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FSF and Cisco Settle - For Real, This Time
Wednesday, May 20 2009 @ 05:49 PM EDT

The Free Software Foundation and Cisco have now settled the litigation over the GPL and Cisco's subsidiary, Linksys. Cisco has agreed to appoint a Free Software director for Linksys, and it has agreed to notify previous recipients of Linksys products of their rights under the GPL and other licenses, to publish a licensing notice on the Linksys website, and it will "continue to make the complete and corresponding source code for versions of the FSF programs used with current Linksys products freely available on its website." And Cisco will make a monetary contribution to the FSF.

There was a fair amount of misinformation about this topic recently. The link is just one example. Some were spinning that FSF had "lost" and unlike earlier GPL enforcement lawsuits had gotten "nothing" and had been forced to settle without gaining anything. They based the FUD on this dismissal notice [PDF]. As you can see, that was misinformation, however sincere it might have been. Or not. The parties merely agreed to dismiss since negotiations were going well, so as to focus on the settlement talks, and each had the right to ramp back up again in court, if things went south. But it worked out well, as they felt it would, and the settlement is now announced.

The GPL stands, much as that frustrates some. Cisco, by the way, negotiated, I've heard, in good faith, and the eventual settlement reflects that effort on their part to comply with the GPL going forward and to ameliorate earlier difficulties, for which it should be commended.

Here's the Free Software Foundation announcement and the FSF press release:

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Wednesday, May 20, 2009 -- The Free Software Foundation (FSF) and Cisco Systems, Inc. are pleased to announce that they have reached a joint agreement.

Under the agreement, the FSF has agreed to dismiss its lawsuit against Cisco.

Cisco has agreed to appoint a Free Software Director for Linksys, a subsidiary of Cisco, to supervise Linksys' compliance with the requirements of free software licenses such as the GPL (the GNU General Public License). The Free Software Director will report periodically to the FSF regarding Linksys' compliance efforts. Cisco has further agreed to take certain steps to notify previous recipients of Linksys products containing FSF programs of their rights under the GPL and other applicable licenses, to publish a licensing notice on the Linksys website, and to provide additional notices in a separate publication. In addition, Cisco will continue to make the complete and corresponding source code for versions of FSF programs used with current Linksys products freely available on its website. Cisco will also make a monetary contribution to the FSF.

The parties recognize Cisco's ongoing obligations under the GPL and other free software licenses. The FSF will continue to independently monitor Linksys' compliance with these licenses, and work with Linksys to resolve any new issues that may arise.

"We are glad that Cisco has affirmed its commitment to the free software community by implementing additional measures within its compliance program and dedicating appropriate resources to them, further reassuring the users' freedoms under the GPL," said Peter Brown, Executive Director of the FSF. "Our agreement results in making all of the relevant source code available in the fastest way possible."

### About the FSF

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at . Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.


  


FSF and Cisco Settle - For Real, This Time | 132 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
FSF and Cisco Settle - For Real, This Time
Authored by: DaveJakeman on Wednesday, May 20 2009 @ 06:03 PM EDT
The GPL goes from strength to strength.

---
Monopolistic Ignominious Corporation Requiring Office $tandard Only For
Themselves

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections Here
Authored by: DaveJakeman on Wednesday, May 20 2009 @ 06:04 PM EDT
If any.

---
Monopolistic Ignominious Corporation Requiring Office $tandard Only For
Themselves

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic
Authored by: DaveJakeman on Wednesday, May 20 2009 @ 06:05 PM EDT
Discuss off-topically here. Keep it off-topic, mind.

---
Monopolistic Ignominious Corporation Requiring Office $tandard Only For
Themselves

[ Reply to This | # ]

News Picks
Authored by: DaveJakeman on Wednesday, May 20 2009 @ 06:06 PM EDT
Please set a suitable subject title. Linkies appreciated.

---
Monopolistic Ignominious Corporation Requiring Office $tandard Only For
Themselves

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Short Circuit
Authored by: DaveJakeman on Wednesday, May 20 2009 @ 06:12 PM EDT

In my view, this is the way litigation should be done. And it works, because the US justice system is so clunky, it encourages the parties to do it this way -- on their own terms, with both reasonably happy (or at least agreeable) with the outcome.

---
Monopolistic Ignominious Corporation Requiring Office $tandard Only For Themselves

[ Reply to This | # ]

ios cli and bash
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 20 2009 @ 07:58 PM EDT
I understand the ios cli originated by modifying the bash shell.

When will fsf go after cisco on this?

[ Reply to This | # ]

"FSF Programs"
Authored by: nitrogen on Wednesday, May 20 2009 @ 08:15 PM EDT
I notice the annoyuncement says "FSF programs" instead of OSS or GPL.
Does this mean that Cisco will continue to use non-FSF software without
complying with the license? Or does the FSF call all free software FSF
software?

[ Reply to This | # ]

FSF and Cisco Settle - For Real, This Time
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 21 2009 @ 12:24 AM EDT
The "|" was not in IOS when I started working with Cisco products
around IOS verson 3.? so I would so no it is not based on bash

Bill

[ Reply to This | # ]

FSF and Cisco Settle - For Real, This Time
Authored by: iraskygazer on Thursday, May 21 2009 @ 04:01 AM EDT
In the end the customer pays for all lawsuits. It is good to see a large
corporation like Cisco wants to work with the FSF and continue to produce
inexpensive networking solutions that implement software developed around the
world. Everybody benefits from this cooperation. Cisco can produce less
expensive products and we are able to see GPL'd code put to good use. Win -
Win...

[ Reply to This | # ]

FSF and diplomacy
Authored by: IMANAL_TOO on Thursday, May 21 2009 @ 05:08 AM EDT
I believe FSF are masters in diplomacy, especially in getting fruitful deals
which are not leaked to the press in advance.

Any kind of leaks in settlements like these should be avoided at all cost.

Congratulations!



.

---
______
IMANAL


.

[ Reply to This | # ]

FSF and Cisco Settle - For Real, This Time
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 21 2009 @ 10:33 AM EDT
This has to place a bug up Microsoft's corporate behind, to be sure! It
validates the GPL and the FSF as a force to be reckoned with which won't go away
just because MS would like it to. JMHO.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Don't forget to let Cisco know this is good
Authored by: David Gerard on Saturday, May 30 2009 @ 12:53 PM EDT
Next time your company buys Cisco kit, do be sure to let them know that you
approve of Cisco meeting its obligations to free software licenses, and that
this is a positive factor in your buying decisions. *That* will get their
attention.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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