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Old 06-16-2008, 02:17 PM
David Woodhouse
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Mon, 2008-06-16 at 08:15 -0500, Chris Adams wrote:
> Once upon a time, jeff <moe@blagblagblag.org> said:
> > The firmware hasn't always been known to be non-GPL. It was distributed for
> > years under the GPL, so it *is* GPL, but they are violating the GPL by not
> > shipping the source code.
>
> They distributed a string of hex digits in a source file that said it
> was GPL. Where does it say they have to give you anything else?

Section 3, where it says that you must provide, or offer to provide, the
'complete corresponding machine-readable source code' -- and clarifies
that as follows:

"The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for
making modifications to it. For an executable work, complete
source code means all the source code for all modules it contains,
plus any associated interface definition files, plus the scripts
used to control compilation and installation of the executable."

So if hex _really_ is the preferred form of the work for making
modifications to it -- for example, if it's just a string of random
bytes, then that's fine. If not, then it is not being distributed under
the terms of the GPL.

I know there are people who'll crawl out of the woodwork now, claiming
that they _prefer_ to edit software in hex form rather than dealing with
what normal people would call the 'source code'. It's amazing what
nonsense people will come up with to justify what they want to believe.

But they'd have to be fairly delusional if they want to claim that hex
arrays really count as the 'the preferred form for modification' for
most¹ of the 'blobs' we have in the kernel. And you'll note that when
companies have lost court cases based on their GPL violations, they
never even _tried_ the "but we _prefer_ editing our kernels in a hex
editor" defence

--
dwmw2

¹ I say 'most' advisedly. Not _all_ of them, though -- when I went
through the deblob script looking for drivers to convert to
request_firmware(), I did point out a few which I believed to be false
positives, like this kind of stuff in asilantfb.c:

static struct chips_init_reg chips_init_cr[] =
{
{0x0c, 0x00}, /* Start address high */
{0x0d, 0x00}, /* Start address low */
{0x40, 0x00}, /* Extended Start Address */
{0x41, 0x00}, /* Extended Start Address */
{0x14, 0x00}, /* Underline location */
{0x17, 0xe3}, /* CRT mode control */
{0x70, 0x00} /* Interlace control */

I don't see anything wrong with _that_ at all. I've added hex stuff like
that to the kernel and I _do_ believe it to be the preferred form for
making modifications in some cases.

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Old 06-16-2008, 04:03 PM
"Horst H. von Brand"
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Les Mikesell <lesmikesell@gmail.com> wrote:
> Horst H. von Brand wrote:

[...]

> >> Whether it is a derivative or 'work as a whole' depends on the
> >> relationship of the parts, not temporary physical proximity.
> > Please state which laws or court decisions lead you to this
> > conclusion, and
> > exactly what "relationship" has to be involved here.

> I'm not aware of any court ruling. It is the conclusion I drew from
> the FSF legal position regarding RIPEM that lead to the development of
> the generally useless fgmp library. It was long enough ago that google
> doesn't find many good references, but this one at least describes it:

The FSF position is hardly authoritative here...
--
Dr. Horst H. von Brand User #22616 counter.li.org
Departamento de Informatica Fono: +56 32 2654431
Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria +56 32 2654239
Casilla 110-V, Valparaiso, Chile 2340000 Fax: +56 32 2797513

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Old 06-16-2008, 04:25 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Horst H. von Brand wrote:



[...]


Whether it is a derivative or 'work as a whole' depends on the
relationship of the parts, not temporary physical proximity.

Please state which laws or court decisions lead you to this
conclusion, and
exactly what "relationship" has to be involved here.



I'm not aware of any court ruling. It is the conclusion I drew from
the FSF legal position regarding RIPEM that lead to the development of
the generally useless fgmp library. It was long enough ago that google
doesn't find many good references, but this one at least describes it:


The FSF position is hardly authoritative here...


But it would be hard to claim that they would not be credible experts on
the meaning of the GPL if an authoritative decision is ever necessary on
this point.


