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Wireless Networking Operating Systems Software BSD Hardware

GPL Code Found In OpenBSD Wireless Driver 671

NormalVisual writes "The mailing lists were buzzing recently when Michael Buesch, one of the maintainers for the GPL'd bc43xx Broadcom wireless chip driver project, called the OpenBSD folks to task for apparently including code without permission from his project in the OpenBSD bcw project, which aims to provide functionality with Broadcom wireless chips under that OS. It seems that the problem has been resolved for now with the BSD driver author totally giving up on the project and Theo De Raadt taking the position that Buesch's posts on the subject were 'inhuman.'" More commentary from the BSD community is over at
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GPL Code Found In OpenBSD Wireless Driver

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @01:46PM (#18647811) s.general/1558 []

    "Wow, that's a hell of a long cc list for a request for a fair
    resolution. the last 3 lines are mellow, but the body before that was
    not very nice."

    As if misappropriating source code is "nice"...

    "We always try to make our stuff as clean as possible too."

    Obviously, not "always".

    The copying - if it was extensive as claimed - was hardly inadvertent. So Buesch has a complete right to be pissed about his code being stolen.

    And the BSD folks are whining about him being pissed.

  • by MrHanky ( 141717 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @01:48PM (#18647825) Homepage Journal
    One should never expect him to see the other side of an issue.
  • Theo is an idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @01:53PM (#18647873)
    His team were caught red-handed, and had the gall to blame the people who got ripped. He doesn't even seem to get copyright, saying there was no infringement because the driver wasn't yet ready for general use is beyond moronic.
  • I am amazed (Score:1, Insightful)

    by giorgiofr ( 887762 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @01:55PM (#18647903)
    I thought that open source was about sharing code.
  • Re:I am amazed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lbbros ( 900904 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @01:57PM (#18647927) Homepage
    Yes, but according to the licenses involved (in this case the GPL).
  • Overreactions... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rthille ( 8526 ) <web-slashdot@ranga[ ]rg ['t.o' in gap]> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @01:58PM (#18647933) Homepage Journal

    Deanna (I think it was Deanna anyway, based on the contributed by) overreacted to the email. The only thing unreasonable about the email that I saw was the wide distribution. The initial email from Michael Buesch, IMHO, should have gone to the comitter and the OpenBSD core team...
  • sad (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:03PM (#18647987)
    As usual, the zealots jump to conclusions without reading everything.

    The driver is deleted. Issue resolved. The point that Theo and gang are upset about is that Michael decided to take this whole thing public first, without even trying to contact Marcus first privately and asking "hey, what's up with this code in here? Can we resolve this?". Instead, Micheal threw Marcus to the zealot wolves.
    That was wrong, and yes, inhuman. Theo complained about the handling of the issue, not the issue itself which was immediately resolved.

    Theo even admitted that keeping the code in cvs was a mistake, and that it was a serious issue. The mistake being that Marcus left some GPL'd stub code in there that he fully meant to re-write. That was corrected by deleting the code. Case closed.

    Please, get the facts straight. Just because Theo can be difficult to work with at times, doesn't give all you zealots a right to assume that this is always the case and that he is an unfair, asshole. In general he stands up more for open source rights than most of you other GPL zealots. And the OpenBSD project is more true to its goals and values than any linux distribution, by far. It's OK for linux distributions and gpl programmers to sign NDAs with companies like intel, broadcomm, to write a driver. But boy, when one of their own makes a mistake, lets drag him through the mud!

    Childish. There are bigger battles to be fought, and this is a waste of energy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:04PM (#18647989)
    Starting with a source code A and morphing it into B over time pretty much makes B a derivative work of A. Buesch has a right to be pissed - your defense is that the BSD folks were deriving their driver from GPL code.

    Wriggle out of that, asshat.

    And if the code wasn't released, how'd Buesch get it?

    You called me a moron? Calling you brainless would be an insult to an anencephalic baboon.
  • by mg2 ( 823681 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:04PM (#18648001) how you can scroll down past the cascade of de Raadt nonsense and find an actual reasonable response from the bcw maintainer himself!

    Unfortunately, with so much noise coming from de Raadt, the only thing most people are going to see are his ridiculous responses.

    I'm sure someone else has drawn this line before, but he reminds me of the OpenBSD mascot. Like a blowfish, he fills up with (hot) air when threatened and is very defensive.

  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:05PM (#18648007)

    If you read through the email conversation, you'll see a VERY diplomatic initial message from Michael, a straw-man attack from Theo ("Do you feel that Marcus should give up his efforts?"), a VERY reasonable response ("No, he should _not_ give up. The opposite is true. He should start to contact us to get relicensing permission from us to speed up bcw development and stay legal") and then profanity and rage from Theo.

    The slashdot post, the weblog entry, and Theo's comments are all ad hominem, and baseless ad hominem at that- the core issue here is that GPL code was taken in violation of its license. The owner of the code contacted and admittedly large number of people, publicly, about it. It is hardly out of line given Theo's well-known grandstanding full of rhetoric (hardware drivers for OpenBSD come to mind.)

    Michael pointed out the violation and asked the developer/OpenBSD people to contact him to work out relicensing the code. Instead, Theo attacked him relentlessly and repeatedly. After the first 6 posts between Theo and Michael, I felt sick and stopped reading.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:05PM (#18648013)
    "Fault" isn't a very useful attribution, since it doesn't impact change how one behaves and relates. He can be a very loyal and helpful person, and he can be a grade-A asshole, and that is the way it is, regardless of why. There's a reason he was drummed out of NetBSD, even if the end result was a net positive.

    The FreeBSD folks would be interested in some BSD licensed driver code, and it can filter downstream to OpenBSD. I hope Buesch hasn't been completely turned off the idea.
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:11PM (#18648065)
    Yes, and you could tell from Theo's initial response that it was that wide distribution that really torqued him into a pretzel. Nobody likes having their dirty laundry aired in public (it immediately alienates the very people with which you are trying to communicate: as a tactic it should be a last resort) and it is that massive CC list that makes me ponder what Mr. Buesch's real motive could have been. From a practical standpoint, if he'd just wanted to resolve the issue he should have done what you said. Instead, he managed to turn a simple request into a two-day running conflict.

    Maybe this is just an example of two developers with limited social skills stepping on each others toes. I don't know, it sure looks that way to me. Wouldn't be the first time I've seen something like this, that's for sure. Programmers are people too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:17PM (#18648121)
    Man I dislike over used fallacies being thrown around. No, Theo seems to be upset because Buesch went public with what should have been initially a private affair.
    Reputation and respect are insanely important to most developers and being accused in public of stealing someone's stuff is damaging.
    Theo is responding with an appropriate amount of emotion if you ask me.
    He just lost a developer over what was a mistake because some egotistical coder went public with something that out of respect should have been addressed privately first.
  • by defile ( 1059 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:18PM (#18648131) Homepage Journal

    Copying code without permission is the worst possible offense in open source land. His righteous indignation is absolutely justified. The appropriate response is "Our deepest and most sincere apologies. The code has been removed. Thank you for deciding not to seek any further retribution."

    Arguing over not being nice about calling out this offense is cowardly and sociopathic. e.g. playing politics.

