Is Project Ceibal violating the GNU General Public License?

John Gilmore gnu at
Mon Aug 24 03:48:26 EDT 2009

Re: [Sugar-devel] RFH - Journal corruption reports fom 8.2.1 users in Uy 
> Remember that Ceibal XOs have root access locked-down. And I recently found 
> out that since the key-delegation stuff was implemented, we can't request 
> developer keys. Not from OLPC at least, and LATU is not providing that service 
> that I know...

Could someone please clarify this?

It sounds like Project Ceibal is explicitly violating the GNU General
Public License on much or all of the software that it ships:

  *  It provides binaries without source code, and without a written
     offer of source code.

  *  It provides binaries in a physical form (laptop) which is
     protected against modification by the end-user, so that those
     users cannot replace the GPLv3-licensed software on the laptop
     with later versions.  More than 20 packages shipped are GPLv3
     licensed, as of 12 months ago, including the Coreutils (most
     shell commands), tar and cpio (used for software updates), and
     gettext (internationalization).  GPLv3 requires that the relevant
     passwords or keys must be supplied to the end user -- including
     both the "developer key" and the root password.

  *  Some programs are modified, but the modified versions are not
     marked to distinguish them from the original GPL-licensed

There are other less important violations as well (most are documented
at; search for "GPL").

I would be happy to learn that the children receiving these laptops
have full access to source code, ability to upgrade their laptops
at will, and can tell modified from unmodified software.  Please let
me know what is really happening in the schools of Uruguay.

	John Gilmore

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