[Arm-netbook] Allwinner's LGPL violation

Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton lkcl at lkcl.net
Fri Mar 20 00:57:31 GMT 2015

On Thu, Mar 19, 2015 at 10:36 PM, David Lanzendörfer
<david.lanzendoerfer at o2s.ch> wrote:
> Hi
>>  sorry, david, but what you wrote is very unclear.  for example: none
>> of us know whom you're working for: your message gives the [probably
>> quite wrong!] impression that you are working for allwinner.

> This impression is correct. I was over there for my job interview and I'm
> waiting right now for my work permit in order to settle down over in Zhuhai at
> Allwinners headquarter in my office there.

 ok, great.  it would help to have that as context in advance, thank
you for clarifying.

>>  apologies this is also unclear.
> Actually not.

 i apologise for having to point this out, david, but if someone says
"it's unclear", then, to them, it is unclear.  this is not something
that can be denied.  again i apologise for having to point this out,
but to respond "actually not" leaves the other person in a...
diplomatically extremely awkward position.

i won't expand on that further, but as the list administrator who sets
the rules for communication on this list, can i ask you not to do that
again, please, but to take it at face value when someone says
something, trust them at their word, and if you have inconvenienced
them through your communication by putting them to extra trouble (for
example by them having to ask you to clarify on a large number of
points), apologise immediately for doing so, and work with them to
correct any misunderstandings.  much appreciated your cooperation on

> I just explained that there are certain processes about other
> costumers (not the western ones) which prevent us internally from just jumping
> "yeah! let's just publish all our code! flower-power-olé!"

 sorry, david, but despite a belief that you have been clear, i
apologise once again but i have to reiterate that *to me* - with no
context - what you have written is unclear.  if it is not clear *to
me*, then it is also equally unlikely to be clear to anyone else with
as little information and context as i have.

 to illustrate: who is "us" in this context?  whom are you imagining
to be making the declaration beginning with the word "yeah..."?  i
have no idea whom that might be.

 also, i know you say "i just explained" but because there was no
context, i could not understand anything of what you were explaining
in your initial message.  with no context for the *follow-up* message,
i now have no idea of what part of your *first* message you are
referring to above by "i just explained certain processes" in your
*second* message.

.  this is why i asked you if you could kindly rewrite everything that
you wrote, making it clear and unambiguous and providing full context,
so that there would be no misunderstandings by having to read the
first message, then the second, then refer back to the first, then
write another followup asking for more clarification, then read the
third message when you write that, then re-read the first or the
second depending on what remains unclear...

... you get the point? :)

>>  so... are *you* using (and shipping) illegal license-violating
>> binaries to "customers in China" [with some LGPL wrapper]?  or is that
>> a position statement of Allwinner, is it a position statement from the
>> SDK developers in allwinner?  sorry i have to ask because you didn't
>> say, it's very very unclear.
>>  ... i have to warn you: if *you* are using (and shipping) illegal
>> license-violating binaries - even with an LGPL wrapper - then you are
>> *still* also in violation of the GPL license.  and, to protect
>> yourself (from knowingly and criminally infringing Copyright) you
>> should cease and desist from shipping those binaries immediately,
>> *regardless* of the consequences for your customers.
>>  perhaps you might like to clarify matters, i apologise but i really
>> did not understand who was represented by each of the statements that
>> you made.  it might be a good idea to re-post the entire message,
>> clarifying the context of whom "we" is, what "the decision" is, and so
>> on.

> We are well aware of all the points you mentioned.

 sorry, again, who is "we"?  what is the context, what is the software
being distributed, where is it being distributed from - none of this
has been mentioned so it is very difficult to follow what you are

> We already removed VP6 from our binaries

 sorry to have to point this out, but again: to whom is "we" and "our"
referring, and, additionally, which binaries are being discussed?

 i also assume that VP6 is sufficiently unique world-wide so as to be
identifiable, but in the instance that it is not, perhaps it would
help others reading this communication (now and in the future, in the
archives) to provide them with a canonical reference?

> and are replacing it

 what is "it", here?  "it" is singular but the previous sentence
mentions "binaries" in the plural.  is there a different binary being
replaced from the ones that are referred to (but not explicitly named
anywhere), in the previous sentence?  or was there an error and did
you mean to say "replacing them"?

> with ffmpeg
> within our wrapper library...

 to which wrapper are you referring?  again, i apologise for having to
point this out but there is no context here.

> that's why we restructure the repository right
> now...

 sorry, which repository are you referring to?

 i'm really sorry david but in asking you to be clear, i assumed that
you would understand that that means to provide unambiguous
identification of organisations and individuals prior to referring to
them in the immediate next sentence, and to provide canonical
references to any technical keywords that others completely unfamiliar
with what you are attempting to convey may not make a mistake over.

 now, whilst the above may give the appearance of being pedantic, i
*genuinely* cannot follow what you are trying to inform the list of,
so have gone to the trouble of illustrating in each case where there
is distinct ambiguity, in order to provide you with an opportunity to
clarify, should you so choose.

 we have, so far, established that you are planning to work for
allwinner, pending a visa.  other than that, it is still yet to be
established who is creating wrappers (you, allwinner, or a separate
group, and whether you are working with that separate group), what VP6
is, what software is being distributed (and by whom: you, allwinner,
or a separate group, and whether you are working for that separate
group), and much more.

additionally, although it has not been explicitly stated and made
clear, through logical deduction and to a lesser extent assumption
that you are knowledgeable about the GPL, i can only *infer* that you
(personally) are not distributing GPL-violating software (but that you
are knowingly going to work for a company that is), but other than
that after two messages i am left with very little else that is
concrete and clear to me, for which, again, i must apologise, and
invite you to help correct.


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