×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

316 comments

Hey (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449098)

No pitching your own crappy stuff here, ok?

Re:Hey (3, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449192)

No pitching your own crappy stuff here, ok?

On Slashdot?! You must be new here.

Proposition (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449110)

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 (5, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449156)

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 (5, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449194)

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.

What's your point Bruce? (4, Interesting)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

Re:What's your point Bruce? (4, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449780)

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.

Oh God...The Troll Is Back... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449218)

As if you didn't need another reason to avoid the viral GPL like the plague, not having to this troll spamming stories should be reasons enough.

Re:Proposition (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449296)

You are such a little bitch.

Re:Proposition (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449326)

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:Proposition (2, Informative)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449386)

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 (4, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449428)

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.

Re:Proposition (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449530)

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:Proposition (4, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449584)

Yes. Surely the producer of an embedded product has no excuse to fail to deliver the source code. And if it's Best Buy with a house product, it's their obligation.

Re:Proposition (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449908)

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 store I run that included a Linux based router do I have to provide the source code?

These are some gray areas. I mean nobody would bust a guy that sells a linksys router but doesn't include the source but what about a guy that sells PCs with Ubuntu preinstalled?

When do you become the "distributor".
Me personally with probably always just include the source but one does wonder.

Re:Proposition (4, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449398)

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 (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449746)

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.

Re:Proposition (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449784)

I just bought a Samsung TV, and the back of the manual includes a copy of GPLv2, LGPLv2.1, Mozilla PL 1.1, the OpenSSL License, the FreeType license, and the ZLib license.

It also says the GPL code included in the product is the Linux kernel, Busybox, Binutils, U-boot, Wireless_tools, and pump. It lists glibc, ffmpeg, libgphoto2, libpfp, libusb, smpeg, alsa, directfb, and uClibc as being the LGPL code.

It gives an email address to write to ask for the code.

It sure looks like they are trying to comply.

Re:Proposition (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449412)

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 situation is true in a year, five years, a decade, etc.

Re:Proposition (2, Insightful)

Dewin (989206) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449630)

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 situation is true in a year, five years, a decade, etc.

I believe the latter half of this is exactly the reason that provision is required. If you rely on other sources then locating the source code stops being feasible if those other sources cease to exist. By distributing the source yourself, you guarantee that it remains available for at least as long as you are distributing the products that use it.

Re:Proposition (2, Informative)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449504)

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 (1)

jps25 (1286898) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449954)

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?

You might as well ask why someone else should provide the source (and pay for its availability) if you distribute something.
What if the original source provider doesn't exist anymore?
It's really simple, if you use GPLed code, you provide the source.
It doesn't even cost you anything since you can charge for it.

Re:Proposition (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449442)

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

GPL == ClusterFuck (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449452)

No wonder the major forces in unix development these days, Google and Apple, are entirely BSD focused.

Re:GPL == ClusterFuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449794)

How is this Insightful at all? Especially the parent's given example of Google of which is majority of the time releasing code changes or creating projects under GPL license, and not to mention recent projects such as the Android OS using Linux for the RTOS on cell phones and the like. Parent is obviously a clueless troll.

You're not the only one, Bruce. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449464)

You're not the only one, Bruce. So maybe they're working on behalf of one, some, or all of the other developers whose work is in there.

Just thinking.

Re:Proposition (2, Interesting)

dedazo (737510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449476)

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?

Re:Proposition (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449662)

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:Proposition (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449534)

IN MY HUMBLE OPINION:

You know what Bruce? Fuck you. Other people have put their work into this software and, it seems to me that you're trying to undermine their fight for free. Yes, you donated some code, but the fact is, so did other people. So how about you talk to the other copyright holders about how they feel about your attempt undermine their position and their hard-work?

You've always had it out for the FSF and SFLC since you made the OSI and made a huge mess of OSS in general. Now we have a billion freaking incompatible licenses. For once do something for the community that will benefit it, instead of fragment it.

These vendors violated more copyright than your own from 13 years ago. They violated the community's copyright.

Re:Proposition (4, Interesting)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449906)

I'm sorry but this reads like bias and little else. I think what Bruce is getting at is that these lawsuits generate FUD amongst his clients. It's not about destroying the FSF or whatever you're going on about, it's about protecting the marketability of software Mr. Perens authored and now supports.

You know from the outside it may very well look like MS says people get sued for using FOSS, advocates scream to no end about FUD, and then the FOSS developers come out and start suing people.

