OpenMoko is the only 100% F/OSS-based Linux smartphone project

Russell Sears sears at
Tue Jul 8 18:23:54 CEST 2008

Paul Wouters wrote:

> Now imagine the OS being linux with no restrictions, fully GPLv3 compatible.
> Now imagine one propretary binary running on that GPLv3 platform, which
> sends a signature based on the OS/kernel contents to the baseband via serial.
> If it is not a known good signature, the baseband CPU cuts power to the GPLv3
> CPU after 60 seconds. No where here is there a license violation of GPLv3,
> you are not restricted from modifying and using code, but in practise you
> have been prevented to do so - in compliance with GPLv3 - since it is
> the baseband CPU that takes the decision, and not any GPL code.

 From GPLv3 section 6:

“Installation Information” for a User Product means any methods, 
procedures, authorization keys, or other information required to install 
and execute modified versions of a covered work in that User Product 
from a modified version of its Corresponding Source. The information 
must suffice to ensure that the continued functioning of the modified 
object code is in no case prevented or interfered with solely because 
modification has been made.

> This is exactly what Motorola does. It is the "60 seconds" of working
> phone with "openezx".

GPLv3 doesn't say anything about how the protection is implemented, 
though it does say "continued functioning," so I think they've covered 
this loophole.  :)  Once motorola (or whoever) ships the phone with a 
GPLv3 kernel on it, they have to obey this clause.  If they did the 
proprietary binary thing, then they'd have to give you something that 
allows you to use modified kernels...  I'm not sure what that something 
is, since I don't know if "method" and "procedure" mean "english 
instructions," "source code", or "binaries" in this context.

>> So even if soon Linux-based smartphones from LIMO and OHA will appear
>> soon. All with great hardware, fancy graphics and whatnot they managed
>> to rip all the fun and freedom out of it. :|
> I wonder what Nokia will do once they own all of their OS. They promised to
> open it up, I wonder about the restrictions. 
> I'm glad I purchased an openmoko though. I'm tired of fighting against
> mobile phone vendors.
> Paul
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