Top Linux maintainer claims VMware ESX Server illegal?

Complexity of ESX Server architecture, using a custom Linux distribution for its Service Console component, always created doubts about how VMware should act to respect GPU license.

After its successful IPO, the topic attracted new interest, at a point that VentureCake assembled a very long and detailed analysis of why ESX should be considered illegal.

Agreeing or not with such analysis, it spread lights on a new and very interesting element: one of top Linux maintainers, Christopher Helwig is openly against VMware and would like to sue the company. In details:

VMware uses a badly hacked 2.4 kernel with a big binary blob hooked into it, giving a derived work of the Linux kernel that’s not legally redistributable. I unfortunately don’t have enough copyrights on that particular version to sue them. I do object to use of any open-iscsi code of my origin to be used with it, though.

VentureCake also reveals how VMware is well aware of this, since Zachary Amsden, VMware hacker, received a direct answer from Helwig about the topic:

Until you stop violating our copyrights with the VMWare ESX support nothing is going to be supported. So could you please stop abusing the Linux code illegally in your project so I don’t have to sue you, or at least piss off and don’t expect us to support you in violating our copyrights.

I know this isn’t your fault, but please get the VMware/EMC legal department to fix it up first.

Read the whole VentureCake analysis at source.

Read Slashdot discussione about it here.