May 15, 2006

GPL concerns halt Kororaa live CD

Author: Joe Barr

The Kororaa Live CD project has been temporarily shut down by questions over the legality of its distribution. The highly popular Live CD included the Xgl features which apply 3-D eye candy to the desktop. It also included binary only versions of Nvidia and ATI drivers, and that is the bug in the ointment.

An email the project team received recently, and posted to its website over the weekend, claims that the inclusion of Nvidia and ATI drivers violates the GPL:

It seems that your kororaa live CD contains the non-GPL nvidia and ati binary drivers. I hereby request that you cease distribution of these drivers as part of your live CD for the following reason: This distribution both goes against the open source spirit of linux and is a license violation of the linux kernel.

Because Kororaa lead developer Chris Smart cannot afford the legal help necessary to research and advise on the issue, nor to defend himself if legal action were to be taken against him, he has decided on the safer course of simply suspending distribution until things are more settled.

Smart details the extent of his research on the issue, which included asking both Nvidia and ATI for their positions, and concludes by writing:

The main point I want to raise is that we do want to comply, honour and respect the GPL in relation to the Kororaa Project. Currently I am in limbo because no-one seems to be able to confirm the accusations made in the email.

If we are indeed in violation then on behalf of the Kororaa Project I sincerely apologise to the entire open source world, and will cease distribution of the Xgl Live CD immediately.

Is anyone out there able to shed some ground breaking light on this issue?

Although the Xgl Live CD has been halted, we are still working on the next official Kororaa release, 2006. Thank you all for your support.

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