--
Les Mikesell
lesmikesell@gmail.com

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Old 06-16-2008, 08:02 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Alexandre Oliva wrote:



Yes, I agree that the initial author of a work has as much right to
impose the harmful GPL as any other copyright holder has to choose a
more or less restrictive license. I'm not so sure about additional
contributors of original work who have this choice taken away in the
GPL case only, though.


Again, you're confused as to what the GPL does. It doesn't take any
such choice away. It's copyright law that does.


But copyright law applies blindly and equally. Applying the GPL is a
deliberate and harmful choice.



BTW, think of how
many proprietary licenses used for non-libraries you know that permit
the creation and distribution of derived works you might be interested
in creating. Just to put things in perspective.


I can't think of any, and I'm not sure they would be legal if they
tried. Wouldn't that be approximately the modchip scenario just ruled
legal in the UK?

http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/06/13/uk-courts-declare-modchips


Having the choice to contribute under the GPL or not at all
resembles that "your money or your life" scenario you presented
earlier.


Why do you dislike the idea of respecting others' freedoms just like
yours were respected?


It is neither respect nor freedom to take away all the choices except
the one you happen to like.



if competitors were allowed to use components from Linux in
commercial offerings


They are.



Not in the general case.


They are. As long as they respect others' freedoms, abiding by the
terms of the license, they can charge as much money as they like for
distributing, supporting, or offering any other service related with
the software, and run a successful commercial business. Why do you
think this is not the case?


I think it's not the case because they can't include other works under
different licenses or patents as is necessary for a general purpose OS.
As for charging money, the GPL prohibits any additional restrictions on
redistribution so your first customer can give copies away or undercut
your prices (although Red Hat seems to ignore this part and attach
contract restrictions to what they distribute anyway).



It would be unfeasible if not technically impossible to ship a Linux
based OS containing licensed copies of all the components needed to
match the functionality of commercial OS versions.


I'm sorry, I can't make sense of what you're trying to say here. It
appears that you're saying 'licensed copies' to refer to only
proprietary software, and 'commercial OS' as proprietary operating
system, but I wouldn't like to assume that's what you mean, because it
still renders the meaning of your full claim nonsensical. Can you
please try to rephrase what you wanted to say using different terms?


There are patented components that people need and components where the
best implementation is under someone else's copyright. A Linux
distribution can never include those things as part of the kernel even
if the end user is willing to pay any required license fee. The only
scenario where this would be possible is if someone would buy unlimited
rights for unrestricted distribution along with source. But there is no
business model to fund such a process.



Everyone involved may be perfectly happy to meet whatever those
other restrictions might be, yet the GPL's harmful restrictions
prevents the useful combination from being distributed.


You're mistaken. It's copyright law that prevents it, and it's not
because of restrictions from the GPL, it's because of the other
restrictions "everyone may be perfectly happy to meet". Evidently not
everyone, since you're so unhappy about them that you're even trying
to shift the blame onto a license that doesn't prohibit you from doing
anything.


I've explained that the GPL prevents me from sharing original work that
links to both GPL and non-GPL libraries. Please stop say it doesn't
prohibit me from doing that.



Your unsatisfaction with the situation is shared by me, but your
blaming the GPL for unfortunate (and at times unethical) choices made
by others is misguided.



How so? The harm isn't shared by less restrictive licenses.


I think we're miscommunicating. Please try to describe a specific
situation and let's try to figure out what stops you from distributing
the (theoretical) combined work you'd like to distribute.


OK, a real example from the past: the wattcp library provided a TCP/IP
interface for DOS programs with a 'redistributable but not modifiable'
license and an aspi library provided scsi device access, I think with a
'must keep attribution' type license. Both were free of charge and
available in source. I took the gnutar program (at the time not
understanding that it had usurped the pdtar original or the implications
thereof), prototyped it to compile under 16-bit DOS and made it use some
magic device names to access the archive either on scsi tape or remotely
over the network via rsh to another machine. DOS provided no way to
separate these processes so all the code was necessarily linked into one
'work as a whole'. I thought this was a generally useful tool and tried
to give it away, but could not because of the GPL restrictions
prohibiting combinations with other licenses. And please don't try to
say the problem was cause by those other licenses - they did not prevent
anyone else from getting copies, nor would it have been a problem if I
had started with pdtar. It was strictly a harmful effect of the GPL
restrictions that had been applied to the pdtar base. I won't argue
that this was illegal but it was certainly harmful and thus immoral to do.



