GPL Violation: Microsoft's Code Generosity with Strange Taste

Jul 24, 2009

Microsoft made headlines on July 20 with their release of a Hyper-V driver to the Linux kernel under GPL. Now it turns out that the driver violates the GPL free code stipulation by having a mix of proprietary and open source code.

Novell's kernel hacker and driver expert Greg Kroah-Hartman had worked with Microsoft to release the Hyper-V driver under GPLv2. Not an unusual thing for the head of the Linux Driver Project (LDP). His Linux Kernel Monkey Log may have gone into why Microsoft was compelled into the deal, but an update on the webpage points to an entry on the Linux Network Plumber website to "give a little more of the backstory of what caused me to start talking to Microsoft in the first place." Steve Hemminger, employed at network company Vyatta, hosts the Plumber website.

Hemminger congratulated Microsoft in his Plumber blog, but added that he stumbled on a Vyatta forum about the GPL components in Hyper-V and immediately informed Kroah-Hartman that "there was a problem." Kroah-Hartman then "prodded the right people" to resolve the issue. "It took longer than expected, but Microsoft finally decided to do the right thing and release the drivers," said Hemminger. Perhaps under different circumstances than were expected.

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Comments

  • Misleading article

    The summary sentence makes it sound like what Microsoft released on July 20th violates the GPL. What really happened was they were in violation previously, and made the July 20th release so that they would be in compliance. The article title should be something like "Microsoft's Code Generosity was Catch-up Compliance". And the summary should be: "Microsoft made headlines on July 20 with their release of a Hyper-V driver to the Linux kernel under GPL. Now it turns out that they were required to do this because a previous version of this driver had a mix of proprietary and open source code."
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