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08.17.13

Success: Samsung’s GPL Violation and Subsequent Leak Officially Mean exFAT Driver is Being Made Free Software

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Samsung at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft’s hawkish patent extortion possibly jeopardised

Bald eagle

Summary: Just like Microsoft after its unintended or secret GPL violations, code is being made GPL-licensed and the violations covered up as though they never happened

Over the past few weeks we have covered the latest noteworthy GPL violation by Samsung [1, 2, 3. 4].

“It looks like Samsung may have fixed the licensing problem,” said iophk. “Now how to put this in a positive light? It’s strange that the big companies act as if they are under no obligations to follow copyright and seem to do so only under duress.”

It seems like pressure and leaks have worked in the same way that Snowden’s leaks led to bogus government and NSA “transparency” (making public what’s already leaked). Based on Michael’s report, Samsung makes the code GPL-licensed all of a sudden.

Back in June, Phoronix was the first to report of a native exFAT file-system implementation for Linux that appeared on GitHub. It later turned out that Samsung accidentally leaked their exFAT source code. The solution has now been corrected with Samsung formally open-sourcing their exFAT source code.

The exFAT driver talked about in June was modified from an accidental Samsung source code leak that the independent developer found on GitHub. It was a confusing situation and he removed references to the original Samsung source code and it led to a confusing situation in the weeks that followed with tons of comments in the forums.

This was reported to GPL-violations and gave Samsung bad publicity, so they released it as Free software. As for what it means to patents on FAT, I am not qualified to say. It’s not GPLv3 though.

“This was reported to GPL-violations and gave Samsung bad publicity, so they released it as Free software.”In the past, GPL violations by Microsoft were also handled in this way. Microsoft decided to pretend the violation was open-sourced to rewrite history. iophk calls it spin, noting that “‘accidentally leaked’ == Samsung got caught ripping off kernel code” (indeed).

iophk quotes: “While Samsung accidentally put out the source code in the first place, they have now formally released the code under the GPL after it was discovered they violated the GPL in the first place. Samsung was shipping this closed-source exFAT driver on a tablet yet they were relying upon GPL-only symbols.”

iophk says that “all that aside, it’s an improvement that they have properly licensed the code finally… too bad it took all that trouble… Their image got tarnished a bit and that could have been avoided if they had just respected copyright from the start. It was also a bit of necessary extra work.”

This resolves the problem/dilemma for the leakers. Without them, this would not have happened. What does all this mean to Tuxera, Paragon, and patents on exFAT in general? Lawyers might tell.

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A Single Comment

  1. Michael said,

    August 17, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Gravatar

    Why are you so against Samsung when they go against the IP rights of open source developers but call Apple an aggressor when Samsung abuses Apple’s IP and Apple responds?

    There is a strong level of hypocrisy to your views here.

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