Zenwalk violates the GPL

Story: Zenwalk Continues To Impress With 5.2 BetaTotal Replies: 65
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tuxchick

May 23, 2008
6:13 AM EST
The Zenwalk devs are just as wrong and pigheaded about honoring the terms of the GPL as Warren Woodford is with Mepis. The GPL is clear that you have to distribute the sources of every binary that you distribute. Warren is still technically in violation by charging $34.95 for two DVDs ("to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution") plus he's whiny about it:

Quoting: It is unlikely that you need these DVDs. These are not the droids you are looking for. Move along, move along.
http://www.mepis.org/store/sku147

The Zenwalk devs don't even pretend to care about the GPL, and don't make sources available. They have a script for users that supposedly pulls sources from upstream, but that's not in compliance with the GPL, and you have no way of getting the actual sources used by Zenwalk.

**edit** Zenwalk does have a source repository: http://download.zenwalk.org/i486/source/

Quoting: The source repository is under construction


It's been that way for a long time.
jdixon

May 23, 2008
6:44 AM EST
Yeah, it's a shame that otherwise good distro's can't be bothered to comply with the GPL. They already have the servers; how much more trouble is it to set up a source code tree and allow people to access it?
dumper4311

May 23, 2008
7:21 AM EST
>"how much more trouble is it to set up a source code tree and allow people to access it?"

Easy to say if you're not paying for the bandwidth, or with the Mepis example above, the time and materials to burn, package, and ship the DVDs. There's a reason the hippie communes all fell apart. Peace, love and harmony are fine concepts until it comes time to pay the bill, or actually get something done. Simple fact is, even under the GPL, the source is freely available, but the work/resources required to convey it from source to destination are under no such restriction - and shouldn't be.

That said, if Zenwalk isn't making their source code available, they should at least implement something along the lines of the Mepis solution.
rijelkentaurus

May 23, 2008
7:47 AM EST
Yeah, if I was burning the DVDs to order (or even several at a time), you could probably figure about 15 minutes of time to get it done per set, and that translates to $38.75 at my current billable rate (oh, if only I was the one getting $155/hr, alas, it is my employer).
bigg

May 23, 2008
7:48 AM EST
I wouldn't trust a distro that doesn't have at least a local copy of the original sources. When you download something, put a copy in a folder on your hard drive. When someone contributes, make them give you the original source.

I have no use for anyone who thinks he/she can ignore a software license because complying is inconvenient. In addition, any responsible developer knows you should keep a copy of the sources. A few GB on a hard drive. No big deal. Slap it on a DVD and mail it to someone that wants it. If there were anything difficult about complying with this rule, I would be at least 1% sympathetic.

> They have a script for users that supposedly pulls sources from upstream

Then what are they whining about? They can just run the script themselves. Problem solved.

What are they going to do if there's a bug and the upstream source is no longer available?
tuxchick

May 23, 2008
7:50 AM EST
You're ranting at the wrong people, dumper. No sources are freely available unless someone makes them available, and the GPL specifies exactly how to make it available. "Go find it yourself somewhere upstream" is not one of the allowed methods, and people who expect Linux distributors to honor the GPL are hardly dopey hippies with crazy ideas.

There is a simple rule for using GPL code: if you don't want to honor the terms of the GPL, don't use GPL code. Mepis and Zenwalk are the ones who are balking at paying their GPL bills, which is merely making their source trees available. I daresay that is considerably cheaper than creating and maintaining an entire operating system with productivity applications from scratch. They're getting the benefit of gigabytes of other people's code, and yet they're still whiny and ungrateful. Warren is displaying bad faith with DVD-only distribution at an inflated cost, even if he is technically, by a hair, in GPL compliance, and his licensing FAQ is full of errors. Users who want the sources for a single or a just a few applications are stuck with buying the DVD set, and there is no way of knowing how up-to-date the DVD sets are, or how soon they will receive them.

I don't understand why "little guys" like Mepis and Zenwalk should get a pass on GPL violations- they're in the wrong just as much as any BigEvilCorp that does the same thing.
dumper4311

May 23, 2008
8:51 AM EST
Easy tuxchick - take a deep breath. I'm not ranting at anyone, and we fundamentally agree. I believe any user of any code should comply with said code's license. I further believe that under the GPL, any applicable code should be made available in a reasonable manner.

We part company in that I don't share your bent towards entitlement. Mepis and Zenwalk and anyone else using GPL code should be held to the same standard as anyone else. You seem to have re-defined that standard to mean "they should provide free, immediate access to everything for everyone." I view that as unhealthy and irrational. Sadly, the effort to re-define "free" software as the technical equivalent of a welfare state is becoming a common sentiment.

