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Author Topic: Samsung laptop shipped with Tiny Core Linux (GPL violation)  (Read 520 times)

Offline David Timber

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Samsung laptop shipped with Tiny Core Linux (GPL violation)
« on: September 06, 2018, 11:08:15 AM »
I think Samsung violated GPL. Since TC is released under GPL, I thought I'd leave the emails I've sent to BusyBox and Samsung. Tried to find the email address of the developer but couldn't find any. If any of you is out there, please read and decide! "Let it slide" or take legal action.



I recently bought a Samsung laptop model NT500R5W-LD34A. It's a model shipped with "Linux (Console Only)" OS. According to the retailer, the OS is only for testing, but I haven't contacted Samsung to confirm that. I believe that Samsung violated GPL because ...
  • They modified Tiny Core Linux(TCL) and do not provide the source code.
  • BusyBox is shipped with TCL
    • If not modified at all: 3(c) still not valid
    • If modified: 3(b) violation
Samsung launched a number of laptop models shipped with "Linux (Console Only)". I'm speculating that these models are also flashed with the same image.

TCL is modified
In the OS file system, there's a changelog '/ReleaseNotes.txt' and the logs are consistent with the behaviour of the OS (see the attached)

Version 0.01
12-07-16
* Modified to display large text and no graphics.
  This was in response to Samsung Issue 1, "Regarding resolution,
  Samsung want text screen with 31 lines."

Version 0.03
12-21-16
* Added copyright message at sign on.
  This was in response to Samsung Issue 3, "For the first screen
  after booting, only one or two lines copyright message is required."
* Modified to power off if "exit" entered at prompt.
  This was in response to Samsung Issue 6, "When “exit” is executed,
  they want system to reboot or shutdown."
...

Version 0.04
01-04-17
* Modified to always display prompt at boot-up.
  This was in response to Samsung Issue 9, "When system booting,
  copyright message is displayed and system is waiting for enter
  to displaying prompt. Prompt needs to be displayed without
  enter key."
...

Version 0.07
02-08-17
...
* Added some DOS-like commands, which can be used instad of Linux
  commands, including "type", "md", "rd", and "ren".

Offline curaga

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Re: Samsung laptop shipped with Tiny Core Linux (GPL violation)
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2018, 12:31:52 AM »
Thanks for bringing this up. We do not have a legal entity or resources to go after them, but this violation sounds like script edits only, so providing source would not be that beneficial.

Shipping TC as a FreeDOS replacement is certainly nice, and a heavyhanded approach would just stop that. Something like the SFC's approach where they only try to help them into compliance would be best IMHO, but again, we have no such resources. Busybox folks do have some, so if you want to see a change here, please forward this info there.
The only barriers that can stop you are the ones you create yourself.

Offline NewUser

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Re: Samsung laptop shipped with Tiny Core Linux (GPL violation)
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2018, 04:16:10 PM »
If you would like to forward this to busybox, there is a contact link here:  https://www.busybox.net/about.html

Offline NewUser

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Re: Samsung laptop shipped with Tiny Core Linux (GPL violation)
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2018, 04:19:48 PM »
If you would like to forward this to busybox, there is a contact link here:  https://www.busybox.net/about.html
I was to quick.  Look here: https://busybox.net/news.html

Offline PDP-8

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Re: Samsung laptop shipped with Tiny Core Linux (GPL violation)
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2018, 03:44:50 AM »
David - if everything checks out legally, I'd be very interested in getting one myself - at least in the US somewhere and maybe not a specialty shop in Korea.

Beyond the command-line, have you upgraded TC to a graphical environment on it, and does everything work?
cat -v Considered Harmful  -- Rob Pike

Offline David Timber

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Re: Samsung laptop shipped with Tiny Core Linux (GPL violation)
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2018, 05:19:30 AM »
David - if everything checks out legally, I'd be very interested in getting one myself - at least in the US somewhere and maybe not a specialty shop in Korea.

Beyond the command-line, have you upgraded TC to a graphical environment on it, and does everything work?

Here's the link you might find relevant: newbielink:https://opensource.stackexchange.com/questions/7340/requiring-personal-info-for-source-code [nonactive]

Before installing OS on my laptop, I copied the file system. It's a single EFI partition and runs on QEMU. The files can be found here: newbielink:https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/159d6EDDGxkxvoYG4v-zQYLvJYRI_3RTX [nonactive]

The file system is a zip file named "tinycore-sec_laptio.zip". The image I use for testing is "root.img.xz". Once you uncompres it, you can run the image with QEMU(command line included in the folder "qemu-cmd.txt"). I did not try to switch to graphical mode. Judging by the size of the file system and commands available, I think it's the version without GUI.

I cannot find you a model that's out in the US. But I can tell you this: search for any Samsung laptop that ships with Linux then you'll get one. If you happen to find one, match up with the list I made below. I made the list based on some Korean website.

