Do they know the meaning of GPL?

Posted 14 Oct 2001 at 05:50 UTC by perlamer Share This

There are too much company in China, Korea (but not japan) who just don't know about the real identity of GPL. And they frequently claims software complies to GPL but when you ask for source code, they say "no, you are not going to have it." so what is the meaning of GPL for them?

after all, i've seen a software with the following statement:

All rights reserved, with compliance to GPL license, this software may not be modified, changed in ....

(originally in Chinese..)

well, not everyone reads English ... , posted 14 Oct 2001 at 10:42 UTC by ask » (Master)

Slightly related, there are an enormeous number of open proxies and open mail relays in China (and other parts of Asia). Part of the problem is that most of us are not good at Chinese, and for many of the administrators that's the only language they can read. At I've blocked mail from most netblocks in the educational networks in China. Before I did so I would in some periods get hundreds of spam mails from there per day. :-I

At ORDB we try to translate as much as the site to as many languages as possibly to help people around the world to understand the issues. If you are able, maybe it would be helpful to work on translating to languages with many native speakers who do not speak English?

- ask

Not an excuse, posted 14 Oct 2001 at 15:39 UTC by AlanShutko » (Journeyer)

Not reading English is not an excuse. While it is understandable that not every system administrator reads English, it is absurd to believe that a company remarketing a third-party app is unable to find legal counsel that can understand the license. In the US, that sort of thing would be gross negligence.

I think it's more likely that these companies just don't care, and don't feel it's likely that there will be a successful suit against them. Given the other attempts at IP enforcement against Chinese individuals and organizations, by far bigger pockets (hello MPAA), they're probably right.

Not only do mainland china have open proxies,, posted 14 Oct 2001 at 15:58 UTC by perlamer » (Journeyer)

they also have open Apache, open wu-ftpd (2.4.x!) and open routers, which allows everybody to announce routes to them. i think somehow we should arrange some sort of attack on the beijing router, maybe.. amybe... (joke)

however, i do think that education is the most suitable method in doing this... :-)

Not again, posted 15 Oct 2001 at 16:38 UTC by jbuck » (Master)

Please don't waste advogato's time with this. If you think you've found a GPL violation, there's a very specific way to handle it. Instead of putting a vague complaint on advogato, go to this page and follow the instructions.

more cultural than legal, posted 15 Oct 2001 at 17:32 UTC by graham » (Journeyer)

I don't think the original poster was making a narrow legal point about one company; there's a much more general issue about how the culture behind the gpl (or other licenses) can spread into places with very different histories and above all languages. But given the language barrier is so great, is there much any non-Chinese (or Korean etc) writing person can do about this? rms has been on trips to China to try to explain; unfortunately, most people can't do that... On the other hand, as perlamer wrote, this is not a problem in Japan, in spite of the language barriers. Nor is it a problem of democracies versus dictatorships: Taiwan seems as bad as China. Free software seems to be treated as if it were old DOS freeware...

Maybe some Chinese-writing person can tell me I'm wrong, and free software actually is understood in China? I hope so!

At least someone in China appears to care ..., posted 15 Oct 2001 at 18:59 UTC by forrest » (Journeyer)

It may be a small thing, but I did find the text of the GPL in Chinese on a web site:

Perhaps it would help to point errant (mainland) Chinese there ...

still not getting it, it seems, posted 15 Oct 2001 at 21:51 UTC by jbuck » (Master)

Yes, I'm aware that there are cultural factors involved, but this is exactly the reason for flaming people on advogato, rather than taking the approach outlined in the FSF FAQ, is counterproductive. In many cultures, "face" and shame are big issues. Even in the US, corporations never want to admit to having done wrong. But the traditional attitude toward casual copying prevalent in East Asia is actually closer to the free software view of the world than the current US approach of draconian copyright restrictions (DMCA etc).

For this reason, it's better to work quietly behind the scenes to educate people about their rights and obligations so that the problem is corrected. It may also be better to find people who speak the language to help resolve the issues.

This is a cultural problem, not a legal problem, posted 16 Oct 2001 at 07:38 UTC by perlamer » (Journeyer)

legal problems can be easily resolved by taking legal action, and this is not one that we can easily solve.

as some of the recent repliers said, it's important to educate, and not taking legal action, nor to tolerate them.heh

contact FSF?, posted 22 Oct 2001 at 20:32 UTC by mako » (Master)

If people need clarification, there are plenty of free software developers and advocates fluent in Chinese that would love to help.

Or even just contact FSF! I know there are people at FSF (although probably not the same people that usually deal with sort of thing) that are fluent in Chinese.

I think i can help, posted 23 Oct 2001 at 14:56 UTC by xcyber » (Journeyer)

I am a native chinese and is fluent in both english and cantonese.

I think i can help to contact FSF and those companies in concern.

Also,both the HKLUG and can offer help too.

Perlamer,you can help too.

I think i can help, posted 23 Oct 2001 at 14:56 UTC by xcyber » (Journeyer)

I am a native chinese and is fluent in both english and cantonese.

I think i can help to contact FSF and those companies in concern.

Also,both the HKLUG and can offer help too.

Perlamer,you can help too.

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!

Share this page