OpenBSD team leader Theo de Raadt took exception to the fact that Buesch had not tried to quietly resolve the problem with Marcus Glocker, the developer, who had allegedly copied the code. Buesch's post went out to a number of mailing lists.
Initially, Glocker was inclined to try and rewrite the code in question but soon after he said he was deleting the code and giving up work on the driver. That gave fresh ammunition to de Raadt - who is normally very outspoken and, in cases like this, does get more than a bit ratty - and from then on the whole thing deteriorated into a slanging match.
There were comments like "we don't trust Linux people anymore," "by the way, we are the people who write OpenSSH. Perhaps you should not trust it, either," and so on.
While some people argued that putting code into a CVS was not really distributing it - the GPL says that code written under the licence cannot be redistributed under any other licence - others pointed out that putting it on a public CVS repository meant that distribution was taking place.
There was much talk over how Buesch had handled the situation, but the question of whether copyright problems should be avoided altogether did not figure much.
Pieter Hulshoff, one contributor to the discussion, dwelt on this: "If Open Source wishes to be taken seriously, then copyright violations need to be avoided. The way to do that professionally is by cleanroom design. If you use cleanroom design, this mistake could not even have been made! I think the fact that it happened shows a clear problem within the BSD development process for this project.
"Even if the copying had not been done verbatim, and/or if the GPL lines had been changed before committing the files to CVS, it would still qualify as a derivative work, and it would still have qualified as a copyright violation. It seems to me that Theo has more serious issues on his hands here than complaining about how this issue should have been handled."
I think he has a point.
(Reading the whole thread is instructive; it's available here.)