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Topic: Unbelievable (Sveasoft)

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Unbelievable the arrogance of that *expletive deleted*.  They, the outfit that just publicly had their OpenWrt license revoked, themselves violate the GPL on a daily basis and have for years.  Why hasn't anyone sued them yet for copyright violation?  If this subject is taboo here just let me know and I won't mention it again but I just saw that public notice and had to comment.

I'll refrain from making any comments but you're welcome to discuss the issue.

I suppose this is about Sveasoft - http://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=4767

It's pretty hard to void your licence it if you don't redistribute the stuff. It's also pretty hard to notice the stuff uses gpl code from openwrt without having access to the said code. Are we sure sveasoft doesn't let people who download whatever the software in question is download the source code too? If we noticed from looking at their code, they must have distributed it somehow. How did we notice they were using our code anyway? If we don't show any evidence, we look like SCO.

This isn't the way GPL violations should dealt with, behind closed doors. Voiding someone's GPL might sound damaging, but if they really cared, they wouldn't violate the thing in the first place. Have we tried just asking them for the source code?

I sent the following to Felix Fietkau (nbd). We look forwad to a more detailed response from nbd and mbm.

Hi Felix,

No specifics on your claim here.

1) What is this based on?

2) What files are you claiming we need to distribute source code to?

There are several files in OpenWRT originally authored by myself and
Sveasoft whose copyright was stripped. This code was placed under the GPL
license without our permission.

Additionally your "switch" module code cut and pasted source code
specifically excluded from placement under the GPL copyright Broadcom Corp.
We would also like an explanation of this by yourself and MBM.

It is unfortunate that OpenWRT continues to attempt to harm Sveasoft. I had
hoped our last IRC exchange would have led to some kind of cooperation. It
saddens me to see this is simply not possible under current conditions.

Best Regards,

James Ewing
Sveasoft Inc.

I suspect this is in reaction to our latest "developer-snapshot" release, which is for internal use by members of our internal Test Group. Developer-snapshots are alpha builds for internal testing and are not for general subscriber use.

Sveasoft development firmware is for use by a private membership group. When the firmware is stable we release it publicy with source code for use by anyone. We have released firmware with full source for the Alchemy, Satori, Samadhi, and Nirvana firmwares starting in November 2003.

(Last edited by sveasoft on 12 Mar 2006, 11:02)

Stereo wrote:

I suppose this is about Sveasoft - http://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=4767

It's pretty hard to void your licence it if you don't redistribute the stuff. It's also pretty hard to notice the stuff uses gpl code from openwrt without having access to the said code. Are we sure sveasoft doesn't let people who download whatever the software in question is download the source code too? If we noticed from looking at their code, they must have distributed it somehow. How did we notice they were using our code anyway? If we don't show any evidence, we look like SCO.

This isn't the way GPL violations should dealt with, behind closed doors. Voiding someone's GPL might sound damaging, but if they really cared, they wouldn't violate the thing in the first place. Have we tried just asking them for the source code?

You clearly didn't follow the Sveasoft issue, did you?
First of all the OpenWRT team has a very good idea what binaries Sveasoft releases and what source code they release. Which is: lots of binaries but no source code since july.

Second, OpenWRT has (limited) access to those binaries through subscribers and they know very well that Sveasoft is using OpenWRT now. If you need a detailed analysis to believe them thats your problem. And if Sveasoft isn't using OpenWRT and thus not violating the GPL, then the invocation would be void and nobody has a problem.

Sveasoft has been playing this game for quite a while now. They keep using GPL code but they don't give anything back like they are required to. And YES, they have been asked many times for their source code (by subscribers and non-subscribers alike). So far all that got out is a the mentioned source code package from july which doesn't even compile.

However until recently they hadn't used OpenWRT directly, just "borrowed" some ideas and innovative hacks. This changed with a recent release and OpenWRT has reacted accordingly. If Sveasoft feels like that is unjustified they can declare that they don't use OpenWRT (which could be quickly disproven) or release the GPL source code as they are required to.

sveasoft wrote:

I sent the following to Felix Fietkau (nbd). We look forwad to a more detailed response from nbd and mbm.

Hi Felix,

No specifics on your claim here.

1) What is this based on?

2) What files are you claiming we need to distribute source code to?

There are several files in OpenWRT originally authored by myself and
Sveasoft whose copyright was stripped. This code was placed under the GPL
license without our permission.

