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

Gabriel Eirea geirea at gmail.com
Tue Apr 26 08:10:11 EDT 2011

There are apparently a few facts from Plan Ceibal's deployment that
are not well known in the community. This surprises me, given that
some of you have been here in Uruguay and I was under the assumption
that you were well aware of these facts. I will refrain to give my
opinion and describe a few facts relevant to this discussion.

Fact 1: in Plan Ceibal the XO 1.0 and XO 1.5-HS don't provide access
to root.This means that Sugar can't be modified by children. Fun
things like changing the home view layout or changing the XO icon,
among many other things, are impossible (Sugar activities, on the
other hand, can be changed since they are located in the user's home
directory). This also means that although the XO 1.5-HS comes with
Dextrose and a dual Sugar-Gnome desktop, the Gnome desktop is nearly
useless because children can install absolutely no additional software
packages (they can't do "yum install").

Fact 2: Plan Ceibal does not have a public and known process in place
for giving developer keys. If you ask to the call center, they have no
idea what you are talking about. If you ask people from the technical
department, they say the developer keys are only generated for
specific projects that require them, at universities or companies.

Fact 3: for at least 3 years the response from some members of the
technical team of Plan Ceibal was that they were looking into ways to
lift these restrictions to the user but they have been unable to.

Fact 4: there was (is) a pilot project in the department of Treinta y
Tres where they gave 3.000 or 5.000 XO 1.0 (quantity depending on
sources) with an additional SD card that allowed booting with Windows
XP. For this being possible, the tight security implemented in the
rest of the country in the name of deterring theft was disabled. In
order to boot with Sugar the children should take the SD out,
something that apparently everyone was unaware of. According to [0]
the XO laptops were donated by OLPC, while the software licenses and
training were donated by Microsoft. Very little is known publicly
about this pilot, in particular the evaluation that was supposed to

These are facts. I hope this helps the community take an informed
decision on this issue.



[0] http://www.ces.edu.uy/ces/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1208:plan-ceibal-en-ces&catid=101:plan-ceibal-ces&Itemid=192

2011/4/24 Walter Bender <walter.bender at gmail.com>:
> 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
> http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-violation.html).
> "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.
> -walter
>> 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
> http://www.sugarlabs.org
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