A row has erupted between two Linux distributors with one of them accusing the other of breaching the GPL.
In open source land that is the sort of accusation which is so serious that the honour can only be satisfied with a dual with pistols in the presence of two seconds, a drunken priest, and a woman who screams “he ain’t worth it, Nigel”.
According to Muktware, it all started on the Linux kernel mailing list when Andy Grover, a Red Hat SCSI target engineer, requested that Nick Bellinger, the Linux SCSI target maintainer, provide proof of non-infringment of the GPL.
Now that is fighting talk. The Linux kernel mailing list is a place where Linux geeks write Linux code and the accusation of violating the GPL would require many readers to require smelling salts.
Bellinger and Grover are rivals. Bellinger works for Rising Tide Systems, a Red Hat competitor, and a maker of SCSI storage systems. This outfit recently produced a groundbreaking technology involving advanced SCSI commands which should give Rising Tide Systems a lead in producing SCSI storage systems. Grover’s Red Hat Software has no such feature and would like it very much and if it was GPL they should be allowed it.
Grover said that he had a lack of answers from Bellinger and thus was forced to bring this up on the list. He wants the source code for supporting the EXTENDED_COPY SCSI command by the terms of the GPL. It is not clear if this new source code is covered by the GPL.
By demanding the code, and implying that RTS has withheld it from Linux, Grover is accusing Rising Tide Systems of stopping code coming to other Linux developers.
This is a bit unfair as Rising Tide has donated a previous version of SCSI target source code to Linux.
Grover’s argument is that since that previous version of the SCSI target source code was donated, Rising Tide Systems’ current technology must also be free. His logic is that Rising Tide Systems has benefited by having Linux developers work on the previously donated SCSI target source code.
Much of the work on the code was done by Bellinger who is a keen Linux supporter.
His claim is that Bellinger gave the world the source code which is hacked about by the wider community for two years. Then he added a new killer feature to the code, but didn’t share it.
Needless to say lawyers are already involved.