"The PowerPlay III PDA is cheap: $89. It runs on an
embedded version of Linux called LinuxDA, by a company called
Empower Technologies . Empower's version of Linux isn't free like
beer, but there has also been a question as to whether it's free
like speech. Paul Leung, the CEO of Empower, isn't interested in
hashing out the details with NewsForge.
Back in late July, several people noticed that Empower
Technologies had OS demos up for download that did not include any
kernel source. Although the company has since put up a source
tarball that, according to one downloader, consists mostly of a
Netscape core file along with 4mb or so of kernel source, the Web
site's legal page still has some dicey language concerning LinuxDA
that definitely doesn't sound compatible with the GPL...
..."We see this increasingly with embedded and other software,"
says Eben Moglen, Free Software Foundation advocate and Columbia
Law School professor. "There should be no restrictions added to any
GPL software." It is a technical noncompliance with the terms of
the GPL when software aggregations that include both GPL and
non-GPL code do not specify clearly enough to the consumer that
there is Free Software included on the CD. "In these cases we
usually ask them to change the packaging to something more
compatible," Moglen says."