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GPL Kerfuffle Takes Xbian For Raspberry Pi Offline 154

Posted by timothy
from the oh-you-mean-that-was-a-license dept.
tetrahedrassface writes "Rasbmc developer Sam Nazarko is reporting that Xbian had violated the GPL and stolen his installer code without providing attribution and not releasing their source. His breakdown of events is interesting, and currently the Xbian project has been taken offline with several tweets saying Xbian development is terminated."
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GPL Kerfuffle Takes Xbian For Raspberry Pi Offline

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  • Re:GPL Kerfuffle (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:11PM (#41418111)

    Actually, it's of Gaelic/Scots origin and means "disturbance in the force"
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kerfuffle

  • Re:Dumb Link Award (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:15PM (#41418137)

    That doesn't mean that we can't laugh at you based on the story we received.

  • Re:Dumb Link Award (Score:5, Informative)

    by wierd_w (1375923) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:20PM (#41418183)

    Well, to play devil's advocate here...

    If the just came out and said "the xbian project is cancelled", and DIDN'T post the link for verification (yup! Its dead!), then there would be people denouncing the statement as FUD, and shouting [CITATION NEEDED].

    Rather than take it as "Hey, Check out this TOTALLY AWESOME project that is so totally cancelled on their inactive website! Its a complete waste of time!" I would take it as the req. for the [citation needed] crowd.

    *shrug*

  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:24PM (#41418211)

    However, gpl code still has copyright ascribed to the author, which needs to remain. Eg, the author must be credited as the author under GPL.

    The GPL permits reuse, repurposing, and redistribution, as long as the terms of the GPL are observed. One of therms of the GPL is the attribution of original authors.

  • NOT a GPL violation (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:47PM (#41418373)

    The disputed code is not licensed under the GPL. The actual License can be found here:

    http://svn.stmlabs.com/svn/raspbmc/LICENSE

  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Saturday September 22, 2012 @12:16AM (#41418749)

    Uhm.. GPL is a hack on copyright law. In Berne convention signatory countries, the mere act of writing the software creates a copyrighted work, owned exclusively by its creator.

    The spirit of the GPL is to do away with this, and permit rapid collaboration and joint authorship of complex computer programs that could not otherwise be performed realistically in the absence of a license like the GPL.

    The employment of the GPL as a license does NOT negate obligations to copyright, in such countries. In fact, the GPL is enforcable *BECAUSE* of such copyright.

    Unless the creators of rasbmc explicitly waived rights of ownership and declaired the work to be public domain (if so, why GPL and not BSD?) Then the additional contributors to that code (the person who modified the installer) needs to attribute proper ownership. The license to use that code as delivered by the copyright holder is the GPL. Failure to comply with the GPL results in forfieture of license, which means that xbian is comiting copyright infringement.

    Claiming ownership of a copyrighted work so as to sidestep compliance with the license is a very big NoNo with GPLed codebases. If there is copyright, you MUST respect it, or you are defacto in violation of the license. (How can you caim compliance with a license created by someone you contest ownership of the code with?)

    While not explicitly part of the GPL, (since it is covered by wider copyright law, and not applicable to the GPL itself, but very relavent to enforcement) observing correct attribution of ownership is paramount to proper compliance with the license.

    The copyright holder can relicense arbitrarily. A GPL compliant user cannot, and must comply with the GPL license under law. Attribution is more than just a nicety. It is required for the GPL to function.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 22, 2012 @12:51AM (#41418871)

    Plugins are not always separate. It greatly depends on how the plugin system works but basically, if they are library based plugins like dll and so files, then yes, they must be gpl since it is still considered to be part of the program.

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

  • XBians Story (Score:3, Informative)

    by eNORm (2736569) on Saturday September 22, 2012 @02:39AM (#41419199)
    This is the case from XBians side:
    http://frambozentaart.com/xbian/sotu.html [frambozentaart.com]

    To summarize:

    1. XBian did NOT steal code.
    2. XBian DOES live up to the LGPL license.
    3. XBian is doing everything possible to get everything solved.
  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Saturday September 22, 2012 @02:56AM (#41419243) Homepage Journal
    The license text referred to indicates a poor understanding of licenses and law. It's what we generally refer to as a "crayon" license. The term "crayon" is referring to a Monty Python sketch about a dog license with the word "dog" crossed out and "cat" written in in crayon.

    The bottom line is that the stuff you wrote is probably derivative of other code, which you say is "exempt" from your license, but that's not enough, you must use a GPL-compatible license. And I don't see from that license text that you would understand what was derivative and what was not.

  • Re:XBians Story (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Saturday September 22, 2012 @03:05AM (#41419279) Homepage Journal
    But if you are redistributing GPL code, even code that you have not modified, you must distribute the source for the GPL code too. You can't just say "get it from Debian".
  • by bruce_the_loon (856617) on Saturday September 22, 2012 @04:57AM (#41419621) Homepage

    Clause 1 in GPL2 and Clause 4 in GPL4 require all extant license notices to remain in the files intact. Both define the minimum for the notices to contain " (c) Copyright Joe Soap Industries 2012"

    For modifications, Clause 2 in GPL2 and Clause 5 in GPL4 requires the developer to adhere to the verbatim copying clauses as well as the conditions in the modification clauses.

    To me that's pretty clear that the original copyright statements must remain prominent.

  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Saturday September 22, 2012 @04:16PM (#41423323) Homepage Journal

    Attribution actually isn't a hard requirement of the GPL, it's just polite.

    People who are saying this just don't know what attribution is. It is absolutely always required. When you say "Copyright (C) name of legal entity, that is attribution. If you don't have some statement of that kind, you are always, absolutely, without exception, violating the GPL.

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