  • by Omega996 ( 106762 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:19PM (#18648151)
    eh, a lot of whining on both sides occurred - the whole thing could definitely have been handled much more professionally and politely by both sides. Buesch could've contacted Glocker privately via email and asked him to remove the copyrighted material from CVS, and encouraged him to contact the copyright holders-in-question if he were interested in obtaining assistance in getting his bcw driver to work. It's called giving him "the benefit of the doubt."
    The interests of expediency (notifying Glocker and the other copyright holders, as well as people who did the reverse-engineering (wtf? why? I still can't figure that one out)) didn't serve either group's PR interests. Now people are lining up on the tired BSD/ISC vs. GPL battlefront again, fighting over something that only involves a few developers. I don't think Glocker should've committed that GPL nonsense into CVS, but I do think he should've been given a chance privately to correct his mistake. All this hassle and stupid flamewar because simple politeness was dispensed with. Gad, I'm glad I don't work on anything involving these groups.
  • by aztektum ( 170569 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:25PM (#18648207)
    It's this kind of social ineptitude that hurts F/OSS. I have talked to network administrators, mostly at small businesses, that have a hard time finding the money for MS and others during upgrade cycles, but they still find it less risky than using F/OSS because of things like this that they have read about. Politics dictates business, yes, but after you paid for something you usually have an expectation that the company won't walk away from it on you. Personal politics in F/OSS projects leads to this joke.

    Here's some advice for Theo and any other self-important nerds out there: Grow up. No one cares about how smart you are when you act like an emotionally neglected teenager. It's called a therapist, find one. Otherwise you run the risk of becoming the black sheep in a community that may turn it's back on you and your work.
  • Re:I am amazed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:25PM (#18648217) Homepage Journal
    but GPL limits with whom you can share

    When you share, and the other party does not, that is not sharing any longer. That is a gift. It always entertains me that the people who protest that they are most deserving of gifts of source code from the community are those who refuse to share theirs.


  • Here's why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nedwidek ( 98930 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:29PM (#18648241)
    GPL does not allow someone to pick up the code and turn it into a closed source product.
    BSD does. BSD code can be included into a GPL project, but the reverse is not true.

    So the GPL product works hard to create a Broadcomm driver. The code gets included into a BSD driver. Broadcomm picks up the BSD driver and includes it into their closed source product. Broadcomm or some other company benefits from the GPL code and does not honor the orignal license.
  • by rben ( 542324 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:30PM (#18648251) Homepage
    I think this might have been handled better, but mostly on the BSD side. If they'd "borrowed" code from a corporation, their first notification might have been a lawsuit, not a widely distributed posting.

    It's no surprise that stuff like this gets blown up out of proportion. Quite a few people who work in software, myself included, aren't the most diplomatic types. Still, maturity is ignoring other peoples bad behavior and trying to work out your differences amicably. I think Marcus showed a great deal of restraint. I would have been incredibly angry if I'd been in his situation and I'm not sure I'd have been nearly so forgiving.

    While it maybe a tempest in a teapot, it's a lesson for all of us. We all look like doofuses (how do you spell the plural of doofus?) when we air our grievances in public.

    Take a breath, relax, go have a beer. Then find a way to work together.

    My 1.9888888 cents worth.
  • by n6mod ( 17734 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:30PM (#18648257) Homepage
    This left me to think that when Theo commits social gaffes, it is not his fault and he can't help himself.

    Though, it is important to know your limitations. In particular, you'd think that he should remain silent on the social gaffes of others.

    It's pretty hard to take criticism of interpersonal skills from Theo seriously.
  • Re:I am amazed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moridineas ( 213502 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:30PM (#18648261) Journal
    I more or less agree with you--I use FreeBSD over linux myself, and am not a huge GPL fan, but the situation is a bit different from the cookies example.

    I'd say it's more like "here you can have this cookie recipe, you can do whatever you want with it (make cookies, sell them, etc) but if you change the recipe AND distribute the cookies to anyone else, you have to be willing to share the recipe too"
  • by mbuesch ( 1085401 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:31PM (#18648267)

    This isn't an issue of his code being copied exactly (a straight copyright violation), instead it's an issue of a certain amount of code in an as yet non-working driver being too derivative of a copyrighted product.
    Did you actually try to compare both projects? You'll be surprised how much copied code you will find.
  • Re:sad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:33PM (#18648289)

    As usual, the zealots jump to conclusions without reading everything.
    Yes, and to give you credit, at least you're admitting it. I doubt even Theo would make such an admission about himself.

    The driver is deleted. Issue resolved.
    Try this: grab someone's copyrighted code, and distribute it in violation of the license. Then when they drag you into court, just say "oh, I've deleted it now, issue resolved" and see how far that gets you.

    The point that Theo and gang are upset about is that Michael decided to take this whole thing public
    No, that's the excuse that Theo is using. The real reason that Theo is upset is that he got caught with his pants down.

    The reason this was brought up in public is because it's public code. The OSS development model means that everything is public. If Theo doesn't want public discussions about public code, he should not be involved in development which involves everything happening in public.

    Theo's excuse that "oh, it should have been done privately" is a smokescreen to try to distract people from the fact that someone on his team got caught violating copyright. It embarrassed him, and he got pissy about it.
  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:34PM (#18648299) Homepage Journal
    You know, it's OK to use a GPL driver in BSD code. It causes a phenomenon that the BSD folks really hate, though, which is that the GPL applies to the entire product. But that would have been fine for temporary development. The real problem was the lack of proper attribution of the copyright and license. I see no way for the Linux developer to have rectified that lack other than through a public notice, because it would not have been proper for anyone to be left thinking his code was under the BSD license. It was his right to say publicly that it was not. Perhaps he could have contacted Theo privately and gotten him to do so. But given people who react the way Theo sometimes does, I think the best protection one can have is to do everything in the open where others can see.


  • by wrook ( 134116 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:35PM (#18648307) Homepage
    Wah... What the hell? The author of some code contacts the OpenBSD to communicate that copyright was infringed upon. The OpenBSD guys explode in a series of "zealot" name calling. I guess I can see some sense in privately contacting the OpenBSD dev. But on the other hand, it's in the OpenBSD development tree. Probably it's a good idea to tell people that it shouldn't be there.

    Reading the initial email, I can't find any hint of malice. Just expressing the facts and offering to provide a license for the code. If this mailing list blows up because of something so unbelievably trivial, it doesn't seem like a fun place to hang out in. It's just weird.

    But something else bothers me about the response too. It seems like the people there are *upset* that the original person informed them of the copyright infringement. I mean, nobody denied it. Everyone seems to agree there was an infringement. It just seems that some of the OpenBSD people think that the Linux people are assholes for choosing to license their code under the GPL... And apparently it's even worse to ask people not to infringe on that license.

    That's just bizarre... It kind of makes you wonder who the zealots are... Personally, I'm kind of neutral on the subject. I like the GPL in some instances, I like other licenses in other instances. But, I just can't quite wrap my head around BSD guys (of all people) taking such a strange stance...

  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:38PM (#18648341)

    Reputation and respect are insanely important to most developers and being accused in public of stealing someone's stuff is damaging. Theo is responding with an appropriate amount of emotion if you ask me.

    The proper response is to defend yourself against the claim, not attack the person; logical fallacies may be motivated by emotion, but that does not make use of a logical fallacy legitimate or justified. That's the entire point behind ad hominem attacks and other logical fallacies. They're poisoned arguments. Even if you have a legitimate claim, using logical fallacies in front of people who realize what's going, gives them the distinct impression that you don't have any legitimate arguments in your defense at all.

  • by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:43PM (#18648377) Journal
    Some people don't give a fuck. That's a decision.

    To make it out to be some psychological issue or some such nonsense dismisses the choices of those who made the decision to give a shit about other people and not be an asshole.

    Skip the third party apologies, call it what it is and accept it or don't accept it.

