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Windows 7: VMware alleged to have violated Linux’s open source license for years

11 Mar 2015   #11
groze

W7 32 bit, Linux Mint Xfce 18 64 bit
 
 

I may not totally understand what is going on it is a little confusing. If VMware is violating the gpl, wouldn't Google be doing the same-thing for its own Google chrome browser unless it is using LGPL? Why doesn't Vmware use LGPL like Mozilla does with their products? My understanding is LGPL allows secret proprietary code.

Not only Google, enterprise version of some Linux distros may violate the GPL2 if I understand the licensing issue that is. I could be wrong.


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11 Mar 2015   #12
lehnerus2000

W7 Ultimate SP1, LM18 MATE, W10IP VM, W10 Home, #All 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by groze View Post
Not only Google, enterprise version of some Linux distros may violate the GPL2 if I understand the licensing issue that is. I could be wrong.
I think that the fee for Enterprise versions is actually a Technical Support charge (SLA?).
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11 Mar 2015   #13
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
does that mean also that ANY commercial application designed for Linux is breaking "copyright".
In any case one would have to define "What is Linux". If "Linux" is an OS (although I think it is Torvalds who owns the KERNEL patent / copyright) then in no way is VMWARE WORKSTATION or PLAYER an OS since it needs to be started as an application under control of another OS.

ESXi is another issue - but there are FREE versions of that and in any case you only pay for the SUPPORT.

Same as RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise server) used by zillions of companies and netting Red Hat a very large income. You pay for the Support.
No, commercial software is perfectly fine on Linux, but that's a different matter. But if the accusation is true, that means that VMWare used the source code of Linux in it and since it's GPL it means that any derivates MUST also be GPL (which means, publishing its source). Running any program on Linux, even proprietary, is irrelevant, but the matter is if it took GPL source code.
Contrary to popular belief, Linux is not an OS. It's just a kernel, the central part of the OS, but in itself the project don't has any other tool on it. After adding the full environment is what you get the full programs based on it (Ubuntu, Red Hat, Android, etc) and those MUST be GPL, since they use GPL code. It don't matters if VMWare is an OS or not, the only important thing is that they took GPL code. I can take the Linux source and build a poker game with it, and the history would be the same, it must be GPL if I ever release it.
Paying for support is also irrelevant, the license don't mentions it. It just precludes reutilization without releasing it as open source too. Red Hat complies because it's open source and anyone can download, modify, republish or distribute it.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ThrashZone View Post
I'm not sure which of the two has more money but the Linux side was asking for donations to pursue the case so that might give a hint
But yea just blank out Germany for the VMware products seems the easiest unless the Linux guys bailout for lack of funds :/

At first it seems they just wanted recognition or credits for the free product ?
Linux, as most open source projects, is run mainly on volunteer time, and as a non-profit effort it obviously needs support for such an action against a big company. It's not only a matter of recognition, it's a license violation. In the same way that you cannot use Windows in more computers as you have bough licenses, Linux source cannot be reutilized without making the resulting program open source too. If the case turns out to be true and the court rejects it, it's more or less like legalizing piracy.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
There's absolutely NO infringement here -- the products are FREE - you pay for maintenance -- same as If I'm helping someone to fix a Windows machine - I don't have to pay Ms. Similarly if I write an application that works on Windows I don't pay Ms a royalty for using Windows. In fact I'm more likely to be REWARDED. !!

By any reasonable criterion Esxi is NOT copyright infringement. What about companies like CITRIX which also create their own HYPERVISORS and CHARGE for the product. Don't tell me that there's no Linux type kernel in that offering.
Not really, VMWare is NOT free software, which is what the GPL requires, they only distribute free of charge, but it's not open source. If they really took Linux code in it, they MUST make the whole thing open source (or stop distributing it) to stop violating licenses. That means that it must be possible for anyone to download the source code, modify it at will, redistribute, publish modifications and so on, which is now impossible since it's proprietary software.
Repairing a Windows machine is a completely different case, you're not using Windows there, hence don't own anything to MS (you charge for your workforce instead). Writing Windows software is unrelated too, since you don't use parts of Windows itself for it. But if you where to disassemble a Windows binary and use that in your program, that would make you guilty of copyright infringement, just as in this case.
No idea about Citrix, but the problem is only for taking source code and using it in your programs without making them open source. Linux-type "kernel" is perfectly valid if it's a clone or something created from scratch taking ideas from it, but copying the original textually is certainly stealing.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by groze View Post
Why doesn't Vmware use LGPL like Mozilla does with their products? My understanding is LGPL allows secret proprietary code.

Not only Google, enterprise version of some Linux distros may violate the GPL2 if I understand the licensing issue that is. I could be wrong.
LGPL is not compatible with GPL. The original Linux license requires that any derivate work be licensed under it or any other license that allows and enforce further free distribution. If VMWare were to use LGPL while taking Linux code, any forks of VMWare could be proprietary, which breaks the original intent of the GPL. Therefore VMWare MUST be GPL if all this comes to be true.
Enterprise Linux don't violate the GPL because they're still freely available. Those companies charge for the support, not for the program itself. The OS remains free to use, modify, distribute as you like.
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11 Mar 2015   #14
ThrashZone

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit
 
 

Thanks for the input Alejandro
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12 Mar 2015   #15
groze

W7 32 bit, Linux Mint Xfce 18 64 bit
 
 

I take it Google Chrome, Opera and other proprietary software use Lgpl but still release the gpl source code. Google made a proprietary os from Chromium and sold laptops for money. I think you had to pay a monthly subscription for updates but I am not sure, I never had a Chrome book. I also read you can use open source libraries in proprietary software.