Additionally your "switch" module code cut and pasted source code
specifically excluded from placement under the GPL copyright Broadcom Corp.
We would also like an explanation of this by yourself and MBM.

It is unfortunate that OpenWRT continues to attempt to harm Sveasoft. I had
hoped our last IRC exchange would have led to some kind of cooperation. It
saddens me to see this is simply not possible under current conditions.

Best Regards,

James Ewing
Sveasoft Inc.

I suspect this is in reaction to our latest "developer-snapshot" release, which is for internal use by members of our internal Test Group. Developer-snapshots are alpha builds for internal testing and are not for general subscriber use.

Sveasoft development firmware is for use by a private membership group. When the firmware is stable we release it publicy with source code for use by anyone. We have released firmware with full source for the Alchemy, Satori, Samadhi, and Nirvana firmwares starting in November 2003.

Hello James,
so you are not denying that you distributed binaries containing OpenWRT code? Without releasing any source code.
You can claim that its "non-public" all you want but the fact is that anybody who pays 20$ can get your firmware and nobody of the subscribers EVER get the source code when they ask for it. I know that from the visits I sometimes make to your forum with a friendly subscribers account.

You have been asked many times by your subscribers for the source code but like I said, the last time you released ANY code is July 2005. Since then you have released plently of publicly available binaries. I say publicly because anybody from the general public can get those files by simply paying you the 20$ you're asking.

Besides, the binaries you release contain neither the source code, nor a written offer for it. If that isn't a clear violation of the GPL, what is?

Also I consider its a pretty childish reply to say "you're using my code without permission, too". If that was the case, why didn't you speak up earlier? And even if that was the case, that doesn't mean your allowed to use OpenWRTs code without releasing the source code.

Maybe its time for another Freeman release to give the public proof for your blatant abuse of the GPL. But I'm sure you'll scream "piracy" in a matter of seconds. After all it seems to be ok in your book that you use other people's code while they can't use yours.

How about this: you stop using other people's code without a license and I stop redistributing yours without a license?

(Last edited by TheIndividual on 12 Mar 2006, 11:22)

sveasoft wrote:

2) What files are you claiming we need to distribute source code to?

Well, it's not only our code. You should be distributing the sources for any code that falls under the GPL. But I know about the kernel sources and switch drivers specifically...

sveasoft wrote:

There are several files in OpenWRT originally authored by myself and
Sveasoft whose copyright was stripped. This code was placed under the GPL
license without our permission.

Interesting claim. Back it up with some specifics, please...

sveasoft wrote:

Additionally your "switch" module code cut and pasted source code
specifically excluded from placement under the GPL copyright Broadcom Corp.
We would also like an explanation of this by yourself and MBM.

No, you're wrong here. There were some older versions of the 'et' driver that were released under the GPL. I only copied from these versions. The specific version that I used was from a BCM47xx compatible version of the MontaVista Linux tree.
This affects only switch-adm.c - switch-robo.c is based on robocfg written by Oleg and contains no Broadcom code. Nice try, though :-)

sveasoft wrote:

It is unfortunate that OpenWRT continues to attempt to harm Sveasoft. I had
hoped our last IRC exchange would have led to some kind of cooperation. It
saddens me to see this is simply not possible under current conditions.

Do you honestly believe that you incorporating our code without contributing anything back is some kind cooperation? Sorry, but I don't!

sveasoft wrote:

I suspect this is in reaction to our latest "developer-snapshot" release, which is for internal use by members of our internal Test Group. Developer-snapshots are alpha builds for internal testing and are not for general subscriber use.

Sveasoft development firmware is for use by a private membership group. When the firmware is stable we release it publicy with source code for use by anyone. We have released firmware with full source for the Alchemy, Satori, Samadhi, and Nirvana firmwares starting in November 2003.

Sorry, but it doesn't work like that. The GPL doesn't make any exception for Alpha/Beta/whatever releases. It states that if you distribute a work based on GPL software, you have to provide these sources to whoever receives the binaries.
You may declare the binaries that you're distributing as 'internal', but again: there's no exception in the GPL for that...
By the way: You haven't even released the source code to your 'Talisman 1.1' version... or was that one also not for general subscriber use?

(Last edited by nbd on 12 Mar 2006, 13:20)

Hmm... sveasoft posted quite an interesting story on http://www.sveasoft.com/modules/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=16013.

