Sony GPL Violation

Wednesday, January 16th, 2002 at 12:00 am | 2,326 views | trackback url

Sony Debacle II
Cross-posted from my original Slashdot posting on the same subejct from today

    I’ve been hoping they’d learn, but they still do not. I just checked the Sony Palm Developer website, and they have a Windows binary of POSE, the PalmOS Emulator. This binary covers “PEG-T600C/T400/T415” models and another binary on the same site covers “PEG-S and PEG-N Series” models. The source code that they have available only covers “PEG-S and PEG-N Series” models. These are all from November 20th, 2001.

    Sony, where is the POSE source code for the “PEG-T600C/T400/T415” series version of POSE? You have
    two new models of Clie devices on the horizon, and I’m sure that developers would like to begin supporting them, further increasing your sales margins. You have a Windows binary of POSE available that supports these models, you are legally bound to provide the source code which generated these binaries.

    Here’s a quote from your PalmOS® developer page:

    The source code will be available with the final version.

    Sony, listen closely.. you really need to make yourself aware of the GPL before you blindly violate it like this. If you come back with the excuse that you are “cleaning up the code”, you are still in violation. “Cleaned up” code will produce a different binary. You are bound, by the GPL, with releasing the source code which generates any binary you create and distribute from that source code, Windows, Unix, or Macintosh.

    I will be in attendance at Palmsource in a few weeks, and I hope you will be as well, because I intend to fully bring this to the attention of yourself, and everyone else there. I have been quiet about this issue, but believe me, I am not backing down.

    I have reluctantly added support to pilot-link for the Sony devices, most of which are randomly designed in nature, so that you can see increased sales due to the non-Windows users purchasing your hardware. How about giving back to the community that has been supporting your bottom line for the last two years, instead of raping and stealing from it?

    I see only one way that you can claim that you are allowed to proceed with this violation, and that would be if the original copyright holder of xcopilot relicensed or sold the copyright to that code to Palm and then they in turn relicensed it to you. I do not see that being the case, since all previous versions of POSE that you have made available have been based on publically available GPL versions of the codebase. From your own site:

    This is the same software level as Palm OS® Emulator 3.0a8 (PEG-S and PEG-N Series) and Palm OS® Emulator 3.2 (PEG-T415), distributed by Palm,Inc.

    I anxiously await your public response to this matter.

Last Modified: Wednesday, January 16th, 2002 @ 00:00

One Response to “Sony GPL Violation”

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