Sveasoft vs. Everyone: How to profit from free firmware

I’ve written about Linksys WRT54G / WRT54GS firmware in the past so I feel obligated to post an update. I can’t believe how big of a deal James Ewing of Sveasoft has made of this. To give a brief summary, he appears to basically be following the GPL with his firmware development and using a loophole to charge people for early access to the latest version. Fine, whatever, I don’t care. I’m patient. What bothers me is how he seems to keep finding ways to keep people from distributing the firmware, which appears to me to be in clear violation of GPL. At first I couldn’t find it on the Sveasoft website. Then I couldn’t even post in the “public” Sveasoft forum, and then I couldn’t find the firmware anywhere. That’s when I started to think something was up.

At first I didn’t believe the posts of threatening e-mails from James to people hosting the files, but after reading 4 different people giving very specific examples, I was more convinced. If anyone is interested in the reading the details of the threatening e-mails, the legal aspects, etc., here are some excellent links that give more detail than I can:

  • http://slashdot.org/~Featureless/journal/ – Thorough description of the legal situation and steps that have been taken to un-GPL the firmware.
  • http://www.tomscomputers.com/ – I guy who had his paid subscription to development releases revoked because he posted a MD5 checksum.
  • http://slashdot.org/~TheIndividual/journal/ – The person leading the fight to distribute the firmware and a comprehensive history of the struggles in doing so.

James has sent messages to web hosts complaining of “DMCA violations” for sites hosting firmware. In the e-mail, his title was listed as CEO, Sveasoft. I hate it when people inflate their titles for reasons of self-importance. To be a Chief Executive Officer, there have to be Indians for you to be the Chief over. I don’t think there are any Sveasoft firmware Indians (paying subscribers are customers and definitely do not count). To be a Chief Executive, there have to other Executives and those people have to qualify as Executives by being in charge of even more people. I haven’t seen an org chart of Sveasoft, but I’m pretty sure it’s a single dot. A single dot means you’re the “owner” or “self-employed”, but you’re definitely not a CEO.

I wish this whole thing would go away. Release the source code. Release the firmware. Stop harassing people.

Written by in: Web | Tags: | Last updated on: 2014-May-27 |

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