Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 14th Dec 2009 23:56 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source "On behalf of the developers behind the open source BusyBox project, the Software Freedom Law Center has launched a major lawsuit against 14 consumer electronics companies. According to a complaint filed by the SFLC, the companies named in the suit failed to comply with the requirements of GNU's General Public License, the free software license under which the BusyBox code is distributed."
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Let 'em have it
by Bringbackanonposting on Tue 15th Dec 2009 00:51 UTC
Bringbackanonposting
Member since:
2005-11-16

There is no argument here. The law works both ways for consumers and manufacturers. I have no sympathy for corporations in this regard. Such simple requirements to use GPL software and they still push the boundaries. Manufacturing in low wage China, using free software rather than purchasing licensed software, then charging consumers top dollar for appliances... Hit them where it hurts, and their stockholders too!

Reply Score: 5

RE: Let 'em have it
by umccullough on Tue 15th Dec 2009 00:56 UTC in reply to "Let 'em have it"
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

using free software rather than purchasing licensed software, then charging consumers top dollar for appliances...


I dunno, having "free software" on my TV or embedded device sounds awfully appealing from a "geek hacker" perspective.

I would pay more for a product I knew was user-upgradeable and hackable than I would for something containing proprietary software which I had no choice but to use.

Thus, I think you're insinuation that the use of free software somehow makes the product lower quality is pretty damn short-sighted.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Let 'em have it
by JoeBuck on Tue 15th Dec 2009 01:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Let 'em have it"
JoeBuck Member since:
2006-01-11

Just because there's GPL2 software in a product doesn't mean it's user-upgradable. For example, the device might refuse any firmware upgrade that isn't cryptographically signed with the correct key.

GPL3 was an attempt to fix this issue, but as there's plenty of available software with other licenses, it wasn't successful at this job.

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: Let 'em have it
by SReilly on Tue 15th Dec 2009 02:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Let 'em have it"
SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

GPL3 was an attempt to fix this issue, but as there's plenty of available software with other licenses, it wasn't successful at this job.

It's early days yet so I wouldn't be so quick of the mark on that statement. Sure, the Linux kernel and, if I'm not mistaken, GNOME have opted to stay GPLv2 but both of those projects seem to have done so for pragmatic reasons that are not solely to do with the "Tivo" clause.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Let 'em have it
by Ed W. Cogburn on Wed 16th Dec 2009 06:13 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Let 'em have it"
Ed W. Cogburn Member since:
2009-07-24

but both of those projects seem to have done so for pragmatic reasons


The very pragmatic reason of it being so damned difficult to simply track down all previous contributors to find out if they'd agree to a license change.

All of the GPL2-only licensed projects with a large number of contributors will have this logistical problem, if they wanted to change.

Otherwise, last I heard, GPL3 adoption (both new projects & existing ones switching) was moderate and steady, so it hasn't failed yet at anything.

Reply Score: 1

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

of the newspeak Freedoms that Stallman hath created for us to follow.

I think we need a public awareness campaign to make these companies realize that FreeBSD exists.

Reply Score: 2

Ed W. Cogburn Member since:
2009-07-24

I think we need a public awareness campaign to make these companies realize that FreeBSD exists.


I suspect that most of these companies did due diligence before deciding to base their products on Linux, and were well aware of the alternatives out there... and chose Linux anyway.

For some companies in some markets, a GPLed Linux is actually an *advantage* over a BSDed operating system, because its a level playing field, where anything they add to the OS won't show up in a competitor's proprietary product and end up being used against them, and meanwhile they still gain the benefits from the additions of others.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Let 'em have it
by Bringbackanonposting on Tue 15th Dec 2009 23:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Let 'em have it"
Bringbackanonposting Member since:
2005-11-16

Thus, I think you're insinuation that the use of free software somehow makes the product lower quality is pretty damn short-sighted.


Ah, no. Sorry for your misunderstanding. That's not what I meant and I can't see how you came to this conclusion.

To clarify, my point was some companies use free software for cost cutting purposes rather than cough up R&D or licenses for prop software. I use free software where I can and recommend it to others due to it's "open-ness" and because I believe in it's ideal.

Reply Score: 1

Good!
by Junius on Tue 15th Dec 2009 03:00 UTC
Junius
Member since:
2009-10-25

It may sound cheesy but it kind of restores your faith in people when you see organisations like the SFLC fighting for the little guy like this.

Although having said that, it's still very annoying to see companies like Samsung; who really should no better, violating the GPL and taking hard working developers for a ride.

I know it's the materialist capitalist system that encourages this kind of behaviour but that's not an excuse. Thank you SFLC! I'll be having a pint in your honour tonight.

