A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

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karlexceed
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Re: A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

Post by karlexceed » Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:03 pm

Ah, I see... So I read into this a bit and it looks like some members of the Linux kernel community are upset about the new code of conduct. Unfortunately, to add fuel to the fire, it looks to be tied to the whole "SJW" thing.

There's definitely something to this, or at least some people seem to be acknowledging that this is a possibility.
https://lists.debian.org/debian-user/20 ... 00672.html

Troublingly, when I searched Google for "gpl 2 rescission" the first link was an article on the Daily Stormer (an infamous right-wing site that doesn't like a lot of groups of people) regarding this exact LKML post. Then, the Archive.is link shared above, and finally this article: https://lulz.com/linux-devs-threaten-ki ... ersy-1252/ which is mostly just aggregating things from other sources. (lulz.com seems to be a site that hosts anonymous opinion articles)

Really, this seems like a lot of FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) being spread by groups that don't like the "SJW" crowd. They're targeting Linux due to the recent Linus email, the CoC implementation, and the fact that it's nearly become internet infrastructure at this point and thus is a sore spot. Could you imagine the fallout if the Linux kernel suddenly took 5 steps back or simply broke entirely?

So - is license rescission a possibility? Perhaps. Is it likely to happen? I suspect not. There may be a couple kernel devs who are upset enough to try it, but you're really putting yourself out on a limb, in my opinion. You'd basically be charting unknown legal territory just to prove a point - there's no money involved. Also, I can't imagine that the FOSS community would be super happy with that dev going forward...

I guess the question is, for any individual kernel dev, is this where you want to draw a line in the sand? Is it worth it? Only they can answer that for themselves.

dizt3mp3r
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Re: A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

Post by dizt3mp3r » Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:45 pm

Oh poo - time to re-license it under GPL3 and fast.

It sounds as if a developer could contribute code as the original author just in order to hold the project to ransom later. A kernel developer could be bought by MS or an organisation that has an axe to grind against ReactOS, then he could threaten to pull his code at any time effectively holding the WHOLE project to ransom.

It would make contribution of source code under GPL2 a potentially valuable commodity... I can imagine companies going out and purchasing the rights to originally authored code under GPL2 just so they could monetise it in this way.

I'd suggest the dev team really think about this. Could be the end of open source as we know it...
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PurpleGurl
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Re: A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

Post by PurpleGurl » Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:10 pm

As for Social Justice Warriors, which side are they? I mean, the ones getting banned or the ones who fought for the policy changes and are doing the banning? Okay, nevermind, I just figured it out from the links supplied. So the SJWs took over Linux and is blocking coders whom they dislike. In that case, I hope those pulling the code will succeed in court. Yet, I'd hate for the fallout to adversely impact us. I know am starting to see why the non-Google SOC programs are unlikely to be partners here. Sure, I'd love to have their code here, but I now can see the risks.

karlexceed
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Re: A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

Post by karlexceed » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:53 pm

PurpleGurl wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:10 pm
So the SJWs took over Linux and is blocking coders whom they dislike. In that case, I hope those pulling the code will succeed in court.
Honestly, I think it's more likely that some outside agitators are using these organization changes to push their agenda and hold the Linux kernel hostage to show how terrible (in their mind) the "SJWs" are.

I'm pretty sure no one 'took over' Linux. As far as I can tell, there may not have even been any devs banned yet under these new rules. Like I said before, i think this is mostly FUD to sow discord in the community and blame it on another group. Someone decided to weaponize the Linux kernel to pit the dev team (generally perceived as white male nerds) against "SJWs" (generally perceived as female and/or people of color). I'm a little saddened to see how effective it seems to be.

PurpleGurl
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Re: A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

Post by PurpleGurl » Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:18 pm

I will agree to disagree, as I see the opposite. In the US, the SJWs are the agitators from what I have witnessed. That said, we should all just watch and see. I would love to discuss this more, but I don't want to be seen as hijacking. If someone wants to PM me or start an OT thread, feel free, and I will join. However, this is placed in the general category, and plus the copyright implications is the topic, not so much the history.

dizt3mp3r
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Re: A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

Post by dizt3mp3r » Thu Sep 27, 2018 2:45 am

I would worry less about the argument and more about the result.
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justincase
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Re: A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