- Yes, they should honor the license of the code they redistribute. - Yes, they should provide current code when it's requested. - Yes, they should provide it to anyone who requests it. - Yes, it should be done at a reasonable cost - what they reasonably feel it costs them to maintain and distribute such resources. - No, they're not under any obligation to provide instant access to such code. - No, they're not obligated to let you decide for them what you feel a reasonable fee is for such provision. - No, they're not obligated to play indentured servant for anyone, and sort through gigabytes of code for someone who only wants this . . . and this . . . . and this, but not this . . . or this.

I never claimed "people" who expect anyone else to honor the terms of a given software license are "dopey hippies with crazy ideas". Although it's cute how you'd associate your perspective with that of "people" as a whole - we think very highly of ourselves, don't we? :)

What I am saying is that the irrational entitlement motif you seem to be championing, if codified, would tend to cripple the freedom you claim so loudly to respect. Once again, passion is worth very little if it can't be balanced with a practical implementation that serves the users of the software.
azerthoth

May 23, 2008
9:11 AM EST
Quoting:to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution


Neither GPLv2 or v3 says anything near that.

GPLv2 Section 1
Quoting:You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, and you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a fee.


GPLv3 Section 4
Quoting:You may charge any price or no price for each copy that you convey, and you may offer support or warranty protection for a fee.


It is a misconception that I have run across that you cant make a tidy profit off of source code. I can take and put source code on a CD/DVD and charge a thousand bucks for it if I chose. Granted that the first CD/DVD to go out can then be shared wholly or in part for free.

Free as in Freeloader does not apply to source code either, a GPL project can make the source code prohibitively expensive. Sorry if I seem a bit short TC, I'm writing this before my first cup of coffee.
tuxchick

May 23, 2008
9:20 AM EST
Quoting: 3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:

a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange;
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0.txt
azerthoth

May 23, 2008
9:58 AM EST
Thank you TC, you missed something in your reading of Section 3 though. Section 3.b kicks in (cost of the act) only when you choose alternate compliance from sections 1 and 2 as listed in Section 3.a.

Section 3.b as alternate compliance limits cost, Section 3.a has no such limit.

I'm not saying anything about Mepis or Zenwalk compliance in this, just that the presumption that source code has a mandatory minimus charge is incorrect.

*edit* a good place for an example of charging in extremis would be the FSF itself. https://agia.fsf.org/order/ */edit*
jdixon

May 23, 2008
10:49 AM EST
> Easy to say if you're not paying for the bandwidth,

Meer.net provides DSL service with a fixed IP address in the Morgantown area for $45 a month and don't restrict you to non-commercial uses. Yeah, the speed would be lousy, but the GPL doesn't address that, and if Warren is so absolutely certain nobody needs the source, there shouldn't be that much demand for it, should there?
dumper4311

May 23, 2008
12:07 PM EST
>"Yeah, the speed would be lousy, but the GPL doesn't address that . . ."

Then you're still left with the same complaints (from the same complainers) I tried to address in my second post. Now it'll be "with this crappy connection, I still can't download and they're violating the "spirit" of the GPL". It's the same slippery entitlement based slope, with a twist of rationalization to make it more palatable. So let's add another point:

- No, they're not obligated to let anyone else decide (outside of the explicit declarations of the license) what is a reasonable method of distribution for them.
tuxchick

May 23, 2008
12:31 PM EST
heh, dumper, that's some world-class straining at gnats there. Indentured servant? Sorting through code for someone else? Please, give me one example of where this will happen by providing an ordinary source tree online. I know when I need to fetch source tarballs, SRPMs, or get something from SVN I don't need anyone else to "sort" them for me, and I rather doubt anyone else does either. Where do you get this stuff? The "medium customarily used for software interchange" is via Internet download, and in the FOSS world it's been that way for years. The only "Irrational entitlement" here is from Zenwalk and Mepis, who should really be using BSD code since they're so GPL-averse.
dumper4311

May 23, 2008
1:07 PM EST
>"Users who want the sources for a single or a just a few applications are stuck with buying the DVD set,"

I got that from you , tuxchick. You're right, it wouldn't happen by providing an ordinary source tree online, but you've also completely skirted the point: You have no right to determine for them what method of distribution they choose. Distribution via media is perfectly valid, whether you like it or not. It's you straining at gnats, to somehow try to validate your entitlement mindset.

>"The "medium customarily used for software interchange" is via Internet download"

So declares tuxchick - ah, the arrogance of elitism. And in typical "I am entitled" fashion, you'd dictate to these developers (translate: "free" code users) just what their "freedom" means, and exactly how it can be exercised. Your position sounds more like an MS EULA than a "free" software license.

