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From: John Cowan <>
Cc: COFF <>
Subject: Re: [COFF] [TUHS] ksh88 source code?
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2021 11:14:25 -0500	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

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-tuhs +coff

On Wed, Dec 22, 2021 at 1:30 AM <> wrote:

> As a vendor or distributor, you would care.  Anyone doing an OS or other
> software distribution (think the BSDs, of course;

There is no legal reason why the BSDs can't distribute GPLed software;
indeed, they did so for many years.  Their objection is purely ideological.

> but also think Apple or
> Microsoft) needs to care.

Apple and Microsoft can buy up, outspend, out-lawyer, or just outwait
anyone suing them for infringement.  Their only reasons for not doing so
are reputational.

> Anyone selling a hardware device with embedded
> software (think switches/routers; think IOT devices; think consumer
> devices like DVRs; etc) needs to care.

Only if they are determined to infringe.  Obeying the GPL's rules (most
often for BusyBox) is straightforward, and the vast majority of infringers
(per the FSF's legal team) are not aware that they have done anything wrong
and are willing to comply once notified, which cures the defect (much less
of a penalty than for most infringements).  The ex-infringers do not seem
to consider this a serious competitive disadvantage.  GPL licensors are
generous sharers, but you have to be willing to share yourself.

I saw this dynamic in action while working for Reuters; we were licensing
our health-related news to websites, and I would occasionally google for
fragments of our articles.  When I found one on a site I didn't recognize,
I'd pass the website to Sales, who would sweetly point out that
infringement could cost them up to $15,000 per article, and for a very
reasonable price....  They were happy to sign up once they were made aware
that just because something is available on the Internet doesn't mean you
can republish it on your site.

GPL (or similar "virally"
> licensed) software carries legal implications for anyone selling or
> distributing products that contain such software; and this can be a
> motivation to use software with less-restrictive license terms.

Only to the victims of FUD.  Reusing source code is one thing: repackaging
programs is another.

I'll say no more about this here.

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COFF mailing list

       reply	other threads:[~2021-12-23 16:14 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 6+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
     [not found] <>
     [not found] ` <>
     [not found]   ` <>
     [not found]     ` <>
     [not found]       ` <>
     [not found]         ` <>
     [not found]           ` <>
     [not found]             ` <>
2021-12-23 16:14               ` John Cowan [this message]
2021-12-23 17:33                 ` Warner Losh
2021-12-23 17:44                   ` Larry McVoy
2021-12-23 18:18                     ` John Cowan
2021-12-24  3:46 Rudi Blom
     [not found] <>
2021-12-22 14:51 ` Adam Thornton

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