Episode 195

FOSSY 2023 with Denver Gingerich


August 18th, 2023

17 mins 3 secs

Your Host
Special Guest

About this Episode


Denver Gingerich


Richard Littauer

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain! Richard is in Portland at FOSSY, the Free and Open Source Software Yearly conference that is held by the Software Freedom Conservancy. In this episode, Richard hosts Denver Gingerich, a member of the Software Freedom Conservancy and Founder of JMP. Denver dives into the backstory of JMP, the initiative to make phone numbers as flexible as emails. They explore Denver’s role as the Director of Compliance at the Software Freedom Conservancy, where he ensures companies comply with open source software licenses. Then, the conversation takes a turn to tackle a range of software compliance controversies, from Vizio’s violation of GPL to John Deere’s restrictive software that hinders farmers’ right to repair their machines. Denver provides an invaluable perspective on the work being done to protect users from software licensing malpractices. Press download now to hear more!

[00:01:22] Denver tells us how he started JMP and the motivation behind it.

[00:02:52] Richard asks Denver about the funding model for JMP and how he supports himself financially, and Denver explains his role at the Software Freedom Conservancy, a non-profit charity based in New York.

[00:05:35] The Vizio lawsuit is talked about and Denver outlines how GPL enforcement lawsuits traditionally focus on copyrights but argues that the direct harm is usually done to the users of the software who receive it out of compliance.

[00:06:58] Denver shares that he’s not a lawyer by training, but he ended up in his role after reporting a GPL violation he encountered with an Insignia Blu-ray player to Bradley Kuhn at a conference.

[00:08:44] Richard asks if XMPP, the protocol uses by JMP, has license or compliance issues, and Denver explains that it’s not a software license issue and that XMPP, made through the IETF, doesn’t pose any licensing concerns.

[00:09:48] Richard discusses companies with bad track records in software licensing compliance and the right to repair, using John Deere as an example, and asks how anyone could know if a that company is violating software license agreements. Denver explains that the first step is to investigate what software is used on the machines. He also highlights the issues with modern agricultural technology.

[00:12:20] Denver tells us there are around eight employees at the Software Freedom Conservancy.

[00:12:47] Richard wonders about potential lawsuits against John Deere and Denver clarifies while they haven’t sued, they did make a public post about their concerns after private discussions didn’t lead to resolution.

[00:13:41] Richard asks if there are similar user protection efforts in other countries, and Denver assures there are, citing examples in Germany and mentioning other organizations, such as FSFE.

[00:14:50] Find out where you can learn more about Denver’s work and the Software Freedom Conservancy.



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