Developer sues VMware alleging it broke open source copyright terms

Virtualisation specialist denies that it failed to publish adjusted Linux code included in product


VMware is being sued by a developed that has alleged the virtualisation specialist violated the copyright terms for open source software after basing a product on Linux code.

The lawsuit was filed in Germany by code contributor Christoph Hellwig, who claims VMware took Linux as the foundation for its ESXi bare-metal hypervisor.

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After mixing the available open source code with its own proprietary code, vmkernel', VMware failed to publish its adjustments publically, Hellwig contends.

Hellwig owns some copyright on the Linux code, and his case is being funded by the open source project charity Software Freedom Conservancy.

The charity said it has been negotiating for years with VMware to try and resolve the issues, but claimed it had no choice but to support the lawsuit.

"This is the regretful but necessary next step in both Hellwig and [the] Conservancy's ongoing effort to convince VMware to comply properly with the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2)," the organisation said in a statement.

GPLv2 is the license of open source software such as Linux, and the Conservancy claims other free software covered by the license is included in VMware's ESXi products.

They include BusyBox, a Unix toolset for Linux and Android, which VMware has not provided any source code for the version in ESXi, the body added.

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VMware, however, has denied all accusations.

The firm said in a statement: "We believe the lawsuit is without merit. VMware embraces, participates in, and is committed to the open-source community. We believe we will prevail on all issues through the judicial process in Germany."

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