"Roughly, the typical GPL violation tracks almost directly the
adoption and spread of Free Software. When I started finding GPL
violations, it was in a day when Big Iron Unix was still king
(although it was only a few years away from collapse), and the GNU
tools were just becoming state of the art. Indeed, as a sysadmin, I
typically took a proprietary Unix system, and built a /usr/local/
filled with the GNU tools, because I hated POSIX tools that didn't
have all the GNU extensions.
"At the time, many vendors were discovering the same
frustrations I was as a sysadmin. Thus, the typical violation in
those days was a third-party vendor incorporating some GNU tools
into their products, for use on some Big Iron Unix. This was the
age of the violating backup product; we saw frequently backup
products that violated the GPL on GNU tar in those days.
"As times changed, and computers got truly smaller, the embedded
Unix-like system was born. GNU/Linux and (more commonly)
BusyBox/Linux were the perfect solutions for this space. What was
once a joke on comp.os.linux.advocacy in the 1990s began to turn
into a reality: it was actually nearly possible for Linux to run on
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