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Microsoft Releases GPL'd Software (Again): Does This Change Anything?
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| Microsoft has received much undeserved press about their recent release of
| Linux drivers for their virtualization technology under GPLv2. I
| say “undeserved” because I don't particularly see why Microsoft should be
| lauded merely for doing something that is in their own interest that they've
| done before.
| Someday, perhaps, Microsoft will take a proper place among other large
| companies that actually contribute code that improves the general
| infrastructure of Free Software. Many companies give generally useful
| improvements back to Linux, GCC, and various other parts of the GNU/Linux
| system. Microsoft has never done this: they only contribute code when it
| improves Free Software interoperability with their proprietary technology.
| The day that Microsoft actually changes its attitude toward Free Software did
| not occur last week. Microsoft's old strategy stays the same: try to kill
| Free Software with patents, and in the meantime, convince as many Free
| Software users as possible to begin relying on Microsoft proprietary
SFLC: Microsoft violated the GPL
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| Microsoft violated the General Public License v2 (GPLv2) when it distributed
| its Hyper-V Linux Integration Components (LinuxIC) without providing source
| code, says the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC).
| The violation was rectified when Microsoft contributed more than 20,000 lines
| of source code to the Linux community last week. The drivers are designed to
| improve the performance of the Linux operating system when it is virtualized
| on the Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V hypervisor-based virtualization system.
| "It seems to me that Sam [Ramji] is likely correct when he says that talk
| inside Microsoft about releasing the source was under way before the Linux
| developers began their enforcement effort," said Bradley Kuhn, a policy
| analyst and tech director at the SFLC.
| "However, that talk doesn't mean that there wasn't a problem. As soon as one
| distributes the binaries of a GPL'd work, one must provide the source for
| those binaries, so Microsoft's delay in this regard was a GPL violation.
| "The important thing to note from a perspective of freedom is that this
| software, whether it is released properly under the GPL or kept proprietary
| in violation of the GPL, is a piece of software designed to convince people
| to give up free virtualization platforms like Xen and KVM, and [to] use
| Microsoft's virtualization technology instead," Kuhn added.
FSF on Microsoft’s “Empty Promise”
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| Now I’ve been preaching this gospel since Day 1. It is pure dishonesty to
| pretend like every company present the same risk and hostility to Linux, Free
| Software, or Open Source that Microsoft does. Microsoft’s hostility and
| desire to destroy Linux is not the fevered imaginations of wild-eyed zealots.
| It is documented. It is proven. It is inarguable.
| Now, you may want to advance the idea that Microsoft has changed. That is a
| possibility, sure – but it is not documented, proven or inarguable. The safe
| and sane position towards Microsoft is suspicion and wariness. Microsoft made
| it so, not wild-eyed zealots. It also becomes on open question on what type
| of change it is.
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