But the concept of victim has a preconceived notion of harm, whereas
meeting non-GPL terms may not cause harm at all.


That's true. There are many other Free Software licenses. GPL is not
the only one. It's not even the only copyleft license.


You are deliberately avoiding the point that there is proprietary
software which is worth what it costs and where the money paid for it
goes toward improvements.



Now, when you accept a license that deprives you from any of the four
essential freedoms, this harms you *and* everyone around. You're
shooting your own foot, but the shrapnel hurts others.


No, you are just making this up. Show that it is true for every piece
of software or admit it is an overgeneralization.



See? If my conviction you disputed above is wrong, then the person
who decides to distribute cigarettes to the kids instead of milk would
be behaving in accordance with moral and ethics.



Your reasoning requires you to know that cigarettes are harmful and
there is a body of evidence for that,


Exactly! So, you now see that your claim that the delivery channel
that makes a decision as to what to deliver is amoral didn't resist
scrutiny. Good.


No, I'm saying you have jumped to unwarranted conclusions.


yet there is no such body of evidence that all software covered by
non-GPL licenses is harmful,


And that's how it should be, because, again, there are many Free
Software licenses. GPL is better than others for various reasons, but
this doesn't make other Free Software licenses unethical, immoral or
harmful. You may want to have a look at especially the 5th paragraph
of http://www.fsfla.org/svnwiki/circular/2007-078#1

But there is a body of evidence that software that is not Free is
harmful. I wouldn't think this is a place where people would dispute
this, even if they fail to resist such software themselves.


I dispute it, and would go so far as to say most free software has
copied much of its design from commercial/proprietary work (generally a
good thing!), and quite a lot was actually originally developed to be
proprietary work and later had the free license applied. Far from being
harmful, I'd say that without the proprietary works, free software would
barely exist and would have much less chance of future development.
There are all sorts of variations on this theme like the X consortium
producing free software funded by proprietary vendors.



and
it's not up to a distributor to make that kind of value judgment.
They must respect the recipients right to make their own choices.


Err... Sounds like you're saying "sure, go ahead and give the kids
milk and cigarettes!"


No, I'm saying that there is a difference between milk and cigarettes
and you are the one not making the distinction correctly since you are
making your decision based on the terms, not the inherent value of the
product.



by helping prevent a usable alternative you drive
people directly to the monster


There's a faulty assumption in your reasoning. What do you assume is
not usable about this 100% Free operating system I've installed on my
computer? Heck, even wireless works.


Can you play Netflix online content? Do you have the optimal video
drivers for all available hardware? Will your wireless work with all
available hardware? Can you play dvds with what was included?



And then, it's not like I'd drive people to the monster.


Ummm, where do you expect them to go?


Besides, it doens't even make sense. How would my preference for
offering people the option of choosing freedom lead them to the
monster any more than not offering them this option would?


As a separate even more restricted option doesn't make a difference.
The GPL keeping many choices impossible, does.



(I do acknowledge that switching from say MS-Windows to say Ubuntu or
Fedora is a step towards freedom, but if it comes along with the
notion that the non-Free Software in there is not something that one
should try to get rid of ASAP, then it not fails to help people
achieve freedom, it actually becomes an impediment for them to do so,
inasmuch as it replaces the dependency on one evil, the completely
non-Free OS, for the dependency on another, the non-Free Software
added to make the OS "usable")


More unwarranted conclusions.


even if it is with the pretense that you aren't involved at all.


I don't understand what you're trying to communicate or imply here.
Do you think this is just a matter of "I don't want to be a part of
this?"


Yes, justified by claims that everything that doesn't do it your way is
evil.



My personal choice is just a small drop in the ocean. The
moral imperative for me to promote the idea of freedom for all
software users goes far beyond whatever individualism you might be
trying to imply here.


Are you sure you only think this about software - or is this a general
political statement?



