[Proj] Method of reference to license within software code modules

Charles Wilson proj at cwilson.fastmail.fm
Tue Jan 6 23:29:18 EST 2009

Gerald I. Evenden wrote:
> An aside on this issue.
> As I noted earlier I had to replace my modem/router last Saturday.  Yesterday 
> I read a small notice that fell out of the box that the modem came in.  It 
> was a notice that some of the software contained in the modem was covered by 
> the GPL and LGPL license and that the user could view same at WWW.xxx.
> My thoughts were that GPL didn't seem to impede this manufacturer.

Well, if linksys.com sells you a device, and says you can download the
source code from a website *under their control* -- that's one thing,
and is probably ok by the GPL. But if they said "go to kernel.org" that
would NOT be ok (First, because kernel.org probably doesn't have their
modifications, and second, even if they did, kernel.org might pull THAT
version down -- or the site could disappear entirely, anything can
happen -- and then linksys is afoul of the GPL).

As far as "impeding" -- it depends on what you mean. After the linksys
fiasco, where they were forced --kicking and screaming-- to post their
modified source code, a whole community of hackers grew around modding
those boxes and running custom software, derived from the original
linksys source.

In many cases, it worked better.

Linksys didn't like that much.

And eventually switched to different hardware, running VxWorks (a
non-GPL proprietary embedded OS from WindRiver). Then, they realized
that people were still hunting down and snapping up the *old* models --
so they re-released revised versions of the linux-based devices. These
new "L" models shipped with twice the ram -- more than the initial
linksys software needed, but the hobbyists wanted it.  So, linksys
provided -- for a higher price. <g>

I've got a few of those around here, myself -- running a customized OS,

> Also, it was the first time I had seen such a notice.

As you can see, it was a big deal with LinkSys eight or nine years ago.


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