2005 Edition Free and Open Source Software Developer's European Meeting


Harald Welte

GPL Enforcement


GPL Violation
Harald Welte is the chairman of the netfilter/iptables core team.

His main interest in computing has always been networking. In the few time left besides netfilter/iptables related work, he's writing obscure documents like the "UUCP over SSL HOWTO" or "A packet's journey through the Linux network stack". Other kernel-related projects he has been contributing are user mode linux, the international (crypto) kernel patch, device drivers and the neighbour cache.

He has been working as an independent IT Consultant working on projects for various companies ranging from banks to manufacturers of networking gear. During the year 2001 he was living in Curitiba (Brazil), where he got sponsored for his Linux related work by Conectiva Inc.

Starting with February 2002, Harald has been contracted part-time by Astaro AG, who are sponsoring him for his current netfilter/iptables work.

Aside from the Astaro sponsoring, he continues to work as a freelancing kernel developer and network security consultant.

He licenses his software under the terms of the GNU GPL. He is determined to bring all users, distributors, value added resellers and vendors of netfilter/iptables based products in full compliance with the GPL, even if it includes raising legal charges.

Harald is living in Berlin, Germany.

Abstract : GPL Enforcement

More and more vendors of various computing devices, especially network-related appliances such as Routers, NAT-Gateways and 802.11 Access Points are using the Linux kernel and other GPL licensed free software in their products.

While the GNU/Linux community can look at this as a big success, there is a back side of that coin: A large number of those vendors have a lack of knowledge about the GPL license terms, and as a result do not fulfill their obligations under the GPL.

GPL licensed software is neither freeware nor public domain. Anyone who redistributes such software (e.g. by building commercial products on top of it) has to understand the implications before the actual distribution takes place.
The author of this presentation is a developer of GPL-licensed software. He has legally enforced the GPL in more than 20 cases (mostly in Germany, some internationally).

The presentation tries to resolve some misunderstandings and rumours about the GNU General Public License. It demonstrates the legal means of copyright holders to enforce the GPL and assure full GPL compliance by all parties building upon their software - not only theoretically but referring to the referring to the numerous practical examples of the project.
Contact laforge -at] gnumonks {dot_ org>
Talk slides

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