[linux-elitists] What would be the proper course of action for?a possible GPL violation?

Greg KH greg@kroah.com
Wed May 14 21:09:13 PDT 2008


On Wed, May 14, 2008 at 09:02:41PM -0700, James Sparenberg wrote:
> On Wednesday 14 May 2008 08:12:00 pm Greg KH wrote:
> > On Wed, May 14, 2008 at 07:55:05PM -0700, James Sparenberg wrote:
> > > All,
> > >
> > >    As some of you may have seen on slashdot there is an announcement that
> > > all asus mobo's will in the near future contain built in splashtop Linux
> > > desktop. Being the curious monkey I am.  I go to the site and start
> > > looking for packages and source.  Just to see what it is I'm dealing
> > > with.
> > >
> > >   Not only am I not finding a path to source, but I saw this page and the
> > > following paragraph contained within.
> > >
> > > http://www.splashtop.com/aboutus-corporate.php
> > >
> > > <snip>
> > > DeviceVM is releasing its first software product, Splashtop, in October
> > > of 2007. Splashtop is a proprietary technology developed by DeviceVM that
> > > provides users with a rapid-start alternative to the traditional
> > > operating system.
> > > </snip>
> > >
> > > Now before people start calling me alarmist.  I'm not trying to raise a
> > > call to arms, and I do understand business.  What I'm looking for is the
> > > proper method to follow to find the people able to assist DeviceVM in
> > > working with GPL'd software, and complying with it's license.
> > >
> > > Suggestions?
> >
> > Until you have a device with this code in it, in your hands, you can't
> > legally ask for the source code.
> >
> > So, first step would be to buy the device.
> 
> done... next.  (btw there is nothing inherently illegal in asking..... and I'm 
> not so sure that the GPL requires payment. Nor is there anything illegal in 
> finding out if someone is in compliance without buying their product. )

No, there isn't, but there is no obligation for them to give you
anything unless you have a copy of the binaries in your hand either :)

> >
> > FYI, I know someone who was just talking with ASUS last week in Tiawan,
> > and I think they are doing the right thing with regards to their kernel
> > GPL code, so I don't think there are going to be any issues here.  If
> > you run into problems, let me know and I'll see if I can get some direct
> > engineering contacts for you.
> 
> Again the problem isn't Asus they don't make splashtop.  Please note the above 
> post.  The implication is that the creator of the Splashtop distro, aka 
> DeviceVM, is the problem in that they seem to be declaring that their product 
> is proprietary, and Linux all at the same time.

I think the whole userspace application stuff on top of X is closed
source, and isn't based on any GPL code, other than the kernel and other
utilities underneath.  So I don't think you are going to get very far.

Remember, there is no definition of "Linux" that says you have to have
your userspace code opensource :)

good luck,

greg k-h



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