OpenConnect is released under the GNU Lesser Public License, version 2.1.
Like vpnc, OpenConnect is not officially supported by, or associated in any way with, Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks or Pulse Secure. It just happens to interoperate with their equipment.
Development of OpenConnect was started after a trial of the Cisco client under Linux found it to have many deficiencies:
- Inability to use SSL certificates from a TPM or PKCS#11 smartcard, or even use a passphrase.
- Lack of support for Linux platforms other than i386.
- Lack of integration with NetworkManager on the Linux desktop.
- Lack of proper (RPM/DEB) packaging for Linux distributions.
- "Stealth" use of libraries with dlopen(), even using the development-only symlinks such as libz.so — making it hard to properly discover the dependencies which proper packaging would have expressed
- Tempfile races allowing unprivileged users to trick it into overwriting arbitrary files, as root.
- Unable to run as an unprivileged user, which would have reduced the severity of the above bug.
- Inability to audit the source code for further such "Security 101" bugs.
Naturally, OpenConnect addresses all of the above issues, and more.