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Free Software Foundation probes Linksys

Linux code in them thar access points?

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The Register's Wireless LAN Channel

Linksys is alleged to have code in its 54 megabit wireless access points, code which should be made public, because it's Linux code.

The accusation, from the Linux Kernel Mailing List, has excited non-Windows PC users, because it means that if Linksys can be persuaded to abide by the terms of the Gnu Public License (GPL) for Linux/GNU code, then the software needed to make a free Linux-based access point becomes available.

The debate has been taken up on Slashdot with the usual enthusiasm that, finally, Linux will be able to eat Microsoft and Cisco for lunch using this as a lever - but so far, the excitement hasn't reached a sufficiently senior level inside Linksys to prompt any official response.

The Free Software Foundation says that the copyright issue is "under investigation" but it would appear that any action on this would be contingent on goodwill from Linksys, rather than legal repercussions; FSF isn't wealthy, and has little clout apart from the mind-share amongst a section of the developer community.

However, the issue has come up at a time when Linksys is finally operating as a full subsidiary of Cisco, and Cisco may possibly see some public relations benefit in releasing the source code.

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