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TDC disregards developer rights, Version2 suggests GPL is not legally binding
Dec 31st, 2022 by miki

This post is a rescue mission for a quite old comment I’ve made on the Danish computer science publication version2.dk. As the publication is beginning to put up pay-walls around their articles I’ll repost comments here  to keep my own writing out in the open.

It is a comment to an article detailing how the Danish telecom company TDC (previous state driven monopoly Tele Danmark) fails to adhere to the GPL license when distributing a network device built on the GNU/Linux distribution OpenWRT containing large amounts of GPL licensed software.

Link to original comment: version2.dk/artikel/tdc-vi-har-dummet-os-med-open-source-licens-140230#comment-304571

Reproduction of original Danish text:

15. april 2015 kl. 12:05

“..som GPL V2 ellers lægger op til..”

Kan ikke lade være med at finde det påfaldende at man er så skrigende subjektiv i rapporteringen når man forholder sig til brud på copyright. Virksomhedernes holdning skinner selvfølgelig igennem, men en neutral presse burde rapportere mere objektivt end dette.

Den selvsamme forseelse ville man formentlig kalde pirateri og opfatte som vækst/samfunds/forretnings-undergravende, hvis det drejede sig om systematisk copyright-brud på proprietær software som et specifikt og veldefineret firma tjener penge på. Men fordi dette er fri software(/open source), som kun har potentiale til at komme hele menneskeheden til gode, så opfattes licensen som noget der er “lagt op til”. Det er jo hovedrystende forudindtaget. Bestemmelserne i GPL er selvfølgelig lige så gyldige som ethvert andet sæt betingelser en ophavsretsindehaver kunne finde på at videredistribuere sit værk under.

Angående sagens substans er betingelserne i GPL v2 klare og veldefinerede og har været det siden 1991. Det kommer ikke bag på nogen der har fingrene i sovsen, heller ikke sagem/sagemcom som har været med længe, at brugeren skal gøres opmærksom på at et produkt indeholder GPL-software, og at kildekoden der anvendes i produktet skal gøres tilgængelig for brugeren.

Alt andet er klaphatteri og klamp, usympatisk, undergravende og uden respekt for det arbejde der profiteres af ved at anvende fri software som grundlag for sin kommercielle eksistens. Man må følge reglerne eller lade være med at lege med hvis man ikke er i stand til at sætte sig ind i dem, det forlanger virksomhederne også selv af deres kunder.

Godt at se at der er velvilje fra TDC, det burde bare have foregået på forkant i stedet for bagkant. Håber dog de får fat i nogle mere kompetente mennesker at spørge end dem der har svaret “Boksen kører BUSYBOX Linux”, ellers er det op ad bakke.

Mikkel

Micro:bit – Official Android mobile application maturity and future
Jan 31st, 2019 by miki

The support request replicated below was posted as ticket #20427 on Micro:bit support on 2019-01-31 22:19 CET spawned by discussion in F-Droid RFP #662 about inclusion of the official Micro:bit Android Companion application in the free software application store F-Droid.

Hi at Micro:bit Educational Foundation.

We are wondering a bit in the F-Droid free software community (https://gitlab.com/fdroid/rfp/issues/662) whether it is worthwhile for us to try to loosen the official Android companion application (https://microbit.org/guide/mobile/#og-app) from its non-free dependencies to make it available in the free software application store F-Droid (https://f-droid.org/).

This leads to a couple of questions you can hopefully help answering;

1) Do you regard the application as alive and supported?

The latest release of the application was v2.0 2017-01-17 (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.samsung.microbit) and the publicly available code base (https://github.com/Samsung/microbit/) seems to have been completely abandoned. Only two commits were ever made by Samsung and no involvement with the community has been seen at all.

2) How come the big difference in maturity between the iOS and Android mobile applications?

It seems like the iOS application has received some more attention seeing regular updates through to v3.0.2 released 2018-11-01 (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/micro-bit/id1092687276?mt=8). Also it appears to have a much wider fetaureset (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.samsung.microbit&reviewId=gp%3AAOqpTOGpgo4CF2qrry4qWqLXyj0TZaEEJcrTB-yZ61o4nJbqhq-2mBojlYQJP7BzdkAzseGaLD1sVO9fBv1R3sY) developed along the way by Insight Resources (http://www.insightresources.co.uk/microbit/index.html).

