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Microsoft-manned VMware Still Against the GPL

Posted in GPL, Microsoft, Virtualisation, VMware at 6:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Paul Maritz
Photo by Robert Scoble

Summary: VMware — under new management from Microsoft — relicenses SpringSource dm Server to avoid the GPL

IS VMware a friend of Free software? We think not [1, 2, 3], not anymore anyway. Former Microsoft executives buying Zimbra is not encouraging news either (others mostly disagree because they believe what’s convenient) and the acquisition of SpringSource leads to similar issues. After the Microsoft people (not just Paul Maritz) had taken over, or just around the same time, they also voiced concerns (in their quarterly report/s to investors) about the company’s code, in particular about its GPL violations. Now they are 'pulling a Miguel de Icaza' and removing all GPL code from SpringSource (dm Server). The 451 says:

When SpringSource introduced its dm Server product, then known as the Application Platform, I argued that it was fascinating (if you’re in to that sort of thing) to see that SpringSource had chosen the GPL for the OSGi application server.

It is equally fascinating (if you’re in to that sort of thing) to see that the company is now proposing that the dm Server move to the Eclipse Public License and become an Eclipse.org community project.

As we noted when SpringSource introduced dm Server, the choice of GPL was appeared to be designed to protect the company’s commercial interests by limiting the ability of other vendors to use the code in proprietary products.

It is important to remember that VMware is a proprietary software company; its use of Free software was mostly an infringement. Zimbra is hardly Free software, let alone Open Source (we wrote about this before [1, 2, 3]). Perhaps VMware is changing for the better, but the above suggests otherwise.

In other news:

Is VMware the real motivator behind latest Microsoft-HP deal

The $250 million Microsoft-HP partnership, unveiled on January 13, has resulted in lots of different interpretations. It’s a public cloud play. No, it’s a private cloud play. Or maybe it’s just a veiled attempt to lock partners and customers in by selling integrated hardware/software/services stacks (known as “Smart Bundles“). Or maybe it’s all of the above….

I couldn’t help feeling the timing of the announcement — coming a day after Microsoft rival VMware bought messaging vendor Zimbra from Yahoo — wasn’t purely coincidental. There was an awful lot of emphasis by HP and Microsoft officials during the conference call today with press and analysts about the fact this deal has been in the making since April 2009. But remember, there were rumors days ago that VMWare, headed by former Microsoft big-wig Paul Maritz, was going to snap up Zimbra to supplement VMware’s story around providing an end-to-end stack. I’d bet that had something (and maybe quite a bit) about the timing.


Microsoft and VMware officials with whom I spoke today, not surprisingly, downplayed the VMware aspect of the Microsoft-HP deal.

Groklaw argued last year that VMware faked a confrontation with Microsoft; after all, VMware is run by people from Microsoft’s board room.

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  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    January 14, 2010 at 2:36 pm


    Can you post a link to the faked confrontation that Groklaw describes?

    There may be another fake confrontation now, but between Faux news and Gates. The theater

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It was in News Picks. I would struggle to find it now (no name or keyword comes to mind).

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