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


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266 replies to this topic

#51 OFFLINE   mateom199

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 02:21 PM

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.


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:

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#52 OFFLINE   Earl Bonovich

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 02:42 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.


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.
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All comments are my own. Unless specifically stated, my views do NOT represent the views of DIRECTV

#53 OFFLINE   macEarl

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 02:48 PM

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.

#54 OFFLINE   arkenhill

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 02:51 PM

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


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.

#55 OFFLINE   mateom199

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 02:57 PM

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.


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.

#56 OFFLINE   Tom Robertson

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 03:04 PM

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. (bolding by tibber to reference below) 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 doesn'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.


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

Go Packers!

My real treasures: 5 Grandchildren - S, D, M, M, C ; Now 5! Great-Grandtibbers - B, H, J, A, and M (Born 7/31/2011)


#57 OFFLINE   mateom199

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 03:08 PM

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...


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.

#58 OFFLINE   Earl Bonovich

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 03:11 PM

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.


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.
Earl - Gotta Love Karma

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All comments are my own. Unless specifically stated, my views do NOT represent the views of DIRECTV

#59 OFFLINE   Drew2k

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 07:29 PM

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.

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 ....

#60 OFFLINE   macEarl

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 08:46 PM

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....

#61 OFFLINE   Tom Robertson

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 09:21 PM

Not I, but I expect mine will be a mass mailing.

Go Packers!

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#62 OFFLINE   DocTauri

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 07:24 AM

macEarl, I'd be curious to hear what your letter said...

Doc

#63 OFFLINE   macEarl

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 01:34 PM

macEarl, I'd be curious to hear what your letter said...

Doc


Not sure if you mean coming or going, so here's what I have.

I attached an email exchange on the issue, and sent this up the chain:


Please note that per the attached email printout, references to web sites for the GNU GPL are not acceptable treatment of GNU GPL distribution, per the Free Software Foundation. Furthermore, even if I am somehow in error on this point, the web references in question have problems:

1. The GPL is not mentioned at all in the Customer Agreement on directv.com
2. The GPL is not found directly at www.gnu.org

a. User would have to look for it
b. User is not told to look for the GPL and therefore, may not know how to find his rights online with respect to this matter

3. At least one of the HR20 software components, uClibc, is not a GPL’d component, it is an LGPL’d component

I’m sure that you are concerned with Directv’s adherence to licensed software. Would you be so kind as to inform me as to how you or your office intends to resolve this issue?


The envelope I received contained only the GPL itself. I'm ok with that if I can ascertain that it's part of a larger mailing - I don't expect time/money spent talking to me, per se, just so we can all rest that the matter's addressed.

hth!

#64 OFFLINE   Tom Robertson

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 01:55 PM

macEarl,

As lead Wise One on this topic, is it your impression that on the "info and test" screen where they list the D* copyrights and logos, that the Linux copyright should also be listed? (Not often I scroll down that far, but noticed it last nite.)

Cheers,
Tom

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My real treasures: 5 Grandchildren - S, D, M, M, C ; Now 5! Great-Grandtibbers - B, H, J, A, and M (Born 7/31/2011)


#65 OFFLINE   DocTauri

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 02:27 PM

But no reference to where to obtained the GPL'd source huh.

#66 OFFLINE   macEarl

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 02:46 PM

macEarl,

As lead Wise One on this topic, is it your impression that on the "info and test" screen where they list the D* copyrights and logos, that the Linux copyright should also be listed? (Not often I scroll down that far, but noticed it last nite.)

Cheers,
Tom


Tom,

It's never my place to say they "should" solve the problem in one particular way on this subject. That leads to - in my mind - unreasonableness by limiting their options.

However, if they were to put it there, then that would satisfy the requirement - it would be located with their own notice (therefore, located with notices) and would be in user-readable form. However, the nit-pickery of the GPL wording would dictate full text be presented - and that's a heavy burden for the info and test screen. IOW, that impacts a software delivery when others have more grave issues (from a different point of view) than this issue. IF that approach were to be considered, and IF I were managing the devel team, I'd consider a separate tab for all copyrights, legal notices, etc. Something the user could skip over or access as desired, and allocated away from mission-effective data - by that I mean, notice that the info includes things about your particular HR20 (network status, etc.) and is therefore accessing dynamic info. Copyrights could be allocated to static info only and therefore have much lower (re: no) risk associated with a side-effect defect of impacting software that reads dynamic info and then allow as much text as legal agrees is required.

Also, that approach requires sufficent h/w-f/w-disk resource to allow it - and I have no idea what's available in what allocation - another expression of the reason why "shoulds" are to be avoided. If it's the easiest and cheapest way, or close enough, then D* could put it on its list of "could be solved this way." The "how" of it has to remain their call, within the constraints of the license requirements, organizational costs, logistics, etc., properly and without question at D*'s discretion.

hth,
macEarl

#67 OFFLINE   Tom Robertson

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 02:52 PM

Tom,

It's never my place to say they "should" solve the problem in one particular way on this subject. That leads to - in my mind - unreasonableness by limiting their options.

However, if they were to put it there, then that would satisfy the requirement - it would be located with their own notice (therefore, located with notices) and would be in user-readable form. However, the nit-pickery of the GPL wording would dictate full text be presented - and that's a heavy burden for the info and test screen. IOW, that impacts a software delivery when others have more grave issues (from a different point of view) than this issue. IF that approach were to be considered, and IF I were managing the devel team, I'd consider a separate tab for all copyrights, legal notices, etc. Something the user could skip over or access as desired, and allocated away from mission-effective data - by that I mean, notice that the info includes things about your particular HR20 (network status, etc.) and is therefore accessing dynamic info. Copyrights could be allocated to static info only and therefore have much lower (re: no) risk associated with a side-effect defect of impacting software that reads dynamic info and then allow as much text as legal agrees is required.

Also, that approach requires sufficent h/w-f/w-disk resource to allow it - and I have no idea what's available in what allocation - another expression of the reason why "shoulds" are to be avoided. If it's the easiest and cheapest way, or close enough, then D* could put it on its list of "could be solved this way." The "how" of it has to remain their call, within the constraints of the license requirements, organizational costs, logistics, etc., properly and without question at D*'s discretion.

hth,
macEarl


Yes, it does help. I wasn't sure of the GPL nit-pickery. I knew putting the whole of the GPL would be inappropriate, but didn't know if it required or suggested other postings of just a copyright notice beyond the whole text in other forms.

Thanks,
Tom

Go Packers!

My real treasures: 5 Grandchildren - S, D, M, M, C ; Now 5! Great-Grandtibbers - B, H, J, A, and M (Born 7/31/2011)


#68 OFFLINE   macEarl

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 03:03 PM

But no reference to where to obtained the GPL'd source huh.


That's not really a problem. They provided me with text of the GPL. Upon reading it, I discover (if not by list then by reasonable inference) that some GPL source was used and that I may access that open source. Under paragraph 3b I find that I must be given written offer to this effect that I can obtain the source code in question (which the publishing of the full license text itself self-satisfies) - by implication, I have received the notice.

Now, if I want the source code, I know I'm in within my rights to ask what sources are open and available to me. I don't get to ask anything impinging on their IP - I don't ask how or why they use - but they use it, and if I want to access what they use for any reason - I have been presented documentation from them detailing my right to inquire, their responsibility to respond, and an expectation that I will bear real-world duplication costs so both sides are not taking advantage of the other.

That's a big step one and basically closes the issue. If anyone later is denied access to the source after requesting same, then that would be a different issue. Expect organizational snafus for a round or two, if that were to eventualize, but that's it. But denial or fogging - after I have a legal reassurance that it's recognized a priori to not be done - well, D* (and any other organization) just won't do that. It's legal suicide and insanity.

