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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RE[2]: Why GPL then?
by Macrat on Wed 16th Dec 2009 01:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Why GPL then?"
Macrat
Member since:
2006-03-27


While I don't totally agree, one thing in the slashdot comments that caught my attention was the assertion that someone who buys a product containing GPL code and then re-sells it is responsible for passing on the license text and source code to the next buyer.

This provides an interesting problem for retailers and used-product sales...


No, the GPL only says that you have to make the source code available.

You can do that by putting it on your web site, or even by including it on the CD.

Not a problem for retailers.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Why GPL then?
by umccullough on Wed 16th Dec 2009 02:09 in reply to "RE[2]: Why GPL then?"
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

You can do that by putting it on your web site, or even by including it on the CD.

Not a problem for retailers.


Ah, right, so simple. So when I buy a TV containing GPL firmware from Walmart, they should be providing me with the source code before I leave the store...

I suspect they have absolutely no clue whether or not the products they're selling contain GPL code or not - would you reasonably expect them to know this? Would you reasonably expect some guy selling a (potentially used) TV on Craigslist or Ebay to know he must provide the source for it as well? What if the original source is no longer available (> 2 years after original purchase date), and he cannot locate it.

These are new issues for me to consider - now I must be more mindful when re-selling anything using GPL software in the future.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Why GPL then?
by Ed W. Cogburn on Wed 16th Dec 2009 05:46 in reply to "RE[3]: Why GPL then?"
Ed W. Cogburn Member since:
2009-07-24

Ah, right, so simple. So when I buy a TV containing GPL firmware from Walmart, they should be providing me with the source code before I leave the store...


Ironic that you would use a TV as an example, since several of the high-end plasma TVs being made now use embedded Linux (and can probably be bought at Walmart). Obviously, those OEMs have no problem with GPL compliance.

now I must be more mindful when re-selling anything using GPL software in the future.


If you're a Walmart, just pass all requests/issues to the OEM, and if you're an individual selling something on Ebay, who the hell is ever going to bother to sue anyway? Its not like these lawsuits actually make anyone money! All these lawsuits we've been talking about are with OEMs (knowingly) using embedded Linux in (current) retail products.

Mountain != Mole Hill

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Why GPL then?
by 3rdalbum on Wed 16th Dec 2009 07:02 in reply to "RE[3]: Why GPL then?"
3rdalbum Member since:
2008-05-26

Ah, right, so simple. So when I buy a TV containing GPL firmware from Walmart, they should be providing me with the source code before I leave the store...


Usually, manufacturers will include a slip of paper or a section in the manual that lists the open-source projects, and gives you a URL where you can download the source code directly from the manufacturer or an internal component's manufacturer.

My router included a slip of paper with a link, my Walkmans both have the details on the FCC approval / warranty sheet, and I've seen Panasonic TVs which have the GPL and URL actually in the TV's "Unit Information" screen.

Reply Parent Score: 3