Are they obligued to give me the source code? - Embedded

This is a discussion on Are they obligued to give me the source code? - Embedded ; I'm new to embedded Linux (in fact, to any Linux), but I am considering to use some specific commercial boards with "embedded Linux" in it. I'm told that the Linux distro is based on Linux 2.6, and that they provide ...

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Thread: Are they obligued to give me the source code?

  1. Are they obligued to give me the source code?

    I'm new to embedded Linux (in fact, to any Linux), but I am considering
    to use some specific commercial boards with "embedded Linux" in it. I'm
    told that the Linux distro is based on Linux 2.6, and that they provide
    us with the binaries already programmed in the Flash, as well as the
    cross-compiler, etc.

    We will probably add some hardware to that already present in the
    commercial boards, so perhaps we will need to change the kernel, or add
    some drivers, or whatever.

    In any case, I thought that, as the distro they sell us is based on GPL
    software, they should at least provide us with the source and
    configuration files needed to rebuild the kernel. Are they obliged to do
    that, or am I wrong?

  2. Re: Are they obligued to give me the source code?

    On 2007-10-09, Ignacio G.T. wrote:

    > In any case, I thought that, as the distro they sell us is
    > based on GPL software, they should at least provide us with
    > the source and configuration files needed to rebuild the
    > kernel. Are they obliged to do that, or am I wrong?


    Yes they are required to. All of the embedded Linux vendors
    I've ever seen do so. Have they told you they won't? If so,
    who are they?

    --
    Grant Edwards grante Yow! INSIDE, I have the
    at same personality disorder
    visi.com as LUCY RICARDO!!

  3. Re: Are they obligued to give me the source code?

    Grant Edwards escribió:
    > On 2007-10-09, Ignacio G.T. wrote:
    >
    >> In any case, I thought that, as the distro they sell us is
    >> based on GPL software, they should at least provide us with
    >> the source and configuration files needed to rebuild the
    >> kernel. Are they obliged to do that, or am I wrong?

    >
    > Yes they are required to. All of the embedded Linux vendors
    > I've ever seen do so. Have they told you they won't? If so,
    > who are they?


    Thanks, Grant. A commercial guy from the distributor told me so, but he
    was going to check it with the distro makers. I'll give them a chance
    before publishing their name.

  4. Re: Are they obligued to give me the source code?

    Ignacio G.T. wrote:
    > Grant Edwards escribió:
    >> On 2007-10-09, Ignacio G.T. wrote:
    >>
    >>> In any case, I thought that, as the distro they sell us is
    >>> based on GPL software, they should at least provide us with
    >>> the source and configuration files needed to rebuild the
    >>> kernel. Are they obliged to do that, or am I wrong?

    >>
    >> Yes they are required to. All of the embedded Linux vendors
    >> I've ever seen do so. Have they told you they won't? If so,
    >> who are they?

    >
    > Thanks, Grant. A commercial guy from the distributor told me so, but he
    > was going to check it with the distro makers. I'll give them a chance
    > before publishing their name.


    They have to give you the source code if you ask for it, but they are
    allowed to charge a small handling fee - they are not obliged to make
    the source code a free-for-all download link. But they *are* obliged to
    tell you of your rights under the GPL.

  5. Re: Are they obligued to give me the source code?

    Ignacio G.T. ha scritto:
    > I'm new to embedded Linux (in fact, to any Linux), but I am considering
    > to use some specific commercial boards with "embedded Linux" in it. I'm
    > told that the Linux distro is based on Linux 2.6, and that they provide
    > us with the binaries already programmed in the Flash, as well as the
    > cross-compiler, etc.
    >
    > We will probably add some hardware to that already present in the
    > commercial boards, so perhaps we will need to change the kernel, or add
    > some drivers, or whatever.
    >
    > In any case, I thought that, as the distro they sell us is based on GPL
    > software, they should at least provide us with the source and
    > configuration files needed to rebuild the kernel. Are they obliged to do
    > that, or am I wrong?


