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Thread: TurboNet Discussion Continued....banned from AVSForum

  1. #16
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    Originally posted by SirWill


    I still have one question. Shouldn't your driver for Large Hard Drives be included in the GPL? If not why is it not? Is it not derived from existing GPL source code?
    Yes, it should. And licensees of it are entitled to the source. Here's the rub... we don't have it. We are trying to get it from our contractor. We'll have it soon. And we are going to release it.

    As for grey areas, they are abundant.

    Having been the first business to offer upgrades, I approached TiVo and formed a relationship when other existed. We've always ensured that we wouldn't disrupt TiVo's relationship with its customers.

    They've never had a problem with what we do, but have never officially acknowleged it, either. Fact is, we are responsible for keeping many TiVo customers loyal because of the upgrade path, and I think they appreciate that. We've not disrupted their revenue stream either - remember TiVo needs new customers, not just a small base of people throwing out old boxes and buying new ones, to thrive in this marketplace.

    Anyway, I have to go for now. Will check in again later.

  2. #17
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    Originally posted by pweed
    Yes, it should. And licensees of it are entitled to the source. Here's the rub... we don't have it. We are trying to get it from our contractor. We'll have it soon. And we are going to release it.

    As for grey areas, they are abundant.

    Having been the first business to offer upgrades, I approached TiVo and formed a relationship when other existed. We've always ensured that we wouldn't disrupt TiVo's relationship with its customers.

    They've never had a problem with what we do, but have never officially acknowleged it, either. Fact is, we are responsible for keeping many TiVo customers loyal because of the upgrade path, and I think they appreciate that. We've not disrupted their revenue stream either - remember TiVo needs new customers, not just a small base of people throwing out old boxes and buying new ones, to thrive in this marketplace.

    Anyway, I have to go for now. Will check in again later.
    Thank you. I don't think the grey areas should be used to imply that anyone related to tivo software distribution is doing anything illegal. Both sides have some good facts.

    As for the original Jafa Design being copied. The fact that they followed the EXACT layout and copied everything is what makes it illegal. If they change the board layout it MIGHT clear some hurdles. What we don't actually know is if they copied ANY embeded code on the board, or if Jafa uses the canned microcode. He might he might not, only he would know. (And someone who can read the code direct from the chips).

    His drivers resident on the Tivo are clearly part of a distribution now. And if there is ANY variation from Jafa's design to the canned .pdf sheet then just changing the board layout MAY NOT be enough.

    I'm done for a few hours, it has been interesting today. Will check in in several hours. Off or some family time.
    S1 30 hour (It WILL grow someday)
    Turbonet / Tivoweb/ MFS_FTP

    www.pdaspecialists.com

  3. #18
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    Can't you guys do this in private email instead of this forum?
    SpongeBob is not a contraceptive - Bart S.
    A tabloid, is that one of those really strong mints? - Homer S.

  4. #19
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    Sirwill,

    You da man.

    It does mean though, that anyone selling preconfigured TiVo drives with TiVo software is in violation of copyright. TiVo, however, does not enforce the copyright, due to its friendly nature with TiVo hackers and the TiVo hacking community, and in fact any drive upgrades will bring TiVo money.

    Lou could have said this all along and I would have agreed with him, for it is the same reason that I feel safe opening up my TiVos and playing around with them.

    Despite being repeatedly insulted and belittled by Lou, I wasn't trying to hurt him or his business. I just wanted an answer. Sirwill, you've provided just that.

  5. #20
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    Originally posted by BubbleLamp
    Can't you guys do this in private email instead of this forum?

    Absolutley not.

    This is EXACTLY what you want in an open forum.

    Conversations like this one are good for the tivo world, and dealdatabase has never censored open, calm, well thought out conversation.

    I think it's in the appropriate forum, and it is better to be done here, then be shutdown unceremoniously, like it was at tivocommunity.

    We can be a refuge for those who want to discuss things like this, extraction, etc.. (yes, I know we don't discuss everything). This conversation can bring no heat on us.

    It's fine.

  6. #21
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    FWIW, the reason the thread got pulled is all the bagging on the big AVS advertisers.

    (ie 9th tee)

    And not the heated discussion.

  7. #22
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    I personally am not a lawyer, but I have worked on a project that used Linux as the OS for some of the components. The entire system was proprietary.

    Their interpretation is very simillar to what Raj has insisted all along. This is the reason why TiVo's Linux Kernel and associated GPL software is available for download on the TiVo server.

    At the end of the day, it all comes down to who's lawyer is better in court. I would assume that TiVo the corporation has an advantage over you (as you sound like you are a small operation).

    It sounds like you have ties with TiVo. If I were you, I would create a contract with TiVo that allows you to distribute their software.

    One of the big sticky spots for you should be upgrading someone that doesn't have a subscription to TiVo service.

    My advice is CYA.
    Last edited by cwingert; 05-28-2003 at 07:22 PM.

  8. #23
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by raj2001
    [B]
    cwingert - i appreciate your comments; i almost agree with what you are saying, but to take it a step further, i think it has more to with money, and precedent, as to whether TiVo would make a stink over any grey areas. not sure that it would ever end up in court because that just costs everybody money, and i don't know what the upside of that would be for either party.

    i do feel strongly that if you take a step back from the issue, and look at what stalling et al envisioned when they created the free software foundation and the GPL, that this is a great example of what they wanted to see.

    TiVo could not have affordably built a product and service like they have without leveraging the contributions of the GPL community. We could not have built a business such as ours without their contribution, etc etc.

