Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 17:13 UTC, submitted by davidiwharper
Novell and Ximian "The Free Software Foundation has published a third draft of the GPL3 license. The FSF had indicated leading up to this draft that it would be addressing some concerns it had with the Novell-Microsoft agreements in the draft. Here's Novell's position on the new draft."
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Check out the comments!
by SReilly on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 17:35 UTC
SReilly
Member since:
2006-12-28

The first comment below the article is very good.

Bruce -

Given that Novell’s deal with Microsoft is considered by many to be a (not-so-veiled) threat of Microsoft-patent-based litigation against non-SuSE users of Linux, doesn’t your suggestion that Novell is “a strong supporter of free software and open source” stretch the limits of credibility ?

Would you agree, Bruce, that this type of implied legal threat to the users of Open Source software at-large is a strikingly similar (improper) use of Microsoft market power and legal resources that Microsoft used to defeat Novell in the networking business ?

Now, Bruce, given that Novell sought and received compensation for Microsoft’s prior abuses of market power, wouldn’t it be reasonable for some folks to conclude that Novell is guilty of (comedic) hypocrisy ?

Wouldn’t you agree, Bruce, that the Open Source response in seeking to force Microsoft to extend it’s legal protections to all Linux users is justified, clever, and embarrasing to Novell and Microsoft ?

Lastly, do lawyers make good software and generate goodwill with customers ?

Regards, John.


Man, way to go there, John!

Reply Score: 5

RE: Check out the comments!
by shykid on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 17:51 UTC in reply to "Check out the comments!"
shykid Member since:
2007-02-22

The second one is just as good:

Wouldn't you agree, John, that using the author's first name repeatedly is an intentional attempt to belittle him? Now John, that is very childish. Suppose we stopped being petty and instead merely point out why we think the Novell attitude is disingenuous?

Edited 2007-04-03 17:52

Reply Score: 5

Reading carefully,
by h times nue equals e on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 17:42 UTC
h times nue equals e
Member since:
2006-01-21

I have to agree (at least) with this statement from Novell :

Nothing in this new draft of GPL3 inhibits Novell’s ability to include GPL3 technologies in SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE, and other Novell open source offerings, now and in the future.


Yep, but only because the current draft features the explicit "grace period" until the 28th of March 2007.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Reading carefully,
by ubit on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 18:06 UTC in reply to "Reading carefully, "
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

Considering this comment, it seems Novell, or at least this person, still doesn't get it and doesn't address the patent deal-- in violation of spirit of GPLv2 for reasons people have listed before--at all. What a suprise...not, because that's all Novell people have done since this deal was struck. The deal wouldn't have attracted hardly any ire if the patent deal wasn't struck. Apparently Microsoft 'snuck' it in at the last second.

"
Bruce Lowry says:

Hi Tim:

Trying to tarnish us with the SCO brush just doesn’t cut it, in my book. We’ve been battling SCO in court for years now, in defense of Linux and open source. You may not like the Microsoft agreement, but to suggest we’ve essentially turned our back on open source is just not true. We continue to be major contributors to a number of projects. On the GPL3 issue, we’ve made a blanket statement that we will continue to ship Linux and that nothing in the current draft inhibits our ability to do that. That reflects our overall interpretation of the draft. That is not the same as commenting on specific provisions of the draft. So I don’t believe we’re being duplicitious here.

We know there are critics of this deal. But people need to resist painting the deal as some surrogate for Novell abandoning open source. That simply is not the case. We did this deal to promote Linux adoption. Period. Thanks.
"

Reply Score: 5

RE: Reading carefully,
by Jamie on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 18:16 UTC in reply to "Reading carefully, "
Jamie Member since:
2005-07-06

The grandfather clause (or get out of jail card for Novell) is in brackets and is therefore subject to review. If there is enough negative feedback about it then that clause will be removed.

So it will be up to the community to decide its fate...

Personally I would vote against it just to send Steve Ballmer a big "F off and die" message rather than indulge in petty revenge on a misguided Novell.

And I cant stress the importance of the GPL3 enough as its the only defence we have against MS who will try and screw open source any which way it can.

Edited 2007-04-03 18:18

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Reading carefully,
by h times nue equals e on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 18:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Reading carefully, "
h times nue equals e Member since:
2006-01-21

The grandfather clause (or get out of jail card for Novell) is in brackets and is therefore subject to review. If there is enough negative feedback about it then that clause will be removed.


Yes, I know this. I was just in awe of the carefully constructed sentence I quoted in my OP. If I had not read the draft of the GPLv3 myself (or had not followed the discussions around it, or read somewhere else about it, or ... well, basically, what if I would have acted like a not-so-interested-in-this-technical stuff customer of Novell instead?) I would feel perfectly confident, that this whole GPLv3 thingie was a big tempest in a little teapot.

