Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Busybox Developer Responds To Andersen-SFLC Lawsuits

Comments Filter:
  • Proposition (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @04:15PM (#30449110) Journal

    The version 0.60.3 of Busybox upon which Mr. Andersen claims copyright registration in the lawsuits is to a great extent my own work and that of other developers. I am not party to the registration. It is not at all clear that Mr. Andersen holds a majority interest in that work.

    Perhaps it is high time you looked into the allegations that "every line of code you wrote for Busybox is gone?" [slashdot.org] It is still GPLed, afterall. Wouldn't your old code diffed against the new code reveal the truth in that statement and set things straight in whose interest the SFLC should be representing?

    If you can point me to a version/tag/branch/code repository where you assert your dominance in authorship, I would be more than happy to spend an hour when I get home tonight generating some stats against the current code (assuming that code hasn't been drastically moved around/repackaged/renamed). Even so, it would fairly trivial to script an expensive file-by-file comparison and return a set of the most likely matches based on percentage similarities to establish what work of yours may remain. Might even be a better tool out there than what I know of.

    • Re:Proposition (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @04:20PM (#30449156) Homepage Journal
      I my contribution is not gone from the rather old version of Busybox which was subject to the copyright registration and is mentioned in the lawsuit. If necessary, yes, a diff can be produced. I also have a compilation copyright of various sorts, which can't be represented with a diff. And there is also the matter of non-literal copying, which probably exists despite Landley's claim, and can't be represented with a diff.
      • Re:Proposition (Score:5, Informative)

        by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @04:23PM (#30449194) Homepage Journal
        I didn't mention a tag, sorry. This would probably be a version pulled from an old Debian release. There were subsequent developers to me, for example Dave Cinege and the Linux Router Project, before the source-code control system currently in use for Busybox was established.
        • by gr8_phk (621180) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @04:57PM (#30449648)
          It seems from your post that:
          1) You seem upset that SFLC isn't representing *your* interests in the matter, but they are representing others.
          2) You are unhappy that someone registered a copyright without including you on it.
          3) You seem to imply that you'd be willing to waive your rights in the matter, or give your blessing to distribution without source.

          1 is not relevant
          2 would suggest you should go after the people who registered it - unless my interpretation of 3 is correct.
          3 If true, why would you say that?

          The only point I can see to your rant is to draw attention to yourself and your consulting business trying to raise doubts about a bunch of things.
          What exactly is your point here?
          • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @05:07PM (#30449780) Homepage Journal

            I'd only give a waiver in specific cases. I would do this to 1) reassure my present and potential consulting customers and 2) offer assistance to companies that want to come into compliance, because that's what Free Software folks really want.

            I want to be properly represented as a person with a copyright interest in the program, and I want the folks who assert lawsuit on others to comply in regard to my rights as they would have others comply with theirs. I doubt that legal action will be necessary to effect this change.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by gr8_phk (621180)

              I want to be properly represented as a person with a copyright interest in the program, and I want the folks who assert lawsuit on others to comply in regard to my rights as they would have others comply with theirs. I doubt that legal action will be necessary to effect this change.

              Putting up a public blog complaining that you're not represented doesn't seem like a very nice way to go about it. How you handle such matters will reflect on you and your business. OTOH if business is slow, any PR will do in a

              • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @05:22PM (#30450010) Homepage Journal
                One responds to publicity with publicity. SFLC made a point of publicizing the suit.
                • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @07:03PM (#30451460)
                  Dear Bruce; some comments
                  • the SFLC should be guarded since you were potentialy a party in their lawsuits where they already agreed to represent another party
                  • now that you are in active conflict with their clients, it would probably be illegal for them to represent you (which is why they should be guarded before)
                  • you should get your own, separate, lawyer
                  • even having majority interest may not be sufficient to overcome the minority interests; anyone with any interest can claim a GPL violation on the combined work
                  • the time for publicity is normally after you have filed a court case and even then it should be limited to what your lawer agrees to

                  Given this I'm not sure I see your point with what you are doing now. Most of your complaints about the SFLC are unfair since they cannot represent two opposed clients at a time. I think they should have a duty of fair access, and representing those they can, however that doesn't extend to breaking the law or allowing conflicts of interest and in this case, Mr Andersen and Landley got there first. Sorry, bad luck.

