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© CC BY-SA 3.0

© CC BY-SA 3.0

Article from Issue 223/2019

In the news: Software Freedom Conservancy announces end to VMware lawsuit; Chef goes all open source; SUSE spins off from parent company; Gnome 3.32 released; NSA's reverse engineering tool released; and a new Mirai Botnet variant discovered.

Software Freedom Conservancy Announces End to VMware Lawsuit

Linux developer Christoph Hellwig has announced that he is discontinuing his lawsuit against VMware for non-compliance with the terms of the GPL. Hellwig and the Software Freedom Conservancy accused VMware of including GPLed code associated with vmklinux into VMware's proprietary vSphere product. A German appeals court dismissed the case on February 28. Hellwig and the Software Freedom Conservancy have decided they will not appeal the case further in German courts.

The judge appears to have decided the case on procedural grounds without taking on the larger questions related to the GPL and the power of the copyleft protection. The questions hinged around whether the plaintiffs had successfully proven that the code was present in VMware's code base and that the use of the code was non-compliant. VMware maintains that the vmklinux code is a separate component that does not force release of vSphere under the copyleft requirement.

Software Freedom Conservancy executive director Karen Sandler expressed disappointment, "VMware knew what they were doing was wrong but continued to generate revenue by infringing copyrights in Linux, while slowly working toward non-infringement."

The Free Software community has always been more focused on achieving compliance than on punishment or punitive damages. By that standard, the case appears to have succeeded despite the outcome. Vmware announced that it will remove vmklinux from vSphere and hopes to accomplish this "…in an upcoming major release."

Chef Goes All Open Source

The Chef automation tool, a popular solution for DevOps IT management scenarios, has announced that it will become a 100% open source platform. In the past, the basic Chef application was available in open source form, but the company also provided several enhancements and add-on tools with proprietary licenses. Rather than building proprietary tools around an open source core, Chef will now open source all of its software under an Apache 2.0 license.

According to Chef CEO Barry Crist,(https://blog.chef.io/2019/04/02/chef-software-announces-the-enterprise-automation-stack/) "Over the years we have experimented with and learned from a variety of different open source, community, and commercial models, in search of the right balance. We believe that this change, and the way we have made it, best aligns the objectives of our communities with our own business objectives. Now we can focus all of our investment and energy on building the best possible products in the best possible way for our community without having to choose between what is "proprietary" and what is "in the commons."

This move toward free software does not mean that Chef is changing its focus on commercial enterprise customers. Instead, the change underscores the modern reality that the enterprise is more about services than it is about code. The company has also announced a commercial version called Chef Enterprise Automation Stack (https://www.chef.io/products/enterprise-automation-stack/) that will combine the open-source software with enterprise-grade warranties, indemnifications, and support.

SUSE Spins off from Parent Company

SUSE has completed its move from Micro Focus to EQT, a growth investor firm. As the focus is shifting towards moving up in the stack, towards the cloud, there is consolidation happening in the market. While Red Hat has become a unit of IBM, SUSE is heading towards becoming an independent entity.

Many would argue that post-IBM acquisition of Red Hat, SUSE has become the 'biggest' Linux vendor. While Linux is still the core of SUSE business, the company has built a massive portfolio of emerging technologies (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgaxolQ2QLo&t=1s) like cloud, containers, and IoT.

"Current IT trends make it clear that open source has become more important in the enterprise than ever before," said SUSE CEO Nils Brauckmann. "Our genuinely open, open source solutions, flexible business practices, lack of enforced vendor lock-in and exceptional service are more critical to customer and partner organizations, and our independence coincides with our single-minded focus on delivering what is best for them."

To continue its momentum, SUSE has expanded its executive team. Enrica Angelone has become the new chief financial officer, and Sander Huyts is SUSE's new chief operations officer. Thomas Di Giacomo, formerly chief technology officer for SUSE, is now president of Engineering, Product and Innovation.

The company believes (https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/suse-completes-move-to-independence-reaffirms-commitment-to-customers-partners-and-open-source-communities-as-industrys-largest-independent-open-source-company-300813231.html?tc=eml_cleartime) that EQT's backing and SUSE's independent status will enable the company's continued expansion as advanced innovation drives growth in SUSE's core business as well as in emerging technologies, both organically and through add-on acquisitions.

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