Possible routes to kernel on GPLv3
Posted Jan 30, 2007 8:09 UTC (Tue) by drag
In reply to: Possible routes to kernel on GPLv3
Parent article: GPL 3: An Open-Source Earthquake? (CRN)
"""Can you clarify how you think GPLv3 draws the line at that point? I don't see anything in there that talks about a specific means of installing or even about who can do the installing (despite all the FSF comments about "manufacturers having rights they don't pass along"). It says that if there are checks based on keys, you need to provide the keys."""
Well that's a odd way to state it, but it's fairly effective.
It boils down to it: 'if the manufacturer can change out the software and replace it with a newer version then you should be able to do that also'
That is typically done through network access in embedded devices, but serial port access is common also.
This is different from, say, read-only firmware which the manufacturer doesn't have to let you change it, since they can't change it without taking the device appart and replacing the physical chip.
For example, with OpenMoko and their phones, the regulatory bits are in the firmware logic and only a abstracted form of the GSM tuner (or whatever) is presented to user space in the form of a serial interface which you interact with in a similar fasion to regular old modems.
That way the phone can be completely open source in the kernel (except for a GPS thing, which is another issue entirely) and still be able to respect the legal restrictions requirements.
Also it's prefectly GPLv3 compatable to have it so that you violate warrentees if you try to modify the software and such things. There is nothing in the GPLv3 that says the original manufacture has to remain liable if you change something and break it. Things like that.
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