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OSCON Microsoft is standing by its decision to release thousands of lines of code to the GPL, saying the decision wasn't based on a violation of the popular license.

Sam Ramji, senior director of platform strategy, has blogged that Microsoft released the Hyper-V Linux driver code to GPL for the "mutual benefit of our customers, partners, the community, and Microsoft.

"Microsoft's decision was not based on any perceived obligations tied to the GPLv2 license," he said.

It was the only reference to any violation of the GPL, meaning Microsoft has not tackled the original question of how it was in violation, why it happened, and what steps it has taken to prevent such an occurrence from happening in the future.

Ramji went on to reiterate Microsoft's reason for picking GPL: "The primary reason we made this determination in this case is because GPLv2 is the preferred license required by the Linux community for their broad acceptance and engagement."

Leaders of the Linux community, meanwhile, continue to express their support for the code drop itself.

Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin, in conversation with The Reg at OSCON, called it "good behavior we want to encourage."

"I look at the fact Microsoft not so long ago said the GPL was terrible and open-source software is a cancer, and now it's part of the process. I see that as good, it's good for Linux that the tide has definitely turned."

He noted Microsoft was acting for business reasons, not a licensing issue, and said putting drivers in the Linux kernel was more likely designed to help Hyper-V compete against VMware.

Linux father Linus Torvalds, meanwhile, is reported to have told Linux Magazine that he welcomed Microsoft as a "new member of the community" and said we should steer clear of the "hating Microsoft disease".

He has yet to view the code in question, but indicated that on principle he's open to accepting it in Linux because he believes in open development.

"I'm a big believer in 'technology over politics'. I don't care who it comes from, as long as there are solid reasons for the code, and as long as we don't have to worry about licensing etc issues," Torvalds told the magazine.

"I may make jokes about Microsoft at times, but at the same time, I think the Microsoft hatred is a disease. I believe in open development, and that very much involves not just making the source open, but also not shutting other people and companies out."

He called it hypocrisy to attack Microsoft for having acted out of self interest, because self interest drives development of open source. ®

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