It's both easier and simpler
Posted Jun 7, 2011 8:15 UTC (Tue) by khim
In reply to: Android, forking, and control
Parent article: Android, forking, and control
Can you compare the GPL's burden on OEMs to a typical commercial licensing agreement?
It's different. And it's much, much, MUCH easier for the OEM to comply with typical commercial license. Not because it's intrinsically harder but because it's totally different.
Commercial licensing agreement is typically imposes lots of burdens (you must count number of licenses sold, you sometimes need to certify your changes or are not allowed to do them at all, etc), but this is the exact some burden hardware suppliers will ask for! Any OEM has well-oiled machinery to talk with suppliers - or it'll not be OEM for long.
GPL does not place any such obligations on OEM - but instead it tasks them with simpler but very unfamiliar task: now they must track their own changes and make them available to customer. This is not something they were ever prepared to do. The most they expected from customers is returns of broken or unsold goods - and even then they can just throw them away and replace with newer models if they so decide. Often they don't even have anyone who's responsibilities are even remotely similar (the sales people they have talk with retailers, not with customers).
So in short: it is easier to comply with GPL, but it's requirements put OEMs in the very unfamiliar position.
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