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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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  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Protonk (599901) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @02:57AM (#19368869) Homepage
    Gpl3 is divisive, but correct in this case. Companies like Tivo benefit from the OSS model of tinker/hack/remake and still restrict users in doing the same. The same privileges that are extended to end users with the source code should be established with the freedom to tinker.

    If Tivo feels that DRM is worth more than continued use of GPL software, so be it.
  • And so what (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zebai (979227) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @02:58AM (#19368875)
    I'm a fan of tivo, I have one myself but this particular problem I dont see as a problem. The DRM is already cracked and it requires little to no effort to extract tivo video files to DRM free files. I don't see a problem with them biting the dust on this one, its a feature designed to limit us and thats something I dont want. I got my tivo long before they did trash like this and I'm disappointed that tivo is catering to the DRM crowd now a days. Next thing you know they'll be dropping the hidden 30-second skip which shouldnt be hidden in the first place.
  • Really ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jalet (36114) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @02:59AM (#19368881) Homepage
    Too bad !
  • by mrbill1234 (715607) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:00AM (#19368887)
    Mhh, why don't they just continue using GPLv2 linux code. Ok, they won't have new fixes - but this is an embedded device - do they need them?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:01AM (#19368895)
    "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,"

    You are not 'unable' to do anything. You are unwilling. Easy solution: release your code under the GPLv3. Keep with the spirit of the community which gave you a whole operating system for FREE.

    p.s. FP!
  • About Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wasabii (693236) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:01AM (#19368897)
    I think this is great. I'm sorry they built their work on the backs of other people who have always clearly stated their intentions with regards to the use of their software. The lack of this in GPLv2 is a HOLE. A HOLE which, of course, should be fixed.

    If they disagree with the fundamental goal of the GPL, to free software so people CAN tinker with it, then they should have chosen a different set of software to build their product on.
  • Cry me a river. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MadTinfoilHatter (940931) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:04AM (#19368917)

    Stallman and the FSF have always been perfectly open about what the GNU project and the GPL are about. They're about "The four freedoms of the user". This means that when TiVO decided to use GPL-licenced software, yet lock their hardware in a manner that denied the user some of these freedoms, they knew they were using a loophole, and thus acting in bad faith. They can try to play the victim all they want now that the loophole is being closed, but informed people will have no sympathy for them. They should have seen this coming from day 1.

  • Boo hoo! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Eric Smith (4379) * <eric@brouhaha.cDEBIANom minus distro> on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:18AM (#19368971) Homepage Journal
    They've gotten a free ride for a long time, and not contributed anything back, and now they might not get to use some of the free stuff that comes out in the future.

    It must really suck to be them.
  • by pornflakes (945228) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:18AM (#19368973)
    Or they could stop restricting their customers. Isn't freedom great?
  • by unlametheweak (1102159) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:22AM (#19368987)
    If they don't like it, then don't use.

    If using freely obtained software (with the associated licenses) is hurting their business, then they should just start spending some money hiring developers and making their own fully proprietary software. You can't have your free beer and drink it too.
  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:25AM (#19368999)
    By this logic a dictatorship is the only free system, because it includes the freedom to take away yours. And the system lives with that "freedom".
  • Good riddance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iamacat (583406) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:27AM (#19369015)
    It's one thing for companies actually selling movie downloads to use DRM since otherwise they wouldn't get any content to sell from the movie producers. But TIVO is not getting anything from the media companies. They are including DRM so that their box might get bundled by a cable provider rather than actually chosen by users on it's merit. They should have started a rebel business and sell boxes that record component HD signal from a cable box and switch channels using an IR transmitter. As it is, nobody will mourn their passing.
  • This may finally be the motivation the BSD world needs to replace GNU software, like the C library and compilers, with truly free alternatives.
    The problem with "truly free software" is that companies/people are free to make it non-free. While that would be great for companies like Tivo, it is bad for end users, since they do NOT get the freedom to further enhance the proprietary fork of the code.

    I personally don't see why the "BSD world" thinks that producing software that other people can turn proprietary is a good thing. However, if they write the software they have obviously the right to use any kind of license they want for it.

  • by ricree (969643) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:29AM (#19369027)
    Agreed. GPL may be more restrictive than the BSD license, but it certainly is more conducive to creating a community of free software.
  • by dircha (893383) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:29AM (#19369035)
    For crying out loud, they based their product on a system (GNU) whose founder - Stallman - openly believes that development and distribution of software that violates the so-called "4 essential freedoms of software users" are unethical and should cease. That's Tivo, that's what they do. The founder of the system they chose to base their business model on clearly and openly states that these practices are unethical and that it is the goal of the movement he founded, to eliminate them.

    If they couldn't have been bothered to figure this out before they went down this road then someone in their development organization needs to be fired.
  • The GPLv3 doesn't grant anyone permission to break the law. Obviously it cannot.

    The point of the anti-DRM provisions of GPLv3 isn't that if someone uses GPLv3 code for DRM, the users get any legal right to circumvent it. The point is to prevent GPLv3 code from being used for DRM in the first place.

    In other words, if I release FooSoft 1.8 under the GPLv3, and SomeRandomCompany uses it in their product with DRM, then tries to sue people that modify SRC's version of FooSoft to circumvent the DRM, it will be a reasonable defense to point out that SomeRandomCompany knew (or should have known) before they started using FooSoft 1.8 that its license (GPLv3) precluded its use for DRM.
  • Re:Good (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:54AM (#19369147)
    Moreover, the article summary is misleading. GPL3 is not going to affect their business. But if they decide to *not* go with GPL3, *that* will affect their business much more than the alternative.
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @04:00AM (#19369173) Journal
    Anarchy is the only free system, but most freedom lovers aren't all that keen on that as a concept. The GPL is free in most respects except that you are not free to make in non-free. Some people see this as a price worth paying.
  • Re:Cry me a river. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bheer (633842) <rbheer&gmail,com> on Sunday June 03, 2007 @04:06AM (#19369201)
    So, basically, Microsoft was right when it called the GPL viral (in the sense of its negative connotation)?

    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.

    Of course, in reality it won't come to that. Prediction: if the GPL3 comes out the way RMS has been saying it will, Ubuntu, IBM and others will fork the GNU system in a heartbeat (the kernel will remain GPL2, of course). It will be XEmacs vs GNU Emacs all over again, proving RMS learnt nothing from that fiasco.

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @04:09AM (#19369211) Journal
    It says as much in the article. GPL 3 doesn't prevent the use of DRM. It just prevents you from using legal means to prevent people from removing the DRM, which is something that there doesn't seem to be a lot of interest in anyway. The wording in GPL2 may well have been a perfectly valid defence in case of a DMCA complaint. GPL3 just makes it more explicit.
  • by The Bungi (221687) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Sunday June 03, 2007 @04:16AM (#19369229) Homepage
    People who release software under BSD- or MIT-type licenses are mostly grownups who know exactly what they're doing and generally don't mind the TERRIBLE side effect of using a truly free license that's supposed to give you all the freedom in the world except under certain cases. We don't need to hear the "zOMFG SOMEONE IS GOING TO TAKE YOUR SOFTWARES AND MAKE THEM NON FREE" argument again. We get it. No one can make my code "unfree". It's mine, and everyone else's to do whatever they want with it as long as they don't blame me if they fuck something up. Short of the public domain, that's the definition of "free" as far as I'm concerned. The GPL is a social agenda instrument, not a software license.

    Developers who use the BSD licenses believe in true freedom, even if someone claims it comes at the expense of theirs. They don't want you to join a club or learn a secret handshake or pray to a little idol. They want you to have the code and get on with it. You can even give back if you want, but that's your choice.

    Some people claim that the GPL is much more effective at creating and fostering community. I disagree. It's just that the communities that form around BSD code bases are far less radical, divisive and paranoid. We just want to write some possibly useful code and give it away to anyone that might find it so. We don't want to spend half our time trying to figure out who is "infringing" some endless, obscure legal minefield most educated people wouldn't understand after reading three times.

  • by Richard W.M. Jones (591125) <rich AT annexia DOT org> on Sunday June 03, 2007 @04:23AM (#19369257) Homepage

    You are not 'unable' to do anything. You are unwilling. Easy solution: release your code under the GPLv3. Keep with the spirit of the community which gave you a whole operating system for FREE.

    You are absolutely right. Honestly I don't know why these companies that want to just rip off the hard work of others don't just use BSD.

    Rich.

  • by Brotherred (1015243) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @04:29AM (#19369277)
    Yeah just like Windows Server 2003. Thanx for that shaft BSD. Hey I look at it this way. If Tivo and Novel are not happy with the license that goes with our code then they are FREE to write their own to go with their own code built in house!!!
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @04:29AM (#19369279)
    But TIVO is not getting anything from the media companies.

    Sadly, you're wrong. TiVo is getting a lack of lawsuits from the media companies for implementing a variety of anti-consumer, anti-fair use features in their boxes.

  • Re:The Real World! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jpetts (208163) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @04:31AM (#19369283)
    I was about to say that what you are saying is not at all heresy, but merely a matter of choice. But then I though of the etymology of heresy [wikipedia.org] and realised that it is heresy. A series of choices, yours and others, have led to this situation. But it is the choices that have determined the outcome, nothing else.

    The problem is not that "RMS is a spaced out hippy". The problem is that he is not compromising, and others are. When the crunch comes to the crunch, other people are found wanting, not RMS. He is, and has always been consistent.

    Don't like GPLvX? Don't use it. Nobody has ever forced anyone else to use any version of GPL, and nobody will. 'Nuff said...

  • Re:The Real World! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dvNull (235982) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @04:56AM (#19369371) Homepage

    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.


    So how exactly does the community lose out? Since you are developing proprietary software, you are not releasing anything so how does it benefit the community?

    And why cannot release details of the software? Because its encryption libraries and DRM. Well don't DRM I hear you say. The real world situation is this. Media companies want DRM. I agree that its not useful and doesn't actually benefit the media companies but until their minds are changes its here to stay. Whether that's right or wrong its a fact. There's nothing we can do about that.

    So using logic. The media companies want DRM. So any companies wanting to show their content have to comply with their requirements and use DRM. So don't show their content some may argue. But the providers are commercial companies. If Dish network didn't show Sci-Fi channel for example viewers may switch to DirecTV. So if providers are using DRM their software has to be proprietary which precludes GPLed code.


    Tivo is allowed to use Linux in their product. But then they would have to abide by the rules of the GPL if they wish to use GPL'd code. If they wish to restrict the rights of others, then they should have written their software from scratch. Tivo had it easy. They got to profit off the freely available Linux, and then used a loophole in the GPL to get around the requirements. You claim that people who use proprietary software and media need to abide by the license, then why is it so hard for you to understand that you should play by the rules of the free software community?

    The point is not the DRM, but the fact that they got to profit off the work of many developers while using a loophole to get around the license requirements. They have to abide by the rules now and thats a bad thing?

    Don't get me wrong. I am all for the rights of people/companies to release proprietary software. I just don't think its right when the very same people/companies whine about being forced to comply with the license.
  • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Brotherred (1015243) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @04:58AM (#19369379)

    Gpl3 is divisive, but correct in this case. Companies like Tivo benefit from the OSS model of tinker/hack/remake and still restrict users in doing the same. The same privileges that are extended to end users with the source code should be established with the freedom to tinker.

    If Tivo feels that DRM is worth more than continued use of GPL software, so be it.
    Well said. I love that last comment. This issue has been hot for a while. So I just pulled a comment that I had written on my Frapper some time ago. Yes I know that anything connected with Google is not FREE but I do not maintain a real blog to this just works for me. The point of freesoftware The technology in freesoftware, the companies that support its growth and build on it and even its users are all tools. Novell has forgotten this, simple fact. The principle difference between open source and freesoftware is that in open source all of the rights to use it with out restriction are not protected. The GPL puts no limits on the cost of software production, packaging or distribution. To brake this down a little: 1. The point of freesoftware is not so people can get a program with out cost. 2. The point of freesoftware is not to make it popular. 3. The point of freesoftware is not to make great technology. 4. The point of freesoftware is not to make rich CEO's even more rich. The point is to free the user of the tyranny of monopolistic situations and doing so primarily in the digital space. Some or all of the non-points listed must take place at some point in time for real freedom to come to said users, clearly that is true. Novell has been in the past a tool for that very cause. That may not be so in the future. I have even told them these very things. I also look forward to telling them again in person at the Ohio Linux Fest. Um well um that would refer to GNU+Linux of course. Maybe there will be some talk of GNU+Hurd there as well. Then I guess you can not really consider such and event specific to GNU+Linux. Call me a Stallmanite. I do not care. You know I am right. The software that some of you are such fans of would not even exist if it were not for this most simple, most important, most forgotten, fact. Novel has forgotten this and Tivo has clearly never bothered to understand it.
  • Re:The Real World! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Goth Biker Babe (311502) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @05:17AM (#19369445) Homepage Journal
    "So how exactly does the community lose out? Since you are developing proprietary software, you are not releasing anything so how does it benefit the community?'

    Some software is proprietary some is not. Software in a device is not all one or the other. The trick is trying to keep the proprietary stuff at a minimum. The changes to the non proprietary stuff could be useful to the open source community and are therefore available.
  • Re:Cry me a river. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2007 @05:20AM (#19369457)

    Only one of those "freedoms" applies to users (the first one). The others apply only to developers.

    Yes, people around here always forget that developers are prohibited from USING programs. I think it's somewhere in the UN charter.
  • by Brynosaurus (464544) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @05:21AM (#19369459) Homepage
    Microsoft, Novel, now TiVo... Exactly the right turkeys are squawking. GPLv3 appears to be doing its job well before it's even been released.
  • by Znork (31774) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @05:28AM (#19369499)
    "GPL 3 type tactics merely encourage companies to reinvent the wheel,"

    You mean, encourage companies _who do not want to share back_ to reinvent the wheel.

    When they are free to proprietarize the open code, then _everyone else_ has to reinvent the wheel. Take a look at the vast horde of failed or utterly changed BSD based proprietary unixes over the last two decades.

    Copylefts minimize the duplication of effort by ensuring that all effort cooperatively survives and evolves; allowing proprietary offshoots merely raises the baseline off which the duplication and NIH syndrome starts.

    "It squeezes the middle between the hobbyists at one end and the big companies at the other."

    Again, the last two decades indicate otherwise. I see few small to midsize BSD companies these days; the main winners seem to be the large companies. Which fits well when you have a joint baseline; the large companies can throw more resources on building above the baseline than the small, and as they dont have to give back, the smaller ones will have a hard time competing in the next round.
  • by Rix (54095) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @05:29AM (#19369501)
    Will there not be an LGPLv3?

    Even if not, there are a lot of other things that *aren't* under the LGPL essential to any Linux system. It wouldn't be practical to work around these, as I'm sure Tivo knows.
  • Re:The Real World! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by siddesu (698447) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @05:33AM (#19369513)
    Come on now, you don't get to use free software only because _you_ choose not to. Why are you blaming your choice on the community? Blame it on yourself -- YOU are not willing to accept the GPL.

    Again, the community neither wins, nor loses. If you feel like you're losing out, it is your problem. Same situation as Tivo ;)
  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ColeonyxOnline (966334) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @05:42AM (#19369537)

    The same privileges that are extended to end users with the source code should be established with the freedom to tinker.
    The license doesn't have anything establishing that "freedom". Tivo has done nothing wrong, they used the software, provided the source code back to the community, but restricted how people can change the software ON THE MACHINES THEY SELL.

    People that fell so strongly about this issue are clearly not the audience for the Tivo products on the first place. Maybe building their own Tivo like device using MythTV would be a better solution for them, than having a revision on the license.

  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @05:50AM (#19369575)
    You are not 'unable' to do anything. You are unwilling. Easy solution: release your code under the GPLv3. Keep with the spirit of the community which gave you a whole operating system for FREE.

    That's only easy to say, not to do. If they release the full source to their DRM, it's even less of a DRM and they'll get sued again.

    Here's an easier solution: port to FreeBSD or another free OS that doesn't get released under GPL3. That's what will happen in the end.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2007 @05:58AM (#19369615)
    Congratulations. You just discovered that there isn't a single solution to every problem.
  • by Guido del Confuso (80037) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @06:12AM (#19369685)
    OK, I'll bite. Exactly how does the BSD license allow you to take away someone else's freedom? That's like saying that performing a Shakespeare play somehow prevents other people from performing it. The people who put on the specific performance may say what can and can't be done with a specific performance (e.g. whether it can be recorded, the recording distributed, etc.), which is the way it always has been. Anyone else can still go back to the original and create a new performance. The BSD license is essentially the same thing as having works in the public domain (except that you are required to credit the author). The point of the public domain is that works are free for all comers to use as they wish. This has been the case as long as copyright has existed. Saying that you can somehow take away somebody else's freedom by using works in the public domain, or under the BSD license, is pure doublespeak.

    In fact, the GPL is really what takes away your freedom. It essentially says that if you want to create a derivative work, you must abide by certain restrictions. What this effectively does is grant certain rights to the recipients of derivative works in exchange for certain restrictions on freedom to create those derivative works. Not as sexy sounding as "preserving freedom", I suppose.

    You may support the use of the GPL based on your wanting to promote open source, or your wanting to prevent people from profiting from your work, or a multitude of other reasons. But it is duplicitous to say the GPL preserves freedom.

    "War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength." To that I would add, "Restrictions are Rights."
  • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @06:15AM (#19369691) Homepage
    Proprietary forks are rarely bad for end users in general. The vast majority have no interest in enhancing the code, or getting someone to enhance it for them. However end users in general benefit from the proprietary code forking off of open code. Compare Apple's Mac OS X to Microsoft's Windows. Consider Microsoft's use of the TCP/IP stack. GPL 3 type tactics merely encourage companies to reinvent the wheel, to indulge in not-invented-here tendencies.

    Of course standing on the shoulders of giants helps. However, over time you'd wish that these giants get taller so that the gap between what open source can deliver and the user expects gets smaller. How much has OS X done to promote the BSD desktop? Preciously little. Companies don't want the proprietary layer to get thinner, they want it to get thicker so that any competitors must reimplement more to compete. Either through fair means by building a better mouse trap, or dirty "embrace-extend-extinguish" tactics. Open source is used only because a proprietary kernel wouldn't give Apple any advantage big enough to justify the cost. You're missing the fact that every company is in the "force other companies to reinvent the wheel" mode.

    Such tactics also deter investors and make it that much more difficult from startups to form or succeed. It squeezes the middle between the hobbyists at one end and the big companies at the other. I'd argue that end users benefit when there is a healthy and vibrant startup community.

    Yes, it's really hard to make a startup when there's a bunch of GPL zealots that'll immidiately create an OSS clone. But, what would you like to do about that? Make GPL verboten? If anything this proves that the GPL creates a more efficient marketplace where you can either create value faster or get out. And you're ignoring that if proprietary software had their way, it wouldn't be "take open source and add our little value add code on top" it would be "take open source, reinvent whole proprietary layer, then add our little value add code on top".
  • by jaseuk (217780) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @06:49AM (#19369827) Homepage

    You wouldn't have a very useful Linux system without XFree86 / XORG, Apache, Tomcat, SpamAssassin, Sendmail, QMail, Postfix, Perl, PHP, ISC BIND, ISC DHCP, Postgres, Webmin and the various other packages that are under non-GPL licenses.
  • by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday June 03, 2007 @06:54AM (#19369851) Homepage Journal

    Or they could stop restricting their customers.
    In corporate America, consumers are not the customers. Consumers are the product to be sold to the real customers: the members of the Motion Picture Association of America.
  • by DaleGlass (1068434) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @07:05AM (#19369899) Homepage
    Huh? No, nobody benefits much from proprietary forks except the companies making them.

    Who has benefited from the BSD code usage in OS X? Well, Apple and... pretty much nobody else. I haven't benefited from Microsoft's use of the BSD licensed TCP stack, only Microsoft has.

    Now compare one GPLd project I'm familiar with: Second Life.

    I and other developers benefited from the released source because now I can add my improvements and fix bugs, which can find their way to their official client.

    Linden Labs has benefited because people worked on and improved parts that were less critical to LL at the time, so they wouldn't have had them for a long time. There was a LL developer on the mailing list (forget who), who said something along the lines of "I was going to do work on that, but turns out somebody already done it!". The result for LL is that the client gets developed faster than it would be otherwise. It also improves things a lot in the more boring and obscure parts of the codebase. A LL developer probably won't see much interest in overhauling the chat log system, but a contributor who isn't skilled enough to work on the renderer might.

    The general userbase also benefited: Bugs are getting fixed faster. Knowledgeable users now can give informed replies to technical questions. Inside SL, there seems to be an emerging industry where companies pay developers to make modifications to the viewer. Developers can code new features requested by users who can't. For instance, I've coded a few hacks (not very elegant still, but they do the job) that work around some limitations in SL.

    Now THAT is a vibrant community. The usage of BSD code by MS and Apple isn't, it's simply freeloading. Obviously people writing BSD licensed code are in their own right to allow it, but it doesn't really benefit anybody but those who are taking it.
  • Suffer? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by matt me (850665) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @07:16AM (#19369947)
    Tivo users suffer under their current GPLv2 abuse. Their rights are unjustly stolen from them, exploiting a circumstance hard to imagine in 1991 when the GPLv2 was published. Tivo knows this full well. Now is time to clean up their act (before GPLv3 would be best) or else they await a just upcommance.
  • Leeches (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @07:48AM (#19370101)
    Hmm, well, the whole purpose of the GPL is to discourage leeches and encourage co-operation. Nobody forced Tivo et al to mooch off GPL code. They are free to either re-invent it all, or to become honest players.

    He who keeps taking our ball and goes home with it, has to play alone or bring the ball back...
  • by booch (4157) * <slashdot2010.craigbuchek@com> on Sunday June 03, 2007 @07:48AM (#19370103) Homepage
    Guido, your argument was very good. You had me questioning my own preference for the GPL over BSD license. (My preference in that direction is not very strong, and there are situations where I prefer the BSD license.) But cheater512's argument was stronger (and nice and succinct, as you pointed out). I don't understand why you had to cut him down.

    My best analogy of BSD versus GPL is to question which provides more freedom: the freedom to do anything, or the freedom to do anything except enslave someone and remove their freedoms. It's a philosophical question, and I can easily see people taking either position. I don't believe that there's a right answer to the question. In modern society, we choose the latter.

    Admittedly, the Free Software Foundation's (and Open Source guideline's) four freedoms are not as important as the human right not to be enslaved. (Richard Stallman might disagree; he believes the four freedoms are fundamental human rights for the modern world.) But having and keeping those 4 freedoms is quite liberating. It allows you to control your own destiny when it comes to the software you use.
  • Re:That's fine (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crayon Kid (700279) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @07:49AM (#19370105)
    [..] if the Linux license becomes too restrictive [..]

    "Too restrictive"? What the hell are you on? GPL v3 simply makes explicit some things that GPL v2 already mentioned implicitly. It's an attempt to stop assholes from exploiting several loopholes in v2. The rest of the thing keeps the same spirit as v2, and it's not more restrictive than it. Well, now, if you feel that v2 was restrictive as well, tough on you.
  • Re:Cry me a river. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by booch (4157) * <slashdot2010.craigbuchek@com> on Sunday June 03, 2007 @08:10AM (#19370199) Homepage
    Users don't directly need all 4 freedoms, just freedom 0 (the freedom to use), and perhaps freedom 2 (freedom to share with your neighbors). But they indirectly benefit from the other freedoms. Let's say you're an end user, and want to add a feature to a program. With GPL software, you ave the freedom/ability to choose a developer to add the feature for you. Without freedom 1, you're pretty much at the mercy of the vendor to add the feature for you; nobody else is allowed to add to the program.
  • by that this is not und (1026860) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @08:15AM (#19370229)
    It's too bad for Linux if Tivo goes under.

    The big stink would essentially KILL Linux in many organizations. If you don't think it would be a headline topic essentially forever afterwards, and the big red WARNING that any commercial entity sees flashing before their eyes when anybody internally suggests Linux for anything, you're kidding yourself.
  • by Guido del Confuso (80037) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @08:27AM (#19370295)
    I "cut him down" because my whole point was that Tivo cannot take away your freedoms. They may not give you any new freedoms, but they can't take away anything you already have. You may ask, what about your right to hack your Tivo? I'd respond, what about their right to attempt to prevent their product from being hacked? They are equivalent freedoms. You may not like their rights, and may in fact prefer to deprive them of those rights. And that's fine, but don't say you're promoting freedom. You're forcing Tivo to do something they didn't want to do in order to be granted a license to use your software. Force is antithetical to freedom. The "why" doesn't really matter.

    Again, your argument about enslavement suffers from the same fallacy. Nobody can enslave you and remove your rights, any more than someone can remove your rights to use software that you have a license for. Your rights are still there no matter what anyone else does. In fact, that analogy is not very good at all, because when software is released it is copied. One person may do something with the software, and it has no bearing whatsoever on what you choose to do with it.

    To sum up, yes, I personally am opposed to both the effect and the intent of the GPL. But that's not really relevant here. Even if I were in favor of using the GPL--to promote open source for example--I would still take exception to the notion that the GPL provides freedom, but the BSD license does not. It's the other way around. The GPL may have other benefits, but promoting freedom isn't one of them. Freedom means the ability to do whatever you want with software, even something other people may not like. When you cannot do that, it is because your freedom is restricted.

    I believe in the BSD license because I believe that for something to be truly free, it must not be encumbered in any way. Credit is fine (although I'd accept the argument that works in the public domain are "more free" than BSD licensed works), because it doesn't take away the essential freedom to do essentially whatever you want with software. Any further restrictions, though, are just not free.
  • by blowdart (31458) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @08:36AM (#19370339) Homepage

    RMS has been spending decades explaining "free"

    You say explaining, I say redefining. You also assume that everyone agrees with RMS's explanations and redefinitions; some of us (who release code under the BSD license) don't; adding a restriction takes away "freedom" not adds to it, and the GPL3 nonsense simply underlines that way of thinking for me.

  • by Guido del Confuso (80037) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @08:42AM (#19370381)
    Let me give you an example. Say you have three available software licenses for source code.

    1) You may change this software however you like and do whatever you want with the result.

    2) You may not change this software in any way.

    3) You may not change this software in any way, unless you use this license for the resulting software.

    You are trying to tell me that 3 is "more free" than 1. In reality, it's just a variation on 2, the most restrictive license possible. I'd accept the argument that it promotes open source, but stop conflating source code availability with freedom. Under license 3, the price of that particular freedom is somebody else's freedom. You may not care because you end up benefiting in some cases, but there is a freedom cost.

    Incidentally, as this all relates to Tivo--I'd be willing to bet they won't use any new GPL material in their new systems. In fact, they'll probably remove whatever GPL material they already have as they migrate to a closed source system. Once bitten, twice shy. So, the net result is a loss of freedom, I guess you'd say. Way to go, freedom advocates.
  • Re:Boo hoo! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jmv (93421) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @08:54AM (#19370455) Homepage
    They've gotten a free ride for a long time, and not contributed anything back, and now they might not get to use some of the free stuff that comes out in the future.

    You need to realise that the GPLv3 will change nothing to their contribution. If they did changes to the kernel under GPLv2 (no idea whether they did), they'd already have to release the changes and GPLv3 will change nothing to that. The area where GPLv3 would change things for them is the fact that right now, they distribute the source for the kernel, but people who get that source can't actually *run* it on the hardware because that requires a key only Tivo has. GPLv3 (if they use it) would force then to allow users to run modified programs on the hardware.
  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @09:03AM (#19370515)

    I'd respond, what about their right to attempt to prevent their product from being hacked?

    Once Tivo has sold it to me, it's not "their product" any more. It's my property, and any "freedoms" regarding it belong to me. As it happens, the particular copyright license in the software that Tivo chose to redistribute may help ensure that Tivo is prevented from interfering with my freedom to use my property as I see fit.

  • by aussie_a (778472) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @09:07AM (#19370549) Journal
    Why don't you release under the public domain then? After all, the BSD adds a restriction, hence it takes away "freedom" it doesn't add to it.
  • by that this is not und (1026860) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @09:23AM (#19370641)
    The Really Smart thing to do right now would be to open a company in some country with no digital laws at all and sell PVRs that 1.connects to anything (UHF and cable and DVB and Sat-receivers etc) - without paying of course! (If there *are* any ads I'm not going to pay) - and 2.strips the ads from everything (I'm not going to watch any of your ads anyway, fuckers).


    You should definitely do that. Because then I will round up a bunch of Venture Capitalists. We'll buy a single one of the PVRs your heroic company produces. We'll build a factory across the street (in that same 'no digital laws' country).

    Oh, and also, Microsoft will set up their 'Linux Factory' down the block. GPL? Surely you jest!

    Oh- and your comment about the variable price of nVidia chipsets is the truth glaring right back at you. They're not selling you the hardware! They're using the hardware to enclose the IP that they're selling you!

    It's frightening when overgrown boys start dictating how companies should set up their business plans.

  • by proxy318 (944196) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @09:24AM (#19370655)
    "Oh, if GPLv3 is used, we won't be able to use our pointless DRM any more!" Cry me a river, TIVO.
  • by Blue Stone (582566) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @09:30AM (#19370683) Homepage Journal
    As I understand it, basic Hindu philosophy on the matter of spiritual freedom is similar: through a spiritual practice, you gain greater freedom, but some of the things you can do with your freedom will take away that freedom: crude example - taking addictive drugs: you're free to take them but your freedom will be reduced if you exercise your freedom in this manner. It's the philosopohy that to preserve freedom you have to refrain from doing things which reduce that freedom. Looking at it from the other side - how free are you if you exercise freedoms that reduce your freedom? That's what the GPL (v.n) seems to be all about.
  • by EvilRyry (1025309) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @09:39AM (#19370739) Journal
    How did this get modded +5? glibc isn't even licensed GPL! Notice we have commercial software for Linux? That all links to glibc, and it kind of has to. Which is why it is licensed LGPL.

    As for Tivo being scared of GPLv3, stop locking down your devices like the dicks you are and you won't be adversely affected. Problem solved!
  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @09:50AM (#19370799)

    Why should you get freedoms that Tivo can't have?

    Because apparently, Tivo couldn't be bothered to write their own goddamned software. So they decided to use somebody else's at no charge, and the authors of that software thought that end users should have those freedoms.

    You have the typical low-level software developer blinders on. The GPL is not all that concerned about the 1% of people who redistribute software; it's concerned about the 99% of people who are end users. You're just upset because you can't take the software gratis, then redistribute it under your own terms. That's not a concern for end users, but the restrictions that you would add under your terms would be.

    When you bought it, you knew what the restrictions, both legal and technological, on it were.

    The legal "restrictions" on it, the GPL, are what you're complaining about here. As far as technological shortcomings, property owner has a right to fix what he owns.

    You just want to play pretend hacker with your toys.

    Yeah, and you just want to play patsy to some OEM and tell yourself that that's somehow "freedom".

  • by Orange Crush (934731) * on Sunday June 03, 2007 @09:55AM (#19370843)

    I don't understand why Tivo should be required to help you do so, however.

    Because they're selling devices running an operating system that was developed by a community under a "share and share alike" philosophy. They're profiting from this community--which is fine by itself--but a lot of members of the community are really miffed that we can't go out and buy a Tivo, put in a custom kernel, run myth, tinker, etc. If it was my code, I'd be upset too. In fact, I'd be upset enough to make sure all future versions explicitly prohibit this behavior.

    Tivo followed the letter of the law w/ the GPL 2, but they violated its spirit. GPL 3 spells it out more. They can either update their codebase themselves or unlock the boxes they're selling, but many folks in the FOSS community aren't willing to help a company that locks down free software.

  • by Antimatter3009 (886953) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @09:57AM (#19370857)
    The best way I've ever seen the GPL vs. BSD debate put was something like this: GPL makes software free, BSD makes people free. BSD allows people to do much more with the code, meaning they have more freedom. However, GPL forces that code and any changes you make to be free as well, taking away some choice from the people, but ensuring the software itself and all variations will remain free. It seems like this argument is centering around the definition of free and what it applies to. Really, there are two different applications of the word.

    I'm personally a fan of GPL. I think that if code is made free, companies shouldn't take it and make money off it without giving anything back. I'll even admit that, yes, it's a restriction on their freedom. However, I think it's worth it to force them to share with the community that allowed them to make their money in the first place. That said, BSD certainly has its uses depending on your goals. I think they're both very good and useful licenses. You really shouldn't worry too much about which is better, because there isn't actually a good answer. It's just a matter of preference. They're both good, they're both useful, and they can both coexist just fine. Neither will go away, and they aren't competing with each other. It's just a developer choice.

  • Re:Good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tickletaint (1088359) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @10:12AM (#19370947) Journal
    And they probably will. Various BSD distros beckon, and because BSD developers are happy to see their code put to good use (rather than wielded as a weapon in someone's religious war), TiVo hither will come.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2007 @10:18AM (#19370993)
    "the BSD license make the end user free (to do what they want with the software)"

    Except that if a proprietary company takes products under a BSD license and puts it in their product then I lose any freedom to do what I want with the BSD licensed product.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2007 @10:50AM (#19371205)
    I find it interesting that you are both spending a large part of your posts telling the other person what he thinks, believes, and wants. One would assume that you both would have more understanding of your own mental processes than those of a stranger.
  • by pnewhook (788591) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @10:56AM (#19371249)

    Once Tivo has sold it to me, it's not "their product" any more. It's my property, and any "freedoms" regarding it belong to me. As it happens, the particular copyright license in the software that Tivo chose to redistribute may help ensure that Tivo is prevented from interfering with my freedom to use my property as I see fit.

    Don't be ridiculous. Just because you bought something doesn't mean you have unlimited rights to do as you wish to it. Would you consider a book that you bought now exclusively yours, then copy it and redistribute it? Of course not.

    What about your house? You own your house so does that give you the right to modify your water, gas and electrical hookups to bypass the meters? No.

    Your car? Do you have the right to drive your property you bought however you feel like? No - there are rules you must abide by.

