Re: freebox possible GPL violation

From: Loic Dachary
Date: Sat Oct 15 2005 - 04:46:55 EST

Pierre Michon writes:
> 1) The freebox is an adsl gateway with VoIP, TV over ADSL and a optional
> wifi bridge. The box is built and lended by an ADSL provider 'free'[0].

I suggest you say :

"The box is built by an ADSL provider 'free'[0]. The box is located at
the user end of the ADSL line (i.e. in the appartement of an individual
or in the offices of a company). "

Later on you could expand on how the box gets there, how
it is installed (lended or not) and the claim of Free that it is
not lended in any ways.

> ==FREE and PRO-FREE CLAIMS (some claims could be find on [6])==
> A) The freebox is only lended, so the user can't ask for GPL source code.

I insist that free does not even claim to lend the Freebox. They
claim that the freebox is a terminal equipement of their local network.

> -> They forgot that for wifi feature, you have buy a pcmcia card and
> that is card works wifi Linux driver. So according to GPL you could ask
> for wifi driver source code and all the Linux source code ???
> Also some people that don't return the freebox in time had to
> paid 400 Euros and they became the owner of the freebox. Free send to a
> client a letter [7] saying that if the user don't return the freebox,
> free could bill it and then it becomes propriety of the user :
> 'Nous vous rappelons que conformément aux Conditions Générales de Vente ,
> en cas de non-restitution du modem, Free se réserve le droit de procéder
> à la facturation de l'équipement terminal, au prix mentionné dans les CGV,
> qui deviendra alors la *propriété* de l'Usager.'

I believe that a customer could ask for the corresponding sources
to Free if she/he got a copy of the binary out of the freebox. Does anyone
have such a binary ?

> the fimware. So we could assume that at least a mininal system (Linux
> kernel + some utils) is keep in rom).

Could someone provide a hard proof of this ?

> C) 'Free' is a network operator and needs to keep secret some informations
> in order to preserve security on its networks.
> -> Everybody know how security obscurity via is safe. Also I agree they
> don't want to give their script or their configuration, but I fail to
> see what could be a threat in the Linux kernel.

I'd say this is more a debatable justification than a claim.


Loic Dachary, 12 bd Magenta, 75010 Paris. Tel: 33 8 71 18 43 38
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