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HR20 seems to be running Linux...possible GPL violations?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by mateom199, Mar 16, 2007.

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  1. Mar 17, 2007 #41 of 267
    Drewg5

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    Well other than the notice in the user manual that came with my HR20 there is no other mention anywhere. My HR20 is from 10/28/06 build date, I may very well have been thinking of paperwork that came with my TiVo or some vague reference D* once upon a time had it on there sight. Considering I have had my TiVo for 5 years now I don't think it was from that.

    From what I have been able to peace together, if in fact the HR20 is running linux than yes it needs the GPL, and that would over ride almost the entire Terms And Conditions For Use Of Software ("TERMS") pages 60 and 61. in my book.. It appears there is a newer revision online... Time to find the pages on it...
     
  2. Mar 17, 2007 #42 of 267
    Drewg5

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    http://www.directv.com/see/pdf/060508HR20UserGuidev1_0b.pdf

    Pages 69 and 70 have the same "Terms And Conditions For Use Of Software ("Terms")" that are in my book. There are references to 'free' and 'open source' in section B. page 69 (60 my book) License Restrictions, and page 70 (61) section G. Additional Information.

    My take on this is D* did not do there homework in full. I know how proactive people can be of the GPL, and it must be protected.
     
  3. Mar 20, 2007 #43 of 267
    macEarl

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    D* general counsel believes that because the GPL hasn't changed since 1991, it's ok to reference a website - despite the fact that that's not ok, and that he's not referencing the right website even if it were.

    IOW, the attempt to summarily dismiss me has been made. :nono:

    I've requested direct consultation on the matter and will keep you all posted.
     
  4. Mar 20, 2007 #44 of 267
    jimb726

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    O k, I have read this entire thread. I know nothing about Linux and the issues here other than whats been posted, I gues as an uneducated reader my question is, "Why is this an issue to you guys?" I mean no disrespect, I am just trying to understand why this is an issue? Or what is accomplished by making them admit they are wrong, other than getting them to admit they are wrong? Like I said, I am not trying to start a fight I just want to understand why this is an issue.

    Thanks,
    Jim
     
  5. Mar 20, 2007 #45 of 267
    Doug Brott

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    From what I can tell, DirecTV simply needs to include the written text of the GPL in the instruction manual (or as a printed addendum). It's not clear whether or not DirecTV has modified a stock Linux kernel (from whatever source) or not, but let's assume that they haven't made any modifications. As a matter of recognition for all of the hours that Open Source Programmers have made, the GPL license should be included. It all boils down to Copyright law, nothing more, nothing less.

    It's the same laws that govern what can actually be shown on DirecTV - Copyright law actually makes is so that you can watch your Locals via the Satellite, for example. DirecTV should have plenty of lawyers that know this stuff, so based on macEarl's comments I'm actually surprised that DirecTV didn't do this right the first time.
     
  6. Mar 20, 2007 #46 of 267
    mateom199

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    If you had read the entire thread, you may have noticed this post and this post, to just reference a few.

    It's about forcing D* to stop essentially ripping off other's work as there own, and honor the license they agreed to and accepted when they first downloaded the GPL'd code they are using.

    In another sense, it's about preventing big companies like D* from thinking they are above the law.
     
  7. Mar 20, 2007 #47 of 267
    Earl Bonovich

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    I understand the need for GPL text... and understand it's merit.

    But to say they are "ripping off" other's work...
    My company is going to switching their systems over to an Oracle system, that is going to run on a Linux based server.

    Do we need to put a big sign up in our stores, telling everyone that we are running Linux as our OS system for our central database? I mean if we don't... they won't get the "credit" they deserve...

    Anyway... The thread has been forwarded on, and it is being reviewed...
    If changes to the way the "GPL" is references are needed to be made... they will be.

    But is what the level of compalints about the HR20 have gotten to? ....
    If so... that is a good thing... :D
     
  8. Mar 20, 2007 #48 of 267
    mateom199

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    "Ripping off" is a harsh way to describe it, I admit it. But when it comes down to it, D* could easily remedy the problem, but according to macEarl, they are on a high horse and won't do it. So when it becomes an active refusal of compliance, I think the term "ripping off" can be justified.