>"Zenwalk and Mepis, who should really be using BSD code since they're so GPL-averse."

Mepis is apparently complying, just not in a manner you care for. Zenwalk should, we don't even have anything to argue about here. Sadly, it's not the GPL you're arguing for.

I must admit, arguments like yours make me curious to see what the GPLv4 would come out looking like following your ideology. As I said, this "communities" more passionate members look more like a welfare state all the time.
jdixon

May 23, 2008
6:02 PM EST
> Now it'll be "with this crappy connection, I still can't download and they're violating the "spirit" of the GPL".

And your point is?

Your were saying that the bandwith costs were a concern. I pointed out that they weren't. The only reason Warren doesn't provide a source code tree is because he doesn't want to. Why he doesn't want to isn't something I'm worried about, since he is complying with the GPL (unlike Zenwalk), but there's no reason to sugar coat the matter.

Added: Yes, I'm somewhat sensitive on the matter, since Morgantown is only about 30 miles away as the crow files.

BTW, in the judgment of folks here, would providing a Bittorrent feed meet the requirements of the GPL?
dumper4311

May 23, 2008
8:49 PM EST
@jdixon: I'm not actually trying to sugar coat anything, or even trying to stick up for Mepis or Zenwalk. I happen to agree with your first post in this thread (and indirectly tuxchick's argument) - a good SVN repository on even a moderate connection is reasonable - if they're worried about cost, they could charge a reasonable fee for access to the repository, and change access permissions monthly or something to help pay for it.

My point is there's always a reason to gripe if you don't like the way someone else does something. As of yet, nobody's offered an intelligent reason to believe the "community" is entitled to any special consideration beyond strict compliance with the license. That's the part I have a problem sugar coating. :)

The Bittorrent question is interesting. By tuxchick's definition, it is a medium "customarily used for software interchange . . . and in the FOSS world it's been that way for years". Case in point - any number of ISOs for any number of distros. I'm not sure it's any more convenient or accessible (or customary) than ordering a DVD, but that depends on how much attention they pay to their feed.
dinotrac

May 23, 2008
9:02 PM EST
TC -

If we're going to talk about straining and bending meaning --

Where do you come up with being unable to charge a fee that does not exceed your cost of physically transferring the source, and, presuming that to be true, what do you think that includes?

As I read the GPLV2, you may charge a fee for the physical transfer. The license doesn't say that you can't make a profit in the transfer. It merely specifies what the fee actually covers. You cannot charge for the source. Period. Not even a penny. You can charge for the transfer.

jdixon

May 24, 2008
6:22 AM EST
> As of yet, nobody's offered an intelligent reason to believe the "community" is entitled to any special consideration beyond strict compliance with the license.

Well, that's because we're not. And, like his method or not, Warren is now complying with the license.

The only reason I have any problem with what he's doing is that I think it reflects badly on my home area; and we have enough problems in that regard. That, of course, is entirely a non-GPL issue (and not something I expect anyone else to necessarily agree with).

Zenwalk, on the other hand, is a GPL issue. I've looked at the distro a few times and even considered recommending it to people. This issue pretty much shoots that idea.
tuxchick

May 24, 2008
6:49 AM EST
dino, you're right, and azerthoth addressed that too. In the context of Mepis, I am extra-critical because of Woodford's cruddy attitude and misinformation. Yes, technically he's in compliance, but his whining and foot-dragging is bush league. I bet if he had to buy DVDs every time he needed to update his own source tree, or just a couple of applications, he'd complain plenty.

dumper, I believe in the spirit of a license as well as the strict letter. You may recall Theo complaining how all these big commercial software companies use and profit from BSD code, and don't give anything back. Well, the BSD license permits that. But even so, I believe that for both BSD and GPL code, that which is freely given should be received with gratitude, and something given back. Instead of grudgingly following the rules to the least extent possible- I think that is a slap in the face to all the contributors whose hard work and talent make all this possible.
dinotrac

May 24, 2008
7:50 AM EST
TC -

> that which is freely given should be received with gratitude

Yes, and it tells you something about the people you are dealing with -- or contemplate dealing with -- when they conduct themselves badly.

The difference between good guys and bad guys is often the "should", rather than the "must".

jdixon

May 24, 2008
3:06 PM EST
> The difference between good guys and bad guys is often the "should", rather than the "must".

Speaking of should rather than must. Since some folks here are probably active gamers, I should probably relate today's experience at Game Stop. Game Stop has now gone to a 7 day return policy, including the day of the purchase as one of the days (this per the clerk at our local Game Stop). We attempted to return a defective item (as far as we could tell, the CD in the box was completely blank) we purchased at a Game Stop while traveling last weekend. We tried to return it today (purchased on Saturday, returned on the next Saturday) to our local Game Stop. They did give us a refund, but only because the alternative was to try to find another copy of a $5 game which was on the cheap rack at the store where we purchased it. The clerk made it clear that it should have been returned by Friday by their rules and that he was doing us a favor by accepting the return. Needless to say, that's the last time we shop at a Game Stop.

