[kwlug-disc] Microsoft Did Steal Open Source Code for USB/DVD Tool - SuperSite Blog

Lori Paniak ldpaniak at fourpisolutions.com
Sun Nov 15 16:17:46 EST 2009

On Sun, 2009-11-15 at 15:50 -0500, Chris Frey wrote:
> On Sun, Nov 15, 2009 at 03:21:31PM -0500, Lori Paniak wrote:
> > It is unfortunate that, by breaching the GPL, MS (or anyone else) can
> > generate good-will.  If I breach a contract, I would expect to be asked
> > to pay damages of some sort.  Even if the breach does not result in
> > demonstrable financial damages (eg. loss of income), there is the
> > possibility of punitive damage.
> > 
> > Entities that violate the GPL should have to pay real monetary
> > penalties- if only to remind them not to do so again in the future.
> Releasing the source is a much cheaper solution in the long run.
> Trying to extract a penalty will likely only enrich the lawyers.
> At least this way, there's a new Free Software tool in existence.
> And isn't that the ultimate goal of the GPL in the first place?
> In this case, permission and forgiveness are both pretty easy.
> Which is how it should be.  It is Microsoft's way that is the hard one:
> the way of fees, penalties, lawsuits, and grief.  And the more people
> realize that, the better.
> - Chris

I agree with you Chris, and think your way is how the process is
supposed to work.  My concern is with an entity that (possibly
willfully) repeatedly breaches a contract and only admits to limited
"errors" when presented with direct evidence.  I'm not claiming MS is
such an entity, but would like to see the GPL respected.

Maybe it's better to let GPL software be widely distributed - even if
the license is not respected - and call for the source code later,
rather than be obnoxious about it up front?  It worked for Linksys
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