    As far as your HR20 complaints comment goes, I'll come clean and admit that one of (not the only, nor strongest) motives in getting D* to comply with the GPL was based off of my frustration - nay, disgust - of D* and their shoddy HR20 and their refusal to even replace my box with another. If they're gonna stick it to me, I'd like to stick it right back as best I can. Maybe this whole issue was fueled by people's distate with the current situation with D*?

    Side note: To those that have a working, reliable HR20 - thank your lucky stars, and have some sympathy for the rest of us. It may seem like alot of whining and bitchin, but some of us truly do have unusable lemons - lemons D* won't even replace upon calls to customer service. And they say I'm an "A List" customer....
     
  9. Mar 20, 2007 #49 of 267
    hr20manray

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    Hang in there. You can try, if you havent' already, to email customer service at DirecTV and advise them of your issues. Login to your account, if you have an online account, and find the "contact us". I have used it and found them to be helpful and quite straightforward. At times, I should say.
     
  10. Mar 20, 2007 #50 of 267
    Doug Brott

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    Earl, there are still a few biggie's out there if you Dig Little Bit, but I see nitpicking becoming more prevalent in our future. :)
     
  11. Mar 20, 2007 #51 of 267
    mateom199

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    Funny you should mention DirecTV.com. I signed up long ago, with an old ATT Broadband account (@attbi.com) before Comcast bought them. I cannot remember my password for the life of me, and I cannot have it reset as my email address they have on file no longer exists.

    I've called customer support twice to have my email address updated, so I could change my password. Both times customer service was friendly, quick, and apparently knew what to do. Both times, however, it did not work. The email address I gave to both CSR's to attach to my account is not found in their system when I try to login/reset password/etc.

    D* just keeps racking up points in my book...:grin:
     
  12. Mar 20, 2007 #52 of 267
    Earl Bonovich

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    Not knowing who exactly macEarl is talking to...

    There is talking to "people"
    Then there is talking to the "right people"

    All I can tell you, is that at least "one" of the right people has been informed of this thread, and it has been sent to the "collective" group of right people to verify and make sure they have things noted the way they should be.
     
  13. Mar 20, 2007 #53 of 267
    macEarl

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    For the record, I don't think D* is trying to rip anybody off.

    (And no one said that I said that, I just want to be very clear - thanks.)

    The issues, jimb726, are as follows - and mateom199, please read #2:

    1. It's just the right thing to do. I think D* is honest and dropped the ball a little. Left unchecked, it might - possibly - maybe - hypothetically encourage the dishonest to think no one cares about the GPL. It has happened before. But in any case, it's a matter of principle, it's a matter of justice, but it's just the right thing to do.

    2. Given that people - including me for my reasons - were noticing this, I wanted this loophole closed before some very unhappy soul decided to use it as a political football or for legal blackmail. The GNU GPL is a shield to protect developers, it is not a sword for the righteous. The developers of the licensed works have cause for direct action against Directv; users with rights under the GPL who may have been deprived of those rights by inaction may have cause for action against Directv. Users who already know their rights are whistling dixie with respect to any actions.

    3. It closes the issue for people with axes to grind and whom mistakenly think they can use this issue the *nix guys are talking about to gain access to D* source code. Some have gone down this path with good intention, others with intention I might question, but frankly, I want awareness raised on GPL and GNU and the FSF in other forums. I do not want it be a scapegoat. I want to stop any word of mouth that the GNU GPL gives anyone any rights to someone else's (D* in this case) intellectual property - it does not.

    Finally, I want to apologize to all if my writing skills have led to confusion - I am not a professional writer. But I am used to lawyers. A big part of their job is to filter the organization from quacks, cranks and the unwashed. So I meant no evil when I said I was summarily dismissed. You don't get the general counsel of a company D*'s size to hold the phone, stop the presses, alert the media, and go to DefCon Infinity because some macEarl has complained that something legal is wrong. My expectation was that anyone following the process I'm trying to politely engage with them would know that an initial summary dismissal is simply due course in the real world.

