[Linux-aus] Dell and the GPL

Russell Coker russell at coker.com.au
Wed Dec 1 19:52:00 EST 2010

On Wed, 1 Dec 2010, Adam Nielsen <a.nielsen at shikadi.net> wrote:
> While Dell have released the source code for the device firmware[1], 
> unfortunately that's all it is - source.  There is no way to compile a 
> firmware image or otherwise get modified code transferred onto the device.

You should be able to build it.  But AFAIK there is no requirement to be able 
to install it.

> This means having access to the source is effectively useless - what 
> good is being able to change the code if I can't then compile and run my 
> changed version?  Very clever tactic on Dell's part to appear compliant 
> with the license but prevent people from modifying their devices.

Probably sloth mostly.

> It is my understanding that the GPL (particularly v3) covers this 
> situation and that Dell should be releasing a full build environment so 
> a custom firmware can be built.  I have tried contacting Dell about this 
> with limited success, and unofficially I have been told that unless it 
> will boost sales figures they're not interested.
> Unfortunately I am not sure what to do next.  I have approached the Free 
> Software Foundation but they are overloaded with cases so they are 
> unable to help.

Make it an issue that will affect sales figures.  Start by getting your blog 
syndicated by Planet Linux Australia and any other popular syndication 
services for which you are eligible.  Then blog about it.

russell at coker.com.au
http://etbe.coker.com.au/          My Main Blog
http://doc.coker.com.au/           My Documents Blog

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