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This page was created to collect possible GPL, LGPL and similar violations of Buffalo Technology or other companies regarding the Buffalo Linkstations and Terstations. Please note that for now we do not claim that a particular company legally violates the GPL or another free or open source license. There are just some issues we think need closer investigation, and we intend to collect these alleged issues here.
The plan is to confront Buffalo or other companies with the complete collection of issues at once instead of just asking for bits and pieces every time. For example, we in fact want the source-code of everything that we think might not properly be included in the GPL packages that can be downloaded at Buffalo's US-ftp-server. If we don't get everything what we think we should get regarding the GPL (if we think our rights are violated), then we most likely will get in touch with http://gpl-violations.org/ for further discussions. Read the short english article at wikipedia also.
What is the GPL?
What is the LGPL?
So what does this mean?
The source-code of every application/kernel/anything that was licensed under the GPL & LGPL has to be made available. And it has to be made available in a certain form. And the availability has to be announced in a particular way. The package has to be the the exact version of the source-code while it was compiled...so even if it was patched it has to be released that way. GPL violations occur, for example, if companies "forget" to release everything.
Similar rights come with other open or free software licenses, too.
What about the proprietary Programs on the Linkstations/Terrastations?
LS' and TS' come with a number of proprietary software, which was apparently written from scratch. For example, PCast or the AVM daemons. If such a program is indeed not based on any GPLed code (not a derived work), and all the nitty-gritty details regarding the linkage of the proprietary code with GPLed, GPLed with linking exemption, LGPLed, or similar code are done right, we don't care, since then we apparently have no right to the source code of these proprietary programs.
Of course, should we find that a proprietary program indeed uses (is a derived work of) GPLed software, or the linking or other issues violate the GPL or another open/free software license, we are interested and want to ensure that the software is distributed in compliance with the appropriate open source or free software license, e.g. the GPL.
What about Japanese-only Documentation?
Some small parts of the code released by Buffalo come with Japanese-only documentation (typically small READMEs like the README in http://downloads.linkstationwiki.net/source_code/UNPACKED_GPL/gpl_mipsel-hdhlan_v2/nkf203.tar or http://downloads.linkstationwiki.net/source_code/UNPACKED_GPL/gpl_mipsel-hdhlan_v2/%95%e2%91%ab%8f%ee%95%f1.txt). This is unfortunate, but it seems that the common consensus is that this is not a GPL violation.
What about Buffalo's GPL Source Code Distribution Policy
We wish we would knew what this policy is. Some code can be found on a "secret" Buffalo FTP server ftp://126.96.36.199/GPL/ Some people had luck when asking Buffalo support for GPL code and it was delivered to them in the past, others just got pointed to the "secret" ftp server. Yet on some European Buffalo sites users are pointed to a PDF document like http://www.buffalo-technology.de/documents/pdf/GPL-Delivery-Guidelines.pdf That document specifies a procedure where one is supposed to send an empty CD-R and in some way 20 Euro to an Irish Buffalo subsidiary to get the code for one product (only one product per CD-R and 20 Euro) burned onto the CD. On an international (US?) side people are directed to download this file http://www.buffalotech.com/support/getfile/?Buffalo_GPL.html That file mainly consists of links to files on the above mentioned ftp server.
The fact that the "secret" web server finally is indirectly made public is progress. Also, that the server no longer requires a password is also great progress. Still, it is unclear why Buffalo not simply provides the download links directly on their product support and download pages.
Or even simpler. We have a "novel" idea for Buffalo. In case they didn't notice, Linkstations and Terrastations come with a lot of free disk space. Really a lot. Hundreds, up to thousands of megabytes. What would be easier to ship the source code right with Linkstations and Terrastations on their harddisk?
"scripts used to control installation"
http://gpl-violations.org/faq/sourcecode-faq.html#id263734 explains that the GPL also requires that scripts used to control installation need to be made available.
It can be argued that Buffalo's proprietary Windows installer for firmware (GNU/Linux kernel and in some cases the GPLed U-Boot boot loader) does not fulfill this GPL requirement.
http://gpl-violations.org/faq/sourcecode-faq.html#id263762 argues that for embedded devices like the LS' and TS' also the toolchain (compiler, etc.) needs to be made available, because cross-compilers and build systems are typically not normally distributed with ... the operating system.
Available Source Code and possible License Violations
Available Source Code
This is the GPLed source code for the Information/LSPROOverview aka LS-GL.
Look at the
Possible Violations LS Pro
|UBoot Bootloader||GPL||no source code available and "scripts used to control installation" not freely (GPLed) available|
|glibc-2005q3||LGPL||source code is missing|
Possible Violations HD-HGLAN and HS-DGL
This is the GPLed source code for the LS1 aka HD-HLAN_v1.
Look at the
Possible Violations HD-HLAN_v1, LS1
Available Source Code
This is the GPLed source code for the LS2 aka HD-HLAN_v2.
Look at the
Possible Violations HD-HLAN_v2, LS1
Available Source Code
This is the GPLed source code for the HD-HTGL aka the Terastation and the HS-DTGL aka the Terastation HomeServer.
Look at the
Possible Violations Terastation/HD-HTGL and Terastation HomeServer/HS-DTGL
Available Source Code
This is the GPLed source code for the TS-TGLR5 aka Terastation Pro v1.
Look at the
Possible Violations Terastation Pro v1/TS-TGLR5
Other License Issues
There are a number of software pieces on the LS with unclear software license status. Typically the problem is to clearly assert under which conditions the software might be altered and re-distributed.
