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Re: Microsoft's Linux Kernel Code Drop Result of GPL Violation

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: Microsoft's Linux Kernel Code Drop Result of GPL Violation
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 2009 15:28:15 +0000 (UTC)
User-agent: tin/1.6.2-20030910 ("Pabbay") (UNIX) (FreeBSD/4.11-RELEASE (i386))

Alexander Terekhov <> wrote:

> ------
> Microsoft's Sam Ramji posted today:

> Microsoft's decision was not based on any perceived obligations tied to
> the GPLv2 license. For business reasons and for customers, we determined
> it was beneficial to release the drivers to the kernel community under
> the GPLv2 license through a process that involved working closely with
> Greg Kroah-Hartman, who helped us understand the community norms and
> licensing options surrounding the drivers.

> If I'm reading the statement correctly, Microsoft disputes that the
> decision to release LIC under the GPLv2 was based on any obligations
> resulting from the use of GPLv2 components within the original LIC code
> available prior to July 20.  Sam does state that Greg K-H helped
> Microsoft understand the "community norms and licensing options." 
> Hence, the decision to release LIC under the GPLv2 was simply a business
> decision.  It is possible that the business decision was influenced by
> what customers and "the community" would think if the questions about
> the LIC compliance with the GPLv2 came to light.

A strategy which avoids litigation is a good business decision.  But
that aside, ....

For once, Alex, I'm in agreement with you.  Releasing code under the GPL
is a good business decision, and it's good to see MS finally
acknowledging this.  For one thing, it reduces their maintenance burden -
some users who have difficulty getting the code to work will be able to
solve the problems themselves rather than tying up MS's support
engineers, or going round mouthing off about their difficulties.  Also,
the Linux hackers will do the work of adapting the code to new kernel

Maybe it is too much to hope for at the moment, but perhaps in time
Microsoft will gradually move over to modern, efficient code production
and licensing practices, such as the GPL.  This would be a boon to all
software users.

> regards,
> alexander.

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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