Open source can be a double edged source for those that aren't careful to strictly adhere to the licensing terms. Case in point is networking vendor Netgear. Last week Netgear announced its RangeMax Wireless-N Gigabit Router, calling it an open source Linux platform. The problem is that according to critics, Netgear is not complying with the open source GPL license. It's a claim that Netgear is now responding too.
The issue, as first raised by gpl-violations author Harald Welte is that Netgear's Open Source router ships with binary-only kernel modules. Welte has noted that as such users can never update their Linux kernel to get the latest security fixes, but have to run vulnerable old kernel versions.
Rather than invite the animosity of the open source community,which only serves to fuel the FUD fires for proprietary vendors, I think Netgear really needs to come clean on this issue. They also clearly need (as Welte suggests) someone in their organization that understands the requirements of open source licensing.
Read the full story at http://blog.internetnews.com/skerner/2009/10/netgear-responds-to-open-sourc.html