Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 29th Aug 2007 12:12 UTC, submitted by anonymous
Legal "After years of encouragement from the OpenBSD community for others to use Reyk Floeter's free atheros wireless driver, it seems that the Linux world is finally listening. Unfortunately, they seem to think that they can strip the BSD license right out of it." Update: The issue has been fixed, but sadly, lkml.org is down, so I cannot give any links just yet.
Order by: Score:
Seriously
by Soulbender on Wed 29th Aug 2007 12:41 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

can't we give the parties involved some minimal amount of time to sort this out *before* posting this flamebait?
It would also be nice if you didn't make it sound like your title, 'Linux Developers Steal OpenBSD Code for Wireless Driver', is a quote from the original when it isn't. The original headline is simply 'Linux Driver Copyright Violation', nothing about stealing.

Edited 2007-08-29 12:48

Reply Score: 25

But seriously...
by s_groening on Wed 29th Aug 2007 12:49 UTC in reply to "Seriously"
s_groening Member since:
2005-12-13

...why should one do so when the act itself (the hijacking of the rights to the code in question) never should have happened and since the news value of this is legitimate enough for them to discuss openly in a forum?

Reply Score: 1

RE: But seriously...
by SpasmaticSeacow on Wed 29th Aug 2007 12:54 UTC in reply to "But seriously..."
SpasmaticSeacow Member since:
2006-02-17

Never attribute to malice that which is readily explained by stupidity. In this particular case, the driver had BSD bits and GPL bits in the source and someone removed one of the notices by accident (presumably not realizing where the BSD-only chuck started and ended).

Seeing as how the issue was fixed within a few minutes of it being pointed out, I don't think it's a big deal.

Reply Score: 13

RE: But seriously...
by jessta on Wed 29th Aug 2007 12:59 UTC in reply to "But seriously..."
jessta Member since:
2005-08-17

There doesn't seem to be any stealling going on at all.

It seems that is was originally licenced under the GPLv2 (and also under the BSD) and it's been included in the -mm kernel under the GPLv2.

I don't see what the problem is.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: But seriously...
by Oliver on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:12 UTC in reply to "RE: But seriously..."
Oliver Member since:
2006-07-15

http://kerneltrap.org/node/14243

Maybe this clarifies it. There is no "it seems" in copyright law.

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: But seriously...
by dylansmrjones on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: But seriously..."
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Theo is wrong about the removal of the BSD-part of Sam Leffler's file (ath5k_base.h). The moment you use, modify or distribute the file you have the right to choose one of the licenses (or both if you want to do keep the dual-licensing).

Theo claims incorrectly that the right to choose one of the licenses don't exists UNTIL a modification has been made. Truth is that it kicks in the moment, you use, modify and/or distribute the file. So everything has been done 110% correct for the BSD-licensed parts. The problem is the three files NOT under the BSD and NOT under the GPL. Those three files have had their license violated. That's clear. But Theo is rambling like a stupid maniac in regard to the dual-licensed files.

Reply Score: 10

RE: Seriously
by butters on Wed 29th Aug 2007 15:21 UTC in reply to "Seriously"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

Yes, the patch as emailed would be a violation of the BSD license. However, the patch has not been accepted into the Linux kernel, and as we can see from the ensuing LKML thread, the licensing details will be ironed out before anyone even thinks about merging it.

LKML is a public mailing list. Anyone can submit patches, and the only thing the kernel community can do about bad patches, including those with licensing issues, is to reject them with or without comments. The kernel community has already concluded that this patch cannot be accepted as written.

The difference between this situation and the BCM thing is that BCM was committed to OpenBSD's official CVS repositories. Furthermore, the OpenBSD project had no legitimate use for that code, whereas the Linux community can use ath5k under an appropriately derived license.

The Linux project is permitted under the BSD to add the GPL to this code. Depending on how it is added, the resulting code could be dual-licensed or GPL only. When used under the GPL (in either case), the clauses retained from the BSD are redundant. That doesn't mean they can be removed, however.

So, functionally, the Linux developers are correct. They can redistribute ath5k under the GPL or under a BSD/GPL dual-license. But the patch as emailed is not the correct way to do this. The clauses from the BSD must be retained in order to satisfy the redistribution requirements.

It's likely that the act of emailing improperly licensed code to a public mailing list constitutes copyright infringement on the part of the sender. However, is the project or its various hosting and mirroring services liable for code appearing on the mailing list? Can't they simply disclaim responsibility like OSNews does for comments?

BTW, the BSD community has repeated held that BSD code can be relicensed by adding restrictions (GPL, proprietary, etc). Theo is dead wrong when he says "none else can add a GPL to it." Proprietary vendors do this with BSD code all the time.

Edited 2007-08-29 15:30

Reply Score: 10

v RE: Seriously
by Coxy on Wed 29th Aug 2007 16:08 UTC in reply to "Seriously"
RE: Seriously
by happycamper on Wed 29th Aug 2007 16:54 UTC in reply to "Seriously"
happycamper Member since:
2006-01-01

can't we give the parties involved some minimal amount of time to sort this out *before* posting this flamebait?

why? when this sort of thing happen in April of this year between Michael Buesch and OpenBSD. Michael Buesch posted all over the mailing lists when he was accusing Openbsd of GPL license and
Copyright violations of the bcw driver. he did not give time to work things out.