Just out of curiosity; I read on wikipedia that busybox is in the bthomehub? I don't recall being offered the source or a copy of the GPLv2 when I received my hub. Does anybody have any info on this?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Good!
by flanque on Tue 15th Dec 2009 03:05 UTC in reply to "Good!"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

BusyBox is used in so many spaces, many of which I cannot find source code for.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Good!
by Laurence on Tue 15th Dec 2009 08:13 UTC in reply to "Good!"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Just out of curiosity; I read on wikipedia that busybox is in the bthomehub? I don't recall being offered the source or a copy of the GPLv2 when I received my hub. Does anybody have any info on this?


If that's the case, then why is the bthomehub so fraking crappy?

I'm seriously close to chucking out unit in place for a cheapy netgear that I know will at least pick up my virtual machines force an IP into the DCHP reserve list or can actually display virtual machines rather than not listing them altogether because they share the same network interfaces MAC address.

Plus the web interface on bthomehub as very poorly thought out:
It's bent so far towards idiots that it takes about 5 clicks (as opposed to 2 on netgears) just to bring up so genuinely useful information.
While I understand the point of simplifying devices for the non-techies - there is a point where you have to ask yourself if you've over dumbed down an interface that's actually mainly going to be used by technically minded people anyway (as BT have done in this instance)


So if bthomehub is based on GPL code (and bt have made the router hackable) then I know what I'm doing tonight....

[edit]

upon googling, it seems I missed the point of BusyBox (I thought it was a distro aimed towards routers rather than an application). *blush*

Edited 2009-12-15 08:22 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Good!
by 3rdalbum on Tue 15th Dec 2009 10:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Good!"
3rdalbum Member since:
2008-05-26

"Just out of curiosity; I read on wikipedia that busybox is in the bthomehub? I don't recall being offered the source or a copy of the GPLv2 when I received my hub. Does anybody have any info on this?


If that's the case, then why is the bthomehub so fraking crappy?

So if bthomehub is based on GPL code (and bt have made the router hackable) then I know what I'm doing tonight....
"

From what I read, you can connect to the Home Hub through Telnet to change some low-level settings. Unfortunately, those dicks at iPrimus disabled the telnet ability which makes it really annoying to implement into an existing network. That's my only quarrel with iPrimus as an ISP.

And yes, the user interface is absolutely horrible.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Good!
by Junius on Tue 15th Dec 2009 19:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Good!"
Junius Member since:
2009-10-25

BT is just generally a horrible company! When my flatmates and I went with them they didn't configure the connection properly at their end; fair enough mistakes happen, I can forgive human error most of the time as long as it's fixed promptly.

What I cannot forgive is being told it's working perfectly and we haven't set it up properly. But that's okay they'll send an engineer for £80; I don't think so pals!

On top of that, when we finally did get connected they claimed that in the month that we weren't connected we downloaded 100G worth of stuff; considering that even when we have internet the only big download is an ISO every 6 months I find that highly unlikely.

Value for money at £112p/q?

Reply Score: 1

Is this lawsuit poorly considered?
by 3rdalbum on Tue 15th Dec 2009 11:18 UTC
3rdalbum
Member since:
2008-05-26

Is this lawsuit poorly considered?

I have just gone to the Australian Samsung website, gone to the page for the supposedly-infringing LA26A450 TV, and under the "Downloads" link there is a copy of the GPL. At the top it lists what GPL and LGPL projects have been used and provides an e-mail address to contact if you want to see the source code.

Assuming there is somebody at the e-mail address who can provide this source code, it looks like the GPL is being perfectly complied with.
Either that, or the page has been hastily put up in response to the lawsuit.

Source: http://www.samsung.com/au/consumer/tv-audio-video/television/archiv...

Edited 2009-12-15 11:26 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Andre Member since:
2005-07-06

Just above the table it says

General Public License(29 Jul, 2009)

So I assume that's when they put it there.

Reply Score: 1

ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

I suppose they could have hidden their offer better, but it would have been challenging. In the text of a PDF copy of the license? Seriously?

The court will have to rule whether an email address embedded in a PDF copy of the license is "in the same way at the same place" as the object form that's freely available on a Downloads page.

And did anyone else notice they are showing GPL v3, while BusyBox is actually licensed under GPL v2? Not "or later", either - "Version 2 of the GPL is the only version of the GPL which current versions of BusyBox may be distributed under" (see http://www.busybox.net/license.html).

Not the brightest bulbs in the pack, Samsung.

Reply Score: 2

leonardo Member since:
2009-12-15
Comment by talaf
by talaf on Tue 15th Dec 2009 14:23 UTC
talaf
Member since:
2008-11-19

They just probably put that up hastily to comply with the license, which is more than some out there.

You're harsh ;)

Reply Score: 1