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Open Source in Commercial (Audio) Products.


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This is an open letter to all audio companies who are using Open Source software in your products.

 

I call on you to, as you are required to, publish acknowledgement of the source of your code; links to source code and links to the relevant licences. Stop hiding what you are using in your products; in the long run it only causes suspicion and mistrust amongst users and potential users.

 

Many companies (probably close to all) use some elements of Open Source software these days; you are not giving away any secrets in admitting what you use. If you feed back into the open source products; be proud of that fact and tell us and we will acknowledge you even more.

 

Finally, when a new function is available because of some new Open Source code; please acknowledge the hard working individuals which make that possible, don't advertise in a way which implies its your new "discovery".

 

Thank you

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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I will add a copy of the preamble from the GPLv3 licence (not everything open source is GPLv3 of course) - the coloured highlights are my own to draw attention to important statements...

 

Preamble

 

The GNU General Public License is a free, copyleft license for software and other kinds of works.

 

The licenses for most software and other practical works are designed to take away your freedom to share and change the works. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change all versions of a program--to make sure it remains free software for all its users. We, the Free Software Foundation, use the GNU General Public License for most of our software; it applies also to any other work released this way by its authors. You can apply it to your programs, too.

 

When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for them if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs, and that you know you can do these things.

 

To protect your rights, we need to prevent others from denying you these rights or asking you to surrender the rights. Therefore, you have certain responsibilities if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it: responsibilities to respect the freedom of others.

 

For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must pass on to the recipients the same freedoms that you received. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their rights.

 

Developers that use the GNU GPL protect your rights with two steps: (1) assert copyright on the software, and (2) offer you this License giving you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify it.

 

For the developers' and authors' protection, the GPL clearly explains that there is no warranty for this free software. For both users' and authors' sake, the GPL requires that modified versions be marked as changed, so that their problems will not be attributed erroneously to authors of previous versions.

 

Some devices are designed to deny users access to install or run modified versions of the software inside them, although the manufacturer can do so. This is fundamentally incompatible with the aim of protecting users' freedom to change the software. The systematic pattern of such abuse occurs in the area of products for individuals to use, which is precisely where it is most unacceptable. Therefore, we have designed this version of the GPL to prohibit the practice for those products. If such problems arise substantially in other domains, we stand ready to extend this provision to those domains in future versions of the GPL, as needed to protect the freedom of users.

 

Finally, every program is threatened constantly by software patents. States should not allow patents to restrict development and use of software on general-purpose computers, but in those that do, we wish to avoid the special danger that patents applied to a free program could make it effectively proprietary. To prevent this, the GPL assures that patents cannot be used to render the program non-free.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment

Great thread Audio_ELF. I hope it can get some traction but I'm not overly optimistic. I don't like the direction the industry is headed. Since computer audio getting bigger and bigger, more "audiophile" servers and players are coming out. Most of them are using a Debian base and change a few things here and there. Sadly, the consensus among audio companies seems to be that it's OK to use free GPL software without complying to the GPL license.

 

And certainly Auralic and Aurender are not the bad boys of the industry or anything, but they are certainly the ones getting most attention here by the very nature of this forum. I could name a few more just for kicks: SoTM with their SMS 100, Sonore Rendu, Naim, Burmester, Electrocompaniet, and just about everyone else that have a product with the word "server" in it that are not based on Vortexbox.

 

Honorable mentions goes to Bryston (even if it's true/not true they were pressured to comply to the GPL by the users on their forum) and that's pretty much it (apart from Vortexbox based servers).

 

Companies that have been forced to release the source in the past: Tomtom, Linksys and countless others if you google it.

Yay!

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PS ... I hoped this thread would become an open letter rather than naming names of those who comply or otherwise. I do invite any manufacturer to respond and post links on how to obtain source code for their products where required.

 

PPS ... Just for clarity ... Naim (at least the server products) are based on a Windows CE core not Linux. That of course doesn't mean there isn't other open source stuff in there.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment
This is an open letter to all audio companies who are using Open Source software in your products.

 

I call on you to, as you are required to, publish acknowledgement of the source of your code; links to source code and links to the relevant licences. Stop hiding what you are using in your products; in the long run it only causes suspicion and mistrust amongst users and potential users.

 

Many companies (probably close to all) use some elements of Open Source software these days; you are not giving away any secrets in admitting what you use. If you feed back into the open source products; be proud of that fact and tell us and we will acknowledge you even more.

 

Finally, when a new function is available because of some new Open Source code; please acknowledge the hard working individuals which make that possible, don't advertise in a way which implies its your new "discovery".

 

Thank you

 

Hi Audio_ELF,

 

All that you wrote is demands many licenses (GPL, MIT and others) on same software.

 

Not all licenses demand open modified source code.

