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GPL Violations By D-Link and Boxee 251

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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  • Re:Yeah? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BRSloth ( 578824 ) <> on Monday April 18, 2011 @09:58AM (#35855012) Homepage Journal

    GPL is based on copyright, dictating the rules by which the work can be transferred (or sold, or given). It's the same as breaking the Microsoft EULA when you pirate your Windows copy.

    Surely, there may be not enough GPL authors going after people breaking their licenses, but it falls on the same category [I *think* the FSF sometimes offers legal help for those trying to sue companies to enforce their GPL-licensed products.]

  • 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 trebach ( 2044090 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @10:25AM (#35855252)
    Don't ever trust a company to retain features offered at the of sale either.
  • by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @10:26AM (#35855258) Homepage

    Basically GPL is a violation of my rights to publ,ish source code and make money off of it. No one has the right to force me to release my developed code for free.

    You're under no obligation to release your code under the GPL. You can release it under any licence you want. If you choose not to abide by the GPL, you cannot base your software on GPLed code. Go and write your own software from scratch, and don't steal mine.

  • by robmv ( 855035 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @10:30AM (#35855310)

    Easy, do not link to GPL code. You ask for your rights but do not want to respect the rights of the GPL code authors?, When you link to GPL code, nobody is forcing you to release your code, your decision to link and use GPL and distribute it is what force you to do that, do not want to do it? do not take the decision to use GPL code in your software

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @10:33AM (#35855326) Homepage

    Basically GPL is a violation of my rights to publ,ish source code and make money off of it.

    Not true ... it prevents you from taking code you got under the GPL, modifying it, and releasing it as closed source. You are free to write your own code from scratch. You just can't write derivative works and not play by their terms.

    Things like LGPL allow you to use the library to connect to, and the stuff you write is completely your own and you can do anything you like with it.

    GPL is really another word for socialist run software development.

    Yes, that's true. If you want to have your code not be "tainted" by the implied socialism of a license which forces you to share, then don't start with GPL'd code as a base.

    You're arguing that you should be able to take the GPL code, modify it, and then change the terms of the license so you don't have to play by the rules. If you want to do that, something like a BSD or an Apache license might be more suited for you. But, just because you want to take GPL stuff and make it not GPL, doesn't mean you have any right to use the code in a way that violates their license.

    You are completely free to write something from scratch and not look at anything GPL'd at all. If you don't have the time and energy (or the skillset) to write your own version ... well, nobody is required to provide it to you. You're whining about the GPL being socialist while at the same time acting like it's someone else's responsibility to write the software you base your own off ... which is socialism, but geared to your benefit.

  • by Maximum Prophet ( 716608 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @10:39AM (#35855398)
    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 machine, they would at least be able to upsell some customers.
  • by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @10:51AM (#35855536) Homepage

    Maybe you should look at licenses that don't place any restriction on what people do with your code.

    Then, once you've got a really great project, I'll take it, place it under my own licence that forbids you from even mentioning it again, and call it my own. Since I can afford scarier lawyers than you, there's nothing you can do about it.

    How does that sound?

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @10:53AM (#35855562) Homepage

    My issue with GPL is that they call it 'free as in freedom' This is clearly not true. That should be the motto for BSD. GPL is more like free as in no cost to purchase, bit it is not free in the non monetary sense given the restrictions that come with it.

    Well, yes ... that's hard to dispute, and it more or less comes down to some philosophical stuff which not everyone always agrees with.

    I guess it depends on "which" version of "free" you mean ... free as in beer, free as in free, free as in Libre, and who knows what else.

    BSD is free and unencumbered, and it has its place.

    GPL is free almost in the sense that the software itself is "liberated" and has its own rights, intended to ensure that the software remains equally free for anybody who might ever want it, and that you can't take away the rights of the software to remain free -- I like to think of the GPL'd software as almost emancipated and with a stake in things.

    Some software is free as in free, but you have no rights to do anything with it or make derivative works.

    The GPL is more like a "bill of rights", both for the software and anybody who might like to use it, and is intended to benefit pretty much everybody, in perpetuity, and part of the way it achieves that is to limit the extent to which you can take it and stop adhering to that ideology. Since it uses copyright as its foundation, it necessarily has to retain restrictions to you ... you only have rights to make copies of this work if you adhere to the terms. BSD is more along the lines of "have this for free and do anything you like", no restrictions or limitations, no obligations ... just code to do with as you please.

    Unfortunately, the two camps often have very opposite points of view in terms of which is "better" or "more free" -- I've used both fairly extensively, and they each have their place. It's really hard to come down on one side or another without it more or less devolving into screeching monkeys, which is what usually happens when this comes up on Slashdot. :-P

  • 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 delinear ( 991444 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @11:16AM (#35855790)
    Don't ever trust a company.
  • by Tanktalus ( 794810 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @11:33AM (#35855914) Journal

    Here's the basic issue. gpgv2 is GPL3. It's in the box. The user cannot modify it, as per the GPL3 license. Thus, Boxee is failing to meet the GPL3 license obligations.

    It doesn't matter if the main code is proprietary. It doesn't matter if the kernel is GPL2. What matters in the court of law is that this particular piece does not live up to the license obligations that the author placed on the code as a condition of copying. If the authors of gpgv2 sued, Boxee would lose, assuming the GPL stands up in court (which I expect it would).

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell