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Thread: Developers, release your GPL'd code please.

  1. #1
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    Developers, release your GPL'd code please.

    This message is for everyone releasing code for use on the TiVo set of embedded platforms.

    There is an increasingly disturbing trend of tool release for TiVo without corresponding source code release. Even without the arguments I'm about to make, there isn't really a good reason to keep source away from other developers. You don't plan to make money with these hacks, do you?

    On a more serious front, if you based your work on an existing GPL'd piece of software, then you are obligated to release your source under the GPL as a term of your original use of the code. It is entirely likely that most or all of the software in this forum is based on GPL'd code. This means that a software code release is _not_ optional in these cases.

    Andrew Tridgell's original code releases were all GPL. This includes the vplay package, with vsplit, many of the mfs_* utilities, and most of the libraries upon which mfs routines are built today. Tridge specifically released these under the GPL to require authors to release derivative works as well. Anything based on Alex's playstream code is similarly required to be released under the GPL. The license is easy to spot, as it is at the top of all of the original source code files.

    Since, to my knowledge, nobody here has cleanroom reverse-engineered the mfs filesystem, or tyfiles themselves (from scratch, without any previous codebase), more software on this forum should have source code releases.

    I'll keep this relatively short, and end with a polite request that authors with software releases, and no code releases, consider if what they have done is launched from the backs of those that wrote GPL'd software. If so (and the answer is probably yes), do the right thing and contribute back to this community which supports you.

  2. #2
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    Apart from the legalities, releasing the source also lets others build upon it. It's somewhat hard to produce quality tools when the information is so hoarded and likewise hypocritical to hoard information when most of the inital information came from a GPL'd program.

    In the end it really depends on the users. Most come from a windows background and have little clue as to what opensource means or how GPL'd code works and therefore don't push the issue with the developers. GPL is basically saying "I'm giving you this information on the promise you won't try to monopolize it", that is that you can do whatever you want with the information so long as you share the information, free of charge.

    But what if you have no desire to program?

    The way open source works and the reason it's so popular is that programs released as part of it evolve quickly. Instead of just one programmer working on the task you have dozens from all over the internet studing the code, fixing and improving it. Even if you don't code yourself, by pushing for open source you're helping push for a higher quality program -- something to think about the next time the program doesn't perform.
    http://tivo.samba.org/download/mbm
    E4pFXEMBEEMXXv2L0TlAFOYC3/2HtWFvYiL3md0h2cxuU1BFugTKBBaOi1GH/7265DTD4a57
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  3. #3
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    I hate to take sides, but I agree.

    /me signs the petition
    Before PMing me: Iím not your personal tech support. If you have a question, ask in public so I don't have to repeat if somebody else asks. If you want images or slices, use emule. I will ignore all support PMs.

    Sponsor a vegetarian! I have taken the pledge, how about you?

  4. #4
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    agree 100% and...

    and... this allows us to port this code to multiple platforms rather easily. (for the mac guys!!!)

    I agree 100% with the arguements above. Please release any and all source that is/was based off of tridges original code or that is GPLed.


    Thanks in advance,

    -lloyd-

  5. #5
    wolkowh Guest

    Angry Why beat around the bush

    The way I read this forum is not a polite request under the aegis of GPL - but you guys want Jdiner to release his code. Look, I've suggested it to him as well, he doesn't care to do it for whatever reason - current one being he wil once muxing is complete. I've tried the logic - look someone else can help you out - off-load the work, etc.

    Fact is, he hasn't released his code and I don't feel like pissing him off so his code is not finished. You know what - he wrote the only 100% non-fail working code to do what I want to do. I have no desire to bite the hand that feeds me.

    Its kindof like those philosophical arguments about how Napster empowers the people - we just wanted our free mp3s. I think its very rude to not come out and say what you mean.

    Just my 2 cents
    Howard

  6. #6
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    embeem:

    I thought it was common knowledge (at least on tivocommunity) that you rarely release source, so did I read your post right, you're in favor of open source?

    just one example to the point...

    thread: "for you people whining about the elapsed clock"
    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...threadid=62539

    embeem:
    "lzip'd source is attached, you'll need a copy of lzip."

    ][ronMan:
    It's an old gag... Look at the lzip url embeem gave you... Embeen has traditionally been a "no source code" guy, but maybe some day he'll open up to the world of open souce...


    psyton

  7. #7
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    Re: Why beat around the bush

    Originally posted by wolkowh
    Its kindof like those philosophical arguments about how Napster empowers the people - we just wanted our free mp3s. I think its very rude to not come out and say what you mean.
    First of all, this post is to several programs, not just the one you mentioned.

    The release of source is not a simple request if the programs are based off others' works of GPL'd code. You mentioned things about working programs, without crediting the folks that actually figured out the MFS filesystem, and tystreams in the first place. Using their code, and closing the source in future releases, is stealing copyrighted works from those that wished nothing other than to give us all freedom to innovate on our TiVos in the first place.

    I agree with you that we should thank people for their work in this community, but that doesn't free them from the obligation to release source, if their programs are based on GPL'd works in the first place. Let's not forget those that made this all possible from the beginning.

    Again, thanks to all those that work on embedded TiVo development. It is a rewarding task, and one that we all appreciate in the free software community.

  8. #8
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    Re: Why beat around the bush

    Originally posted by wolkowh
    he wrote the only 100% non-fail working code to do what I want to do. I have no desire to bite the hand that feeds me.
    Look, this isn't an ego war.
    Before PMing me: Iím not your personal tech support. If you have a question, ask in public so I don't have to repeat if somebody else asks. If you want images or slices, use emule. I will ignore all support PMs.

    Sponsor a vegetarian! I have taken the pledge, how about you?

