Eben Moglen and the troops at the Software Freedom Law Center may want to read the McAfee annual report more than once. Without this warning there's a chance Eben may do a spit-take on his morning coffee.
A carefully written shareholder's letter seems to say the company may have become infected with some GPL software, making itsubject to that license's requirements, and it fears releasing the code would leave it open to security risks.
Uh, yeah. Release your security software as open source and someone just might write a rootkit against it. Especially if you're doing it under duress and have been openly disdainful of the open source security concept.
And it's not like hackers aren't already going after McAfee-protected sites.
A carefully-drawn settlement with the SFLC might mitigate these risks, assuming Moglen's group is willing to be merciful.
There's an iron fist inside that gloved letter, however, which noted "the legality of terms included in the GNU/General Public License -- the most widely used open source license -- have yet to be tested in court."
Settle or we'll fight, in other words.
If I might engage in unwarranted speculation, the problem may be in McAfee's Asia/Pacific region, where Australian heavy-hitter Steve Redman was recently hired from EMC as a regional president.
McAfee has had its share of troubles in the past. Last year's annual report was delayed by accounting problems.
In this case, we must ask, have they called Black Duck? UPDATE: Umm...never mind. So says McAfee's PR department. Which may be why lawyers have more zeros in their lifestyles than PR people. (BTW I agree with Gene Wilder. I miss Gilda.)