[Dnsmasq-discuss] GPL v3

Paul Chambers bod at bod.org
Thu Sep 13 06:59:10 BST 2007

Now, I'm all for the switch to GPLv3 only for dnsmasq.  The only
argument I've seen here against it is a rather specious "My company has
forbidden use of GPLv3 in our codebase" with strong implication "because
we intend to TIVOize".

The companies concerned (e.g. TiVo and others) are trying to build cool
innovative products without having to turn over their firstborn to
Microsoft. The second problem is that the cooler products require the
co-operation of one or more other (unenlightened) industry, be it
broadcasters, cellular carriers, or the like. They have some pretty
stiff requirements of device manufacturers that are not negotiable. You
either play by their rules, or not at all.
Carriers are extremely protective of their infrastructure, and are
extremely sensitive to any 'modification' of a device's behavior that
might disturb the smooth running of that infrastucture. They see any
'user modification' of devices using their infrastructure as a potential
source of network disruption at worst, and inefficient consumption of a
scarse resource at best. That's the thinking that drives every major
carrier to insist on doing their own 4-6 month certification cycles on
products that have already been through certification for compliance
with the cellular technology standards.
Content owners are the worst (the major Hollywood studios in
particular). It may show as DRM-infested consumer devices, but believe
me, those of us building the devices hate the stuff as much as you do.
Perhaps more, we have to waste effort implementing the stuff as well and
suffer the end result. Companies like Direct TV don't have a business if
they can't get content that users want to watch. The content owners
attach a whole string of obnoxious constraints to it, including
'protection' requirements to 'prevent piracy'. Broadcasters are
concerned about theft of service and not falling foul of the nasty
agreements they have to accept to get desirable content in the first
place. Without that, you end up with products like Akimbo (no disrespect
to the Akimbo guys, I feel their pain...)
It's regrettable that TiVo has been characterised as the bad guy in all
this. They're in a position of wanting to do the right thing, but not
having the option, because of constraints dictated by the broadcasters
(in no small part being dictated by the content owners in turn).
I must admit it's a little painful for those of us trying to champion
the open source cause from within the consumer electronics industry to
be portrayed as the villain. The true villains are the same people who
tried to outlaw the VCR, thought DiVX players were a pretty neat idea,
and think charging $1 a minute for a cellphone call across the atlantic
is reasonable when a landline call costs 5c a minute or less.
Another aspect not everyone may be aware of is that it's not uncommon
for companies (at least the one's I'm familiar with) to ask their
employees to make contributions back to the community under their own
name, and not attributed to the company. Simply because they don't want
to telegraph their plans to others. In other cases, a larger company may
fund work done by Monta Vista, Wind River, and similar companies to be
contributed back to the community. It's a double-edged sword - you don't
tip your hand, but your company doesn't get credit in the community for
its contributions either.
I really don't want to participate a flame war. I read and generally
understand other people's perspectives, and respect that they have a
right to see things differently. I'd appreciate if the same courtesy
were extended to me, but hey, I've no right or privilege to request or
expect that.
I mean no disrespect to you, Richard. I'm just trying to explain the
tricky balancing act that goes on, which might not be so obvious from
outside. The perspective you and others have offered is no less valid.  
-- Paul 
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.thekelleys.org.uk/pipermail/dnsmasq-discuss/attachments/20070912/d662159a/attachment-0001.htm

More information about the Dnsmasq-discuss mailing list