    Tivo has a right to do what they want to their products. If you buy it and attempt to take it apart, well then that's fine and your right, but they also have a right to put mechanisms in place to deny you further service if you do.

  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @11:21AM (#19371449)

    us. Just because you bought something doesn't mean you have unlimited rights to do as you wish to it. Would you consider a book that you bought now exclusively yours, then copy it and redistribute it?

    The specific act of copying the information in the book is regulated by copyright law. Other than that, I'm free to do what I wish with the book, including modifying it and using the modified book.

    You own your house so does that give you the right to modify your water, gas and electrical hookups to bypass the meters?

    I wouldn't expect to, since I don't own the meters or utility pipes.

    Do you have the right to drive your property you bought however you feel like?

    If I drive on my own land, pretty much as long as I don't hurt anybody. Haven't you ever wondered why NASCAR drivers don't get speeding tickets during races?.

    they also have a right to put mechanisms in place to deny you further service if you do.

    And the people who wrote the software that Tivo uses have the right to prevent them from applying those mechanisms to copies of that software which Tivo redistributes. See the book example above.

  • by CyberLord Seven (525173) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @11:46AM (#19371641)
    Who modded this "Troll"?

    This is NOT a troll. Aussie has an argument here. You may not agree with it, but it is still valid.

  • by russotto (537200) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @11:47AM (#19371645) Journal

    If they did those things no sane person could claim a Tivo is a tool for infrigement any more then a dvdrw drive is or a good old fashion VCR.
    The MPAA is not made of of sane people. Neither, apparently, is the Supreme Court. While there hasn't actually been a case over a DVD-RW drive, the good old fashioned VCR was the subject of a lawsuit which went all the way to the Supreme Court. The VCR manufacturer won... in a 5-4 decision. And the MPAA has been attempting to effectively reverse that decision ever since.
  • by Maondas (1019724) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @12:04PM (#19371759)
    All Apple users benefited from their use of BSD code. By utilizing existing code, the apple development team was able to focus on other issues - such as the user interface. Similarly everyone has benefited from Microsoft's use of the BSD stack - did you really want them writing their own stack anyways? Using a known-good stack gives them more time to work out other bugs in their system.

    The free use terms of the BSD license did in fact benefit a large number of people when looked at in the context of development time.
  • by runningduck (810975) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @12:47PM (#19372013)

    Well, that's why I said "attempt" to prevent you from hacking their product. You're just as free to attempt to bypass those countermeasures.

    Actually, without the GPL3 you can lose the freedom to attempt to bypass those countermeasures. I guess you might argue that you are free to bypass those countermeasures so long as you do not get caught, but that holds true for any crime. The GPL3 is an attempt to maintain the same freedom as the GPL2 in the face of the changing legal landscape with laws such as the DMCA. Now you may or may not like the GPL[2|3] for whatever reason, but the GPL3 is consistant with the GPL2 in the face of a changing underlying legal foundation and without the GPL3 all GPL2 software can become effectively non-free do to newer anti-circumvention laws.

  • Pretty much everything you buy has restrictions and guidelines that are specified or implied that prevent you from doing absolutely anything you want with it, as your original post suggested.

    You couldn't possibly be more wrong. There are exactly two things restricting you from using your own property as you see fit:

    1. Contractual oblications, and
    2. The law.

    If the law doesn't forbid it and you haven't signed a contract stating otherwise, you can do anything you want with your property. Anything. If I want to turn my toaster into an attack robot, or use my Faberge egg for a hammer, that's my right. My stuff - my decicion.

    You listed a bunch of illegal acts as examples of restrictions on what you can do with your property, and not one of those is relevant to the subject at hand.

  • Re:That's fine (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Sunday June 03, 2007 @01:11PM (#19372193) Homepage Journal
    We'd like some companies to stop using Free Software: the companies that can't comply with the license in both letter and spirit, and insist on engineering loopholes - be they in hardware (Tivo) or in law (Novell-Microsoft). Those companies work to de-motivate the developers of the software that they are using, who contributed their software on a share-and-share-alike basis and expect that to be respected. We would do better without them.

    Bruce

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 03, 2007 @01:33PM (#19372345)
    "Why don't you release under the public domain then?"

    Because with public domain, you can lose credit as authors of that code. The convention to put authorship on public domain work is courtesy and convention, not something legally required. Some people may not have a problem with people using, modifying, or distributing their code, but still want their initial efforts mentioned.

    While I'm certain someone will say that maintaining authorship is a restricted freedom, most people would consider not doing so akin to plagiarism.

    "After all, the BSD adds a restriction, hence it takes away "freedom" it doesn't add to it."

    Typical revisionist history. The essence of the BSD license well precedes the popularity of the GPL license, which really only rose because of Linus's work, not Stallman's meddling. The argument that the GPL increased restrictions on freedoms holds pretty firm. (Then again, your arguments also show a general lack of understanding between the licenses.)

    Furthermore, you ignore that at the advent of the BSD license, the legal environment around copyright was different than it was today. The thought (rightly put forward at the then present, now past) was that licenses were the only way to afford positive affirmations of rights under existing law and court cases. This is why BSD licenses, which some people include the old Apache and MIT licenses, came to exist.

    Prior to the case (similar to the situation that affects works such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) I think involving Fox, public domain protections were not clear. Up to that time, it was entirely unclear *and untested* that a public domain work (such as a character) could not be re-rolled into a new work and copyrighted, thus affording the old character all current legal protections as if it was created new.

    In any case, GPL3 really shows the colors of the GPL camp, which is not about maintaining use and rights but sticking it to corporations and maintaining license lock. The proof is in the pudding, as it were--you've added restrictions. Compare that to the BSD license, which has removed a restriction, and that's saying something given there's like there were only 4 or so to begin with.