It would also be nice if you didn't make it sound like your title, 'Linux Developers Steal OpenBSD Code for Wireless Driver', is a quote from the original when it isn't. The original headline is simply 'Linux Driver Copyright Violation', nothing about stealing.

again back in april,Buesch made sound like openbsd was stealing. when it turned out to be only an honest mistake on the dev part

Edited 2007-08-29 16:56

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Seriously
by SEJeff on Wed 29th Aug 2007 18:44 UTC in reply to "RE: Seriously"
SEJeff Member since:
2005-11-05

I seem to remember there were 60 something commits to that developers tree in violation of the license. Maybe 5-10 would be accidental, but 60+ *different* commits?

No, that was intentional on the BSD developer's part. The only sad part is that he quit working on it when the linux bcm43xx developer offered to dual license the code.

Reply Score: 4

Problem solved.
by odnomzagi on Wed 29th Aug 2007 12:47 UTC
odnomzagi
Member since:
2006-05-01
Meanwhile, in other news...
by Darkelve on Wed 29th Aug 2007 12:49 UTC
Darkelve
Member since:
2006-02-06

Much ado about nothing

OSNews post these kinds of things way too fast...

Edited 2007-08-29 12:50

Reply Score: 10

RE: Meanwhile, in other news...
by Oliver on Wed 29th Aug 2007 12:50 UTC in reply to "Meanwhile, in other news..."
Oliver Member since:
2006-07-15

Some people call this *news* ;-)

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Meanwhile, in other news...
by wirespot on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Meanwhile, in other news..."
wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

Some people call it tabloid press, gutter press etc. In other words, a sensational, gossip-filled publication that bends the truth and particular circumstances, or pretends to stumble upon them at the exact point in time that will provide maximum impact; common sense and civility be damned.

There seem to be entirely too many of this kind of stories on OSNews lately.

Reply Score: 9

Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

The Internet has never been a bastion of journalistic integrity, or civility for that matter.

This is democracy in action. Issues and news acted on by the masses without any filtration or abstraction. As an an Internet denizen I would expect nothing less then rabble rousing, sensationalism, and shoddy fact finding. ;)

Seriously, this is better the soap operas.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Meanwhile, in other news...
by archiesteel on Wed 29th Aug 2007 15:41 UTC in reply to "Meanwhile, in other news..."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Meanwhile, I submit important news about OOXML's difficult road to ISO standardization (such as the fact taht India and Brazil have rejected it) and they get rejected... ;)

Oh well, to stay on-topic, it does seem as if there were some improper stuff going on here, but that in the end the Linux kernel devs will sort it out so as to stay on the legal side. I do agree that the headline is too sensationalistic (and that Theo de Raat has no manners), but I don't disagree that this is in fact news - if a bit gossipy.

Reply Score: 3

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Not to mention the bribing of supporters in Sweden...

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Ah yes, a proud moment for my homeland :/

Reply Score: 2

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Don't cry baby ;)

http://www.idg.se/2.1085/1.118680

That's exactly what I had expected from a Scandinavian country. The end times ain't here yet ;)

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Except it is not being redone because of the new companies who magically appeared but because of a technicality. Apparently *one* company had voted 2 times.
Since basically the same members will vote again I don't think it's likely that the actual outcome will change.
Sponsoring companies to join an organization in order to unfairly affect the voting process is apparently not the wrong thing to do.

Reply Score: 2

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
but I don't disagree that this is in fact news - if a bit gossipy.
"""

Everything that happens in the Open-Source fish bowl is "news".

If Theo de Raat encounters hemorrhoid problems which affect his work, that's "news".

I'm just not sure that a story about it on OSNews would be appropriate.

If such a proctological issue should become serious and chronic, then a story as to its possible effects upon the greater community might be warranted.

I should hasten to point out that I have no evidence... beyond what the rest of you have available to you, to suggest that Theo might have such an... indelicate... rectal issue.

For all I know, it could just be occasional irregularity. ;-)

Edited 2007-08-30 16:16

Reply Score: 3

Let's try and stay calm, shall we?
by tristan on Wed 29th Aug 2007 12:50 UTC
tristan
Member since:
2006-02-01

Just to try and head off the anti-GPL stuff before it starts, the majority of the atheros driver was in fact dual licensed under both BSD and GPL. For those parts, the Linux dev was perfectly entitled (legally) to choose only the GPL licence for his derived work. Of course, he was not permitted to do this on the BSD-only parts, but there's no reason to automatically assume this was malicious rather than a simple mistake.

Reply Score: 13

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"For those parts, the Linux dev was perfectly entitled (legally) to choose only the GPL licence for his derived work."

For his derived work yes, remove the BSD license from the file, no. Only the copyright owner can remove it or give permission for its removal.

Reply Score: 5

tristan Member since:
2006-02-01

"For those parts, the Linux dev was perfectly entitled (legally) to choose only the GPL licence for his derived work."

