As many people know, last week there was a court hearing in the Geniatech vs. McHardy case. This was a case brought claiming a license violation of the Linux kernel in Geniatech devices in the German court of OLG Cologne.
Harald Welte has written up a wonderful summary of the hearing, I strongly recommend that everyone go read that first.
In Harald’s summary, he refers to an affidavit that I provided to the court. Because the case was withdrawn by McHardy, my affidavit was not entered into the public record. I had always assumed that my affidavit would be made public, and since I have had a number of people ask me about what it contained, I figured it was good to just publish it for everyone to be able to see it.
There are some minor edits from what was exactly submitted to the court such as the side-by-side German translation of the English text, and some reformatting around some footnotes in the text, because I don’t know how to do that directly here, and they really were not all that relevant for anyone who reads this blog. Exhibit A is also not reproduced as it’s just a huge list of all of the kernel releases in which I felt that were no evidence of any contribution by Patrick McHardy.
I, the undersigned, Greg Kroah-Hartman,
declare in lieu of an oath and in the
knowledge that a wrong declaration in
lieu of an oath is punishable, to be
submitted before the Court:
I. With regard to me personally:
1. I have been an active contributor to
the Linux Kernel since 1999.
2. Since February 1, 2012 I have been a
Linux Foundation Fellow. I am currently
one of five Linux Foundation Fellows
devoted to full time maintenance and
advancement of Linux. In particular, I am
the current Linux stable Kernel maintainer
and manage the stable Kernel releases. I
am also the maintainer for a variety of
different subsystems that include USB,
staging, driver core, tty, and sysfs,
3. I have been a member of the Linux
Technical Advisory Board since 2005.
4. I have authored two books on Linux Kernel
development including Linux Kernel in a
Nutshell (2006) and Linux Device Drivers
(co-authored Third Edition in 2009.)
5. I have been a contributing editor to Linux
Journal from 2003 - 2006.
6. I am a co-author of every Linux Kernel
Development Report. The first report was
based on my Ottawa Linux Symposium keynote
in 2006, and the report has been published
every few years since then. I have been
one of the co-author on all of them. This
report includes a periodic in-depth
analysis of who is currently contributing
to Linux. Because of this work, I have an
in-depth knowledge of the various records
of contributions that have been maintained
over the course of the Linux Kernel
For many years, Linus Torvalds compiled a
list of contributors to the Linux kernel
with each release. There are also usenet
and email records of contributions made
prior to 2005. In April of 2005, Linus
Torvalds created a program now known as
“Git” which is a version control system
for tracking changes in computer files and
coordinating work on those files among
multiple people. Every Git directory on
every computer contains an accurate
repository with complete history and full
version tracking abilities. Every Git
directory captures the identity of
contributors. Development of the Linux
kernel has been tracked and managed using
Git since April of 2005.
One of the findings in the report is that
since the 2.6.11 release in 2005, a total
of 15,637 developers have contributed to
the Linux Kernel.
7. I have been an advisor on the Cregit
project and compared its results to other
methods that have been used to identify
contributors and contributions to the
Linux Kernel, such as a tool known as “git
blame” that is used by developers to
identify contributions to a git repository
such as the repositories used by the Linux
8. I have been shown documents related to
court actions by Patrick McHardy to
enforce copyright claims regarding the
Linux Kernel. I have heard many people
familiar with the court actions discuss
the cases and the threats of injunction
McHardy leverages to obtain financial
settlements. I have not otherwise been
involved in any of the previous court
II. With regard to the facts:
1. The Linux Kernel project started in 1991
with a release of code authored entirely
by Linus Torvalds (who is also currently a
Linux Foundation Fellow). Since that time
there have been a variety of ways in which
contributions and contributors to the
Linux Kernel have been tracked and
identified. I am familiar with these
2. The first record of any contribution
explicitly attributed to Patrick McHardy
to the Linux kernel is April 23, 2002.
McHardy’s last contribution to the Linux
Kernel was made on November 24, 2015.
3. The Linux Kernel 2.5.12 was released by
Linus Torvalds on April 30, 2002.
4. After review of the relevant records, I
conclude that there is no evidence in the
records that the Kernel community relies
upon to identify contributions and
contributors that Patrick McHardy made any
code contributions to versions of the
Linux Kernel earlier than 2.4.18 and
2.5.12. Attached as Exhibit A is a list of
Kernel releases which have no evidence in
the relevant records of any contribution
by Patrick McHardy.