Author: Paolo Vanni M. Veñegas Date: To: True Computer Science Mailing List, Philippine Linux Users Group Mailing List CC: Subject: Re: [plug] GPL'd GNU/Linux Chikka Client (was: Chikka equivalent?)
On Tue, 6 Jul 2004 23:25:43 +0800 Federico Sevilla III <jijo@???> wrote: > Hrmm... this is VERY interesting, particularly because I'm still a CS
> undergrad, in desperate need of an interesting and doable thesis topic
> that I can finally put my heart into... something I won't keep putting
> off for tomorrow.
> I have one and only one question. Assuming I reverse engineer the
> protocol specification using traffic sniffing tools and don't mess
> around with the Chikka binary by disassembling it or somehow illegally
> getting a copy of the code or anything like that, what will the legal
> implications of writing a GPL'd GNU/Linux Chikka client be?
> Any thoughts?
That is quite interesting. :) Sniffing would definitely be a viable way to obtain the protocol spec -- most of Samba was done that way.
As for legal implications, I don't see why that should be a big deal. I haven't fully read their EULA and copyright restrictions, and I do understand that their licensing might have provisions against that, but from a practical perspective, you really wouldn't be doing anything wrong. You'd still have to be signed up with their centralized gateway to do anything useful. It's not like you're setting up an illegal SMS gateway or wardriving onto a GSM network.
Since you'd have do it clean-room, I doubt there'd be any major issues in GPL'ing anything you manage to hack up. But of course, making it widely available might cause unwanted complications. Remember Jon Johansen's issues with Apple regarding PlayFair (http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/04/16/1358215&tid=107).
Of course, one way of looking at this is that if you do manage to reverse-engineer their protocol and get a working client running, they don't even have to know you're running a rogue client on your end. *grin*