EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

11.24.07

Asus Eee’s GPL Violation, Xandros Replaced by Debian GNU/Linux and Ubuntu

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, GPL, Hardware, Microsoft, Novell, OLPC, Ubuntu, Windows, Xandros at 2:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent protection expires

It is probably easy to forget that this Web site also calls for a boycott against Xandros, whose deal with Microsoft was as bad as Novell’s. The domain boycottxandros.com is still alive and well. Xandros is a company far smaller than Novell, so there is rarely an opportunity to mention it in context and in line with the news.

”The companies violate the licence by not passing back modifications to the Linux kernel, apparently.“The Asus Eee has been making a lot of media buzz ahead of Christmas and amid the Christmas shopping season. It is one of the most sought-after gifts, according to an article from The Register (published last Thursday). We did not neglect to mention the Eee before, if only due to the fact that it uses Xandros Linux [1, 2, 3]. The Eee, along with Intel which it sports, is also somewhat a foe to One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), which is a not-for-profit project that was sabotaged mercilessly by Microsoft and Intel. That’s a long story worthy of a separate post, which would not fit the theme of this Web site.

The Eee is designed, built and assembled by Asus, but it runs Xandros (i.e. just Debian with proprietary bits and Windows-esque ‘strap-ons’). That said, it has probably already violated the GPL, which we spoke about yesterday. The latter part means that even if you wanted to replace the Microsoft-taxed Linux with a Free Linux (one whose maker did not sell out), you would not be able to make it work. The companies violate the licence by not passing back modifications to the Linux kernel, apparently.

What you won’t find on that site are sources. ASUS is bound by the GPL to make the sources for the software they’re distributing available, even if they have not modified them. (Check the license if you don’t believe me.) ASUS has posted a 1.8GB ZIP file on their website that they claim is the sources, but it’s not — it contains a few .debs (not even the versions that ship on the machine) and some kernel headers. (Perhaps they figured nobody would pull 1.8GB from their slow-as-molasses site and find out.)

I have this confirmed by a second person who tried to reproduce this quick test earlier today. According to this article, this isn’t the first case of violation.

”This whole situation is also akin to installing Linux on an H-P PC which came with Windows preloaded.“The encouraging news is that there is a new project (http://debian-eeepc.alioth.debian.org/) which is intended to have the Asus Eee converted to Debian, but without the missing bits above, there’s little chance of getting all the hardware working properly. But wait! It gets worse.

This whole situation is also akin to installing Linux on an H-P PC which came with Windows preloaded. Microsoft strives to capitalise on the channel in the same way that railroads owners abused the market early in the century (or the last one). History has taught us that companies will try to ensure that they get paid no matter whose product you buy (theirs or their competitors'). In this case, Microsoft uses FUD and even ‘bribes’ companies like Novell ($300,000,000+) to accept some sort of liability that is associated with patents, which they are unwilling to talk about (and probably never counted anyway). They try to make it a precedent and then pass on the liability to other companies such as Xandros. Whether Microsoft gets paid for each Eee laptop which is sold we do not know for sure. If that is not the case, it might change in the future (change for the worse, that is).

If people don’t stand up against this, they are simply allowing the abuse to grow and thrive (unless/until regulators break up the offending party). Again, this is just a case of looking and history and learning from it. Some of us, for one, are unwilling to be a neutral party and refuse to intervene.

The Asus Eee can also run Ubuntu by the way: Ubuntu 7.10 Gibbon swings on the Asus Eee

The Gibbonfest continues. We’ve just had an Asus Eee in to look at – the £220 laptop that everyone who’s seen it is going to buy. It’s one of the hottest things in the office this year: the combination of the insanely low price tag, the perfectly functional specification (512MB RAM, 4GB internal flash SSD, wi-fi, real keyboard, VGA display) and its extreme portability makes it an instant hit.

Also see: Asus Eee PC 4G sub-sub-notebook [as a hackable and hacker-friendly machine]

Linux buffs and geeks will love its sheer hackability. For two hundred quid, it’s a perfect impulse buy for folk who love messing around with operating systems.

Some people claimed to have already installed Mac OS X and Windows on this unit also.

Related old articles about the Xandros deal:

Xandros is only one among 8 companies that have signed a Linux patents deal (or one that alludes to Linux) with Microsoft. Xandros was a second fiddle to Novell.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

2 Comments

  1. man said,

    November 25, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    Gravatar

    is red hat enterprise give source code too?
    (just a question)

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 25, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    Gravatar

    Yes, there are even clones of RHEL: StartCom, CentOS, Oracle’s Unbreakable, and several more.

