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Software Patents Linux

CherryOS Goes Open Source 370

netsniper writes "The CherryOS website now acknowledges a forthcoming alliance with Open Source Software! After going 'on hold' recently, a re-release of CherryOS is purported to be coming in May according to the site. This is great news on the surface, but let's see how it pans out. This move is probably a result of the many reviews of their product that set out to prove it was bogus."
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CherryOS Goes Open Source

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 07, 2005 @08:59AM (#12164397)
    The developer of the Altivec emulation (the one who was collecting money for a lawsuit) has already revoked their rights to his code. Even if they try to open source they still have problems as they are now dealing with copyrighted code.
  • Re:It's Easy (Score:5, Informative)

    by mikepaktinat ( 609872 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:05AM (#12164425)
    And if you use source code from another project (PearPC), then you have to acknowledge it.

    The problem being that the developer has sworn up and down that he used none of the PearPC code.
  • Re:How nice of them (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:16AM (#12164509)
    You do not lose any rights by selling this...this is allowed, you lose rights by not making the source to GPL software available.
  • by Drantin ( 569921 ) * on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:29AM (#12164601)
    Yes, actually. Remember nmap vs SCO?
  • Re:Open sourced how? (Score:2, Informative)

    by mr.mighty ( 162506 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:31AM (#12164610)
    It is not legitimate. By violating the GPL previously, they lost their rights under the GPL. Now they have no right to use the PearPC code unless the owners of that code explicitly give them permission. If they continue, even if they open source it, they are guilty of copyright violation.

    What do you suppose the odds of that happening are?
  • by PhilHibbs ( 4537 ) <> on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:37AM (#12164661) Homepage Journal
    Is it a trademark? According to [] the copyright isn't even owned by, it's released under the Free Art Licence
  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:41AM (#12164702) Homepage Journal
    When the KDE debate was alive and well someone did ask a lawyer. RMS asked Eben Moglen who said "duh! that's the whole point of that clause." So no, "coming clean" after you've violated the license on GPL software is not enough, you have to ask for forgiveness too.
  • Re:Nothing to see. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Short Circuit ( 52384 ) * <> on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:41AM (#12164708) Homepage Journal
    It's not a Linux clone. It's widely believed it's a ripoff of the PPC architecture emulator PearPC.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:49AM (#12164779)
    not true. The GPL license has terms (specifically section 4)
    4. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is void, and will
    automatically terminate your rights under this License. However, parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.
    once they have terminated their rights under the license, it falls back to a straight copyright.
  • Umm yep (Score:5, Informative)

    by McDutchie ( 151611 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:54AM (#12164821) Homepage
    You can't simply revoke their license, the GPL has no provision for that (and thank God for that).

    RTFL []:

    "4. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License."

  • Re:Nothing to see. (Score:3, Informative)

    by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <sd_resp2.earthshod@co@uk> on Thursday April 07, 2005 @09:59AM (#12164884)
    No: it's not a Linux-like OS that runs on a PPC platform, but rather a PPC emulator that runs on an AMD/Intel platform. Very, very, v e r y s l o w l y.

    You're right, though; you can run Linux on a PPC. Linus does. You can also run FreeBSD on a PPC ..... Apple do .....
  • by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @10:03AM (#12164919)
    It's merely a question of enforcement. Your license to the software under the GPL is terminated when you violate this term, so any further use that would require a license is now copyright infringement instead of licensed use. The question is whether you are going to get sued for the copyright infringement.
  • Re:Too late! (Score:2, Informative)

    by plott ( 865223 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @10:04AM (#12164925)
    They can't realese it under GPL because when they first violated it they lost all their rights to use it. See paragraph 4 of the GNU GPL.
  • by SirTalon42 ( 751509 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @10:07AM (#12164954)
    They distributed beta copies. Thats how people were able to compare the strings.
  • by arodland ( 127775 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @10:17AM (#12165047)
    No, you can't; the grandparent post actually makes no sense. A random developer can't say "you don't have the right to use my code anymore" and take away any rights that the GPL already granted you. That developer could release all of his further changes under the "GPL except CherryOS can't use this code" license, but said license is clearly GPL-incompatible :)

    What does affect CherryOS is section 4 of the GPL itself, which essentially states that any attempt to violate the GPL terminates any rights that the GPL might have granted you. Combined with section 5, that should mean that CherryOS has no right to distribute PearPC code.

    Now, for some unrelated speculation. Maybe they're planning on releasing some "bleached" source, and then say "look, guys, we opened the source just to make you happy, and prove to you that we never used PearPC code" ?
  • Re:It's Easy (Score:2, Informative)

    by Narchie Troll ( 581273 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @10:20AM (#12165085)
    Actually, I'm pretty sure that Red Hat is 100% free software. What you're paying for is support and packaging.