Post by justincase » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:36 am

*deep sigh*

From the info I have gathered, the truth of the matter is basically this:
  • Linus has been very unpleasant on the Linux Kernel Mailing List over the years.
  • Other Linux contributors have followed his example.
  • There were people who tried to contribute to Linux and were hurt by the way other Linux contributors treated them.
  • Linus recently acknowledged that some of the things he's said were harsh and decided to take a break from leading Linux's development.
  • The Linux Foundation adopted a Code of Conduct to prevent contributors from hurting each other and/or chasing off potential contributors.
  • Some Linux contributors got defensive about their conduct and are trying to convince the Linux Foundation to drop the Code of Conduct.
  • Someone noticed that GPLv2 doesn't state that the copyright holder can't revoke the rights it grants and GPLv3 does and decided to use this omission to threaten the Linux Foundation.
  • Edit: In actual fact, GPLv2 does have protection against this kind of abuse, but it is worded differently than in GPLv3.
Theoretically, someone who contributes code to GPLv2 software (being the copyright holder) could send a cease & desist letter to anyone using it and force them to stop, hence the addition of the relevant parts of GPLv3 which state that the license is irrevocable. However, the Free Software Foundation added that bit not because there had been abuse of this omission, but rather as a clarification of what they had meant when writing GPLv2, just in case someone thought that they could rescind the GPL [Edit: probably due to the potentially unclear wording of this portion of GPLv2].

How a law suit over this would be found is technically undecided since it hasn't been tested before in court, however the legal system generally won't force somebody to stop using something that the copyright holder gave them permission to use unless they're not abiding by the license they were given [Edit: and GPLv2 does have a clause meant to protect against this kind of abuse], so if someone does try this, and takes the Linux Foundation to court over it, I think it's very likely that it would be found in favor of the Linux Foundation.

@PurpleGurl In most cases "SJWs" do seem to be the agitators, being vocal about (perceived or real) social injustices, trying to overthrow the status quo. In this case however, I think things were going pretty smoothly with Linus realizing that perhaps he should not be such a jerk, and the Linux Foundation following his lead and saying 'you know, maybe we should all try not to be jerks', then the people who had been operating under the assumption that 'since Linus is a jerk to people, I'm allowed to be a jerk too' freaked out.

Edits made due to new information found in these posts:
binarymaster wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:42 am
:!: Highly related and must read:

Conservancy Adds Expanded Section To Copyleft Guide On GPLv2 Irrevocability — https://sfconservancy.org/news/2018/sep ... ocability/

A letter from Eric S. Raymond — http://lkml.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kern ... 06864.html
dizt3mp3r wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:41 am
To extract the section in question - is described here:
Today, a new section in the Guide explains GPLv2's safeguards to prevent the very scenario recently contemplated. In particular, a contributor may only modify the software and distribute that contribution if they have agreed to the full text of the GPLv2. (“By modifying or distributing the Program… you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so, and all its terms and conditions for copying, distributing or modifying the Program or works based on it.”) Part of the grant from the contributor is an irrevocable license to that person's contribution, provided that the downstream user complies with the conditions on the license grant. (“Parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.”). The contributor is, of course, free to make no future grants, but they can’t withdraw past grants. The Guide's new section also explains how promissory estoppel is an additional legal safeguard ensuring the withdrawal of permission will not disrupt the use of those who rely on the software.
The old version 2. 0 already has this:
The parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.
I reckon it is sorted but we shall see, storm, teacup?
Last edited by justincase on Sat Sep 29, 2018 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
I reserve the right to ignore any portion of any post if I deem it not constructive or likely to cause the discussion to degenerate.

karlexceed
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Re: A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

Post by karlexceed » Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:30 pm

As PurpleGurl said, I don't want to derail this thread. That said, I just read an article that I thought covered the current Linux kernel situation well: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/arti ... their-code

binarymaster
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Re: A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

Post by binarymaster » Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:42 am

:!: Highly related and must read:

Conservancy Adds Expanded Section To Copyleft Guide On GPLv2 Irrevocability — https://sfconservancy.org/news/2018/sep ... ocability/

A letter from Eric S. Raymond — http://lkml.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kern ... 06864.html

dizt3mp3r
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Re: A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

