Copyright infringement in GNOME screen saver and derivative projects

Jamie Zawinski ( Jamie Zawinski ), co-founder of Netscape and, creator of XEmacs and author of the XScreenSaver project, reported about copyright infringement in the screen saver code gnome-screensaver , as well as in the mate-screensaver and cinnamon-screensaver projects that forked from it. It is alleged that the author of gnome-screensaver (William Jon McCann) copied most of the code from the XScreenSaver project and then changed the license for the code from BSD to GPLv2 without permission. Initially, it was noted in the source code that the project was based on code and ideas from Jamie Zawinski, but then it was deleted .

The fade.c file which was copied from XScreenSaver with almost no changes. Thus, any Linux distribution that ships gnome-screensaver, mate-screensaver, or cinnamon-screensaver contains copyright and license infringing code. According to Zawinski, if the author of gnome-screensaver asked him for permission to dual-license the code, he would most likely agree, but if asked about the possibility of removing the mention of him and assigning another person as the author, he would refuse.

The author of gnome-screensaver replied that this question was discussed before the code was posted and it tried to mention Zawinski in the list of authors, but there was controversy related to security . The situation is not detailed, but probably Zawinski did not want his name to be associated with programs that did not pay an appropriate level of security (for example, a few years ago, due to security, there was a conflict with Debian and Zawinski asked to remove XScreenSaver from the distribution due to the delivery of an outdated version) … At the same time, Zawinski insists that he did not give his permission to re-license the code from BSD to the GPL, and if this is not so, asks for evidence.

Jamie Zawinski is not trying to achieve benefits for himself, but only demonstrated this fact, as an addition to his article published on the devil-may-care attitude to security and fixing bugs in modern screen savers, written after the vulnerability in cinnamon-screensaver was identified and popped up against this background problems in the screen saver mate-screensaver, which remains unpatched for two years.

/Media reports.