Possible GPL violation by Red Hat/Dell alliance

fluke@gibson.mw.luc.edu fluke at gibson.mw.luc.edu
Thu Dec 12 23:46:00 CST 2002


  I am working with friends in the GNU/Linux Users of Northern Illinois on 
putting together a web page detailing the issues with the following 
product:

  Dell(TM) PowerEdge(TM) Web Server Version 3.1 Powered by Red Hat Linux


  I am seeking any feedback which would indicate if any of the claims
below our false:

  - Red Hat maintains a web site which throughout the course of this year 
has contain material which illustrate the fact that Red Hat is aware of 
the concepts of the Free Software Foundation, "Open Source," and the 
General Public License (GPL)

  - Dell maintains a web site which throughout the course of this year has 
contain material which illustrate the fact that Dell is aware of the 
concepts of the Free Software Foundation, "Open Source," and the GPL

  - Dell is aware that both Dell PowerEdge Web Server Version 3.0 
Powered by Red Hat Linux and Dell PowerEdge Web Server Version 3.1 Powered 
by Red Hat Linux contained GPL covered works

  - Dell has been aware that their distribution of the GPL works included
with Dell PowerEdge Web Server Powered by Red Hat Linux version 3.0 was
commercial (distribution was not covered by clause 3c of the GPL for
providing redistribution rights)

  - Dell has been aware that their distribution of the GPL works included
with the Dell PowerEdge Web Server Powered by Red Hat Linux version 3.0
did not include the majority of source code related to those works
(distribution was not covered by clause 3a of the GPL for providing
redistribution rights)

  - Dell was given notice that the Dell PowerEdge Web Server Powered by
Red Hat Linux version 3.0 did not include any written notice providing
instructions on how to get the source code (distribution was not covered
by clause 3b of the GPL for providing redistribution rights)

  - Dell's Matt Domsch responded on July 23rd to the claim that neither
the Information Update or the Deployment Guide provided offer any
instructions on how to get the source code with:
    "Thank you for bringing this to our attention.  We will add
     the appropriate text to a future release of these documents."

  - Red Hat's Mark Webbink responded on August 15th that:
    "Dell preloads various Red Hat operating system products pursuant to
     agreements between our companies which clearly specify that Red Hat, 
     not Dell, is the distributor."

  - Red Hat's Mark Webbink clarified on August 27th that GPL software not 
packaged by Red Hat (such as the courier package included with the Dell 
PowerEdge Web Server Powered By Red Hat version 3.0) is not distributed by 
Red Hat

  - The Information Update and Deployment Guide provided with Dell 
PowerEdge Web Server version 3.1 Powered by Red Hat Linux are a future 
release of the documents from the previous version but does not have the 
additional text that Matt Domsch promised.

  - None of the materials in Dell PowerEdge Web Server version 3.1 Powered 
by Red Hat Linux contain instructions on how to order media of all related 
GPL source code

  - On October 29th, Dell and Red Hat co-hosted an "Open Source Security
Summit" promoting themselves as being vendors of Open Source and implied
that they where following established practices of the Open Source
community (including honoring the terms of the GPL when redistributing 
binaries based on GPL works)

  - On October 29th Dell/Red Hat was still (and continue to be) the
distributors of GPL packages included with Dell PowerEdge Web Server
version 3.1 Powered by Red Hat Linux without provided the related source
code during redistribution or a written notice on how to order a media of 
all the related GPL source code thus not honoring their own implied 
marketing

  - As of December 11th, neither Dell or Red Hat have an answer as to 
where to find a written notice provided at the time of distribution for 
getting media with all the related GPL source code

  - Also, as of December 11th, the web page that Matt Domsch claimed to be
providing a written notice (despite not being provided at the time of
distribution) no longer contains the footnote he claimed it did.  The lack 
of written notice is located at:
http://www.dell.com/us/en/biz/products/model_pedge_2_pedge_web.htm#tn1

  - Dell still prints "All rights reserved" along the sides of CDs 2 and 3 
of the Dell PowerEdge Web Server version 3.1 Powered by Red Hat Linux 
despite the fact that these CDs should be legally copyable based on the 
permissions extended by the licenses of each of the works on those two 
CDs

  - Red Hat still accepts Dell's use of the Red Hat shadowman logo in 
connection with the Dell PowerEdge Web Server version 3.1 Powered by Red 
Hat Linux despite the fact that they have been notified that it does not 
honor either GPL clause 3a or 3b when performing commerical redistribution 
of binaries covered by the GPL


  The goal of the website we are putting together will be to inform
consumers of inconsistencies between Red Hat/Dell marketing materials and
the act of distribution of a product that doesn't honor either clause 3a
or 3b of the GPL.  It is my belief that provided the correct level of
consumer pressure that Red Hat and Dell will rethink this act and choose
to consistently honor either clause 3a or 3b while performing
redistribution.




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