[Linux-aus] Dell and the GPL

Adam Nielsen a.nielsen at shikadi.net
Tue Dec 7 10:09:23 EST 2010

Thanks for the replies guys!

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

I think this is where there is some misinterpretation of the GPL (in the case 
of companies vs users.)  The GPL (v2) does state that "complete source code 
means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any associated 
interface definition files, plus the scripts used to control compilation and 
installation of the executable."

So in the case of firmware images, the argument is that you must be able to 
build a firmware image or somehow copy the binary onto the device in order to 
"install" it.

When this was pointed out to Dell they just disagreed and left it at that, and 
I had the same issue with Avocent (trying to compile the code for one of their 
KVM-over-IP devices) who at least admitted that they couldn't comply because 
they had used proprietary tools for their build environment which they 
couldn't release because of license restrictions.

> 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.

Ha, looks like I'll have to start a blog then.  I thought I might be able to 
get away without one too... ;-)

@Daniel: There is a lot of discussion about Tivoisation but unfortunately most 
of it is about what it is and/or why it is bad, but there's little in the way 
of what can be done about it.


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