What Else is New


  1. Links 24/5/2019: PostgreSQL 12 Beta 1 and Rust 1.35 Released

    Links for the day



  2. EPO Strikes Further Diminish Chances of UPC Ever Materialising (in Any Shape or Form)

    The EPO crumbles under the weight of its own corruption while an increasingly-insane Team UPC pretends all remains normal and a patent trolls-friendly system is ready to take off



  3. EPO Allegedly Becoming Insolvent (Pretext for Cuts), So Staff Gets Punished While Management Takes the Jackpot

    The corporate 'logic' at the EPO follows the "shareholders' value" propaganda line as if the EPO is a private company looking to maximise revenue rather than serve the public



  4. EPO President Still Not Obeying Courts' Rulings

    Federation of International Civil Service Associations (FICSA) sent a message to António Campinos yesterday (the same day SUEPO publicly made a call for strike)



  5. António Campinos Has Run Out of Time and EPO Staff is Going on Strike (Skipping Mere Protests)

    European Patent Office strikes are to resume; as SUEPO recently put it, people have come to accept that EPO leadership has not really changed and none of the underlying issues is being tackled



  6. Links 23/5/2019: Elisa 0.4.0, OpenSUSE Leap 15.1 Released

    Links for the day



  7. Links 22/5/2019: Mesa 19.0.5, Huawei and GNU/Linux, Curl 7.65.0, End of Antergos, Tails 3.14, ownCloud Server 10.2, Firefox 67.0

    Links for the day



  8. Quality of Patents is Going Down the Drain and Courts Have Certainly Noticed

    Uncertainty or lack of confidence in the patent system has reached appalling levels because heads of patent offices are just striving to grant as many patents as possible, irrespective of the underlying law



  9. EUIPO and EPO Abuses Growingly Inseparable

    'Musical chairs' at CEIPI and the EPO/EUIPO (Battistelli, Archambeau, Campinos) as well as joint reports never fail to reveal the extent to which EPO abuses are spreading



  10. Links 21/5/2019: China's GAFAM Exit, DragonFlyBSD 5.4.3

    Links for the day



  11. Links 20/5/2019: Linux 5.2 RC1, LibreOffice 6.3 Alpha, DXVK 1.2.1, Bison 3.4 Released

    Links for the day



  12. South Korea's Government Will Show If Microsoft Loves Linux or Just Attacks It Very Viciously Like It Did in Munich

    Microsoft's hatred of all things GNU/Linux is always put to the test when someone 'dares' use it outside Microsoft's control and cash cows (e.g. Azure and Vista 10/WSL); will Microsoft combat its longstanding urge to corrupt or oust officials with the courage to say "no" to Microsoft?



  13. Links 19/5/2019: KDE Applications 19.04.1 in FlatHub and GNU/Linux Adoption

    Links for the day



  14. The War on Patent Quality

    A look at the EPO's reluctance to admit errors and resistance to the EPC, which is its very founding document



  15. Watchtroll, Composed by Patent Trolls, Calls the American Patent System “Corrupt”

    Another very fine piece from Watchtroll comes from very fine patent trolls who cheer for Donald Trump as if he's the one who tackles corruption rather than spreading it



  16. Unified Patent Court Won't Happen Just Because the Litigation Microcosm Wants It

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) hopefuls are quote-mining and cherry-picking to manufacture the false impression that the UPC is just around the corner when in reality the UPC is pretty much dead (but not buried yet)



  17. Links 17/5/2019: South Korea's GNU/Linux Pivot, Linux 5.1.3

    Links for the day



  18. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 4: Happy Birthday to the Kötter Group?

    This year the Kötter Group commemorates the 85th anniversary of its existence. But is it really a cause for celebration or would a less self-congratulatory approach be more fitting? And does it create the risk that a routine tendering exercise at the EPO will turn into Operation Charlie Foxtrot?



  19. Links 16/5/2019: Cockpit 194, VMware Acquires Bitnami, Another Wine Announcement and Krita 4.2.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  20. The EPO's Key Function -- Like the UPC's Vision -- Has Virtually Collapsed

    The EPO no longer issues good patents and staff is extremely unhappy; but the Office tries to create an alternate (false) reality and issues intentionally misleading statements



  21. Stanford's NPE Litigation Database Makes a Nice Addition in the Fight Against Software Patent Trolls

    As the United States of America becomes less trolls- and software patents-friendly (often conflated with plaintiff (un)friendliness) it's important to have accurate data which documents the numbers and motivates better policy; The NPE (troll) Litigation Database is a move towards that and it's free to access/use



  22. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 3: “Ein kritikwürdiges Unternehmen”

    A brief account of some further controversies in which the Kötter Group has been involved and its strained relations with German trade unions such as Verdi



  23. EPO Had a Leakage Problem and Privacy of Stakeholders Was Compromised, Affecting at Least 100 Cases

    The confidentiality principle was compromised at the EPO and stakeholders weren't told about it (there was a coverup)



  24. Links 15/5/2019: More Linux Patches and More Known Intel Bugs

    Links for the day



  25. False Hope for Patent Maximalists and Litigation Zealots

    Patent litigation predators in the United States, along with Team UPC in Europe, are trying to manufacture optimistic predictions; a quick and rather shallow critical analysis reveals their lies and distortions



  26. The Race to the Bottom of Patent Quality at the EPO

    The EPO has become more like a rubber-stamper than a patent office — a fact that worries senior staff who witnessed this gradual and troublesome transition (from quality to raw quantity)



  27. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 2: Meet the Kötters

    An introduction to the Kötter Group, the private security conglomerate which is lined up for the award of a juicy EUR 30 million contract for the provision of security services at the EPO



  28. Links 14/5/2019: Red Hat Satellite 6.5, NVIDIA 430.14 Linux Driver and New Security Bug (MDS)

    Links for the day



  29. Links 14/5/2019: GNU/Linux in Kerala, DXVK 1.2, KDE Frameworks 5.58.0 Released

    Links for the day



  30. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 1: Urgent Shitstorm Alert

    Experts at the European Patent Office's (EPO) weather observation station have just issued an urgent alert warning about a major shitstorm looming on the horizon


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts