[vlc-devel] GPLv3 again

Neil Woodall neil at woodall.occoxmail.com
Wed Jul 25 02:22:30 CEST 2007

Yes, needless to say, the same goes for my comments:

My understanding would be that DRM would be located in an application  
that basically runs the TV. That is, no application, no remote  
control, no picture, etc...

So, if GPLv3 requires release of enough source code to run the TV,  
then that would require release of the application. If the  
application contains DRM algorithms, the question would be whether or  
not you need to release that portion of the source code or not.

I think the point is that the anti-TIVO provision is based on forcing  
developers of embedded software to release enough source code so that  
in effect, the hardware can be reprogrammed as the user sees fit.

Also, does GPLv3 mean that device drivers that are not based on GPL  
(i.e. entirely in house developed) need to be released?


On Jul 24, 2007, at 4:37 PM, Rémi Denis-Courmont wrote:

> Hmm, wrong email account used.
> Needless to say this is my individual opinion, and I actually have  
> no idea
> what the official view of my employer is, if any.
> On Wednesday 25 July 2007 02:34:54 Rémi Denis-Courmont wrote:
>> On Saturday 21 July 2007 20:39:42 Neil Woodall wrote:
>>> As the top technical person in a company that makes IC for TV's (and
>>> other devices) and supplies software to run those TV's, the anti  
>>> TIVO
>>> portion of GPLv3 will cause a lot of problems.
>> Certainly.
>>> We are now seeing customer acceptance of using Linux as an OS for  
>>> the
>>> devices, but if GPLv3 means that we have to supply enough of the  
>>> source
>>> code to allow unrestricted use of the hardware...that could be a  
>>> problem.
>> Yes. At least, it's not as bad for VLC than the kernel.
>>> When the user installs their own software and the TV breaks, is it a
>>> hardware defect or a software defect...and how do you prove that  
>>> it's
>>> because someone replaced the software with their own?
>> Userland is not as bad as kernel - the underlying software could  
>> signal
>> non-warranted modifications. But it remains an extra cost for sure.
>>> If the user installs software that bypasses DRM, does that break the
>>> license for the TV set manufacturer and cause them not to sell  
>>> TV's with
>>> that feature anymore?
>> It is weird to implement DRM with GPL (even v2) code. In any case,  
>> you're
>> going to have to give up the source code so that a desktop PC will
>> presumably be able to break the DRM. Or DRM is really going to be  
>> done in
>> hardware, which is beyond the point.
>> While I do buy the maintenance argument, I barely buy the DRM one.
>>> Consumer embedded devices typically require a lot of IP licenses  
>>> to make
>>> them useful. Violating one of those licenses in a way that causes  
>>> it to
>>> be withdrawn from the manufacturer could make the device useless and
>>> force the manufacturer to stop selling the product.
>> It is likely that these licenses are already not GPLv2 compatible.
>> Particularly if there is patent licensing.
> -- 
> Rémi Denis-Courmont

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