Show me one piece of proprietary software, and you'll have a piece of
software that doesn't work perfectly for all its users, and that at
least some users would like to be able to improve and/or fix it.


How is this morally different from hardware? I have at least as many
problems with hardware but I don't demand that the hardware vendors give
me a factory.



It
has been like that for me, for every single piece of non-Free Software
I've ever used. Every one of them. And whoever ever met a perfect
piece of software, and still held the same opinion about it 10 years
later, please throw the first rock.


I've had an equal amount of trouble with free software and having source
has not meant that I could fix it.



I don't have any different feelings about trusting a company to build
hardware than to supply software.


Me neither, actually. Unfortunately, there's a significant difference
between hardware and software: hardware may be quite difficult to get
into to improve, because the facilities needed to build it are
extremely expensive. This is beginning to change with FPGAs and home
printers of circuits, but it's still going to be a while until all the
limitations are artificial, as it is with software.


But there's not a moral difference, nor a more or less evil intent in
using the same terms.



Agreed - it is a bad analogy. But so is freedom in terms of
restrictions on software.
How about freedom of speech? Freedom to share?



Yes, that's the problem. If I write code that links to a GPL library
and to any other library, I can't share it, even with someone who
already has both other libraries.


Who's stopping you from distributing the code? I take it you think
it's the GPL, but it's not. Look for anything in the GPL that tells
you you can't do that.


It says I can't do that.


You won't find it. You'll only find passages
that say "you can distribute it, as long as it's all under the GPL".


Precisely, and I can't put it under the GPL if it uses any other
components. And since I consider applying those restrictions to be
harmful, I wouldn't anyway, given any other choice.



Then you gotta think what it is that stops you from distributing the
other library under the GPL. There are three possible answers:


There are just as many answers as there are other licenses. And it is
the GPL that takes away your freedom to mix these and share them.



1. the other library is licensed to you in a way that grants you some
permissions (and no prohibitions), but none of which are enough to
clear you from the prohibitions established by copyright law that, by
default, won't suffice to enable you distribute the library the way
you know you otherwise could


Yes, nothing wrong with that.


2. you accepted the other library under technical restrictions (such
as lack of source code) that prevent you from distributing it the way
you otherwise could, even if you're not under any legal constraints
that would prevent you from doing so


Yes, nothing wrong with that.


3. you accepted the other library under a contract that prohibits you
from distributing it the way you otherwise could, even if the
copyright license you got over the library would have been enough for
you to do so


Yes, nothing wrong with that. (Hmmm, that one sounds sort of like what
you'd have to accept to get a copy of RHEL, doesn't it?)



So, in cases 1. and 2., you see it's copyright law that gets in your
way. If it weren't for copyright law, you could just put the program
and library together and distribute them under whatever terms you
liked, regardless of what the GPL might say.

In cases 2. and 3., it was your decision to accept giving up your
freedoms that prevents you from distributing the program.

Why do you think any of these are GPL's faults?


Because those others don't prohibit combinations.


Please show an example of a non-GPL'd work where there has ever been a
copyright issue related to another original work being combined
(linking in the case of a library) where it was clear that every
instance involved the end user having his own licensed copy of both
parts.


Such proprietary works are licensed under severe prohibitions. Nobody
in their right mind would take the risk of trying to subvert the
prohibitions.


There are no such prohibitions. The point of getting a proprietary
library is to be able to link other code with it.



The GPL is harmful too.


Only under your nonsensical theory that the GPL prohibits you from
doing anything. But we've already seen that it's not the GPL that
prohibits you, it's copyright law.


No, it is the restrictions in the GPL.


Take the case of the original BSD license. I did/do not consider its
requirement for attribution to be unethical. I do consider the
restriction of the GPL to not permit combinations with items covered
by this license to be harmful and thus unethical.


Why did you change the wording from "requirement" to "restriction"?
It appears to me that it's this different perception about the
conditions of the two licenses that's driving you to the wrong
conclusion as to what stops you from making the uses you'd like of
GPLed software.


My conclusion isn't wrong and it doesn't matter whether you call it a
requirement or restriction. It is only the GPL restriction that
harmfully prohibits combining differently licensed code, taking away the
freedom of the recipient to choose if terms of those other licenses are
acceptable or not.



