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


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#26 OFFLINE   Doug Brott

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 02:43 PM

macEarl, it sounds like you are probably right on this issue. If that is the case, a simple fix would be to have a web page made available with said documentation or a help menu on the HR20.

I know the TiVo does release information, but do they actually include the GPL with the box? What about 2nd hand transfers ... that, too would be a violation if the GPL text was not included.

Seems to me, though, that the people that really care about it (legal or otherwise) can actually find the GPL text easily enough. If the only thing missing is the text, then this argument is more on principle than necessity, IMHO.

It's a good analysis.
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#27 OFFLINE   mateom199

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 02:59 PM

macEarl, it sounds like you are probably right on this issue. If that is the case, a simple fix would be to have a web page made available with said documentation or a help menu on the HR20.

I know the TiVo does release information, but do they actually include the GPL with the box? What about 2nd hand transfers ... that, too would be a violation if the GPL text was not included.

Seems to me, though, that the people that really care about it (legal or otherwise) can actually find the GPL text easily enough. If the only thing missing is the text, then this argument is more on principle than necessity, IMHO.

It's a good analysis.


Its also about giving credit where it's due. Thousands and thousands of hours have been devoted to GNU/Linux by countless individuals. They did not have to release any of their work, but they did and did so under a relatively flexible license. Their hard work is available for anyone to see, use, modify, and even profit commercially from: all they ask in return is acknowledgment, and contribution to the community in certain instances.

#28 OFFLINE   leww37334

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 04:24 PM

I just skimmed through the posts above, but I didn't see the answer to this: Do you have to provide a copy of the GPL if you only lease something containing LInux and NOT sell it?
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#29 OFFLINE   Spanky_Partain

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 04:36 PM

macEarl,

Wow!

I had a whole page written up and I decided I would just drop this.

Good theory!
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#30 OFFLINE   macEarl

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 04:38 PM

macEarl, it sounds like you are probably right on this issue. If that is the case, a simple fix would be to have a web page made available with said documentation or a help menu on the HR20.


Web page for compliance would be UNusual and up to a negotiation with the FSF.

I do not advocate a help menu. That would be an invasive software change, and I'm not for that. If D* was invasive by not respecting the terms of the license and publishing it, then counter-invasion is no answer - my opinion.

Put it in the box where it belongs, send out a message to HR20 users grandfathered by the mistake - once they get the message-from-D* feature really working. :)

There are plenty of ways to fix this - big spending or disruption is not required.

I know the TiVo does release information, but do they actually include the GPL with the box? What about 2nd hand transfers ... that, too would be a violation if the GPL text was not included.


DIRECTV HD DVR User's Guide for my old 10-250, Appendix B, page 165 through 170 - GNU General Public License. It even includes the legal conservatism I mentioned, giving the example text of Ty Coon from Yoyodyne, Inc. They took no chances. I was skeptical of moving up to Tivo as a happy D* customer - but my first Hughes SD DTivo had the same thing - it literally hooked me on Tivo as coming from the good guys. The 10-250 continued the tradition (er, legal necessities).

So, yes, it's in the box. And yes, you screw up if you sell your DTivo without either the manual or a GPL notice.

Seems to me, though, that the people that really care about it (legal or otherwise) can actually find the GPL text easily enough. If the only thing missing is the text, then this argument is more on principle than necessity, IMHO.

It's a good analysis.


I'm fairly new here as a poster Doug - beginning of the year. Ordered the HR20 very early on, got it in September or maybe early October (I really have to look that up for my street cred, I guess :) ). Look at one of my earliest know-it-all posts - I credited the HR20 as being Windows-based. Not that anyone flamed me or anything, but I did get out some aloe, my asbestos underoos, and a red-shamed face when I thanked everyone for correcting me. It was the early days of the HR20 and I thought CSRs were gods who knew all and took care of me, like before. I found no GPL in the box. I had about 4 hours of uptime for the first 3 1/2 days (until a CSR walked me through a reformat, even back then). I asked if this was a Windows-based box, because my DTivos were GNU/Linux. I was told yes, nothing in common at all with DTivo, Windows' based. I asked the CSR if she knew what the GPL was - she responded, you bet, we all know what the GNU GPL is - pretty good handshake on that info, I thought. We laughed and I felt a lot more comfy reformatting a Windows machine new out of the box. Sorry to be a *nix snob/fanboi, but there it is - at least I admit it. :)

So nowhere in that exchange - as mateom99 and I are pointing out - did a lot of people who put in free work to make the HR20 commercially/technically possible get any credit, and that's all they wanted. Not by name, not by company, but by the clearinghouse that we share from.

