Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 23rd Jul 2009 09:43 UTC
Microsoft Sometimes, some things are just too good to be true. Earlier this week, Microsoft made a relatively stunning announcement that it would contribute some 20000 lines of code to the Linux kernel, licensed under the GPL. Microsoft isn't particularly fond of either Linux or the GPL, so this was pretty big news. As it turns out, the code drop was brought on by... A GPL violation.
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RE[4]: Didn't require release
by lemur2 on Thu 23rd Jul 2009 23:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Didn't require release"
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

The GPL code in question was a glue between the Linux kernel and non-GPL code. That's why it was distributed under the GPL (so it is allowed to be linked to the kernel) and why it needs to be considered as derived work from the Linux kernel source. You see the 'viral' effect of the GPL here. MS is not allowed to breach the GPL on their own code just because it is linked to GPL code owned by others.


Not quite. microsoft took some of their own code, and then stactically linked some GPL code in with it, in order to make their product.

Microsoft's distributed product therefore actually contained the GPL code. Included within it. That makes the product as distributed a derived work of the original GPL code, as defined by copyright law.

The definition, in copyright law, of a derived work, is a work containing all or parts of an earlier work.

The GPL isn't viral ... Microsoft were distributing GPL code as part of their product. Someone else's code. The terms of the GPL then applied to the derived work. Microsoft's options then were either:
(1) re-write the parts that were originally GPL code so that the whole product as distributed was Microsoft's own code, or
(2) make the whole product GPL, or
(3) stop distributing the product.

Microsoft chose option 2. That was Microsoft's choice. It was not their only choice.

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