PDI Uses LGPLed Software, Doesn't Distribute Copy Of License And Source Location As Required

Sabahattin Gucukoglu mail at sabahattin-gucukoglu.com
Sat Mar 13 13:42:32 MST 2004


I am saddened to bring you this email.  Here is a posting I made to the 
FreeSoft Developer list, slightly edited to make corrections and 
understanding easier (but I assure you, the spirit is no different in any 
way).  It concerns PulseData's violation - definitely an illegal violation 
- of a free software license agreement which is the brother to the one in 
which we feel we will entrust our software to you, for a database 
component recently added into KeySoft version 5.1 and constituting one of 
its greatest features.  The license in question is the GNU Lesser General 
Public license, and is used to make free libraries available which would 
gain from commercial inclusion and usage while maintaining freedom of use 
and study, and I encourage you to read it - visit http://www.fsf.org/ and 
go to the licenses page.  There you will also find the normal GNU General 
Public license.

This has not been PulseData's first lustful flirtation with open source 
software.  Project Mayo, which developed the code used in the MP3 player 
in your BrailleNote (if you have KeySoft version 5 or greater) was open 
source, though the license of it is unclear and as such there is no way to 
contest whether PulseData were rightfully using it or not.  In any case, 
our desire to make this project even slightly commercially viable or 
exploitable is now gone.  We wish not to give PulseData the opportunity to 
obscure the true value of freedom and open source software, as they are 
now doing, nor to illegally exploit it without bowing to the rightful 
whims of the authors of that software, many of whom probably wrote it in 
their spare time or out of the pure kindness of their hearts.

Feeling that it would help you appreciate our concern for your ultimate 
freedom of choice and software on your BrailleNote, and not wishing to 
deny you the opportunity to see for yourself why we are more determined 
than ever to get this to work, we reproduce my message, in full, below:


I feel quite sick.  Here's why.

In the copyright notice shown in the information menu (Read+I from the 
main menu) of the new KeySoft CE version 5.1:

XBase Database Technology Copyright (C) StarTech, Gary A. Kunkel 1997.  
Licenced as Free Software under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public 

Needless to say, the LGPL has already been violated - nowhere on my 
BrailleNote can I find the license text and a pointer to the location of - 
or a complete copy of - the source code for the library in question.

To add insult to injury, I am then denied access to my GPS application.  
Apparently, I don't have an appropriate license to run that application.  How ironic.

Sick!  Sick!

I may have been inclined to discuss with you lot the possibilities for 
licensing FreeSoft, perhaps under a more commercially exploitable license 
such as the BSD license, reaping only the generous credit for doing so.  
But now I feel more ardently than ever, good people, that we must not 
under any circumstances do such a thing.  We must use the GPL or other 
similar license in philosophy, ensuring absolute freedom and lack of 
proprietership.  Not just open source, but real freedom!  We must make our 
software usable only in circumstances where that freedom can be 
guaranteed, and we must not allow anyone - particularly PulseData - to 
abuse our code as they have abused this poor guy's code.  Ugh!

Well, I'm seriously thinking about demanding or contesting my rights, 
perhaps by informing the author of the library if it comes to that, or 
by asking PulseData to at least follow the LGPL's terms to the letter and 
distribute the source publicly or make note of where it can be found in 
the manual, and also to add the LGPL to the BrailleNote's documentation.  
I bet the only reason they don't do that is for their own fear of open 
source or the positive opinions other people may develop for it, which - twice now - they have exploited (Project Mayo was the 
first).  And, by your chosen supreme being, I'll make them suffer when I'm 
- we're - finished!

What do you lot think?  Am I behaving a bit much too like RMS?

Should we inform our friends on notelinux, just so they know what's 
happening, or is this issue too developmental?

Yours in complete disgust of our enemy,
Thought for the day:
    The only thing that hurts more than paying income tax
    is not having to pay income tax.

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Sabahattin Gucukoglu
Phone: +44 (0)20 7,502-1615
Mobile: +44 (0)7986 053399
Email/MSN: <mail at Sabahattin-Gucukoglu.com>

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