Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 6th Apr 2007 13:14 UTC, submitted by detonator
OpenBSD "I, Michael Buesch, am one of the maintainers of the GPL'd Linux wireless LAN driver for the Broadcom chip (bcm43xx). The Copyright holders of bcm43xx (which includes me) want to talk to you, OpenBSD bcw developers, about possible GPL license and therefore copyright violations in your bcw driver. We believe that you might have directly copied code out of bcm43xx (licensed under GPL v2), without our explicit permission, into bcw (licensed under BSD license)." The entire thread can be found here.
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RE[3]: re
by h times nue equals e on Fri 6th Apr 2007 16:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: re"
h times nue equals e
Member since:
2006-01-21

It could have EASILY been commited to CVS by mistake.


I'm sorry, but while it is definitely important to discuss the social and moral implications of the "how do I weight the wish of others to be informed in private about their wrongdoings against my wish to protect my own contributions" question, the real issue here is imho a very hand - waiving approach towards incompatible licenses from (at least) the author of the bcm BSD driver.

It is perfectly OK to use foreign code snipplets in my own, private development branch as placeholders, as long as I conform to the licenses of said snipplets before I merge it with the public branch. But if I read the example [1] correctly, some of the bcm43xx snipplets were for instance used to replace already existing but nonfunctional code (quote from [1] :

Commit message for bcw revision 1.78:
Read the whole SPROM content with a single routine to a own sprom struct.

For those people who have reported about broken MAC address at attach time, this should fix the problem.


At least this code segment was not a place keeper. This one replaced a (non-functional, but fixable) existing part and went - if I interpret the rest and the note correctly - into code intended for public testing.

I'm currently not involved with kernel development stuff, but I have to work with code from my colleagues and even if they most of the time release their code into the public domain or use a very liberal MIT-style license (academia), I would *NEVER* commit samples of their code into my repository without

- Placing comments before and after the snipplets, so that I can identify these contributions easier in diffs

- Write down file and linenumber in the commit note, so that all other folks that reuse my code know of all sources.

I always thought, that developers of projects with a far wider audience would take additional steps to prevent a tainting of their code base, but if this all was really just a mistake (although I somehow doubt this if [2] is correct and the the violations prevail in several commits and not in just one) then some mechanisms are needed to prevent such nuisances in the future.

[1]http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux.kernel.wireless.general/1558/fo...
[2]http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.linux.kernel.wireless.general/1558/fo...

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