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

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Tue Apr 26 08:16:45 EDT 2011

On Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 8:10 AM, Gabriel Eirea <geirea at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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").

I believe that root access is being provided routinely as part of the
current OS upgrade.

> 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.

I presume "these restrictions" refers to developer keys? They have a
way of providing root access.

> 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
> happen.

This is new information to me.


> These are facts. I hope this helps the community take an informed
> decision on this issue.
> Regards,
> Gabriel
> [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
>> _______________________________________________
>> Sugar-devel mailing list
>> Sugar-devel at lists.sugarlabs.org
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Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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