Uruguay violates GPL by deleting root on OLPCs

Tiago Marques tiagomnm at gmail.com
Wed Jul 7 19:10:58 EDT 2010

I agree with you completely.
This is bad, it's just not complete TiVoization:

"If you insert a USB flash drive or SD card, the boot firmware will only
boot from it if the files are tested and cryptographically signed by OLPC."

What stops one person of then adding root access again?
This will hardly deter theft.

Best regards,

On Wed, Jul 7, 2010 at 8:42 PM, John Gilmore <gnu at toad.com> wrote:

> > Please explain your statement that lack of root violates GPLv3.
> Couldn't
> > the owner of the system insert a SD card with a developer's version of
> > Linux, mount the internal drive of the XO, and tinker with the installed
> > packages as root from the external OS?  Does GPLv3 expressly mention root
> > access?
> The laptops refuse to boot a "developer's version of Linux".  They
> require a signed kernel and initrd.  Some people call this DRM;
> it's definitely "TiVoization" (check Wikipedia if you don't know the term).
> > I think Ubuntu disables root logins, but allows sudo access for root
> > permissions.   Is that a violation of the GPLv3?
> As Eben explained, the GPLv3 doesn't require root, it just requires
> that you be provided all the info you need to install modified
> software of your choice, in the environment in which the binaries were
> shipped.  "su" is fine, if documented, and it is.
>        John
> PS: Get a clue, folks.  This is bigger than OLPC.  You've been spoiled
> by 50+ years of general purpose computers without cryptographic access
> controls.  Four big oligopolies (Intel, Microsoft, Hollywood, and NSA)
> are all trying to wipe out the general purpose computer and replace it
> with one that only allows running "approved" software.  They've
> jiggered the law to make it illegal to "circumvent" such controls,
> even if you own the hardware and all the software is free.  All the
> Apple products except the Macintosh are already this way (and they
> produce more revenue for Apple than the Macintosh), and their
> customers have barely noticed or complained.  It gets harder in every
> generation of iPhones to jailbreak them, even if it was legal; they're
> closing in on shipping products that close *all* the exploitable
> holes, leaving the buyer totally at Apple's mercy.  If even the free
> software community shuts up and demurs when one of our flagship
> projects locks down the hardware to disallow freedom, why should *any*
> evil empire delay going right ahead and screwing every consumer, every
> curious questioner, and every tinkerer?
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