We also tried the manufacturer before going back to Game Stop. They refused to provide either replacement media or a download of the game. Again, we're probably not interested in dealing with them again. The game was "I Love Kittens", for those interested.

hyperion

May 26, 2008
8:49 AM EST
Hi,

As the founder of Zenwalk, I believe I had to contribute a few words to this interesting discussion.

First (as you can notice when installing Zenwalk, being prompted to read the GPL v2 text) we do care about the GPL and we are currently building a source repository.

We sincerely apologize for taking a bit more time than expected.

I started this project alone 4 years ago, at that time it was obviously impossible for me to manage a source repository (I didn't even have a binary repository) but I've always been aware that the time would come when we would have to make all source tarballs available from our repositories.

It's possible now and we would be pleased to be 100% ready, but it's not easy to find contributors willing to spend their free time on it. As you guessed, this task alone requires someone full time and downloading tarballs daily, every nights, is not the kind of occupation Linux developers are found of.

We still are a small team of enthusiastic developers and packagers, that's why we are not ready to provide direct access to 100% of the source code yet, should we stop the project because of this ? I don't think so.

In the mean time, the best we can do is answering fairly to all the developers who ask us for a specific source code and send them all needed information to retrieve it and compile it.

Thank you for all your comments about Zenwalk, it means that you have some interest about the project, thank you again for this :)

Cheers

JP
tuxchick

May 26, 2008
9:00 AM EST
Excuses are cheap, hyperion. Until you actually meet the terms of the GPL as you are required to, Zenwalk is in violation of the GPL, and no amount of hand-waving changes that.
hyperion

May 26, 2008
9:14 AM EST
"no amount of hand-waving changes that."

Obviously not, but I'm sure that our source code repository project would benefit from your devotion to source publishing. Would you like to help us by spending a few days per week working on it ?

It would be really great.

In advance , thanks

JP
jdixon

May 26, 2008
9:17 AM EST
> ...should we stop the project because of this ? I don't think so.

What you think about the matter is immaterial. Would you like it if gpl-violations.org served you with with a cease and desist order? They would be within their rights to do so.

In other words, regardless of how much you may not like to hear it, the answer to your question is yes.

Of course, you could pull a page from Warren's book and use the same solution he does.
Sander_Marechal

May 26, 2008
9:30 AM EST
@hyperion: What strikes me as strange is that you already have the sources. Else you can't build the Zenwalk packages. Even simply giving read access for Zenwalk users to whatever Subversion or Git repository that you use to keep track of your packages is enough. You don't need to build a large repository with umpteen gigs of bandwidth and a nice system for people to pick whatever package they want. That's all added fluff. Nice fluff, and useful fluff, but not required for GPL compliance.

And don't tell us that you don't have those sources. I don't think you guys accept binary packages compiled by Joe Random without any source :-)
hyperion

May 26, 2008
10:11 AM EST
work in progress
bigg

May 26, 2008
1:27 PM EST
> In the mean time, the best we can do is answering fairly to all the developers who ask us for a specific source code and send them all needed information to retrieve it and compile it.

I've got a question for you. You mean you are putting out a distribution and don't keep a copy of the original sources for yourself? That's hard to believe.

*All* you have to provide is a promise to give the source code if someone asks for it. I'm just not seeing the difficulty. You have to have a copy of the source *somewhere*. Arch's compliance amounts to Aaron Griffin promising to send someone a copy of all sources if they ask.
dinotrac

May 26, 2008
2:06 PM EST
bigg --

It's not quite as simple as you imply, and that might be the hang-up.

You see, it takes more than making a promise.

You have to mean it.
bigg

May 26, 2008
3:34 PM EST
@dino

Every distribution knows the packages that are distributed. For Zenwalk, just go to this link and you will see every package they distribute:

http://packages.zenwalk.org/?v=current

I could write a 10-line Python script to download all sources to my hard drive automatically. Even the most amateur of developers will know to keep a record of the url where the original package was downloaded. If someone requests a copy of the source, copy that directory to DVD and you're done. There's no need for a "source code repository project".

As quoted above: "Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange."

This is unlikely to take more than 5 GB of hard disk per release.
jdixon

May 26, 2008
3:48 PM EST
> As quoted above: "Accompany it with a written offer...

