Cisco settles open source case
Show us yer source code
Networking behemoth Cisco has settled a patent infringement case brought by the Free Software Foundation.
The FSF accused Cisco of distributing products under its Linksys brand which breached FSF General Public Licenses. A key part of GPL is that if you distribute products based on it then you must also make the source code available for others to see.
Several firms have struggled to comply with this requirement - BT got into similar trouble over its wireless router. Companies find it easy to include open source software in their products, but less easy to provide customers with full access to source code.
To settle the case Cisco has agreed to appoint a Free Software Director, who will oversee Linksys's compliance with open source licences and report back to the FSF.
Cisco has also promised to inform existing Linksys customers of their rights under GPL, to make source code for products available on its website and make a donation to the FSF.
The FSF welcomed Cisco's affirmation of its commitment to the open source community, and said the agreement was the quickest way to make the relevant source code available.
FSF statement is here. ®
Yes because using Microsoft's patents worked out so well for TomTom didn't it. A company the size of Cisco should know better than to break license agreements.
The Linksys products that used those licenses actually makes it easier for Cisco because the Free Software movement provided firmware upgrades without Cisco having to do it themselves.
It matters not one whit whether no Linksys users read the source code or if indeed no Linksys user could possibly sleep at night without reading said code.
What is important is that under the terms of the software license, any GPL licensed software must be accompanied by the source code (or a reasonable method provided for acquiring said code).
If the FSF as Freetards-in-chief fail to enforce these clauses with Cisco/Linksys then they will dilute their rights to enforce the clauses with others who fail to provide the source code for their GPL covered software. Eventually, should enough infringers be allowed to infringe with impunity it may well become the de-facto court(s) view that the infringement is no longer one that can be supported by the license.
Also, to be honest a rule is a rule, Cisco knew they had to provide the source code and yet they elected to not do so - I may not be a fan of the Freetard movement but if you want to play with their software (and benefit financially from their hard work) then you owe it to them to at least abide by your side of the bargain.
Personally in these situations I would like to see the FSF say something like:
"Mr. Cisco, you are clearly breaching our licensing terms, those terms being fair, reasonable, clear and unambiguous. Should you not rectify the situation within 30 days of the date of this letter we will view it as tacit recognition that you believe software licenses to be irrelevant, unenforceable and, in your view not protected by any relevant laws. Accordingly after said date we will start copying your proprietry software en-masse and distributing it free through the appropriate channels."
Wouldn't work for so many reasons but would be so funny and with the right judge.......
Re: Businesses Beware
It is abuse a GNU, go to jail...