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SubjectThe return of PWC
Date
Hello Greg, Luc

I've been out of the loop for a while, but today I was informed that PWC is
about to return to the main Linux kernel tree, in some form. In fact, it's
already in 2.4.12rc3.

Unfortunately, the current implementation is not acceptable. First, there
are still some references to the old website
(http://www.smcc.demon.nl/webcam) en e-mail address. But that's no big
deal. What's more of a problem, though, is the decompressor code that is
being included.

In case you hadn't noticed, that code has been reverse compiled (I would not
even call it "reverse engineered"), and is simply illegal. Maybe not in
every country, but certainly in some. There are still some intellectual
property rights being violated here, you know, and I'm surprised at the
contempt you and Linux kernel maintainers show in this regard for a few
lines of the law.

Now don't get started on "it was GPL code before you left bla bla" or "you
should not have abonded the project bla bla blah" and "this court here has
ruled reverse engineering is allowed and so on mumble mumble".

I abandoned the project, true. But PWC was (and is) GPL, so if somebody
wanted to do the maintenance, that's fine because that is the intent, after
all. Even if that person grabbed the pre-compiled binaries and started
maintaining with that, that would have been borderline, but okay. But
you're crossing the line here with PWCX (the decompressor). If it was
truely reverse engineered, by studying the bitstream and trying to figure
out the algorithms, then that would have been a remarkable feat. But how
dare you decompile binary code, slap a GPL header on it and try to return
it to the kernel as if everything's alright now?

Anyway, I'll inform my contacts at Philips tomorrow. I don't know how they
will react; maybe they'll go nuts, maybe they'll let it pass quitely; it's
hard to tell. Either way, you're putting yourself in a precarious situation
here. Clearly, this code was not intended to be included in the kernel
source, it has been obtained by rather dubious means and, above all, I
don't think the GPL was ever intended for this kind of "relabelling". I
call it theft.

So I seriously suggest you do not put the module back into the kernel in
this form.

Regards,

- Nemosoft Unv.
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