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Old 03-01-2008, 03:37 AM   #46
HarryT
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Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
The GPL is a "viral" license: code that links against GPL code becomes GPL in consequence.

But this only covers code that links against GPL code. Code that simply runs under Linux does not become GPL, and can be closed source and proprietary.
With respect, Dennis, that is not the case - at least not with the GPL code that I've come across personally. If it were the case, it would be impossible to write any commercial Linux application, because every application links against the Linux system libraries.

The GPL libraries that I've used personally simply stipulate that:

a) You state in the program's documentation or "About" box that the library is being used by the application.

b) You tell anyone who asks where to get the source code for the library.

Using such a GPL library does not make your code GPL. Perhaps there are GPL libraries which do have that stipulation, but I've not encountered them if there are.
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Old 03-01-2008, 04:22 AM   #47
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Libraries are often placed under Lesser GPL, called LGPL.

As stated on Wikipedia, in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGPL ,

"
The main difference between the GPL and the LGPL is that the latter can be linked to (in the case of a library, 'used by') a non-(L)GPLed program, which may be free software or proprietary software [1]. This non-(L)GPLed program can then be distributed under any chosen terms if it is not a derivative work.
"
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Old 03-01-2008, 04:27 AM   #48
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Thanks, Krystian - that must be what the libraries I've used have been released under.
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Old 03-01-2008, 05:58 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by delphidb96 View Post
What if, and I think this quite possible, the manufacturer has stated to Bookeen that it fully intends to comply? In that case, Bookeen had, and has, every right to sell the device as it is working under the Good Faith presumption the manufacturer will follow through.
According to the letter of the license, you can only distribute a GPL software if you also make the source code available (to whoever you distribute the software to, it doesn't have to be freely availabe to anyone). If you get a GPL software from someone else and they don't give you the source code, they're doing wrong, but also you cannot distribute is, because if someone asks you for the source code you won't be able to provide it. Bookeen may be working under good faith, but they're still not complying with the GPL license.

They could, at least, say who their suppliers are and state something like "for obtaining the source code of the GPL parts, please address to This and That, ltd."
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Old 03-01-2008, 09:09 AM   #50
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So anybody reported them to www.fsfeurope.org yet ?

I asked for the kernel source the day I bought my Cybook and never got a response from Bookeen.
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Old 03-01-2008, 09:15 AM   #51
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So anybody reported them to www.fsfeurope.org yet ?

I asked for the kernel source the day I bought my Cybook and never got a response from Bookeen.
It's the recalcitrant hardware supplier who needs to be "reported", Frank. Until Bookeen can get the source from them, they in turn can't give it to you.
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Old 03-01-2008, 10:04 AM   #52
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With respect, Dennis, that is not the case - at least not with the GPL code that I've come across personally. If it were the case, it would be impossible to write any commercial Linux application, because every application links against the Linux system libraries.

The GPL libraries that I've used personally simply stipulate that:

a) You state in the program's documentation or "About" box that the library is being used by the application.

b) You tell anyone who asks where to get the source code for the library.

Using such a GPL library does not make your code GPL. Perhaps there are GPL libraries which do have that stipulation, but I've not encountered them if there are.
Linux system libraries tend to be covered under the LGPL, which is a different animal. If they weren't, it would be impossible to legally create closed source code for Linux. (Or, for that matter, to create closed source programs with GCC.)

And the case I spoke of is specifically code that links against the Linux kernel. This would include device drivers (which become part of a running kernel), but exclude applications programs, which just call kernel services.
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Old 03-01-2008, 10:47 AM   #53
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Linux system libraries tend to be covered under the LGPL, which is a different animal. If they weren't, it would be impossible to legally create closed source code for Linux. (Or, for that matter, to create closed source programs with GCC.)
It's obviously the LGPL which I've come across with the GPL'd utility libraries that I've used, rather than the "full" GPL. Thanks for the clarification.
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Old 03-01-2008, 11:42 AM   #54
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It's obviously the LGPL which I've come across with the GPL'd utility libraries that I've used, rather than the "full" GPL. Thanks for the clarification.
It is confusing.

One of the things I run here is Cygwin, a port of the Gnu toolchain to Win32, available as a free, open source offering under the GPL. Rather than rewrite every utility to use Win32 system calls instead of *nix calls, the developers wrote a POSIX compatibility library implemented as a DLL, containing a subset of the most used *nix system calls. Lots of *nix code builds "out of the box" under Cygwin, because the code links against the Cygwin1.dll, and sees the *nix routines it expects.