Likewise, I don't consider all commercial/proprietary distributions
to be unethical. Some provide good value for their terms.


Slavery was also profitable to the slave owners and advantageous to
those who purchased products at lower prices.


So is normal employment - bad analogy.


This doesn't make it
ethical, though. In fact, this reasoning has *zero* to do with
ethics. Bringing more benefit than harm doesn't make something
ethical. It's not bringing intentional harm that does.


Which is why applying the GPL is unethical.


So how does that work in the case of something like a blu-ray player?


Don't even get me started on DRM :-)


You can't avoid it. I'd even say it has a place given that everyone
involved knows that it devalues the product when applied. Without it,
you'd have a hard time making a business model out of streaming content
or low priced subscription/rental access to content with a restricted
time to live. As a consumer I want those options, although I don't want
any usage restrictions on anything sold to me in the guise of a product.



As in, more of a bad thing is a good thing? :-)



Absolutely. You aren't going to find perfection, so your best bet is
having choices among imperfect things. As people make those choices,
the bad ones go away.


Only when there are good choices to make. Consider blu-ray, or even
the existing DVD DRM. You just can't find a DVD player that isn't
part of the conspiracy.


If by conspiracy you mean legal/licensed terms for intellectual
property, that is correct whether we like it or not.



You have the feeling that you have choice,
but in reality you don't, because no matter what you pick, you always
end up with the same deprivation.


The choice is to participate according to the law and licensing terms
(which may be acceptable) or not. If free software divisively prevents
participation, users will only have the choice of staying with the monopoly.


--
Les Mikesell
lesmikesell@gmail.com



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Old 06-16-2008, 10:04 PM
"Horst H. von Brand"
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Les Mikesell <lesmikesell@gmail.com> wrote:
> Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> >> Yes, I agree that the initial author of a work has as much right to
> >> impose the harmful GPL as any other copyright holder has to choose a
> >> more or less restrictive license. I'm not so sure about additional
> >> contributors of original work who have this choice taken away in the
> >> GPL case only, though.
> > Again, you're confused as to what the GPL does. It doesn't take any
> > such choice away. It's copyright law that does.

> But copyright law applies blindly and equally. Applying the GPL is a
> deliberate and harmful choice.

Doesn't parse.


[...]

> >> Having the choice to contribute under the GPL or not at all
> >> resembles that "your money or your life" scenario you presented
> >> earlier.

> > Why do you dislike the idea of respecting others' freedoms just like
> > yours were respected?

> It is neither respect nor freedom to take away all the choices except
> the one you happen to like.

It is not "taking away", it is /allowing/ you to do certain things you
aren't automatically entitled to do. If it doesn't include everything you'd
like, tough luck. If anything is "taking away" here, it is copyright law.

> >>>> if competitors were allowed to use components from Linux in
> >>>> commercial offerings

> >>> They are.

> >> Not in the general case.

> > They are. As long as they respect others' freedoms, abiding by the
> > terms of the license, they can charge as much money as they like for
> > distributing, supporting, or offering any other service related with
> > the software, and run a successful commercial business. Why do you
> > think this is not the case?

> I think it's not the case because they can't include other works under
> different licenses or patents as is necessary for a general purpose
> OS.

Thanks for the hint! *Now* I'm seeing clearly that I have been deluded all
these years, thinking I was running a general purpose OS on assorted
machines here! How could I have been /so/ blind for /so/ long is quite
beyond me...

> As for charging money, the GPL prohibits any additional
> restrictions on redistribution so your first customer can give copies
> away or undercut your prices (although Red Hat seems to ignore this
> part and attach contract restrictions to what they distribute anyway).

Has always been thusly, and several companies built successful business
around it anyway...

> >> It would be unfeasible if not technically impossible to ship a Linux
> >> based OS containing licensed copies of all the components needed to
> >> match the functionality of commercial OS versions.

Please define "functionality of commercial OS versions". In any case, MacOS
(with its BSD core) does come awfully near if you mean closed source
userland...

