Discussion GPL 101 - Atmosphere and SX OS

Discussion in 'Switch - Exploits, Custom Firmwares & Soft Mods' started by Revard, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. Revard
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    Revard Member

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    In recent days, some discussions popped up about TX stealing licensed code.
    Some say Atmosphere is free and could be used in any way because it is open source.
    Others state that it is illegal to sell open source software.
    Many think "don't know, don't care!"
    To put it short: Many users have a misconception about open source software.

    So, this thread is to inform users and also discuss about what open source software is.
    With the example of TX and Atmosphere I'd like to show how licensing of software affects the distribution of software.


      • TX started advertising their modchip SX Pro all the way back in January 2, 2018.
      • Development of Atmosphere officially started on January 18, 2018.
      • TX released their SX OS "CFW" for free on June 18, 2018.
      • On June 27, 2018 hexkyz tweeted a pic of the decrypted SX OS V1.0 source code which contains an easter egg that just so happens to also be in the homebrew launcher used in Atmosphere which is licensed under GPLv2. It should also be worth noting that most of the proof comes from hexkyz, a hacker who is part of ReSwitched. He is the one who supposedly decrypted SX OS in the first place.
      • A tweet comparing SX OS V1.2 to V1.3 from July 4, 2018 shows very clear evidence that they knew others found the easter egg when their SX OS was supposedly cracked, so they changed it by obfuscating the original easter egg.
      • Here's a tweet from SciresM (one of the main developers behind Atmosphere and a part of ReSwitched) that details another GPL violation. Most of the recent tweets contain more supposed evidence of multiple GPL violations.
      • Lastly for the evidence, these are all of the supposed claims to all of the violations TX made in word form according to hexkyz.
      • Here is a link to the python script used to decrypt all versions of SX OS (except 1.1) if you want to assure yourself.

    • Very popular FOSS licenses are GPLv2 (which is explained next) and its siblings LGPLv3 and GPLv3.

      GPLv2
      • What is GPLv2?
        The General Public License (GPL) version 2 is an open source software license. Works based on GPL-based code must be subject to the same terms as the original code. Which means the entire work must be made available in source code form and without license fee obligations. The problem with the GPL is that the license terms are not firmly specified and vague.
      • What does that mean?
        Anyone is allowed to modify, distribute and even sell GPLv2 licensed software. At the same time, you cannot be held liable and charged for damages which the software may could produce.
        To use these rights, there are some obligations, however, which are as follows:
        • You must include or give instructions to obtain the original software.
        • The source code must be provided alongside the distribution.
        • It requires stating significant changes made to software as well as including the full text of the GPLv2.
        If you are the copyright holder for the code, you can release it under various different non-exclusive licenses at various times, which means it could be modified and distributed by the copyright holder (e.g. sold as improved product) without providing the source code.
      • When does it apply?
        GPLv2 is organized into 3 (relevant) sections:
        • Section 1 deals with reproduction and distribution of verbatim copies of the Program’s source code.
        • Section 2 deals with modifying the source code.
        • Section 3 deals with reproduction and distribution of binary code.
        Under a plain reading of section 2, if the licensee does not modify the original GPL-licensed program, the Modification Condition and all of its explanatory provisions in section 2 simply do not apply. That leaves sections 1 and 3, governing rights to copy and reproduce in binary or source code forms, neither of which contain any language whatsoever to the effect that merely combining independent works with GPL-licensed code renders the independent works subject to GPL as well.
        Even assuming that section 2 regulates the licensee even in the absence of modifications, the GPL's inheritance requirements in section 2 apply only to "works based on the Program".
        The GPL defines a “work based on the Program” as “any derivative work under copyright law: that is to say, a work containing the Program or a portion of it ….”
        This definition can only sensibly be construed to mean derivative works as defined by applicable copyright law, and not merely collective works or compilations.
        Under US law, a derivative work is defined under the US Copyright Act as a work that is:
        If the new work contains the program or a copy of it, but nothing more – no modifications, recastings or transformations of that original program – then such work is the functional equivalent of pasting postcard art (linking GPL-licensed code) with ceramic tile (proprietary or non-GPL code).
        But if the new code that is added to or linked with the original GPL-licensed code, then the GPL applies to the entire bundle.

    • Under the assumption that TX used GPLv2 licensed code and modified it (there is enough proof of that), TX has the right to sell copies. It’s part of the definition of free software.
      But TX must include a copy of the GPLv2 with the work and provide its source code when someone asks for it (which they obviously have not nor plan to). Also, the GPL states that anyone who receives a copy has the right to redistribute copies, modified or not.

      While the dongle and JIG may be legal, the “CFW” called SX OS definitely is not.
      The easter egg is only visible in the nx-hbloader repo which is not licensed at all and therefore it’s All Rights Reserved:
      Leading to a copyright infringement by TX caused by using nx-hbloader.

