SFLC Files, Settles Additional GPL Lawsuits

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Software Freedom Law Center attorneys have been busy again this week.


Monday, they filed a lawsuit alleging Ethernet provider Extreme Networks has violated the GNU General Public License by redistributing the BusyBox open source utility in its products without making that source code available. An SFLC statement says the organization has tried to negotiate with Extreme Networks, but the company continues to violate the GPL.


The Extreme Networks suit is the latest in a series of actions the SFLC has brought on behalf of BusyBox creators Erik Andersen and Rob Landley. To this point, all have been settled to the satisfaction of the plaintiffs. In fact, on Wednesday of this week, the SFLC agreed to dismiss the copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Supermicro last month. In return, Supermicro paid an undisclosed amount to the plaintiffs and agreed to certain terms.


From an SFLC statement:

Supermicro has agreed to appoint an Open Source Compliance Officer within its organization to monitor and ensure GPL compliance, to publish the complete and corresponding source code for the version of BusyBox it previously distributed, and to undertake substantial efforts to notify previous recipients of BusyBox from Supermicro of their rights to the software under the GPL.

The SFLC is certainly cracking down on GPL violations concerning BusyBox, but I'm sure there are other GPL violations happening out there. Why do the BusyBox violations warrant such attention? And if other suits are being filed, why don't we hear about them?