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GNU is Not Unix

+ - You can not reverse-engineer our GPL-violations... 6

Submitted by
phorm
phorm writes "If appears that Monsoon Technology, the makers of the Hava media-transmission systems, don't quite understand the GPL. As some users pointed out in their forums, their systems appear to be based on Linux and various GPL'ed software, with the output of "strings" and other tests showing signs of running busybox and others. A monsoon spokesperson on the forum has indicated that they are aware it uses GPL'ed software, and are "working" on making source available, but at the same time are dropping various threats against supposed reverse-engineering of the software by those that determined the GPL violations.

A few snippets from the Monsoon rep include: I have a little secret to let you in on — HAVA runs Linux! Yes, much of the source is GPL and we should publish those sections which we have modified per the terms of GPL. A project is underway to pull this together. A couple of observations — some of you appear to be violating the terms of the End User License Agreement

You recognize and agree that the HAVA Software including its structure, source code and the design and structure of modules or programs, constitute valuable trade secrets owned by Snappymultimedia or its licensors. You will not copy or use the HAVA Software except as expressly permitted by this EULA and, specifically, you will not ...

(b) yourself or through any third party modify, reverse engineer, disassemble or decompile the HAVA Software in whole or part, except to the extent expressly permitted by applicable law, and then only after you have notified Snappymultimedia in writing of your intended activities; Seems to me that some of you have just come out blatantly admitting you are reverse engineering the firmware — or trying to. How should we handle this? As responses have indicated, the methods used to determine the violation do not seem to constitute reverse-engineering. Moreover, the initial friendliness of the rep is severely marred by the apparent hostility of the later message, as forum members have indicated. The overall message seems to be "we have not lived up to our obligations under the license of the software which we are using, but we'll get to it... sometime. Meanwhile, do not attempt to poke around our code yourself or things will get ugly."

The owners of BusyBox have been notified of this violation, however the response is still troubling. Is this the response we should come to expect as more and more commercial software uses and misuses GPL'ed components?"

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You can not reverse-engineer our GPL-violations...

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  • OK, and I just had my teeth cleaned so I was a bit grouchy when I got on the Forum today. I hereby apologize. We will comply with the GPL. Regarding WHEN we do this, the project is initiated now and I just need to check with the engineering team regarding when it can get completed.

    I am struck that one of the people giving me the most grief about the GPL code doesn't even own our product. Apparently he learned what he knows by downloading the software, inspecting the binaries, and since he didn't act
    • Well, I had modded you up on this, but unfortunately I cannot add a comment as an anonymous user to a firehose entry. Go figure. So that moderation will likely be undone (but hopefully somebody else will likewise mod you up to keep your comment visible).

      I suppose everyone has a bad day, and unfortunately since bad days often can be "contagious," that often makes the internet a bit of a Typhoid Mary. It's both your luck and to some extent a testament to your diligence that you're the first to comment on th
      • Thank you for your remarks.

        There are several aspects of the situation that appear clearer upon reflection.

        #1 it is quite likely that the guy "Hugh" downloaded a firmware image directly, and in such cases we do not have any sort of owner registration required to access the download area, nor any EULA speed bump to download anything. You only see the EULA if you download the full installer and run it. This is our problem and I will deal with it.

        #2 Another concern I have about people inspecting the
        • by phorm (591458)
          #2 Another concern I have about people inspecting the code is that someone is going to feel compelled to pull it apart, as already evidenced, and while sections of it are certainly GPL, sections are also Monsoon IP. Also, some of the algorithms and binaries are actually IP of our silicon vendors - they are the drivers and covered by NDA to companies with greater legal resources than Monsoon.

          Do you understand how the GPL works? If you base your code upon GPL'ed work then you must thus apply the GPL to your
          • #5 I find claims that using a string scanner is not "reverse engineering" the binary to be disingenuous. [...]

            For lack of better references, see here [webopedia.com] and here [wikipedia.org]. Also, on strings [about.com], which is not reverse-engineering. It is not a tool used to determine how a product functions, or otherwise offer insite into how. It is a tool used to determine if particular blobs of text, etc turn up inside a program, which could then be used in some cases to determine whether or not
    • by HTH NE1 (675604)
      Firehose comments aren't generally carried over to the front-page version of a story unless somehow incorporated into the story. When this goes front-page (it's red on the hose now), you'll likely want to reprint your comment there.

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