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BT's Home Hub runs on Linux

But is it violating GPL?

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BT's wireless broadband router Home Hub may be in breach of the terms of Linux's General Public License, after it emerged the device runs on open source code.

The telco was reported to gpl-violations.org on 5 January.

Under the General Public License companies must publish the code they are using. In its simplest terms, the license says you can use free software as you like, but must credit where it came from and publish improvements you make to it.

BT responded quickly and posted an admission that it was using open source software and made it available to download late last week. However, investigation by the Freedom Taskforce, the part of Free Software Europe which deals with licensing, said BT had not in fact published the complete code.

Freedom Taskforce spokesperson Shane Coughlan told The Register: "It appears to be missing the scripts to control compilation and installation."

Gpl-violations.org is now investigating the telco.

Though he congratulated BT on its prompt action, Coughlan said: "It's great that they've taken this action but companies shouldn't really go to market until they've checked - they would not do so if it contained proprietary software from someone like Microsoft."

Coughlan suggested BT could make a contribution to a relevant open source project.

The other impact of all this, and one that BT is probably keen to avoid, is it opens up BT's home router to rewriting by assorted enthusiastic open source fans.

The posting on gpl-violations is here, and this is the software BT has admitted is in the Hub.

Also check out this blog, which is keeping an eye on the whole thing. ®

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