Bonum Certa Men Certa

VMWare GPL case: Linux Foundation reneged on Conservancy funding

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Apr 04, 2024

[Article 2 years old]

Reprinted with permission from the Free Software Fellowship.

Bounced cheque, Linux foundation, conservancy, GPL, vmware

The leaked email below may be a bit old but it reveals the consequences suffered by Conservancy when they began the VMware GPL lawsuit.

The key point is that a sponsor canceled a donation after signing documentation. It is believed to be Linux Foundation.

In one case, a major donation was outright canceled after we'd already received commitment documentation from the funder. The funder told us they specifically reneged due to the VMware lawsuit.

The Register already reported on a leaked copy of the email but they didn't mention that a sponsor had reneged on a signed agreement.

Karen Sandler nominated in the Linux Foundation elections and Linux Foundation responded by removing the independent membership class, effectively expelling Sandler and all other private members in one go.

That expulsion looks a lot like the membership frauds committed by Matthias Kirschner in the FSFE.

Date: Wed, 25 Nov 2015 09:24:22 -0800
From: "Bradley M. Kuhn" <>
Subject: Our fundraiser & the potential for "hibernation" of GPL enforcement.

You may have seen that Conservancy launched its annual fundraiser yesterday: The details of our appeal are here:

You may be wondering what it means to "hibernate" GPL enforcement. I explain below what is happening.

As most of you know, we announced funding for the ground-breaking VMware lawsuit in March. That lawsuit is the first in history specifically considering the combined/derived work issue under copyright law and its interaction with strong copyleft. While there are no guarantees in litigation, we remain confident that the Courts in Germany will adjudicate the GPL positively. However, it *will* be a while before the suit is decided. We've set aside the funding we raised earlier in 2015 specifically for that lawsuit. Both organizationally -- and personally for me and Karen -- we plan to stick with Christoph to the end and to fund and guide the lawsuit to its conclusion.

However, the VMware lawsuit has not been without consequences for us. Companies have withdrawn funding from Conservancy, and a few industry insiders are actively working to discredit Conservancy and GPL enforcement generally; they're encouraging larger donors not to contribute. In one case, a major donation was outright canceled after we'd already received commitment documentation from the funder. The funder told us they specifically reneged due to the VMware lawsuit.

In short, looking at our 2016 budget, we cannot continue other GPL enforcement without substantially more funding. Karen and I pored over the numbers; we built the fundraiser around the needs in that budget.

I know that many of you have a specific GPL violation that you want us to do something about and we want to be responsive. But we need resources to proceed. Indeed, Karen and I have a large, strategic plan of how to resolve the proprietary LKM issues and other threats to strong copyleft, but it won't be easy and it will take time and resources.

Thus, we need a mandate from the community in two directions. First, we need resilient funding that's only available from lots of small, individual donors. Large donations, particularly from for-profit companies, are just too fickle and capricious. Second, with a Supporter base of 2,500 individuals, we have a public mandate that allows us to show violators that not only all of you -- as an enforcement coalition of copyright holders -- support what we do, but a large constituency who don't necessarily hold copyright want to see us enforce your copyrights to benefit the public good and software freedom.

Finally, we ask for your assistance in two directions. First, we ask each of you to consider becoming a Supporter at Second, and more importantly, we ask that you publicly talk on social media over the next two months (and beyond, if you like) about why you're part of an license enforcement coalition at Conservancy and ask your friends and colleagues to become Supporters so we can effectively do the work to defend copyleft via your copyrights. We ask in particular that those of you who have hitherto been anonymous members of these coalitions consider whether you're ready to come forward publicly now.

Thank you again for sticking with us, and Karen and I are both happy to discuss any questions here on these lists or privately with you.

Bradley M. Kuhn
President & Distinguished Technologist of Software Freedom Conservancy

