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SecurityPortal: IPFilter: Free No More?

May 28, 2001, 14:12 (15 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kurt Seifried)

IPFilter is the foundation of firewalling for the BSD family. A recent release included a change in the license that restricts "derivative or modified works," and a subsequent change that redistribution is not permitted. This article maintains IPF is no longer compliant with the Open Source Definition aising issues similar to the issues raised by ssh being "taken proprietary."

"Assuming Darren Reed is "correct" with his new license, it is unlikely he will back down and return to the original license, leaving *BSD developers with a dilemma on their hands:
  • Ask for permission to use IPF, and assuming they get it stay with IPF, however at some point in the future Darren Reed may decide to not allow them to use IPF, leaving a gaping hole (literally, no firewalling code) in the affected system.
  • Possibly fork development of IPF, which is unfortunate because of the increased workload it will create and the potential divergence leading to incompatibilities (right now IPF is IPF, on Solaris, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, etc.).
  • Start from scratch, which would require even more work then simply forking IPF, and certainly cause a lot of grief for all concerned."

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