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John Deere violates the GNU GPL and right to repair and claims of preserving software freedom

Author: Depositphotos

The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) has published information on how one of the world’s largest agricultural implement manufacturers Violates the GNU GPL and the right to debug. John Deere, like some others, has been trying to restrict owners’ repair rights through licensing and the Acta (ACTA) for a long time. According to the licenses of the embedded software, they are not allowed to tamper with the console and must visit an authorized service center for each repair.

According to the SFC, owners of this technology have always had the ability to make their own repairs in the past, which has improved technical progress and allowed further development. Each generation of farmers exercised the right to repair their tools. Thanks to this, agriculture has greatly developed and improved. We take for granted the benefits it has brought us and the abundance of food it provides us.

But the current trend is preventing farmers from fixing their work tools. Unfortunately, agricultural machinery manufacturers who make great use of the software readily available as part of the farm implements (tractors, combines, etc.) As a result, farmers are cut off from their livelihood if the farm machinery manufacturer does not want to repair their farm implements, even though the farmer can easily do the repair himself or with the help of an acquaintance.

The SFC has been trying to solve the problem with John Deere for the past few years, but it is still said that it violates the GNU GPL and does not provide farmers with the technical details needed to make repairs. This is a serious problem beyond one person’s desire to fix the printer software or install alternative firmware on a fancy device. It has far-reaching implications for the livelihoods of all farmers, food security around the world, and how we as a society choose to reward those who make our lives better.

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The organization has now publicly called on John Deere to immediately address its violations of the GNU GPL across its entire line of agricultural equipment. It should therefore provide the complete source code, including “scripts used to verify compilation and installation of the executable file” required by the license. What Deere has submitted to the SFC so far does not meet the requirements of the GPL, either with respect to this quoted text or many other parts of the license. The organization also calls on farmers to join the fight for software freedom.

The Software Freedom Conservancy is a non-profit organization focused on ethical technology. Its job is to guarantee the right to repair, improve and reinstall software. It promotes and defends these rights by supporting Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) projects and by promoting policy strategies that protect Free and Open Source Software (eg Copyleft).