  9. #9
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    The etc program...

    Originally posted by psyton
    embeem:

    I thought it was common knowledge (at least on tivocommunity) that you rarely release source, so did I read your post right, you're in favor of open source?
    Ironic isn't it?

    I could argue that the programs were never based on GPL'd code in the first place, but I won't.

    I teased. Yep. Same as my sigs.

    The source code was never released to encourage more development. I wanted to see how many people would look at it and say "ooh that's cool, wonder how he did that" and subconciously be drawn into tivo development. It was sort of a psychological experiment...

    The real fact of the matter is that all the code was available, just in other forms. The osd routines used by the clock obviously came from tivovbi but did you know ioctl for elapsed time was also in there? Certainly pays to be alert

    Actually I had intentions on releasing the source. I was done with the program and had no plans to support it, the problem was the code was in no shape to be released, no makefile, no readme, code was in a mess. When I said the code was written in 5 minutes I wasn't kidding.

    I didn't really understand at the time that there was quite the controversy over a damn clock, had I of understood that I never would have even posted it. Here I thought I was doing them a favor and instead all I got was complaints about the flaws in it. I was swamped with request for people that wanted help installing, didn't think it looked right on their tv and everything else. I couldn't release what I had. If I did release the source I'd have to basically rewrite it properly and fix the bugs, basically everything I was insistant on not doing.

    It was at this point that musclenerd stepped forward and explained the ioctl, tossed up some source and really took the spotlight. Sure, AVS didn't think much of me but what'd I care? Presented with this perfect oppertunity to wash my hands of the whole thing I decided just to step back and let him handle it.

    When dtype asked me about a new board I somewhat insisted that it be developers only -- I'm sick of having to deal with demanding end users.

    Footnotes:

    There's only a few minor differences between what musclenerd did and what I was doing. I used the tivovbi font scaled to half vertical height and placed it at the very bottom of the screen buffer, knowing that since the menus were lower resolution it'd never show up there. Musclenerd on the other hand used an ioctl to detect rather it was on a menu screen or not.
    http://tivo.samba.org/download/mbm
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    ClRoZSB0cnV0aCBhYm91dCBhIG1hbiBsaWVzIGluIHdoYXQgaGUgaGlkZXMgLU1hbHJhdXgK

  10. #10
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    Not to really be trying to stir anything up, but does the GPL apply to alpha or beta testing releases? I'd think you would only need to release the source when the project was complete, not still in a testing phase. No, I haven't read the GPL, and probably never will. I don't really code so having the source would do nothing for me.

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by Juppers
    Not to really be trying to stir anything up, but does the GPL apply to alpha or beta testing releases?
    It applies to any release of any kind. It basically says that if you make the binary available in any way you must also make the source available.

    Although the GPL has never been tested in court it has massive support and respect. Many large companies are *very* wary of GPL'd code; it's been called a cancer by some since if you integrate GPL'd code into proprietary code then all the proprietary code is now subject to GPL.

    Originally posted by embeem
    The source code was never released to encourage more development.
    Now that's just bollocks. Do you work for Micro$oft?

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by Juppers
    Not to really be trying to stir anything up, but does the GPL apply to alpha or beta testing releases? I'd think you would only need to release the source when the project was complete, not still in a testing phase. No, I haven't read the GPL, and probably never will. I don't really code so having the source would do nothing for me.
    Yes, it applies any time you distribute a derivative application, regardless of what you call that release.

    It isn't meant to be a harmful license, but it is designed for developers who want to release code, and make sure that people that modify and redistribute that code also release their changes. It is perfect for a community such as the TiVo hacking community, where you want advances to be shared between developers.

    Again, while you see a lot of work from developers now, please consider how much work it was for Tridge to originally figure out the filesystem _from scratch_. He gave us that for free and all he asks is that future modifications also be free and available.

  13. #13
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    I believe you will find (as most corporate attorney's would agree) that GPL has a very strong legal basis.
    And most folks would rather not challenge its basis.

    Not trying to piss anybody off here.

    As everyone deserves credit for their contributions and achievements.

    As for releaseing alpha or beta source.. One could reasonably argue that this code in development is not subject to release since it is in testing. Although it would require a release at some point.

    Now one could always ignore these disclosure requirements of code based on GPL code, but is there no honor amongst hackers/coders... i would bet for the most part there is...

    For the Jdiner's example,im sure he'll do the right thing, he seems like a helluva a humanbeing. And i would argue with most anyone that he is working in 'good faith' which would imho carry a great deal of weight in this matter.(my $0.02 worth)

    If things are slow (on releasing) im sorry i have hobbyiest these types of sports for many years, and sometimes things are slow, but when they get hoppin, they get hoppin.





    Ok Flamestrike me at will...but i said it , you may not like it, but thats the way it is.

  14. #14
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    Thumbs up

    Source code being available is good in my book.

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by profo
    As for releaseing alpha or beta source.. One could reasonably argue that this code in development is not subject to release since it is in testing. Although it would require a release at some point.
    One that hasn't read the GPL could reasonably argue this. Lindows tried this argument, and failed miserably. The GPL makes no distinction of the type of release. The short of it is, any distributed source or binary is a release, including so called betas. Otherwise, this loophole would pretty much allow anyone to avoid releasing source by forever calling their software beta.

    This is very well established. The "beta" argument is flimsy and pretty much based on people that choose to make up things rather than actually read the license.


    Now one could always ignore these disclosure requirements of code based on GPL code, but is there no honor amongst hackers/coders... i would bet for the most part there is...
    One could ignore it, the same way someone could violate copyright in other ways. It is both illegal and immoral to do so, though.

    Like you said, though, I think most people here operate in good faith, and all I'd like to do is encourage everyone to do the right thing.

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