment will be chosen from the box, then go through the usual processors; simply re-reading something and come up with wild and weird ways of looking into something, simply to fullfil some innner desire is disingenuous to the original purpose of the law or the said document.

Edited 2006-08-25 19:35

Reply Score: 0

money
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:27 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

If it is about money then he could of charged for the binary as well as the source and then people could of distributed it in other ways that would not of costed him anything.

I cannot see this as anything but whining, I wish I could but I honestly cannot. If he didn't care about making money then distibute it along with source on mega-download and let others handle it from there. If it was about money then charge a few dollars.

I cannot believe Warren/Mepis was so quick to jump on the whiner bandwagon.....well yes I can actually. ;)

Reply Score: 4

v GPL Police
by j-s-h on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:27 UTC
RE: GPL Police
by twenex on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:43 UTC in reply to "GPL Police"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

So tell me, when, say, Microsoft or Sun sue each other over breach of licence/contract, and it's reported here on "osnot", do you complain "Good ole Police gonna getcha!" and whine about "another piss-poor, one-sided article"?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: GPL Police
by j-s-h on Fri 25th Aug 2006 13:12 UTC in reply to "RE: GPL Police"
j-s-h Member since:
2005-07-08

Note that I said GPL "Police", straight from the "summary".

The "summary" was one-sided. Are you too blind to see that? Do I have to point out that it only links to one side of the story? Critical thinking is your friend.


Anyways, if you modify GPL-licensed code, you must conform to the GPL. He must conform to the GPL or take the binaries down. He could have uploaded the source to sourceforge, or any other Free software or open source hosting site for no bandwith costs. Calling the authors of the software GPL police makes as much sense as calling your neighbor a "dog police" when your dog shits in your yard and he complains about it.

Edited 2006-08-25 13:23

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: GPL Police
by twenex on Fri 25th Aug 2006 13:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: GPL Police"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Well, you said "one-sided article," not summary, and it's not an OSNews article, but OK.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: GPL Police
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 25th Aug 2006 13:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: GPL Police"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

You'd have a point, if there actually were another side. Currently-- there is none, as there is no official reply yet. Once there is (if ever) we surely will report on it, as we always do (i.e. check the HD item on Vista).

Edited 2006-08-25 13:22

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: GPL Police
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 13:26 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: GPL Police"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

There is another side. It is clearly spelled out in the GPL and the guy was simply informed by matthew and philip that he wasn't in compliance. What other side do we need? Those guys are the copyright holders they have a right to inform someone that they are not acting in accordance to the license.

The cipherphunk website (original) is all the proof that anyone needs. You cannot offer a free download and yet charge for the source.

Is there another side to this?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: GPL Police
by j-s-h on Fri 25th Aug 2006 13:29 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: GPL Police"
j-s-h Member since:
2005-07-08

From a link in the comments:

Hi,

I've noticed that you're providing kernel binaries at
http://64.71.152.24/dapper-binaries/ . As I'm sure you're aware, the
kernel is released under the terms of the GNU General Public License v2.
Under section (3) of the license, when distributing derivitives of this
code you are obliged to either

a) accompany it with the source code, or
b) provide a written offer to provide the source code on request for no
more than the cost of physically performing the distribution

Currently you are doing neither of these, and as a result are breaching
the license of the code. As one of the copyright holders of the code, I
would request that you conform to your obligations under the license.

This is not required for the X driver, as it is not released under the
GPL.

Thanks,
--
Matthew Garrett

Edited 2006-08-25 13:31

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: GPL Police
by mjg59 on Fri 25th Aug 2006 13:33 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: GPL Police"
mjg59 Member since:
2005-10-17

You'd have a point, if there actually were another side. Currently-- there is none, as there is no official reply yet. Once there is (if ever) we surely will report on it, as we always do (i.e. check the HD item on Vista).

What, other than http://mjg59.livejournal.com/65927.html which was written some time before the Mepis article?

