Cisco and GPL
This post would be talking about Cisco, busybox, GPL and different company strategies for the same.
I should have written about the above about a year aback but for one reason or the other but something or the other it just didn’t work out. I have been a D-Link user since end 2004/early 2005 when I brought a D-Link router. I was searching for a router which would talk or converse under GNU/Linux and not just a windows machine. So after searching a lot at that time settled for the D-Link 502T , in part due to 3 years warranty being given by them in the router.
One of the factors for me was that many of the D-Link routers were GPL’ed hence it should be easier in case of issues to update as things go forward.
The D-Link page for the same.
Now the reason why I wanted to write about this is because of FSF having to put up a lawsuit against Cisco. Few URL’s of the same.
Now many people don’t know that Cisco is the owner of Linksys.
This happened in 2003.
What is interesting is while Cisco says and I quote
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.
Reference :- http://blogs.zdnet.com/community/?p=141
The reality is somewhat different. Please see the Linksys WRT54G page on wikipedia for the same.
As one digs a little deeper, it seems that Linksys has been trying to subvert people’s ability to use third-party firmware.
What many people don’t know (including me) that Huawei is also pretty much GPL-complaint and does give busybox and other stuff on its routers and stuff. For e.g.
Netgear does the same
This tells that others find a value in using FLOSS and do take care to ensure that its known
and advertised properly.
Why is it necessary?
Simply because the Net has and needs open standards. I want to use my router/modem
to speak all the protocols, TCP/IP (v4 as well v6), VOIP, IPTV and stuff like that.
Also if you use proprietary firmware, the costs of the product would go up and it would be
unwieldy for users to use the same in case new services come up which could be given
using a small firmware update.
Morever I want to use/manipulate my router/modem using any browser which is able to
read/use HTML so it doesn’t need windows or Internet Explorer.
One of the shortcomings of the D-Link 502T which I found later is that model requires IE to save parameters to the router/modem so couldn’t do any changes to the same.
Here’s my busybox version and stuff for those who are so inclined.
$ telnet 192.168.1.1
Connected to 192.168.1.1.
Escape character is '^]'.
BusyBox on (none) login: admin
BusyBox v0.61.pre (2005.05.30-08:31+0000) Built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.
Suggestions, comments all are welcome. A Happy 2009 for all.