    In any case, I still think license choice should be up to the author; unfortunately, most authors go the popular route, not the comprehension route. TiVo deserves to be burned for their decision, because they didn't look at the history of the GPL camp or the impact of a license change. Then again, I also think there's minor protestations are crap; there's not much keeping them from rolling the old GPL2 licensed code forward--in fact, doing so may actually get major interest because there are likely other individuals and companies that think GPL3 goes too far.
  • by enrevanche (953125) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @01:50PM (#19372485)
    if a "restriction" reduces the "freedom" to restrict is it really reducing freedom?

    Two of the most important "restrictions" in the GPL v3 relate to DRM and Software Patents. These are two of the most restricting features in technology. Restricting them does not reducing overall freedom.

  • My own thoughts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Evets (629327) * on Sunday June 03, 2007 @03:01PM (#19373113) Homepage Journal

    Stallman, however, indicated that the ban does not apply to products meant to be used primarily in business environments.


    This is an interesting quote. It appears I'm going to have to research the GPL v3 a little bit further.

    Aside from that - I don't see much REAL news here. Tivo basically has stated that they are riding on the backs of open source developers, haven't done much of anything in return, and now that those developers have an easy option of migrating to a license that protects their work from the likes of Tivo they have to spend some time thinking about how exactly to move forward.

    Tivo certainly could migrate to foundational software with BSD style licenses, but it will take some time rebuilding everything and re-testing. They can also migrate to proprietary licensed software as a foundation. Further, they have the alternative of re-structuring their DRM protection. They could also spend time, money, and energy lobbying needed GPL projects for alternative licensing.

    They are not without options, and given the fact that their "innovation" has made zero contributions back to the group of developers that formed the foundation of their business, and given the fact that they prefer to strip rights from consumers(DRM), developers(licenses), and other innovators(patents) I don't see why they gain much sympathy at all.

    If you don't like GPL3, don't develop under it. FSF and the GPL are designed to foster the OSS community. If you want to provide your users with more freedom, provide an alternative license, use an alternative license, or write your own license. If you don't like GPL3 from an end user perspective, don't use GPL3 software, lobby for alternative licensing, or promote alternative projects that don't make use of the GPL.
  • by nagnamer (1046654) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @04:57PM (#19374189) Homepage
    Well, public domain is definitely the most free way to distribute software. It also includes (and is most certainly no limited to) the freedoms to take away credit, and also restrict free distribution in the future of modified copies (I think).

    The point is, there are two ways to define freedom, so to speak. One is the upstream way, where the freedom is what the authors say it is. You are free (have a license) to do whatever the author says you can, and the freedom is therefore subjective, but can protect the author's work if the author so wishes to. As for the downstream freedom, it is what users think they should be able to do with the software (or whatever creation). This freedom includes patenting, taking credit, selling, hacking, whatever a user can possibly conceive of.

    Unfortunately, you can't claim to have enabled absolute downstream freedom if you want the upstream freedoms at the same time. Those contradict each other. The moment you say "I want the credit for my work" you are restricting those users who maybe don't want to give you credit.

    It's a thin line, but a line nevertheless. Now, I'm not saying either freedom is better. The latter can only work if there is respect among people (which is usually not the case, especially when financial gain is in the mix), the former is too subjective to please everyone.
  • by m50d (797211) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @05:15PM (#19374311) Homepage Journal
    Because with public domain, you can lose credit as authors of that code. The convention to put authorship on public domain work is courtesy and convention, not something legally required. Some people may not have a problem with people using, modifying, or distributing their code, but still want their initial efforts mentioned.

    And some people may not have a problem with people using, modifying, or distributing their code, but still want anyone who does so to release the modified versions under the same license. In both cases they are applying restrictions.

    While I'm certain someone will say that maintaining authorship is a restricted freedom, most people would consider not doing so akin to plagiarism.

    No question of "akin to"; it is plagiarism, plain and simple. But it's still the addition of a restriction.

    Typical revisionist history. The essence of the BSD license well precedes the popularity of the GPL license, which really only rose because of Linus's work, not Stallman's meddling.

    Anyone who was actually trying to use a unix system in 1990 knows the GPL mattered back then too. But in any case, which came first has no bearing on which is more free.

    Furthermore, you ignore that at the advent of the BSD license, the legal environment around copyright was different than it was today. The thought (rightly put forward at the then present, now past) was that licenses were the only way to afford positive affirmations of rights under existing law and court cases. This is why BSD licenses, which some people include the old Apache and MIT licenses, came to exist.

    Nevertheless, now we know. So there is no need to use the BSD license any more.

    In any case, GPL3 really shows the colors of the GPL camp, which is not about maintaining use and rights but sticking it to corporations and maintaining license lock. The proof is in the pudding, as it were--you've added restrictions.

    The GPL has never been about having the least number of restrictions, it's about having the most freedom overall.

    Compare that to the BSD license, which has removed a restriction, and that's saying something given there's like there were only 4 or so to begin with.

    But if you're going for the "fewest restrictions possible" route, why not remove them all?

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Sunday June 03, 2007 @05:26PM (#19374405) Homepage

    Your so called "freedom to tinker" just means that no company will be allowed any kind of protection for protected content.

    You lost me at "protection for protected content". You're talking about bits on my hard drive, right? My hard drive, that happens to be in my DVR, that I own? I'm afraid that I can't summon up any tears over people not being able to prevent me from accessing the data on my own hard drive. Anyone who built a business model on that fantasy is an idiot - if they go broke it's not my problem.

    As for "free software is anti-business" and "companies can't make money off their work" - bullshit. Sure, Free Software is incompatible with one specific business model - call it the "Adobe/Microsoft Model". In exchange, it makes contract software development (how the vast majority of programmers make a living) more profitable than ever by allowing *any* software development team to add features / fix bugs in applications. Economically, it's probably an improvement. And, the part you don't want to hear: Socially, it's definitely an improvement.

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