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: GPL Police
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 25th Aug 2006 14:05 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: GPL Police"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

What, other than http://mjg59.livejournal.com/65927.html which was written some time before the Mepis article?

That's already part of the original article after an update, FWIW. I did not link to it because I did not see the added value at time of posting-- after this whole discussion, I concede I was wrong.

I'll make it part of the OSNews item ASAP. Je m'excuse.

Edited 2006-08-25 14:07

Reply Score: 1

ok
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:58 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

It looks like to me the problem is this:
He offers the binary ONLY for free via a download.
He also offers a 4.95paypal link to get access to binary/source/diff and so forth.

THAT is where he makes the mistake is offering the binary freely yet saying you have to pay for anything else. Simply remove the free binary and that should be fine. If you really want to be technical then offer the binary for $2.50 and the source for $2.50! But I think the 4.95 for equivalent access would be just fine according to the GPL.

Let others distribute it totally free of charge if they so choose. Then anything being downloaded from his site will offer him fair compensation and other distribution methods provided by others will not cost him anything, correct?

Reply Score: 2

well
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 12:22 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

My wife complains when she gets a speeding ticket...but she still does exactly what is required of her to rectify the situation. ;) She can go to court if she likes, is that what this guy wanted to do? Or she can do what is required - pay the fine and not speed. In this case (GPL) there is no alternative like a fine, it is be compliant or else.
So the choices are
(1)be complaint
(2)refer back to 1

Reply Score: 1

Paul Drain
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 12:33 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

Make a new package. Provide the binary as a paid download for $5000 and the source as a paid download for $5000. Then if someone feels it is worth it they will pay for it and you will make some money, your family will be impressed that you made some money and all will be right with the world.

On the other hand the market may not bear that price but you have satisifed the GPL and you have not worked for free - sort of.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Paul Drain
by anda_skoa on Fri 25th Aug 2006 12:57 UTC in reply to "Paul Drain"
anda_skoa Member since:
2005-07-07

Provide the binary as a paid download for $5000

I guess that would be fine

the source as a paid download for $5000

I don't think there is currently any download technology that would make $5000 the price for a single distribution.

You'd have to put the source code on platinum covered CDROMs, put into coldcoted jewelcases, on the back of a Rembrandt painting, wrapped in papers of Mozart's original works.

Ah, I'm aggegerating, scrap the Mozart thing ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Paul Drain
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 13:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Paul Drain"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

The "actual cost" part only applies if you are including the written offer. The written offer is only if you do not send the source with the binary. The reason it is like that is so someone cant send you the binary for free and not include the source and then later you decide you want the source and they say it will be a million dollars effectively making it closed. If you had to pay a million up front for the binary then you should be able to pay a million for the source. Also in the same case, if you pay a million for the binary and get the written offer and you pass that on to someone, who passes it on to someone, who passes it on to someone and THAT someone wants the source then there is no surprise about the cost. In other words you can charge for source code up to the same amount as you charge for the binary OR you can include a written offer that offers source for no more than actual cost.

Reply Score: 1

whine whine whine
by spikeb on Fri 25th Aug 2006 13:26 UTC
spikeb
Member since:
2006-01-18

I'm getting very tired of all the whining about fufilling the requirements of copyleft/free software licenses - they exist for a damn good reason: to keep the software free! And _not_ distributing the source is one of the most basic violations of any of these, bar none. Stop complaining about "gpl nazis" and other assorted nonsense, take your asshats off, and follow the damn licenses.

Reply Score: 4

RE: whine whine whine
by twenex on Fri 25th Aug 2006 13:33 UTC in reply to "whine whine whine"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Thankyou, sir! (note to self: better start putting "/madam" just in case ;) )

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: whine whine whine
by spikeb on Fri 25th Aug 2006 15:38 UTC in reply to "RE: whine whine whine"
spikeb Member since:
2006-01-18

my pleasure

Reply Score: 2

is
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 13:39 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

Didn't that site also provide GARGNOME stuff also? However did he afford that? Why did he remove it also? All this stuff he use to provide and providing the binary for free was reasonable to him but providing the source isn't reasonable? Once again, I don't get it!