Here is a interesting site.


https://blog.codecentric.de/en/2012/...tary-projects/
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12 Mar 2015   #16
Windows Sniper

Windows 8.1
 
 

No, no no no...


What has happened here is.

Christoph Hellwig owns many sections of the Linux kernal code, which he actually holds copyright for. He has licensed these under the General Public License (GPL), to the world to use freely as they chose.

However, one section of the GPL states that upon release of production code (Esxi for instance) the company must release all source code, that was used in the creation of the program. This is true for all instances of linux, as it is a publicly and freely available kernal licensed under the GPL.

If you want to compare it to Red Hat, you will find that they actually release the source code alongside the products. - Index of /pub/redhat/linux/enterprise


Now, Christoph Hellwig has found that VMWare have released software, without fufilling this agreement within the license. As this license is a legal agreement between the creator of the code and the general public, they have voided that agreement.

As such, they are being sued for damages, which have occured because Christoph Hellwig was not appropriately accredited to the source code of the released product.

This is literally Plagarism for those in the UK/US...
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12 Mar 2015   #17
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by groze View Post
I take it Google Chrome, Opera and other proprietary software use Lgpl but still release the gpl source code. Google made a proprietary os from Chromium and sold laptops for money. I think you had to pay a monthly subscription for updates but I am not sure, I never had a Chrome book. I also read you can use open source libraries in proprietary software.
That's the other way around. You can take LGPL and release it as GPL, but not take GPL and make LGPL, which is more like the case here. No idea if those actually use anything that's GPLd anyway. As for the Chromebook, they can certainly charge for the hardware itself (which is not GPL) and put free software on it, that's the case of all Android phones, as Android itself is open source but they charge for the device and all programs running on top of it may not be free exactly.
With libraries the thing gets messier, again depends on the license. As far as I know (but not sure) using GPL library requires making your software GPL too, but here comes the LGPL that explictly allows proprietary usage. And other more permissive licenses like MIT, BSD and Apache that allow free use even in non-free programs.
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12 Mar 2015   #18
groze

W7 32 bit, Linux Mint Xfce 18 64 bit
 
 

Now it makes sense why windows 10 is a service and not an operating system. They found a loophole in the Gpls. I always wondered how can Microsoft release the spartan browser and integrate into windows 10, without releasing the windows 10 source code. I read spartan browser will accept chrome extensions, so it has to have some open source code.


About selling.

Selling Free Software - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation

It also depends if the ESXI or Vmware kernel is based on Busybox or Toybox. ESX was removed from the all products.

The reason Bitware traffic light doesn't have to release the bit defender source code, is you have to download the extension from Mozilla add-on site, so it technically not distributed. That is allowed by one of GPLs. You can put you software on your website, for free or cost. As long as you do not distribute it, you don't have to release the source code to licensees.

I see the vmware can charge for it. So, the only violation if any, is not proper credit. As far as the licensing, technically the source code only has to release them to the licensee, it does not have to be published.


Unfortunately, in the U.S. things can get a little mucky with the GPL, DCMA, Copyrights, Pattens. We can legally use VLC player to play most media but can't play dvd legally on Linux unless we buy Fluendo or similar dvd player.
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21 Mar 2015   #19
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by groze View Post
Now it makes sense why windows 10 is a service and not an operating system. They found a loophole in the Gpls. I always wondered how can Microsoft release the spartan browser and integrate into windows 10, without releasing the windows 10 source code. I read spartan browser will accept chrome extensions, so it has to have some open source code.
What????? How could Windows be a service? Don't ever believe that marketing non-sense, Windows is a piece of software, an operating system in particular (if not, what's would be the OS that powers Windows computers?). Besides, what has this to do with the GPL? That "Spartan" thing is nothing but the new version of Internet Explorer (IE12, in practice), which has no open source code in it. Where did you know about it using Chrome extensions? Even if that were true, it doesn't necesarily imply that it has used Chrome code, they could do some blackbox testing to reimplement it without borrowing code (Wine, DosBox and ReactOS are examples of this). As of now I have no reason to think of Windows containing open source code, much less GPL.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by groze View Post
The reason Bitware traffic light doesn't have to release the bit defender source code, is you have to download the extension from Mozilla add-on site, so it technically not distributed. That is allowed by one of GPLs. You can put you software on your website, for free or cost. As long as you do not distribute it, you don't have to release the source code to licensees.
Not exactly. Yes, source must be distributes only if binaries are distributed. That means that for not requiring source publication, the code must run entirely in their servers or never leave the developer machine (so it's entirely for personal use). That's not the case of VMWare or a browser extension. Both run in each user machine, either as a standalone program or as a plugin of a bigger program, which means that the binary is actually distributed. The fact that it's published in the Mozilla website and not on the main developer's doesn't invalidates the GPL, as the program containing GPLd code is still distributed (even in a different way, by someone else). So, source code MUST be made available.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by groze View Post
I see the vmware can charge for it. So, the only violation if any, is not proper credit. As far as the licensing, technically the source code only has to release them to the licensee, it does not have to be published.
Not sure about this one. The violation is not only proper attribution, but not making source code available too. I don't think that code should only be released to licensees, that would be against the spirit of the GPL, which is make programs free, and if that were the case, you would have to pay to obtain the freedom of seeing the source, modifying and redistributing it. I doubt that's the case, but I'm not sure here.
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21 Mar 2015   #20
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

My understanding of how Microsoft does things is the make and use their own code unless it's cheaper to buy someone else code. They have been known to buy whole companies to obtain their patens and copyrights.
As far as I know Microsoft doesn't steal code.

I'm thinking it's cheaper for Microsoft to buy patens and copyrights or the whole damn company rather than to go through all the legal B/S in courts all over the world.
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 VMware alleged to have violated Linux’s open source license for years




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