Re:Proposition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449204)

It sounds like Perens and others(?) want a BSD like bullshit advert in the license, where everyone gets their name in lights for a brief femto-second. Anyone spending more than 2 minutes reading Stallman and GPL will know vanity is not the issue, passing on the code you used to your customers and clients is.

Re:Proposition (1)

ysth (1368415) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449494)

I don't see Mr. Perens anywhere saying anything about wanting a different license. Care to provide a link or at least a quote?

Why is "majority" important? (1)

SLi (132609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449970)

This is an aspect in at least FSF's reasoning when claiming they need to have copyrights assigned to them that I've never been able to understand.

Why the assertion that you need to be a major copyright holder or get permission from everyone to be able to enforce your copyright? That just doesn't seem to be the case to me, but then IANAL (but I do consider myself knowledgeable on this subject). It seems to me that you can enforce your copyright in a court, no matter how minor your contribution, as long as it is complex enough to be considered a work.

Raises an interesting issue (2, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#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).

Re:Raises an interesting issue (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449242)

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.

Re:Raises an interesting issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449330)

@phantomcircuit -- the remedy for a #GPL violation is specific performance, i.e. making the source code available. There is no monetary loss or other damage to the original developers.

Re:Raises an interesting issue (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449450)

Um, did you just "tweet" on Slashdot? That's !lame.

Re:Raises an interesting issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449628)

The at sign goes back 350 years at least, and its use in forum posts to designate a reply is much older than twitter.

You, however, appear to be quite young. If you are going to discuss things with adults you should act like one.

Re:Raises an interesting issue (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449720)

Then please explain to me what the hell the octothorpe historically represents in that context.

Re:Raises an interesting issue (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449466)

There are statutory damages for copyright infringement--specific performance isn't going to cut it--and they had their chance for that anyway. (IANAL but if NYCL wants to jump in here ...)

Re:Raises an interesting issue (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449512)

That is 100% false. The GPL is a license to use copyrighted code. Failure to comply with the terms of the GPL constituted a breech of that license, as such anybody who is using GPL'd code and violates the license has violated the copyright of the authors of that code. Without a license to use the code the violation is exactly the same as if the code was being sold under a commercial license and was stolen.

So without a license to use the GPL'd code the prior violation of the authors copyright is not expunged because of current compliance with the license.

Monetary damages could be sought if the authors of the code so chose, instead the SFLC sues people and then demands a donation to settle.

Re:Raises an interesting issue (3, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449706)

There is no monetary loss or other damage to the original developers.

This is presently being tried in another case, Jacobsen v. Katzer. It looks as if there will be significant damages that the Open Source developer can collect. The judge seems to think so in that he granted a motion for summary judgement (after at first rejecting it).

Re:Raises an interesting issue (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449766)

I don't know about #GPL, but the traditional "free the code" remedy that the FSF, etc. use is just traditional. Any developer whose copyrights are violated can hire a lawyer and try for actual damages. (Statutory damages require that the copyright have been registered, and are only effective from the date of registration.)

The FSF tries to negotiate the "free the code" remedies without going into court. If they are ignored until they *do* go into court, they'd probably ask for at least lawyers' fees, and possibly for anything up to the recall of all distributed merchandise. (Who can tell what a court would decide was fair?)

Caution: IANAL. This advice may be worth less than what you paid for it.

Re:Raises an interesting issue (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449792)

Loser N00b. go back to twitter where you can think in 140char snippets.

Re:Raises an interesting issue (4, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449278)

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.

Waitaminute: (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449176)

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?

Re:Waitaminute: (5, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449228)

The current suit is brought in the name of Erik Andersen. Erik worked for an embedded Linux company, now defunct, for a few years and was paid to maintain Busybox during that time. During that time the company's name appeared in copyright statements, and mine mostly disappeared.

Re:Waitaminute: (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449304)

The current suit is brought in the name of Erik Andersen. Erik worked for an embedded Linux company, now defunct, for a few years and was paid to maintain Busybox during that time. During that time the company's name appeared in copyright statements, and mine mostly disappeared.

Why then does this have anything to do with Erik? It is not his code. He was paid to write it and the copyright was assigned to his employer.

Re:Waitaminute: (4, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449336)

Yes, there's that. He also worked on the program after he was no longer employed by that company. I am not disputing that he has significant copyright interest in the program as it exists today.

