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Free Software Foundation Settles Its Lawsuit Against Cisco

By Kevin Fayle on May 21, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019
People hoping for a test case for the Gnu Public License (GPL), a common type of license in open source software, will have to wait a little longer.

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has settled its lawsuit against networking equipment giant Cisco, so the case won't go to court or establish any kind of legal precedent for the interpretation of the GPL.
FSF accused Cisco of distributing networking equipment that utilized software distributed under the GPL without offering the programs' source code, as required by the license.

Many observers had hoped that the case would go to trial and elicit a judicial opinion on the enforceability of the GPL, much as a recent case, Jacobsen v. Katzer, did before the Federal Circuit for the open source Artistic License.

That case was widely considered a win for the open source community, since it interpreted the violations under the law of copyright, instead of under contract law.  This opened up the possibility of injunctive relief for violations of the license, instead of limiting relief to what is available under contract law.

Instead of legal precedent, however, the FSF will get a donation from Cisco, and the tech company agreed to establish a position dedicated to ensuring compliance with the GPL.

See Also:
Cisco settles GPL lawsuit with FSF (
Major Victory for Open Source in Jacobsen Decision (Law and Life: Silicon Valley)

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