Amusing article about busybox

Bradley M. Kuhn bkuhn at
Wed Feb 1 15:10:22 UTC 2012

Denys Vlasenko wrote at 06:15 (EST):
> Some of the arguments from the "other side" found in that thread make
> sense. We are possibly a bit too aggressive when we try to force
> people to comply with GPL on other projects too, not only on bbox.

I'd like to point out that many of the "stories on the other side" are
second-hand accounts.  Obviously, as the person who directly handles
most of the GPL enforcement for BusyBox, I can confirm there is no one
with first-hand experience on the "other side" commenting on the LWN
thread, nor on Matthew's blog post.

I think the community needs other projects to stand with us to enforce
the GPL, and I'm working on coordinating that.  BusyBox has become a
"poster child" -- unfairly -- because for the last few years, BusyBox
was the only project actively enforcing the GPL.

I see that elsewhere in this thread, a debate is starting about whether
or not the GPL works effectively as a tool to advance software freedom.
I think that's an important debate, but I also think the conclusion of
that debate is orthogonal to enforcement.  Specifically, if the
conclusion is: "It's valuable for the license to place requirements that
code be liberated", then GPL enforcement is valuable, too, automatically
-- because an unenforced GPL is exactly the same as the ISC license.

Anyway, I'm happy as always to discuss further Conservancy's GPL
enforcement efforts, how they work, and what tweaks BusyBox developers
want to see in Conservancy's enforcement efforts.  OTOH, I hope we won't
led any FUD about enforcement be the sole reason we make changes to our
strategy.  While I mostly lurk on this mailing list, I'll follow this
particular thread and comment when it seems useful.
Bradley M. Kuhn, Executive Director, Software Freedom Conservancy

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