What should they have done?
Posted Sep 28, 2007 22:50 UTC (Fri) by landley
In reply to: What should they have done?
Parent article: GPL enforcement: waiting for the Monsoon
When I haven't been forced into court, all I personally care about is
identifying the exact version of each GPL package and either confirming
there were no changes to that base version, or else obtaining said patches
(and preferably the .config file when there is one) under the same license
terms as the rest of the project. I usually just want to reproduce what
people did with the code I wrote. (Unlike RMS, I'm way too lazy to try to
force anybody to mirror something that's already publicly available, at
least not without a darn good reason.)
Claiming busybox users were violating the EULA for investigating this is
not a move designed to make the developers _less_ interested. That move
works explicitly _against_ what I want:
Q: So your device contains vanilla 1.1.1 plus these two patches from the
mailing list, so we already have all this code and can reproduce what
A: We're not saying and trying to find out violates the EULA!
Q: OK, lawyers come out now...
If you _really_ want to escalate, you follow that sort of thing up by
ignoring the lawyers who try to contact you outside of court to talk about
it. That's really not a recipe for staying out of court.
And once lawyers enter into it, the letter of the license becomes more
important than just the spirit, and of course there's legal fees to
recover, and it just escalates. (The current settlement is entirely in
the hands of the lawyers.)
But when it's just developers, before the lawyers get involved? Show me
the code. If you're shipping vanilla BusyBox 1.00 with no patches, then
_SAY_ that. Explicitly. Either "It's $VERSION and we did not modify it"
or "It's $VERSION and here's a patch that applies against $VERSION". If
you want to be a legal stickler, give a URL to where we can download that
source from busybox.net, and offer to email a copy of that source as a
file attachment upon request.
Probably what confuses some companies is "it's publicly available version
$X, we got it from $URL, and we did not modify it" seems too obvious to
say, but _we_ don't know whether or not they modified it unless they tell
us. So they never actually explicitly say it, but then when we ask about
it they get confused...
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