 

Usually commercial software manufacturers avoid use libraries under GNU GPL due non-proprietary code of derived product.

 

Therefore appeared GNU Lesser General Public License. There possibly use external dinamically linked libs (open code). Software (uses the libraries) can be proprietary, but modified source codes of the libraries should be opened. Includeing of header to proprietary product is available.

 

Same conditions provide GNU Library General Public License, if I don't mistaken.

 

Usually such types of licenses lead to more intensive spreading and improving of covered libraries.

 

As example, GNU Lesser GPL used by Qt. It allow as get many free users (and lighting many bugs and even fixing it) as supply life of library (salary of team for developing and supporting) via commercial license. As result fine crossplatform library.

 

All licenses (that I know) demand note authors and using its library in software, provide licence for the library.

 

Distribution (in commercial medium) and run software covered by GNU GPL is allowed. Need provide its license, source code and note authors.

 

Simplest way note in main license of product about third party libraries and coditions of its distributions.

 

Sometime manufacturers create separate file with list of third party software.

 

Best regards,

Yuri

AuI ConverteR 48x44 - HD audio converter/optimizer for DAC of high resolution files

ISO, DSF, DFF (1-bit/D64/128/256/512/1024), wav, flac, aiff, alac,  safe CD ripper to PCM/DSF,

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[..snip..]Yuri

Yuri; you are of course right that there are numerous open source licenses around. All I am calling for is that audio manufacturers (I would say all manufacturers but this is specifically an audio forum) stick to the license conditions.

 

I am not a lawyer nor intimate with all open source licenses, but generally at a minimum (it is my understanding) that it is expected that the relevant licences are included with products. It just seems to me that smaller companies feel its okay to just ignore licence conditions and hide what is actually running on their hardware. Larger companies no longer get away with open source violations, why should we accept it from smaller companies - its not like its difficult to comply. For example the Sky HD box used for satellite reception includes in it's interface the following screen...

IMG_2389.jpg

and as you scroll down there are the license documents for XFree86; the FreeBSD File Management; PPP daemon; libcurl and many more.

 

Almost every audio system has a full interface - either a web based system or via a tablet interface - there is no reason not to have clear access to the licenses which would avoid all accusations of "stealing" or trying to hide what software was in use.

 

From the response here it seams like I'm quite a lone voice but it is important that these companies stick to Open Source license conditions otherwise those people who spend their time for free creating such software will start to avoid it.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment

 

PPS ... Just for clarity ... Naim (at least the server products) are based on a Windows CE core not Linux. That of course doesn't mean there isn't other open source stuff in there.

 

So we aren't naming Naims?

 

(Couldn't help myself, my apologies.)

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Audio_ELF,

 

Licensies is head pain when need invoke GNU components.

 

For small companies free software give low industry entry level.

 

Yes. Need to follow license terms.

 

Other hand need consider details of using each piece of software and applicable licenses. Sometime it is not simple matter.

 

Me seems for new developers more perspective use third party software under GNU Lesser License (use free library in proprietary software).

AuI ConverteR 48x44 - HD audio converter/optimizer for DAC of high resolution files

ISO, DSF, DFF (1-bit/D64/128/256/512/1024), wav, flac, aiff, alac,  safe CD ripper to PCM/DSF,

Seamless Album Conversion, AIFF, WAV, FLAC, DSF metadata editor, Mac & Windows
Offline conversion save energy and nature

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Audio_ELF,

 

Licensies is head pain when need invoke GNU components.

 

For small companies free software give low industry entry level.

 

Yes. Need to follow license terms.

 

Other hand need consider details of using each piece of software and applicable licenses. Sometime it is not simple matter.

 

Me seems for new developers more perspective use third party software under GNU Lesser License (use free library in proprietary software).

Sorry (I'm sure there is a language barrier here) but I have no idea if you are saying that these small companies are fine the way they are approaching use of Open Source software (a deliberate distinction from "Free" software) and should get a "free pass"; or you are agreeing they should try harder to comply and publish licenses and source code.

 

From my perspective I accept that "complying with licenses *may* be a pain" but if you choose to do business and utilise open source licensed software as a shortcut compared with writing your own code; that is the price. Every manufacturer should know (internally) what software is installed on their device and so should be able to tick off that uses GPLv2, thats GPLv3, those parts are licensed under BSD, etc. and should have a general sense of what their responsibilities are under each license they are utilising.

 

Anything else is just excuses for failing to manage their product / software properly.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment
Sorry (I'm sure there is a language barrier here) but I have no idea if you are saying that these small companies are fine the way they are approaching use of Open Source software (a deliberate distinction from "Free" software) and should get a "free pass"; or you are agreeing they should try harder to comply and publish licenses and source code.

