Linux Foundation

David Woodhouse dwmw2 at
Wed Mar 1 03:19:41 EST 2017

On Tue, 2017-02-28 at 15:22 -0800, Florian Fainelli wrote:
> During ELC 2017 in Portland, I was approached by Mike Wosner from the
> Linux Foundation, here is roughly what we talked about.
> OpenWrt/LEDE are highly visible projects for the Linux Foundation
> because they make use of Linux on millions of devices, and that alone is
> something interesting for the foundation in itself because it goes well
> with the idea of making Linux ubiquitous.

I have slight reservations about the Linux Foundation. There is a
perception that the LF are *against* enforcement of the GPL in fairly
much any form, and that they work to undermine such efforts when they
happen elsewhere. Even Broadcom — one of the most persistent violators
of the GPL — is a member of this industry consortium.

And yes, I *know* that last sentence makes me sound a bit like a
conspiracy theorist. Of course the LF does a lot of good work and the
world is a better place for its existence. But GPL enforcement seems to
be one place where corporate politics *does* slightly get in the way of
it doing the "Right Thing" (by my definition, at least).

Yet that type of enforcement is the *only* reason our projects got
started in the first place, and it remains a constant concern for
anyone working on "freeing" up embedded devices of any kind.

If the LF can help out, that's great. And my concerns don't actually
*have* to be relevant at all. But I think we should bear it in mind to
make sure it doesn't become an actual problem.

So if we become a LF project, for example¹, then I'd like to ensure
that we retain autonomy regarding any copyright actions, for example —
I *definitely* wouldn't want to start assigning copyright to LF instead
of OpenWRT, and them being able to veto any hypothetical enforcement

I'd also like to make sure we don't do anything which even *implicitly*
appears to legitimise the distribution of binary-only modules when they
are shipped as part of a router firmware and not "as separate works".


¹ which I appreciate wasn't actually what was being suggested. Although
  it's a possibility.
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