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NewsForge: LinuxDA CEO ducks questions about GPL compliance

Sep 25, 2001, 17:43 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tina Gasperson)

[ Thanks to Tina Gasperson for this link. ]

"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."

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