Free as in Freedom

A bi-weekly discussion of legal, policy, and other issues in the open source and software freedom community (including occasional interviews) from Brooklyn, New York, USA. Presented by Karen Sandler and Bradley M. Kuhn.


0x66: The End of Hellwig vs. VMware

Bradley and Karen discuss the details of the completion of the lawsuit (which Conservancy supported) between Christoph Hellwig and VMware in Germany.

Show Notes:Segment 0 (00:37)
  • Bradley mentioned the episode of Red Dwarf,White Hole, where the characters are speaking too slowly or two quickly due to time differentials. (01:30)
  • Bradley explained that the Hellwig vs. VMware suit in Germany has concluded. (03:30)
  • German is a civil law legal system. (05:15)
  • Christoph Hellwig announced on his website that he has decided not to appeal. (07:18)
  • Bradley did a technical analysis how much of Christoph's code appeared in the infringing VMware product. (07:50)
  • Till Jaeger was Christoph's lawyer; Till was also the lawyer for Harald Welte's (currently defunct) project. (09:04)
Segment 1 (09:26)
  • “Trolling” refers to being a non-practicing entity. Patrick McHardy is specifically a practicing entity, since he upstreamed a lot of code in Linux. (09:50)
  • Bradley was thinking of the patent troll, Intellectual Ventures. (10:40)
  • Bradley that the Eastern district of Texas hears many patent cases in the USA. (10:50)
  • Bradley mentioned a This American Life, Episode 411, which discussed patents. Show hosts/producers Laura Sydell and Alex Blumberg visit one of those“empty-but-not” office buildings in the Eastern District of Texas. (11:18)
  • Bradley and Karen wrote about Patrick McHardy's behavior back in July 2016— Conservancy was the first to talk about it publicly. Bradley sought to prevent the “compliance industrial complex” from using knowledge of Patrick's behavior to unduly scare people. (13:10)
  • Conservancy (with FSF) also published the Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement (15:10)
  • The rest of the Netfilter team, except for Patrick McHardy, endorsed the Principles. (16:30)
  • The VMware suit started 2015-03-05, and began before Patrick McHardy started his problematic behavior. While the VMware suit was working its way through the court, McHardy had filed many inappropriate lawsuits. (18:30)
  • German court decisions are very rarely published, but thanks to hard work by everyone involved, the appeal decision, and the lower Court's decision (the latter of which was also translated into English.) (27:30)
Segment 2 (33:01)
  • In the next episode, Karen will discuss the Kernel Enforcement Statement Additional Permission, and the Red Hat “Cooperation Commitment”. (35:40)
  • Send feedback and comments on the cast to <>. You can keep in touch with Free as in Freedom on our IRC channel, #faif on, and by following Conservancy on and and Twitter.

    Free as in Freedom is produced by Dan Lynch of Theme music written and performed by Mike Tarantino with Charlie Paxson on drums.

    The content of this audcast, and the accompanying show notes and music are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike 4.0 license (CC BY-SA 4.0).


     2019-04-22  38m