Post by dizt3mp3r » Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:41 am

To extract the section in question - is described here:
Today, a new section in the Guide explains GPLv2's safeguards to prevent the very scenario recently contemplated. In particular, a contributor may only modify the software and distribute that contribution if they have agreed to the full text of the GPLv2. (“By modifying or distributing the Program… you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so, and all its terms and conditions for copying, distributing or modifying the Program or works based on it.”) Part of the grant from the contributor is an irrevocable license to that person's contribution, provided that the downstream user complies with the conditions on the license grant. (“Parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.”). The contributor is, of course, free to make no future grants, but they can’t withdraw past grants. The Guide's new section also explains how promissory estoppel is an additional legal safeguard ensuring the withdrawal of permission will not disrupt the use of those who rely on the software.
The old version 2. 0 already has this:
The parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.
I reckon it is sorted but we shall see, storm, teacup?
Skillset: VMS sysadmin 20 years, fault Tolerance, cluster, Vax, Alpha, ftSparc. DCL, QB45, VB6, NET, PHP, JS, CMS, Graphics, Project Manager, DOS, Windows admin from 1985. Quad Electronics. Classic cars & motorbikes. Artist watercolours. Historian.

Ancient
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Re: A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

Post by Ancient » Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:01 am

Linus is gone, the lead Kernel developer is out (who isn't Linus), others are out. If anything this is going to adversely affect Linux development. Google is working on a non-Linux based Android replacement with all Google proprietary code. Google will be out. This may affect Amazon as it's using an Android variant.

If large companies develop new private code not to be shared, it'll have a negative effect on a lot of open software development. Particularly if there is any reasonable threat of litigation.

Lets hope for the best.

Ancient
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Re: A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

Post by Ancient » Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:06 am

dizt3mp3r wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:45 pm
Oh poo - time to re-license it under GPL3 and fast.

It sounds as if a developer could contribute code as the original author just in order to hold the project to ransom later. A kernel developer could be bought by MS or an organisation that has an axe to grind against ReactOS, then he could threaten to pull his code at any time effectively holding the WHOLE project to ransom.

It would make contribution of source code under GPL2 a potentially valuable commodity... I can imagine companies going out and purchasing the rights to originally authored code under GPL2 just so they could monetise it in this way.

I'd suggest the dev team really think about this. Could be the end of open source as we know it...
Heck MS and Google already contribute a lot to Linux, they don't need to have hidden embedded contributors, if rescission is possible for GPL 2, they can yank a ton of code. Is any code here, or any WINE code vulnerable? Does Google or a Google employee who helped here own parts of RoS copyright licensed under GPL 2, can pull it?? There is likely to be a litigation mess for years. This should be resolved, but they should have moved to GPL 3 years ago. In litigation world deep pockets help a lot. Google has very deep pockets. What will large corporate Linux users / contributors do?

Ancient
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Re: A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

Post by Ancient » Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:15 am

karlexceed wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:53 pm
PurpleGurl wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:10 pm
So the SJWs took over Linux and is blocking coders whom they dislike. In that case, I hope those pulling the code will succeed in court.
Honestly, I think it's more likely that some outside agitators are using these organization changes to push their agenda and hold the Linux kernel hostage to show how terrible (in their mind) the "SJWs" are.

I'm pretty sure no one 'took over' Linux. As far as I can tell, there may not have even been any devs banned yet under these new rules. Like I said before, i think this is mostly FUD to sow discord in the community and blame it on another group. Someone decided to weaponize the Linux kernel to pit the dev team (generally perceived as white male nerds) against "SJWs" (generally perceived as female and/or people of color). I'm a little saddened to see how effective it seems to be.
There have already been bans, and some senior developers have quit. Linux development is going to stall at least for a while, and the community may experience a sort of civil war. It is very unfortunate. Companies are likely to either seek to capitalize on GPL 2 code copyrights buying them cheaply and rescinding or will be reluctant to adopt anything not fully and legitimately GPL 3.

New policies which favor diversity of ethnicity and gender may cause poor code to be preferred over cis white male created code. In which case Linux stability and evolution may really slow down. Mostly as development won't be merit based, but diversity based. What you are, may matter a lot more than how good your code is. Expect a lot of forks, more than we have seen in modern Linux history.

Ancient
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Re: A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

Post by Ancient » Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:28 am

karlexceed wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:30 pm
As PurpleGurl said, I don't want to derail this thread. That said, I just read an article that I thought covered the current Linux kernel situation well: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/arti ... their-code
It may be worse, to the best of my understanding, Linus Torvalds owns the Trademark for the term "Linux". As Trademark owner, no system may call itself Linux without his consent. Torvalds also has contributed about 2% of the code in the existing kernel, and he hasn't really directly coded for years. If he turns on his former development group, it could be very nasty.

Quim
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Re: A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

Post by Quim » Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:59 am

So... what would ReactOS developers do?
Re-licence all possible code as GPL v3 ?

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