Samba GPL Violation Suspected: KingDrive IP Drive

Marcio Luis Teixeira marciot at
Thu Jan 12 17:19:12 GMT 2006

Dear Samba Developers:

Recently there has been some talk on Slashdot of GPL
violations by hardware manufacturers and it encouraged
me to report what I believe to be a violation of the
Samba project's GPL by a Taiwanese hardware
manufacturer. About a year ago I purchased on eBay a
NAS device called an "IP Drive". This is a network
enabled hard-disk enclosure manufactured by KingByte
( What lead me to believe that this
was GPL based device is that in order to get the
network functionality to run, you intall what they
call "firmware" to the hard disk. All this is a
minimal UNIX file system. Although I can't identify
any kernel components, it seems to me that several
files of this package are part of the Samba and SWAT

My reason for writing to this list is to 1) report
this possible GPL violation and give the Samba team an
opportunity to respond, and 2) to request that a
person with more technical understanding of Samba
independently confirm whether my suspicions are true.
This is simply a matter of downloading the "firmware"
from KingByte's web site and looking at the files. The
download URL is this:

Just click the "Firmware Software Download" link and
unzip the resulting file.

If a GPL violation is determined, please let me know
whether there is an interest in pressuring this
manufacturer to open up the code. Even though I don't
particularly have the time or the skills to want to
modify this device myself, it seems to me like it
would be a nice inexpensive embedded platform for
tinkering, expecially if it is determined that it runs
some variant of Linux. I have not contacted KingByte
personally about access to the code yet, although I
would be glad to do so to see how they respond to a
customer request for code access.

Please feel free to email me at marciot at if
you have questions or would like to persue this
matter. As I may decide to unsubscribe from this
mailing list, please CC any replies to me.

Thank you,

Marcio Teixeira

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