[svlug] HP's Quickplay - Where's the Source?

Karsten M. Self kmself at ix.netcom.com
Thu Dec 30 15:29:44 PST 2004

on Wed, Dec 29, 2004 at 10:40:44PM -0800, Serban Giuroiu (gyzmobro at yahoo.com) wrote:
> Someone I know recently got a hold of a new HP laptop equipped with
> HP's Quickplay software. This is a Linux-based media suite for playing
> music and DVD's without having to boot into another operating system.
> Curious, I wanted to have a look through the source code for this
> product since at least one piece of software (the Linux kernel) for
> certain comes from the open-source community, and it is quite natural
> that other open-source software would be included too.
> After searching extensively for any pointers to the source, I came out
> empty-handed. There was no sign of it in the Quickplay manual, on HP's
> web site, Google, or on the Quickplay recovery CD. I decided to try
> and contact HP and kindly ask them about the source code.
> On the "Contact HP" page at
> http://welcome.hp.com/country/us/en/contact_us.html it was hard to
> choose which category I should pick to proceed. I finally decided to
> go to the notebook support page for the specific laptop. To complete
> the support request, there were a few fields on the page asking for
> information such as the serial number of the laptop. The owner of the
> machine wants nothing to do with this and doesn't want information
> about his laptop being included, so I feel stuck. 

> What is a person to do in this situation? Legally and rightfully, the
> source code should be available as the kernel is licensed under the
> GPL, but I haven't been able to find it after a thorough search. Any
> ideas?

Note that the GNU GPL offers three options for source distribution, two
of which are availble for commercial distribution.  You need to find the
license accompanying the system itself to find what those terms are:

    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;

    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,

...so either the laptop has sources on it, or there's a written offer to
provide source to any third party.  HP is generally pretty clueful WRT
GPL, though in any large corporation, distribution of clue varies by
department and division.  I suspect they're on top of this.

I've found a Quickplay project at Sourceforge, though that appears to be
something different.  Very little at HP's own site, as you've noted.
Possibly under the laptop's own product page?


Karsten M. Self <kmself at ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    "I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young."
    "Why, what did she tell you?"
    "I don't know, I didn't listen."
    - HHGTG
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