    Note that CentOS and White Box provide repackagings of RHEL for free. As far as I know, Red Hat hasn't complained.
  • I'm a technical editor for EDN Magazine [], and am scheduled to be in Maui on vacation in early May. While I'm there, I've scheduled (several weeks ago) an onsite interview with Maui X-Stream [], the promoters of CherryOS []. Yesterday morning I got an email from company president Jim Kartes clarifying Slashdot's earlier heads-up [] that the software had been pulled, and yesterday's CherryOS website revision; "Due to Overwhelming Demand, Cherry Open Source Project Launches 5.1.2005".

    Here's what Jim says: "Brian. Here's the deal. We have decided to change CherryOS to an "open source code" product. We will do so May 1st because we need a few weeks to prepare for this. We will be charging only $14.95 for this to cover our cost of development, plus ongoing development as well as marketing costs. We are doing this because we want all to see that we have not lifted source code from other sources."

    I suspect that the PearPC development team, and many of the rest of you, have lots of questions for the folks at Maui X-Stream. Please visit my blog posting [] at EDN's website and suggest general topics for discussion during my interview, along with specific questions that you want me to ask Jim and other company representatives I meet with. I'll report back to Slashdot after the meeting, both here and on my blog.

  • Re:I have (Score:5, Informative)

    by McDutchie ( 151611 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @10:39AM (#12165244) Homepage
    The fact that no due process has taken place does not mean the license has not been terminated; it just means that such termination has not yet been legally proven. That's not the same thing. The recovation still takes place at the moment of the infraction.

    In other words, if the termination gets legally proven, then the termination has confirmed legal force from the moment of the first infraction of the GPL.

  • by saddino ( 183491 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @10:40AM (#12165257)
    That was my initial impression as well, but that is clearly not the case. As the developer, Arben Kryesiu has been extremely vocal about his "creation" of CherryOS and has granted many interviews proudly describing his "inspiration" to write CherryOS -- hardly a "fly-by-night" developer who got caught up in a lie and skipped town after delivering a bogus product.

    The "company" that owns CherryOS, Maui-X Stream, has the following in their bio:

    Jim Kartes is the president of Maui-X Stream. He and Arben Kryesiu started the company in the winter of 2003.

    So, this publicity hounding "developer" is a also co-founder of the company, and hence: the company is not an innocent player in all of this.
  • Re:It's Easy (Score:3, Informative)

    by FooBarWidget ( 556006 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @10:50AM (#12165347)
    - Anaconda installer - open source
    - Kickstart - open source
    - GUI configuration tools - open source
    So which parts are not open source?
  • Re:It's Easy (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ma´djeurtam ( 101190 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @10:50AM (#12165358) Homepage Journal
    From []: Prominent North American Enterprise Linux Vendor's Legal Department Targets Website Content

    Read the full release []
  • Re:It's Easy (Score:4, Informative)

    by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @11:07AM (#12165485)
    From the linked article:

    The CentOS Team has been contacted by representatives of a Prominent North American Enterprise Linux Vendor's hired legal team regarding the use of said Prominent North American Enterprise Linux Vendor's Trademarks on (Full Email follows.) While the CentOS team feels we are using the Prominent North American Enterprise Linux Vendor's marks in a fair and legal manner, we have no choice but to eliminate the majority of the Prominent North American Enterprise Linux Vendor's marks that are being used on

    This is about trademark - not copyright. From Redhat's email to CentOS:

    As you are aware, our client is the owner of rights for numerous trademarks, including but not limited to its famous RED HAT mark and RHEL (collectively, the "RED HAT marks"). ...
    While Red Hat permits others to redistribute the software that constitutes Red Hat Linux, Red Hat does not authorize any person to use the RED HAT marks in association with such redistribution in any fashion, except by express agreement. In this regard, our client is concerned that your use of the RED HAT marks on your web site in this manner is likely to create confusion, mistake and/or deception among consumers with respect to the source, origin, sponsorship or approval of the products sold under your company name.

    This has nothing to do with the software that makes up Redhat which is (last time I looked) entirely GPLed. And CentOS continues today - sans Redhat trademarks.
  • nmap vs SCO (Score:2, Informative)

    by hotspotbloc ( 767418 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @12:21PM (#12166260) Homepage Journal
    Yes, actually. Remember nmap vs SCO?

    For those that don't remember (from Nmap 3.50 Press Release - 2004-02-20 []):

    SCO Corporation of Lindon, Utah (formerly Caldera) has lately taken to an extortion campaign of demanding license fees from Linux users for code that they themselves knowingly distributed under the terms of the GNU GPL. They have also refused to accept the GPL, claiming that some preposterous theory of theirs makes it invalid (and even unconstitutional)! Meanwhile they have distributed GPL-licensed Nmap in (at least) their "Supplemental Open Source CD". In response to these blatant violations, and in accordance with section 4 of the GPL, we hereby terminate SCO's rights to redistribute any versions of Nmap in any of their products, including (without limitation) OpenLinux, Skunkware, OpenServer, and UNIXWare. We have also stopped supporting the OpenServer and UNIXWare platforms.
  • by HopeOS ( 74340 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @12:56PM (#12166631)
    The only "due process" that exists is before a jury, and that is after they've been hauled into court for copyright violation. The first time the GPL goes into action is before the judge, and it goes like this (courtesy of Eben Moglen):

    EM: Your Honor, these people are distributing our copyrighted software. Please make them stop.

