Open Virtual Machine Tools
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- What license is the code being released under?
The code is being released under GPL v2 and GPL v2 compatible licenses. To be more specific, the Linux kernel modules are being released under the GPL v2. Almost all of the user level components are being released under the LGPL v2.1. The SVGA and mouse drivers have been available under the X11 license for quite some time. There are certain third party components released under BSD style licenses, to which VMware has in some cases contributed, and will continue to ship with open-vm-tools.
- Why did you choose these licenses?
We chose the GPL v2 for the kernel components to be consistent with the Linux kernel's license. We chose the LGPL v2.1 for the user level components because some of the code is implemented as shared libraries and we do not wish to restrict proprietary code from linking against those libraries. For consistency, we decided to license the rest of the userlevel code under the LGPL v2.1 as well.
- What are the obligations that the license(s) impose?
Each of these licenses have different obligations.
For questions about the GPL, LGPL licenses, the Free Software Foundation's GPL FAQ page provides lots of useful information.
For questions about the other licenses like the X11, BSD licenses, the Open Source Initiative has numerous useful resources including mailing lists.
The Software Freedom Law Center provides legal expertise and consulting for free and open source software (FOSS) developers.
- Can I use all or part of this code in my proprietary software? Do I have to release the source code if I do?
Different open source licenses have different requirements regarding the release of source code. Since the code is being released under various open source licenses, you will need to comply with the terms of the corresponding licenses.
- Am I required to contribute back any changes I make to the code?
No, you aren't required to contribute any changes that you make back to the open-vm-tools project. However, we encourage you to do so.
- Can I use all or part of this code in another open source package?
Yes, as long as you comply with the appropriate license(s).
- Can I package this for my favorite operating system?
Yes! Please do. In fact, we have provided a set of guidelines to help you in this task. You can access them here.
- Will the commercial version (VMware Tools) differ from the open source version (open-vm-tools)? If so, how?
Our goal is to work towards making the open source version as close to the commercial version as possible. However, we do currently make use of certain components licensed from third parties as well as components from other VMware products which are only available in binary form.
- If I use the code from the open-vm-tools project in my project/product, can I call my project/product VMware Tools?
No, since your project/product is not a VMware project/product.