Fortinet settles GPL violation suit

Security specialist Fortinet agrees to make some of its source code available following accusations that it violated the GPL.

Ingrid Marson
Security specialist Fortinet has agreed to make some of its source code available, following accusations that it violated the GPL, the company said on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, gpl-violations.org founder Harald Welte obtained a court injunction against Fortinet, banning the company from distributing its products until it complied with the conditions of the GPL. The GPL, or GNU General Public License, is used by developers to license products that they want to remain freely available to other programmers, in keeping with the ideals of the free-software movement.

Welte had claimed that Fortinet not only misused GPL-licensed code but that it also tried to hide its use of GPL code by using cryptographic techniques.

Fortinet has agreed to provide the source code of the Linux kernel and other GPL-licensed components to any interested party. The code is available upon request, for the cost of distribution, from the Fortinet Web site. The company has also agreed to modify its licensing agreement to include the GPL licensing terms with all Fortinet shipments. The settlement agreement also states that no Fortinet partners are subject to legal action.

This is the latest in a string of victories for the gpl-violations.org project. Since starting the project in 2004, Welte has negotiated more than 30 out-of-court settlements.

ZDNet UK recently spoke to Welte about his methods and the motivation behind gpl-violations.org. You can read the full interview here.

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from London.