07/28/2009 08:38:27 AM EST
Contrast the "friendly" approach with that used by Microsoft if it suspects you of piracy: Send the BSA goons after you and shake you down for $$$.
CanadaDavid F. Skoll
07/28/2009 11:34:35 AM EST
Bradley's incorrect here, which is disappointing because I know he knows better. Technically, Microsoft is only obligated to provide source code for these drivers to parties who have received binaries based on that source code, not to the general public.
Further, they are only obligated to provide that source code upon request. If the request is made and source code is not provided to that party in a timely fashion, for no more than the cost of creating and shipping the media, then and only then has Microsoft violated the GPL. This is all detailed quite clearly in section 3 of the GPLv2, which I recommend that people actually read.
Absent an unfulfilled request for source code from someone to whom a binary of the Hyper-V drivers had been distributed, there is no violation of the GPL, and it's frankly irresponsible of Bradley to claim otherwise without supporting evidence.
United StatesDavid "Lefty" Schlesinger
07/28/2009 02:49:43 PM EST
Section 3(b) does allow avoiding distributing the source code with the binary, but has some specific requirements ("written offer") that must be met. If these are not met, then the distribution of binaries without accompanying source is not in keeping with the license.
07/28/2009 06:24:16 PM EST
I believe the violation is in regards to the LGPL which deals with derived works with static linking of GPL code. In that case whether you can get away with making code available on media with a reasonable charge for postage or put it on a website as most do today, it is certainly required that you distribute a copy of the GPL with the derived work. I'm sure RMS would agree that informing users of their rights to control, understand and fix their machines through the availability of source code is necessary to be in complience with the GPL.
United StatesMichael Holder
07/29/2009 12:30:00 PM EST
you are a bit incorrect here and Bradley is correct. As soon as they distributed the code to anyone they are obligated to make it available regardless of anyone asking for it. The fact that it was not made available means they were in violation. The failure to make it available at distribution time is amply clear based on the fact they made such a fuss over suddenly making it available.
07/29/2009 08:00:38 PM EST
Evan, Mr. Schlesinger is correct. Knoppix only distributes source to users that ask for it, no one complains about that, so why complain when Microsoft does it?
07/29/2009 11:27:11 PM EST
Sam Ramji says that talk inside Microsoft about releasing the source was under way before the Linux developers began their enforcement effort.
Minion 1: "You know, if anybody catches us, we'll have to release the source."
Minion 2: "Yeah, but let's wait 'til somebody asks for it. Maybe nobody's watching."
07/30/2009 02:21:36 AM EST
Once you violate the GPL, you cannot simply comply to get back on the good side. Technically, you have lost your right to use the code.
Getting back in compliance requires an agreement from the copyright holders. Not so easy if it is code with a bazillion copyright holders.
07/30/2009 06:46:00 PM EST
What I haven't seen anywhere is what piece of GPL'd code was included in the binary distribution in question. Some folk have suggested that the alleged violation was based on nothing more than the fact that the binary code was designed to link with the Linux kernel.
I find it odd that there is so much discussion about this when nobody seems to know the actual details of the allegation.
New ZealandHarry Johnston
09/10/2009 08:07:13 PM EST
Linking with the kernel wouldn't do it. The kernel license terms have a specific exception to explicitly allow linking.
As for GPL violations. They are not required to distribute to anyone they didn't distribute a binary to under any version of the GPL. They ARE required to inform the recipients that the code is under the GPL, include the license terms, and provide a written offer to provide the source. They are entitled to charge reasonable fees to compensate for the cost of distributing the source to those who request it.
Since they did not do so they did indeed violate the GPL. Since they have now complied it seems unlikely anyone is going to sue them so it really makes no difference. The Microsoft guy keeps repeating that they intended to do this all along not to make you think they didn't do anything but to make it clear that by complying now Microsoft is not admitting to wrongdoing.
If someone claims you owe them a debt, and you give them something in response, you have from a legal standpoint admitted you have an obligation and a court will count that against you. Microsoft wants to publicly and repeatedly exclaim that they aren't admitting an obligation.
"Microsoft did not make its decision based on any perceived obligation, he said. "We considered a range of options, and GPLv2 was the best because it is the license the community used."
In other words they don't admit they had to release the code under the GPL. They don't admit they violated the license. They don't even admit the GPL is a binding or useful license at all, they only released under those terms because the community does. This is consistent, in the past Microsoft drones have even claimed the GPL wasn't a valid license they probably still do from time to time.
03/03/2010 08:52:46 AM EST
Hummm, could this use of GPL code bring the whole windows code viraly under GPL ?
(Also there is no specific exception to allow linking with the linux kernel, this is a legend.)
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