                  Having said that, if it's true that your copyright on BusyBox has been deleted incorrectly, then using the SFLC way on the other Busy Box developers is a perfect example of what you should do to the Busybox developers who mistreated you; but you must use a proper lawyer. Start with a clear legal letter to the busybox developers pointing out which version had your copyright deleted and shouldn't have and asking them to come into compliance with the GPL (which has a requirement for correct labelling of authorship). Please remain as reasonable as we have seen you being before and you will get your way. We'll back you up and I hereby pledge 20 Euro towards your legal fees if you produce a reasonable lawsuit and explanation of it and how it got to this stage of breakdown. I'll give more if I'm convinced this is a worthwhile use of money.

                  INAL and all that...

      • Re:Proposition (Score:4, Interesting)

        by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @04:33PM (#30449326) Homepage Journal

        I wonder if you could answer a question for me?
        If the source for the GPL software is unmodified and freely available from other sources why should the vendor have to duplicate it's availability?
        No it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to throw up a tarball of busybox to be nice and legal but what benefit does it have to the community?
        Including the GPL it's self I see as vital but the making yet another copy of the source available seems iffy at best.
        Just wondering about your thoughts on this. I have contributed some FOSS code to a few projects and I feel that feel that feeding code improvments back into the project is much more important than making another copy of already available source available.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Surt (22457)

          Without meaning to answer for the great and powerful Bruce, how does the end user know where to go for the source code? Per the GPL, they can ALWAYS go to the distributor.

          • Re:Proposition (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @04:42PM (#30449428) Homepage Journal

            Joe the burger-flipper buys a car with Linux embedded in the dashboard computer. He then sells it to Jim. Jim asks Joe for source-code. Joe doesn't know what source-code is.

            So, there are some cases where it doesn't make sense to ask the "distributor". The manufacturer would know what to do, and the manufacturer has created the derivative work involved. In general, the manufacturer would take care of this obligation for Joe.

            • by Surt (22457)

              Yes, clearly I glossed over the legal technicalities. We're surely looking for something like the original modifier or whatever term the GPL actually uses to describe that person. My only real point was that making it non optional makes it easy for the end consumer who wants the source code to know where to go.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by LWATCDR (28044)

              Just to play the devil's advocate.
              Joe buys a cool FOSS based digital dash for FLOSS dashboards inc and puts it in his car. He then sells the car five years latter. Does he have to include the source?

              GM buys a lot of cool FOSS based digital dashboards and puts them in a lot of cars....

              In this case the only difference is in the numbers.

              If I buy a single board computer with Linux does the SBC manufactures site with links to Linux source cover me?

              If I put together a Home networking package at the local computer

              • Re:Proposition (Score:4, Insightful)

                by dch24 (904899) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @05:31PM (#30450154) Journal
                Joe can include the source in his single car sale by including the CD he got when he bought it - FLOSS dashboards inc included the source on the CD, right?

                Right, I know that a lot of GPL software on CDs doesn't include the source on the CD. However, let's go one step further. I know Joe probably lost the CD - it happens often enough. Now what do we do?

                Well, if Joe gets sued, he can contact FLOSS dashboards inc and get the source from them, and thus fulfill his legal obligation.

                GM sells a bunch of FLOSS dashboards. They can wait until they get sued, then try to find FLOSS dashboards. But considering the risk, they'll probably just distribute the source up front, because they're smart, right?

                Which brings us back to what Bruce is trying to accomplish: he's not out suing people. He's -- in fact -- making things easier for people who want to comply with the GPL.
        • Re:Proposition (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @04:39PM (#30449398) Homepage Journal

          The vendor has to comply with all of the license terms. Including providing the license statement, etc. We don't want to give them another decision to make by making them check if they've made any changes, and then do so again every time they distribute a new version, we just want them to provide the source as that ends up being easiest.

          If they have made no modification, we will be able to see that from the source that they provide. But they often make modifications, if only to fix a bug, to port the software, or to add a feature. If they have any sense they don't link their big proprietary feature into the Busybox executable. But even if they did, they could remove it as part of coming into compliance.

