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Slashdot: GPL Violation, Microtest's DiskZerver

Sep 21, 2001, 11:07 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by brtb)
"About a year ago my employer, a local high school, purchased a couple MicroTest "DiskZervers," network-attached-storage boxes designed to cache CD images for LAN usage. We were mainly Netware-and-Win95 at that time, and the Zervers performed flawlessly in that configuration. But problems began when the district IT department made the decision to switch us over to an NT-domain setup. The Zervers, even with their advertised "Domain Integration" support, didn't seem to like this too well, so I dug a little deeper... imagine my surprise when I found out the boxes are actually embedded 486's with Linux and a whole slew of other GPL'ed software, mentioned nowhere in the manuals or on the accompanying software CD.

Apparently, Microtest (NAS division since sold to XStore ) put together a mess of GPL software - a modified Linux kernel 2.0.27, Samba 1.9.x-ALPHA (!!!), the MARS_NWE netware emulator, and GNU C libraries (libc5), among others, stuffed them on a flash chip in a drive-bay-size embedded 486-based computer, and sold it as their "DiscZerver " product line. They also used some non-GPL packages, including Apache and Netatalk (macintosh server). Nothing wrong with their methods, but there's plenty wrong in their implementation.

The web interface and proprietary Windows front-end, the only given methods of configuring the device, refer to the various services generically, like "Web server," "SMB server," "NCP server," etc. - there's no mention anywhere, even in the manual, of the actual programs being used. Of course along with this is no accompanying source code or even the offer to provide any, as the GPL requires."

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