BusyBox settles Monsoon GPL lawsuit

Maker of Linux-based digital TV devices agrees to abide by GPL requirements for publishing source code--and is paying the BusyBox programmers.

Programmers behind the BusyBox collection of open-source utilities have settled a September lawsuit that contended Monsoon Multimedia's use of the software violated the General Public License (GPL).

Under the terms of the settlement, Monsoon may ship its Hava digital TV products using the BusyBox software without objection from BusyBox, according to a joint announcement Tuesday from Monsoon and the Software Freedom Law Center, which represents BusyBox.

In addition, Monsoon has agreed to appoint an open-source compliance officer to monitor the issue, to publish on its Web site the source code for the version of BusyBox it uses, to undertake "substantial efforts to notify previous recipients of BusyBox from Monsoon Multimedia of their rights to the software under the GPL, and to pay an undisclosed amount of money to BusyBox.

The Monsoon-BusyBox suit signaled a new assertiveness on the part of open-source programmers, who until now have generally shown little desire to take license compliance matters to court.

"We are happy to put this behind us and move forward," said Graham Radstone, Monsoon Multimedia chairman and chief operating officer, in a statement.

"We are confident that Monsoon Multimedia will be upstanding members of the open-source community, and we wish them the absolute best of luck with their business," added Erik Andersen, a BusyBox developer named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

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About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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