Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 15th Dec 2009 20:51 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source Yesterday, we reported that the Software Freedom Law Center had started a lawsuit against several companies who they claim violated the GPL. The subject of the violation was BusBox, and the SFLC claims it is operating on behalf of the authors of BusyBox. Original BusyBox author Bruce Perens, however, begs to differ.
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cycoj
Member since:
2007-11-04

If derived code is extended to mean code that was originally based on something someone once wrote even though it doesn't include any of the original code, then Wine, GNU, all the BSDs and even Linux are violating copyright.
Wine devs are in the best position as they can claim that they have not ever seen a line of Windows code(dubious as that would be)

dubious? why? AFAIK Wine developers are very careful that noone who has actually seen Windows code can make contributions. If code looks fishy then they don't accept it. Exactly because it would get them in a lot of legal trouble. There was even the thing about ReactOS, with someone accusing them of having used or seen Windows code and they did a full audit to make sure that wasn't the case.

but their software is still obviously built after Windows and using windows as a reference.

As for others, all the original GNU and BSD devs had read and learnt from AT&T code as had Linus from Tanenbaum's. They also used that code as a base for their original systems linking to parts of it either directly or indirectly. The FSF claims that separate binaries are infringing too if they can only work with help from GPL code, so it should work the other way as well.

Firstly quite a bit of code people looked at was/is public domain. Secondly a lot of the programming in Linux BSD ... was actually done according to standards (POSIX anyone) so looking at the standard not the original code. Thirdly if you only take a small part of a program, especially if you even cite the original implementation, that probably falls under fair use.

Basically if that reasoning were to be upheld in Court, most open source software would be infringing on someone's copyright.


IMO you're incorrect. Thing about a book, if you took e.g. Harry Potter and rewrote the whole book changing all the formulations, but not the story you would quite certainly be infringing copyright and probably be sued.

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