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When free isn’t free – enforcement of the GPL just because

All I can say is wow. I read this article http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9142262/Multiple_consumer_electronics_companies_hit_with_GPL_lawsuit today and I am unfortunately not surprised. This is a perfect example of why many developers shy away from the GPL license when distributing their open source code.

First, I want to say I am a big fan of Open Source. I have used it extensively and even contributed in my own way over the years. The concept that code can be free and the fruits of some one’s labor can be shared is very noble. But I have never understood the idea that you will give your code away for free and then put major restrictions on it. Is it free or not?

How is it that an individual that feels so strongly that code should be freely available and who encourage others to use it and contribute to it would throw a tantrum when some one actually uses it. If you are so worried about some one “ripping off” your free code, then don’t release it for free!

I hear a lot of talk about empowerment and sharing. It is time for people to quit preaching and start walking the walk. Until then, it isn’t free and open is it?

As a side note, the article states that the BusyBox code has most likely not even been modified. I am all for giving back to the community, but legal action because you don’t distribute something that is readily available from the source? Seriously?

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