  • by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:46PM (#18648413) Homepage

    Apparently the Linux kernel developer did not wish Broadcom to take advantage of his work in proprietary products

    Just how likely is it that there is anything in the Linux driver that would be useful to Broadcom? Broadcom already has fully functional proprietary drivers for their chips.

  • by glasn0st ( 564873 ) * on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:48PM (#18648443) Homepage
    I seriously cannot believe this. Why should the discussion focus on shooting the messenger? A developer was caught infringing on copyrights pants down. The infringement is hard to do without intent. Would you deal with such a "rogue" developer privately, or send a mail to project mailinglists (perhaps a core or dev list) which likely would be public anyway? Maybe OpenBSD would mail people privately, but can you not understand that others decide otherwise? If your developer makes these kinds of mistakes, the issue WILL be public and you WILL have to make a statement sooner or later.

    Transparency on copyright issues is just as important as transparency on security. It serves as an example to all open source projects to be watchful about these issues. This is not only about OpenBSD. OpenBSD is a mature open source project and they have nothing to be insecure (huhuh) about. Sometimes OpenBSD may have exploits, sometimes it may have copyright issues. We live, we learn. Code-wise this is a small issue and it's a fixable issue, as the bc43xx developers said in their statement.

    I find the approach of the bc43xx developers perfectly defendable. The first mail was clear, diplomatic, complete, and explicitly offers to work out a deal. That's more than you usually get when you infringe on someone's rights! Unfortunately, the only result of it was another episode of "the Theo Show". Even though the issue was broadcasted, the OpenBSD project still had a great immediate opportunity to contain the issue. Instead, the bc43xx developers doesn't receive much but irrational unconstructive replies, intentional misinterpretation, blaming people for OpenBSD's own developer's decisions, etcetera.

    If going public with an issue is inhuman, how is turning the debate into a flamefest human? It was shameful to read. The Theo Show IS the public spectacle. Perhaps it is part of how he defines his personality. In fact, this rogue attitude seems to work for OpenBSD - OpenBSD regularly gets a lot of mainstream exposure from these kind of fights. Maybe it's what saving OpenBSD from becoming irrelevant. Well, good for them. They probably make a great OS (I use FreeBSD exclusively). It's just too bad that they haven't got a Broadcom driver. :)
  • by Omega996 ( 106762 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:49PM (#18648453)
    The unfortunately consequence of your action may well be the next time you or another GPL developer make a mistake involving BSD/ISC licensed code, you will be publicly burned at the stake first with no good-faith attempt for you to correct privately what may well be an honest mistake. You know de Raadt's got a vengeful streak - he's still holding OpenSSH over everyone's heads, um des Gottes willen. I think the majority of the people agree with you, Michael, that Glocker should not have committed the GPL code to their CVS; the real sticking point is that you didn't offer the man an attempt to remedy the situation privately and in good faith.
  • by bobsledbob ( 315580 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:50PM (#18648459)

    Right, that's the correct way to handle it.

    The BSD guy, once copying the Linux code into the repository, essentially made it impossible for BSD to have any similar functionality in that driver compared to the Linux implementation. That's probably the biggest "mistake" that was made. The copyright infringement can be dealt with. Now however, the BSD driver will be plagued with being tainted and will never be able to implement a similar driver (without the approval of the original copyright holder of course).

    Linux and BSD communities are generally friendly to each other. So, it should really be a non-issue in the end.

  • Re:sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dhasenan ( 758719 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:53PM (#18648509)
    'Inhuman' hardly describes being open about copyright violation. Michael was polite in his initial message; the immediate responses were to flame him. It's hard to accidentally include someone else's driver code in yours; Theo still kept saying that it was clearly an accident.

    As for leaving GPL stub would have been difficult to fully audit the driver code to see how much needed to be rewritten. Probably some GPL code would have stayed in the driver through release.

    But since Michael was able to discover his code in the bcw driver, it was being distributed. *That's* clearly illegal. If only a few people had CVS access and nobody was actively distributing the bcw driver, then Michael wouldn't have had a case, or even known about it. They didn't even take that step with a non-working driver. I have no sympathy for the bcw maintainers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:54PM (#18648515)
    Nice try, but no matter how many times people claim this, it simply isn't true. It was put up publically accessible on the internet with a false license claim.
  • by ClarkEvans ( 102211 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:56PM (#18648549) Homepage

    His team were caught red-handed, and had the gall to blame the people who got ripped. He doesn't even seem to get copyright, saying there was no infringement because the driver wasn't yet ready for general use is beyond moronic.
    This is pure flamebait. Theo completely gets copyright and said: "This is a major problem in our code base." It was wrong, and quite regrettable that GPL'd code was committed to OpenBSD's repository. It could have been fixed quite easily by privately emailing the maintainer, Marcus or, if that failed, Theo directly.

    What this thread is about is that the author of the GPL's driver, Michael Buesch, didn't even attempt to handle this civilly, you know like chatting it through on IRC, or sending off a few private emails. That he was pointing out a problem was fine. That he did it in a confrontational manner without first trying other channels, was, not particularly collegial. Theo's characterization of "in human" came after several followups where it became clear that Michael's goal wasn't to solve the problem but to make a firework display.

    Your rant here, changing the topic and calling people names is likewise quite unprofessional.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:57PM (#18648559)
    It was ill conceived at best. First of all he made it public. Had he kept it private, or in some private cvs where only official obsd developers had access, he would probably been in the clear wrt the distribution part.

    However, you cannot start with a copyrighted work and then change it bit by bit without getting a derived work, which should then be under the gpl.

    Sorry, it was doomed to fail from the point where he decided to use the gpl code rather than just look at their docs/specs, which were separately available.
  • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:58PM (#18648577)

    commiting to cvs is not and has never been distribution.

    So if I strip out all the copyright notices from a Vista ISO and commit it to a public CVS repository, it doesn't count as copyright infringement or plagiarism? And I won't have to worry about a nasty lawsuit from Microsoft?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:00PM (#18648589)
    In the purest sense, reverse engineering isn't 'clean room' either. The intent of the GPL wasn't to be protectionist--- but to encourage addition to the entirety of the open-source work it represents. I have no doubt that large portions of the open source GPL driver resembles, if not directly copies, the proprietary driver in many areas. This is simply the nature of device drivers, they are very much restricted by the guidelines of the underlying device they control. I think we're getting into very muddy waters when we start to back the same kind of ridiculous copyright views as major software vendors who are continually trying to squash any kind of open-source code. They seem to feel, every individual piece of code, down to a symbol name, a for loop, or a particular data structure, becomes their property for all time, in every iteration of any software program. This is 'not' the views of the majority of open-source programmers.

          For the majority of the history of human invention, intellectual property has for the most part represented a description of a product in its entirety. By the very nature of mechanics, and machines, and electronics, these items were very much self-descriptive, and very much open to reverse engineering. Upon these ideas, new ideas could be built, improvements made, and different types of machines produced using the prior intellectual property as example. With software, things have changed. To make an analogy of software, to hardware--- it's illegal to open up your television, and to learn how it works. It's illegal to use that broad design, to make something new, and as a whole, different. The entirety of the product is hidden, protected by law from being viewed. The descriptions of the intellectual property describe only what the item is, and lack individual descriptions of the layout and design for the benefit of other inventors. Yet, the property owners claim ownership of every algorithm, the structure of their software, its layout, its design.

