How not to handle a licensing violation
Posted Apr 11, 2007 22:00 UTC (Wed) by cventers
In reply to: How not to handle a licensing violation
Parent article: How not to handle a licensing violation
I didn't really see any jerks except for Theo. All the concerns about
going public are really valid -- OpenBSD CVS cannot be an anonymizing
proxy through which GPL code can be incorporated (intentionally or
accidentally) into proprietary software.
The Linux devs started out with a peaceful message, even offering to
relicense parts of the code.
Theo responded by calling the code's inclusion a "mistake" (as if copying
code from one driver into yours, knowing full well that it violates
copyright, could ever be considered an "accident"). All of these
incidents where Linux code was being checked into the OpenBSD,
BSD-licensed CVS tree were all accidents. The accidents continued to
happen over the course of more than a month.
Theo erected a straw man: "What, you want my driver developer to stop his
Theo engaged in ad hominem attacks against the Linux driver developer.
Theo implied that copyright might not apply because the bcw driver
doesn't yet work properly. (What?)
Theo implied that the only copyrighted material was spacing and comments.
By blowing up and making outrageous claims, Theo *caused* the issue to
get Slashdotted. You regret it being public? Your tantrum made it more
At the end of the day, the OpenBSD project deleted the driver and spun
off into rants about OpenSSH and how evil the GPL is. All of that because
an OpenBSD developer blatantly violated a GPL copyright and got called on
For the record... I don't have it out for OpenBSD. When Theo made his
call for OpenSSH contributions, I answered with a donation out of my
personal pocket for $40.
But was it wrong for the Linux developers to go public, even before going
private? Don't think so. There was even discussion in the commentary that
implied that when Linux asked for some BSD code (which they don't have to
do, except for the fact that Linus won't merge BSD code without
permission out of respect), they were told to piss off.
I agree with some of the others in the list... I think Theo was just
trying to distract attention away from the copyright infringement by
being as loud and obnoxious as possible.
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