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Television Media GNU is Not Unix Linux Business

TiVo Says It Could Suffer Under GPLv3 710

Posted by kdawson
from the no-prevention-of-hacking dept.
Preedit writes to tell us that those busy folks over at InformationWeek have been scrutinizing yet more SEC filings, and Novell and Microsoft aren't the only ones concerned about certain provisions in the final draft of GPLv3. TiVo worries too. The problem is that TiVo boxes are Linux-based. They're also designed to shut down if the software is hacked by users trying to circumvent DRM features. But GPLv3 would prohibit TiVo's no-tamper setup. "If the currently proposed version of GPLv3 is widely adopted, we may be unable to incorporate future enhancements to the GNU/Linux operating system into our software, which could adversely affect our business," TiVo warns in a regulatory filing cited by InformationWeek."
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TiVo Says It Could Suffer Under GPLv3

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  • Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @02:55AM (#19368863) Journal
    Whatever happens with everything else, I thought Linus said Linux wouldn't be distributed under GPLv3
  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by LocalH (28506) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:00AM (#19368893) Homepage
    Notice they specifically said "GNU/Linux".
  • by laffer1 (701823) <luke AT foolishgames DOT com> on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:02AM (#19368909) Homepage Journal
    Or they could switch to BSD or some other system under another license. Isn't open source great?
  • Well, duh! (Score:5, Informative)

    by jpetts (208163) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:07AM (#19368927)
    TiVo operates on a business model that GPL3 is **expressly** designed to eliminate.

    See this essay [fsf.org] by RMS and search for "tivoization".

    Nothing in the least bit surprising here...
  • Re:Maybe, maybe not (Score:3, Informative)

    by The Finn (1547) <agrier@poofygoof.com> on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:33AM (#19369053) Homepage
    I don't follow how BSD will be affected by GPLv3. neither NetBSD, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD use the GNU C library. code generated by gcc isn't covered under the GPL.
  • Re:Maybe, maybe not (Score:4, Informative)

    by pchan- (118053) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:42AM (#19369101) Journal
    The BSD projects still use gcc and GNU C library

    The BSDs most certainly do not use the GNU libc. While it is true that you cannot compile the system without gcc, you can definitely have a running BSD system with no GNU tools installed. It would be fairly bare bones (back to csh), but it's possible.

    Here's a link to the OpenBSD libc [openbsd.org] for your browsing pleasure.
  • by eldepeche (854916) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @04:00AM (#19369177)
    FYI, glibc is under the LGPL.
  • Re:The Real World! (Score:4, Informative)

    by siddesu (698447) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @04:31AM (#19369285)
    "In my day to day work I avoid using any software that is GPLed because of commercial concerns (out side of my control) I cannot release details of software. So I have to reinvent everything and the open source community loses out on anything beneficial I may have done. A lose lose situation."

    A lose-lose situation? How? If you aren't planning on giving derivative work back to the free software community in exchange for the free use of their software, they don't benefit.

    Seems to me that (just like Tivo's) your dislike for the GPL comes only because you don't really want give back where you take.
  • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @05:03AM (#19369397) Homepage

    Even if Linux doesn't go GPL3, presumably they're using a lot of GNU userspace stuff, like glibc

    Well, glibc is not under GPLv2, so it seems unlikely to go GPLv3. It is under LGPL.

  • Re:Cry me a river. (Score:2, Informative)

    by JanneM (7445) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @05:07AM (#19369417) Homepage
    Way to shaft all the people who bet their business on your software, bub, by changing the license terms. And the /. crowd complain about Microsoft licensing practices.

    Existing software is all GPL version 2. That doesn't change. All they bellyache over is that new software, released under version 3, may not be useable by them. No license is being changed from under their feet.

  • Re:And so what (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2007 @05:22AM (#19369467)
    I have an DirecTV TiVo the HR10-250 , are you saying that there exists a method which "requires little to no effort to extract tivo video files to DRM free files." ergo it easily allows me to "rip" from my TiVo HD to lets say my Computer HD? If so, please post any relevant link info for when I searched the net most people said it wasnt possible or was a pain beyond value.
  • by LordVader717 (888547) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @05:32AM (#19369507)
    I think it will be more like this: Circumventing the copy protection will still be illegal, but by using DRM the company is breaching the license agreement for the code. Thus, they must either scrap the DRM or else stop using GPL'd code.
  • Re:The Real World! (Score:3, Informative)

    by UncleFluffy (164860) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @05:50AM (#19369577)

    I am not willing because it can infect software that I do not have the rights to.

    GPL code doesn't "infect" anything. It's an invitation to enter into a contract, which you are free to accept or refuse. If you don't have the rights necessary to enter into said contract, that's not the licensor's problem. Like everyone says: "don't like the GPL? write your own goddam code and stop whining".

  • Hey Mr... the Lesser GPL is also being revised, and you know what? It's basically GPLv3 with Exceptions A B and C :)
  • Please reconsider (Score:4, Informative)

    by mpapet (761907) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @10:15AM (#19370969) Homepage
    The big stink would essentially KILL Linux in many organizations.

    This statement is wrong in so many fundamental ways it displays a total lack of knowledge regarding Tivo's hostility to the GPL.

    What the Tivo people did was privatize Free (as in speech) software. It is roughly analogous to stealing a painting from a publicly-funded museum and hanging it up in your house. They accomplished this a number of ways including a signature check of some kind during startup. The implications are:

    1. Source code is _useless_ now
    2. Source code is no longer Free.
    3. Source code cannot be modified.

    This is a novel approach that disables numerous fundamental intents of the GPL and captures, for Tivo's sole benefit, the countless man hours that have gone into building Linux-based operating sytems.

    Furthermore, businesses that will not like Linux under GPL v3 or think the spirit of the GPL doesn't apply to them (Tivo, that's you) should be using BSD.
  • Re:Cry me a river. (Score:2, Informative)

    by dfghjk (711126) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @10:47AM (#19371193)
    There was no loophole. Tivo released all its code under the terms of the GPL.

    The GPL has always been about code being free. Tivo code is free. When the "I want your stuff" fanatics realized they couldn't modify the Tivo product (though there was never a suggestion that they could) they were furious. Stallman realized that his vision of free code wasn't enough, it needed to be "free code only on suitable hardware". It is RMS and the FSF that has changed the GPL because their true motivations, it was never because of a loophole. Tivo's code IS free, its hardware platform is not.

    The GPL is about the freedom of code and it always said that GPL code could be used in commercial products as long as the GPL was respected. The ramifications are unambiguous when the product is software, but when it is a mixture of software and hardware, the GPL only impacted the software portion. The reaction when this was tested exposes the true nature of RMS, the FSF, and their fanatics. The RMS GPL is not really about the freedom of code, it's about RMS's freedom to use the product of your work. It is not enough that Tivo gave away all its software modifications in compliance with the GPL, RMS believes he should dictate how Tivo makes its dedicated hardware platform as well. He doesn't just want the freedom of Tivo's code, he wants the ability to modify Tivo's product. Tivo doesn't make a computing platform and there's no reason for anyone to expect that they do. As RMS gets more militant and more restrictive in his licenses he risks his own relevance.

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