For his derived work yes, remove the BSD license from the file, no. Only the copyright owner can remove it or give permission for its removal.


Wrong. Dual-licensing means that you have to obey *either* the BSD licence *or* the GPL licence. If you choose the BSD licence, then you're free to do all those things that the GPL says you can't, like releasing binary-only versions; correspondingly, if you choose the GPL, then you're free to do the practically the only thing that the BSD licence says you can't, which is to remove the licence text.

As I said before, the Linux dev did nothing wrong with the dual-licensed bits of the code (though obviously he was wrong to do this for the BSD-only parts).

Reply Score: 11

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

You are wrong.

For the dual-licensed files you can remove one of the licenses the moment you use them. You don't have to make changes in order to change the licenses. You can remove the license you don't want to use the software under. So Jiri Slaby was perfectly in line for the two dual-licensed files. Especially the first one, where he is the sole author.

The problem is solely the three files NOT licensed under the GPL and NOT licensed under the BSD (but under a modified MIT-like license, neither MIT nor BSD). Those three files had their licenses violated.

Theo is right out wrong and he knows it!

Reply Score: 5

Dual license hell.
by SReilly on Wed 29th Aug 2007 13:00 UTC
SReilly
Member since:
2006-12-28

It seems most of the code was originally released dual BSD/GPL and that the BSD clause was striped out. I won't pretend to know if this is allowed although I do have the feeling only the copyright holder can do this.

The discussions and points posted at the end of the Diff pose some interesting questions. If software is dual licensed, do you chose which license to follow? or are you bound by both?

Obviously, if pointed out which is the correct answer by the code author, these questions become mute but is there some already established practice or guideline in situations where it has not been spelled out?

Hopefully this can be sorted out in an amicable way but, if feathers get ruffled over this, I would hope the developer who changed the licensing on that code would apologies.

Edit: It seems the issue has been cleared up. Well done.

Edited 2007-08-29 13:03 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Dual license hell.
by Marcellus on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:00 UTC in reply to "Dual license hell."
Marcellus Member since:
2005-08-26


- * 1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
- * notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer,
- * without modification.


Just one little snippet that clearly shows that the removal of the BSD license notes was a violation of the BSD license terms.

As for changing from dual licensed to making it GPLv2 only for future changes, I think it's fairly immoral considering both licenses are supposed to be open source licenses.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Dual license hell.
by tristan on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Dual license hell."
tristan Member since:
2006-02-01

Just one little snippet that clearly shows that the removal of the BSD license notes was a violation of the BSD license terms.


But only if you choose to use it under the terms of the BSD licence; in this case, the Linux dev chose to use it under the terms of the GPL licence instead. Removing the BSD licence text is perfectly legal under the GPL.

If you're saying that you have to adhere to *both* licences, then suddenly the BSD bit becomes almost worthless, because you now can't link to proprietary software, you can't release binary-only versions, etc etc etc.

As for changing from dual licensed to making it GPLv2 only for future changes, I think it's fairly immoral considering both licenses are supposed to be open source licenses.


Immoral, perhaps. But not illegal.

Reply Score: 7

superset
by netpython on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Dual license hell."
netpython Member since:
2005-07-06

Isn't the BSD license a superset of GPL v2?

Reply Score: 2

RE: superset
by Almafeta on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:36 UTC in reply to "superset"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

If only.

Reply Score: 1

RE: superset
by butters on Wed 29th Aug 2007 15:44 UTC in reply to "superset"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

Isn't the BSD license a superset of GPL v2?

It's the other way around.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Dual license hell.
by Vanders on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Dual license hell."
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

I think it's fairly immoral considering both licenses are supposed to be open source licenses.


One is an Open Source license, the other is a Free Software license.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Dual license hell.
by czubin on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Dual license hell."
czubin Member since:
2005-12-31

No, both are open source, only gpl is 'free software'

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Dual license hell.
by 01101010 on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:41 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Dual license hell."
01101010 Member since:
2007-08-29

Both the BSD license and the GPL are both open source and free software licenses. What makes you think they are not?

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Dual license hell.
by tristan on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:43 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Dual license hell."
tristan Member since:
2006-02-01

No, both are open source, only gpl is 'free software'


Well, if we're going to get into it, even the FSF themselves refer to the (non-ad-clause) BSD licence as a "simple, permissive non-copyleft free software license"[1]...


[1] http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Dual license hell.
by czubin on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:45 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Dual license hell."
czubin Member since:
2005-12-31

Sorry , my mistake, but anyways I was just wanting to note that the parent was wrong to mark only one open source and the other only free software license.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Dual license hell.
by SEJeff on Wed 29th Aug 2007 18:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Dual license hell."
SEJeff Member since:
2005-11-05

Wrong, the OSI considers them both open source licenses.

http://opensource.org/licenses/alphabetical

While it is true you can call the gpl "a free software license". It is just as much open source as the BSD only more restrictive.

