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[3]: Why GPL then?
by umccullough on Wed 16th Dec 2009 02:09 UTC 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[5]: Why GPL then?
by umccullough on Wed 16th Dec 2009 16:10 in reply to "RE[4]: Why GPL then?"
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

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


Well, I dunno about mole hills here - this is the slippery slope. At what point can a distributor of GPL-enabled products simply say: "Not my fault, go to the OEM" - I believe several of the manufacturers being sued here have in fact already made that excuse (VersaTek claimed their OEM vendor used GPL, and it wasn't their fault).

Since GPL compliance isn't about money, and more about making sure everyone complies for the purpose of ensuring that all users of GPL software retain the freedom to modify it - I can't see how my individual example can be excused as less important because I'm not a Big Corporations. But whatever - I guess this is the same reason that people tend to believe copyright infringement on a small scale is "ok" while copyright infringement on a large scale is "evil".

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