          I think the openBSD developers share the same views at the majority of GPL developers about intellectual property. I think they likely aren't as obsessed over clean-room design as major vendors, due to the clear belief that the only end to this kind of restrictive view is the eventual end, and impracticality, of open-source in general. I think, it is a useful tool, that when dealing with software vendors who attack open-source, to use their representation of copyright, to show how they are innately in violation of a great deal of open-source code. This is only to show the overwhelming impracticality of their copyright model. It is true, that through absolutely free open-source, portions of GPLed code can leak into the private sector. But then again--- this is only algorithm, it is only design, it isn't the driver in its entirety. I think adopting this stance, in relation to other open-source code, we're stepping into actually supporting philosophical role we do not want to be in.
  • by Eric S. Smith ( 162 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:03PM (#18648613) Homepage

    Now I don't personally know what kind of development you've been involved in but commiting to cvs is not and has never been distribution.

    If it wasn't being distributed, how was it discovered? Yes, I know, how mean of me to ask.

    On top of that it was a few minor functions and variable names used as placeholders.

    "Didn't do it, and it wasn't wrong, and anyway, it wasn't serious!"

    To put it bluntly, the BSD folks don't want or need viral code polluting their systems.

    It was good enough to inpsire the developer, to take Saint Theo's interpretation.

    Was he totally justified? You're damn straight he was.

    "Just let us rip you off in peace! GPL sucks anyway!"

  • by Rumagent ( 86695 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:06PM (#18648653)

    > From: Marcus Glocker
    > To: source-changes@
    > Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2007 10:25:25 -0600 (MDT)
    > Subject: CVS: src
    [cut:cvs log]
    > Log message:
    > After been attacked by Michael Buesch because we initially
    > were using some of their routines in the bcw driver, I decided to stop
    > working on it. To avoid any further license chit chat I plain drop the
    > driver.
    > ***
    > Happy now?
    > It's a pleasure to see how the OpenSource community stands together,
    > and starting public wars instead of talking directly to the people
    > involved.

    I don't understand your reaction, really.
    If you were really interrested in doing a Broadcom wireless driver for
    openbsd, you would have chosen the option to relicense some code (and
    therefore drop only that code which I refuse to relicense), which I gave

    It's a pity. I'd like you to sleep a night over this and rethink
    your decision tomorrow.
    Feel free to contact us to get code relicensed _before_ you re-add
    it to the repository. This will make you and us happy and I'm sure
    you'll have a working driver soon.

    Not only in this, but in thread in general Michael Buesch shows remarkable restraint. He is the one with a legitimate grievance and he is being insulted ad infinitum.

    This is not a matter of GPL vs. BSD. It is a simple matter of breach of copyright. Everything else is bullshit.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:13PM (#18648725)
    > Without question, the Linux developer did not need to cc the whole word when first making his inquiry -- he should have contacted them in private.

    I disagree. Anybody who saw that code in CVS needed to know about the copyright issue.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:15PM (#18648741)
    Going public was the only way to make sure any tainted code would be caught. And even then it's not certain.

    Why are you even trying to defend the practice of surreptitiously using GPL code to derive a product destined to be released under a non-GPL license? That's deliberate copyright violation. Buesch has every right to be royally and publicly pissed.

    And the BSD folks are damn lucky his first response wasn't to go to a lawyer.

    So, no, it doesn't appear Buesch has any ax to grind at all. All he did was shout "Thief!" as someone was running away with stolen goods.

    And now people are pissed that one of their friends was caught as the thief so they're playing victim to the best of their abilities.
  • by Score Whore ( 32328 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:16PM (#18648753)
    He was very civil. What he was not was quiet or non-embarrassing. Theo's reaction is clearly an attempt to direct attention from the facts of the situation and the poor behavior of a member of the openbsd team.
  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:24PM (#18648835) Homepage Journal
    Now I don't personally know what kind of development you've been involved in but commiting to cvs is not and has never been distribution.

    Oh? So, if I take my record collection and commit it to a public CVS repository, that's going to be OK with RIAA, then? :-)

    Placing code in a source code repository that is accessable for download by any other legal entity is distribution the moment the first download, or even source-code-browse, occurrs. The fact that it is CVS does not make it the slightest bit different from being a regular public web server.

    Also, it is not necessary for the code to be "released" for it to be distribution. Remember Corel, who thought they didn't have to comply with the GPL as long as it was a beta test?

    The Linux developer had the right to make a public notice that the posted license and copyright statement were not his copyright statement and the correct license. Otherwise, someone, anyone, could have made unlicensed derivative works of his code without knowing any better. A public notice protects unwitting victims like that, as well as the copyright owner.


  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:28PM (#18648869) Journal

    Insulting windows users just ain't any fun to us seasoned opensource users is it. It is like trying your wits against a duckling, one that has been run over and chewed on by the rats. Far better to cross daggers with a person of your own calibre, even if in the case of you BSD lovers it is an undead calibre.

    But very well, I shall engage you on the battlefield, as long as you promise to stay down wind of me.

    BSD is the thief and the thief does NOT get to complain about how the victim responds. If you break into my house I am not obliged to send you a polite letter first to ask you to please return my stuff, I send for the police, I do that publicaly and if they wake up everyone in your street and haul you out in front of your neightbours in your Steve Jobs underwear while they go about reclaiming my possesions then all the better.

    The BSD people involved really should have known better then to do this. Contrary to what some people think both BSD and GPL people strongly believe in copyrights (what differs from closed source supporters is just how much control the author has over the user and/or further authors). You may not like either the GPL or BSD BUT for either to work they must respect the other.

    Buesch might have done this in private BUT it is his decision and his decision and alone how to handle this. The offenders do not get to dictate how the victim voices his complaint. Theo should shut the fuck up, apologize for his and his team actions and be damned glad no formal complaint is being launched in the courts.

    Just how much code is there in BSD anyway that is not there legally? Were there is smoke, there is fire.

  • by Reality Master 101 ( 179095 ) <RealityMaster101 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:30PM (#18648887) Homepage Journal

    What this thread is about is that the author of the GPL's driver, Michael Buesch, didn't even attempt to handle this civilly, you know like chatting it through on IRC, or sending off a few private emails.

    That seems to be Theo's deflection mechanism as well. I have one question: Why?

    Sheesh, if I got that email, I'd apologize, thank them for the offer to use their code, and move on. Here's a good rule for life: if you would be embarrassed by what you're doing being publicized, maybe you shouldn't be doing it.

    I see absolutely no reason why there should be some obligation by the injured party that they communicate by email.

  • That wasn't going "over the top", that was an out and out psychotic event. I mean, I know it's not news that Theo has a few social limitations, but -- wow. If someone ever wants to demonstrate what Theo is all about, just point them over to that thread. It's never been so clear that Theo is mentally unbalanced.

    And I'm not saying this to be "mean", only that I hope someone in his life eventually convinces him to get him help.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:35PM (#18648939)
    commiting to cvs is not and has never been distribution

    That's the same argument that Theo makes when confronted with the copyright infringement accusation, and it's just not true. FTP, HTTP, CVS - as far as copyright law is concerned, they're all the same. The fact that people who really should know better bring up that kind of excuse shows that GPL infringement allegations should be made in a public forum. Only by going public right from the start can you avoid unverifiable "he said this, he said that" exchanges about a non-public prelude. The initial message was reasoned, and reiterated that, while there is a problem, in no way do the developers of the GPL code want to antagonize the BSD developer.

    Even if you object to the CC list, you can't ignore that the friendly but firm intentions are spelt out pretty clearly. Everybody is cutting Theo massive amounts of slack for his tirades in response to the issue ("Theo is being Theo"). How about you cut the GPL developers some slack, especially when the BSD side made the mistake that prompted the mail exchange.
  • by chezmarshall ( 694493 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:40PM (#18648997) Homepage

    There's a simple rule: Don't violate copyrights and don't get blamed for it. It's so simple.
    There's another simple rule that nearly everyone ignored in this discussion: don't shout and wave your arms when speaking softly and rationally will do just as well.

