|Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] FSF supports lawsuite against VMWARE for GPL violations
Statement in support of Software Freedom Conservancy and Christoph
Hellwig, GPL enforcement lawsuit
by Joshua Gay — Published on Mar 05,
2015 12:48 PM
While the Free Software Foundation is not directly involved in the suit,
we support the effort.
On Thursday, March 5, 2015, Christoph Hellwig, with support from the
Software Freedom Conservancy , filed suit in
VMware Global, Inc. Hellwig is a prominent contributor to the kernel
Linux, releasing his contributions under the terms of the GNU General
Public License (GPL) version 2. VMware, like everyone, is free to use,
modify, and distribute such software under the GPL, so long as they make
available the human-readable source code corresponding to their version
of the software when they distribute it.
This simple and fair obligation is the cornerstone of the successful
cooperation we've seen for decades between organizations both for-profit
and non-profit, users, and developers—the same cooperation which has
given us the GNU/Linux operating system and inspired a wealth of free
software programs for nearly every imaginable use.
Unfortunately, VMware has broken this promise by not releasing the
source code for the version of the operating system kernel they
distribute with their ESXi software. Now, after many years
trying to work with VMware amicably, the Software Freedom Conservancy
and Hellwig have sought the help of German courts to resolve the matter.
While the Free Software Foundation (FSF) is not directly involved in the
suit, we support the effort.
"From our conversations with the Software Freedom Conservancy, I know
that they have been completely reasonable in their expectations with
VMware and have taken all appropriate steps to address this failure
before resorting to the courts. Their motivation is to stand up for the
rights of computer users and developers worldwide, the very same rights
VMware has enjoyed as a distributor of GPL-covered software. The point
of the GPL is that nobody can claim those rights and then kick away the
ladder to prevent others from also receiving them. We hope VMware will
step up and do the right thing," said John Sullivan, FSF's executive
The suit and preceding GPL compliance process undertaken by Conservancy
mirror the work that the FSF does in its own Licensing and Compliance
Lab. Both the FSF and Conservancy take a fair, non-profit approach to
GPL enforcement , favoring
education and collaboration as a means of helping others properly
distribute free software. Lawsuits are always a last resort.
You can support Conservancy's work on this case by making a donation