By ris Harald Welte attended the court hearing in the GPL violation/infringement
case that Christoph Hellwig brought against VMware. This is his report.
“There was quite some debate about the question whether or not the plaintiff has shown that he actually holds a sufficient amount of copyrighted materials.
The question here is not, whether Christoph has sufficient copyrightable contributions on Linux as a whole, but for the matter of this legal case it is relevant which of his copyrighted works end up in the disputed product VMware ESXi.
Due to the nature of the development process where lots of developers make intermittent and incremental changes, it is not as straight-forward to demonstrate this, as one would hope. You cannot simply print an entire C file from the source code and mark large portions as being written by Christoph himself. Rather, lines have been edited again and again, were shifted, re-structured, re-factored. For a non-developer like the judges, it is therefore not obvious to decide on this question.”
(Thanks to Paul Wise)