    Please leave us all comments, queries, and possible suggestions down below. And remember, keep it civil!
     
    Last edited by Draxzelex, Jul 13, 2018
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  2. tinysolderingguy

    tinysolderingguy Banned

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    "when their SX OS was cracked" wasnt ever cracked at that time lmao
     
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  3. Revard
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    Revard Member

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    You're right. More like trying to crack it :D
     
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  4. Draxzelex

    Draxzelex GBAtemp Psycho!

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    I'm already loving all of the effort put into this by @Revard

    I'll be doing my best as co-author to keep this thread on-topic, up-to-date, and looking clean!
     
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  5. jakkal

    jakkal GBAtemp Maniac

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    Wow so much text for nothing
    Gg
     
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  6. HtheB
    This message by HtheB has been removed from public view by Joe88, Jul 14, 2018, Reason: Not an image board.
    Jul 13, 2018
  7. Revard
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    Revard Member

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    If you're already an expert in licensing, then this should be not interesting for you. Maybe you could share you knowledge with the rest of us?
    No seriously, this topic should inform users how licensing works and not be some TX or Atmosphere propaganda.

    *removed quote of trashed post*
     
    Last edited by porkiewpyne, Jul 14, 2018
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  8. blahblah

    blahblah GBAtemp Regular

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    As has been said countless times, there is no one operating in good faith that cares that a product that is designed to enable piracy violates the GPL. Let's stop talking about this, since objective actors do not care.

    TX is selling a product that is, on it's face, unlawful to produce. GPL violations are nothing in comparison to the other issues.
     
    Last edited by blahblah, Jul 13, 2018
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  9. vstar

    vstar Advanced Member

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    What about play "backup games"/homebrew and Nintendo Policy?
     
  10. thealgorithm

    thealgorithm GBAtemp Fan

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    Yes, it indeed seems that TX borrowed the code from atmosphere hence violated the terms by not including source... The unique selling point from them which they did not borrow however is the sigpatches and Virtual Cart redrection. This is why they got so many sales. The need for people to run "backups". (ahem cough). In regards to source code. Wont happen.. They don't care and no-one will be able to do anything about it, No talking and writing about it will make any difference. The only help to reduce sales would have been for someone else to release a free CFW with backuploading (Don't count the layered FS, It is nowhere near as convenient as XCI or NSP). But has not been done. Just my two cents :-)
     
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  11. Rickyman

    Rickyman Member

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    How to know if someone has bought TX and defend everything they do. Reading your message
     
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  12. Draxzelex

    Draxzelex GBAtemp Psycho!

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    As my cohort already stated, you are free to not care so long as you respect the ones who do care. The point of this thread is not to justify nor dismiss the use of either CFW over the other, but to allow people to debate healthily with the appropriate facts rather than misconceptions and personal opinions.
     
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  13. blahblah

    blahblah GBAtemp Regular

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    We do not need more spaces for that. People who are operating in good faith do not care that an entity that produces product that is unlawful to produce for countless reasons has added yet another legal liability to the already lengthy list.

    There is no need to provide additional spaces to concern troll in.
     
    Last edited by blahblah, Jul 13, 2018
  14. guitarheroknight

    guitarheroknight 1.6180339887

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    Don't know, don't care. As long as it runs my backups.
     
  15. Draxzelex

    Draxzelex GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Some people aren't as black or white. If they were to be swayed away from TX's products, I'd rather it be due to the facts and not somebody else's opinions.

    Also, you cannot speak for others who may want a space that is more conducive to this type of discussion if you don't want it. Plus GBATemp has a 50+ page thread about "Ktemkin drama". At the very least, this one is trying to be more civilized.
     
  16. Revard
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    Revard Member

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    You're right and therefore the existence of this thread. Simply to reduce the sure to come threads with insufficient information and to gather all answers in one thread.
     
    Last edited by Revard, Jul 13, 2018
  17. blahblah

    blahblah GBAtemp Regular

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    There is not a need for more debate threads about TX being good or bad. They are selling a product. Buy it or not. There does not exist a person who cares about GPL violations in a piracy-enabling product.
     
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  18. Draxzelex

    Draxzelex GBAtemp Psycho!

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    A) That is not what this thread is about
    B) I like to think never say never
    C) This thread can also be helpful for people who want to understand what TX did with respect to Atmosphere and its title as an open-source CFW
     
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  19. blahblah

    blahblah GBAtemp Regular

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    I've answered what you've said. This forum does not need more threads for concern trolling. We need less concern trolling.
     
  20. Revard
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    Revard Member

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    It's funny how people can't read up to 8 lines and only answer based on the first line :D
     
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  21. Draxzelex

    Draxzelex GBAtemp Psycho!

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    What if I told you this thread came as a personal request from one of the moderators? I'm not trying to change your opinion but if you don't want to be here, no one is forcing you.