Reply Score: 3

v RE[4]: Dual license hell.
by Oliver on Wed 29th Aug 2007 19:16 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Dual license hell."
RE[5]: Dual license hell.
by dylansmrjones on Wed 29th Aug 2007 19:46 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Dual license hell."
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

If what the Chinese government does to its people is "real freedom" then I don't want to be free ;)

Anyway. Stop your bsd-fanatical approach. I'm getting tired of all the battles between the bsd-zealots and gpl-zealots.

BSD is not about real freedom. BSD is about not protecting the granted rights.
GPL is not about real freedom. GPL is about protecting granted rights. That's part of what makes it "viral".

You complain about perceived copyright violations, but can't even grasp the concept of the BSD-license, nor see the difference between it and the ISC-license.

You are the BSD-version of moulinneuf.

Reply Score: 7

v RE[6]: Dual license hell.
by Moulinneuf on Thu 30th Aug 2007 01:46 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Dual license hell."
RE[7]: Dual license hell.
by dylansmrjones on Thu 30th Aug 2007 02:43 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Dual license hell."
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Thanks for getting my real name right ;) You wouldn't believe the number of persons getting it wrong. Especially my first name.

I won't discuss the rest of your post. I agree that the BSD-license has flaws but so does the GPL. They have different strength and weaknesses, and that pragmatic view is something I'll stick to.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Dual license hell.
by ulib on Thu 30th Aug 2007 10:56 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Dual license hell."
ulib Member since:
2005-07-07

This ain't true:

BSD is not about real freedom. BSD is about not protecting the granted rights.
GPL is not about real freedom. GPL is about protecting granted rights. That's part of what makes it "viral".


The BSD license *does* protect the rights it grants. The code released under the BSD license (whichever version you pick) will always remain free for *anybody* to use for whatever purpose, provided the copyright notice is not unlawfully stripped out.

The GPL license is not only about protecting granted rights, but also about telling people what they can or can't do with *their own* source code.

All this descends from the very different concepts of "freedom" that lie at the basis of the two licenses.
It's pretty evident that the "freedom" defined by the FSF is much closer to the meaning of that word in a socialist country than it is to the meaning of that word in a capitalist country, where "freedom" isn't generally obtained by telling people what they may or may not do with their own stuff.


[Edit: typo.]

Edited 2007-08-30 10:59

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Dual license hell.
by wirespot on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Dual license hell."
wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

Just one little snippet that clearly shows that the removal of the BSD license notes was a violation of the BSD license terms.


I think you're getting confused by thinking both licenses apply simultaneously. That's impossible, for obvious reasons. Perhaps it would help if you thought about it as two different packages, with identical source code in them, but different licenses: one BSD, one GPL.

Removal of BSD licensing from the GPL version is perfectly legal and logical, since it doesn't make sense anyway. The same things goes for the other way too.

It's obviously a problem if different people want to work on the same code but want to license it under uncompatible licenses. It can be overcome if they work together and come to an agreement.

But if they're going to get pissed at some point by the "other guys" doing stuff that's specific and perfectly normal under the "other" license, then I don't see the point in keeping it up. Releasing stuff with dual licensing will only create confusion.

Edited 2007-08-29 14:32

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Dual license hell.
by dylansmrjones on Wed 29th Aug 2007 15:07 UTC in reply to "RE: Dual license hell."
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

DOH!

That doesn't matter since the license for the files clearly states that you can choose EITHER! It's okay to remove the BSD-license if you keep the GPL-license, and it is okay to remove the GPL-license if you keep the BSD-license.

It is so simple it beats me why you can't understand something this simple.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Dual license hell.
by Marcellus on Sat 1st Sep 2007 16:37 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Dual license hell."
Marcellus Member since:
2005-08-26

http://undeadly.org/cgi?action=article&sid=20070901041657

Still want to argue your invalid point?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Dual license hell.
by dylansmrjones on Sun 2nd Sep 2007 20:12 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Dual license hell."
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Oops... Sam Leffner, the copyright holder, agrees with the Linux-devs. Oops.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Dual license hell.
by dylansmrjones on Wed 29th Aug 2007 15:10 UTC in reply to "Dual license hell."
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

It seems most of the code was originally released dual BSD/GPL and that the BSD clause was striped out. I won't pretend to know if this is allowed although I do have the feeling only the copyright holder can do this.


Wrong. Anybody can choose which license to remove as long as the other license is kept. The license clearly allows for this. The copyright holder has given everybody the right to choose between either BSD or GPL.

It is just Theo being an ass this time - but that's no surprise. It comes along with being strongminded.

The problem is the three other files not dual-licensed. But people tend to forget them since they are not exactly under the BSD.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Dual license hell.
by SReilly on Wed 29th Aug 2007 16:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Dual license hell."
SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

Wrong. Anybody can choose which license to remove as long as the other license is kept. The license clearly allows for this. The copyright holder has given everybody the right to choose between either BSD or GPL.

Thanks for clearing that up. I wasn't aware that it worked that way.

It is just Theo being an ass this time - but that's no surprise. It comes along with being strongminded.

Same old same old then. The day I hear of a delicate situation involving Theo where he is not being an ass is the day I check my ass for frost bite.

