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GPL Violations By D-Link and Boxee 251

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hard-to-be-honest dept.
An anonymous reader submitted a link to a bit of a rant on GPL issues connected to D-Link and Boxee. They spend quite a bit of time explaining "Tivoization is a dangerous attempt to curtail users' freedom: the right to modify your software will become meaningless if none of your computers let you do it. GPLv3 stops tivoization by requiring the distributor to provide you with whatever information or data is necessary to install modified software on the device."
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GPL Violations By D-Link and Boxee

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  • by alen (225700) on Monday April 18, 2011 @10:06AM (#35855062)

    some of the complaints are that promised features were never implemented. learned this a long time ago. buy on the feature set at the time of sale, don't ever trust a company to implement new promised features. after the sale they are thinking about selling the next version, not paying developers to code software you already paid for

  • by DMiax (915735) on Monday April 18, 2011 @10:16AM (#35855176)

    First: there is no issue with GPL and tivoization. GPLv2 allows it and GPLv3 forbids it, full stop. It is as clear as day and every developer can make an informed choice as to what he/she wants to allow with the code.

    Now it seems that these things include GPG that is under GPLv3. So it looks an awful lot as a violation, if confirmed. At the same time it seems that the program was removed by online firmware updates, so everything would be kosher for the GPLv3 (that gives the option to stop distributing the offending code and be legally safe)

    • GPLv2 didn't "Allow" what Tivo did, it overlooked it. Once Tivo Inc. showed GNU just how evil a corporation can be, they had to spend time and money creating GPLv3, time and money that could have been spent actually doing something, instead had to be spent on lawyering.

      As a side note, Tivo Inc. is losing customers, and every useless Tivo sitting unsold at a yard sale is a message to consumers that a Tivo box is worthless. If Tivo Inc. were to provide some small amount of functionality for these machi
      • by jedidiah (1196)

        Tivo has been relatively stagnant in a market driven by ambitious early adopters on one side and completely apathetic consumers on the other.

        Instead of moving their own technology forward, they chose to try to enforce a bogus monopoly based on patents they never should have been granted.

        Meanwhile, most consumers really couldn't care less about paying extra money to buy a Tivo and are more than willing to use the device provided by the cable company or even sit through commercials and "channel surf". Plus yo

        • by mcmonkey (96054)

          I don't think obsolete means what you think it means.

          I have 2 analog Series 2 TiVos running right now, and they do everything they were advertised to do.

        • by tgibbs (83782)

          Meanwhile, most consumers really couldn't care less about paying extra money to buy a Tivo and are more than willing to use the device provided by the cable company or even sit through commercials and "channel surf". Plus you've got stuff like iTunes and Netflix that completely bypasses all of the effort required to "capture broadcasts" for future use in something approximating Video on Demand.

          I've tried some of the cable-company TiVo knock-offs, and they are substantially inferior. It is amazing to me that

      • GPLv2 didn't "Allow" what Tivo did, it overlooked it. Once Tivo Inc. showed GNU just how evil a corporation can be, they had to spend time and money creating GPLv3, time and money that could have been spent actually doing something, instead had to be spent on lawyering.

        It's a license - if they didn't include specific restrictions or terms than it is allowable.

      • GPLv2 didn't "Allow" what Tivo did, it overlooked it. Once Tivo Inc. showed GNU just how evil a corporation can be, they had to spend time and money creating GPLv3, time and money that could have been spent actually doing something, instead had to be spent on lawyering.

        By "GNU", do you mean FSF (since those are the guys who wrote GPLv3)?

        If so, then what, apart from lawyering and propaganda, do they actually do that would qualify as "doing something"?

    • by faedle (114018)

      Except they are still distributing GPLv3 code.

      The fact you can "factory reset" the box and the GPLv3 binary is still present implies that they are still distributing GPLv3 code (it would be interesting to get a recently made Boxee box and see if they are still distributing this obsolete firmware version). Even if it was "removed" by a firmware update, that does not change their responsibilities for "correcting" the license violations of the past: further, the fact that the binaries are still present and ab

  • Dirty Tricks Indeed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 18, 2011 @10:20AM (#35855212)

    Did someone at Boxee actually edit a forum post to change the author's intent?

    Forum Post Screenshots [infinityoverzero.com]

    Is Boxee's operation really this shady?

  • "tivoization"-- Nice word.

  • I'd get one (Score:4, Insightful)

    by moco (222985) on Monday April 18, 2011 @10:58AM (#35855628)

    ...If it was "hackable". But it seems that hardware makers today want more than selling you their product. They want to make sure you don't use it unless it's in a way they approve of.

    For now, I have alternatives (buy something else), but I am afraid my daughter will not have that option.

    • by mounthood (993037)

      But it seems that hardware makers today want more than selling you their product. They want to make sure you don't use it unless it's in a way they approve of.

      This isn't new; companies have always tried to make more by controlling their product after the sale. What's new is including a "service" attached to every product, so they have a new legal basis for demanding control. Adding a service isn't exclusive to computers and software either, it's the same strategy that "voiding the warranty" was in the past.

  • My consulting firm helps law firms and their customers come into compliance with the GPL and other Free Software licenses - both before and after they distribute the product. I can tell you they do take it seriously when they run into trouble, because there is not just the threat of a lawsuit, but the threat of having infringing products prohibited from being imported into the nations where they wish to sell them.

    What a lot of companies are having problems with is establishing a compliance program before they get that letter from the Software Freedom Conservancy (which has sued about 40 companies, no kidding). Too many of them fix the problem after it's happened.

    Tivo-ization is not one of the things the companies are in trouble for, because the software in question is under GPL2, not GPL3. The problems are from simple non-compliance with the license terms.

  • I just sold mine because I couldn't install XBMC on it. They (Boxee) made it seem like the new D-Link Box was going to be hacker friendly and it's far from it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwhypK3egeQ [youtube.com]

  • TiVo would be obsolete if it publicly allowed modification of its software, because Cable Labs would withdraw TiVo's permission to transfer recordings in any capacity. And this capability is one of the reasons I will never use a cable company or IPTV's inferior DVR solution. The TiVo software is outdated (granted, I do not own a TiVo premiere, because without the OLED front display, I view it as a downgrade), but it still does what it does better than anything else on the market. I do not get why people rag

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