A German district court has thrown out a case which challenged one of the basic tenets of the free and open source software (FOSS) movement: the right to modify open source code. German DSL router vendor AVM had brought the case against software vendor Cybits in order to block Cybits from modifying the Linux kernel. AVM contended that this action would violate its copyright. However, the court disagreed, finding that the GPL license gave Cybits the right to alter the code.
Open source advocates welcomed the decision. “Free software gives everybody the right to use, study, share and improve it. Nobody should be allowed to prevent others from executing those rights,” said the Free Software Foundation’s Matthias Kirschner.