The problem is the three other files not dual-licensed. But people tend to forget them since they are not exactly under the BSD.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I read something about that in one of the posts in the original article. So it seems that it ain't really about GPL/BSD, but about some of the code being released under a third license, then relicensed under the GPL even though they were not dual licensed in the first place.

Wow, talk about license hell.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Dual license hell.
by dylansmrjones on Wed 29th Aug 2007 17:13 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Dual license hell."
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Wow, talk about license hell.


So true.

The license for the three files are the ISC-license btw. Extremely simple so the whole issue is weird. But great... I got headache from this... damn licenses!

Reply Score: 2

Flash back to April 2007...
by dcbw on Wed 29th Aug 2007 13:05 UTC
dcbw
Member since:
2006-08-31

An OpenBSD developer committed a lot of Broadcom 43xx code to OpenBSD CVS in April and stripped _out_ the GPLv2, under which the bcm43xx driver was exclusively licensed. Ostensibly this was a "mistake" as the developer was going to "rewrite" the driver, but chose to replace the license first.

http://lists.berlios.de/pipermail/bcm43xx-dev/2007-April/004370.htm...

In the current case, the code was _dual_ licensed, which allows you to _choose_ what license to use the code under.

So people should listen very closely to Theo de Raadt to see what an ass he is, and if he gets hypocritical at all and brings up the bcm43xx stuff. And if he does, call him on it.

Edited 2007-08-29 13:05

Reply Score: 9

RE: Flash back to April 2007...
by SReilly on Wed 29th Aug 2007 13:11 UTC in reply to "Flash back to April 2007..."
SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

So people should listen very closely to Theo de Raadt to see what an ass he is, and if he gets hypocritical at all and brings up the bcm43xx stuff. And if he does, call him on it.

Theo does get allot of peoples backs up. Thing is, both situations seem to be genuine mistakes, I don't see the point in starting a grudge match about it.

Come to think of it, starting a grudge match over Theo's inability to be civil has kinda been done to death ;-)

Reply Score: 7

RE: Flash back to April 2007...
by fsckit on Wed 29th Aug 2007 13:16 UTC in reply to "Flash back to April 2007..."
fsckit Member since:
2006-09-24

There was quite a difference there. The BSD developer used a very insubstantial part of the code as a placeholder, while developing within the CVS tree. Was this a mistake? Obviously. Did the linux johnnies goes entirely overboard? You bet they did.

In this case, the developer took the BSD code, relicensed it wholesale with the GPL, and even replaced attribution with his own name. It's unclear if this guy even wrote one line of code before doing this. Was this a mistake? Yes. Does it seem it was intentional? Absolutely. Did the OpenBSD developers publicly call this guy a thief? Nope. It was only discussed within the OBSD lists and happened to get posted on undeadly.org (read only by OpenBSD users/devs and the occasional troll from slashdot).

Reply Score: 4

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

even replaced attribution with his own name


Incorrect. He NEVER replaced attribution with his own name. He removed the BSD-license from two dual-licensed files. Perfectly correct of him. The dual-license allows for this.

The problem is the three files not under the GPL and not under the BSD. There is no stealing of BSD-code because the BSD-code was also under GPL and he could freely choose which license to use. The three files under the MIT-like non-BSD license did however have their conditions removed which is a copyright violation. But the attributions were NOT removed.

Stop lying.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Flash back to April 2007...
by Soulbender on Wed 29th Aug 2007 13:17 UTC in reply to "Flash back to April 2007..."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

In the current case, the code was _dual_ licensed, which allows you to _choose_ what license to use the code under.


You get to chose license for your derived work, you dont get to remove the BSD license from the file.

So people should listen very closely to Theo de Raadt


Indeed they should even though he can be harsh.

Edited 2007-08-29 13:24

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Flash back to April 2007...
by tristan on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Flash back to April 2007..."
tristan Member since:
2006-02-01

In the current case, the code was _dual_ licensed, which allows you to _choose_ what license to use the code under.

You get to chose license for your derived work, you dont get to remove the BSD license from the file.


Yes, you do.

Take the dual-licensed file. Choose to use it under the GPL. Edit the source to remove the BSD licence text (perfectly legal under the GPL). Voila.

Reply Score: 9

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

You get to chose license for your derived work, you dont get to remove the BSD license from the file.


Well, wrong sort of. You have the right to use, modify and distribute the file under the license you choose.

You don't have to make modifications to the sources only.

Besides, removing one of the licenses create a derivative anyway, so your argument (which is copied directly from Theo) is moot ;)

Theo is wrong on this one, and won't admit it. That's the negative part of his strong mind, which I usually admire.

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Well, since this (even though it has been solved) has already been blown way out of proportion by sites likes this and slashdot (and interestingly enough not by Theo himself) lets just say I think you're the one who's wrong and Theo is right and leave it at that.

Reply Score: 2

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Well, Alan Cox agrees with me, and so does an enlightened minority among the BSD-group. Theo's very creative interpretion of the Dual Licensing Scheme is enough to prove his wrong. If your and Theo's interpretion is correct (which it is not) then the Dual Licensing Scheme is incompatible with GPL since it adds an extra stipulation - apart from running counter the optional nature of the license.

