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Moglen Ravicher LLC -- initial client and initial target

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Moglen Ravicher LLC -- initial client and initial target
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2008 16:43:35 +0100


"An initial client of Moglen Ravicher LLC is OpenNMS, an open source
enterprise grade network management platform. OpenNMS has retained the
firm for representation regarding violations of the GNU General Public
License (GPL)."

"OpenNMS, Eben Moglen and Cittio

OpenNMS has retained Moglen Ravicher, LLC (a for-profit law firm
organized by the Software Freedom Law Center and run to support their
non-profit operations) to represent us with respect to issues relating
to GPL license violations of OpenNMS code by the Cittio Watchtower

A couple of weeks ago I posted on “Ask Slashdot” my concerns about
possible GPL violations. While most of the comments were not very
helpful (grin), it did cause a number of people to contact me with more
information about Cittio’s use of OpenNMS code in their product, and it
was enough information for me to go to Eben Moglen with my concerns.
Since we’re a for profit enterprise, we aren’t eligible for SFLC’s pro
bono services. Thus, we retained Moglen Ravicher to represent us. With
their involvement, I am certain that the best interests of the OpenNMS
community will be represented and I look forward to a resolution of
these licensing issues.

Since this matter does involve lawyers, I will be limited as to what I
can share about this process from here on out, which goes against both
my open nature and my big mouth. This is a very unpleasant process for
us but we feel it is necessary to be true to ideals that drive our
project. Thanks for your patience and understanding."

More context:

"I recently got an e-mail from a company that was looking at both
OpenNMS and Cittio. It appears that Cittio is not telling potential
clients that any open source software is being used, at least not at the
level of detail required by the GPL. From the client “Oh, Watchtower
told us that they used some open source apps but did not mention as to
what they used”. When I brought up the fact that parts of Watchtower are
based on OpenNMS, the client replied “I could not find one ounce of
mention on their website to OpenNMS or any other Open Source code that
is running on this product. That really irritates me.” 

I should also mention that this client is in final negotiations with
Cittio (they dropped their initial price considerably) so we’re not
talking a first contact cold call here - they are ready to close this
deal without a single detail concerning their use of open source.

So I have moved Cittio into the “untrustworthy” column.

At the moment I really can’t do anything about this. We are doing well
enough that I could get lawyers involved, but I’d rather spend any extra
money we have on making OpenNMS better than pursuing a company like
Cittio. I am hoping that word of mouth is enough to get people asking
the right questions when dealing with them."

wishdev commented: 

"March 4th, 2008 at 1:01 am 

Did you really look that hard on their site or elsewhere to see that
they fully disclose what open source products they use? A 10 second
google search of “Cittio open source” pops up a full page on their site
listing each open source package they use in a very simple list. It also
doesn’t seem that hard to find just looking at their site
Technology/Open Source Components is pretty easy to find.

Not saying they are perfect - but they seem pretty far from hiding the
fact that OpenNMS is in their product offering"

CITTIO also responded:

"March 6th, 2008 at 12:51 pm 

Apologies for not responding to this earlier, my second son just entered
this world and my family and I have been a little busy. 

As you know, CITTIO was founded because of the shortcomings of legacy
NMS solutions that were too manual, too time-consuming and ultimately
unable to deliver needed visibility across heterogeneous environments.
We chose to build a software company that leveraged the power and
flexibility of open-source technology.

Currently, CITTIO’s software makes use of more than 35 open source
components. We’re deeply dedicated to the ongoing success and growth of
open source as well as maintaining strong relationships with the open
source community for many years to come. To clear the air:

1) Our focus has been and remains to provide the best monitoring
solution possible for our customers and future customers.

2) We fully disclose information on the open source components we use on
our website at: .

3) As our website clearly states, we currently use OpenNMS version 1.0.2
and believe we had abided by the GPL.

4) Our contracts make it clear open source code is delivered with our
offerings and customers have the right to gain access, copy, modify and
redistribute this free software.

5) Our customers have access to the open source code used in our

6) The CITTIO developer referenced is a dedicated, hard-working
contractor who also works from home frequently, hence the CITTIO and

The above is clearly not enough so let me explain how we use OpenNMS in
our product and the changes we will make going forward:

We use the 1.0.2 OpenNMS code line which is fairly old but works well
for what we use it for. We leverage the backend daemons such as
discovery and data collection. Collected data is put into the PostgreSQL
database, RRD files, and into Java messages where we then access it from
standard SQL or Java messaging and display the results in our GUI. By
accessing the OpenNMS code via standard SQL and Java messages, we
believe we created a clear separation between the GPL code and our code.
This being said, we have incorporated bug fixes, performance
enhancements and some features from more recent OpenNMS builds into the
code. We also have made modifications in order to make the communication
points with OpenNMS easier by adding some more messages or data into the
database. In addition we have added enhancements such as performance
tuning and dynamic graphing of hard drive mount points. We have always
made an offer to all customers in our standard software license
agreement that this code is freely available to them. 

It is clear making code available to our customers is not enough. We
will therefore also make this code freely available to everyone on
sourceforge as part of our 3.1 release in the next few weeks. Given your
suggestions, we will look into making a third party audit of our
software and sharing the results. I hope this provides more clarity and
resolves any outstanding issues.

Jamie Lerner
President & CEO


"03/17/2008 10  NOTICE OF VOLUNTARY DISMISSAL: Pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1) 
of the F.R.C.P., plaintiffs Erik Andersen and Rob Landley hereby dismiss 
this action against defendant Verizon Communications Inc. WITH

                         -- CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 1:07-cv-11070-LTS

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