          • Re:Proposition (Score:4, Interesting)

            by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @05:04PM (#30449746) Homepage Journal

            Well of course if some chowder head links play_DRM_video.o into busybox they should get slapped.
            And yes you must play by the rules so that is a given. I just hate the idea 500 copies of the source for some out of date version of some code I wrote five years ago floating around the web. Of course if I stop working on it then having lots of copies of it floating around can be a good thing. I guess I can see the pluses and minuses. I can also see how some developer could make an honest mistake and not post there copy. If I buy a SBC with Linux on it and use it for my product I might think that they tar ball the vendor of the SBC has his site covers me. I would be wrong but it would be an honest mistake. Going back and making sure that every piece of code that is on an SBC is available while not a nightmare could be a bit of a task.
            You can also get bad advice when you start doing that kind of development. When I was talking to my vendor about freeing up some space on the flash image he suggested that I static link my code! This code was not something I wanted to release as GPL. When I asked the vendor actually said, "who will ever know". I didn't take that option.
            As with most things in life it is easy to make an honest mistake or get bad advice when dealing with GPL code.
            On another project we thought that must including the DIFF of our patch and saying what GPL code we where using was good enough. We latter decided to just put the tarball on the CD along with the GPL just to be safe.

        • by blincoln (592401)

          If the source for the GPL software is unmodified and freely available from other sources why should the vendor have to duplicate it's availability?

          I'm going to guess it's because it's a lot easier to require that each vendor distribute the code than to come up with an effect-but-byzantine, legally-sound method of requiring the vendor to determine if the code is "freely available from other sources" before requiring them to make it available themselves or not, as well as regularly checking to see if the same

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Dewin (989206)

            If the source for the GPL software is unmodified and freely available from other sources why should the vendor have to duplicate it's availability?

            I'm going to guess it's because it's a lot easier to require that each vendor distribute the code than to come up with an effect-but-byzantine, legally-sound method of requiring the vendor to determine if the code is "freely available from other sources" before requiring them to make it available themselves or not, as well as regularly checking to see if the sam

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by gr8_phk (621180)

          If the source for the GPL software is unmodified and freely available from other sources why should the vendor have to duplicate it's availability?

          Because the license says so.

        • Re:Proposition (Score:4, Informative)

          by fatboy (6851) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @06:15PM (#30450866)

          If the source for the GPL software is unmodified and freely available from other sources why should the vendor have to duplicate it's availability?

          To comply with the terms of the license, under which the vendor received the code. Otherwise, the vendor has absolutely no rights to distribute the software.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This should be settled in a civilized manner. I suggest the lowest slashdot id wins.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by dedazo (737510)

        Bruce, what is your intention here? I'm sorry if I couldn't figure it out from your article. Are you trying to get the SLFC to drop the suit, include you on it, recognize your copyright over the code, or what?

        • I think he wants to work as a consultant without being inundated by calls from his clients. Possibly, one of his clients is a defendant in the case?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mzs (595629)

        Bruce I had a very bad experience regarding the Westinghouse firmware. It was not like how you put it where a company like Sony can put up links to tar balls of source code. Westinghouse did go out of their way to keep me from getting the source code. When I tried to get the source code from them and even provided my serial number for the TV I had purchased, they claimed that there was no source code and no open source code was used. Finally I was able to get a firmware update from Westinghouse. Extracting

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @04:17PM (#30449126)
    The final part of his statement raises an interesting issue. In the realm of OSS, contributions from multiple developers are encouraged. But what happens if those developers then get into a geek catfight later? This is all well and good if the work is true [wikipedia.org] open source (everyone can just fork off an do whatever they want). But when you get into lawsuits over the more restrictive GPL license violations, that raises the issue of who gets to sue and who gets the proceeds from the suit (after all, what's to stop someone from just forking the code and taking out other developers' names from the copyright notice in the software, then suing without the other guys).
    • That's an interesting point. It would appear that violating the GPL means that you have violated the copyright of every single developer. So could a violator potentially liable to multiple lawsuits? That could take a single violation of the GPL on something like the linux kernel into the billions of dollars in liability.

    • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @04:28PM (#30449278) Homepage Journal
      In the U.S. any of the copyright holders can sue independently. Elsewhere, that might not be true. And they each have the right to decide to look for damages, or not. Mostly, Free Software developers forgive past infringement in exchange for current compliance and do not ask for damages. However, if a company is a long-term non-responder, they will look for compensation for their time.
  • If you (Bruce) aren't the one whose interests are being defended, whose are? Can someone actually sue w/o the copyright holder(s) involved?

    Maybe I'm not getting something here, but w/o the involvement of the copyright holders (and/or at least naming them publicly), under what authority can they execute a lawsuit? Seems like the defendants' lawyers would be able to tear this one up in a heartbeat...

    Someone care to fill in the blanks here?