And I do have a Linux based OS containing fully licensed copies of all the
components needed to match (and in many areas, widely surpass) the
functionality I require from a "commercial OS version". It's called "Fedora".

> > I'm sorry, I can't make sense of what you're trying to say here. It
> > appears that you're saying 'licensed copies' to refer to only
> > proprietary software, and 'commercial OS' as proprietary operating
> > system, but I wouldn't like to assume that's what you mean, because it
> > still renders the meaning of your full claim nonsensical. Can you
> > please try to rephrase what you wanted to say using different terms?

> There are patented components that people need

Such as?

> and components where
> the best implementation is under someone else's copyright.

So what? The best implementation of a C compiler is under the FSF
copyright, and I have a few others lying aound here who belong to other
people, my preferred kernel is under the copyright of a bunch of weirdos
who hack around for fun (and often even get paid to do it!), some awesome
games are under the copyright of still other parties, ...

> A Linux
> distribution can never include those things as part of the kernel even
> if the end user is willing to pay any required license fee. The only
> scenario where this would be possible is if someone would buy
> unlimited rights for unrestricted distribution along with source. But
> there is no business model to fund such a process.

Why do you insist that the kernel must use restricted stuff? Please note
that the kernel does include patented algorithms (RCU for one) for which it
does have your "impossible" unrestricted rights for unlimited distribution
(under GPL).

> >> Everyone involved may be perfectly happy to meet whatever those
> >> other restrictions might be, yet the GPL's harmful restrictions
> >> prevents the useful combination from being distributed.

> > You're mistaken. It's copyright law that prevents it, and it's not
> > because of restrictions from the GPL, it's because of the other
> > restrictions "everyone may be perfectly happy to meet". Evidently not
> > everyone, since you're so unhappy about them that you're even trying
> > to shift the blame onto a license that doesn't prohibit you from doing
> > anything.

> I've explained that the GPL prevents me from sharing original work
> that links to both GPL and non-GPL libraries. Please stop say it
> doesn't prohibit me from doing that.

Copyright law (and the restrictions placed on the "other parts" by their
owners) restrict creating and distributing a GPLed whole, not GPL.

You are saying that e.g. GPL prevents you from sharing a chimera made out
of Windows pieces + Linux pieces. It is the /Microsoft/ license which
prohibits you creating such a thing in the first place, and if it did, it
would prohibit sharing at least the Windows part of it freely; that said
monstrosity can't be shared "because of GPL" is quite off the point then.

[...]

> OK, a real example from the past: the wattcp library provided a
> TCP/IP interface for DOS programs with a 'redistributable but not
> modifiable' license and an aspi library provided scsi device access, I
> think with a 'must keep attribution' type license. Both were free of
> charge and available in source. I took the gnutar program (at the
> time not understanding that it had usurped the pdtar original or the
> implications thereof), prototyped it to compile under 16-bit DOS and
> made it use some magic device names to access the archive either on
> scsi tape or remotely over the network via rsh to another machine.
> DOS provided no way to separate these processes so all the code was
> necessarily linked into one 'work as a whole'. I thought this was a
> generally useful tool and tried to give it away, but could not because
> of the GPL restrictions prohibiting combinations with other licenses.
> And please don't try to say the problem was cause by those other
> licenses - they did not prevent anyone else from getting copies, nor
> would it have been a problem if I had started with pdtar. It was
> strictly a harmful effect of the GPL restrictions that had been
> applied to the pdtar base. I won't argue that this was illegal but it
> was certainly harmful and thus immoral to do.

Great. You can't satisfy all three licenses, and it is solely the fault of
GPL?

[...]

> I dispute it, and would go so far as to say most free software has
> copied much of its design from commercial/proprietary work (generally
> a good thing!), and quite a lot was actually originally developed to
> be proprietary work and later had the free license applied. Far from
> being harmful, I'd say that without the proprietary works, free
> software would barely exist and would have much less chance of future
> development. There are all sorts of variations on this theme like the
> X consortium producing free software funded by proprietary vendors.