    Read here
    http://www.gpl-violations.org/faq/sourcecode-faq.html

  6. Re: Are they obligued to give me the source code?

    In Germany a judge just ruled that they need to provide the source code
    on a hardware medium (such as CD) and need to provide a written copy of
    the GPL together with the hardware device.

    -Michael

  7. Re: Are they obligued to give me the source code?

    On 2007-10-10, Michael Schnell wrote:

    > In Germany a judge just ruled that they need to provide the
    > source code on a hardware medium (such as CD) and need to
    > provide a written copy of the GPL together with the hardware
    > device.


    I'm not surprised. That's certainly what the text of the GPL
    says.

    --
    Grant Edwards grante Yow! HELLO KITTY gang
    at terrorizes town, family
    visi.com STICKERED to death!

  8. Re: Are they obligued to give me the source code?

    Michael Schnell wrote:
    > In Germany a judge just ruled that they need to provide the source code
    > on a hardware medium (such as CD) and need to provide a written copy of
    > the GPL together with the hardware device.
    >
    > -Michael


    There is a distinction here (in the GPL - I don't know about the case
    ruling). I don't believe you have to provide a full copy of the GPL in
    physical form (that would not apply to downloaded code, for example),
    but they have to either provide the source code from the same source as
    the binary (e.g., a CD accompanying the hardware), or a written offer,
    valid for 3 years, to provide the source code on request. I believe
    that they must provide information to this effect along with the binary
    (or the hardware, in this case). There is no obligation to provide you
    with a CD containing the source code - it is enough that they will give
    you such a CD (possibly charging an administration fee) on request.

  9. Re: Are they obligued to give me the source code?

    AFAI understood:

    According to this decision the source code must come with the compiled
    code. Thus if the compiled code can be downloaded the source code needs
    to be downloadable from the same site. If the compiled code comes with
    some kind of a hardware, the source code should come with a related
    roll-out.

    -Michael

  10. Re: Are they obligued to give me the source code?

    Michael Schnell a écrit :
    > AFAI understood:
    >
    > According to this decision the source code must come with the compiled
    > code. Thus if the compiled code can be downloaded the source code needs
    > to be downloadable from the same site. If the compiled code comes with
    > some kind of a hardware, the source code should come with a related
    > roll-out.


    This would apply to all firmware downloads containing GPL stuff.
    That's interesting as I know at least one company that does not
    do that: you have to pay $20 to get a CD with the (incomplete)
    code.

    Did you get that from the German ruling?


    Laurent

  11. Re: Are they obligued to give me the source code?

    Michael Schnell wrote:
    > AFAI understood:
    >
    > According to this decision the source code must come with the compiled
    > code. Thus if the compiled code can be downloaded the source code needs
    > to be downloadable from the same site. If the compiled code comes with
    > some kind of a hardware, the source code should come with a related
    > roll-out.
    >
    > -Michael


    (Please quote properly when replying in a Usenet group - it makes it
    much easier to follow the thread, and is particularly relevant if anyone
    looks up these posts in the archives.)

    I'm not sure that such a ruling would have any effect - I don't believe
    it is possible for a court to impose additional restrictions or
    requirements beyond those in the license in question. It's possible
    that they can do this for a particular company and a particular case, as
    a punishment for not following the license in the first place, but there
    is no way a court can add requirements to a license in general.

    mvh.,

    David

  12. Re: Are they obligued to give me the source code?

    > I'm not sure that such a ruling would have any effect - I don't believe
    > it is possible for a court to impose additional restrictions or
    > requirements beyond those in the license in question. It's possible
    > that they can do this for a particular company and a particular case, as
    > a punishment for not following the license in the first place, but there
    > is no way a court can add requirements to a license in general.


    If course they were hearing a dedicate case. But as it supposedly is the
    first ruling in such a case, other judges will follow that argument.

    -Michael

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