Which Zenwalk has failed to do. :(

I agree that is the simplest solution to their problem. Simply offer to provide the source upon request for a fee which covers the cost of the materials and their time.
Slacky

May 26, 2008
8:31 PM EST
To Tuxchick and others here that are so interested in the details of the GPL. it seems very clear that zenwalk is lacking in man power. Because code that is under the gpl is so important to you why don't you offer to help them set up their source tree instead of just complaining about the lack of it? This is in reality the freedom of the gpl. You can be negative and complain about others or you can pitch in and help others. The choice is truly yours.

So in words from the old hippie days "if you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem?" And just to be clear, complaining is not part of the solution.
tuxchick

May 26, 2008
8:55 PM EST
Slacky, it's not our problem- it's Zenwalk's problem. I see zero reason to support them at this point. Why don't you fine Zenwalk folks quit wasting time spamming forums with your excuses and do what needs to be done. If I wanted to read spin and doubletalk I'd read Microsoft press releases.
_PN_boy

May 26, 2008
10:50 PM EST
AFAYK, you haven't asked for any sources to anyone in the Zenwalk community, as such, AFAYK, you can't actually claim the violation until you were denied access to the sources, I could be wrong though ...
dinotrac

May 26, 2008
11:41 PM EST
bigg -

Ummm....huh?
jdixon

May 27, 2008
1:18 AM EST
> it seems very clear that zenwalk is lacking in man power.

How long does it take to put up a notice on the web page saying "Source code CD's available upon request for $xx. Contact us at "email address" or "snail mail address" to receive them."

> And just to be clear, complaining is not part of the solution.

Engineering 101: First identify your problem.

> _AFAYK, you can't actually claim the violation until you were denied access to the sources

_PN_boy, you're wrong. Read the license. You have to tell people how to obtain the source code.
_PN_boy

May 27, 2008
3:44 AM EST
@jdixon, I believe you are confusing the terms "Full complying with the GPL requirements" and "Violation", IMHO, this is not the same thing, but I can be(again) wrong...
dinotrac

May 27, 2008
3:54 AM EST
Full complying with the GPL requirements" and "Violation", IMHO, this is not the same thing

Fully complying with the GPL and "Violation" are opposties. If you distribute GPL'd software, you either fully comply with the GPL or you violate it.

There are no other choices.
NoDough

May 27, 2008
4:20 AM EST
Wow! The piranha infested waters of LXer.

C'mon guys. Jean-Philippe (hyperion) offered his presence on our forums and you attacked him. Common courtesy demands that you at least treat him civilly. That doesn't mean you can't air your concerns, it just means that you should present them in a fashion that invites discourse rather than confrontation.

JP, I for one appreciate your work and believe that you have created an excellent distro. I do admit, however, that I have stopped short of installing it on the computers which I rebuild and distribute due to the lack of sources. The time when your sources are made available is eagerly anticipated.

Regards, NoDough
Sander_Marechal

May 27, 2008
4:43 AM EST
I agree with NoDough. Tone it down a bit guys (and gals). This should be a fun place for everyone, not just for the regulars :-)

I have ZenWalk running on an old PII and I like it a lot. It is the only "light" distro I know of that still makes newbies go "wow". DSL is great and all that, but it's not very pleasing on the eye. Source packages are a must however. Even on my Debian system I occasionally "apt-get source" so I can change a couple of things and install a customized package. I hope ZenWalk fixes the situation soon. Indeed, simply sending an e-mail to the known users (mailinglist?) and posting a notice on the website with an offer to give anyone who asks the sources (for a reasonable fee) is enough for now. It will do fine until the new source repositories are finished.
jdixon

May 27, 2008
5:59 AM EST
> Jean-Philippe (hyperion) offered his presence on our forums and you attacked him.

How have I attacked him?

> it just means that you should present them in a fashion that invites discourse rather than confrontation.

I don't think anyone here is being overly confrontational. As dino says, you either comply or you're in violation. There is no middle ground. Stating that may seem drastic, but those are the rules you agree to play by when you distribute GPL'ed code. Discourse on the matter won't change the situation at all.

> JP, I for one appreciate your work and believe that you have created an excellent distro.

Yes, Zenwalk is an excellent distribution. That's what makes the current situation so bothersome.

> I hope ZenWalk fixes the situation soon. Indeed, simply sending an e-mail to the known users (mailinglist?) and posting a notice on the website with an offer to give anyone who asks the sources (for a reasonable fee) is enough for now.

