Yesterday, the Software Freedom Law Center filed a big lawsuit against 20 companies (including Best Buy) on the claim of GPL violation.
It’s not the first (and likely not the last) of the SFLC’s GPL enforcement efforts, but it does mark a key turning point in their public efforts for a number of reasons.
“It shows how GPL violations
have changed over time,” Bradley M. Kuhn, Policy Analyst and Technology Director at the SFLC wrote to me in an email. “Past enforcement efforts have been mostly about
router technology and other computer-oriented components. We now see
BusyBox/Linux adopted more frequently in mass-market consumer
electronics, such as TVs and DVD players.”
BusyBox which is the set of GPL’d utilities that is at the heart of the GPL enforcement issue is a technology that is used in embedded devices, like routers as well as consumer electronics devices.
Due to the fact that BusyBox (in particular) can sit so deep within a device, it is my own personal opinion that many vendors simply don’t understand the impact of GPL and aren’t aware that they aren’t compliant.