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Re: Broadcom 4702?

To: Charlie Brady <>
Subject: Re: Broadcom 4702?
From: Dominic Sweetman <>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 09:11:25 +0000
Cc: Jun Sun <>,
In-reply-to: <>
Original-recipient: rfc822;
References: <> <>
> On Wed, 14 Jan 2004, Jun Sun wrote:
> > Since we are on this subject, I am curious if I buy a Cisco's router
> > whether it is considered that Cisco distributs the binaries to me
> > and whether I can demand for the source code if they are GPL'ed software.
> ...
> > I can see arguments go either way.  Do open source community and
> > industry have some concensus on this issue?

Charlie replied...

> Please read the various licenses (GPL and other), and consult your
> lawyer.  And if you want a definitive answer (in your jurisdiction)
> get the license tested in Court (and subsequent Appeals Courts). :-)

But Jun Sun asked whether distribution of a binary in a ROM inside a
black box might not really count as distribution.  I don't think you
need a lawyer to resolve that.  If the software was a computer game
(for example) I can't quite see its commercial owners smiling
indulgently and saying "it's only a ROM, carry on...", and I don't see
them having trouble over their position in court.

So yes, binary code distributed in a black box is still distributed,
and if it was GPL software you are entitled to the source code.  It's
sensible of Cisco to put it quietly on a web site somewhere.

Dominic Sweetman
(not necessarily the view of MIPS Technologies)

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