Posting the notice on the website is enough to bring them into compliance. It doesn't change the fact that they haven't been in compliance, but I doubt anyone is going to pursue that matter. Then actual code online (stupid typos corrected) can then wait indefinitely if need be. Yeah, TC will still gripe, but everyone's used to that by now. :)
tuxchick

May 27, 2008
6:54 AM EST
Hmmm... go easy on someone who has a history of refusing to comply with the GPL, from the day the project was launched? And is still dodging and weaving, and still not in compliance? Come on folks. If this were an "EvilBigCompany" you wouldn't cut them any slack at all. A bit of a double standard there. If JP and co. invested the time that they waste arguing about this on forums in coming into compliance, it would be resolved in a day. Just because it's oo shiny is not a good enough reason to give them a pass. Zenwalk is possible because of the generosity of thousands of other developers. It's pretty low to abuse that generosity, plus the generosity of all the upstream distributors who make all that code easily available. Bad faith all the way.

Still dodging and weaving, and setting up silly strawman arguments: http://support.zenwalk.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&p=91363&sid=aee...

Arguing with Pierre Bieranger, and if you think LXer is tough crowd for pointing out the truth and not backing down, give Pierre a read. He is less restrained: http://beranger.org/index.php?page=diary&2008/01/18/22/49/54...

Quoting: Johannes - January 19, 2008 at 20:59:01 GMT I have already read all that stuff. But that doesn't change anything to the fact that it's senseless. What you're doing is senseless. You're talking down the whole Zenwalk distribution just because of something missing, that I've seen noone else ever asking for. (that's because noone needs it btw)

[Pierre cusses]


Shades of Warren Woodford. There are thousands of worthy FOSS projects to support- I don't see any reason to support projects like Zenwalk that think they can selectively comply with software licenses. It's simple- if you don't like a software license, don't use the code.
devnet

May 27, 2008
7:24 AM EST
Stupidest part is all these guys have to do is setup a freshmeat or sourceforge repo with their source and setup a cron job to resync from wherever their build machines are.

Come on violators...you can setup a repo on sourceforge in a few min and sync it in a few hours. Don't claim bandwidth, don't claim cost and surely don't claim TIME.

As an ex-PCLinuxOS developer, I can tell you it took us a couple of days to make all the SRPMs available on ibiblio and then we were in compliance. Excuses be damned...it's easy.

jdixon

May 27, 2008
7:30 AM EST
> I can tell you it took us a couple of days to make all the SRPMs available on ibiblio and then we were in compliance ... it's easy.

Yes, it is, that's the worst of the matter. And they don't even need to do that. All they need is the public notice on their web page giving the contact information and process to obtain the source code on CD or DVD.
dinotrac

May 27, 2008
8:44 AM EST
>All they need is the public notice

As I said before, not exactly.

They have to mean it. In other words, if somebody follows the process, they have to provide the source.

And that may be the rub.

People are talking can and can't when the issue is will or won't.
thenixedreport

May 27, 2008
8:49 AM EST
I need to know something. What prompted all of this in the first place?
jdixon

May 27, 2008
9:53 AM EST
> What prompted all of this in the first place?

The comments are the result of the LXer newswire linked to at the top and bottom of the page. There's a link there to the full article on Phoronix's home page. The GPL problems are summarized in Beranger's article pointed to by tuxchick.

> As I said before, not exactly.

As usual, you're correct. However, I'm willing to give them the benefit of a doubt on the follow through until proven wrong.

At this point, it looks like they're making a good faith effort to correct the problem, but unless they actually realize why it's a problem, that effort may not continue.

Hyperion asks, should we stop the project? He doesn't seem to understand that it's not his choice to make. If a single copyright holder requests the code and doesn't get it, he can get a court order to have the entire project shut down for violation of the GPL. That's all it would take.
DarrenR114

May 27, 2008
10:05 AM EST
@jdixon - do you have any specific examples of requests for source code that were not honored?

Because if you keep pushing this "get a court order" idea - that's the first thing you'll have to provide - PROOF.

In a court of law, it's not what you know - it's what you can prove.
jdixon

May 27, 2008
10:18 AM EST
> ...do you have any specific examples of requests for source code that were not honored?

No. But then I'm not a copyright holder on any of the code they use, so I wouldn't have any standing anyway.

However, you don't need proof that a request has not been honored. All you need is to show they're not complying with the terms of the license, which you can see quoted above by tuxchick. They are not currently providing the full source, and they're not making an offer to provide it upon request. Those facts are easy to prove, and that's all it takes.
thenixedreport

May 27, 2008
11:05 AM EST
Quoting: The real problem about the discussion on LXer is not "GPL compliance or not" : it's true that we should publish the sources ASAP.

