H2X wrote: ↑
Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:50 pm
Hopefully this issue can now be tucked in and put to sleep.
Or at least it will have bumped the source code release as a higher priority!
I also hope that the resolution is no more to Swiss Micros disadvantage than necessary, i.e. that they don't disclose anything more than they are required to by GPL - or than they otherwise want to.
I wouldn't want them to be financially disadvantaged either but I can't really see that releasing the full source would harm their bottom line even if they could technically release less. (It's easier to release the lot rather than argue about whether or not some tiny bit is exempt or not.) There is nothing technical that would prevent a Chinese company producing a "cheap plastic knock-off" of the DM42 running exactly the same firmware (perhaps with some hex editing to remove any reference to SwissMicros).
For my personal education, I'd like to know whether the mentioned shell has to be released. That sounds a bit to me like if one were to develop an operating system which is capable of executing one GPL program, you'd be forced to GPL that operating system as well...
In Thomas's context, I understand the "shell" is that part of the Free42 program that interfaces to the underlying system. The GPL would not apply to the operating system or its libraries if that can be considered an "independent and separate work". But it's debatable whether the DM42 has an operating system at all, rather than just being linked into one big program running on the bare metal (which would then fall under the GPL).
Your point about being forced to GPL the operating system because there is a GPL program running from it is refuted by: "However, as a special exception, the source code distributed need not include anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the operating system on which the executable runs, unless that component itself accompanies the executable."
In the case of DM42, the firmware release includes all the software components needed to run the GPL program, so I interpret that sentence as meaning that it all falls under the GPL.