  • Worst summary ever. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WiiVault (1039946) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @04:23PM (#30449186)
    Sorry "editors" but many of us have no clue what this article is about based on the two sentence summary about a guy and company I have never heard of. Perhaps a little more explanation would help?
    • I’m with you. Can somebody explain what Busybox is, and what exactly these lawsuits are about?

      TFA just states that “The basic claim of the lawsuits is that the GPL license terms must be followed by all parties that distribute works containing GPL software” and hints at something about “endanger[ing] the proprietary software of any company that makes the most trivial effort to comply with its license”.

      From this paragraph,

      The version 0.60.3 of Busybox upon which Mr. Andersen clai

      • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @04:31PM (#30449308) Homepage Journal
        When you make an embedded linux system, like in a network access point, Busybox is the user-mode component, and the other main component is the Linux kernel. Busybox provides a command-line environment that looks like the one provided in a Linux distribution, but is smaller. SFLC is involved in prosecuting Busybox violations because nobody with a significant copyright in the Linux kernel has asked them to prosecute GPL violations with regard to Linux.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by larry bagina (561269)
        busybox is a single binary containing stripped down versions of a shell and common utilities (rm, ls, etc), which require less disk space and less memory. It's used in embedded devices, NAS boxes, TVs, etc.
      • by MasterPatricko (1414887) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @05:01PM (#30449698) Homepage
        For those too lame to Google the words they don't understand in TFA.

        Bruce Perens is a prominent open-source programmer and advocate. He co-founded the OSI with Eric S. Raymond and wrote the first Open Source Definition that became the first DFSG.

        BusyBox is a collection of userland tools to go with the Linux kernel, similar to the GNU utilities except optimised for use in embedded systems. They are the base of most complex embedded software on devices worldwide.

        Because BusyBox is so widely used but not well-known, companies generally through ignorance fail to comply with GPL guidelines stating that they must provide the source to any binaries they ship on their devices.

        The SFLC is the Software Freedom Law Centre and they represent free software interests in legal matters. In this case they are suing various embedded device manufacturers who sell BusyBox-based devices and are continuing to violate the GPL by not providing the source even when warned.

        Bruce Perens was the original writer of BusyBox many many years ago. However the SFLC has not included him in this lawsuit. He is no longer involved in BusyBox and the current authors say that every line that Bruce contributed to BusyBox has now been replaced by newer code; but he argues that because some of the code in the offending devices is actually based off older BusyBox code, he should actually be represented in the lawsuit.

        This little disagreement looks like he's just wanting a share of any monetary damages awarded - or at least his name in the news. Bruce certainly doesn't have any grounds to stop the lawsuit anyway, and he approves of protecting the GPL.
        • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @05:11PM (#30449842) Homepage Journal

          I am not sure that these suits even ask for damages other than for the time spent on prosecuting the infringement. But one of the issues is that since I am not party to the suits, I can't see that.

          I also don't agree that my copyright interest has been removed from the program. Although one of the developers once said so, I don't think he knew what he was talking about.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Dausha (546002)

          "This little disagreement looks like he's just wanting a share of any monetary damages awarded - or at least his name in the news. Bruce certainly doesn't have any grounds to stop the lawsuit anyway, and he approves of protecting the GPL."

          So, in the article he asserts a copyright interest in BusyBox. He asserts that subsequent BusyBox code is derived from his work. He asserts he released via GPL. He asserts that subsequent BusyBox developers have violated the GPL by removing the copyright statement of ances

    • Have to agree, actually - It's a good and concise submission, but we usually get some links to old coverage, related pages, and some background - all of which is lacking, here. Kdawson must have skipped his coffee this afternoon.

      How about it, Bruce, can you give us the nickel summary? Thanks.
    • Onions on a belt. My hovercraft is full of eels. Watch out for spotted cats. It's probably some in thing. I never understand them either.

  • Does it matter? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jonbryce (703250) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @04:25PM (#30449224) Homepage

    If Messrs Andersen and Landley own copyrights to any part of the Busybox program, they can sue for infringement of the copyright on their bit of the code, even if the majority of it was written by you.

    In any case, I believe it contains a Linux kernel, or at least parts of it, written by Linus Torvalds and his friends, and presumably at least parts of the gnu tools that Busybox provides stripped down versions of. This of course is perfectly permissible, and the whole point of the GPL and other free and open source software licences is to allow and encourage this sort of thing to happen. All these developers have a copyright interest in the Busybox program, and could sue if they wanted to.