The real problem is the intellectual level of the whole discussion ... it doesn't seem easy to communicate with some of these guys... a bit like E.T. trying to communicate with Chuck Norris


Is it me or is it that some of us just wants an excuse to jump down somebody's throat over this issue or that issue? The founder of the project took time out of their schedule to attempt to address the issues and that's what he gets.... this swarm mentality is going to help no one! They're trying to make amends. The least we could do is be a bit more civil.
thenixedreport

May 27, 2008
11:06 AM EST
Btw, that quote can be found here:

http://support.zenwalk.org/viewtopic.php?p=91442&sid=64efa14...
rijelkentaurus

May 27, 2008
11:09 AM EST
I don't see that anyone is being uncivil here, they seem to want two things. First, that Zenwalk comply with the GPL. Second, that Zenwalk admit that they are out of compliance in the first place. The second is due to Zenwalk repeatedly acting like the GPL is an inconvenience that they are not subject to because they are a small, volunteer project and dang it, you should appreciate us!

They are small and they have a great distro, but they need to comply with the license. The license is what it is. Why do they squirm so much?
thenixedreport

May 27, 2008
11:25 AM EST
Quoting: Why do they squirm so much?


To that, I respond with yet another quote...

From NoDough

Quoting:Wow! The piranha infested waters of LXer.

C'mon guys. Jean-Philippe (hyperion) offered his presence on our forums and you attacked him. Common courtesy demands that you at least treat him civilly. That doesn't mean you can't air your concerns, it just means that you should present them in a fashion that invites discourse rather than confrontation.

JP, I for one appreciate your work and believe that you have created an excellent distro. I do admit, however, that I have stopped short of installing it on the computers which I rebuild and distribute due to the lack of sources. The time when your sources are made available is eagerly anticipated.

Regards, NoDough


From Sander...
Quoting:I agree with NoDough. Tone it down a bit guys (and gals). This should be a fun place for everyone, not just for the regulars :-)

I have ZenWalk running on an old PII and I like it a lot. It is the only "light" distro I know of that still makes newbies go "wow". DSL is great and all that, but it's not very pleasing on the eye. Source packages are a must however. Even on my Debian system I occasionally "apt-get source" so I can change a couple of things and install a customized package. I hope ZenWalk fixes the situation soon. Indeed, simply sending an e-mail to the known users (mailinglist?) and posting a notice on the website with an offer to give anyone who asks the sources (for a reasonable fee) is enough for now. It will do fine until the new source repositories are finished.


Finally, calling somebody pigheaded would hardly be considered civil in my book.
jdixon

May 27, 2008
12:00 PM EST
> ...calling somebody pigheaded would hardly be considered civil in my book.

Are you kidding. Around home, calling someone pigheaded is practically a compliment.
tuxchick

May 27, 2008
12:16 PM EST
Heh, and the spin and tap-dancing continue: Zenwalk should get a pass because some folks like it, so by golly us meanies should quit picking on them, and when you don't like the message, complain about the messenger. This is the stupidest thread of all time for LXer.
thenixedreport

May 27, 2008
12:27 PM EST
Quoting:This is the stupidest thread of all time for LXer.


From the person who started it.... oh the irony.

This isn't about the spin and tap-dancing as you are claiming. Did you not pay attention to the part where the individual in question was attempting to make amends or are you too busy trying to convince everyone that you're right no matter what?
rijelkentaurus

May 27, 2008
12:32 PM EST
We've been much meaner here before, no one can argue that.

Quoting: Finally, calling somebody pigheaded would hardly be considered civil in my book.


Considering that pidheaded refers to an unyielding and senseless stubbornness, I think it's quite apt to the discussion. The Zenwalk people have been told repeatedly for a very long time that they are not in compliance with the GPL, this is hardly a revelation to them, and "we're working on it" is a very lame excuse that offers no resolution to the problem. They have been offered several ideas to resolve the problem, they need to act on them. We often say that "if you don't want to comply with the GPL, don't use GPL code." I think we need to take this one step farther..."if you CAN'T comply with the GPL, don't use GPL code." If they do not have the manpower to comply with the GPL, they need to cease the project, no matter how sweet it is. We wouldn't stand for Microsoft to rape the GPL, why should we allow Zenwalk to?

EDIT:

If and when they come online with the source repo, or when they otherwise come into compliance, great. It's a fabulous distro and I would love to see it continue and grow. When it's done, great...but it's not as yet as far as I can tell.
tuxchick

May 27, 2008
12:48 PM EST
Ah thenixedreport, crabbing at the messenger.

rijelkentaurus, what you said.
jdixon

May 27, 2008
12:48 PM EST
> Did you not pay attention to the part where the individual in question was attempting to make amends or are you too busy trying to convince everyone that you're right no matter what?

Well, she is right. The Zenwalk folks are violating the GPL. That's not really an issue, though some there seem to think it is. Hopefully the FSF can convince them otherwise.

