GPL-licensed exFAT driver for Linux appears

penguinIn one of the less typical cases of licence compliance, last month, code for an exFAT driver from Samsung landed on GitHub. ExFAT is an improved version of the FAT filesystem which is covered by a patent. LWN covered the immediate fallout as the code appeared to be GPL licensed but also appeared to be have been released only as proprietary binary code.

One suspicion was the code had been developed based on existing FAT code for Linux while others noted that as code linked to the kernel, it should be GPLv2 licensed. But nobody was apparently talking. We say apparently, because the Software Freedom Conservancy has now announced that it has helped Samsung come into compliance with the GPL with a source code release of the exFAT driver. Good news for compliance, but before you start adding the code to your Linux distribution, do remember that exFAT is Microsoft technology and they have an active IP licensing programme for that… unless of course thats something you aren’t worried about (hello France!)…