Right now I've got other things to do, but I'll fry you and Theo later.

The dual licensed part has not been fixed btw. - it's only the ISC-licensed part that has been solved.

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"Well, Alan Cox agrees with me, and so does an enlightened minority among the BSD-group."

Meh, I don't see why I should take Alan Cox word for it.
What would be interesting however is what actual copyright lawyers think.

"The dual licensed part has not been fixed btw. - it's only the ISC-licensed part that has been solved."

So you agree that the dual license part need to be fixed then ;)

Reply Score: 2

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

So you agree that the dual license part need to be fixed then ;)


Haha ;) ... ;)

Well, it doesn't have to be fixed seen from a legal POV. BUT I really don't see the sense in using a modified 3-clause BSD alongside the GPL2 combined to GPL-incompatible license (if we use Theo's rather creative interpretion, which relies on wording not part of the license - like his claim that "distribution" means "modification and then distribution").

Personally I think the one dual-licensed file that the BSD-boys are still complaining about should have it's license fixed so it was BSD-only - and a proper BSD. Dual licensing is problematic. Especially optional dual licensing which isn't optional at all according to Theo's drunken interpretion (you can choose but you can't choose - we'll force the real freedom on you).

And btw. You don't agree fully with Theo. Theo claims any contribution automatically becomes BSD+GPL no matter which of the two licenses the contributer chooses to contribute and distribute under.

Personally I'd like to see the whole Copyright & IP area cleaned up so we could get a copyright law which looks like the MIT-license. That'll settle it for ever ;)

Reply Score: 2

Premature news
by danieldk on Wed 29th Aug 2007 13:19 UTC
danieldk
Member since:
2005-11-18

Posting this in bezerk mode all over the net is a bit premature. This is just a patch by one person, signed off only by himself. This has not hit mainline or the -mm branch. If it would ever slip through the gates, a kind e-mail to the branch maintainer would probably be enough to revert this error.

There are always people looking for blood when it comes to the GPL. But there is nothing to see here, move on.

Edited 2007-08-29 13:19

Reply Score: 7

open
by netpython on Wed 29th Aug 2007 13:27 UTC
netpython
Member since:
2005-07-06

I thought the BSD license was so open?

Reply Score: 3

RE: open
by Almafeta on Wed 29th Aug 2007 13:58 UTC in reply to "open"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

It doesn't allow you to claim you wrote it yourself.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: open
by wirespot on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:42 UTC in reply to "RE: open"
wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

[BSD] doesn't allow you to claim you wrote it yourself.


OMG, but that's so restrictive! Isn't it supposed to be so "open" and "free"?

I'm joking, but I just used it as an example of the same reasoning that some people apply in reverse to GPL.

It's probably because those people don't understand that freedom needs to be actively defended and enforced. That means certain restrictions. There's no such thing as "pure freedom". If something was completely free, it would imply allowing someone to come along and say "it's not free anymore". Which is silly and defeats the purpose. So at the very least you have to make restrictions against things that would make the stuff non-free.

GPL wants stuff to be free and to keep being free. The GPL license specifies terms that work towards that goal.

BSD wants stuff to be free and to give credit where it's due. The BSD license specifies terms that work towards that goal.

I think you can see what the difference is. BSD doesn't care if stuff that was free is made non-free. That is why some people prefer GPL. End of story.

Edited 2007-08-29 14:43

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: open
by dylansmrjones on Wed 29th Aug 2007 15:14 UTC in reply to "RE: open"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Nobody has done that!

The copyright notices have not been removed. The conditions have been removed. This is legal for the two dual-licensed files, but a copyright violation for the three not dual-licensed files.

You haven't read the diffs I can see. RTFA!

Reply Score: 3

RE: open
by Ford Prefect on Wed 29th Aug 2007 13:59 UTC in reply to "open"
Ford Prefect Member since:
2006-01-16

This is about copyright, not about license.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: open
by dylansmrjones on Wed 29th Aug 2007 15:16 UTC in reply to "RE: open"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

And the copyrights haven't been touched. Only the conditions. Which means this is all about licenses and not about copyright ;)

Reply Score: 2

Overblown
by abraxas on Wed 29th Aug 2007 13:38 UTC
abraxas
Member since:
2005-07-07

I guess the BSD license isn't as open as some people claim. You would think from posters on this site that people who license their code as BSD do so because they just want their code to be used. Apparently that's not the case. The title of the article is also sensational compared to what actually happened. I guess the OBSD guys are still pissed about being called out when they stole wireless code from Linux.

http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=38746

Reply Score: 2

Atheros?
by pinky on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:02 UTC
pinky
Member since:
2005-07-15

Question: Does this mean that it is now possible to use Atheros based wlan devices right out of the box on GNU/Linux?

This would be great!

Reply Score: 3

RE: Atheros?
by netpython on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:11 UTC in reply to "Atheros?"
netpython Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes you have a good chance. Most distros support it. I know ubuntu,mandriva support my D-link DWL-G520 PCI wiress-card right out of the box.