    GPLViolator: We invoke the GPL as a defense.

    EM: Your Honor, according to clause 4, when they violated the GPL here here and here, it was revoked and void, therefore they cannot use the GPL as a defense.

    GV: (I'm screwed...) Let's settle.

    To date, no one has gone beyond the "let's settle" stage. The only way they could do that would be to deny they violated the GPL and request a jury to make a decision. Good luck convincing a judge of that.

  • Re:It's Easy (Score:2, Informative)

    by tim256 ( 855256 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @01:24PM (#12166925)
    The GPL says:
    You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, and you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a fee.
    So you don't charge for the software, you charge for distributing the software. I think that someone else is allowed to distribute another persons GPL software for free. So, they could charge for their product, but someone else could be giving it away for free if they released under the GPL to begin with.
  • by CdBee ( 742846 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @01:27PM (#12166952)
    " If you're reading this, anyone at MXS, I have been far more than fair. I have so far only ever asked you to comply with the GPL, and release your source code. But now you've pissed me off. Being that I need now contact a lawyer, I will not stop simply there. Being that I'm full copyright owner of my code, and can do as I please, including providing overriding licenses to those openly available.

    Since I view Maui X-Stream as in breach of the GPL under which my code is distributed, let this serve as public notice, that my code is no longer legally available for any reason to Maui X-Stream. Since they refuse to co-operate with the very lenient guidelines of the GPL, and refuse at all ends to comply with it. They can no longer claim any rights under the GPL license concerning my code. As such, my original rights of copyright apply, and I refuse any legal access to Maui X-Stream to my code (my code being specifically the G4/AltiVec emulation in generic, and in specific to x86 scalar, and SSE as implemented as a modification to the PearPC project)"

    Text copied from here []
  • Re:It's Easy (Score:3, Informative)

    by mrwiggly ( 34597 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @01:39PM (#12167078)
    And if you use source code from another project (PearPC), then you have to acknowledge it.

    Actually, this is not a requirement. Remember that a similar attribution clause (the so-called "advertisement clause") in the BSD license made it incompatible with the GPL.

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Thursday April 07, 2005 @01:42PM (#12167113) Homepage Journal

    The hat icon is redhat-main-menu.png, and belongs to the redhat-artwork RPM ... License: GPL

    GNU General Public License is a license under copyright law. It is not a license under trademark law. Red Hat claims exclusive rights in the "shadow man" logo under trademark law, not copyright law.

  • by BigDaddyJ ( 38640 ) on Thursday April 07, 2005 @03:14PM (#12168407)
    Two choices:
    • Release the source as GPL, but sell the bundling, a la Red Hat & co. You can actually make pretty good money this way, since you can tie support to the purchase of a product.
    • Negotiate with the developer to get a commercial license which allows you to close-source all modifications and release it as a product. Many developers are willing to do such "dual-licensing" agreements, and in fact some (TrollTech for example) offer such an arrangement from the outset.
  • You can sell GPL'ed code for as much money as you want. There is no problem producing GPL'ed code and selling it for a profit. Read this part of the GPL FAQ:

    Does the GPL allow me to sell copies of the program for money?
    Yes, the GPL allows everyone to do this. The right to sell copies is part of the definition of free software. Except in one special situation, there is no limit on what price you can charge. (The one exception is the required written offer to provide source code that must accompany binary-only release.)

    Does the GPL allow me to charge a fee for downloading the program from my site?
    Yes. You can charge any fee you wish for distributing a copy of the program. If you distribute binaries by download, you must provide "equivalent access" to download the source--therefore, the fee to download source may not be greater than the fee to download the binary.

    Does the GPL allow me to require that anyone who receives the software must pay me a fee and/or notify me?
    No. In fact, a requirement like that would make the program non-free. If people have to pay when they get a copy of a program, or if they have to notify anyone in particular, then the program is not free. See the definition of free software.

    The GPL is a free software license, and therefore it permits people to use and even redistribute the software without being required to pay anyone a fee for doing so.
    If I distribute GPL'd software for a fee, am I required to also make it available to the public without a charge?
    No. However, if someone pays your fee and gets a copy, the GPL gives them the freedom to release it to the public, with or without a fee. For example, someone could pay your fee, and then put her copy on a web site for the general public.

    The only thing tricky about selling GPL'ed software is that anybody can buy a copy and then start redistributing it for any price they choose, including free (as in beer). Whether or not that would happen in any given case, is anybody's guess.

    And even if it does, that doesn't mean you can't still make a profit. It's entirely possible that people would choose to buy from you, as opposed to getting for free from somebody else. Just ask RedHat. People buy RHEL for thousands of dollars, despite the availability of CentOS, WBEL, etc.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming