BolgenOS plagiarism

Asked by skybon on 2010-06-04

Some guy from Nizhny Tagil threw away Ubuntu copyrights and named a system "BolgenOS". Is Canonical planning to take any legal action to protect its copyrights?

Here's the link to YouTube video about this:

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Scorpion_on (scorpion-on) said : #1


Peter Belyaev (upcfrost) said : #2


Arthur Blomnik (waters) said : #3


BooooGaGa (whoita) said : #4


DsXack (dsxack) said : #5


dst (dst-lab) said : #6


Xanuricus (aynuryanturin) said : #7

Story confirmed. The guy is 16 years old, and still in high school. Basically, it is the media hype and the outrage that the people aware of the Linux world have felt that has come to this discussion. Overall, I believe a letter of warning and a call to acknowledge his fraud would suffice. Thank you

Sylvia (fierevere) said : #8

i dont think that the question require immediate action, but it should be observed,
some kid replaced ubuntu default theme and came to his school boasting that he "mastered" his own distribution,
his mentors took a look and... ( omg ! they never seen Ubuntu before ) asked if the boy made it himself ? He answered.. Yes... because he want to look cool , then his teacher asked local TV "Telecon" to make a reportage about genius.. OMG! They dont seen Ubuntu too ! Currently the TV should make a reportage again and excuse because of mistake and wrong information given to public

-- sorry for bad english )

Sylvia (fierevere) said : #9

about copyright violations:

1) Arora renamed to OgenBrowse, copyright stated as Denis Popov, "based on the code of Arora project", name and email appended to top of the authors list, nothing has been removed from that list
2) In Gnome menu - removed "About Ubuntu" (no replacement, such as "about bolgenos")
3) Update manager has been removed and all update services disabled, apt-get, aptitude and synaptic package manager are kept, /etc/apt/sources.list set to Ubuntu mirror
4) Removed OOO and Firefox, replacements are Arora (named as Ogenbrowse), Abiword, Gnumeric
5) Installed Qt4 library, Geany, Qt Creator and Qt development tools, some with broken russian locale
6) Installer has been changed to do not mention Ubuntu anywhere
7) Any themes and wallpapers were removed, the boy replaced them with some kind of lucid-like , or mac-like theme, no indications about theme origins
8) kernel, gcc and other system components were'nt changed, uname -a shows that its Ubuntu built kernel
9) lsb_release says "BolgenOS"
10) Installer and bootsplash theme changed to say "Bolgenos"

in TV reportage guy mentioned that its all his own made

things that were promised by him but i havent found them in the .ISO

Popov Antivirus (believed to be some kind of frontend for ClamAV)
Popov Backup Center (no idea based on what)

Current status:
the ISO has been removed from one download location ( filesharing site)
Telecon TV is preparing (?) another reportage with excusements about a mistake made

z01 (z01-root) said : #11

BolgenOS are new revolution development of russian kernel hacker on html ;)

z01 (z01-root) said : #12

BolgenOS are new revolution development of russian kernel hacker on html ;)

xcellnt1 (xcellnt) said : #13

This is the horrible story of media hype and ignorance. But the BolgenOS became a sort of meme in ex-USSR. Of course, I agree that some actions may be done by Canonical. But, guy is only 16, he probably didn't knew about aftermath. So, don't be hard on him.

Sylvia (fierevere) said : #14

It isnt that horrible, the story is on other side a funny social experiment, and it shows that Ubuntu by itself is a success, its been accepted and honored. "Linux" and "Ubuntu" were not mentioned anyhow, but it was _something really new and better than MS Windows_, and it had success.

pipe (piperu85) said : #15


Deviousway (deviousway) said : #16


Ignat Loskutov (iloskutov) said : #17

AFAIK, Popov Backup Center is based on Tar.

Nikita (loopman8) said : #18
Nikita (loopman8) said : #19
dimas000 (asdfghjlk) said : #20

+1, it it theft and GPL violation

Ivan Zorin (iaz) said : #21

For English-speaking users:
Here the report (from where it all started) on youtube in English (it's not perfect, but I guess you can get the point) - [video doesn't mine, I've just post link to it]

For author:
I guess, that this link should be in the question, so if you can, please, edit it.

Tom (tom6) said : #22

LOL, i think this is hilarious. Would a story about Ubuntu have got this coverage any other way? It seems this guys has actually done us a favour by getting the story out there.

An OS is far more than 'just' the packages. There is a huge question of support forums and community base for developing it. Without the community the users would soon have to start looking around for something similar.

Many countries develop their own version from Ubuntu and usually feedback a lot of translations and things that then benefit Ubuntu main. Look at what the 5 governments of Spain produce (Debian based, not specifically Ubuntu)
Often there are paid programmers and/or translators contributing to those projects and it is no great surprise that Spanish was the first non-English language to be fully translated for Ubuntu main. Many of those translations are for "upstream" packages and so the translations are there for other distros too.

I think our aim has to be to get gnu&linux out there to as many people as we can and hope that they will contribute either directly or indirectly to Ubuntu, whether or not that was their original intention.

It is unclear whether this young man / child was trying to "play a prank" or embarrass the teacher or some other motivation. I think that if school children were unable or unwilling to play pranks and test themselves against "the establishment" then innovation would die off in future years when they take over leadership of organisations and projects.

I think the key thing to take notice of was that he didn't ask for any payment, even for the legitimate work he did in the process. I just hope the OS gets GPL'd quickly

Good luck and regards to all from
Tom :)

Dmitriy (deemareeck) said : #23


The guy is too young to be sued. However, I think that Canonical should force the boy to apologize towards the media and the public and force him to tell the media the TRUTH about Ubuntu and how it was REALLY created.

The only problem I have with this kid is that he intentionally lied to the media and the local community about the true origins of the operating system. The problem is not WHAT he was trying to accomplish, but the WAY in which he tried to achieve "success".

This story reminds me of the lyrics of "Clawfinger - The truth" ;-)

Tom (tom6) said : #26

As a child i did a number of stupid things and found myself getting deeper and deeper into something that had only meant to be a bit of light-hearted fun. I find it difficult to condemn a child over something like this.

The disturbing part is that the guy is nearly a man and about to take his place in the world. Hopefully he will learn something from this. Hopefully we all will.

The world used to be quite fractured but with the internet even a small indiscretion can really bite you on the ankle quite hard. I think we need to be more cautious about "news stories" and their source especially when sources are either mis-informed, ill-educated, gullible or "proprietary". I am sure we have all seen events and then read in print the way the facts were so badly distorted that events seemed quite back-to-front even before other media re-reported it.

Certainly this guy is talented, lets hope he can put that to good use in a way that benefits a lot of people. A lot of us in here have put a lot of work into Ubuntu and are justified in being quite angry about the news story but none of us were there. The actions as reported were reprehensible, but most of us mocked the establishment at some point, probably in our teenage years too.

The other side of the story was that MicroSquish was several times mentioned as being inferior to another OS and we saw some of the school machines running linux. How bad is that? If we each helped 1 teenager to do something similar then Bug #1 might fall by next week Thursday

Regards from
Tom :)

ZiliBoba (zulu-2-u) said : #27

Mark, Tom. Look this:
"FF8 Breezy by Popov" -
"Nobuo Uematsu - Final Fantasy VIII - Breezy" -

Comparison of them -

It seems Denis lies too much.

"...Certainly this guy is talented..." yeah ! Tom you're right !

Maybe Canonical Ltd should stop him ?

Yes, I'm from Russia too, I confirm, that that little boy "created" new Ubuntu. It's necessary to stop him. Firstly, in kind ways (because his situation is VERY BAD, let's take pity on him). He had broken Russian Copyrignt law ( in russian: ). He can be put in jail for 2 (!) years (maximum).
But, Cannonical shouldn't allow such copyright violation and they should make him change the copyright (and his "BolgenOS" will be just an Ubuntu derivative).
If not, so... he will have "small" problems.

Ivan Zorin (iaz) said : #29

Here some additional details about this story.
About a half year ago at Russian site (one of most visited) about Free and Open Source software ( in forum section this boy has created topic, where he has told, that he's going to create new operating system ( Most of visitors tried to explain, that it's too hard for one man (some comments were pretty rough, however), especially without any skills in operating system theory. There was many proposals to this boy about join in already existing upstream projects, but his comments and replies were too much silly and ambitious, and looks like he just didn't listen, so most of visitors decided, that it was just some joke and boy was trolling.
But after that, in the first days of June, some Russian news sites have started to assert, that "boy has created brand new operating system".
What he really did? He has re-brand Ubuntu, changed artwork, changed some copyrights in some apps (for example, he just changed logo in "Aurora", but placed his name at the first line of "authors" list, and renamed it in "OgenBrowse"), and showed it to his teacher. Teacher decided, that it's some really new operating system.
Local TV news channel heard about this "innovation", and made a short report; as I've said before, here the report from where it all started - ; OS has been called "BolgenOS", but it's just re-branded Ubuntu; after this report some journalists of other sites have started re-"print" this news without attempts to understand, what this about is.
When disturbance of Russian IT-audience has became too large, TV-channel (after active debates on channel's forum, started by people - has admitted mistake and gave promise, that disclaimer will be available soon, and boy has posted in his livejournal post about disclaimer too (, that he didn't create new OS, but took Linux kernel and Ubuntu distro as basis, and that this is responsibility of journalists for such disinformation (but in the report he claiming, that he created OS by himself nevertheless).
But it was too late to stop this "wave" - now practically everyone IT-man from Russia (they say, that about this story already know in some countries from CIS) knows about this story: some of them think that this is pretty funny and laughing at this whole absurd situation, some of them think that such behavior is unacceptable and boy should learn lesson well (by getting official warning from FSF/Canonical about his committed actions - that's why this question has been created, I guess).
Here direct search links in google, so you can find more information about this mob hysteria (but most of them in Russian):
Thanks for attention.

Andrey Danilov (killer2368) said : #30

We must cut plagiarist's eggs :)

Hi, Silvie!

Tom (tom6) said : #32

Hi :)

I trust Ivan's comments more than the news-reporters for many reasons. Top reason is that he is not blatantly depending on us reading the post in order to make money. Mark Rijckenburg's comment just before my lengthy post had good points and i really liked what Sylvia said. ZiliBoba & GamePad64 i also had to agree with. There are so many facets to this sort of issue and it stirs at the heart of some of the longest running and most heated 'discussions' in FOSS communities.

Many regards to all from
Tom :)

Anton (benderamp) said : #33

Does this boy really violates any licenses? As far as I could see from the screenshots, he has added his copyrights to some programs, but still left names of the original programs (for example he has put statement "based on Arora code" in his browser).

For the positive answer to the question if he did all the work himself and if the distributions is his work - can Canonical people really say that Ubuntu is the product of their work or not? Ubuntu is based on Debian, and Debian is based on work from thousands of people allover the world, so does that mean that Ubuntu team can't call Ubuntu their own product? Denis did not receive any sponsorship from grownups around, he also did not do his work with his schoolmates or friends. So he can definitely say, that he has created Bolgenos without any help from this point of view.

As it was said above, distribution is not only the programs it consits of - this is also userbase and community around it, and also its brand name. Denis has created his own brand and found his users from his school and even from the city, and he was even been able to get positive promotion on the local tv (before all that baiting from "open-source defenders" has started in our local). Not every single ubuntu-based linux discribution author from thousands could achieve the same.

I hope Ubuntu team will not join this wolf-pack who is hunting for him allaround - in case if really did some formal license violations, he could be kindly notified about that - for sure he would fix those issues (as far as I know, he has already made some fixes in his site and put some notes that his distribution is Ubuntu-based). There is positive feedback about "his" OS in the regional government and school teachers in his region, and there are some semi-official claims that this OS is going to be installed in all schools in this region - that really means that his positive feedback is also related to Ubuntu - so it would be really stupid to lose this moment trying to kill this success. The right way would be to contact him, suggest him cooperation and to start installing Bolgenos/Ubuntu in the schools of his reagion together until local school teachers are really willing to do this.

This might be also really important in actual current time, because here in Russia we are running the program of moving all schools to free software, success or fail of this program will be very important for the fate of free software in the whole world. Not all reagions understand the real importance of this changes and many teachers sensitized negatevely to any non-microsoft software. So, if in this particular region teachers are willing to use Bongelos - let them use Bolgenos - finally they still will use free software and would not be scared of Ubuntu/Debian/Mandriva/Alt Linux after some time - this would mean success. If you kill Bolgenos and say - all this staff is a scam, Denis is cheater - here is our lovely Ubuntu, please use it - they will not use neither Bolgenos, nor Ubuntu, nor any other free software discribution - this would be definitely a fail.

Vladimir Kozlov (causelove) said : #34

I think Canonical Ltd must send letter to Denis' parents :)

Anton (benderamp) said : #36

>Somebody can stop it?

Stop what?? Selling notebooks with preinstalled linux?? o_O

> preinstalled linux
It's illegal distr, and this distr violate GPL.

Anyony, who want to stop it, can just go to police station and write statement about voilication of 146 article of the Criminal Code of Russia.

Tom (tom6) said : #38


I think we should listen to Anton about this and treat it as "just another Ubuntu clone" and welcome it into the lists of distros.

I think that this BolgenOS should be treated like; Mint, GuadaLinex, Catix, Asturix, MoLinux while Lubuntu should receive official status as an officially supported member of the Ubuntu / Cannonical group (like Xubuntu & Kubuntu). While BolgenOS doesn't seem like much at the moment perhaps it could really fly if it keeps attracting free advertising and builds it's community rapidly. I like the point about it's community already growing with students, teachers, other people in the home city and news-reporters all joining. Are Russian translations complete in Ubuntu yet?

Regards from
Tom :)

Sylvia (fierevere) said : #39

Its a forced meme, preinstallation on netbooks is a piece of hysteria, and its hard to determine now if all those new sites belong to Denis Popov, some (or even all) were made for fun by other people

Tom (tom6) said : #40

We have a tactical opportunity here. Are we going to build on it or blow it?

Anton (benderamp) said : #41

Currently this issue raised a big negative resonanse in runet and I suppose even those people who were using this distro might turn against its author (and his shool teacher already suffered with his health after all this situation), so realistically, currently I'm not sure in the future of this distrubution as things already came so far.

I can't guaranty, that this boy did everything right from the site of licensing, copyright, law or professinal etics, but I can definitely say, that this movenet against him has nothing in common with constructive position. People, who is not familiar with free licenses details (and actually are not computer gurus at all - like our school teachers) would be just affraid of making similar things (when the school student make a modifications of free programs) - no matter if all licensing turms are fulfilled or not.

I think impartial analysis of this situation should be made - if he really violated GPL/copyright/whatever else - this points should be clarified - what he did right and what was wrong - and the right civilisated solution could be found - probably the author would be glad to coperate to solve all problems (if he would not, bad to him, but it seems that for now nobody did try).

Also probaly, you have a link so some kind of manual, which would clarify the steps that should be made for any ubuntu-based distribution in order not to break licensing/copyright/branding/etc turms.

Sylvia (fierevere) said : #42 (russian lang)

todays reportage of telecon TV, they fully apologized and explained the situation, unfortunately Denis is hiding and they were not able to interview him

Sylvia (fierevere) said : #43 (posted by Telecon TV)
(yet under processing)

GuttaLinux (driowrea) said : #44

Dear colleagues, please avoid that "he is just a naïve child" bullshit. One must have respect for others' labour, be it physical or intellectual, disregarding his/her age and gender. Be it retarded school kiddie like Denis, or a company of some bad guys violating GPL. For the good of both Ubuntu and the retard, strong measures should be taken with no delay.

My proposal: 1) whip that juvenile douchebag's ass publicly, 2) make him apologize to the community and write "I shall never violate GPL or remove copyright/copyleft statements" on the chalkboard 50 times, 3) make his teachers and TV journalists learn to appeal to expertise first when making statements about "revolutionary work by young genie". The last item in this list is probably the hardest one to implement.

