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Subject: Re: Rockbox joining the Software Freedom Conservancy?

Re: Rockbox joining the Software Freedom Conservancy?

From: Solomon Peachy via rockbox-dev <>
Date: Sun, 4 Oct 2020 09:57:46 -0400

On Sun, Oct 04, 2020 at 02:51:01PM +0200, Al Le via rockbox-dev wrote:
> For me, they are sort of like of snitch.

This is only a portion of what they do. (FWIW, I agree with it though)

> Observing of licence infringement is needed if a company's business is
> creating an open source software and selling licenses for it. I think,
> such companies do that themselves.
> Rockbox is not of this sort.

Correct, but it is heavily reliant on hardware made by folks that are
actively violating the licenses to the software they include, by virtue
of not releasing their source code.

> The best appreciation sign for a piece of software (or anything) is if's
> being stealt. (V. Nabokov, changed by me)

Strong GPL enforcement makes Rockbox a lot more sustainable in the long
run. Not because folks are violating Rockbox's license (tbh, I wish we
actually had that problem; to your point it would mean we're being
shipped in new DAPs!)

But more down to earth, with that source code, I wouldn't have had to
spend several days trying to work around some "quirks" in the audio
driver on a couple of hosted targets -- I could have just fixed the
issue in the kernel and moved on immediately.

Or better yet, I could use that kernel source as a sort of
software-based schematic to _greatly_ ease the process of making rockbox
run natively on that hardware. Reverse engineering hardware was always
Rockbox's achilles heel -- It generally means that by the time we get a
new port working reasonably well, it's already obsolete and off the
market, forcing users to rely on decade-old devices on the secondhand
market. If rockbox is going to survive in the long term, we have to
make the process of porting to new hardware much faster. Without
reasonably modern hardware, we're not going to gain the userbase (and
thus higher profile) we need.

So, while strong enforcement of the Linux licence makes Rockbox more
sustainable in the long run, we wouldn't need to be a member of the SFC
for this, and it's not why I proposed applying to join them.

It's the "other" aspects of their mission; to provide a long-term stable
financial and legal umbrella to operate under. It's also an inroad to a
great deal of additional exposure in the nonprofit space. For example,
perhaps they could help us get grants (and/or developers) tasked with
further improve our accessibility features?

Or maybe they could help us out with legal advice and contracts if we
were to try and commission our own hardware?

More pessimistically, what happens if I start acting against (What other
developers consider to be) Rockbox's interests? Or if a tornado drops a
house on me?

These are all questions of long-term sustainability, and I think the
likes of the SFC would be of great help in helping us answer and
implement them.

...ANYway. Back to the bit mines.

 - Solomon
Solomon Peachy			      pizza at shaftnet dot org (email&xmpp)
                                      _at_pizza:shaftnet dot org   (matrix)
High Springs, FL                      speachy (freenode)

Received on 2020-10-04

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