GPL enforcement: waiting for the Monsoon
Posted Oct 4, 2007 12:07 UTC (Thu) by keestux
Parent article: GPL enforcement: waiting for the Monsoon
This subject interests me a lot. A few years ago I bought a harddisk recorder from KiSS (now owned by Linksys), a DP-558. It's a device that uses uClinux, and busybox (amongst other software). As soon as I had this device I started to look at the firmware. At the time KiSS published a GPL.zip, but after brief examination I knew that the latest firmware could not have been built with that GPL.zip. Then I started writing emails to KiSS, which were never answered in a satisfactory manner. Even after Linksys bought them the situation has not improved. In fact it got worse. The KiSS download URL disappeared and Linksys published an older GPL.zip than what KiSS had. I wrote them about this, but they never acted nor answered.
What I learned from this is that a company, such as KiSS, can easily get away with being unfriendly to GPL (to put it mildly). They simply act as dumb as possible, and preferably do not answer emails about it. Sometimes they publish a new GPL.zip, but mostly that is way too late, or incomplete. And to pretend everything is alright with them, they fill their website with GPL friendly notes, as if what they publish is sufficient.
For a software engineer, like myself, that is not enough. But hey, I'm not a copyright holder of uClinux nor busybox, what can I do? I just tried, in a friendly manner, to ask for up-to-date GPL source code. But they never answered to my request. So, speaking from experience I'd say that yes, some companies will only begin to understand by the time they get sued. And by that time it comes in handy that they acted dumb, so they can pretend they never knew.
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