Virtualization software maker VMware is facing a lawsuit alleging that it has been violating the GPLv2 free software license for years with its use of Linux and other source code in ESXi.
Linux kernel developer Christoph Hellwig filed the suit in the district court of Hamburg, Germany with funding from the nonprofit Software Freedom Conservancy, which works to "promote, improve, develop, and defend" free and open source software. The case centers on "a combined work that VMware allegedly created by combining their own code ('vmkernel') with portions of Linux's code, which was licensed only under GPLv2," the group said in an FAQ describing the lawsuit.
VMware denies the lawsuit's accusations, calling them "without merit," but it did not address them specifically in its public statement on the matter. The ESXi hypervisor is a key part of VMware's leading position in the enterprise virtualization market. VMware, which is owned by EMC, made $1.7 billion in revenue and $326 million in net income in the most recent quarter.