    As for the subscriber/non-subscriber issue, I don't know that it would really be a concern; since a person cant use the TiVo service (legally) without a subscription, its sort of a moot point. Regardless, the right to distribute is the right to distribute. Rights of use are different, and that is between the end-user and TiVo. We have no intention of disrupting that aspect of the relationship.

  9. #24
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    Originally posted by JJBliss
    Absolutley not.

    This is EXACTLY what you want in an open forum.

    Conversations like this one are good for the tivo world, and dealdatabase has never censored open, calm, well thought out conversation.

    I think it's in the appropriate forum, and it is better to be done here, then be shutdown unceremoniously, like it was at tivocommunity.

    We can be a refuge for those who want to discuss things like this, extraction, etc.. (yes, I know we don't discuss everything). This conversation can bring no heat on us.

    It's fine.
    Excuse me JJ, but these sorts of endless rants have been banned here before. The name of this forum is Tivo Hacks, not who understands the GPL the best. At the very least it should be moved to a General Discussions area, or one can be created especially for these diatribes.
    SpongeBob is not a contraceptive - Bart S.
    A tabloid, is that one of those really strong mints? - Homer S.

  10. #25
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    Originally posted by BubbleLamp
    Excuse me JJ, but these sorts of endless rants have been banned here before. The name of this forum is Tivo Hacks, not who understands the GPL the best. At the very least it should be moved to a General Discussions area, or one can be created especially for these diatribes.
    OK, before this becomes a fight between US.....

    My "absolutley not" was not a scolding or a imperative, it was merely an emphatic opinion.

    I disagree that this is an endless rant, and it is segregated to a single thread, which as is the nature of this forum, you don't have to read if you don't want to.

    I have no problem moving it to a general forum, you're suggestion is well taken. I hope I didn't step on your toes with my comments, it's just what I believed to be true.

  11. #26
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    Originally posted by cwingert
    I personally am not a lawyer, but I have worked on a project that used Linux as the OS for some of the components. The entire system was proprietary.

    Their interpretation is very simillar to what Raj has insisted all along. This is the reason why TiVo's Linux Kernel and associated GPL software is available for download on the TiVo server.

    At the end of the day, it all comes down to who's lawyer is better in court. I would assume that TiVo the corporation has an advantage over you (as you sound like you are a small operation).

    Your first point has actually been touched on before, with a huge difference of opinion existing between Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman (FSF). From what I understand, Linus' position on Linux and the GPL was that anyone can use the Linux kernel to bundle with and run their proprietary software, and keep their source closed. Richard Stallman's position was that if someone bundles any GNU GPL software, that all software automatically becomes covered under the GNU GPL. They have been forever disagreeing on that, and IIRC, they haven't agreed ever since.

  12. #27
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by pweed
    [B]
    Originally posted by raj2001
    TiVo could not have affordably built a product and service like they have without leveraging the contributions of the GPL community.
    I don't believe that to be true. Let's look at some of their competitors:

    Microsoft Ultimate TV - Windows CE
    Scientific Atlanta 8000 PVR - PowerTV (proprietary)
    ReplayTV - ?

  13. #28
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    Originally posted by cwingert
    FWIW, the reason the thread got pulled is all the bagging on the big AVS advertisers.

    (ie 9th tee)

    And not the heated discussion.
    AVS has even filtered out the names of some of those sites' competitors. You can't even PM someone with the website address, all you see is a bunch of stars.

  14. #29
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    Turbonet cards do not contain any microcode or even any programmable parts. They have:
    an Asix ax88796 ethernet mac/phy
    a 74ac374 (octal d-type flip-flop)
    a reset monitor chip
    crystal
    ethernet transformer
    ethernet jack
    LEDs
    bunch of resistors/caps

    There is nothing here that is 'proprietary'. All of the signals except for one are a direct connect to the Tivo motherboard. What is proprietary is the precise layout of the board (protected by copyright), and this is what the fake turbonets got in trouble with. Reverse engineering it to see how it works is legal. If somebody does their own layout, and sells a 'SuperChargedNet' board, they are in the clear. (IANAL)

    If you want to build your own ethernet card for your tivo, you can buy a development board with the proper chip on it from:
    http://www.edtp.com/

    Here is a picture of a (mostly) working example. It has some problems under high load that seem to be due to the very poor layout of the board, specifically power supply issues. Adding more decoupling caps made it much more reliable.

    Roy

  15. #30
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    Re: GPL and the spirt of the FSF's movement

    Originally posted by pweed

    I'm not implying that we have any sort of special deal with TiVo (although it is true that over 2 years ago I sat down with Richard Bullwinkle and the head of TiVo's legal counsel and reviewed our business model); they had no issues.
    pweed:

    I forwarded your statement to TiVo's lawyers to verify your claims. I'll summarize their response:

    The GPL does not cover any of TiVo's proprietary software. TiVo's proprietary software is not combined with software under GPL, it is separately copyrighted software and is aggregated for distribution purposes. Such aggregation, by itself, does not subject proprietary code to the terms of the GPL.

    Unless someone has a signed agreement with TiVo, they do not have the right to redistribute TiVo's copyrighted software._ This is clearly stated in TiVo's Service Agreement which can be found on TiVo's web site, http://www.tivo.com/privacy. Of course, people do have a right to redistribute software specifically released under the GPL. The software under GPL can be found on TiVo Inc's website, http://www.tivo.com.

    TiVo has a licensing program pursuant to which it licenses its propretary software to consumer electronics manufacturers and service providers. Only those entities with written agreements signed by TiVo may redistribute TiVo's proprietary software pursuant to the terms and conditions of those individual agreements.

    If anyone has any questions on these issues, the contact info for TiVo's legal staff can be found at http://www.tivo.com.

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