Linux code release was not compulsory, Microsoft says

Microsoft has denied it released a set of Linux drivers for its Hyper-V software because of "perceived obligations" to that licence.

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Microsoft has denied it released a set of Linux drivers for its Hyper-V software because of "perceived obligations" to that licence.

Instead, they were released through the GPL v2 licence because it is the preferred licence of the Linux community and would benefit both Microsoft customers and users of Linux, according to a company executive.

In a statement by senior director of Platform Strategy, Sam Ramji, Microsoft stood by its original reasoning to release technology called the Linux Device Driver for Virtualization on Monday under the GPLv2. Microsoft had not previously released code under this open-source license and had in fact criticised it. The Linux OS is licensed under the GPL.

"Microsoft chose the GPLv2 license for the mutual benefit of our customers, partners, the community, and Microsoft," he wrote.

The statement came after Stephen Hemminger, principal engineer with open-source network vendor Vyatta, said in a blog post earlier in the week that the code Microsoft released was in violation of the license before the company made it available.

Hemminger said that a network driver in Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization software used open-source components licensed under the GPL, which violates the license because it does not allow for mixing of closed-source or proprietary code with open-source code, he said in the post.

Hemminger said once the violation was discovered, he alerted Novell to the violation, which then informed Microsoft of the matter.

Ramji did acknowledge working closely with Novell's Greg Kroah-Hartman, a Linux kernel contributor, "who helped us understand the community norms and licensing options surrounding the drivers." But Ramji stopped short of addressing Hemminger's claims.

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