Nonsense. Much of what the Internet is all about has always been "free
software" (even its standards, the RFCs, do count in that direction). The
propietary packages used over Internet mostly came later (or never).
--
Dr. Horst H. von Brand User #22616 counter.li.org
Departamento de Informatica Fono: +56 32 2654431
Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria +56 32 2654239
Casilla 110-V, Valparaiso, Chile 2340000 Fax: +56 32 2797513

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Old 06-16-2008, 10:59 PM
Chuck Anderson
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Sun, Jun 15, 2008 at 11:44:01PM -0500, Les Mikesell wrote:
> My point is that the details of the aggregation are irrelevant and the
> format of the storage doesn't matter. The fact that the firmware loader
> can find the correct chunk of data to load for each separate device shows
> that the storage maintains the separation.

Would you then agree that this is a correct statement:

"My point is that the details of the aggregation are irrelevant and
the format of the storage doesn't matter. The fact that the [dynamic
linker ld.so] can find the correct chunk of data to load for [the
shared library] shows that the storage maintains the separation."

If not, why?

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Old 06-16-2008, 11:34 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Chuck Anderson wrote:

On Sun, Jun 15, 2008 at 11:44:01PM -0500, Les Mikesell wrote:
My point is that the details of the aggregation are irrelevant and the
format of the storage doesn't matter. The fact that the firmware loader
can find the correct chunk of data to load for each separate device shows
that the storage maintains the separation.


Would you then agree that this is a correct statement:

"My point is that the details of the aggregation are irrelevant and
the format of the storage doesn't matter. The fact that the [dynamic
linker ld.so] can find the correct chunk of data to load for [the
shared library] shows that the storage maintains the separation."


If not, why?


That's correct as far as the "identifiable sections" go, but if you
would read the COPYING file, you'd see that there are more requirements
for the permitted aggregations:

"not derived from the Program"
"reasonably considered independent and separate works".

Does a chunk of code obtained from someone else, used with other
operating systems as well, and dropped into separate specific hardware
seem to meet these?


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Old 06-16-2008, 11:42 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Horst H. von Brand wrote:



Again, you're confused as to what the GPL does. It doesn't take any
such choice away. It's copyright law that does.



But copyright law applies blindly and equally. Applying the GPL is a
deliberate and harmful choice.


Doesn't parse.


The GPL selectively removes your choices. It makes sense for a company
selling services (like Red Hat) or companies that sell their own
enhanced version of the product (mysql, ghostscript, etc.) to apply a
restrictive license to prevent others from improving the product and
offering it in competition. It doesn't make sense to prevent those
improved versions from being available in the general case.



It would be unfeasible if not technically impossible to ship a Linux
based OS containing licensed copies of all the components needed to
match the functionality of commercial OS versions.


Please define "functionality of commercial OS versions". In any case, MacOS
(with its BSD core) does come awfully near if you mean closed source
userland...


Anything you are willing to pay for. No arbitrary restrictions. Yes,
Mac OS X is a reasonable option, but they don't have to distribute the
source of their Nvida and ATI drivers, do they?



And I do have a Linux based OS containing fully licensed copies of all the
components needed to match (and in many areas, widely surpass) the
functionality I require from a "commercial OS version". It's called "Fedora".


Can you use it to play Netflix online content?


and components where
the best implementation is under someone else's copyright.


So what? The best implementation of a C compiler is under the FSF
copyright, and I have a few others lying aound here who belong to other
people,


You conveniently omitted pointers to benchmarks against Intel or Sun's
compilers.



A Linux
distribution can never include those things as part of the kernel even
if the end user is willing to pay any required license fee. The only
scenario where this would be possible is if someone would buy
unlimited rights for unrestricted distribution along with source. But
there is no business model to fund such a process.


Why do you insist that the kernel must use restricted stuff?


Why do you insist that people not be free to use whatever they choose?
Even stuff like zfs that is available to everyone who wants it as a
separate component but not combined with Linux? Or that the work done
on Linux drivers not be available to someone who chooses to run
OpenSolaris? What's the point of this divisiveness?



Please note
that the kernel does include patented algorithms (RCU for one) for which it
does have your "impossible" unrestricted rights for unlimited distribution
(under GPL).


You are paraphrasing badly here. I specifically said it was possible but
under conditions that don't seem likely for everything.



