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Free Software Foundation to sue Cisco over LinkSys violation

Cliff Saran

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Cisco alleging that various products have violated the licenses of programs on which the FSF holds copyright.

The FSF claims that Cisco's LinkSys brand of network products include FSF programs such as GCC, binutils, and the GNU C Library.

The FSF said most of these programs are licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), and the rest are under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). Both these licenses encourage everyone, including companies like Cisco, to modify the software as they see fit and then share it with others, under certain conditions. One of those conditions says that anyone who redistributes the software must also provide their recipients with the source code to that program.

"Our licenses are designed to ensure that everyone who uses the software can change it," said Richard Stallman, president and founder of the FSF. "In order to exercise that right, people need the source code, and that's why our licenses require distributors to provide it. We are enforcing our licenses to protect the rights that everyone should have with all software: to use it, share it, and modify it as they see fit."

The complaint was filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by the Software Freedom Law Center, which is representing the FSF.


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