Have a look at the list of manufacturers who use the atheros chipset:

http://atheros.rapla.net/

A good OSS project around atheros based cards is MadWifi:

http://madwifi.org/

With atheros chipset based wifi cards you have a fairly good chance the card will be detected on *BSD,linux most of the times.

Edited 2007-08-29 14:13

Reply Score: 2

RE: Atheros?
by abraxas on Wed 29th Aug 2007 17:56 UTC in reply to "Atheros?"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

Question: Does this mean that it is now possible to use Atheros based wlan devices right out of the box on GNU/Linux?

Yes. With the new mac80211 stack we will have a lot more drivers available in kernel. Although atheros support has been quite good on Linux for years now with the madwifi project, I would love to have in kernel drivers for atheros based wireless cards.

Reply Score: 2

Misleading
by Mark Williamson on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:17 UTC
Mark Williamson
Member since:
2005-07-06

AFAIK this code was /never part of Linux/

Somebody posted patches removing the BSD license declarations from these files. Some of the files were dual licensed; some of them weren't - maybe that was an accident *shrug*

But this code was just posted by a random developer onto a public mailing list, so it's hardly some crime of "Linux"

Reply Score: 3

RE: Misleading
by dylansmrjones on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:32 UTC in reply to "Misleading"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

The BSD license was stripped from two files - both situations legally correct, since both files were dual-licensed.

The problem is the three other files which are not under the GPL, nor under the BSD, but under a MIT-like license. That's the real problem and not the perfectly legal removal of the BSD-license from the two dual-licensed files.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Misleading
by Mark Williamson on Wed 29th Aug 2007 16:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Misleading"
Mark Williamson Member since:
2005-07-06

> The problem is the three other files which are not
> under the GPL, nor under the BSD, but under a
> MIT-like license. That's the real problem and not
> the perfectly legal removal of the BSD-license from
> the two dual-licensed files.

Yes, that struck me as problematic; although if it was a mistake and quickly corrected then I guess that mitigates it somewhat.

But regardless, as I underastand it this code wasn't checked in to any official Linux tree (e.g. Linus's, Andrew Morton's, etc). One developer posted it as a patch on a mailing list, where it got discussed. So suggesting "Linux developers" are stealing code is a bit disingenuous: one developer posted a patch removing more than it should have done, which got discussed on the mailing list - and represumably fixed before it was accepted.

Reply Score: 3

Where did the headline come from?
by Mark Williamson on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:17 UTC
Mark Williamson
Member since:
2005-07-06

Don't OSNews articles usually use the headline of the original article? Why does this one use a more inflammatory headline instead?

Reply Score: 10

Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

It's more sensational that way. If it bleeds it leads, and if not, there's a lead pipe in the broom closet. ;)

To be fair, the submitter gets to pick the title of the article, and most of the time I think the picked title makes it. Thom or Eugenia would be better at answering that though.

Reply Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I copied the headline from the source article iirc, and added the quotes to make sure people did not attribute it to OSNews/me. Maybe they changed it, I don't know.

I might have also simply let the submitted headline stick - I was in a hurry since I had to go to work. Anyway, I'll change the headline to what the source article has.

Reply Score: 2

Apart from...
by dylansmrjones on Wed 29th Aug 2007 14:30 UTC
dylansmrjones
Member since:
2005-10-02

...already being solved the problem resides with these three files:

ath5k.h
ath5k_hw.c
ath5k_hw.h

None of these are under the BSD-license!, but are under a MIT-like license (but not MIT itself - the MIT-license is longer).

The problem is that the conditions have been removed from those three files. However, the copyright notices have not been removed. It is however still a copyright violation.

For the file ath5k_base.c the situation is that it is dual-licensed BSD/GPL and Jiri Slaby is the sole copyright holder and can removed anything as he please. No problem here.

For the last file ath5k_base.h the situation is that it is dual-licensed BSD/GPL and it is therefore perfectly legal to remove the BSD-license since the other license has not been removed. By choosing one of the licenses one are creating a derivative, so that argument is moot.

The entire history is pretty much bogus since no BSD-conditions have been stripped in violation of the licenses. However we have a MIT-like non-BSD license which is violated three times. That's just as bad - but it isn't a BSD-license.

Conditions have been removed from three files but none of these are under the BSD-license so the claim is incorrect. However conditions have been removed, and it is a copyright violation. But it has been fixed anyway, though the BSD-parts don't need fixing.

Reply Score: 7

What a Bunch of Wankers
by segedunum on Wed 29th Aug 2007 15:33 UTC
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

Honestly, what a wanker Theo is. He got caught the last time and complained that everyone was so insensitive, and feel the need to respond.

1. This code was never submitted anywhere. It was on a mailing list.

2. It was one of the copyright holders of the code who actually did this, and it is up to the other copyright holders to complain and talk about it - no one else.

3. The disclaimer was discussed and added back in later.

Reply Score: 8

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

You're still around!? Damn ;)

Anyway, the "stealing" of BSD-licensed code never happened. There is no such code in the kernel-trees. It was in mail-discussion merely. Besides that the two BSD-licensed files were dual-licensed and were also under the GPL with clear rights for the user to choose either license and discard the other. So those two files are non-problematic.

