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 Because the case was withdrawn by McHardy, my affidavit was not entered into the public record.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.
AFFIDAVIT 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, among others. 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 project. 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 Kernel project. 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 actions. 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 records. 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.