Archos Is Violating the GPL

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L0wt3ch
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Archos Is Violating the GPL

Post by L0wt3ch »

As has been noted on this forum several times, the source code that they have released is incomplete. The GPL specifically states that if you are to use GPL software, all of the code must be available for others to use/change as they wish.

Therefore Archos' software is neither free as in freedom nor as in beer.

The Linux philosophy has always been centered on freedom - putting the user in control and giving him the freedom to change his software as he sees fit. Or do you really think the Linux community has been putting all this effort into making software under the GPL so unscrupulous companies can use it to restrict users and prevent them from using their hardware?

The Free Software Foundation are the people who brought us the GPL license. From http://www.fsf.org/:
What is free software and why is it so important for society?

Free software is software that gives you the user the freedom to share, study and modify it. We call this free software because the user is free.

To use free software is to make a political and ethical choice asserting the right to learn, and share what we learn with others. Free software has become the foundation of a learning society where we share our knowledge in a way that others can build upon and enjoy.

Currently, many people use proprietary software that denies users these freedoms and benefits. If we make a copy and give it to a friend, if we try to figure out how the program works, if we put a copy on more than one of our own computers in our own home, we could be caught and fined or put in jail. ThatÔÇÖs whatÔÇÖs in the fine print of the license agreement you accept when using proprietary software.

The corporations behind proprietary software will often spy on your activities and restrict you from sharing with others. And because our computers control much of our personal information and daily activities, proprietary software represents an unacceptable danger to a free society.

The GNU Operating System and the Free Software Movement

What if there were a worldwide group of talented ethical programmers voluntarily committed to the idea of writing and sharing software with each other and with anyone else who agreed to share alike? What if anyone could be a part of and benefit from this community even without being a computer expert or knowing anything about programming? We wouldnÔÇÖt have to worry about getting caught copying a useful program for our friendsÔÇöbecause we wouldnÔÇÖt be doing anything wrong.

In fact, such a movement exists, and you can be a part of it. The free software movement was started in 1983 by computer scientist Richard M. Stallman, when he launched a project called GNU, which stands for ÔÇ£GNU is Not UNIXÔÇØ, to provide a replacement for the UNIX operating systemÔÇöa replacement that would respect the freedoms of those using it. Then in 1985, Stallman started the Free Software Foundation, a nonprofit with the mission of advocating and educating on behalf of computer users around the world.

There are now many variants or 'distributions' of this GNU operating system using the kernel Linux. We recommend those GNU/Linux distributions that are 100% free software; in other words, entirely freedom-respecting.

Today, free software is available for just about any task you can imagine. From complete operating systems like GNU, to over 5,000 individual programs and tools listed in the FSF/UNESCO free software directory. Millions of people around the world ÔÇö including entire governments ÔÇö are now using free software on their computers.

Our Core Work

The FSF maintains the Free Software Definition - to show clearly what must be true about a particular software program for it to be considered free software.

The FSF sponsors the GNU project the ongoing effort to provide a complete operating system licensed as free software. We also fund and promote important free software development and provide development systems for GNU software maintainers, including full email and shell services and mailing lists. We are committed to furthering the development of the GNU Operating System and enabling volunteers to easily contribute to that work, including sponsoring Savannah the source code repository and center for free software development.

The FSF holds copyright on a large proportion of the GNU operating system, and other free software. We hold these assets to defend free software from efforts to turn free software proprietary. Every year we collect thousands of copyright assignments from individual software developers and corporations working on free software. We register these copyrights with the US copyright office and enforce the license under which we distribute free software - typically the GNU General Public License. We do this to ensure that free software distributors respect their obligations to pass on the freedom to all users, to share, study and modify the code. We do this work through our Free Software Licensing and Compliance Lab.

The FSF publishes the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL), the worlds most popular free software license, and the only license written with the express purpose of promoting and preserving software freedom. Other important licenses we publish include the GNU Lesser General Public License (GNU LGPL), the GNU Affero General Public License (GNU AGPL) and the GNU Free Document License (GNU FDL). Read more about our free software licensing and related issues.

The FSF campaigns for free software adoption and against proprietary software. Threats to free software include Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), Software Patents and Treacherous Computing. Find out more about our campaigns, and ways to volunteer.

The FSF also provides important resources to the community including the FSF/UNESCO free software directory.
If Archos doesn't want their software to be free "to share, study and modify", they should not be using software released under the GPL license.
Rico
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Re: Archos Is Violating the GPL

Post by Rico »

N00b, too bad!

When you bought it you agree to their agreements, more specific when you Register it, you agree even more to their terms.

I am sure its somewhere in there terms the code (freedom) issue, but meh ill email them anyways. And maybe report in http://www.bbb.org

But its really "our" fault when we bought it.


--------------------------------------------------------------

But yeah, I do agree with you, Archos is using linux to (Save Cash) avoid paying microsoft mobile any money, so when they are saving money, they are charging us money for something they got free.... Ofcourse programmers had to be paid and all that.


If we could do anything at all, It should be with Linux.... but they won't lissen to us.
Coupon: Snow10
Logik
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Re: Archos Is Violating the GPL

Post by Logik »

the linux os is used in a lot of commercial media players,
the bits we pay for are the closed source executables:
avos
davinci drivers (closed source part)
and anything else closed source.


really, their violation is making it hard to get hold of the latest modifications to linux.
crispibits
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Re: Archos Is Violating the GPL

Post by crispibits »

Hi,
IANAL, but I don't believe that they are are violating the GPL. They provide the source code of the Linux kernel and any part of the GNU toolchain they use or modify. They do not provide the source for the binaries they have written from the ground up, and nor should they. If you write a program to run on a Linux box, you can do whatever you like with it, and release it under any licence you like.

Having said that, if the source of the GPL'ed code (modified or otherwise) *is* incomplete, then yes, they are open to legal action, and I would be very happy to see them nicked!

Rico, it's not my fault for buying an Archos product, I knew it ran on Linux, but I didn't (and don't) know that the source code is incomplete. I must say I'm very disappointed in Archos' refusal to open up the device, and to lock it down so much, but I've learnt my lesson, and next time will buy from a more open company.
kb
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Re: Archos Is Violating the GPL

Post by kb »

So far as I know, Archos does what it has to in order to comply. It does the _minimum_ it has to, to be sure. But I don't see any GPL terms being broken.

Whether Archos complies with the spirit of the open software movement is a different matter. I suspect it does not, but then it is by no means alone in that. Being somewhat commercially mean-spirited is not a crime. In fact, in the current economical climate it's essential for survival. I work in the software business myself, and I can vouch for how difficult it is to make money by giving your software away for nothing.

If you don't like the way Archos does business, buy elsewhere. Capitalism has it's strengths, as well as its weaknesses.
crispibits
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Re: Archos Is Violating the GPL

Post by crispibits »

Hmm, I also notice that the reason it has brought up several times is because you've double posted, but I'll let that lie. I also note that there's a l0wt3ch posting about using Ubuntu on a PS(P?). Surely if you're such a Free software zealot you should be buying a GP2X or a Pandora's box or something, rather than a product of the nemesis of Free Software and alleged installer of rootkits that is Sony?
I also note that you've seen Stallman speak, but you still do the heinous crime of just referring to GNU/Linux as just 'Linux'. How very dare you? :-)

Love, light and peace,
Crispin
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