The three problematic files are however not under the BSD-license and no attributions were removed. Only the conditions were removed - which of course was wrong. But it was not a part of the linux kernel, so you got that part wrong. What Jiri Slaby should've done with the three non-GPL non-BSD files was to add the GPL license so both licenses applied. But that's not what Theo complained about. He complained about removing one of two licenses from the files - a perfectly legal choice.

Reply Score: 1

Please don't
by sbergman27 on Wed 29th Aug 2007 18:02 UTC
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

As an OSNews reader and member, I rarely complain about included articles, even when they don't interest me. It's easy enough just to skip past them. But this article, and the earlier one about one of the BSD's "stealing" GPL wireless driver code, is just trash. If the violation goes on after the relevant parties are notified and the relevant discussions take place, then fine, post a story to let people know.

But this article is simply below the level of standard which I normally associate with OSNews. It's pointless mud-raking.

I give it a -1.

Edited 2007-08-29 18:03

Reply Score: 6

Theo and his RDF
by dylansmrjones on Wed 29th Aug 2007 20:02 UTC
dylansmrjones
Member since:
2005-10-02

It's interesting to see that Theo (and a few others) claim the dual BSD,GPL licensed files are licensed under the 4-clause BSD (claiming incompatibility with GPL), when the OpenBSD files are actually under the 3-clause BSD-license. OpenBSD does not (and haven't for many years) used the 4-clause license.

Does Theo not know his own project? ;)

Edited 2007-08-29 20:02 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Theo and his RDF
by openwookie on Thu 30th Aug 2007 12:55 UTC in reply to "Theo and his RDF"
openwookie Member since:
2006-04-25

The HAL code in the driver comes from an OpenBSD developer (Reyek) and it's licensed under the 3 clause BSD license. The dual licensed bits were written by another developer and are dual licensed under the 4 clause BSD license and GPLv2.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Theo and his RDF
by dylansmrjones on Thu 30th Aug 2007 17:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Theo and his RDF"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Reyek's code is not under the 3-clause BSD license. It is under the ISC-license. One of the optionally dual licensed files are Jiri Slabys copyright solely. The other one is under a special 3-clause BSD license* incompatible with the GPL.

None of the code is under a 4-clause BSD license.

*It is incompatible because it contains the famous ad-clause. Reyek deleted the wrong clause according to Theo.

Reply Score: 2

For the dual licensed files it's simple
by pxa270 on Wed 29th Aug 2007 20:04 UTC
pxa270
Member since:
2006-01-08

for the dual licensed files, if the BSD devs want to be able to use the source without the silly GPL restrictions that are not in the BSD license (binary only distribution, linking with proprietary code), then surely the Linux devs are also allowed to use it without the BSD restrictions that are not in the GPL (removing the BSD attribution)?

Reply Score: 2

There are two separate issues
by nevali on Wed 29th Aug 2007 21:49 UTC
nevali
Member since:
2006-10-12

The dual-licensed files: the BSD notice can be stripped, and the code will be considered a GPL2-only fork. No beef.

The non-dual-licensed files: provided they're released under a “GPL-compatible” license (BSD 2- or 3-clause, MIT, X11, etc.), then the GPL notice can be added and people need to comply with both sets of licenses (which in practice means the only restriction beyond the GPL is that the BSD notice can't be removed). There are lots of files in the kernel and glibc which were originally BSD 3-clause or X11-licensed, and are now GPL (you'll find the original notices there because they weren't dual-licensed).

If the non-dual-licensed files were released under an GPL-incompatible license, then only the author can relicense them under the GPL.

In real terms, dual licensing BSD 3-clause (or indeed any GPL-compatible license) and GPL is a bit pointless: in effect you're saying “either do what you like with this file so long as you preserve this notice and don't use our name in advertising, or alternatively comply with all of the terms of the GPL”. about the only thing it might do is encourage people to keep derivations available under the terms of the GPL-compatible license when they otherwise wouldn't, but you could just ask people instead.

Edited 2007-08-29 21:51

Reply Score: 3

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Yup, quite correct.

And yes. Dual-licensing for GPL-compatible licenses and GPL is pretty pointless. Why not just license it as BSD?

Of course dual-licensing that way could actually prevent people from contributing to the original project since they may not want to maintain their own fork, nor want to see their contributions becoming a part of a proprietary product. In that case dual-licensing actually encourage people to forking the project.

Reply Score: 2

Good information about this
by Dunceor on Thu 30th Aug 2007 06:20 UTC
Dunceor
Member since:
2007-03-08

http://marc.info/?l=openbsd-misc&m=118845311728405&w=2

Then maybe can start understand this.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Good information about this
by dylansmrjones on Thu 30th Aug 2007 09:33 UTC in reply to "Good information about this"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

LOL

That just proves how insane Theo is. He's misquoting the license, and suggests interpreting the Dual Licensing Scheme in a GPL-incompatible way.

I'll fry him later, but it is SO obvious you cannot add stipulations to the GPL and cannot force people to use BOTH licenses when the license says you can choose to use only one.

Reply Score: 2