    I want to save D* money from attacks. The present GPL treatment may leave them open to attacks. Successful attacks on D* lead to successful raising of our rates.

    Developers who protect their codes with the GPL, LGPL and BSD licenses aren't interested in getting rich attacking D* - they are interested in people enjoying great software - under the protection of their rights.

    This issue kept raising its head. I want to be the one to kill - to everyone's benefit. I admit to some ego in that - but in my defense, the people whom I seek to protect are those who would not know that I had a hand in it - just me. If someone else had carried the banner, I'd have been equally as proud of them. That's what's in it for me.

    I hope this helps, and Earl, if you're reading this, please forward this part of thread as well. It should go nicely as backup to my snail-mail to their general counsel.

    I don't want to cost D* money unnecessarily and I am especially interested in not allowing for it to develop into anything in the neighborhood of punitive - I'm against that.

    For all I know, one line of my code is already in that box. For all I know, it isn't. For all I know, others here fit this profile.

    It's just the right thing to respect the terms of the GPL. D* knows that. They think they tried correctly - I do not.
     
  14. Mar 20, 2007 #54 of 267
    arkenhill

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    Earl, It's not about credit, it’s about copyright. The GPL is a list of the terms and conditions for copying, distribution and modification of GPL licensed software. If you distribute GPL software, you have to follow the GPL. The only difference between extracting a show from a DVR and burning it to disc and distributing GPL software without a copy of the GPL is that you already know how you violated the GPL as the terms and conditions are spelled out in advance. On the other hand, when extracting a show from a DVR the copyright owner can now basically come up with whatever relief he can get the courts to approve.
     
  15. Mar 20, 2007 #55 of 267
    mateom199

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    I totally agree and undersand. I want to reiterate that, while I may have been a little devilishly happy at pointing out D*'s misteps, I by no means intended for any serious action against D*. Maybe just a little admittance that they were wrong - a little slice of humble pie. In fact, I have no legal right to even try to enforce any actions. The GPL protects the ones who release the GPL'd code. I have had no part in any of the code, therefore I have no right to take any legal action against D*, nor would I if I could. My original and most driving intentions still remain the same - like you said, its the right thing to do.
     
  16. Mar 20, 2007 #56 of 267
    Tom Robertson

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    macEarl,

    Doing good work, helping a good cause, in the right way, with the skills that have been given, is and should be a boost to one's ego. You done good. And this whole post is well said.

    Thank you,
    Tom
     
  17. Mar 20, 2007 #57 of 267
    mateom199

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    Earl, to answer your question, of course not. The GPL has to do with distribution.

    If, however, your company decided that it wanted to switch business direction, and start selling linux/oracle servers preconfigured to customers. Then yes, you would have to include a copy of the GPL with every distribution of your product. Now, its probably a moot point because all Linux distros come with a copy of the GPL - you probably wouldn't have to worry about it yourself. But if you decided to remove all references to the GPL, and still distribute your product, then there would be a problem.

    And whoever first purchased / set up this oracle server surely recieved a copy of the GPL.
     
  18. Mar 20, 2007 #58 of 267
    Earl Bonovich

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    I understand that... I am software developer and do have an appriciation for the GPL model and what it is there for.

    Not saying anything different.

    My reply that you quoted was in direct reference to the "ripped off" ... thats it.

    Not saying how DirecTV is handling it is correct or incorrect.
    All I am saying is that that the necessary and correct people have been made aware of the thread, and they will make sure that everything is done that has to be.
     
  19. Mar 20, 2007 #59 of 267
    Drew2k

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    Sounds to me like HR20 owners/lessees may eventually receive a printed "addendum" to add to the HR20 user manual, and/or a new page wil be added in a future update to the INFO screen or to the Settings menu with the GNU license ....
     
  20. Mar 24, 2007 #60 of 267
    macEarl

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    Has anyone else received their copy of the GPL via snail mail from D*?

    Mine arrived today. It was hand-addressed, so I'm checking....
     
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