Other Recent Techrights' Posts

Women in Free Software (FOSS) Need Action, Not Mere Words
the men who are loudest about women's rights are some of the very worst offenders
Embrace, Extend, Extinguish Minecraft
These folks should check out Minetest
Techrights Statement on Men Who Viciously Attack Women in Free Software
history shows women will win
Tux Machines: Third Party Impending
There will be more next week
Bing Has Run Out of Time and Microsoft Might Dismantle It (Save a Financial Miracle)
How much more of investors' money is Microsoft willing to throw in the trash?
Microsoft is Dying in Africa
Based on the Central African Republic, which "is around the same size as France"
Microsoft Needs to be Banned From Contracts, Including Government Contracts, Not Just for Security Failings But for Criminal Negligence, Corruption, and Fatal Cover-ups
How many deaths will it take for Microsoft to face real, effective scrutiny rather than kid gloves treatment?
In Armenia, Bing is Measured at 0.6%, About Ten Times Less Than Yandex
Bing will probably get mothballed in the coming years
[Meme] A Pack and Pact (Collusion Against Computer Users)
They never really cared about users, no more than drug dealers care about drug users...
GNU/Linux in Azerbaijan: From ~0.1% to 7%
Azerbaijan is around the same size as Portugal
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, June 14, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, June 14, 2024
[Meme] People Who Cannot Find Gainful Employment Because of Their Poor Behaviour Online (Not the People Who Merely Call Them Out on It)
Imagine trying to become a lecturer while talking like this in public
You Too Would Get Nervous
countries where Windows is down to 2%
[Meme] The Two Phases (and Faces) of Microsofters
Microsofters: stalk IRC, then troll IRC
The 'Nobody Reads Techrights Anyway' Crowd
Send In the Clowns
Books in the Making
I intend to spend a considerable amount of time explaining what my family and I were subjected to for the 'crime' of promoting/covering Free software
Microsoft is Still Losing Malta
And GNU/Linux is doing well on laptops and desktops
Links 14/06/2024: Microsoft Layoffs in the News Again, East-West Conflict/Tensions Update
Links for the day
Links 14/06/2024: Comments on the Death of Email and Lagrange Commentary
Links for the day
Dutch Government Appoints Microsofters to Combat "OSS Fetishism"
What corruption looks like
Microsoft's Collapse in Africa and Shutdown of Entire 'Development Centre'
Unlike what Microsoft claimed in face-saving statements
[Meme] Not Your Typical IRC Troll and Harasser
I say, let's punch nazis...
GNU/Linux's Journey in Qatar: From 0.1% to Over 3%
Windows is no longer an important contender there
Secret Contracts and Corpses
The media pretends it's just some generic "IT" issue, but it is not
Statement on Antisemitism in Our IRC Network and in Social Control Media
In an ideal world nobody would have to be banned from IRC
Gemini Links 14/06/2024: Ads vs. Content, Why Aliases Are Har
Links for the day
Vista 11 Has Fallen in Switzerland, a Country That is More Microsoft Friendly Than Most of Europe
GNU/Linux rose to its highest level there in almost half a decade
[Meme] Microsoft in Africa
Are you telling me Windows is now down to 1% 'market share' in some countries?
Management of the European Patent Office Misleads Staff on Views of the Office's Staff Committee
The EPO as a workplace very rapidly deteriorates
[Meme] Newer is Worse
"They say those are New Ways of Working (NWoW); New does not mean better, it is worse"
Links 14/06/2024: Violence, Famines, and Montana Has More Cows Than People
Links for the day
Microsoft Telecom Layoffs, Facebook Layoffs in Africa: A Month After Microsoft's Mass Layoffs in Lagos (Nigeria) Facebook/Meta Does the Same and Microsoft is Now Retreating and Quitting an Entire Sector! (Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch)
Disasters in the making for GAFAM. Money down the drain.
Papua New Guinea: GNU/Linux Growing, Windows Down Below 15%
it seems indisputable there's headway and momentum
"Planets" Cannot Replace Social Control Media, They're Very Much Akin to It (Censorship Hubs, Gatekeepers)
Don't be subjected to gaslighting; make your own OPML file
Topics That Truly Irritate and Consistently Infuriate the Microsofters (Whenever We Cover These)
Censoring uncomfortable information is a difficult activity that has its limits, even in Reddit
Honduras: Vista 11 Down, GNU/Linux Up
Valve sees GNU/Linux as bigger than Apple's MacOS
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, June 13, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, June 13, 2024
LibrePlanet 2024 and the Lost Video/Audio of Talks
After the event was over someone informed us that due to technical issues they had lost (or failed to acquire) recordings of the talks
Choosing Between Options to Outsource to Evades the Best Solution (Self-Hosting)
Most users don't need this sort of complexity
IBM Layoffs at Kyndryl
This can soon spill over to Red Hat
Turkmenistan: GNU/Linux Leaps Past 5% This Month?
This is how statCounter sees it
Watch This Space
what matters most is not the volume or quantity of publications but their underlying depth and quality
Short Downtimes, Planned Maintenance
Hypervisor maintenance is planned
Links 13/06/2024: Ongoing Sharp Increases in Deaths, Mediterranean Diet Linked to 23% Lower Risk of Death in Women
Links for the day
Gemini Links 13/06/2024: Linuxing of the Dell Laptop and Deep Dive into the World of the OpenEarth Foundation
Links for the day
New Highs for Android in Haiti (Nearly 80%), Microsoft Windows at Only 4%
that's Android at another new high and very close to 80% (it now seems inevitable)
[Meme] How Stefano Maffulli (and Microsoft's Own OSI Insiders) Make Money
Milking what's left of the OSI by attacking its very mission - something that more people now recognise
Mobs Don't Get the Job Done (Mob Leaders Have Lost Credibility/Visibility, Job, or Both)
their demands weren't met
Montenegro: GNU/Linux "Proper" at Over 6%
Windows is down to record lows
Links 13/06/2024: Overpopulation Woes, Best Buy Lays Off More Employees
Links for the day
Nationwide Eventually Did Listen
Miles better than their original nonresponse
The Corruption of Open Source Initiative (OSI), a Front Group of Microsoft and GAFAM, Openwashing Proprietary Things and Even Plagiarism, GPL Violations
Stefano Maffulli (and Microsoft's staff that works with him) basically profits from anti-FOSS
In Malawi, Windows Down to 10%, GNU/Linux Growing
it's not a small country
[Meme] Featuritis
Newer is not always better
"AI" Tech Bubble
How much "hype quotient" does this whole "hey hi" (AI) thing have left in it?
Links 13/06/2024: Science, Politics, and Gemini
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, June 12, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, June 12, 2024