[linux-elitists] On the violation of BSD licensing

Jonathan Corbet corbet-elite@lwn.net
Wed Aug 20 16:34:53 PDT 2003

In the middle of all my SoBig "virus notifications" I stumbled across a
rather strongly worded message from a certain, highly vocal lead BSD
developer.  I've been taken seriously to task for not stating that SCO is
right; the incorporation of BSD-licensed code into the kernel without
retaining the copyright header is indeed a violation of the company's
copyright.  He seems to think this justifies SCO's entire case.

So far, I've not seen anything in any of SCO's communications that
indicates that what the company has wanted all along is credit in the
source for its Linux kernel contributions.  But I do think there may be a
point here.  Perhaps, in spots, the developers of who knows how many
GPL-licensed projects have been too cavalier with the incorporation of
BSD-licensed code and not retained the copyright info?  It may seem like a
relatively small point, but I think it's an important one.

Hypothesizing for the moment that such a thing has occurred, I think we
would all agree that it should be fixed.  How might a development project
go about finding the BSD-licensed source in its code base, so that it can
be properly labelled?  Is this something the kernel hackers should make a
point of doing before, say, 2.6.0 comes out?


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