A Beautiful Build: Releasing Linux Source Correctly

Presented by Bradley M. Kuhn
Tuesday 11:50 a.m.–12:20 p.m.
Target audience: Developer


Most embedded computing products run Linux. However, obtaining the complete, corresponding source code (CCS), which Linux's license (the GNU GPL) requires, can prove difficult. The license dictates certain technical requirements; verification of a source code release for license compliance therefore requires technical analysis. After years of reviewing many source releases for embedded Linux products, the speaker discovered (finally!) an excellent example of CCS, which not only meets the requirements of the GPL, but also enables and encourages users to take advantage of their rights to modify and install new versions of the software on their device.

This talk briefly discusses the components of the router's source release, and then explains the aspects of the source release that made it particularly outstanding. The talk proposes methods to achieve similar compliance successes on embedded products, suggests procedures for increasing the "tinkerer" userbase by improving beyond even what this excellent example provided, and gives insight into and perspective on compliance engineering analysis that occurs during GPL enforcement work.

Presented by

Bradley M. Kuhn

Bradley M. Kuhn is the Distinguished Technologist at Software Freedom Conservancy, on the Board of Directors of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), and editor-in-chief of copyleft.org. Kuhn began his work in the software freedom movement as a volunteer in 1992, when he became an early adopter of the GNU/Linux operating system, and began contributing to various Free Software projects. He worked during the 1990s as a system administrator and software developer for various companies, and taught AP Computer Science at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati. Kuhn's non-profit career began in 2000, when he was hired by the FSF. As FSF's Executive Director from 2001–2005, Kuhn led FSF's GPL enforcement, launched its Associate Member program, and invented the Affero GPL. Kuhn was appointed President of Software Freedom Conservancy in April 2006, was Conservancy's primary volunteer from 2006–2010, and has been a full-time staffer since early 2011. Kuhn holds a summa cum laude B.S. in Computer Science from Loyola University in Maryland, and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Cincinnati. Kuhn's Master's thesis discussed methods for dynamic interoperability of Free Software programming languages. Kuhn received the O'Reilly Open Source Award in 2012, in recognition for his lifelong policy work on copyleft licensing. Kuhn has a blog, is on pump.io and co-hosts the audcast, Free as in Freedom.

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