Re:Waitaminute: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449922)

I hope none of the companies or individuals under scrutiny are related to the Taiwanese company Cybertan, whom Linksys (now Cisco) hired to maintain the Linux-based firmware builds associated with their WRT54GL (and WRT54G (early revision)) routers, which did (and still does) contain (the absolutely atrocious) Busybox code [linksysbycisco.com] [286MB download].

Re:Waitaminute: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449352)

You could trivially prove this. Find a bit of code you checked in. Then check the current code and see if it is still there with your name removed.

Why? There's no point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449726)

Why? There's no point. There's no requirement to keep the copyright notice, just publish the changes. Bruce could fork it and put all his copyright notices back in.

This isn't the strict interpretation BSD license, you know, where you have to leave all copyright notices in the code.

This is GPL. A different one.

NOTE with the BSD strict you'd also be breaking every contributors' license taking out the copyright notice of the author. Each and every one.

Worst summary ever. (5, Interesting)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

Re:Worst summary ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449206)

It's not like Perens has his own website... oh wait...

Re:Worst summary ever. (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449276)

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 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.

it appears that Andersen is claiming GPL violations, and Perens believes that he (and other developers) had a significant stake in that version of the software and were not represented in the lawsuit.

Still, that’s not a whole lot to go by.

Re:Worst summary ever. (4, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449308)

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:Worst summary ever. (2, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449392)

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.

Re:Worst summary ever. (5, Informative)

MasterPatricko (1414887) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449698)

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.

Re:Worst summary ever. (5, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449842)

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:Worst summary ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449282)

Let me guess, you think having an iPhone qualifies you as a 'geek'?

Re:Worst summary ever. (1)

ultraexactzz (546422) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449354)

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.

Re:Worst summary ever. (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449598)

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.

Re:Worst summary ever. (1)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449814)

>> Sorry "editors" but many of us have no clue what this article is about [[Busybox]] based on the two sentence summary about a guy [[Busybox]] and company I have never heard of. Perhaps a little more explanation would help?

Sorry, I just got a nosebleed by looking at your user number. Please stop embarrassing yourself and STFW.

Does it matter? (4, Insightful)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449224)

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.

Re:Does it matter? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449518)

busybox is just a collection of userland tools so it doesn't contain any parts of the kernel. Otherwise your point stands.

Does it really matter? (1)

Silverlancer (786390) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449256)

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)

Re:Does it really matter? (1)

MasterPatricko (1414887) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449374)

I don't think Bruce wants to stop the lawsuit, he justs wants to get a piece of the pie.
Basically his name isn't in the lawsuit and he's complaining that he was once a BusyBox author, why didn't the SFLC didn't offer to represent him too.
I'm not really sure what he hopes to gain unless he wants a piece of any monetary damages awarded ... ?

Re:Does it really matter? (4, Informative)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449596)

I don't think Bruce wants to stop the lawsuit, he justs wants to get a piece of the pie.

Doesn't sound like that to me.

I'm not really sure what he hopes to gain unless he wants a piece of any monetary damages awarded ... ?

How about clarification, like he says in his letter:

Unfortunately, all of this is confusing my strategic consulting customers. Thus, I will offer them a waiver of my interest where appropriate.

What this says to me is that he has clients who got spooked by the suit, and he's publically stating that he's not a party to it, and won't sue them... which is pretty much the opposite of "wanting a piece of the pie."

Re:Does it really matter? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449410)

It matters because Bruce's strategic consulting revenues are (apparently) being impacted by the law suits.

This is him trying to separate himself from the suits (in the public perception sense, he states that he is not party to them).

Re:Does it really matter? (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449420)

I'm guessing that person A could argue that the work contributed by person B was mostly derivative and thus person B does not have any copyright claim due to this.

Personally, I'm surprised that anyone would be bold enough to actually remove copyright notices from existing GPL'd code. Even if you completely rewrite something, piece by piece, over a period of time, that doesn't mean your work is not derivative of the original.

I'm not aware that there is yet any clear rule on this issue, or even that one is possible.

It's actually VERY clear and VERY simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449554)

Even if you write only one line of code, if it's protectable as one line then you can sue.

To avoid that suit, the defendant could remove that one line (making a new derived work and releasing the changes) but that only *may* stop the suit. After all, the RIAA don't stop suing just because you've stopped sharing songs, do they.

This is clearly within copyright law. No ifs, no buts.

And there is a clear method to discover whether the code is still a derivative. Used in the SCO lawsuit. Look it up.

