More on FSF vs. Cisco

Summary:In case you're interested in more detail on the Free Software Foundation's suit against Cisco (but don't want to wade through the entire complaint), the FSF has a post up explaining the situation in plain language. According to the FSF, it's been a "five-years-running game of Whack-a-Mole" with Cisco.

In case you're interested in more detail on the Free Software Foundation's suit against Cisco (but don't want to wade through the entire complaint), the FSF has a post up explaining the situation in plain language. According to the FSF, it's been a "five-years-running game of Whack-a-Mole" with Cisco.

During this entire time, Cisco has never been in full compliance with our licenses. At first glance, the situation might look good. It's not difficult to find "source code" on the Linksys site. But you only have to dig a little deeper to find the problems. Those source code downloads are often incomplete or out-of-date. Cisco also provides written offers for source, but we regularly hear about requests going unfulfilled.

Despite our best efforts, Cisco seems unwilling to take the steps that are necessary to come into compliance and stay in compliance. We asked them to notify customers about previous violations and inform them about how they can now obtain complete source code; they have refused to do this, along with the other reasonable demands we have made to consider this case settled. The FSF has put in too many hours helping the company fix the numerous mistakes it's made over the years. Cisco needs to take responsibility for its own license compliance.

Cisco has also released a short and not very informative statement, which was emailed to me not very long after my original post last week:

Cisco is a strong supporter of open source software. Cisco takes its open source software obligations and responsibilities seriously and is disappointed that a suit has been filed by the Free Software Foundation related to our work with them in our Linksys Division. We are currently reviewing the issues raised in the suit but believe we are substantially in compliance. We have always worked very closely with the FSF and hope to reach a resolution agreeable to the company and the foundation.

I'm not quite sure what substantially in compliance really means, but it sounds a lot like "not really in compliance" to me. (I'm substantially in compliance with the speed limit most of the time, but I don't protest when I get a speeding ticket after the nice officers happen to clock me being somewhat non-compliant.)

I've asked Cisco to make someone available for questions, but Cisco has declined so far since the matter is "currently in litigation."

For those criticizing the FSF for being "litigious," it's taken five years for the company to take the step of filing a suit. Cisco has hardly shown the same level of patience before filing suit against others.

Topics: Cisco

About

Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier is the community manager for openSUSE, a community Linux distro sponsored by Novell. Prior to joining Novell, Brockmeier worked as a technology journalist primarily covering the Linux and FOSS beat, and wrote for a number of publications, such as Linux Magazine, Linux.com, Sys Admin, UnixReview.com, IBM developer... Full Bio

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