[Zope] Zope killed by TCPA?

rra42 rra42@yahoo.co.uk
Sun, 05 Jan 2003 15:37:42 +0000

it was point 18 of the TCPA/Palladium FAQ that concerneed me:

TCPA will undermine the General Public License (GPL), under which many 
free and open source software products are distributed. The GPL is 
designed to prevent the fruits of communal voluntary labour being 
hijacked by private companies for profit. Anyone can use and modify 
software distributed under this licence, but if you distribute a 
modified copy, you must make it available to the world, together with 
the source code so that other people can make subsequent modifications 
of their own.

At least two companies have started work on a TCPA-enhanced version of 
GNU/linux. This will involve tidying up the code and removing a number 
of features. To get a certificate from the TCPA corsortium, the sponsor 
will then have to submit the pruned code to an evaluation lab, together 
with a mass of documentation showing why various known attacks on the 
code don't work. (The evaluation is at level E3 - expensive enough to 
keep out the free software community, yet lax enough for most commercial 
software vendors to have a chance to get their lousy code through.) 
Although the modified program will be covered by the GPL, and the source 
code will be free to everyone, it will not make full use of the TCPA 
features unless you have a certificate for it that is specific to the 
Fritz chip on your own machine. That is what will cost you money (if not 
at first, then eventually).

You will still be free to make modifications to the modified code, but 
you won't be able to get a certificate that gets you into the TCPA 
system. Something similar happens with the linux supplied by Sony for 
the Playstation 2; the console's copy protection mechanisms prevent you 
from running an altered binary, and from using a number of the hardware 
features. Even if a philanthropist does a not-for-profit secure 
GNU/linux, the resulting product would not really be a GPL version of a 
TCPA operating system, but a proprietary operating system that the 
philanthropist could give away free. (There is still the question of who 
would pay for the user certificates.)

People believed that the GPL made it impossible for a company to come 
along and steal code that was the result of community effort. This 
helped make people willing to give up their spare time to write free 
software for the communal benefit. But TCPA changes that. Once the 
majority of PCs on the market are TCPA-enabled, the GPL won't work as 
intended. The benefit for Microsoft is not that this will destroy free 
software directly. The point is this: once people realise that even 
GPL'led software can be hijacked for commercial purposes, idealistic 
young programmers will be much less motivated to write free software.

End Quote

Best wishes,


Lennart Regebro wrote:

> From: "rra42" <rra42@yahoo.co.uk>
>>Will developers who make a living from Zope/Python be out of work when
>>TCPA comes next year?
> Uh? Of course. It doesn't have any impact on Zope at all, at least not on
> the short term. Assuming you are talking about the Trusted Computing
> Platform Alliance, at least. In the long term it might even be beneficial,
> since TCPA is created to stop pirating of software, and since Zope is free,
> people might choose free open source software more than they already do. :-)
> In the long term Zope might need to be able to support license distribution
> with TCPA, and I have no idea how hard that will be.
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