Also, I warn you guys from treating Sylvia's messages too seriously. She is a well-known attention whore famous at, with Mother Theresa syndrome, prone to martyrdom and "Internet white knighting". Problems like this should be solved strongly, with full confidence, with NO mercy or compassion or other sissy stuff.

krom (kaskad007) said : #45

The guy does not have to pay so much attention, but the OS it has violated certain laws ...
For example, article 146 of the Criminal Code. "Infringement of Copyright and Related Rights"

Wangoviridans (wangoviridans) said : #46

This photo from one of the Russian stores

This is Online store

Zimet (zimet) said : #47

Denis Popov deleted Most copyrights and lists all the developers, after usurped the exclusive rights to these products. b

Article 146. Violation of copyright and related rights

DanilinVA (danilinvictor81) said : #48


Tom (tom6) said : #50

I wouldn't know how to even start looking for a way to delete the copywrite (or should that be copyleft(?)) notices. Ok, so i probably wouldn't look as i am too busy trying to help people get some of those fringe machines working but the point is that it takes some skill to do that. If we could drag that talent & skill into doing something productive perhaps within a good team then it could benefit everyone.
Regards from
Tom :)

Zimet (zimet) said : #51

* Sarcasm *

Following the principle of the new OS appeared brand new image editor PIMP, brand new web server Papache, a fundamentally new IM protocol XMPoPov, fundamentally new kernel Pinux, a fundamentally new competitor XMPoPov PICQ, a fundamentally new tracker Porrent, file-sharing protocol popov2popov, a fundamentally new messenger PutIM fundamentally new networks Pi-Fi and Pluetooth. As well as desktops Pnome, PusDE, PLUXBOX, player Popov's MPlayer, Internet popopov, programming language and PoHPov CMS Piki.

* / Sarcasm *

REtaiL_OZ (retailoz) said : #52


Gall (agalakhov) said : #53

One has to note that Russian Criminal code applies in full to any person of 16 or older just like an adult. (Criminal code of Russia, article 20, part 1). Denis Popov is 16 years old, and Plagiarism is considered a Crime (Criminal code of Russia, article 146, part 1), if it caused any considerable detriment to the author. Teachers and others who helped Denis in his "work" may or may be not considered a Conspiracy (Criminal code of Russia, article 7).

That's too serious, one has to do something.

Tom (tom6) said : #54

I agree with Gail. I would hate for our community to lead to the end of the careers of people who's only fault was lack of knowledge (which has been partly solved on an individual basis and is our on-going work in general anyway) and enthusiasm for a project like ours and keenness in pushing the potential of a fairly talented but misguided child.

If more of my teachers had been so keen to help their students then perhaps things would be a lot more positive for a fair few people. Generally it is experiences and stories like this that prevent teachers from daring to really teach. The involvement of the teacher is unclear but the result will obviously be to curtail any further involvement with OpenSource or with helping children aspire to work towards a better future or dream of becoming something more than drones.

There is a question of public perception and reputations involved in this too. What kind of impression are we creating in Russia? What headlines can we expect? "Linux led to suicide of teenager", "Teacher will never work again due to linux". Is this the sort of thing that would help us achieve our objectives in Bug #1. If we could reach out and draw the BolgenOS project in to our (wider) family and give it some support then headlines might read "Linux usage becomes widespread" or "Linux boosts economy in region"

Alternatively if linux is seen as subversive and "underground" in Russia it could boost popularity. At school in England they showed us people copy the Bible by hand and carefully sharing at great personal risk. The growth of Christianity in Russia seemed fuelled by it's illegality at the time. The same with prohibition in the States. By making something clearly illegal it can boost interest but at what cost?

It seems that "corporate crime" in the USA is dealt with a lot less harshly so some people will see this whole issue as a joke. To me the issue is simple; do we wont to spread fear, doubt and uncertainty about the risks of using linux or do we want to draw people into the community and help them to enjoy Free Software?

Yes, the boy did something quite wrong and yes people such as IT teachers 'should' know about OpenSource but we have to accept responsibility for our failure to help IT teachers and the world at large to hear about OpenSource. We need to get articles written up and into mainstream press about the positive things people are doing with it or else we can expect more suicides and bad feelings toward us grow.

Regards from
Tom :)

GuttaLinux (driowrea) said : #55

Tom and colleagues,

Your fears concerning the severity of Russian law system are much exaggerated. The process of criminal prosecution itself is started by either a) filing a lawsuit by a plaintiff (Canonical in our case), b) by district attorneys themselves. The first case is unlikely, the second - likely even less, because of attorneys' total ignorance in IT problems. Even if the prosecution is initiated, the boy will NEVER be given a real prison term. It's NOT Stalin's reign in Russia anymore (though some enjoy drawing parallels between Stalin's rule and today's Russian regime), and judges at the court are NOT some bloody butchers. In the worst case, the kid will be either fined or given a "mock" term. Either outcome will be just good for the young rascal: to give him stress and to make him understand all the possible REAL consequences of what he does think to be some "virtual" trick.

It's not that "lack of knowledge" that lead him to this situation. It is called "ignorance" plus "insolence". Also, please have no illusions about his technical "talents"; the only one talent discovered yet is his talent to fake; great if he has learned how to modify source code and recompile packages; there will be no surprise of mine if it turns out that he removed copyrights from binaries using a hex-editor. His possible involvement into the community most likely will be just harmful. The society, especially when speaking of Russian IT community, is very, VERY unforgiving and vindictive. Every move he makes will be followed by sarcastic "wow, it's him who developed LolgenOS! how is the upcoming 2.0 release doing, with Popov's Office, blackjack and the hookers?" It's this scenario that will most likely lead him to suicide. To cease activity on BolgenOS, to forget about his ambitions, to try something else, say, military or sports career — this is the only way for the young scoundrel to experience catharsis and find his place in life.

At least, there is no possibility for plagiarism in sports.

In agree with GuttaLinux:
Google Questions (in Russian):

Attention to Addition #2.

I'll translate for English-speaking people:
"I have read GPL, but I haven't noticed this paragraph. [How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs] Thanks."

So... HE HAD READ GPL, and he knew that he is breaking a license.

Tom (tom6) said : #57

HI :)

It is not particularly the Russian penal system that i have a problem with. In comparison with other countries (such as my own) it might turn out to be a positive and nurturing helping a person develop better skills and a better attitude towards society in a caring way. But that is seldom the case in any country's penal system. Generally it seems that prisons develop people's resentment towards society (particularly those that they blame for putting them there) while giving them ample opportunities to learn a greater range of skills for causing society more harm. I think 16 is a bit young to push someone deeper into this repeating cycle. Also i think we should try to make sure it is not us that put him there. Clearly that is where he is heading anyway but does it do our public image any good to be the ones that push him that way? Does it help us achieve our objectives of
1. getting linux out there to more users?
2. improving our existing systems?
3. building and strengthening our communities?

Regards from
Tom :)

javajox (javajox) said : #58


Dmitry (dmitry-obelov) said : #59

+ Soak plagiarist

amdlin (amdlintuxos) said : #60

Denis Popov is a child, and even he have read GPL carifully, he doesn't understand whole responsibility of his action. Unfortunately the where no person near to lead the boy in right direction or put him into his mistakes.
Denis does the crime, my point he is already judged for that by community (and by news on TV).
Be mercy, he is only a child (11 form), he want to be a hero(as every child dream to be) but became very negative person. russian community has already judged him by negative famous.
As far as i know at the end the boy agreed that his BolgenOS is not his product it is ubuntu.

Dmitry (dmitry-obelov) said : #61

Он лжец. Если он смог перекрасить его дистр. он понимал что делает.

Xavier (1984fly) said : #62

He should be punished. Let punishment be not so serious, but otherwise he will never understand that he has made.

Philippe46 (philippe46) said : #63


Bogdan Yurov (nick4fake) said : #64


Vladimir (v2005) said : #65


Vladimir (v2005) said : #66


Alexander (r-chehowsky) said : #67

I'm for it

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