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21892Re: [nslu2-linux] Re: F5L009 belkin network usb hub

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  • Rod Whitby
    Jun 27, 2008
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      Gregg C Levine wrote:
      > They (Belkin) are
      > probably not completely aware that anything Linux based needs to be supplied
      > with both a binary and a source download.

      Actually, that's not strictly true.

      Someone who sells a product which contains firmware derived from GPL
      licensed source code has two options:

      1) Include a written offer, good for three years, to send source code on
      some physical medium for a nominal shipping and handling fee.

      2) Provide source code for download.

      It is true that if they provide firmware updates by the web then they
      are expected to also provide source code by the web too.

      But if someone ships a product and never puts a firmware update image
      available for download, then they are well within their rights to only
      include the written offer and never provide the source code for download.

      Of course, the first person to take advantage of the written offer is
      also within their rights to put that source code up on the web for
      everyone else to download ... this is what keeps the nominal shipping
      and handling fee low, since anyone else who gets the source code can
      ship to many other people for a much lower fee (recouping their initial
      outlay), and then market forces eventually push the price of further
      distribution down to zero (since you'll get someone altruistic who just
      puts it up for free download).

      -- Rod
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