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7/22/2008
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Extreme Networks Latest Target Of GPL Enforcement

This is the sixth lawsuit the Software Freedom Law Center has filed on behalf of BusyBox seeking to uphold open source software principles.

The Software Freedom Law Center yesterday filed a copyright-infringement suit against Extreme Networks on behalf of the two BusyBox developers, Erik Andersen and Rob Landley, whom it's defended before.

It's the sixth lawsuit on their behalf to uphold the provisions of the General Public License, established by the Free Software Foundation. The Software Freedom Law Center, led by Eben Moglen, is a nonprofit organization set up to enforce the provisions of the GPL.

Aaron Williamson, attorney for the SFLC, said his organization had contacted Extreme in February about its use of BusyBox, a set of lightweight Unix utilities used in embedded systems and issued under the GPL. Extreme continues to distribute BusyBox without reaching any agreement to meet the provisions of the GPL, Williamson said in the suit.

"We attempted to negotiate with Extreme Networks, but they ultimately ignored us. Like too many companies, they treated GPL compliance as an afterthought. That is not acceptable," said Williamson in a statement announcing the suit Monday.

In mid-December, networking device manufacturer Xterasys agreed to pay developers Andersen and Landley an undisclosed sum and set up a GPL compliance officer. Verizon did likewise in mid-March. Monsoon Multimedia settled on Oct. 30.

Extreme Networks produces switches, wireless local area networking products, and network management tools.

A distributor of GPL code must make the source code freely available to its customers and end users.

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