Let me clarify a few things:

sveasoft wrote:

We had no prior contact with anyone involved with OpenWRT before their public notification and claim.

In November 2005 I had an 'interesting' IRC chat session with sveasoft in which I specifically asked him to respect our copyright (and others' as well) and publish the source code for GPL'd packages that he incorporated.
I'm sure that counts as prior contact. He told me that he was going to publish the source code for their 'Talisman 1.1' release, which hasn't happened yet.

sveasoft wrote:

May 2005 - OpenWRT incorporates LZMA into bootloader/squashfs. Sveasoft copyright missing.

Right, because there was no Sveasoft code in our implementation of it. Just because our implementation was added later doesn't mean that it is in any way based on sveasoft's code. There's no indication that there is any truth to the claim that we 'stole' code from sveasoft, especially considering that our implementation was incompatible to theirs.
By the way: We're talking about modifications of GPL'd and LGPL'd software, since most of the code (squashfs, the bzip2 loader that was used to create the LZMA loader, the C code for LZMA decompression itself) was already existing before sveasoft used it in their codebase.
Both the LZMA loader and the integration code for LZMA decompression/compression in squashfs in OpenWrt were written by Oleg and based entirely on free software.

sveasoft wrote:

December 2005 - OpenWRT releases switch support for ADM6996, robo controllers. Sveasoft and Broadcom copyright missing

See my previous post smile

sveasoft wrote:

March 2006 - Sveasoft asks for details, sends OpenWRT a list of files where code specifically not licensed under the GPL has been "re-licensed" as part of the core OpenWRT distribution. No reply forthcoming.

Please make this list public, so we all can comment on it. I haven't received any such list...

Who cares. Show us the infringing code.

nbd wrote:

Both the LZMA loader and the integration code for LZMA decompression/compression in squashfs in OpenWrt were written by Oleg and based entirely on free software.

http://openwrt.org/logs/openwrt-meets-sveasoft

Has anyone contacted the FSF and gpl-violations.org?  Both have GPL code which is in Sveasoft.  The big difference these organizations have is they also have attorneys that have proven very effective at straightening out these GPL violators. 

Harald Welte of gpl-violations.org is the one responsible for getting most of the routers on the market properly releasing source code in the first place.

This rant:

http://www.sveasoft.com/modules/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=16015

Amuses me greatly. On the one hand, he's more than willing to use someone else's code and base a business around it's existence. On the other hand, he's not willing to honor the principle and spirit embodied in that code, by the hard-working people who contributed it.

My favorite quote:

The GPL itself is an "all or nothing" license based on the economic and political theories of Karl Marx.

- SveaSoft

DAMN COMMIES RUIN EVERYTHING! If it weren't for their flouridation of the water corrupting my precious bodily fluids....

Yeah someone should really send that to Stallman & Co. see what they think about it.  It amuses me a lot to see that someone freely and knowingly chose to use GPL code in their project, and now wants to back out of that agreement.  Too cheap to license VxWorks James?

(Last edited by vincentfox on 12 Mar 2006, 22:30)

I wish someone would sue the guy already.  He obviously decided to take a risk with his approach to the GPL.  So far it has paid off handsomely for him.  He gambled that nobody would challenge him while he merrily collects $20 from suckers and sidesteps his distribution licensing obligations under the GPL.

Cases like this will be the death of OSS and Free software.  The GPL was designed to prevent work from being siphoned off by profiteers.  That's exactly what sveasoft does.  It sets a bad precedent.  Maybe not a legal precedent but a practical one.  It encourages others to do the same.  "Just take their code and use it.  Screw 'em.  Nobody ever got sued for stealing code and violating the GPL."

That's James' MO.  It's despicable and wrong.  He's a REAL pirate.  It would be nice to destroy his business, legally, in a court of law.  He's counting on nobody doing that, and so far he's laughing all the way to the bank.

nbd wrote:
sveasoft wrote:

Sveasoft development firmware is for use by a private membership group. When the firmware is stable we release it publicy with source code for use by anyone.

Sorry, but it doesn't work like that. The GPL doesn't make any exception for Alpha/Beta/whatever releases. It states that if you distribute a work based on GPL software, you have to provide these sources to whoever receives the binaries.

