My name is Egidijus Meištas and I am an IT enthusiast. I also work with some small businesses (mostly advise and implement various infrastructure solutions). Recently I have tested and started using MikroTik routers myself and recommended to some others. They are indeed very nice! I am here, however, because I have concerns about RouterOS compliance to GPL license.
First, let me apologize for my friend's lack of manners in This earlier thread.
It is clearly a wrong way to start a conversation. I think that MikroTik company has created nice things, there for should be given the benefit of a doubt.
The concerns expressed there, however, are very real and I would like to raise them here in a more civilized way. It would be very nice if someone from MikroTik could answer these questions, but everyone is welcome into discussion.
1st concern - GPL in a proprietary system
You distribute RouterOS with a proprietary license as a proprietary system. However judging from GPL listed components in your license. This system of yours seems to be based on a GNU/Linux (Linux kernel + collection of supplementary programs).
Whole point of GPL is to build a free (as in freedom) world. There for if you take free software, use it to build your system it is fine, it is freedom. But once you close your system (which is based on free software) down. It is a conflict of interests. You take the work of people who did it because of idea of freedom and you close it down. At the very least this is not nice.
GPL has something to say about this behavior:
How do you justify?A system incorporating a GPL-covered program is an extended version of that program. The GPL says that any extended version of the program must be released under the GPL if it is released at all. This is for two reasons: to make sure that users who get the software get the freedom they should have, and to encourage people to give back improvements that they make.
2nd concern - obtaining sources
You MikroTik (further you) have a binary RouterOS download but GPL license states:
I do not see any options for source download. I've only heard rumors about ordering source CD for $45 somewhere, but absolutely no easy hint how exactly I am supposed to do this. Also, $45 for a source CD seems wasteful (of human work, my money and natural resources) compared to network download option.If you make object code available on a network server, you have to provide the Corresponding Source on a network server as well.
Why can I get binaries easy, but obtaining sources are so complicated? Why do you think you are complying to this GPL requirement? Do you plan to do something about this in the future?
Sources of concerns:
* https://www.mail-archive.com/legal@list ... 00330.html
* http://blog.gmane.org/gmane.law.gpl.vio ... h=20091201
* https://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licens ... .0.en.html
I am not a legal person and I am not going to pursue or escalate this matter. Basically I am interested how do you justify your actions, which raise my concerns. As a customer I do not want to buy products with "unclear origin" and your (MikroTik) answers definitely will be deciding factor if I'll implement solutions using MikroTik products or I'll check somewhere else.