Reasonable people can disagree on whether this is a good idea or not. As the un-named Sony developer mentioned in the article, I hope I can give some perspective that will help explain the issues better.
First and foremost, I need to clarify that this is not a "Sony project". I am working on this in my role as an embedded Linux industry advocate, who tangentially happens to be a Sony engineer. Those who see some Sony conspiracy here can take off their tinfoil hats.
It is NOT the goal of this to help people violate the GPL, but rather to decrease the risk of some nuclear outcome, should a mistake be made somewhere in the supply chain for a product. For example, it is possible for a mistake made by an ODM (like providing the wrong busybox source version) could result in the recall of millions of unrelated products. As it stands, the demands made by the SFC in order to bring a company back into compliance are beyond the value that busybox provides to a company. I also believe they are wrong from both a legal and moral perspective.
I recognize full well that some companies are not living up to their GPL obligations. At the same time, everyone I work with and talk to is working hard to comply with the GPL. In particular, I am proud of Sony's track record of GPL compliance. See Sony's Source Code download site.
However, companies and people do sometimes make mistakes. In my own experience, the remedies requested by other agents and organizations working for GPL compliance are much more productive than those of the SFC. Given the current situation, it makes sense to reduce the probability of mistakes, and their legal repercussions.
It is a shame that such a project is needed. But it is primarily needed, in my opinion, due to the overreach of the busybox litigators. I believe the project represents an ethical and pragmatic solution to this particular legal challenge.
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