[clug] [OT] C-Sides on tonight

Michael Ellerman michael at ellerman.id.au
Fri Oct 13 03:17:12 UTC 2017

Chris Smart via linux <linux at lists.samba.org> writes:
> On Fri, 13 Oct 2017, at 10:31, Dale Shaw via linux wrote:
>> Hi Bob,
>> On 13 October 2017 at 10:00, Bob Edwards via linux
>> <linux at lists.samba.org>
>> wrote:
>> >
>> > [...] (including VMWare, which is Linux - so
>> >     got the Linux reference in...).
>> You sure about that? ;-)   There used to be a Linux kernel in there
>> somewhere but it's long gone.  However, most/all of the various virtual
>> appliances (VMs) shipped by VMware are based on Linux (vCenter, NSX
>> Manager, NSX controllers, NSX edges, etc.)
> Oh, this is an interesting one...

Is it ever :)

> VMWare no-longer out-right uses the Linux kernel, but rather their own
> proprietary kernel (vmkernel) in ESXi.
> However, vmkernel has a core module, called vmklinux. This appears to be
> modified Linux kernel code[1] which provides support for drivers like
> SCSI, networking and USB. The core vmkernel component contains things
> like the scheduler and support for other drivers.
> In 2015, kernel developer Hellwig brought a case (sponsored by the
> Software Freedom Conservancy) against VMWare[2]. He claimed that as the
> module was running together as a single program, not through an API, it
> means vmkernel and vmklinux are combined work under copyright law.
> Therefore vmkernel becomes subject to the GPL.
> VMWare seems to confirm that vmklinux is modified Linux code, but argues
> that it is not a derived work because it is a kernel module and separate
> from their vmkernel code which is a separate work which contains no
> Linux code.[3]
> Hellwig's case was dismissed[3] because it failed to meet satisfy German
> evidence rules. That is, he failed to show _exactly which lines of code
> in vmklinux violated his copyright_. Because of this, the question of
> the GPL was never addressed. An appeal is expected.[4]
> In the mean time, VMWare is removing vmklinux from their products[5]....

... and has recently joined the Linux Foundation[6] and employed some
high-profile kernel personalities[7][8].


[6]: https://www.linuxfoundation.org/press-release/vmware-becomes-linux-foundation-gold-member-pledging-increased-support-for-open-source-development/
[7]: https://twitter.com/srostedt/status/815980194691354625
[8]: https://www.cio.com/article/3095843/open-source-tools/vmware-today-has-a-strong-investment-in-open-source-dirk-hohndel.html

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