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Re: Microsoft needs a help strategy

From: amicus_curious
Subject: Re: Microsoft needs a help strategy
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2009 09:26:41 -0500

"Hyman Rosen" <> wrote in message news:StDfl.11984$E%6.12@newsfe04.iad...
amicus_curious wrote:
Big deal.  The source code for the firmware was already available
> in dozens of places.  What good is one more snapshot?

Well, just because Microsoft already has plenty of money doesn't
mean that you may choose not to pay for your copy of Office. The
license requires that the source be made available.

More to the point, how would someone who receives only a binary
know what source was used to build it? How would he know that the
manufacturer hadn't made any changes? It is the person who makes
the binary who knows just what sources are used to make it, and
the GPL wisely requires that this person make the exact sources

All that would be important, I agree, if the source code could be used to build some kind of binary that the device used directly and that established characteristics for the device. But such is not the case here. The GPL source in question is the BusyBox utility function set that is used by the vendor's proprietary Linux compatible application to do various things. If you wanted to use it yourself, you would presumably go to and get the latest.

Where there might be some GPL program that was actually modified from its original and used to perform some complete function, disclosure of the source would be significant. But these poor souls are simply using embedded Linux/Busybox in lieu of more conventional Linux/GNU Utilities to run their applications. There is no benefit to the community of any real significance in harassing them over adding one more site to download from. All that seems to achieve is to give credibility to Ballmer's warning that Linux is a sort of cancer that a business whould be smart to avoid.

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