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

James Sparenberg james@linuxrebel.org
Wed May 14 21:39:00 PDT 2008


On Wednesday 14 May 2008 09:09:13 pm Greg KH wrote:
> 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 :)
>

So I take then you don't know the proper course of action to take to ensure 
that there is not a violation of the GPL occurring.  Which is in this case 
what I'm trying to uncover.  I prefere not to speculate of what maybe might 
be being done and instead hand this over to someone who has the proper data 
set to make an accurate legal assessment of the situation, and if needed 
assist the company in question in maximizing their potential.

(btw it's kinda cool too, too bad the system with the motherboard is a 1U 
production server, and not my desktop/laptop *sigh*)

James



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