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SubjectRe: Dell vs. GPL
On 28 Jun 2003, Alan Cox wrote:

> On Sad, 2003-06-28 at 06:51, Fluke wrote:
> > Dell is providing binary only derived works of the Linux kernel and the
> > modutils package at ftp://ftp.dell.com/fixes/boot-floppy-rh9.tar.gz
>
> and a patch file of the relevant diff, which btw Dell engineers actually
> did a lot of work in figuring out why the serverworks stuff was a
> problem and fixing most of the bug, and sent to me.

Yes, this situation is an improvement from modifying the Courier email
package and redistributed it in binary only form without any source code
at all. At least this time they are distributing the modification. But
neither that or doing a lot of work should be an exception to the
obligation to provide a written offer for the complette source code.
They are again violating the redistribution terms on a lot more work than
went into a single patch.

> > I contacted Dell support and recieved confirmation that Dell does not
> > intend to provide the source code to these binary works. He explained
> > that all Dell fixes are licensed by Dell from third parties for use by
> > Dell customers in binary only form and "Dell does not intend the fixes to
> > be open source products."
>
> Dell support are a bit random and in my experience completely clueless
> when faced with anything which isnt on the script. Much like most
> support people.

According to Dell's Brent Schroeder, information regarding the GPL is now
in the Dell's support knowledge base so Dell support is aware of it. So,
either Brent Schroeder or Dell support is providing misleading
information.

> > I have also tried to contact RedHat activities but based on the responce
> > that I got from Mark Webbink, I don't think RedHat is prepaired to do
> > anything about it.
>
> Firstly they are supplying the patch in question. Secondly they are
> making sure people actually get it.

Yes, I'm glad they are making an effort to support their customer's needs.
Now back to the subject of supporting their obligations to the GPL: the
patch does not contain the *complette* source code to the GPL works being
redistributed and does not contain a written offer for the complette
source code.

> > Is the GPL as it applies to the kernel intended to be a legal set of
> > requirements or simply a set of optional guidelines like Dell/RedHat seems
> > to be treating it?
>
> Red Hat takes all its license compliance seriously.

Oh, come on! RedHat's Mark Webbink declaired Dell in compliance with the
GPL in Sept. 2002. Even Dell's Brent Schroeder admitted that in October
they where still shipping RH 7.2 + courier email in binary only form
without a written offer provided at the time of redistribution.

I'm not going to fall for RedHat's "compliance" by Jedi mind trick ("you
see no GPL violation") twice.

Would you like me to post Mark Webbink and Brent Schroeder's emails to
clearly show how seriously they take it when they violate the GPL?

> What Dell do is their business - they've given you the patch, and yes
> you might want to have a discussion about getting the entire SRPM
> package, but do it with the right bits of Dell, and with the FSF
> perhaps. The FSF has no business attachments to muddy waters.

I don't want the entire SRPM. If Dell want to continue to do the bare
minimum then fine. It is the on-going trend of not even doing the bare
minimum and at the same time mislead their customers by declairing
themselves to be GNU/Linux friendly that I find frustrating. The bare
minimum requirement when performing non-commerical redistribution of a GPL
work in binary only form is to pass along a written offer for the source
code. Since their website is freely accessable without charge, if they
want to include an offer for the source code from RedHat's ftp site then
great. If they want to redistribute in binary only form with no written
offer at all, then I'm upset. I don't think it is too much to ask to
provide a written offer in return for what they are getting from us.

> There are better people to raise these issues with than Dell support
> personnel.

Who? Matt Domsch? Sandra Sanders? Mark Webbink? Who should I report to
that isn't just going to sit on it for 3 or 4 months and make excuses or
declair that everything is just great?

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