The Android application appears to have been more of a one-off project from Samsung having all sorts of issues especially with Bluetooth that has never been attended to (http://www.suppertime.co.uk/blogmywiki/2016/04/mobile-microbit/, https://support.microbit.org/support/solutions/articles/19000041104-diagnosing-bluetooth-problems-android).

3) Is there a plan to bring the application in better shape?

Some activity can be seen in repository forks and branches from the original Samsung committer ailrohit (https://github.com/Samsung/microbit/compare/master…ailrohit:school_project) and microbit-sam (https://github.com/Samsung/microbit/compare/master…microbit-sam:partial-flash) identifying as being from the foundation but none of this work seem to be included in releases yet.

4) If a freed fork is made for inclusion in F-Droid would you be willing and able to integrate the changes into the official sources?

F-Droid prefers an upstream source which can be directly built without non-free dependencies using an appropriate set of build options. This greatly simplifies maintenance and build efforts. A forked repository is already in place at the foundation’s Github organization (https://github.com/microbit-foundation/microbit-android) but is at the moment even with the stale Samsung repository.

Thanks for any clarifications you can provide.

Regards,
Mikkel

A hackerspace in the building
Oct 16th, 2014 by miki

I have invested quite a lot of time and energy the last weeks, on a project of mine that has had a long time building in my consciousness.

Last September I sent out a cry for participation on hackerspaces.org, for people wanting to be part of a hackerspace in my hometown of Esbjerg, Denmark. Although Esbjerg is home to quite both technical and heavy duty industries, servicing offshore drilling and wind farms in the North Sea, there really isn’t a community were technical like-minded can meet up and have fun using their skills. My hope was to find fellow tinkers/hackers/makers/creative people for joining in on having fun with technology with me and whoever wanted to be part of the party.

During the next 3/4 year I received about 6 emails from interested parties in and around the city of Esbjerg. So in late August I acted on an idea I have long had, of the hackerspace being a part of a creative workshop that is voluntary  driven in a culture and concert venue called Tobakken. After some talks, organization of interested parties and some thoughts at both sides, we are in the process of establishing what we, in lack of a better name, currently refer to as Hackerspace/Makerspace Esbjerg.

10437516_10205068668700134_3038895578843481353_n

A picture from the first meeting at the location. Mikkel is talking about important stuff, as can be seen from the neck-grab position :).

 

You can see some more shots of the physical space here; hmse.mikini.dk/doku.php?id=gallerier

Most of the organizational efforts and communication is in the Facebook group at the moment, but I’m trying to push stuff over to a dokuwiki-site, which I think is much more appropriate.

You are more than welcome to chime in, if you happen to be in Esbjerg and miss an outlet for the creative technological cravings inside. See you in the space!

Itches to Scratch
Mar 30th, 2014 by miki

“Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer’s personal itch.”

Eric S. Raymond, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” (@Goodreads)

The above quotes the first lesson from Eric S. Raymond‘s (ESR) essay/book “The Cathedral and the Bazaar (link to full book, summary at Wikipedia), which has become a kind of bible within the FOSS ecosystem (also nicknamed CatB). In his text Eric investigates motivations and social organisation of free and open source software projects. Itches are known initiators of many both large projects and minor changes to FOSS software. Itches, and the scratching of those by developers in the FOSS community, highlights a FOSS software user’s right to access, modify and redistribute the source codes behind FOSS software. With access to the underlying source code of FOSS software, a developer is able to scratch an itch, and is usually very motivated by this, because it often is a very personal itch.

You can listen to an audio recording of Eric elaborating about the central topics of CatB in a recording from a talk at Linux Kongress all the way back to May 22th 1997 17:15 CEST (48k MP3, 96k MP3):

My Itches

I’ve long been trying to keep a list of itches I want to scratch in free software projects/products. Realizing that most of these were lost in transit in the chaotic neuron mess of my brain, my intention now is to, also,  keep track of them textually using the mechanisms of this site.

This effort will be an ongoing, and probably ever expanding, mix of my private personal itches and itches related to and spun-off from my software development work done as a professional embedded developer, but still personal itches.

You can head over to the static page at mikini.dk/what/itches and take a look at my past and present itches.

EDIT 2021-08-24: add prominent quote source, add GR quote link, add CatB main page link, add para. with audio recording, minor copyediting

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