back to article Cisco settles open source case

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 …

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Wrong Again

That's not patent infringement, it's copyright infringement. Patents are not involved.

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Dead Vulture

It's "Free Software" all the way

"The FSF welcomed Cisco's affirmation of its commitment to the open source "

If you read the statement, you'll see that they didn't once use the term "Open Source", nor would you expect them to do so.

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Linux

Ermm

What exactly is the typical Linksys customer going to do with a bunch of C source? The target market for that kit is people who don't want to know how stuff works, they just want to plug the box with the flashy lights into the wall and go.

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Bronze badge

Cash

How much money?

A token tenner, or a precedant-setting ten-million?

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Unhappy

Here's how to see the source code.

Here's my way. My router doesn't have a screen, but if i udo all the screws that hold it together I can see it running around inside and I can play with it.

In the past year and a half, I've had 975 routers, after I've opened up each and everyone of them to see the source code and play with it, for some reason the routers stop working.

I have complained to Linksys about this problem 975 times. Each time they write back and say, I've voided the warranty, appantly it has to be opened and the source code played with by a professional, Linksys certified "source code player".

Linksys have refused to supply me with my own personal "source code player"

Is this fraudulent?, and what else can I do if I want to play with MY source code on MY router?

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Happy

Linksys gear is quite usefull

@Gaius

Not exactly. I'd say 90% of Linksys sales go to people who want something that "just works". But think about: I own a WRTP54G-NA. It has a MIPS CPU of 150Mhz, 8MB of RAM and... 4MB of internal storage, I believe.

With source code this could be turned in a small autentication server, a security gateway or even a very small Asterisk server for my house.

It could, in fact, do the work of a far expensive router too. Look the OpenWRT project, and You will see an example of pratical use of all this.

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Silver badge
Alert

Probably a mistake

I thought OpenWRT started off as customisation of the Linux source Linksys had published for some prehistoric WRT

Some of th e cheaper ones use VXworks. I guess when Cisco took over they "forgot" the rules.

My Linksys WRT54G3G runs WhiteRussian OpenWRT and my PCEngines Wrap1E runs the Kamikaze OpenWRT very happily.

I have the source of my Archos605 and my DLink DI634, but neither of those allow loading of 3rd party firmware. :(

It's of limited value to Linksys purchasers, but that is not the point, the point is really the community of people (including other commercial companies) using customised GNU/Linux for embedded applications.

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Businesses Beware

Use a GNU, go to jail.

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still breaking the law.

If you try to also sell the source code then you are still breaking the GPL.

So a company can't use GPL then sell hardware for $40 but sell the source code for $10,000

Thats illegal.

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Coat

Re: Businesses Beware

Correction:

It is abuse a GNU, go to jail...

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Anonymous Coward

@Gaius

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.......

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@Don Mitchell

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.

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