Hellwig and VMware go in peace (for now)

On February 28, 2019,the Hamburg Higher Regional Court dismissed Christoph Hellwig’s appeal of the Hamburg District Court’s dismissal. Mr. Hellwig, backed by Software Freedom Conservancy, announced that no further appeal will be lodged.

Hellwig had claimed that the distribution of the VMware’s software Hypervisor vSphere VMware ESXi 5.5.0 constituted  copyright infringement because it, being a derivative work of Linux, was not licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), nor was the complete corresponding source code of VMware’s product being  offered. See an earlier IPKat post here for more background of this suit.

Playing by rules. That's all there is to it.
The appellate court dismissed on the same grounds as the first instance court – insufficient proof of the ownership right and copyrightability of the specific Linux components that ended up in the VMware product. Hellwig contends that the courts might have been adversely influenced by the allegedly abusive GPL  litigation under the GPL brought  by individual developers, such as Patrick McHardy in a more recent case.

VMware has also demonstrated good faith by announcing its plans to deprecate the vmkLinux APIs and associated driver ecosystem from its vSphere product. “Removal of the Linux code from VMware's proprietary kernel was what both I and Conservancy asked for many times; when VMware takes this action, they will finally comply with the GPL.” – says Hellwig.  So, the two houses bury the hatchet. For now.

Image Credits: Kay Joslin
Hellwig and VMware go in peace (for now) Hellwig and VMware go in peace (for now) Reviewed by Ieva Giedrimaite on Monday, April 29, 2019 Rating: 5

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