Was it just about working for free that he didn't like? Was it simply wanting to be compensated? Does he think everyone else is compensated for supplying somewhat of a fix to something? Maybe osnews should interview the guy so we can find out exactly what the beef was.

Reply Score: 1

warren
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 13:47 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

To me it is just warren scouring the internet in search of stuff he can use to show how burdensome the GPL is and to complain about those GPL police tactics with the rubber hose, and body cavity searches. ;) Of course, all the while making a linux distribution and making profits from it.

Reply Score: 2

The Ubuntu people did the right thing
by hezekiah on Fri 25th Aug 2006 13:58 UTC
hezekiah
Member since:
2006-01-05

a) How were they supposed to know what situation this guy was in before contacting him?

b) He posted a link to his kernel binaries in several Ubuntu bug reports, asking people if they worked to fix the problems listed in these bug reports. These bugs have been fairly active, so it probably caught a lot of attention. Others also asked for this person to make the source code available. He apparently took this as an attack against himself, but the tone of the people requesting compliance makes no difference in the validity of their request. See here for one example bug: https://launchpad.net/products/xserver-xorg-driver-ati/+bug/47775

And, personally, I don't think that they ever got out of hand - there was no reporting to the "GPL Police" - just a promise to do so should they not comply.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Ugh
by hezekiah on Fri 25th Aug 2006 14:01 UTC
hezekiah
Member since:
2006-01-05

It's hardly a hanging offence, is it?

No, not a hanging offense, but no one tried to lynch them. They were contacted by email and told of the situation - everything that followed was up to the person hosting the code/binaries. There were no horrible threats or attacks.

Reply Score: 1

update
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 14:04 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

Looks like warren did update a bit. Still doesn't explain the blind followers of the unethical hacker statement whatever that is suppose to mean.

Reply Score: 2

RE: update
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 15:39 UTC in reply to "update"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

I get modded down for this? How does that work? Warren did update his post but didn't explain that last part which I personally have no clue what he is talking about myself. Anyway score one for this mod system... ;)

Reply Score: 1

Weakness in GPL?
by jack_perry on Fri 25th Aug 2006 14:07 UTC
jack_perry
Member since:
2005-07-06

It seems to me that this might actually expose a weakness in the GPL. The developer writes:

Given that the host this box is on actually costs me $110.95AUD every thirty (30) days to run, $9.90, as nice as that is -- still will cost me over $100 AUD to distribute the code at all.

How does one quantify the actual cost of distribution, if he distributes it over the internet? The actual cost would depend on how many people chose to download it; one has to divide that $110.95 by the number of downloaders for as long as he distributes it. You can't know that beforehand. Moreover, once the source is out in the wild, is there anything to stop someone else (e.g. Ubuntu) from posting the source publicly? How do you quantify that cost?

Secondly, I noticed from the original webpage the following, which suggests to me that the Ubuntu developers are mistaken that he was violating the GPL.:

If you really feel that strongly about things, you could always plug or buy something from Empire Collectables (my much preferred solution to funding future F/OSS work -- which needs all the Google Juice it can get to compete with eBay listings for anything to do with Star Wars, or even a small stamp collecting/sales shop in the U.K.). e-mail me with the location of the plug (or add the fact you'd like the link in comments field if you purchase something from the website) and i'll happily let you know where they are.

This strikes me as an offer to distribute the source code for not more than the cost of distribution. It certainly costs no more to set up an online plug for his venture than it costs him to distribute the source code.

Edited 2006-08-25 14:09

Reply Score: 1

RE: Weakness in GPL?
by ma_d on Fri 25th Aug 2006 15:44 UTC in reply to "Weakness in GPL?"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

The lesson is this: If you can barely afford to host the binaries maybe you shouldn't be.