N.B., D* knows that they have a responsibility under the GPL and LGPL - this issue is about the satisfying the "linchpin" requirement, so to speak.

hth,
macEarl

#69 OFFLINE   DocTauri

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 03:06 PM

So has anyone actually requested the gpl'd code then? If not, any idea how one would go about doing it?

#70 OFFLINE   macEarl

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 03:18 PM

So has anyone actually requested the gpl'd code then? If not, any idea how one would go about doing it?


I haven't and won't and would recommend that this not be attempted until the smoke has cleared on this. They have their hands full ensuring this part; I advocate patience at this time.

However, this thread has made you aware that you have GPL and LGPL protected rights if you were not somehow already otherwise aware of that.

In the meantime of D*'s review and (hopefully) revision of the actual GPL distribution, if you would like to post which components you're interesting in, ask away - myself and others would surely be happy to guide you to cost-free ways to access those sources - IOW, without incurring third-party duplicating costs.

If you need the actual list of components involved, you can only get that from D*. Do you require immediate access to that list or can you wait briefly until D* has this part sorted out? If you can't wait, you're within in your rights to enquire - I'd recommend email to customer support so your request can forwarded to the proper specialist. If you can wait, I imagine it would result in a higher satisfaction level for all, including you.

So - tell us your specific issue; I don't wish to insult you by guessing.

#71 OFFLINE   DocTauri

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 04:56 PM

I'm sure that my interest is the same as any other who would ask, curiosity. And like them, I'd be interested in all components.

As for waiting, sure I can, but what would be considered reasonable? I personally believe that they've been well aware of this issue from the beginning. Knowing that they could never deny the GPL requirements, but certainly willing to forestall them as long as possible.

Doc

#72 OFFLINE   macEarl

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 07:57 PM

I'm sure that my interest is the same as any other who would ask, curiosity. And like them, I'd be interested in all components.

As for waiting, sure I can, but what would be considered reasonable? I personally believe that they've been well aware of this issue from the beginning. Knowing that they could never deny the GPL requirements, but certainly willing to forestall them as long as possible.

Doc


If you want to try, I suggest email, per my above post. How did you ascertain that they were well aware of this issue from the beginning? (The issue being, proper distribution of the GPL itself, as to which their legal dept thought they were in compliance.)

So, yes, according to their legal department, they thought they were in compliance from the beginning. The manual pointed to gnu.org, from the beginning.

Your opinion, or belief, if I understand you correctly, seems to be one of intentional wrongdoing on D*'s part.

I have no knowledge of that, I make no such allegations myself, have tried to discourage it wherever possible. If you have evidence to the contrary, you should share it; otherwise, I suggest goodwill and cautious treading.

I allege only that a mistake may have been made and may be in the process of being corrected.

In the meantime, this will satisfy some readers' curiousity, I'm sure....

From http://www.gnu.org/software:

"To look for free software packages, both GNU and non-GNU, please see the Free Software Directory: a categorized, searchable database of free software."

That link will ultimately take you to: http://directory.fsf.org/

PS to Tom - 3rd grandchild deciding to arrive today or tomorrow; announced today that 4th is on the way .... :)

#73 OFFLINE   Tom Robertson

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 07:59 PM

macEarl,

Well said.

Tom

Go Packers!

My real treasures: 5 Grandchildren - S, D, M, M, C ; Now 5! Great-Grandtibbers - B, H, J, A, and M (Born 7/31/2011)


#74 OFFLINE   Bizarroterl

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 11:19 AM

I fear that the GPL received via mail is a one recipient letter. I suspect it is another "summarily dismiss" event. Hopefully time will prove me wrong.

#75 OFFLINE   Doug Brott

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 11:51 AM

I fear that the GPL received via mail is a one recipient letter. I suspect it is another "summarily dismiss" event. Hopefully time will prove me wrong.


Well, just because macEarl was sent the text as a one-off doesn't mean that DirecTV is NOT correcting the problem. I'm sure there are impediments to sending out mass mailers at DirecTV regardless of the content.
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