 

From my perspective I accept that "complying with licenses *may* be a pain" but if you choose to do business and utilise open source licensed software as a shortcut compared with writing your own code; that is the price. Every manufacturer should know (internally) what software is installed on their device and so should be able to tick off that uses GPLv2, thats GPLv3, those parts are licensed under BSD, etc. and should have a general sense of what their responsibilities are under each license they are utilising.

 

Anything else is just excuses for failing to manage their product / software properly.

 

I don't think Yuri is saying people should not comply, as he does say "Need to follow license terms." His mention of it being a "pain" to do so regarding certain licenses in certain situations I believe was intended as a discussion of advantages and disadvantages of particular licenses for small startups ("...free software give low industry entry level"). From his perspective it seems the LGPL might work best.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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From his perspective it seems the LGPL might work best.

Perhaps, but most of the systems do not use LGPL licensed code.

 

My understanding is that (as a practical example) if a FLAC decoder used GPL, a Player written incorporating that FLAC decoder would be required to be GPL and therefore source code made available for the Player as well as publishing the licence details.

 

On the other hand if the FLAC decoder was licensed under LGPL, any changed made to the FLAC decoder would have to be released and the source code of those changes released. However a fully closed source / commercial Player could be written using that decoder. In this case the licence details of the FLAC decoder would have to be included with the software.

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment
Just to be clear, I don't think there is ANY open source s/w in the Sonore Rendu. It is not running any OS, and its DLNA/UPnP Ethernet renderer module runs on a Blackfin DSP chip.

Running on a Blackfin DSP chip doesn't exclude it using open source. It was my understanding that Blackfin requires an OS so that could easily be Linux or another open source OS.

 

Just had to laugh a little at your statement anyway (but may be how I'm reading it)... "Just to be clear" followed by "I don't think". If you have an official position from Jesus then that would be clear; but your "I don't think" sounds like speculation. Can you perhaps clarify if you are speculating or if you know this for a fact.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment
I don't think Yuri is saying people should not comply, as he does say "Need to follow license terms." His mention of it being a "pain" to do so regarding certain licenses in certain situations I believe was intended as a discussion of advantages and disadvantages of particular licenses for small startups ("...free software give low industry entry level"). From his perspective it seems the LGPL might work best.

as a PS to my earlier response to Jud I would like to add...

 

There is a difference between companies who make some effort to comply; and those who blatantly avoid the issue. Many companies trip over; but some don't even try...

 

I may be completely alone in the feeling, but personally I would much rather a company made statements like "We package together a single board computer using open source software (and a list) and add our own proprietary interfaces to make it easy for you to use as well as offering solid support and backup for any problems" than "Our new Xtra Stream will transform your system with its unique player and interface" only to find out that it's unique player is a combination of 2 or 3 open source products and the interface is a tweaked version of another project.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment
Perhaps, but most of the systems do not use LGPL licensed code.

 

Most libraries on Linux are licensed either under LGPL, Apache or BSD/MIT-style license. While most applications, daemons (servers) and other programs are under GPL.

 

FLAC licensing is explained here:

FLAC - license

 

MPD is under GPLv2 license. Same goes for Linux kernel...

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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MPD is under GPLv2 license. Same goes for Linux kernel...

 

Interesting that the kernel isn't under the latest version of the license. V2 is often felt to have "friendlier" terms than v3.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> iFi NEO iDSD DAC -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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I don't think Yuri is saying people should not comply, as he does say "Need to follow license terms." His mention of it being a "pain" to do so regarding certain licenses in certain situations I believe was intended as a discussion of advantages and disadvantages of particular licenses for small startups ("...free software give low industry entry level"). From his perspective it seems the LGPL might work best.

 

Hi Jud,

 

Thank you. Yes. It’s what I wanted say.

 

"Getting low entry level" don't sign get in with license term infringement.

 

If you see "future pain", avoid pain and don't use "pain"-software :) Or use it properly.

 

There are methods legally use free software in proprietary.

 

 

Sorry (I'm sure there is a language barrier here) but I have no idea if you are saying that these small companies are fine the way they are approaching use of Open Source software (a deliberate distinction from "Free" software) and should get a "free pass"; or you are agreeing they should try harder to comply and publish licenses and source code.

 

From my perspective I accept that "complying with licenses *may* be a pain" but if you choose to do business and utilise open source licensed software as a shortcut compared with writing your own code; that is the price. Every manufacturer should know (internally) what software is installed on their device and so should be able to tick off that uses GPLv2, thats GPLv3, those parts are licensed under BSD, etc. and should have a general sense of what their responsibilities are under each license they are utilising.

 

Anything else is just excuses for failing to manage their product / software properly.

 

 

Hi Audio_ELF,

 

I agree with you. Developers should follow license terms or don't use libraries covered by it.

 

Here no difference, paid license or free.

 

Best regards,

Yuri

AuI ConverteR 48x44 - HD audio converter/optimizer for DAC of high resolution files

ISO, DSF, DFF (1-bit/D64/128/256/512/1024), wav, flac, aiff, alac,  safe CD ripper to PCM/DSF,

Seamless Album Conversion, AIFF, WAV, FLAC, DSF metadata editor, Mac & Windows
Offline conversion save energy and nature

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Perhaps, but most of the systems do not use LGPL licensed code.

 

My understanding is that (as a practical example) if a FLAC decoder used GPL, a Player written incorporating that FLAC decoder would be required to be GPL and therefore source code made available for the Player as well as publishing the licence details.

 

On the other hand if the FLAC decoder was licensed under LGPL, any changed made to the FLAC decoder would have to be released and the source code of those changes released. However a fully closed source / commercial Player could be written using that decoder. In this case the licence details of the FLAC decoder would have to be included with the software.

 

Eloise

 

Hi Eloise,

 

Under GNU GPL v.2 only flac utils (executables what contains FLAC library).

 

FLAC library (source codes of encoder/decode) covered by FLAC Xiph license that do possible use FLAC library in propietary software.

 

Best regards,

Yuri

AuI ConverteR 48x44 - HD audio converter/optimizer for DAC of high resolution files

ISO, DSF, DFF (1-bit/D64/128/256/512/1024), wav, flac, aiff, alac,  safe CD ripper to PCM/DSF,

Seamless Album Conversion, AIFF, WAV, FLAC, DSF metadata editor, Mac & Windows
Offline conversion save energy and nature

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Most libraries on Linux are licensed either under LGPL, Apache or BSD/MIT-style license. While most applications, daemons (servers) and other programs are under GPL.

 

FLAC licensing is explained here:

FLAC - license

 

MPD is under GPLv2 license. Same goes for Linux kernel...

 

For successful life of operation system it must support proprietary software.

 

Small companies can't allow to own support free projects (where get finance?).

 

But many small companies can fill the system huge number of qualitative and useful software.

 

Last tend almost all development tools (compilers, developing environments) is free. Low entry level again.

 

But developer can create proprietary software.

 

It stimulate expanding of platform.

 

P.S. Now I learned about license compability into Linux.

AuI ConverteR 48x44 - HD audio converter/optimizer for DAC of high resolution files

ISO, DSF, DFF (1-bit/D64/128/256/512/1024), wav, flac, aiff, alac,  safe CD ripper to PCM/DSF,

Seamless Album Conversion, AIFF, WAV, FLAC, DSF metadata editor, Mac & Windows
Offline conversion save energy and nature

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Under GNU GPL v.2 only flac utils (executables what contains FLAC library).

 

FLAC library (source codes of encoder/decode) covered by FLAC Xiph license that do possible use FLAC library in propietary software.

Yuri ... sorry if I confused ... I was just trying to create a practical example of GPL vs LGPL; the choice of a FLAC decoder was perhaps a bad one as (as you and Miska pointed out) the FLAC license is completely separate.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment
Small companies can't allow to own support free projects (where get finance?).

 

Although I've been working in large companies on open source software development, I also know many small companies working entirely on open source software.

 

I actually consider myself primarily an open source developer.

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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Yuri ... sorry if I confused ... I was just trying to create a practical example of GPL vs LGPL; the choice of a FLAC decoder was perhaps a bad one as (as you and Miska pointed out) the FLAC license is completely separate.

 

Hi Audio_ELF,

 

I permanently learns licenses for all used by me software / libraries.

Indeed it's enought complex matter with many details.

 

Best regards,

Yuri

AuI ConverteR 48x44 - HD audio converter/optimizer for DAC of high resolution files

ISO, DSF, DFF (1-bit/D64/128/256/512/1024), wav, flac, aiff, alac,  safe CD ripper to PCM/DSF,

Seamless Album Conversion, AIFF, WAV, FLAC, DSF metadata editor, Mac & Windows
Offline conversion save energy and nature

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So we aren't naming Naims?

 

(Couldn't help myself, my apologies.)

 

Naim run Windows CE and license Audiophileo. No open source there. In fact, Naim's bitperfect streaming solution doesn't even work out of the box with anything other than Windows or Apple.

Synology DS214+ with MinimServer --> Ethernet --> Sonore mRendu / SOtM SMS-200 --> Chord Hugo --> Chord interconnects --> Naim NAP 200--> Chord speaker cable --> Focal Aria 948

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In fact, Naim's bitperfect streaming solution doesn't even work out of the box with anything other than Windows or Apple.
Are you referring to Naim's own support software for their streaming devices here or the actual streamers themselves? If it's the Naim streamers, then as they support industry standard UPnP music file network streaming, that statement isn't correct. There are plenty of third party UPnP supporting applications out there that run on devices other than Windows and Apple ones.

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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