It's rough, but it's sort of the way things are. Of course, if he could actually manage to sell the binaries, with source, it'd be no problem: But who's going to pay for the linux kernel source when you can get it for free from so many places? And there is always donations, which you can sometimes do ok on, and sometimes no one even looks at the donations page.

Reply Score: 1

Well
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 14:14 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

Is that ALL he uses that website/domain/hosting provider for? If so then you MIGHT could argue that it is actual cost but I doubt it. ;) Second, I have never seen empire-collectables and cannot seem to reach it either.

I don't think this was about hosting cost. The point was he wanted to be compensated and held the source code as ransom for that. He offered the binary for free, he should of simply offered the source for free and he could of still made the statement about being in need of funding and asking people to contribute if they feel it was helpful and so forth.

I just think this was a long time in the coming and he let a little thing be the final straw period!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Well
by jack_perry on Fri 25th Aug 2006 14:18 UTC in reply to "Well"
jack_perry Member since:
2005-07-06

Second, I have never seen empire-collectables and cannot seem to reach it either.

Did you follow the link from his webpage? I reached it just now.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Well
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 14:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Well"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

I can reach it on one of my connections but it times out on the other.

Reply Score: 1

and
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 14:16 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

FWIW the written offer and actual cost was never meant to apply to a download anyway.

Reply Score: 1

Hosting costs, hell I'll help out
by Lovechild on Fri 25th Aug 2006 14:41 UTC
Lovechild
Member since:
2005-06-29

You contribute to free software to help yourself and others. What he did (and I'm disabled as well so that's no excuse) was to help himself and then blackmail others for the solution. If hosting costs was an issue he could have asked for help to either cover the costs or provide mirrors (that is if SourceForge like services wasn't an option for him).
What I saw on his page was a demand for money to provide access to the sourcecode not a plea for covering his costs. If that is indeed his problem then he is free to shoot me a mail and I'll hook him up with hosting for the sourcecode at no cost to him till the change is upstream or rejected thus eliminating the issue once and for all. There.. no excuses left.

I figure a diff file for whatever changes he made can't be more than 1 meg tops, with 10GB of trafic allowed per month at 4.95$ I can shift a metric shitload of copys before I have to even strain myself..

Ask and ye shall recieve.

Reply Score: 2

ryan Member since:
2005-07-06

Many moons ago, I even tossed him a few bucks to help pay for the hosting of some working gstreamer packages when Ubuntu's were crap. If he provides a valuable service and isn't a dick about it, he'd likely have little problem finding a way to minimize his hosting charges.

No matter what it looks like, this isn't about that. Paul is being a dick here, violating a license isn't allowed no matter who you are and what your intentions are. Using his disability as an excuse is just sick.

Reply Score: 3

funny
by deanlinkous on Fri 25th Aug 2006 15:31 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

One of those GPL cops has been waving the rubber hose and performing body cavity searchs has updated his blog and demands now that linux be shut down immediately. ;)
http://mjg59.livejournal.com/66461.html

How dare you threaten me. I am cornholio, I need tp for my bunghole....

Reply Score: 1

Wow
by ma_d on Fri 25th Aug 2006 15:42 UTC
ma_d
Member since:
2005-06-29

Has anyone here read the e-mail? If you honestly think this is stepping over the line, you need to stop writing in public forums because you're just embarrassing yourself: http://www.codon.org.uk/~mjg59/polite_note.txt

There's being nasty, and then there's asking someone to comply with your copyright license. Had this been a typical copyright notice it would have included threats, this doesn't.

Mepis should be embarrassed, they've clearly chosen the wrong side of this discussion: Not that there's much as far as sides to take anyway.

I can understand feeling your work is unappreciated, but I'd never be insulted by the note posted at the link I've given here.

Reply Score: 2

Being polite
by Hugo on Fri 25th Aug 2006 16:16 UTC
Hugo
Member since:
2005-07-06

Couldn't the ubuntu guys just have offered to host the thing??