Attempting to make amends doesn't cut it when licenses are concerned. That's not my opinion; that's the law. Would I personally give them a pass while they fix the problem? Sure, but that doesn't change the facts of the matter, and there's no guarantee that any individual copyright holder will agree.

I've already said this several times, but let me repeat it. Just put up a notice on the website about providing the source on CD/DVD for $wx.yz and provide email and snailmail contacts. Then assign someone to monitor them. That takes 15 minutes, and as long as they actually provide the CD's/DVD's within a week of so of any request, they're in compliance. Then all the complaints of non-compliance go away.
thenixedreport

May 27, 2008
12:56 PM EST
Quoting:Attempting to make amends doesn't cut it when licenses are concerned. That's not my opinion; that's the law.


http://news.cnet.com/8301-13580_3-9835141-39.html

Yet one of the companies sued by BusyBox is being given a chance to comply with the GPL. That's allowing them to make amends as far as I'm concerned.
jdixon

May 27, 2008
1:00 PM EST
> That's allowing them to make amends as far as I'm concerned.

That's the prerogative of the individual suing them. He didn't have to do so.
number6x

May 27, 2008
1:31 PM EST
They have a slightly different argument than mepis. As Zenwalk is a slackware based distro their packages are based on tarballs and so the source is made available in a through a mechanism in the packaging system.

This might be considered 'making the source available' in a geeky technical sense, but it fails the intent and wording of the GPL. The distributor has to make the source available, the go for it upstream argument failed for Warren and Mepis. Even if you provide an automated way to go upstream.

I think that Zenwalk could apply to Source Forge for the space and copy all source tarballs in one directory per version. (sub directories for patches and updates).

If they add code to their zenbuild system to copy the tarball to source forge when they release a new beta or final cut, and update subdirectories with patches, they can come into compliance with minimal changes on their part.

devnet

Jun 02, 2008
6:37 AM EST
what I would do is empower my community to make it so.

I'd post in the forums and let the fans of the distro know the extent of what was going on, how it needed to be fixed right away, and I'd find someone with the technical ability and drive to do it. Then I'd empower them to do so.

How do you think most of the remasters of PCLinuxOS were done? How do you think they've had so much success in getting developers as of late? I started MyPCLinuxOS as a community for empowering users and that's what it's done. I'm sure that in an active community such as Zenwalk there are those that have the technical ability and drive to accomplish what needs to be done.

Empowering is about 2 things... 1. Giving up Control of Something 2. Invigoration

By giving up an amount of control of your project you invigorate those that add to it. Keeping mechanisms in place (i.e., please check with me before finalizing the move or file an issue for code review before committing) will go a long way of giving a project leader a warm and fuzzy feeling of still being in control while empowering your community to get excited about yoru project instead of the hum drum normalcy that plagues many distros.

This is how Ubuntu is what it is. This is how PCLinuxOS rose to where it is. This is how Foresight Linux is now getting attention. :D I hope Zenwalk can follow suit.
number6x

Jun 02, 2008
7:01 AM EST
Very interesting solution Devnet. In Zenwalk's case the empowerment could be to update the zenbuild software to copy the tarball sources to a re-distribution library.

That library could be made available through the community help.

I think Zenwalk is in a better situation in terms of getting in to compliance with GPL. As a Slack based distro, they have acces to the source from their build system, and they have an automated build system to use to do the copying. They have fewrer steps to take than Warren and Mepis.

They just need the space and some coding effort from the community.

Libranet did not give the community control and it faded away after the passing of its founder. (they were GPL compliant, but not community driven).

helios

Jun 02, 2008
9:46 AM EST
Libranet did not give the community control and it faded away after the passing of its founder...

The essence of bitter-sweet. Just seeing "Libranet" in print caused a physiological reaction within me.

My first real distro...it kindled my passion....man I haven't thought of them in ages...and those on that forum who fed the flames. In a way I am ashamed. It was almost akin to losing a loved one...

I now return you to the ongoing bloodbath.

h
tuxchick

Jun 02, 2008
5:17 PM EST
wow, I had almost forgotten Libranet. It was the first Debian-based distribution that impressed me. I even paid for it. There may have been others that were also good, I don't remember. Two things that set Libranet apart were the installer and the IceWM desktop. You could install multiple desktop environments and switch them on the fly, without logging out. Even KDE and Gnome. Debian's installer, before Sarge, was a horrid beast, sort of a worthiness test. If you could not successfully navigate the installer you were not worthy of using Debian.

Libranet had a proprietary graphical system administration thingy that a lot of people liked. After Libranet's founder died unexpectedly it was left in control of his son, who walked away from it and never went back. He wouldn't release the code for any of the proprietary bits, so it all just faded away.

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