I am developing a commercial product that ships with a custom embedded Linux distro (similar to Yocto), and am in the process of collecting the copyright and license notices to comply with the GPL requirements. I intend to extend an offer to provide the sources and mention the GPL on the user interface of the program. I should also mention that the user will not access the command line, rather interact via a web interface, and because of that /usr/share/licenses/ is empty.
Is it my understanding from GPL-2.0 §1 that I should mention the copyright, license and warranty terms of all GPL'd programs shipped, which for me means the Kernel, bootloader and all the extra SW packages that form the distro. This is proving to be an utter nightmare to collect, with a lot maintenance effort. I have encountered the following problems so far:
- Lots of packages with no clear info of copyright holders, either with no AUTHORS file, or the AUTHORS file is empty and no clear mention in a README. One has then to dig lots of source files headers, where no distinction between authorship and contribution is made (this can lead to a few dozen names per package). This is also very tiresome and error prone.
- Some packages (e.g. binutils or dropbear) have lots of slightly different licensed and authored components, which gives half a page long notice.
- Some packages are free, but require a copyright notice, adding to a very lengthy list of information.
Also, with software updates it is possible that some packages have a newer GPL/LGPL version, more contributors, or some are added/removed, causing a considerable maintenance effort. At the moment I have about ~120 different SW Modules (OS, bootloader and packages managed by the lightweight package manager).
My questions are:
- Do I really have to mention all that information for all those packages? A google search shows a lot of 1 Paragraph GPL notices, but that seems to fall very short of the requirements.
- How is this usually done in custom/embedded distros? I am certainly not the first one to ship a commercial product with a custom distro.
- If I were to provide the licenses on /usr/share/licenses/, would that help me fulfill the requirements? I assume not, at least because in my case that would be inconspicuous.
- Any idea on how can I make this process less laborious?