Reply Score: 1

RE: Being polite
by ma_d on Fri 25th Aug 2006 16:33 UTC in reply to "Being polite"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Probably, but it doesn't look to me like he even tried to haggle. They say "do this" he says "can you help this way" they say "no" then he says "fine, I quit." But it seems like it was more they say "do this" he says "fine, I quit."

It sounds like the guy posted some modifications to fix issues and hosted them, which ran him out of bandwidth in a matter of days: That'll happen, which is why you don't host things yourself unless you've got $$$.

I wouldn't be surprised if he could manage to appease the developers by providing links to original source and hosting his patches. Patches, afterall, are tiny compared to the kernel as a whole. That's why people use them...
It wouldn't completely fulfill the GPL, I don't think, but it would probably make people happy.



I can definitely agree with his sentiment here:
"I sincerely hope that people look at this page and think to themselves -- 'just look at what I get for free, a great operating environment, mostly friendly support and a chance to contribute to a wider good.'

Then, after you've thought this -- go and thank your local developers -- Open Source Software only works because of the sum of it's parts -- and for every person that gets paid to work on this stuff, there's thousands who don't -- and they deserve your support and your heartfelt thanks too.

An e-mail costs nothing, after all."

Thank you's are always nice. Even when you have to sift through 12 a day (at which point you'd probably put a note on your site asking for people not to thank you).

Reply Score: 3

What a wuss
by Sphinx on Fri 25th Aug 2006 17:07 UTC
Sphinx
Member since:
2005-07-09

Sounds like somebody was just looking for any excuse to shut down to me.

Reply Score: 1

v FFS
by JohnEddowes on Fri 25th Aug 2006 17:11 UTC
Diplomacy
by g2devi on Fri 25th Aug 2006 17:12 UTC
g2devi
Member since:
2005-07-09

From reading comments about cipherfunk, and the comments that he was a regular contributor, I think that it's safe to say that he understands the GPL and likes it, but messed up this time.

It seems like he wants to contribute, so when the polite request ( http://www.codon.org.uk/~mjg59/polite_note.txt ) came to fulfill his obligations under the GPL (there were no threats or demands to shut down), he got frustrated because he didn't feel he was able to and posted a rant .

Unfortunately, the rant has polarized the issue in many people's eyes because of his disabilities, that we're forgetting the people involved. Yes he messed up when he didn't fulfill his GPL obligations. Yes he messed up with the rant. But he was apparently a good contributor, and there is a possibility of bringing him back in the fold and ensuring that he gets the recognition he is due for his past and current contributions.

If he can't provide source code for the cipherfunk repository, maybe someone else can or he can accept donations to keep the site up or work with one of the other repositories (e.g. PLF) to ensure that he can still be contributing and recognized for his contribution without having to worry about the costs and management of the repository.

IMO, diplomacy is the best course of action now.

Reply Score: 1

jack_perry
Member since:
2005-07-06

I still don't see anyone addressing the fact that the sources were available for free, effectively. As I pointed out above, all one had to do was plug the man's business and tell him how to find the link. Whatever that cost, it is certainly less than the cost of distributing the sources.

I think Mr. Garrett was wrong. Polite, yes, but wrong. Paul was not, AFAICT, in violation of the GPL.

Reply Score: 1

Lovechild Member since:
2005-06-29

That heavily depends, you cannot charge more for the sources than the cost of the physical distribution, what is the cost of sending a 1 of changes over the Internet these days.. close to zero, even if we go by burning to cd and shipping by post I'd wager you could do it for 2 bucks maybe.

Paul was wrong and he was hiding behind being disabled while doing so, as a disabled person myself I find that offensive.

He was asking donations and bitching that he didn't get more than 9.90AUD for his efforts. With my host I could ship maybe 10-20GB for that amount of money. He was being unreasonable in his request and violating the GPL. Hosting costs is not distribution costs and even if that was his true goal, which I doubt, there are more polite ways and easier ways to get that problem sorted.

