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23 February 2012, 16:25

Debate over non-GPL version of BusyBox supposedly settled

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FOSS icon The controversy surrounding the development of a BusyBox alternative that was being relicensed under a non-GPL licence has been put to rest, according to LWN. Sony's Tim Bird had called for a replacement for BusyBox to be developed with a different licence, since he believed that the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), which enforces the GPL for embedded Linux devices that include BusyBox, had often gone too far. He has recently said that this enforcement strategy has been holding Linux back from becoming more widespread in embedded projects.

In a mailing list post, SFC Executive Director Bradley M Kuhn – responsible for pursuing GPL violations with the SFC – explains that he talked with Bird at the Embedded Linux Conference and was able to clear up misunderstandings about the SFC's actions. He also wished the ToyBox project the best and said that BusyBox "shouldn't be afraid of healthy competition". The message from Kuhn does not seem to currently be in the BusyBox mailing list's February archive.

Rob Landley, author and maintainer of ToyBox, the BusyBox alternative which had found itself at the centre of the minor controversy, says he is continuing development of the code. Landley released ToyBox 0.20 on 12 February as the first BSD-licensed version of the utility with 47 commands implemented to a "reasonably ready-to-use" state. Landley was not involved in any of the discussions and said "we care about code, and this isn't about code".

This story has been updated from an earlier version with more details on ToyBox.


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