[IAEP] [Sugar-devel] [SLOBS] GPL non compliance? was Re: GPL non-compliance, was Re: GPLv3

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Sun Apr 24 08:34:55 EDT 2011

On Sat, Apr 23, 2011 at 10:34 PM, Sebastian Silva
<sebastian at somosazucar.org> wrote:
> From the olpc-uruguay list in an unrelated thread:
> "Si utilizamos las claves de desarrollador (que son las que permiten hacer
> cualquier cosa en la maquina), pero al momento solo se entregan por
> solicitudes puntuales (proyectos de grado por ejemplo)." - Ing. Daniel
> Castelo - Plan Ceibal - Área Técnica
> http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/olpc-uruguay/2011-April/005222.html
> Rough translation:
> "We do use developer keys (the ones that allow you to do anything with the
> machine), but at the moment they are only given for specific requests (like
> for example thesis projects)." - Eng Daniel Castelo - Plan Ceibal -
> Technical Area
> I know its not official but its a pretty clear indication that developer
> keys are not available to everyone.
> This makes Yama's concerns valid and important, I think.
> Since the board will probably meet in UY next month, this should be an item
> in our agenda.
> Sebastian

There are (at least) three different issues that are being convolved
here: (1) access to developer keys; (2) root access; and (3) the
ability to modify Sugar as per the GPL.

Since this is a Sugar list and the Sugar community only has
"authority" over Sugar, let's address #3 first. Is there evidence of a
violation of the GPL? Are the children of Uruguay are being denied
access to Sugar source or the ability to modify it? Since Yama brought
up his "concerns" but no accompanying evidence, we have asked
repeatedly for evidence. Without it, there is not anything actionable
for the Sugar board to do.

Regarding #2, root access -- which is beyond the scope of Sugar Labs
itself but not beyond the scope of the interests of many Sugar
community members -- as Bernie pointed out, there is a plan under way
to provide the children with root access. The evidence for this is in
the code. Is there any contrary evidence? If there is, as members of
the broader community, we may wish to take some action. But (a), I
have seen no such evidence; and (b) even if such evidence existed, I
don't think that Sugar Labs as an organization has any say in the
matter. It is not our code or license at issue.

Regarding #3, independently of any role I have at Sugar Labs, I have
asked the SFLC to offer advice to OLPC and Ceibal on this matter. I am
unaware of the current status of this discussion, but again, it is
beyond the scope of Sugar Labs. I don't see what the Sugar Labs board
can or should do.

The FSF has pretty clear guidelines regarding what to do if you
suspect there is a violation of the GPL (See

"Note that the GPL, and other copyleft licenses, are copyright
licenses. This means that only the copyright holders are empowered to
act against violations. The FSF acts on all GPL violations reported on
FSF copyrighted code, and we offer assistance to any other copyright
holder who wishes to do the same.

But, we cannot act on our own if we do not hold copyright. Thus, be
sure to find out who the copyright holders of the software are before
reporting a violation."

Likewise, Sugar Labs has an obligation to act on all GPL violations
reported on Sugar Labs copyrighted code. But we cannot act on our own
if we do not hold copyright.


> El 23/04/11 13:49, Yamandu Ploskonka escribió:
> following Martin's timely advice, may I please try again, so we can finish
> this with simple answers?
> the question is (or are)
> is locking users out in compliance with current GPL?
> does Ceibal lock out users?
> is there a known procedure to get keys for Ceibal users?
> is Ceibal in compliance with current GPL?
> if no, who should follow up? the FSF? the Sugarlabs Board?
> were of-record (2, 3) Ceibal policies to continue, would it be in compliance
> with GPL3?
> if no, who should follow up? the FSF? the Sugarlabs Board?
> I know that 2 and 3 are almost rhetorical, but in the interest of not
> building other questions as "loaded", I add them there.  There even might be
> good news I am unaware of that someone who is better informed can offer!
> Thank you
> Yama
> On 04/23/2011 01:16 PM, Martin Langhoff wrote:
> Folks --
> one thing we need to be in good intellectual shape to handle loaded
> questions. Everyone here probably knows them well, but I just re-read
>    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loaded_question
> and it was rather refreshing and useful.
> In general, if you don't know much about a topic, it is a good idea to
> *avoid* making inflammatory statements and accusations.
> You can ask, but please don't mix the valid questions with accusations
> or loaded questions. It doesn't help anyone.
> cheers,
> m
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Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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