He could also just have submitted the patch upstream thus removing the issue once and for all. He would have gotten credit.. It simply looks to me like he was looking to get paid by blackmailing users who encountered this problem by selling them an unverfied and possibly insecure or otherwise not advicable fix.

If he was looking to get paid and he had the skills (after all he should have a proven track record as a FOSS contributor right?), write mail or post to the Ubuntu/whatever forums saying "I have time and the needed skills to work on this - I will do so for XXX USD and get the fix merged upstream within 90 days, here is my list of references". Now how many people would have responded nicely to that?

Personally I've put out a 100 USD bounty on fixing the SCSI command permissions for burners within a given timelimit and the response has been great so far. Although no solution has been submitted the bug got attention on Linux-scsi and a proper fix is being worked on. I'd call that 100 bucks well spend.

Reply Score: 2

jack_perry Member since:
2005-07-06

That heavily depends, you cannot charge more for the sources than the cost of the physical distribution, what is the cost of sending a 1 of changes over the Internet these days.. close to zero, even if we go by burning to cd and shipping by post I'd wager you could do it for 2 bucks maybe.

And the cost of setting up a link to his website is somehow more than that?

In lieu of a donation, he asked for a bartered exchange. That does not sound like "more than the cost of distribution." It is certainly even closer to zero than the cost of distributing the source code.

Reply Score: 1

Lovechild Member since:
2005-06-29

And I just gave an example of how the donations he did get could have amply covered distribution costs. The fact that he felt the need to buy an overpowered hosting deal that ended up costing him a bunch of money and then expected the community to cover it isn't fair.

Read his reply, he claims distribution cost is +100 AUD, that's definitely not the per copy cost.

I already offered up 10gb a month worth of mirroring, that's 1/4 of what he claims to have used. I can do that at 4.95USD, why he needs 100AUD to do 4 times that fails to compute. I could easily hook him up with a plan to cover that at a fraction of the price..

His stupidity isn't my fault, but I am willing to help in proportion. I firmly believe in FLOSS as a business model, he could sell his services, it seems to me that he is an able developer - taking bounty work would be an excellent way to get money out of working on free software. There are plenty of them.

Then again I give 5-10 hours of work to free software in terms of support, code and translations every day for free - I'm disabled and this is a way I can use my life, on the days I'm physically able to, in a way that benefits me and others. I do bounty work when I feel like it and I turn a tidy, abide small, profit. If I had the desire I could easily make a living just doing support work, at least the option is there for those with the skills.

Reply Score: 3

jofallon
Member since:
2005-11-15

Reading this thread, I'd think any developer who needs make a living and raise a family would be better off sticking with non-GPL technologies. IBM or Red Hat can able to handle the complexities of the GPL. Only a large business can to pay staff to create free software and have some hope of recovering it by selling services.

The average developer who doesn't work for a large educational institution or corporation would have to be mad to try to make a living writing for Linux. He/she can't afford the legal risk of even putting out free software with source code, let alone try making a living by it. Paypal donations? I suspect very few people actually ever donate. Free is free, after all.

Reply Score: 1

I don't understand
by ormandj on Fri 25th Aug 2006 19:36 UTC
ormandj
Member since:
2005-10-09

While I feel sympathy for somebody with a condition like this, there are PLENTY of places he could have stuck the binaries/code/his website up for free. I know it's not the most well liked, but sourceforge comes to mind.

I really don't get this entire ordeal, and it seems the only reason it's being posted everywhere/getting so much feedback is the disability of the person who got offended.

If he didn't feel he could comply with the GPL due to whatever reasons, he shouldn't have gotten involved with GPLd code. I don't use Linux for a reason myself, and that reason is GPL. It doesn't mean the GPL is bad/evil/whatever - it means I don't like the terms.