I've explained that the GPL prevents me from sharing original work
that links to both GPL and non-GPL libraries. Please stop say it
doesn't prohibit me from doing that.


Copyright law (and the restrictions placed on the "other parts" by their
owners) restrict creating and distributing a GPLed whole, not GPL.


Yet it is only the GPL restriction that prevents people from being able
to get the combined work.



You are saying that e.g. GPL prevents you from sharing a chimera made out
of Windows pieces + Linux pieces.


Or OpenSolaris, or the original BSD, or any number of other less
restrictive licenses.



It is the /Microsoft/ license which
prohibits you creating such a thing in the first place,


No it isn't - there is much more code running on Microsoft libraries
than anything else - but there is an exclusion for the standard system
libraries in the GPL anyway.



and if it did, it
would prohibit sharing at least the Windows part of it freely;


And plenty of people already have the Windows parts.


that said
monstrosity can't be shared "because of GPL" is quite off the point then.


No it isn't, that is the point.




OK, a real example from the past: the wattcp library provided a
TCP/IP interface for DOS programs with a 'redistributable but not
modifiable' license and an aspi library provided scsi device access, I
think with a 'must keep attribution' type license. Both were free of
charge and available in source. I took the gnutar program (at the
time not understanding that it had usurped the pdtar original or the
implications thereof), prototyped it to compile under 16-bit DOS and
made it use some magic device names to access the archive either on
scsi tape or remotely over the network via rsh to another machine.
DOS provided no way to separate these processes so all the code was
necessarily linked into one 'work as a whole'. I thought this was a
generally useful tool and tried to give it away, but could not because
of the GPL restrictions prohibiting combinations with other licenses.
And please don't try to say the problem was cause by those other
licenses - they did not prevent anyone else from getting copies, nor
would it have been a problem if I had started with pdtar. It was
strictly a harmful effect of the GPL restrictions that had been
applied to the pdtar base. I won't argue that this was illegal but it
was certainly harmful and thus immoral to do.


Great. You can't satisfy all three licenses, and it is solely the fault of
GPL?


Yes, very specifically. If pdtar had not had the restrictive GPL applied
to turn it into gnutar, there would have been no such restriction on
redistributing a program that combined those components. How can there
be any question about that? Or that the GPL harmfully prohibits all
possible and similarly useful combinations?



I dispute it, and would go so far as to say most free software has
copied much of its design from commercial/proprietary work (generally
a good thing!), and quite a lot was actually originally developed to
be proprietary work and later had the free license applied. Far from
being harmful, I'd say that without the proprietary works, free
software would barely exist and would have much less chance of future
development. There are all sorts of variations on this theme like the
X consortium producing free software funded by proprietary vendors.


Nonsense. Much of what the Internet is all about has always been "free
software" (even its standards, the RFCs, do count in that direction). The
propietary packages used over Internet mostly came later (or never).


Believe what you want. I don't believe Linux would exist without the
SysV interface to emulate nor *bsd without the AT&T unix the early
versions extended, X without funding from proprietary vendors, NFS
without Sun, OpenOffice without StarOffice, etc. etc.. To believe
otherwise is just too farfetched. I guess sendmail, ftp, emacs and vi
are free-software originals, though.


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Old 06-17-2008, 12:31 AM
Peter Gordon
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Mon, 2008-06-16 at 18:42 -0500, Les Mikesell wrote:
> It makes sense for a company selling services[...] to apply a
> restrictive license to prevent others from improving the product and
> offering it in competition.

What? The GPL doesn't prevent this. It *encourages* and *enables* it.

Have you actually _read_ the GPL?...
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Old 06-17-2008, 01:59 AM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Peter Gordon wrote:

On Mon, 2008-06-16 at 18:42 -0500, Les Mikesell wrote:

It makes sense for a company selling services[...] to apply a
restrictive license to prevent others from improving the product and
offering it in competition.


What? The GPL doesn't prevent this. It *encourages* and *enables* it.


Have you actually _read_ the GPL?...


You mean where it says, for example, that Linux and OpenSolaris can
share the best of their features? No, I missed that part.


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