BusyBox has just successfully settled its GPL ligitation against Xterasys. Xterasys has agreed to stop all binary distribution of BusyBox until the Software Freedom Law Center confirms that it has published complete source code on its web site. After that, Xterasys' "full rights to distribute BusyBox under the GPL will be reinstated." Remember I explained to you that is how it works, that you can't just download again and get your GPL rights back that way? Remember that long discussion? Well, here is the proof. Xterasys has agreed to appoint an internal Open Source Compliance Officer and will pay an undisclosed amount to the BusyBox plaintiffs.
In short, BusyBox prevailed, and the GPL did what it was designed to do.
Here's the press release:
BusyBox Developers and Xterasys Corporation Agree to Settle GPL
NEW YORK, December 17, 2007 -- The Software Freedom Law Center,
provider of pro-bono legal services to protect and advance Free and
Open Source Software (FOSS), today announced that it has settled the
GPL violation lawsuit filed on behalf of BusyBox developers Erik
Andersen and Rob Landley against Xterasys Corporation.
BusyBox is a lightweight set of standard Unix utilities commonly used
in embedded systems and is open source software licensed under the GNU
General Public License (GPL) version 2. One of the conditions of the
GPL is that re-distributors of BusyBox are required to ensure that
each downstream recipient is provided access to the source code of the
program. Many Xterasys networking products include BusyBox, but the
company did not provide source code to its users as required under the
GPL, so SFLC filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the
As a result of the settlement, Xterasys has agreed to cease all binary
distribution of BusyBox until SFLC confirms it has published complete
corresponding source code on its Web site. Once SFLC verifies that the
complete source code is available, Xterasys' full rights to distribute
BusyBox under the GPL will be reinstated.
Additionally, Xterasys has agreed to appoint an internal Open Source
Compliance Officer to monitor and ensure GPL compliance, and to notify
previous recipients of BusyBox from Xterasys of their rights to the
software under the GPL. Xterasys will also pay an undisclosed amount
of financial consideration to the plaintiffs.
"Although we regret that we had to file a lawsuit, we are pleased that
Xterasys will now comply with the GPL," said Dan Ravicher, Legal
Director of SFLC.
About the Software Freedom Law Center
The Software Freedom Law Center -- directed by Eben Moglen, one of the
world's leading experts on copyright law as applied to software --
provides legal representation and other law-related services to
protect and advance Free and Open Source Software. The Law Center is
dedicated to assisting non-profit open source developers and projects.
Visit SFLC at http://