That being said, if I used GPL code, I'd do so in compliance with the GPL. That would be my responsibility. If I was unable to comply with the terms of the GPL, then I wouldn't do a thing.

It just strikes me as odd this guy couldn't just slap the files up on sourceforge or something, and it's really odd that something this *stupid* would make all the news sites/get so much feedback, when posts about the positive progress of other OSs get 1/10th the response.

Reply Score: 1

*SMH*
by jaypee on Fri 25th Aug 2006 19:38 UTC
jaypee
Member since:
2005-07-28

Well, I guess the law is the law but, this just cracks me up. I've been an avid Linux user for about 8 years, now, and stories like this tick me off.

I can see the GPL concerns but, here is a guy providing something free of charge and, he penalized for not offering the free thing the right way. I agree that he should contribute back but, who knows what his personal income looks like? Maybe the additional expense, even if small to us, was enough to make him say that it was no longer worth it.

Seeing what happened to Kororaa a little while back and, now, seeing this makes me wonder if being a contributor means that you have to be tied to a business or foundation in order to be safe.

I'm afraid that some really good things will never see the light of day because some in the Linux community have gone away from the notion of "community".

Reply Score: 2

RE: *SMH*
by rhavyn on Fri 25th Aug 2006 23:16 UTC in reply to "*SMH*"
rhavyn Member since:
2005-07-06

I can see the GPL concerns but, here is a guy providing something free of charge and, he penalized for not offering the free thing the right way.

Since when was the point of FLOSS giving away software at no charge? Oh, that's right, never, it's about free access to the source code. So yes, he should be penalized, he's neither following the spirit nor the letter of the license he's distributing software under.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: *SMH*
by jaypee on Sat 26th Aug 2006 03:54 UTC in reply to "RE: *SMH*"
jaypee Member since:
2005-07-28

Since when was the point of FLOSS giving away software at no charge? Oh, that's right, never, it's about free access to the source code. So yes, he should be penalized, he's neither following the spirit nor the letter of the license he's distributing software under.

First, please step down from your soapbox and join the rest of us in the real world.

I think that the "spirit" of the GPL is okay but, I don't see it always falling it line withe the "spirit" of Linux or, should I say, what people want to espouse as the spirit of Linux. It's not the GPL that draws me to Linux, it's the ability to draw help from a huge community of resources. If you had bothered to read my post in its entirety, you would have seen me state that he "should" have contributed the source code back but, I could also see how other factors could make him say, "I quit" an move on. I can tell you this, you may have seen the Linux community lose more than one contributor over this as I am sure that this has had an effect on not just the person referenced in this article but, also, other people who may reconsider their level of involvment.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: *SMH*
by rhavyn on Sat 26th Aug 2006 05:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: *SMH*"
rhavyn Member since:
2005-07-06

I think that the "spirit" of the GPL is okay but, I don't see it always falling it line withe the "spirit" of Linux or, should I say, what people want to espouse as the spirit of Linux.

Now you're arguing that the "spirit of Linux" is about giving away software for free? Maybe getting software for free is the "spirit" of much of the Linux community, but I highly doubt that any of the big time Linux developers will claim that the reason they work on Linux is to give away software for free.

It's not the GPL that draws me to Linux, it's the ability to draw help from a huge community of resources. If you had bothered to read my post in its entirety, you would have seen me state that he "should" have contributed the source code back but, I could also see how other factors could make him say, "I quit" an move on. I can tell you this, you may have seen the Linux community lose more than one contributor over this as I am sure that this has had an effect on not just the person referenced in this article but, also, other people who may reconsider their level of involvment.

