Widespread Linux GPL Violations Alleged
Opinion: Some are claiming that many smaller Linux distributors are in violation of the GPL. Maybe these claims are true.Could many smaller Linux distributions be in violation of the GPL? Thats what Warren Woodford, the man behind the popular MEPIS distribution thinks. As detailed in Bruce Byfields excellent NewsForge story, "A GPL requirement could have a chilling effect on derivative distro," Woodford recently ran afoul of the GNU GPL (General Public License) requirement that downstream distributors of GPL code are obligated to provide source code to users in an easily accessible format. Woodfords error was that while he does provide MEPISs modified Debian/Ubuntu kernel source code in a Debian source-package, he had not provided copies of the source code that was available somewhere, which he had not modified.
So, for example, say I released Stevens Special Penguin Sauce Linux. In it, Id have my own modifications to the kernel source code, and the usual Linux utilities like the vim screen-based text processor. I would have to provide my users with not only my kernels code, but also with vims source code as well, even though I hadnt done a thing to its code.