[kwlug-disc] Microsoft Patches Linux; Linus Responds | Linux Magazine

Bob Jonkman bjonkman at sobac.com
Mon Jul 27 16:08:50 EDT 2009

Khalid says:

> But as far as the embrace, extend, extinguish thing goes, they can do 
> the first 2 all they like. The GPL prevents them from doing the 3rd!

The GPL can ensure that the newly released driver code lives on in its 
current incarnation.

But no such restrictions exist for HyperV.  Nothing prevents Microsoft 
from changing HyperV so that it becomes incompatible with the open 
source drivers just released.  And open source programmers are not going 
to invest much time in reverse-engineering HyperV to keep these drivers 
compatible, when other open source alternatives to HyperV already exist. 
A business that has invested in HyperV is not going to continue to use 
an old version of HyperV to maintain compatibility with some open-source 
drivers. For most businesses it makes more business sense (ie. it's 
cheaper in the short term) to buy the compatible Microsoft product.

I expect Microsoft made a mistake in using GPL code in their drivers, 
and they've paying for that mistake by releasing the code.  But I don't 
think they would have if they didn't have to, and I'll be surprised if 
they ever voluntarily release code again.


Khalid Baheyeldin wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 27, 2009 at 3:00 PM, Bob Jonkman <bjonkman at sobac.com 
> <mailto:bjonkman at sobac.com>> wrote:
>     John writes:
>          It's really for the MS customers who continue to choose immature
>          products (HyperV) over mature ones (Xen, VMWare).
>     And by contributing code to Linux, the HyperV product is one step
>     closer to maturity.  So that's a good thing.
>     My biggest fear is that this is the first wedge for Microsoft's
>     famous "Embrace and Extend" business model.  They'll create some
>     hook to an MS OS, requiring further extensions, a bit of code
>     here, some proprietary data there, then, "for the optimal user
>     experience" an add-on, high-priced proprietary program, all still
>     within the letter of GPL v2.
>     Or they'll get the Linux community dependent on these driver
>     extensions, and then make HyperV incompatible.  Of course, they'll
>     gladly offer a proprietary paid-for product in its place.
>     While the crowd here is unlikely to fall into such a trap, I hope
>     that regular admins who are subject to the whims of their CxO will
>     recognize such a thing before it happens.
>     "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish".
> Bob
> Yes, people have to be careful with "bridge/hybrid" products like that 
> where half
> the solution is free and the other half is controlled by an entity 
> with bad history.
> But as far as the embrace, extend, extinguish thing goes, they can do 
> the first 2 all they like. The GPL prevents them from doing the 3rd!
> The code can be forked by those who have the knowledge and the time to 
> work on it.
> There is no restriction on what can be done with the code provided 
> that it gets redistributed
> with the same terms.
> If this was to a BSD licensed project, then perhaps, but the GPL was 
> created to prohibit
> this closing down by an entity.
> In the end, Hyper-V will appeal to those who need Windows for other 
> stuff, not the
> general virtualization markets where VMWare is king, and there are 
> free alternatives
> (VirtualBox, KVM, ...)
>     john at netdirect.ca <mailto:john at netdirect.ca> wrote:
>          kwlug-disc-bounces at kwlug.org
>         <mailto:kwlug-disc-bounces at kwlug.org> wrote on 07/27/2009
>         08:05:31 AM:
>         > From: Raul Suarez <rarsa at yahoo.com <mailto:rarsa at yahoo.com>>
>         >
>         > Are there people really advocating not including the drivers
>         > provided?
>         >
>         > Even Richard Stallman has repeatedly said that the GPL is
>         there so
>         >  you cannot prevent anyone from using and expanding the
>         code, even
>         >  people you don't like so I think that Linus cheap shot at the
>         > "Free software" people was unnecessary and misleading.
>         >
>         > For those that think that there is a hidden purpose other than
>         > providing Hyper-v functionality, here is one possible one:
>         Destroy
>         >  the GPLed community by infighting but I guess the community has
>         > been trying to do that for a long time.
>         >
>         > I may be naive but I take this move at face value. There are
>         good
>         > people at MS that just want their products to work well.
>          We have all grown to suspect MS of misdoings and there
>         actions have
>          reinforced our suspicions. It has become such a common
>         reaction that
>          it's easy to jump on MS for doing this. I initially did.
>          MS developed the drivers to promote it's HyperV platform and,
>         from
>          reports, initially kept the code private until a kernel developer
>          pushed to have it released. At best it's MS getting used to
>         the GPL,
>          at worst it MS trying to pull another fast one.
>          I'm still sceptical. It will take several more positive
>         actions to
>          show that this was truly well-intended from the start. Let's
>         see how
>          MS continues to integrate with open source. Hopefully it will
>          continue until we have a greater level of interoperability.
>          I for one will likely never use this kernel module. It's
>         really for
>          the MS customers who continue to choose immature products
>         (HyperV)
>          over mature ones (Xen, VMWare).
>          John Van Ostrand Net Direct Inc.
>          CTO, co-CEO 564 Weber St. N. Unit 12 map
>          Waterloo, ON N2L 5C6
>          john at netdirect.ca <mailto:john at netdirect.ca> Ph: 866-883-1172
>         ext.5102 Linux Solutions / IBM
>          Hardware Fx: 519-883-8533
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> -- 
> Khalid M. Baheyeldin
> 2bits.com <http://2bits.com>, Inc.
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