FSF and Cisco Settle GPL Dispute

May 20, 2009

The Software Freedom Law Center is pleased to announce that its client the Free Software Foundation has reached an agreement with Cisco Systems, Inc., settling the lawsuit filed by the FSF last December.

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.”

The FSF has an announcement on its website, as well as a message to the community about the settlement from Brett Smith, head of the FSF’s Compliance Lab.

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