    Michael: should have emailed OpenBSD folks privately, pointing out the similarity of the code and determining whether the similarity is a coincidence, a bad idea of using GPL code as a placeholder (as seems to be the actual event), or outright theft. If there's inadequate response to the inquiry, only then should Michael have sent email to hundreds and hundreds of people about it.

    Theo: should have taken the whole matter off-line as quickly as possible.

    everyone: let tempers cool. Wait a few minutes before firing off the next salvo.

    The whole thing could have been resolved with a few emails, and everyone would probably have felt OK about any outcome. Instead, the outcome is (from the outsider's perspective) the worst possible, and no one is happy about it.

    Be careful about who you call a thief. Defaulting to a conclusion of theft when there could be an innocent explanation ("fair use," anyone?) is a terribly pessimistic way to go through life. Default to a belief that there is a reasonable explanation for the circumstances, and investigate further.
  • by Rumagent ( 86695 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:41PM (#18649015)

    Hans Reiser, an open source maven who murdered his wife in cold blood

    He has been arrested, but he has yet to stand trial. Given that we are "very smart people, very intelligent", we should be able to distinguish between the two. Funny comment though.
  • Re:I am amazed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:47PM (#18649069) Homepage Journal
    Sharing does not imply contributing to a commons.

    You can share with groups as well as individuals. The main difference is that sharing with an individual can be regulated closely - if that person doesn't share in return, you know never to share with that person again and can enforce a social penalty for not sharing. With a group, you need rules to do that, and possibly more than just social mechanisms to enforce them.


  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:52PM (#18649117) Journal

    GPL: I buy everyone a round because the license of the bar says that everyone else will also buy a round when it is their turn.

    BSD: I buy everyone a round because hell, I am just a nice guy and I want everyone to have a beer even if that means I will end up paying for all the beer being drunk.

    Closed source company: Hell, I like you BSD, keep them coming.Eh, my round? I left my wallet at home, say BSD, how about a napeleon brandy mate?

    BSD: Sure, we are all mates.

    GPL: You are an idiot BSD. But hey, make mine a double.

    Get it?

  • by AndrewM1 ( 648443 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:52PM (#18649123)
    Sorry, but when someone's called on you to explain seemingly-illegally-copied code, telling them to "go fuck themselves" is not a bloody option. Try that in the real world sometime, and see how fast an indictment for copyright infringement and the corresponding civil suit comes flying in.

    Also, you say he "kill[ed] a truly free implementation of the driver in question," you are totally missing the issue. The entire point of this debate is that the bloody driver wasn't free at all! It was GPL'd code, which gives you the rights to use it within the terms of the GPL. Stripping the legitimate author(s) name(s) from the code and relicensing it under a looser (or, in the case of the GPL, tighter) license is one of the main things the GPL and other licenses are designed to prevent.

    I find it regrettable that Michael decided to go so public with this (indeed, as others pointed out, it could probably have been solved privately) but it is absolutely his right, as the "sorry little fuck" who owns the copyright on the code, to protect it as he sees fit. I think the OpenBSD team should be remarkably relieved that Michael diplomatically approached the issue and offered to assist in relicensing the code instead of simply suing Marcus and the other perpetrators of this infringement.

    So stop heaping abuse on the guy simply because he chose to protect his legal right to have his original product (the code) used only under the license he selected for it and to not have it used outside those boundaries by anyone else, whether by accident or design. Instead, give him credit for offering to assist in reaching a constructive solution to the issue.

    -- Andrew Morritt
  • by mbuesch ( 1085401 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:58PM (#18649169)

    And how would have this been handled if it had been IBM ?
    If they also distributed it in public? Exactly the same way. Distribute in public -> complain in public. The public has the right to get informed that the code thei're looking at is _not_ BSD licensed, like the source header says.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:59PM (#18649177)
    The real problem was the lack of proper attribution of the copyright and license.

    This would be like the FreeBSD network code in the 2.0.36 Linux Kernel, the Linux Kernel code in the Virgin WebPlayer, the code from the ATA driver taken from FreeBSD and put into Linux or the use of the G4U code in that whatever-it-is GPLed version of G4U?

    I think the best protection one can have is to do everything in the open where others can see.

  • Irrelevant . . . (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dausha ( 546002 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:12PM (#18649293) Homepage
    This is a problem of the FOSS community turning on itself. If there was a GPL violation, the proper thing to do is own up to it and seek a re-license, which is what the owner of the GPL'd code wanted.

    I am still reading the whole Gmain thread, and am quite shocked by Theo's comments. I agree with another fellow who said that FOSS wireless driver development teams should work closely together to ensure the proprietary world doesn't overwhelm the effort. But, I digress . . .

    The core issue is whether the BCW developer copied GPL'd code, which the holder of the GPL copyright asserts. Plenty of clean examples were given, and the ability to investigate the entire tree for both sets of code makes it a quick search issue. Much better than the SCO/M$ v. IBM suit. Theo's response to the allegation is immature at least:

    1. Ad hominem attacks: calling Mike inhuman and attacking him for making the issue public.
    2. Irrelevant: saying that the bcw code does not work so there's no copyright issue. Copyright speaks to content, not functionality.
    3. It was an accident: Claiming the bcw "accidentally" copied GPL'd code. How can you accidentally copy entire blocks of code?
    4. That the code copy was temporary scaffolding: which counters #3, above. You can't claim the code copy was an accident or unintentional then say the copy was intentional for a short period of time. Theo says the code was copied to get other parts of the bcw driver to work, then would be re-written. The problem here is twofold. First, the code was copied and checked into the repository under BSD licensing, which is a violation in-and-of-itself. Second, putting the code there pending re-write means the re-write would be a derivative of the original GPL'd code---which is still a copyright violation.

    Above all, the entire line of discussion is not relevant. There's a claim of copyright violation. If the code is there, then it is a violation, whether or not it was "accidental." This extends beyond issues of header calls which are so ordinary as to not be copyrightable. (At least, under U.S. law, if there are only a few ways to convey an idea, then it cannot be copyrighted.) Whether the accusation was public is not relevant; was there a violation? The responsible action would be to investigate when the GPL'd author made the accusation.

  • by baryon351 ( 626717 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:16PM (#18649317)
    I feel saddened by some of this, the community fighting, but then I wonder if perhaps I'm just emotional, being both a GPL and BSD license supporter. Sometimes I like to move things around, to see how it works.

    Below are two edits to the piece here [].

    The first. Let's pretend this was GPL code taken by Microsoft, not OpenBSD, for inclusion in Windows.

    From: Michael Buesch <mb>
    Subject: Microsoft bcw: Possible GPL license violation issues
    Newsgroups: gmane.linux.kernel.wireless.general,
    To: Marcus Glocker <mglocker>,
            Jon Simola <jsimola>,
            Theo de Raadt <deraadt>,
            Stefano Brivio <stefano.brivio>,
            Martin Langer <martin>,
            Danny van Dyk <kugelfang>,
            Andreas Jaggi <andreas.jaggi>,
            Larry Finger <larry.finger>,
    Cc: Johannes Berg <johannes>,
            Joseph Jezak <josejx>,
            John Linville <linville>,
            Greg kh <greg>,
            bcm43xx <list>,
            linux-wireless <list>,
            license-violation <list>
    Date: Wed, 4 Apr 2007 22:08:13 +0200
    User-Agent: Outlook Express
    I, Michael Buesch, am one of the maintainers of the GPL'd Linux
    wireless LAN driver for the Broadcom chip (bcm43xx).
    The Copyright holders of bcm43xx (which includes me) want to talk
    to you, developers of Microsoft Windows, about possible GPL license and therefore
    Copyright violations in your bcw driver.
    To me, that looks like Mr Buesch is being decent.

