Cisco settles lawsuit with Free Software Foundation

The networking giant will employ a director who will oversee open source license compliance in Linksys products

Cisco Systems will appoint a director to ensure that its Linksys products comply with the terms of free software licenses, and in return the Free Software Foundation will dismiss its lawsuit against the networking giant, the parties said on Wednesday.

Cisco will also make an undisclosed contribution to the foundation and has agreed to notify Linksys users of their rights under applicable licenses.

The new director will report periodically to the foundation regarding Cisco's compliance efforts.

The settlement deal appears to end a process that began in 2003 when the FSF started looking into complaints that users of the Linksys WRT54G wireless router were not receiving all the source code, based on Linux, that they were entitled to under the terms that Cisco had licensed the software.

Since then, the foundation says it discovered similar transgressions and tried to work with Cisco to ensure the proper disclosures.

But late last year the foundation gave up, complaining that Cisco was unwilling to take the necessary steps towards compliance, and the FSF filed a copyright infringement lawsuit suit against Cisco.

It was the first time the FSF had gone to court over a license violation, Brett Smith, FSF compliance engineer, wrote in a blog post Wednesday.

He stressed that the group would prefer not to take companies to court.

"We're not out to wreck businesses or make lots of money. We just want compliance. And any company selling free software shouldn't have any problem providing that," he wrote.

Cisco has been in trouble before for failing to comply with open source licenses. In 2007, it came under fire for compliance issue in one of its IP phones.

Companies like Cisco may not intentionally share open source code improperly. It may be that they have not implemented the sometimes complicated and costly internal processes to track and share code properly.

The Free Software Foundation said it will continue to monitor Cisco's compliance with open source licenses in Linksys products.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags LinuxciscoLinksysopensourcelawsuitsFree Software Foundation

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?