Re: Linksys WRT54G and the GPL

From: Davide Libenzi (
Date: Sun Jun 08 2003 - 16:08:39 EST

On Sun, 8 Jun 2003, greendisease wrote:

> First, we shouldn't rush into anything before we gather some facts.
> Linksys may not be the ones developing the software for the WRT54G. In
> fact, many of these router "companies" don't do much besides branding
> at all. I have spoken to a few friends at netgear and d-link and they
> confirmed that all hardware and software that is used in their router
> products is manufactured and developed in asia-pacific somewhere. They
> just license everything from the manufacturer. Proof of this is that if
> you cracked open many different models of vendors' routers you would
> see that the hardware is almost always the same board just in a
> different case with a different name on it. Someone should look into
> this and confirm what Linksys does. It may be nothing more than the
> management @ Linksys not knowing what the product runs and what
> licensing restrictions apply.

IANAL, but in many coutries the fact that you didn't know is not an
excuse. When you integrate alien parts in your products you become
responsible and you have to be sure about all aspects that arise.

> Second, Linksys is no longer its own entity since it was purchased by
> Cisco. We all know that Cisco is very committed to GNU/OSS. If anything
> comes to a dead end with Linksys we should be able to find some
> engineers at Cisco that can take care of the situation.

No doubt about that.

> IMHO, it looks like some very crafty developers somewhere in
> Asia-Pacific are hacking this hardware and software and doing really
> neat things. We should first try to contact these people and explain
> to them our philosophy and try and get them to join the kernel
> development activities. After all they are already doing some kernel
> hacking and maybe based somewhere in a non-democratic country and are
> therefore afraid to open source their work for fear of political
> repercussion. Please Consider.

What's so neat in grabbing a bunch GPL protected software and stoking it
inside a ROM, clearly breaking the license ? Maybe they got only half part
of the communism thingy, "What is your is also mine and what is mine is
just mine".

- Davide

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