I assert that the HR20 is a great value for the money and an advanced product. I also assert that it wouldn't be so if it were based on non-open-source - a lot of foundation-level stuff comes free no charge to the subcontractors->D*->you and me.

Where does necessity begin and matter-of-principle end? If we could trust everyone's principles, would there be any copyright law in existence to question?

I insist on painting this rose as red. "D* was not unprinicipled, they made a mistake." Must I prove that their mistake - left uncorrected - could encourage the unprinicipled or are there not sufficient precedents on that account?

A large corporation is profiting from open software having no cost of investment for that portion of their profit. It was provided under copyright. Only Spanky_Partain has an arugment against the copyright terms as the unit is only leased - to which I don't agree.

For me, copyrights are like 186,000 miles/second - not just a good idea, it's the law.

#31 OFFLINE   mateom199

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 04:39 PM

I just skimmed through the posts above, but I didn't see the answer to this: Do you have to provide a copy of the GPL if you only lease something containing LInux and NOT sell it?


The GPL applies to distribution, not ownership. Because leasing is still a form a distribution, the GPL should still apply.

#32 OFFLINE   Ken S

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 04:40 PM

I just skimmed through the posts above, but I didn't see the answer to this: Do you have to provide a copy of the GPL if you only lease something containing LInux and NOT sell it?


My understanding is anytime you distribute something containing Linux you must abide by the GPL's terms. Distribute, to me, would clearly include lease.

#33 OFFLINE   Drewg5

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 04:50 PM

If I'm not mistaken, D* had some remote remark in the paper work that cane with the HR20 about going to there website for more info on the system software, I do recall going to the link listed, and there was the GPL notice.. Its been some time sense I looked.. Humm wheres that book.... Well on page 61 section G. of the owners manual:

Certain additional terms and information for the Software and certain third party software (including the text of licenses applicable to any free, open source and other similar software that may be included in the Software) may be found in the DIRECTV Customer Agreement, the DIRECTV website located at www.directv.com, and the GNU website located at www.gnu.org

I hope this helps in your quest for the truth.

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#34 OFFLINE   mateom199

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 05:00 PM

If I'm not mistaken, D* had some remote remark in the paper work that cane with the HR20 about going to there website for more info on the system software, I do recall going to the link listed, and there was the GPL notice.. Its been some time sense I looked.. Humm wheres that book.... Well on page 61 section G. of the owners manual:

Certain additional terms and information for the Software and certain third party software (including the text of licenses applicable to any free, open source and other similar software that may be included in the Software) may be found in the DIRECTV Customer Agreement, the DIRECTV website located at www.directv.com, and the GNU website located at www.gnu.org

I hope this helps in your quest for the truth.


I don't have the manual handy right now, but I'll have to check mine later. At least we know its in some manuals (perhaps all).

Two things - I could not find any GPL info on Directv.com, and I'm still pretty sure the GPL license requires a copy of the license, not just an obscure blurb about a website and "additional terms and information."

Again, from the FSF FAQ:

Why does the GPL require including a copy of the GPL with every copy of the program?
Including a copy of the license with the work is vital so that everyone who gets a copy of the program can know what his rights are.

It might be tempting to include a URL that refers to the license, instead of the license itself. But you cannot be sure that the URL will still be valid, five years or ten years from now. Twenty years from now, URLs as we know them today may no longer exist.

The only way to make sure that people who have copies of the program will continue to be able to see the license, despite all the changes that will happen in the network, is to include a copy of the license in the program.



#35 OFFLINE   Drewg5

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 05:04 PM

I don't have the manual handy right now, but I'll have to check mine later. At least we know its in some manuals (perhaps all).

Two things - I could not find any GPL info on Directv.com, and I'm still pretty sure the GPL license requires a copy of the license, not just an obscure blurb about a website and "additional terms and information."

