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Stalwarts Claim Asus eeePC Violates GPL 247

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the seems-like-everything-neat-does dept.
WirePosted writes "Members of the Linux community have complained that the hot new sub-notebook from Asus, the eeePC, may have violated the spirit of the Linux General Public License (GPL). Some Linux advocates claim the eeePC has not included required source code with the installed Xandros Linux distribution and does not easily enable users to install another distro. However, there are indications that eeePC fans probably don't care."
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Stalwarts Claim Asus eeePC Violates GPL

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  • Is it just me? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @09:10AM (#21470787) Homepage Journal
    Is it just me? Or does there seem to be coordinated effort on the part of Microsoft and their cronies to fragment the Linux community by using legal offensives, everything from the patent agreements mentioned in TFA to out and out violations of the GPL, such as this one from ASUS? I think it's sort of a divide and conquer strategy... BUt I also don't think that they fully understand the dynamics involved ... there isn't just the 'purists' vs. the 'pragmatists'... we're a lot more complicated than that, or so I'd like to think.
  • I own an Asus EEE PC (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DrXym (126579) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @09:17AM (#21470821)
    I can't comment on whether it violates the GPL, but it does include the GPL text in the manual and there is a support DVD in the box. If they didn't include the source on the CD, then they could have and probably should in future.

    BTW the Asus Eee PC is a great little machine although like most Linux dists the UI is a little rough around the edges.

  • Half and Half (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2007 @09:23AM (#21470861)
    A couple of things, let's wait an see.

    On the GPL issue I like that the poster actually purchased the PC. Give them a few weeks to respond to a request for the sources. Seems easy enough. The GPL is pretty clearcut.

    On the upgrades/breaking seals void warranty, that seems completely understandable. If you've tested hardware in one configuration with a specific set of components, that is obviously what you'll warranty.

    I don't understand why people think companies should warranty things if you add random, $15 no-name memory or an overclocked, overheating PCI-E card etc. They have no control. Odds are you won't have a problem of course. But anyone who has used computers will realize that even a small change can throw things off. And is a super pain to track down, especially if you weren't the one making the change. This even I have experienced. A good first question is to ask what has changed recently on this system when there are problems.

    I did a very short and small stint doing embedded systems programming. Pretty standard small parts under the hood. But that didn't mean if you unscrewed the housing and "upgraded" things we'd feel obligated to warranty it. Especially because there were safety of life implications.

    Secondly, there is a simple route to take here. Have someone who actually owns copyright on code make a complaint, or take your complaint to the company, and failing that forward to the FSF/SFLC or whomever....
  • by that this is not und (1026860) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @09:29AM (#21470895)
    Sounds like the author of asus_acpi has a lawsuit on his/her hands.

    It sounds, though, like there isn't an attributable author.

    Is there anybody to sue??

    Can second, third, and fourth-hand distribution of unattributed but non-compliant formerly GPL'd work be prohibited?
  • by X0563511 (793323) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @09:29AM (#21470903) Homepage Journal
    Does the eeePC support booting from the net? (pxe, rarp, etc)
  • Re:Is it just me? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2007 @10:01AM (#21471083)
    Speaking as a free software developer, if I was MS I would put people on mailing lists and message boards for free software projects and then have them bitch and moan about every conceivable potential violation.
    To exemplify: I released a piece of software, (all original c:a 6000 loc) under the GPL. Some people started bitching to me that I had to include build files, or that my copyright text wasn't right and so on. This caused me to have to go and look it up in the license (which is not trivial because as an original author, not all conditions apply) just to be able to respond.
    By the third time this happened, I said screw it, and withdrew my software.

    License nit picking can sap developer enthusiasm like a scifi death ray. If MS really wanted to slow down the progress of free software, I'd say that this is a viable attack vector.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2007 @11:16AM (#21471547)
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid=mozclient&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&q=%22general+public+license%22+-gnu [google.co.uk]

    Yes, a lot of those are references to the GNU GPL without mentioning the word "GNU", and there are some mentions of the Affero licence too, but there are still quite a few "General Public Licenses" that have nothing to do with the FSF.
  • by mobby_6kl (668092) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @11:20AM (#21471573)
    What do you mean, "stolen by ASUS"? The original GPL code is still there, freely available from wherever the ASUS folks got it from. The owners are still in full posession of the code. Does not compute. EOF
  • by Borromini (1193985) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @11:35AM (#21471701)
    From the article: "However, the issue highlighted by the latest revelations concerning the Asus eeePC and the GPL signals a growing rift developing between Linux pragmatists such as Xandros and Novell's Suse, and Linux purists such as Red Hat and Canonical-funded Ubuntu." Dude... I mean - how 'purist' is Ubuntu when it delivers those binary nVidia/ATi blobs out of the box? You tell me.
  • by Karzz1 (306015) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @11:48AM (#21471775) Homepage
    ...in other words, it was formerly distributed under the GPL and is now just a warez thing.

    Ok, I can see that. Thanks for the clarification.
  • Madwifi (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SleepyHappyDoc (813919) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @01:43PM (#21472611)
    asus_acpi isn't even the worst of it. Their modified madwifi supports a chipset that the rest of the madwifi community has been wanting support for for months. I read something somewhere about madwifi being licensed in a way which allows this (which seems silly, on the surface, as the community now has to duplicate asus' efforts), but it still doesn't make sense to me. it's not a secret what the wifi chipset in the eee is, so I don't see what they gain by not allowing other linux distros to support it...it's not like they're making millions selling Xandros licenses.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2007 @07:27PM (#21474491)
  • by (Score.5, Interestin (865513) on Monday November 26, 2007 @12:06AM (#21475521)
    Why Linux on the desktop will never happen, reason #137: The instant some vendor ships a nice, cheap, Linux-based desktop PC, a zillion Linux fanboys will descend on them complaining that they've violated some usage condition so obscure that it takes a hundred-message thread just to explain it.

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