Do you honestly think that the Linux developers care if someone who doesn't want to redistribute the source to their modifications leave "the community"? Do you honestly think that if groups like Mepis or people like the person this article about leaving the Linux community is a bad thing? I don't, why do you want people around who are fighting against the license you release your code under? Just to have more users? The idea of redefining the "spirit of Linux" or the "spirit of the GPL" as getting stuff at no cost then you've defeated the purpose FLOSS entirely. Let em quit, the community is better off without them.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: *SMH*
by jaypee on Sat 26th Aug 2006 11:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: *SMH*"
jaypee Member since:
2005-07-28

Now you're arguing that the "spirit of Linux" is about giving away software for free? Maybe getting software for free is the "spirit" of much of the Linux community, but I highly doubt that any of the big time Linux developers will claim that the reason they work on Linux is to give away software for free.

Wrong! I am talking about the help and assistance from which one can draw, not free software. It seems that, again, you are getting on your soapbox and going off on tangents. So, rather than reading more into than is there, seek to clarify first.

Also, you references to "big time developers" bolsters my first post. It appears that, to be safe, one must have the backing of a company or foundation so, "small time developers" may find themselves facing problems.

Finally, in terms of people leaving the community, I can't speak for Mepis but, in the case of the person in the article, yes, I think it's bad to lose people like that. He didn't follow the license and yes, he "should" have supplied the source. But, before there were Linux businesses and foundations, there were volunteers who help create and refine Linux. So, yes, I do think his leaving is a bad thing.

Reply Score: 1

Bandwidth?
by ccchips on Fri 25th Aug 2006 20:33 UTC
ccchips
Member since:
2006-05-24

I can't say for certain, but I'm guessing that the number of people who download and compile source code is very small compared to the number who download only binaries.

People who believe in proprietary software have license agreements we are supposed to accept if we want to use it. Same goes for GPL software. Don't agree with the license terms, don't distributes the software in any form.

Reply Score: 2

why have bandwidth problems?
by bigozs on Sat 26th Aug 2006 00:32 UTC
bigozs
Member since:
2005-08-07

he could have just torrented the source and binary files instead of buying out bandwidth and that would have been ok... or am i wrong?

Reply Score: 1

Wow
by Emerson on Sat 26th Aug 2006 12:16 UTC
Emerson
Member since:
2005-09-19

This really drives home how few people who crow about the GPL licence, either pro or con, have actually read the damn thing. Seriously, 90% of the posts I've read in this thread so far are talking about what they want the GPL to be, rather than the specifics of the terminology used within it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Wow
by deanlinkous on Sat 26th Aug 2006 13:53 UTC in reply to "Wow"
deanlinkous Member since:
2006-06-19

90% really, could you give us a break down post by post of who has got which part correct and who is entirely wrong. Or maybe just go ahead and enlighten us all with your pure understanding of the GPL. ;) Flame on!

Reply Score: 1

Ironic headline
by b3timmons on Sat 26th Aug 2006 17:29 UTC
b3timmons
Member since:
2006-08-26

"GPL police"? You mean like a librarian who is the "Noise Police"? Insisting on following other licenses is OK, but because someone disapproves of the GPL, the phrase "GPL police" is needed. Right.

The irony is that it is the real police that the proprietary software juggernauts have relied upon to enforce their unethical practices; such a lop-sided condition gave rise to the GPL.

As others have pointed out, the GPL must survive in an extremely hostile environment, and resolving violations of the GPL is only natural. Kudos to the Ubuntu guys!

Browser: Lynx/2.8.6dev.18 libwww-FM/2.14 SSL-MM/1.4.1 GNUTLS/1.3.5

Reply Score: 2

source
by MamiyaOtaru on Sun 27th Aug 2006 05:58 UTC
MamiyaOtaru
Member since:
2005-11-11

Someone earlier asked if people would rather have the binaries, or no binaries or source at all and an offended dev. Just have to mention that for me, both are the same. I don't wish to use his kernel, I use a CK kernel (for the scheduler) without modules I don't need.

Therefore, cipherfunk's patch would not benefit me at all without the source. Binary without source is the same as no source and no binary. Now he did release sources (though his method of doing so is under debate) but in general, without source, it might as well not be released as it wil be useless for anyone who wants different kernel options, or is on a different architecture.

Reply Score: 1