  • If person A and person B both contribute significant code to a program, and person B decides that he wants to sue Company C for infringing his copyright, how does Person A have the right to stop him? Even if Person A doesn't care about Company C infringing his copyright, Company C is still infringing Person B's copyright, and Person B can still sue them. (IANAL)
    • by Surt (22457)

      A does not have the right to stop him. A may have the LEVERAGE to stop him, if B happens to have gone crazy violating A's copyrights in the process.

    • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7NO@SPAMcornell.edu> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @04:46PM (#30449490) Homepage

      I think the issue is whether false claims have been made about Person A in the process of Person B suing Company C. Bruce's statement kind of implies that.

      Also, Bruce's statement implies that SFLC is using rather overzealous "sue without negotiation beforehand" techniques that are damaging to the business of some of the other Busybox developers, including himself. Whether he has a legal leg to stand on is unknown, either way it's kind of a "dick move" on the part of those involved in the lawsuit.

      It's just like the patent system - there are companies that are typically very reasonable in terms of patent license negotiations and consider a lawsuit to be an absolute last resort (I knew someone who worked for Lucent's IP licensing organization - lawsuits were an asbolute last resort for them.), while other companies prefer to patent troll and immediately open up with a lawsuit.

  • IANAL but my understanding is that any developer that has code in a GPL licensed project has standing to sue for violations of the license provided that they didn't assign their copyright to someone else. I don't know if Busybox forces contributors to assign their copyrights to someone but it doesn't appear as though they do.

    Perens's major complaints seems to be that the lawsuits are damaging his consulting business and that Andersen, Landrey, etc. removed the copyright statements of other developers. Wh
  • Stop being a dick.

  • it doesn't matter (Score:5, Informative)

    by jipn4 (1367823) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @04:48PM (#30449508)

    Anybody who has contributed to a piece of GPL software has standing to bring lawsuits against people who violate the GPL. Who has contributed the "majority" of the code is immaterial. I'm sorry this is inconvenient for Bruce Perens, but it can't reasonably work any different.

    • by oh2 (520684)
      Well, if thats true he must have some standing to have opinions about lawsuits where code he has contributed appears ? Nothing weird about that IMO.
    • Re:it doesn't matter (Score:5, Informative)

      by Diesel Dave (95048) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @05:12PM (#30449862)

      Anyone who has contributed to a piece of GPL software, reserves their copyright, and does not violate the GPL license has rights to defend their own copyright in the work. The issue you may be missing is this is not clearly the situation with Anderson for several reasons.

  • by Diesel Dave (95048) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @04:55PM (#30449614)

    I am the one that handed BusyBox over to Anderson after maintaining it for 2 years.

    I believe I worked with Busybox longer then Bruce did and during my time I reorganized the code, but still consider Bruce the primary root Copyright holder and license grantor. Anderson is claiming complete Copyright and that is simply an impossibility. As far as I am concerned, this claim is a GPL violation in and of itself.

    Even if every line of code Bruce or myself wrote were replaced, it was done so on his and subsequently my license terms which are the GPL. My privileges and Anderson's privileges (if any ?) to alter and redistribute Bruce's work are based on those license terms derived from Bruce's initial publication and you can not simply 'code them away' unless you start from scratch.

    • by benjamindees (441808) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @04:59PM (#30449678) Homepage

      Anderson is claiming complete Copyright and that is simply an impossibility. As far as I am concerned, this claim is a GPL violation in and of itself.

      This is exactly the most disturbing issue to me here. Being able to re-write GPL code and then claim sole copyright on that new code would completely invalidate the entire concept of derivative work on which the GPL and every other software license is based.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BitZtream (692029)

        GPL is about copyright. Copy RIGHT ends when there is no copy that you have rights over in the work.

        Copyright does restrict ideas, it restricts implementations. GPL and copyright both end when the code has been replaced.

        You can argue this one here on slashdot all day long and/or you are blue in the face and it won't make a bit of difference. The first time this idea goes to court against a company of any real size, copyright and GPL will lose as the idea is utterly ludicrous.

        Car Analogy:
        Ford makes a car

        • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @09:30PM (#30452918) Homepage Journal
          Your ignoring the issue of derivative works. The current Busybox is not a clean-room re-engineering. It's an unbroken progression from my original code base. Thus, it's derivative.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by micheas (231635)

            Clean-room engineering is a legal strategy to make your copyright easier to defend, and gives you a better chance at prevailing in litigation that is employed when you are fairly sure you are going to be sued.