A full Cygwin install includes the GCC compiler suite. One of the questions on the Cygwin mailing list is "Can I use Cygwin GCC to build closed-source code?" The answer is "Yes, if you use the MinGW version, which links against the Microsoft runtime rather than the Cygwin version." Linking against the Cygwin1.dll would make your code GPL, but the MS runtime does not, and there is no requirement on GCC itself that you may only build GPLed code with it.

Another common question is "If I write GPLed code, must I distribute the source with it?" The answer is "No. You simply have to be willing to provide it, and must inform the user you will do so and state how to get it. You must be careful, because the user should be able to use the source you supply to duplicate the binaries you created, so the source you provide must be the source that created those binaries. But you are not required to provide the source in the same distribution as the binaries. Most users won't want it and wouldn't be able to use it in any case. You simply must provide it on demand, in a convenient form for the user."
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:27 PM   #55
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Yes, and they are probably doing that and I hope they are successful and I realize they had practial concerns and I can respect them but then I have to respect (which I do) other practical concerns such that people download copyrighted material for practical reasons.

I feel pretty strongly that you should respect the GPL since I think the goal of it is very good. In this thread I just got irritaded that the same persons that complains about distributing copyrighted material suddenly think that it is not such a big problem. Protecting companies possibility to earn money seems to be more important than protecting the free distribution of knowledge and information.

I realized that if you only care about strict legality you might sell you Cybook where you have erased the firmware.

Nope. I'd sell it after stripping out the ebooks, music and images I had put on. As for the firmware, since I'd be also ridding myself of the hardware it was installed on, I'd be okay with leaving the firmware in place.

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Old 03-01-2008, 03:31 PM   #56
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Nope. I'd sell it after stripping out the ebooks, music and images I had put on. As for the firmware, since I'd be also ridding myself of the hardware it was installed on, I'd be okay with leaving the firmware in place.
Just so that you realize that this is selling something you do not have the permission from the copyright holder to sell. It is like selling movies you have downloaded from the net and that you do not own the copyright for.
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Old 03-01-2008, 03:40 PM   #57
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Who actually is the copyright holder, Tommy?
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Old 03-01-2008, 04:00 PM   #58
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Who actually is the copyright holder, Tommy?
Look in the source code. Each file will have a specification of who has the copyright. For example:

Quote:
/* Driver for USB Mass Storage compliant devices
*
* $Id: transport.c,v 1.47 2002/04/22 03:39:43 mdharm Exp $
*
* Current development and maintenance by:
* (c) 1999-2002 Matthew Dharm (mdharm-usb@one-eyed-alien.net)
*
* Developed with the assistance of:
* (c) 2000 David L. Brown, Jr. (usb-storage@davidb.org)
* (c) 2000 Stephen J. Gowdy (SGowdy@lbl.gov)
* (c) 2002 Alan Stern <stern@rowland.org>
*
* Initial work by:
* (c) 1999 Michael Gee (michael@linuxspecific.com)
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Old 03-01-2008, 06:47 PM   #59
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Look in the source code. Each file will have a specification of who has the copyright. For example:
IOW, you already HAVE the source code for the Cybook. If that's the case, then why haven't you posted it?

Or are you just posting a 'generic' sample of source code?

And further, if I've not kept the original firmware, copies of that firmware, the hardware device on which that firmware is installed and any software sold with the original hardware/firmware - in other words if I choose to sell everything, keeping nothing of the unit for myself - then I *can* re-sell it as a 'used' item. It's like selling a book I've purchased, or a car.

Where I'd be breaking the law is in keeping any of the firmware and then selling that - for profit or not. But with the scenario you've stated, every single person who's sold a previously-purchased book, car or dishwasher would be committing a crime.

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Old 03-01-2008, 07:03 PM   #60
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IOW, you already HAVE the source code for the Cybook. If that's the case, then why haven't you posted it?
Of course not. So what is your point? Do tou thing they have rewritten these drivers for the Cybook?

Quote:
And further, if I've not kept the original firmware, copies of that firmware, the hardware device on which that firmware is installed and any software sold with the original hardware/firmware - in other words if I choose to sell everything, keeping nothing of the unit for myself - then I *can* re-sell it as a 'used' item. It's like selling a book I've purchased, or a car.
No, it is not. It is like selling a stolen car you have bought (expect that copyright infornement is not theft).

Quote:
Where I'd be breaking the law is in keeping any of the firmware and then selling that - for profit or not. But with the scenario you've stated, every single person who's sold a previously-purchased book, car or dishwasher would be committing a crime.
No. When you buy a book you get the permission to sell it further or to give it away. When you buy a book from somebody that does not have the right to sell the book you do not get that permission.
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