Is Project Ceibal violating the GNU General Public License?

Walter Bender walter.bender at
Mon Aug 24 09:11:54 EDT 2009

On Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 3:48 AM, John Gilmore<gnu at> wrote:
> 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?

According to Ceilbal (24-08-09):

"We have delivered developer keys in the past, and we will deliver them to
the owner of the machine upon request."

Therefore, I do not think that there is a violation of the GPL.


> 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
>     programs.
> 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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Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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