[vlc-devel] GPLv3 again

Rémi Denis-Courmont remi.denis-courmont at nokia.com
Wed Jul 25 01:34:54 CEST 2007

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.


> 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 withdrawn from the manufacturer could make the device useless and force the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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