Almost everyone uses Linux thanks to its growing popularity in consumer electronics in everything from TVs to DVR (digital video recorders) to DVD recorders to you name it. Some companies, however, think that they can use Linux and open-source software for their products without releasing the source code or, in some cases, paying the creators. Wrong. The SFLC (Software Freedom Law Center) is lowering the boom on more than a dozen companies including Best Buy, Samsung, Westinghouse, and JVC, which have violated the GPL (Gnu General Public License).
Bad news guys, you can’t get away with it. These companies, according to the SFLC, have ripped off BusyBox’s GPLv2 software tool collection. The SFLC announced that they were suing these companies because they had ripped off BusyBox, a popular collection of Linux/Unix utilities which is known as the “Swiss Army Knife” for embedded Linux. To be exact, these companies have been accused of using BusyBox illegally in such devices as “Best Buy’s Insignia Blu Ray DVD Player, Samsung HDTVs, Westinghouse’s 52-inch LCD Television, and more than a dozen other products that the defendants have continued to sell without the permission of the software’s copyright holders.” Specifically, the companies behind these, and almost 20 other products, aren’t living up to the terms of the GPLv2, which states that anyone can view, modify, and use the program for free on the condition that they distribute the source code to customers.