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Cisco settles open source case

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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. ®

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