Again, from the SF FAQ:


I think the gnu link in there covers the GPL stuff but I could be wrong...nevermind....

Well I just spent like 20 min on there sight and nothing....If they are in the wrong then I would bet they know about it.

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#36 OFFLINE   macEarl

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 05:17 PM

If I'm not mistaken, D* had some remote remark in the paper work that cane with the HR20 about going to there website for more info on the system software, I do recall going to the link listed, and there was the GPL notice.. Its been some time sense I looked.. Humm wheres that book.... Well on page 61 section G. of the owners manual:

Certain additional terms and information for the Software and certain third party software (including the text of licenses applicable to any free, open source and other similar software that may be included in the Software) may be found in the DIRECTV Customer Agreement, the DIRECTV website located at www.directv.com, and the GNU website located at www.gnu.org

I hope this helps in your quest for the truth.


THANK YOU! Yes, I did miss that despite several searches in the user's guide for the printed text of the GPL, the norm as it has always been. But before launching into any of my posts on this subject, I checked the D* site. Today, before your post, I did think to check the Customer Agreement, http://www.directv.c...assetId=P400042 and nowhere do they mention the GPL in any form.

However, it's not at all sufficient, see: http://www.fsf.org/l...WhyMustIInclude and allow me to quote the relevant section:

"Why does the GPL require including a copy of the GPL with every copy of the program?

Including a copy of the license with the work is vital so that everyone who gets a copy of the program can know what his rights are.

It might be tempting to include a URL that refers to the license, instead of the license itself. But you cannot be sure that the URL will still be valid, five years or ten years from now. Twenty years from now, URLs as we know them today may no longer exist.

The only way to make sure that people who have copies of the program will continue to be able to see the license, despite all the changes that will happen in the network, is to include a copy of the license in the program."


Case closed - they acknowledged the need to satisfy the GPL, per your info, but have not done so.

(PS - mateom99 and I really are different people - even if we post the same quotes at the same time - :) )

#37 OFFLINE   Drewg5

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 05:23 PM

THANK YOU!
Case closed - they acknowledged the need to satisfy the GPL, per your info, but have not done so.

(PS - mateom99 and I really are different people - even if we post the same quotes at the same time - :) )


It is easy to miss, they placed it in tiney print at the bottom of the page almost as a side note... I dont know why I recalled seeing it in the first place, the link isnt there like I thought though... Something tells me that part is burryed someware else...

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#38 OFFLINE   macEarl

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 05:26 PM

It is easy to miss, they placed it in tiney print at the bottom of the page almost as a side note... I dont know why I recalled seeing it in the first place, the link isnt there like I thought though... Something tells me that part is burryed someware else...


Exactly why links are not liked by the GPL. Again, thanks!

#39 OFFLINE   bobnielsen

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 06:12 PM

OK, so who's going to spill the beans to RMS?

#40 OFFLINE   macEarl

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 06:18 PM

OK, so who's going to spill the beans to RMS?


Step one is contact D*, point out the non-compliance and request compliance and a handshake of same.

I've done that.

Obviously, I'm wired to follow this closure. No need to rattle him at the moment.

#41 OFFLINE   Drewg5

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 08:01 PM

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...

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#42 OFFLINE   Drewg5

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 08:13 PM

http://www.directv.c...rGuidev1_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.

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#43 OFFLINE   macEarl

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 12:02 PM

Step one is contact D*, point out the non-compliance and request compliance and a handshake of same.

I've done that.

Obviously, I'm wired to follow this closure. No need to rattle him at the moment.


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.

#44 OFFLINE   jimb726

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 12:43 PM

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.


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.

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#45 OFFLINE   Doug Brott

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 01:08 PM

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.
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#46 OFFLINE   mateom199

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 01:11 PM

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


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.

#47 OFFLINE   Earl Bonovich

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 01:36 PM

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.


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
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#48 OFFLINE   mateom199

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 01:44 PM

"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....

#49 OFFLINE   hr20manray

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 02:06 PM

"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....



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.

#50 OFFLINE   Doug Brott

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 02:16 PM

But is [that] the level of compalints about the HR20 have gotten to? ....
If so... that is a good thing... :D


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. :)
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