Cisco settles GPL lawsuit with FSF

From the ‘finally settled’ files:

The FSF has announced that its legal lawsuit against Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) has been dismissed and they have come to an agreement.

This is a case that dates back to December of 2008 and involves Cisco’s Linksys networking gear and alleged violation of the GPL open source licensing terms. The settlement from what I’ve seen is nearly identical to settlements that the FSF has achieved with at least four other vendors that are publicly known.

In a nutshell the settlement spells out that Cisco appoints a Free Software Director for Linksys,to ensure compliance with the GPL. Additionally, the FSF in its release states that:

“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.”

And last (but not least), Cisco is making an unknown financial ‘contribution’ to the FSF.

Frankly I don’t understand why it took five months to reach this point. At one point, there were some thoughts that this case might represent a test for the GPL, which I suppose in the end is what it was. The GPL is about openness and ensuring that users rights to code are strictly maintained. I know from my previous conversations with Cisco, that they respect the open source model, and wanted to come to an amicable agreement.

Bottom line from my point of view, is the FSF doesn’t seem to lose in these GPL cases. The license is the license and if you’re not following it strictly then the FSF will take steps to remediate.

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