Once upon a time in the 2000s and 2010s, Patrick McHardy was the chair of Linux’s Netfilter core development team. Netfilter is a Linux kernel utility that handles various network functions, such as facilitating Network Address Translation (NAT) and Linux’s IPTables firewall. All was fine. But, then it was discovered that McHardy had made millions of Euros from threatening over 50 companies with legal action for using “his” code. That will never happen again.
McHardy was suspended from the Netfilter team in 2016. The Netfilter team released a document on how to deal with his attempts to extract money from vendors. This move by McHardy, who had been a leading Linux developer in the 2000s, came as a complete surprise at the time. Now, years later, the issue has finally been resolved.
On January 24, 2022, the Netfilter project announced a legally binding settlement with McHardy. This settlement has been ratified in a German court decision. This settlement governs any legal enforcement activities concerning all programs and program libraries published by the Netfilter/IPTables project and the Linux kernel.