Wait a minute here... nbd, I think you may be misunderstanding Sveasoft's claims. You are indeed correct that the GPL makes no special distinction for pre-release software and that anyone who receives binaries must also be able to receive the source. But... Sveasoft doesn't say they're restricting source because it's a pre-release. They say that their pre-release software is distributed only to a small group. As long as they provide the source code to the people in that small group, then they're not violating the GPL. In other words, they don't have to provide the source to anyone, only the people they distribute binaries to.

I believe it was previously noted, that the source distributed is from July 2005 and does not match current binaries.

You are free to disagree here, unlike on SveaSoft forums. If you in any way question James views on any forum, he will terminate your account.  I used to be a SveaSoft subscriber. My account was terminated for posting critical comments on *another* *website* using the same username. He watches other sites and allows absolutely no disagreement from the peasants.  On the plus side, I received a refund, which I would recommend others request on termination. No sense in letting him keep your $20.

(Last edited by vincentfox on 13 Mar 2006, 22:28)

vocaro wrote:
nbd wrote:
sveasoft wrote:

Sveasoft development firmware is for use by a private membership group. When the firmware is stable we release it publicy with source code for use by anyone.

Sorry, but it doesn't work like that. The GPL doesn't make any exception for Alpha/Beta/whatever releases. It states that if you distribute a work based on GPL software, you have to provide these sources to whoever receives the binaries.

Wait a minute here... nbd, I think you may be misunderstanding Sveasoft's claims. You are indeed correct that the GPL makes no special distinction for pre-release software and that anyone who receives binaries must also be able to receive the source. But... Sveasoft doesn't say they're restricting source because it's a pre-release. They say that their pre-release software is distributed only to a small group. As long as they provide the source code to the people in that small group, then they're not violating the GPL. In other words, they don't have to provide the source to anyone, only the people they distribute binaries to.

I figured I'd share what I know (I am a sveasoft subscriber, which is why I'm being anonymous) - the developer snapshots seem to be available to general subscribers, with no offer for the source code, or no way to download it either.   All Sveasoft provides is binary versions for the routers it supports.

As far as I know, I've not got tester status (never asked for it).

So yes, he seems to be violating the GPL in that regards.

somewhereman wrote:

I figured I'd share what I know (I am a sveasoft subscriber, which is why I'm being anonymous) - the developer snapshots seem to be available to general subscribers, with no offer for the source code, or no way to download it either.   All Sveasoft provides is binary versions for the routers it supports.

As far as I know, I've not got tester status (never asked for it).

So yes, he seems to be violating the GPL in that regards.

Perhaps you should request it. It would be interesting to see if it's recent, and if it compiles and resembles the firmware being distributed.

(Last edited by vincentfox on 13 Mar 2006, 22:31)

Yes. He released all "dev builds" to all subscribers and nobody (not even testers) get the sources. I don't know about OEM customers but I'm guessing they don't get them either.
And yes, they have been requested by subscribers. Many times. Without result.

The only way to battle this is either a lawsuit or bad publicity. Make the matter known.
You could submit the story to slashdot or your favourite news site, its important that people know about stuff like that.

The GPL can only be upheld if we fight for it as a community!

(Last edited by TheIndividual on 13 Mar 2006, 22:33)

vincentfox wrote:

Perhaps you should request it. It would be interesting to see if it's recent, and if it compiles and resembles the firmware being distributed.

That probably would give away who I am.   I have been watching the forums, and a few other people seem to have asked for the source recently, but never did get a response one way or another.

Not to be a jerk, but what kind of features does 1.1 Talisman have over something like HyperWRT? I tried 1.0.4 of Talisman *cough and it does about the same but acts funny, is ugly and not so well arranged.

TheIndividual wrote:

The GPL can only be upheld if we fight for it as a community!

Seconded.  I'm trying to stay impartial in this, and looking at the whole issue in a broader light, and from what I see, Sveasoft has had this coming for a long time.

[I wrote more, but I'm not an expert in the issues involved so I'll just sit back and watch the fireworks.  With that said, if I was going to pay a $20 subscription to anyone, it'd be the OpenWrt team because they try to encourage community development, rather than discouraging it.]

/me blinks.

Wow. What a crock.

I wish I could make a donation for OpenWRT from Russia...
(I've got no PayPal account or something)

(Last edited by booBot on 14 Mar 2006, 16:44)

How ironic that a project only made possible by GPL adherence should now try to pick and choose when to follow the letter and spirit of the law.

somewhereman wrote:

I have been watching the forums, and a few other people seem to have asked for the source recently, but never did get a response one way or another.

They're probably banned from there soon after.