    Now let's switch to the opposite - Mr Buesch as a Windows developer, finding Microsoft code in OpenBSD

    From: Michael Buesch <mb>
    Subject: OpenBSD bcw: Possible MS Windows license violation issues
    Newsgroups: windows.kernel.wireless.general,
    To: Marcus Glocker <mglocker>,
            Jon Simola <jsimola>,
            Theo de Raadt <deraadt>,
            Stefano Brivio <stefano.brivio>,
            Martin Langer <martin>,
            Danny van Dyk <kugelfang>,
            Andreas Jaggi <andreas.jaggi>,
            Larry Finger <larry.finger>,
    Cc: Johannes Berg <johannes>,
            Joseph Jezak <josejx>,
            John Linville <linville>,
            Greg kh <greg>,
            bcm43xx <list>,
            windows-wireless <list>,
            license-violation <list>
    Date: Wed, 4 Apr 2007 22:08:13 +0200
    User-Agent: KMail/1.9.5
    I, Michael Buesch, am one of the Managers of the Microsoft Windows
    wireless LAN driver team for the Broadcom chip (bcm43xx).
    The Copyright holder of bcm43xx (Microsoft) wants to talk
    to you, OpenBSD bcw developers, about possible Microsoft Windows license and therefore
    Copyright violations in your bcw driver.
    Again, a response like that if it were from Microsoft to the OpenBSD team would be considered highly decent.

    I think Michael Buesch did well
  • by lendude ( 620139 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:16PM (#18649319)
    Just how likely is it that yourself and the three others who modded this insightful didn't bother to actually acquire some knowledge of why the developer had that view? It's all explained in any number of places, including this post in the thread: =18648703 []

  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:27PM (#18649401) Homepage Journal

    As far as I can tell, it was your obligation to post publicly that the code was GPL licensed before someone else could have been damaged by making an assumption that the code was not GPL licensed.

    If that project had a nice, empathic woman who has been a parent of teenagers to handle your notice, the reply would have been an apology, followed by amplification of your notice, and a calm talk about what to do. Instead, you got Theo :-)

    It's as if you ran over a land-mine and people then tried to criticize you for running.


  • by TPS Report ( 632684 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:32PM (#18649467) Homepage

    Apparently the Linux kernel developer did not wish Broadcom to take advantage of his work in proprietary products Just how likely is it that there is anything in the Linux driver that would be useful to Broadcom? Broadcom already has fully functional proprietary drivers for their chips.
    Quality of code, for one. Hey, a Honda Civic is "fully functional", just like a Mercedes S500 is "fully functional". Doesn't mean they're in the same league. From what I understand, the quality of the Broadcom code is junk, and if they were allowed to lift some quality source from the BSD version of their drivers with no strings attached, why not? They're within their rights to use BSD licensed code any way they want, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, in this cse, the author of the GPL code is saying "I caught you lifting chunks of my GPL code for your BSD license. I don't want Broadcom using my work without requiring them to give back, so I'm going to call you out on this." He doesn't want to share with them, because they're jerks about their source and NDA requirements. That's his right.
  • by EveLibertine ( 847955 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:50PM (#18649677)

    the real sticking point is that you didn't offer the man an attempt to remedy the situation privately and in good faith.

    How is that a sticking point? The _only_ sticking point is the copied code. (Why people keep calling this theft is beyond me; infringement != theft)

    Furthermore, imagine a scenario where this wasn't taken public ASAP. Anyone that went to the code after the copied code was added but before it was corrected would be liable to think that the code in question was under a completely different license. In this scenario it is in the author's best interest to notify as many people as possible that his code has been hijacked. The more people that know, the better it is for the author, and for the people who would potentially have used the code. Sure, you'll be stepping on a few toes in making the issue public, but it has to be done in order to protect yourself and everyone else from misappropriating code. There is *no* other way to accomplish this as effectively, that I am aware of. Why take the man to task for protecting his assets, kindly and tactfully at that? I'm not sure that we're reading the same thing, because from my end, it looks like Michael was being kinder and more patient than I can reasonably expect from anybody that I've ever met. The only alternative would be to ask the developer to make a *public* statement about the entire thing, which would have the same effect. The only difference would be the name of the person delivering the message, which is _completely_ trivial.

    Maybe you could argue that it might have saved the developer some face if he was the one delivering the message publicly. You know what would have saved him even more face? Not relicensing code that wasn't his in the first place.

  • by mattr ( 78516 ) <.mattr. .at.> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:58PM (#18649757) Homepage Journal
    Listening from far away, it seems that asking about this on the mailing list is fair. Maybe some people wished it was done person to person, but that judgement cannot except in some insane person's head (like Mr. De Radt) equate to being inhuman, which we usually reserve for someone who does much worse things.

    In fact Buesch was quite level-headed about it even when De Radt threw all kinds of crap at him and then other people on the mailing list jumped on board too. Considering that BSD is the key channel for the GPL work to find its way into manufacturer's machinery, I'd say the authors (who by the way deserve that title quite a lot more than the guy who went off in a huff) could stand to have been a little angrier in tone and still be within their rights.

    It looks in fact like it was Theo de Radt's fault alone for blowing it up into a huge problem and he is solely responsible for the BSD guy to quit his attempt to import the GPL code.

    Theo should have said the very first time, "OMG I'm sorry we'll pull the code, and I'll contact the developer and get right on it with you. Thanks for being understanding."

    This is clear proof to the world not that anyone is inhuman. It does suggest that De Radt is unfit for whatever leadership position he has, and should resign, or at least get someone else to be in charge of similar issues in the future.

    Perhaps someone could write some guidelines to BSD people concerning what is appropriate in terms of "paraphrasing" other code or making use of someone else's reverse engineering. It seems other people could fall into a similar problem and they better hope De Radt is not online that day.
  • The Human Ego (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Plutonite ( 999141 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @05:08PM (#18649865)
    95% of the conflicts between human beings - supposedly civilised ones - would not exist if not for the overly inflated ego of the participants. There is no issue here. Either the usage of the code was wrong or right according to strict licensing definitions. Since it appears everybody agreed to the fact it was wrong, the next step is clear. Why the fuss, and the emotions, and the name calling? Mistakes happen.. just fix them and move on.
  • by NormalVisual ( 565491 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @05:14PM (#18649921)
    Oh give me a break - no one was "lynched". If you think so, please quote the relevant lines from Michael's posts. The fact remains that the GPL'd code should never have been in the BSD repository without permission, and when called on it the BSD folks got their panties in a twist even after Michael offered a means to resolve the situation in a manner that would benefit the BSD project.

    And *none* of the discussion thus far explains how the BSD people thought they could implement the driver using the GPL'd code as a jumping-off point without turning it into a derivative work.
  • by Eric S. Smith ( 162 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @05:29PM (#18650059) Homepage

    gives new meaning to the term GPL nazi's.

    Dropping a politely-worded note proposing co-operative effort to a bunch of concerned parties? Yeah, you would need a new meaning for the word "Nazi" before you could use it to describe that.

    What wacky world do Theo's enablers come from that they think it's an aggrieved party's duty to keep an offender's misdeeds secret?

  • by gwk ( 1004182 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @06:10PM (#18650435)
    >The fact remains that the GPL'd code should never have been in the BSD repository without >permission, and when called on it the BSD folks

    When the fact that the code had been committed was brought to light it was removed. And our "panties are in a knot" because of the way this was handled: without any tact at all. Do me a favor next time your in public and I don't know say: you can't find your pen and there is someone with a pen that looks remarkably like yours. Instead of I dont know politely asking "hey is that my pen" SCREAM AS LOUD AS YOU CAN ABOUT THAT PERSON BEING A THIEF, what kind of reaction do you think that would provoke ? In the real world you would likely get punched in the face or fitted for a straight jacket. But said behavior is perfectly acceptable when your behind a keyboard?

    >Michael offered a means to resolve the situation in a manner that would benefit the BSD project.

    I like your drugs can I have some? I read absolutely no sincerity into anyones motivations in that camp, I get the distinct impression that they were waiting, hoping marcus would make a mistake so they could torpedo the driver and behold.

    >And *none* of the discussion thus far explains how the BSD people thought they could implement >the driver using the GPL'd code as a jumping-off point without turning it into a derivative work.

    Come on your definition of derivation is so broad now it would make the linux kernel subject to the APSL because some developers of drivers there looked at darwin. Marcus intention was never to copy any of the GPL code, he was trying to write a driver for hardware with no specs (please dont post the link to that stupid wiki again there is not enough information there to write a driver) the only information about the hardware was a driver subject to the GPL.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @06:30PM (#18650587)
    No, he's not. Innocent until proven guilty. Not "guilty if it looks like he did it."

      O.J. is innocent, too. Personally, I think he did it, but he's still innocent. The jury that hears the evidence is who makes the decision, not you or me or anyone else armed with newspaper stories and "i-heard-from-a-guy"s.
  • by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @06:34PM (#18650621)
    What's really funny about all this is that Slashdot is all about advocating piracy under the guise of some anti-RIAA movement (when it's really just fucking over artists), but heaven forbid someone use GPL code. I mean, EULA aren't legally binding, but a GPL text header is? The double standards seem rather self-serving.
  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @06:47PM (#18650727)
    That's true - he wasn't charged with terrorism so due process still applies for now.
  • by bmsleight ( 710084 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @06:47PM (#18650731) Homepage

    t's well documented that the bcm43xx drivers are GPL, both on the project website and in the code itself.
    Not when it was on BSD cvs. Which is the main point. The Public cvs represented the code as BSD. The public email corrected this, in my opinion ian a clam way.

    But Mr.Theo (Did I mention that you are using SSH) Raad did not respond in a calm way.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @07:06PM (#18650883)
    Michael Buesch did not CC' broadcom.
  • by ( 321932 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @07:35PM (#18651081) Homepage Journal
    Theo is a real sharp programmer, and an eloquent writer when he wants to be. I met him once. I went to shake his hand. I swear, he did not notice. This left me to think that when Theo commits social gaffes, it is not his fault and he can't help himself. We all have our lacks, issues, and strengths.

    What Theo did was a classic case of blame shifting. Trivialize the problems on your side whilst (trying to) change the subject to a problem on the other side. I don't understand why no-one brought this up in the discussion earlier, it's very transparent. All the -public- name calling demonstrates it nicely because it's basically committing the same 'crime'. Eye for an eye I don't think is considered terribly humane.

    Now the interesting thing to me is the way they tried to trivialize the copyright infringement. Supposedly the code should have never made it into CVS, it was a mistake. However, it was being used to develop the driver for BSD (and to be licensed under the BSD license).

    When corporations do stuff like this, they generally use clean-room reverse-engineering. I wonder what the legality is of the approach they used, copyright-wise. Consider a more extreme case. Let's say I take the Linux kernel source tree, and one by one I start 'rewriting' every bit of source (while most certainly glancing at the original), could I then license the 'new' kernel under whatever terms I want?

    I could be wrong, but wasn't the copyright violation being made when the code is copied from the GPL code into the local development version of the developer? And the CVS commit is just a wider spread distribution after that? I've wondered about this for a while because 'tainting' is practically only being talked about in the context of closed-source corporations, not in the context of someone having seen Open Source software.
  • by Score Whore ( 32328 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @08:23PM (#18651387)
    I would certainly not call it grand strategy, but come on. He wrote half the messages in the email thread, nearly every one of which ignored the actual copying of code, instead attacking the way the real authors of the code handled the situation. Clearly he wants people to look at how the complaint was made rather than what it is people are complaining about.

    The fact that this is childish behavior just confirms it. This is the original "Follow my rules or I'm going to go play by myself." The whole OpenBSD project started when he couldn't get his way with NetBSD.
  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @08:32PM (#18651423) Homepage Journal
    Buesch could've contacted Glocker privately via email and asked him to remove the copyrighted material from CVS, and encouraged him to contact the copyright holders-in-question if he were interested in obtaining assistance in getting his bcw driver to work. It's called giving him "the benefit of the doubt."

    1. Benefit of the doubt of what? Oh, honey, I tripped, fell and impaled myself on his dick? (excuse the example.)
    2. This kind of thing must not be done quietly because people might have downloaded that code by then believing it was properly licensed under BSD and would not have known that in fact the code was tainted.
    3. This kind of thing must not be done quietly because doing it quietly does not provide a valuable lesson: Do not strip other people's copyrights/licenses from code if you are distributing it (yes, a CVS accessible to public is also distribution.)
  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @08:38PM (#18651435) Homepage Journal
    I find it regrettable that Michael decided to go so public with this (indeed, as others pointed out, it could probably have been solved privately) - you are wrong. It was absolutely necessary to make sure that everyone knew about this for at least two (2) good reasons. First reason is to make sure that nobody downloaded the code from the cvs and used it for further coding assuming it was licensed under BSD. Second reason is to provide a valuable lesson that nothing goes unnoticed and that mistakes of this kind (stripping other people's copyrights and licenses from code, and I personally cannot imagine how this could be ruled a mistake,) would not be repeated by others.
  • by NormalVisual ( 565491 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @09:06PM (#18651551)
    please dont post the link to that stupid wiki again there is not enough information there to write a driver

    Yet somehow the bcm43xx coders were able to use that information to build their own driver, and without the benefit of being able to look at the source of someone else's working implementation. Hmm.
  • Re:mod parent up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rho ( 6063 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @09:33PM (#18651713) Homepage Journal

    I read the whole thread, too. I saw Theo defending his developer. I read your post threatening to take your ball and go home as more of the same juvenile antics. It's a goddamn OS, you nutjobs. And a lot of you people whale on evangelicals for believing in the Bible. I guess I understand--it's not like the Bible is nearly as important as a Linux distribution.

  • Re:I am amazed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by petrus4 ( 213815 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @09:34PM (#18651725) Homepage Journal
    I thought that open source was about sharing code.

    It used to be. If you read a book called Homesteading the Noosphere by Eric Raymond at some point, he writes in it about something he refers to as a gift culture. GPL advocates will try and tell you otherwise, but in reality the GPL is a gross perversion of that concept. The BSD license is a lot closer to it.

    The entire motivation of the GPL is fear. You will never hear a GPL advocate try and tell you that the GPL is a good idea for any reason other than to supposedly protect you from corporate predators. That is the only reason why it exists at all.

    The motivation behind Linux's development, likewise, is primarily driven by fear and hatred...generally of Microsoft, but also of the corporate world in general. A lot of the people working on Linux are doing so primarily because they want a free version of Windows, but without Microsoft's criminal behaviour associated with it.

    The motivation behind the BSDs' development is (or was, anywayz) very different; a genuine love of programming, and from that, a desire to produce something that anyone can use, no questions asked. That is what the basis of the earlier gift culture was; it was based on you doing what *you* felt was right, rather than your actions being dictated by whether or not someone else chose to reciprocate, or actually irrespective of what they chose to do at all. It's called self-responsibility.

    There are a lot of things that the FSF have done that I continue to feel outraged about, but polluting the original motivation behind open source has to be one of the very worst.
  • by petrus4 ( 213815 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @10:23PM (#18652093) Homepage Journal
    The way Mr. de Raadt treats other human beings is simply abusive, and there is no external factor than can explain his behavior in any fashion that would justify coddling it.

    To me it is utterly laughable, when I consider how juvenile, dictatorial, and abusive they themselves are on a routine basis, that the denizens of Slashdot feel that they have any justification whatsoever in turning around and complaining about Theo's supposed lack of a personality.

    I really don't feel that anyone within the Linux community has any business calling anyone *else* socially disabled at all.
  • by 644bd346996 ( 1012333 ) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @11:55PM (#18652647)

    What you see as apathy could very well be making the choice to just not give a fuck, as GP noted.
    That is pretty much what I mean. Also, lest you think I'm being discriminatory, most of the people I had in mind when writing that comment have been diagnosed with Asperger's or Autism. Some of those people, though, demand that they be treated with a double standard. When those people ask me to tolerate anti-social behavior that is not a result of their disorders, I typically refuse, just as I refuse to accept most any sociopathic behavior.
  • by mobydobius ( 237311 ) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @12:06AM (#18652691) Homepage
    But in some sense the announcement had to be public. The copyright infringement was public. Without a public protest, someone could unknowingly take that code and incorporate it into proprietary software. Even if resolved privately first, a public announcement describing the duration and scope of the contamination would still be necessary after the fact.
  • by seebs ( 15766 ) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @12:22AM (#18652761) Homepage
    You know, the funny thing is, right now, you're the one making a decision to be an asshole rather than giving a shit about other people.

    As one of the people who doesn't notice when people are trying to shake my hand sometimes, I can assure you, it's not that I don't care about people; it's that I don't have the same raw inputs to my decision-making that some people do. So far as I'm concerned, you people all have telepathy. I know it's not technically telepathy, but it might as well be; I have no access to the medium through which you pick up on things like that.

    So, I put in serious time and effort doing my best to read people, and people like you bitch me out because I don't do it perfectly, because it's effortless for you.

    The irony is that it's your empathy that is leading you to a lack of empathy in this situation.
  • by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @06:26AM (#18654159)
    I don't really buy this any more. I do lots of work with customers, and introversion would be suicidal for me career-wise. I'm not too social by default, I basically taught myself to fake it. But I've met a lot of people who are basically lazy and rationalize it with the old line about how they're "probably somewhere on the autistic spectrum". But guess what, they end up earning a shitty salary and being put somewhere in the basement doing tech support, badly. In my current company, most of those guys got the boot when internal tech support got outsourced. And then they moaned about how the management never understood how valuable to the company they were. Truly autistic people are seriously disabled, and these people just weren't.

    It's a free country and it's your choice, unless you really have some kind of disability. But humans are social animals and if you choose not to play the game, don't be too surprised if you lose by default.
  • by PatrickThomson ( 712694 ) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @07:50AM (#18654423)
    Before I start, I want to clarify that I am you. I had the same problems. However, I have to criticise for the benefit of "normies".

    Over time, learned behaviours become subconcious, like driving or playing music. After a few years, limiting driving speed or musical tempo (or heck, writing code) becomes automatic. Granted, social interaction is a lot more difficult and complicated and fiddly, but it's doable even by people quite far gone on the autistic spectrum.
  • by mbuesch ( 1085401 ) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @01:19PM (#18656159)

    and that mb_ did expect Theo to respond in this manner.
    Who did _not_ do this? ;)
    Seriously, he's known for such reactions.
  • Re:Bullshit! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by petrus4 ( 213815 ) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @02:31PM (#18656717) Homepage Journal
    I guess this is enough to disregard the fact that it was GNU/Linux - *not BSD* - that was the first truely free Unix like OS.

    Apparently Bill Joy started putting BSD together in early 1977. The FSF didn't exist until October 1985. From what I've read, the UNIX sources were distributed completely without restriction even earlier than 1977, since due to the antitrust case against them, AT&T weren't allowed to begin selling an operating system. The only charge that was being put on the source was the price of the mag tape, and I also don't know of any license restrictions either. Given the degree of university collaboration that existed early on, I can only assume that there weren't any. AT&T only became restrictive with the source themselves when they were released from the ban on selling it.

    AFAIK, the main reason why UNIX wasn't used much outside of universities very early on was because of it originally being written for the PDP-8 and 11, which were very different architectures to the 80386. The first port that I know of to the 80386 that took place that I know of was the one done by the Jolitzes, which ended up becoming (more or less, anywayz) what we now know as FreeBSD.

    It sounds like you've got the version of history that Stallman wants people to have; i.e., the one that makes him look like the sole father of the entire practice of releasing source code in general. From what I've been able to figure out anywayz, the truth is a bit different. UNIX was developed very collaboratively from its' inception, and as you yourself probably know, without source, that can't really happen. ;-)

    Probably enough to disregard the fact that the "evil" FSF was already making available a shitload of software when Bill Gates was still dabbling in GWBASIC

    The ANSI standard for Minimal BASIC is dated 1978, the same year Microsoft was founded. According to Wikipedia, the FSF was founded in October 1985...Looks like you're off by a couple of years. According to that, BASIC existed *before* the FSF. Also...I don't know what your own definition of "free" is, but Stallman himself was selling copies of Emacs during the 80s.

    Rewriting history must be a nice hobby.

    Reading history is a great hobby, allows me to know when it's been rewritten by someone else. ;)

    You might dislike it, you might have another, but *ours* has been there well before BSD did *anything*.

    Unfortunately that simply is not's what you've been told. Don't take my word for it though...Go and do some research of your own. Some links that might help:-

    Some accounts of early UNIX history [] from the UNIX Heritage Society. There's some early source code there as well.
    20 Years of Berkeley UNIX [].
    Some info about where Stallman originally got at least some of his ideas. []
    The Art of UNIX Programming [], which has a fair amount of historical info as well.
    A rather non-canon biographical portrait of Stallman. []
    Another second opinion on Stallman, more or less in general [].

    Maybe if you take the time to go through this material, you might start to realise what my beef is. I don't like bullies, and I don't like frauds...Stallman is both, which from reading the above, you will learn. I strongly urge anyone else here who views me as merely a baseless troll to go to the above links and read that material as well. If I am a troll, the point of it is very simple:- This Emperor has no clothes.
  • by rho ( 6063 ) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @07:21PM (#18658525) Homepage Journal

    You could argue that he cc'ed too many people, but to keep the matter private would have been unethical.

    Why? The casus belli was the copyright violation, which could have been solved quickly and quietly by a more private mailing.

    Not having a dog in this hunt--I use FreeBSD and CentOS primarily for server applications, and OS X for my personal use--I see Theo's point that it was overkill to cc so many people, and that it reeked of attention-seeking. IMO it is daft to assume that Marcus was deliberately attempting to thieve GPL code. It's possible that he was, but since the development process for both Linux and OpenBSD are so public, it would take a really bad (or bold) thief to assume he could get away with stealing code.

    I guess it feels good to catch a thief and to take a swipe at that mouthy Theo de Raadt and his project at the same time. The temptation would probably be too great for me, too, if I harbored some ill-will towards OpenBSD and/or Theo. But from a purely logical standpoint, nobody came out of this covered in glory.

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.