So clear, simple and defined.

If you don't like the definition, get the law changed, 'cos that's where your problem comes from.

Re:It's actually VERY clear and VERY simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449788)

there is a clear method to discover whether the code is still a derivative.

You can't possibly be arguing that it's possible to start with someone else's code, re-write it piecemeal, and end up with code that is 100% yours. If so, you haven't thought it through.

Re:Does it really matter? (1)

mmoore (18491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449430)

But person A disagrees, which I guess is the point to all this. I personally don't think anything is going to change as far as the legal action represented here, but if it did, things like this could be the beginning of the end for the GPL. I'm actually surprised that they never accounted for anything like this.

Re:Does it really matter? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449448)

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.

Re:Does it really matter? (3, Interesting)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449490)

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.

Re:Does it really matter? (1)

mmoore (18491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449594)

So that raises the question that someone else here already asked. How can they legally sue without all contributing authors being involved, or at least consenting? At what point did the ownership of the software solely lie in the hands of this one person?

Re:Does it really matter? (1)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449936)

Bruce's statement implies that SFLC is using rather overzealous "sue without negotiation beforehand"

No, they probably did contact the now-defendants. That's their usual process.

OT: Can someone verify BP's favicon? (0, Offtopic)

BertieBaggio (944287) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449298)

Completely off-topic, but what the hell, it was an odd piece to read. For me, in Chrome, Bruce's website has a very similar favicon to Microsoft. See:

http://img198.imageshack.us/img198/8692/perens.jpg [imageshack.us]

Of course, it's probably a bug as I can't verify this in another browser (doesn't display). If it is, is a nice throwback to the good old days... I remember when it used to be a horrible experience to try and get IE4/5 (?) to flush a cached favicon in a bookmark (favourite). Those were the days...

Re:OT: Can someone verify BP's favicon? (1)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449402)

It has to be a glitch with Chrome, as the source code of Bruce's site doesn't specify any favicon.

On my PC, Chrome does not show a favicon, and neither does Firefox.

Re:OT: Can someone verify BP's favicon? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449660)

The favicon doesn’t have to be in the source code. If none is specified, /favicon.ico is assumed. If that doesn’t exist, the default page icon is used.

The existing but zero-length favicon is what was screwing up Chrome.

Re:OT: Can someone verify BP's favicon? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449480)

Hmm... that is most definitely Microsoft’s favicon [microsoft.com], but requests for http://perens.com/favicon.ico [perens.com] gives this response:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Via: 1.1 ISA03
Connection: Keep-Alive
Proxy-Connection: Keep-Alive
Content-Length: 0
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 2009 20:50:07 GMT
Content-Type: image/x-icon
ETag: "dc1-0-46da9de6675c0"
Server: Apache
Last-Modified: Wed, 01 Jul 2009 19:24:15 GMT
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Keep-Alive: timeout=2, max=100

Looks like you found a bug in the way Chrome reacts to a zero-length favicon.ico! :o

IANAL (1)

Gudeldar (705128) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449344)

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. While I sympathize with him on both points, they are entirely unrelated to the merit of the SFLC's lawsuit.

Slashdot: Stuff that matters... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449388)

...to Bruce Perens.

it doesn't matter (5, Informative)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:it doesn't matter (1)

oh2 (520684) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449644)

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 (4, Informative)

Diesel Dave (95048) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Backing Bruce's Copyright (5, Informative)

Diesel Dave (95048) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Backing Bruce's Copyright (5, Insightful)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449678)

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:Backing Bruce's Copyright (0, Flamebait)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449796)

what the fuck are you smoking? If bruce's code is gone, then what does he have copyright on? The use of the GPL license?

They can't sue on behalf of all contributors (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30449774)

I have released a statement on the past and current Busybox lawsuits, which do not represent my interest."

If software licensed under GPL does not have central authority, which requires assignment of copyright to it, SFLC has no other option but to support software writers who are wiling to sue.

Although they can't claim that they own all code.

SFLC operates on US and this is one of a few cases where they can support people who's license terms are violated. It gives SFLC some publicity, but it does not help others who ask for help and learn that they have to do everything themselves.

Drama, drama. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30449912)

Tired of all the pointless drama? Looking for a way to encourage the open source movement to stop wasting time on boring stuff that ultimately doesn't really matter and just keep on producing cool and useful stuff? Then step right up, the solution [opensource.org] to our problems has finally arrived!... several years ago.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...