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3 posts

Wannabe Geek

# 242136 12-Oct-2018 18:20
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Hi all.


I have an Spark/Huawei HG659b modem lying around, and I wanted to get the source code to mess around with.


As I understand it, they have to provide it as busybox and other bits are covered under GPL. Am I correct, or am I missing something?


I contacted their support and they basically told me it's out of their scope and to go ask Huawei. I would rather not do this as all the ISPs using this modem seem to roll their own firmware for it and I'd prefer to have the Spark version.


Are they allowed to say no, or is it not their responsibility since they don't actually make the hardware, or am I just wrong?







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Mr Snotty
8867 posts

Uber Geek

Lifetime subscriber

  # 2106921 12-Oct-2018 18:25
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The Huawei HG659 is used by many ISP's so I've renamed your post and moved it to the routers thread. This isn't a Spark issue.


You'll need to contact Huawei or check - there is a bit of paper with opensource licenses included with the router IIRC which basically state email Huawei for source code.

3871 posts

Uber Geek

Lifetime subscriber

  # 2107026 12-Oct-2018 21:45
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Send private message notes that someone tried to get the code out of Huawai some time ago and was ignored.


Be interesting to see if you can get one of the ISP's that provides this with a customised version to provide the source. 


I suspect you won't get anywhere without a lawsuit however. 



Information wants to be free. The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.


3 posts

Wannabe Geek

  # 2107196 13-Oct-2018 10:47
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Ok thanks.


I'll see what I can get from Huawei, and if they refuse try Spark again.


If I do manage to get anything, will I get sued for posting a download link here?







196 posts

Master Geek


  # 2107226 13-Oct-2018 12:28
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Ok thanks.


I'll see what I can get from Huawei, and if they refuse try Spark again.


If I do manage to get anything, will I get sued for posting a download link here?









Short answer:


TL;DR: No, you won't.




Longer Answer:


Assuming GNU GPLv2...





0. This License applies to any program or other work which contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be distributed under the terms of this General Public License. The "Program", below, refers to any such program or work, and a "work based on the Program" means either the Program or any derivative work under copyright law: that is to say, a work containing the Program or a portion of it, either verbatim or with modifications and/or translated into another language. (Hereinafter, translation is included without limitation in the term "modification".) Each licensee is addressed as "you".


Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the Program (independent of having been made by running the Program). Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.


1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty; and give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this License along with the Program.


2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1 above, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:




a) You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices stating that you changed the files and the date of any change.



b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License.





These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works. But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.






Emphasis my own. The relevant section is section 1. The GPL also says...



<snip> if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must give the recipients all the rights that you have. 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.



In effect, you have the same rights as Huawei themselves do. Spark's own firmware would be covered under the GPL also as Spark's work is derived from Huawei's, and thus must also be released under the same GPL license as Huawei's work is. If Spark doesn't, they are in violation of the GPL. They may not modify the license in any way (although they may use a higher GPL version, i.e. 3 if they so choose), but the GPL does not permit changes of license for derivative works (see section 2 clause b)


Because of this, you cannot be held liable for releasing any GPL-licensed source code.




As a side note, I'm not a lawyer, just a programmer, however this is how I interpret the GPL license. If I'm wrong in my interpretation, please feel free to correct me.

Hi! I'm TheoM, but you know that already. I run Linux mirrors in NZ together with 2degrees. Like a mirror added? PM me! | | | Providing Free Mirrors Since Ages Ago™

2118 posts

Uber Geek


  # 2107500 14-Oct-2018 03:45
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If you drop a shell on the router, which requires an older firmware, you can confirm there is a lot of GPL code in use, including busybox.


Sadly Huawei don't have a good record of GPL compliance for any of their consumer products.

Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat APAC a Technology Evangelist and Product Manager. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.

3 posts

Wannabe Geek

  # 2108388 15-Oct-2018 18:06
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Well Huawei has fobbed me off to the ISP. I'll see if Spark will give me anything since it doesn't look like Huawei will.

226 posts

Master Geek

  # 2108400 15-Oct-2018 18:29
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If the ISP distributed the device to you, the responsibility is theirs (and Huawei have a responsibility to the ISP if that's where the binaries came from).

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