NT900X5Y-AD2S
NT900X5Y-A78A
NT900X5Y-A58A
NT900X5Y-A38A
NT900X5V-GD5A
NT900X5V-A78A
NT900X5V-A58A
NT900X5V-A39A
NT900X5V-A38A
NT900X5R-KD3S
NT900X5R-KD2S
NT900X5I-A38A
NT900X3Y-AD5W
NT900X3Y-AD5S
NT900X3Y-AD3S
NT900X3Y-A78A
NT900X3Y-A58WA
NT900X3Y-A58A
NT900X3Y-A38A
NT900X3V-A78A
NT900X3V-A58A
NT900X3V-A38A
NT900X3R-KD3S
NT900X3R-KD2S
NT900X3I-A38A
NT850XAX-GD7A
NT800G5W-GD7A
NT800G5W-GD72A
NT800G5W-GD71A
NT800G5W-GD5A
NT800G5S-XD7S
NT800G5S-XD7A
NT800G5S-XD71A
NT800G5S-XD5S
NT800G5S-XD5A
NT560XAZ-GD7A
NT560XAZ-GD5A
NT560XAZ-AD5A
NT560XAZ-AD3A
NT560XAZ-AD2A
NT550XAZ-GD7A
NT550XAZ-GD5A
NT550XAZ-GD51A
NT550XAZ-AD5A
NT550XAZ-AD51A
NT550XAZ-AD3A
NT550XAZ-AD31A
NT550XAZ-AD2A
NT550EAZ-AD5A
NT550EAZ-AD3A
NT550EAZ-AD2A
NT550EAZ-AD1A
NT500R5Y-GD7A
NT500R5Y-GD5A
NT500R5W-LD5S
NT500R5W-LD5A
NT500R5W-LD35A
NT500R5W-LD34A
NT500R5W-LD31A
NT500R3W-LD5A
NT500R3W-LD3A
NT500R3W-LD2A
NT500R3W-LD1A
NT300E5S-KD5A
NT300E5S-KD54S
NT300E5S-KD2A
NT300E5S-KD1A
NT300E5S-KD14S
NT300E4S-KD2S
NT300E4S-KD2A
NT300E4S-KD1S

Offline PDP-8

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Re: Samsung laptop shipped with Tiny Core Linux (GPL violation)
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2018, 01:18:02 AM »
Well, this is certainly good news.  Quite a few years back Samsung stumbled with Linux and this seems to be showing that their engineers can prove their laptops work with it.  Not to mention having the good taste to use TC / Busybox !!

This NT* line looks interesting, and surely some code from Greg K-H is in there.

Let's hope the community can tidy up some licensing loose ends, and bring those machines to us TC fans!  I'd be first in line.

Maybe they'd be interested in the dCore flavor too?

Let's invite them into the fold rather than scaring / shaming them away!
cat -v Considered Harmful  -- Rob Pike

Offline David Timber

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Re: Samsung laptop shipped with Tiny Core Linux (GPL violation)
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2018, 05:05:16 AM »
Well, this is certainly good news.  Quite a few years back Samsung stumbled with Linux and this seems to be showing that their engineers can prove their laptops work with it.  Not to mention having the good taste to use TC / Busybox !!

This NT* line looks interesting, and surely some code from Greg K-H is in there.

Let's hope the community can tidy up some licensing loose ends, and bring those machines to us TC fans!  I'd be first in line.

Maybe they'd be interested in the dCore flavor too?

Let's invite them into the fold rather than scaring / shaming them away!

That was kinda my original intention. I was looking for a Linux laptop that I can find in Korea. There's not much of a choice, but I've managed to find that Samsung released few lineups that supports this "Linux (Console only)". I was sceptical at first. The label on the bottom of the laptop literally says "You should install Windows before use". I installed Fedora 28 instead and it works just fine. No kernel error, no driver problem. I've been using like this for about a month now. Someone in Samsung or AMI knew what they were doing.

You are right. Maybe I'm helping them get over with the "corporate inertia". My idea was to leave a review at /r/sysadmin, but I'm waiting to see how things will play out.

Offline PDP-8

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Re: Samsung laptop shipped with Tiny Core Linux (GPL violation)
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2018, 09:22:46 PM »
Awesome - I wonder if Samsung has the uefi secure boot disabled in bios by default?

Reason I'm wondering is that Fedora 28 uses a signed kernel key, and an interesting test might be to see if you can boot or run TC from your own thumbdrive, rather than what's already on board - even *if* it seems to work with the oem TC load.

Ie, I'd be totally frustrated as a user seeing TC on board, and perhaps messing it up so badly that I want to reinstall my own TC, and then finding out that you can't for some weird reason.


cat -v Considered Harmful  -- Rob Pike

Offline core-user

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Re: Samsung laptop shipped with Tiny Core Linux (GPL violation)
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2018, 05:43:19 AM »
It's long overdue that new machines came with something other than MS Windows.

I appluad any manufacturer that tries to break the MS stranglehold on operating systems on new computers. :)
AMD, ARM, & Intel.

Offline aw

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Re: Samsung laptop shipped with Tiny Core Linux (GPL violation)
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2018, 05:12:15 PM »
Wow, a laptop retailing for ~US $500 and ships with working TinyCore Linux! As others have mentioned, this should be encouraged rather than fought.
github.com/aw

Offline David Timber

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Re: Samsung laptop shipped with Tiny Core Linux (GPL violation)
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2018, 06:43:22 AM »
Awesome - I wonder if Samsung has the uefi secure boot disabled in bios by default?

Reason I'm wondering is that Fedora 28 uses a signed kernel key, and an interesting test might be to see if you can boot or run TC from your own thumbdrive, rather than what's already on board - even *if* it seems to work with the oem TC load.

Ie, I'd be totally frustrated as a user seeing TC on board, and perhaps messing it up so badly that I want to reinstall my own TC, and then finding out that you can't for some weird reason.
UEFI is enabled by default, but CSM is supported. ikr? many bios manufacturers start to drop legacy boot mode. I personally use my laptop with EFI enabled. Like you said, Fedora EFI kernel has lockdown feature enabled which is a bit frustrating because my fav hypervisor is vbox. With kernel lockdown enabled, you can't install vbox kernel drivers. Well, this gave me a opportunity to switch over to qemu, with which I'm not satisfied thus far. btw, I haven't a clue on the kernel key(are you talking about TPM? idk). But hey, CSM works. What else do we need?