Uruguay violates GPL by deleting root on OLPCs

Eben Moglen moglen at softwarefreedom.org
Wed Jul 7 12:47:26 EDT 2010

I don't know what the technical details are, but it sounds as though
the right people are present in the conversation.  For GPLv3
programs-- which would include bash, tar, and Samba as well as the
toolchain, to take some examples--the requirement is for "installation
information" to be provided to anyone who requests or receives source
code.  Installation information is defined as "any methods,
procedures, authorization keys, or other information required to
install and execute modified versions of a covered work in [the
laptop] from a modified version of its Corresponding Source."  That
requirement can be satisfied, for some programs, by informing the user
how to run a replacement copy, without root privilege, out of the
primary user's home directory.  Some programs might require escalated
privileges in order to install and run a modified version (of a
daemon, for example).  Side-stepping the OS on the hard drive, booting
a system on removable media, and then installing the new version on
the fixed disk would be a "method" within the meaning of the license
in those cases.

Details are crucial.  Working with relevant parties to ensure
compliance is SFLC's purpose in a situation such as this.  We'd be
happy to help if there is interest.


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