            Derivative works are a woolly gray are that is subject to all the rules of 1 + 1 = N

            (of course N may be 2, 1, 0, in the range between 0-1, 3, 11, and probably a few other mathematically correct answers I am not remembering at the moment, depending on the context)

            Your clean room implementation can still

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        That's not strictly true. If I started out with a movie that was original "Star Wars", and I slowly but surely removed every frame of that film, and then saved the film. It would not be considered a derived work of Star Wars. No harm no foul. If I started out with the Linux Kernel, and I released version 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, up to 0.9, and finally released Kirbix at 1.0 and claimed I owned the copyright. I would be obligated to give the source code out for versions 0.1 and 0.9 (assuming I distributed t

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bzzfzz (1542813)

      This is not governed by the GPL but rather by case law regarding what does and does not constitute a "derived work." Case law in this area is vague, contradictory, and evolving. Litigation in this area tends to be expensive and unpredictable.

      The claim of ongoing copyright "even if every line of code ... were replaced" is one of the major arguments SCO is making. I don't it's a valid argument and I certainly hope that the courts don't find it to be valid.

      Finally, copyright law does not require registrants

    • by Diesel Dave (95048) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @11:13PM (#30453552)

      In bulk reply:

      1) There are two things here: Copyright and License. Bruce created a work. He holds copyright. He published that worked under a license. That license is the GPL. I had privilege to use, modify, and redistribute that work according to the license. The license requires that I respect Bruce's copyright and redistribute derivatives under that same license. I own copyright to the parts I have authored. This goes so forth and so on for each person. IMO the original author never loses copyright claim. Without question the original author remains the primary license grantor.

      2) Violating the GPL means violating the terms of the license. According to the GPL if you violate these terms, you loose your privilege the work completely .

      3) Before meaninglessly rambling actually read the GPL.

      4) Before meaninglessly rambling actually read the courts documents. Anderson claims complete copyright here.

      5) I would argue that from my knowledge Anderson did not hold the copyright for many of the code contributions he made into busybox (his employer did) and further more as Anderson is not respecting the terms of the original copyright and license term of the original author (Bruce) and authors before him (Me) he is in violation of Section 1 GPLv2, and has lost his his privileges to the software according to Section 4 GPLv2. In this case Anderson lacks standing to bring suit and he himself is open to an action.

      6) One must wonder why the SFLC is working with Anderson when they have been aware that both Bruce and myself have more senior claims to the original work without the 'issues' Anderson has. As Bruce has written we've basically been snubbed by them.

      7) I feel I speak for Bruce here in saying the most important issue for us is to have our interests be respected and to be a party to any terms of how the license is enforced. I would be content if it was ultimately left to Bruce because he is original author and respect that. I personally never made a penny from BusyBox unlike Anderson who's full time job paid him to work on BusyBox (and other work I created). When I start to read about 'undisclosed settlement amounts' and considering the full picture, it leaves a very bad taste not knowing exactly what is taking place here. I'm not allowed to know. Bruce is not allowed to know. That's not acceptable.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by micheas (231635)

        As I posted to Bruce, you probably have standing to see the undisclosed settlement.

        You probably need the consent of all parties, but I expect a copyright attorney could make that happen for you. in short order, but I suspect you and Bruce need to go through the courts to see it.

        "What do you call a thousand lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?"

        "A good start."

        "I used to be offended by layers jokes, now I see them as simple truths." -- Garfield, War of the Roses

  • In my mind, Eric was the inventor. I paid him in 2000 to add some uClinux / Busybox code to the Coldfire project for my Blabbermouth product at airlib.com.
    I would probe the uClinux guys, Lineo, Greg Ungerer, Phil Wilshire...

    Sometimes its the guy who "ran with it" who assumes ownership....
    After the fact, that is tough to swallow. And the Busybox name and concept is genius whoever did it.
    Merry Christmas [wikispeedia.org]
  • by xquark (649804) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @07:43PM (#30451932) Homepage

    Bruce, why not change the license to something more agreeable with the general public. At least that way, you'd help keep the honest guys honest.... and also make using and modifying busybox related stuff all that more easier and inviting.

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday December 15, 2009 @09:27PM (#30452894) Homepage

    I'm surprised that someone hasn't written something like BusyBox starting from FreeBSD's utilities. Busybox is just "cat", "echo", "grep", etc. all in one executable with some common code merged. It's not like it's a significant original work. FreeBSD has all those components with the BSD license.

The bogosity meter just pegged.

Working...