Buffalo's web interface software consists mainly of CGI Perl scripts. With few exceptions, they are not marked with any copyright or license information. It is generally assumed, but not known that it is OK to redistribute the web interface in its original, or altered form. This assumption is derived from the fact that Buffalo once made the same or a similar user interface source code available for the Kurobox, see http://www.kurobox.com/downloads/KuroBoxWWW.zip And Buffalo's own revogear web page still points to http://www.kurobox.com/downloads/ for Kurobox specific downloads, and the Kurobox is meant to be hacked and altered under the premises that its software is all GPLed or under other free/open software licenses.
Some argue it is Buffalo's intention that the code is treated as GPLed code. Others even argue that since Buffalo made the KuroBox version available without any copyright claim that they placed the software into the public domain. A clarification regarding the status of the web interface (code, images, HTML, help texts, etc.) from Buffalo would be nice.
Buffalo has build the web interface on some free/open source components. The situation is much clearer for these few components than for Buffalo/Melco's part of the web gui. At least the following components and their copyright statements could be found in the LS2's web interface:
# Perl Routines to Manipulate CGI input # S.E.Brenner@bioc.cam.ac.uk # $Id: cgi-lib.pl,v 2.14 1996/10/20 12:41:02 brenner Exp $ # # Copyright (c) 1996 Steven E. Brenner # Unpublished work. # Permission granted to use and modify this library so long as the # copyright above is maintained, modifications are documented, and # credit is given for any use of the library. # # Thanks are due to many people for reporting bugs and suggestions # especially Meng Weng Wong, Maki Watanabe, Bo Frese Rasmussen, # Andrew Dalke, Mark-Jason Dominus, Dave Dittrich, Jason Mathews # For more information, see: # http://www.bio.cam.ac.uk/cgi-lib/
#!/usr/local/bin/perl ;# ;# fold.pl: line folding library for Perl as well as a fold(1) clone. ;# ;# This is a Perl library as well as a directly executable command. ;# You can include this file from other Perl program or execute ;# directly as a command. ;# ;# Copyright (c) 2002 Kazumasa Utashiro <email@example.com> ;# Copyright (c) 1995,1998 Kazumasa Utashiro <firstname.lastname@example.org> ;# Internet Initiative Japan Inc. ;# 3-13 Kanda Nishiki-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0054, Japan ;# ;# Copyright (c) 1993 Kazumasa Utashiro ;# Software Research Associates, Inc. ;# ;# Original version: 25 Mar 1993 ;# ;# Use and redistribution for ANY PURPOSE are granted as long as all ;# copyright notices are retained. Redistribution with modification ;# is allowed provided that you make your modified version obviously ;# distinguishable from the original one. THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED ;# BY THE AUTHOR ``AS IS AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES ARE ;# DISCLAIMED. ;# ;; $rcsid = q$Id: fold.pl,v 1.6 2002/04/05 18:31:59 utashiro Exp $; ;# ;# For the latest information, consult this page: ;# ;# http://www.srekcah.org/~utashiro/perl/scripts/ ;# ;# It may be written in Japanese only, though. Sorry. ;#
package jcode; ;###################################################################### ;# ;# jcode.pl: Perl library for Japanese character code conversion ;# ;# Copyright (c) 1995-2000 Kazumasa Utashiro <email@example.com> ;# Internet Initiative Japan Inc. ;# 3-13 Kanda Nishiki-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0054, Japan ;# ;# Copyright (c) 1992,1993,1994 Kazumasa Utashiro ;# Software Research Associates, Inc. ;# ;# Use and redistribution for ANY PURPOSE are granted as long as all ;# copyright notices are retained. Redistribution with modification ;# is allowed provided that you make your modified version obviously ;# distinguishable from the original one. THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED ;# BY THE AUTHOR ``AS IS AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES ARE ;# DISCLAIMED. ;# ;# Original version was developed under the name of firstname.lastname@example.org ;# February 1992 and it was called kconv.pl at the beginning. This ;# address was a pen name for group of individuals and it is no longer ;# valid. ;# ;# The latest version is available here: ;# ;# ftp://ftp.iij.ad.jp/pub/IIJ/dist/utashiro/perl/ ;# ;; $rcsid = q$Id: jcode.pl,v 2.13 2000/09/29 16:10:05 utashiro Exp $; ;
The situation for /etc/init.d scripts is similar to that of the web interface. Only that this time versions of this script where distributed as part of the GPLed Kurobox Linux. Whether Buffalo intended to place them under the GPL, or whether this just accidentally happened is unclear.
Most of the scripts are not explicitly copyrighted. Very few are. E.g. on the LS2:
#!/bin/sh # # Photo Image Print System # Copyright (C) 2001-2003 EPSON KOWA Corporation. #
Note, this is all which can be found in the particular script regarding copyrights and redistribution. However all other EP scripts under /usr/local/EPKowa/ refere to the GPL. It is likely that ekpd is also supposed to be under the GPL.
#!/bin/sh # # RC script for murasaki # Copyright (c) by Shuu Yamaguchi <shuu@dotAster.com> # # $Id: rc.murasaki,v 2.16 2003/09/23 04:52:07 shuu Exp shuu $ # # Can be freely distributed and used under the terms of the GNU GPL.
Not all other scripts seem to be originally written by Buffalo/Melco. Maybe they came from the Linux distribution on which the LS firmware is build.
References and Notes
- It is our understanding that the GPL allows to provide and charge for such a service in this way