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posted by janrinok on Wednesday May 24 2023, @05:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the what's-old-is-new-again dept.

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2023/05/brand-new-laptop-recreates-1981s-ibm-pc-complete-with-8088-cpu-and-640kb-of-ram/

All modern Intel and AMD PCs can trace their roots to a single system: the IBM Personal Computer. Originally released in August 1981, this computer became so popular and long-lived that competitors reverse-engineered its BIOS so that their computers could use the same software and peripherals, a practice that eventually resulted in a de facto standard whose descendants we still use today.

If you want to experience what using an old IBM PC was like, you could drop a few hundred dollars on a used one on eBay. Or you could roll the dice on this new oddball laptop on AliExpress. The "Book 8088" laptop PC combines modern components with an Intel 8088 processor and 640KB (yes, that's kilobytes) of memory.
[...]
Update, 5/20/2023: After this story was published, Ars was contacted by developer Sergey Kiselev, who maintains an open-source 8088 BIOS on GitHub. He alleged that the creators of the Book 8088 re-used his BIOS for the system while removing his name and language about the GPL v2 license that the BIOS is distributed under; we can't confirm the claim by comparing the code directly, but there are several distinct similarities in a screenshot Kiselev shared and one used in the Book 8088 retail listing.

"While my work is open source, and I don't mind people using it in their projects, I do care deeply about the principles of open source software development and licensing. And whoever manufacturers this machine, bluntly violates copyright law and licensing," wrote Kiselev to Ars detailing his claim. "Since you start your article with the discussion of how Compaq reverse engineered IBM's BIOS, I think it would be suitable to mention that the manufacturer pirated the BIOS, without crediting the work, and they violate GPL by not releasing the source code of their modified BIOS."


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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 24 2023, @06:31AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 24 2023, @06:31AM (#1307842)

    whoever manufacturers this machine, bluntly violates copyright law and licensing,

    I think it would be suitable to mention that the manufacturer pirated the BIOS, without crediting the work, and they violate GPL by not releasing the source code of their modified BIOS."

    Is it really a good idea for him to make such claims publicly? AFAIK if it's GPL V2 they can remove his name from it without violating copyright law and licensing:

    2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion of it

    Maybe the written offer is in the box which he doesn't have?
    https://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0.en.html [gnu.org]

    3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:

            a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,
            b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

    And maybe the written offer was valid for 3 years, it's just not valid in 2023 anymore. e.g. the link mentioned in the box no longer works... 😂

    Seriously though, does the b) option really force modifiers of GPL v2 software to make their links valid for 3 years from the date the enduser obtains the hardware/binaries even if they are not directly from the modifier?

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 24 2023, @06:37AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 24 2023, @06:37AM (#1307845)
    Since "valid for at least three years" is mentioned and not "valid forever" then it is reasonable to interpret that clause as starting from the date that particular hardware was produced (e.g. boxed by manufacturer). Not the date the enduser got it. Since the current enduser might be getting the item ten years later.