Bradley Kuhn of the Software Freedom Law Center shares another post on his personal blog containing more insights into the work he has done and is still doing around GPL license enforcement. This time, he discusses how the nature of violations have changed over time, as he says loosely tracking the adoption of GPL licensed software itself.
The first class of embedded devices that were BusyBox/Linux-based were the wireless routers. Throughout the 2000s, the typical violation was always some wireless router. I still occasionally see those types of products violating the GPL, but I think the near-constant enforcement done by Erik Andersen, FSF, and Harald Welte throughout the 2000’s has led the wireless router violation to become the exception rather than the rule. That enforcement also led to the birth of community-focused development of the OpenWRT and DD-WRT, that all started from that first enforcement that we (Erik, Harald and FSF (where I was at the time)) all did together in 2002 to ensure the WRT54G source release.
I think these posts are invaluable for anyone working with GPL software to understand how best to remain compliant, avoiding the most common mistakes.