Indeed, the point further down in the Novell pulications

If the final version of the GPL3 does potentially impact the agreement we have with Microsoft, we’ll address that with Microsoft.

(emphasis mine)

is a masterpiece in the art of bending sentences around inconvenient facts. Given the current draft (and the direction of the drafting process), I can not think of a situation, where the (existing) Novell-MS deal is only potentially impacted by the license. Either it is, or it isn't, as this is not quantum mechanics, where Schroedingers cat could be in superposition of mutually exclusive states until it is measured. The only problem is, that every distribution of GPLv3 software is (in the terms of the license) a measurement.

I (personally) would not object to remove this clause, but I can also relate to the feelings of those, that are in favor of keeping it in, who essentially argument along the "we have to be fair even to those parties, that are not really (Novell) fair to us or threaten us openly (MS / Ballmer)" line. As neither of us has read all the small-print of the MS-Novell deal, I (as in IANAL) would prefer to word the grandfather clause so, that it explicitly rules out the possibility to renew existing agreements, if it stays in. This way, it would be ensured, that this deal was only a temporary installation.

Edited 2007-04-03 18:49

Reply Score: 2

Patents
by Elektro on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 17:43 UTC
Elektro
Member since:
2006-08-19

All the patent problems can be solved by donating to/support of the respective lobbying organisations, not by licenses, not by agreements.

Software patents are of absolutely no use and its time to knock at the doors in Alexandria or in Munich.

GPLv3 needs another round of review in the field of patents. I would like to get the opinion of respected sources, of the anti-software patents camp.

The FSF needs to understand that it should not control the license and defend its self-interests. This includes these references to the FSF and the GNU project.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Patents
by ubit on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 18:02 UTC in reply to "Patents"
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

By making the GPL free of patent trolls (once they distribute and derive from the GPL, like SCO except they claim copyright "methods and processes", not patents) it becomes more attractive to companies.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Patents
by Elektro on Wed 4th Apr 2007 12:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Patents"
Elektro Member since:
2006-08-19

No, that is not the case. It is an autodafe in the lights of patent problems.

Reply Score: 1

Lower the boom!
by sbergman27 on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 18:07 UTC
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

I have tried very hard to evenhanded and careful not to be reactive with regards to Novell's patent cross license deal with Microsoft.

But every time I hear them come out and say things like:

"""
Nothing in this new draft of GPL3 inhibits Novell’s ability to include GPL3 technologies in SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE, and other Novell open source offerings, now and in the future.
"""

it just makes me want to see the FSF pull the rug out from under them by removing what my friend Twenex refers to as the "Novell Escape Clause", which is the only thing saving them at this point, and is only in there tentatively. Novell should at least have the decency to keep quiet on the matter.

Novell has said that if the GPLv3 forbids them from distributing GPLv3 software they will address that with their partner, Microsoft.

I say we need a draft of the GPLv3 without the escape clause just to see what Novell might accomplish with "their partner, Microsoft".

It could always be put back in before the final release of the license. And besides, it would be fun to see Ron Hovsepian pee in his pants! ;-)

Edited 2007-04-03 18:07

Reply Score: 5

RE: Lower the boom!
by SReilly on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 18:33 UTC in reply to "Lower the boom!"
SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

I would love to see how Novell would react to that particular rug being yanked out from under them, although I could see MS using it in they're PR war as a reason for any "sane" CTO to not consider Linux.

I still think that Novell didn't get into this deal for any bad reasons but that alone does not excuse the damage that has been done to the image of other distros.

Novell can say what they like. As far as I am concerned, until they get out of this deal with MS, they're word holds very little meaning to me and I'm willing to bet that many in the community will take a long time to forgive, even if they do.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Lower the boom!
by sbergman27 on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 18:54 UTC in reply to "RE: Lower the boom!"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I've been observing the OSS community for 11 years. And I must say that I was puzzled by the community's initial positive response to Novell. Novell proudly proclaimed themselves as a "mixed source" company, and the the community seemed to feel that was just fine.

Flashback to a few years previous, and Ransom Love, of Caldera (who was ousted and replaced by the current management of that company that we call "The SCO Group" today), got into deep doo doo with the community simply by having the audacity to suggest that the GPL might not always be the best license for all purposes, and that in some cases BSD might be a better choice.

I guess it was Novell challenging SCO in court that kept them in such good grace for so long. But what they have done there has been purely out of self interest, and for reasons of their own.

I suppose that there really is only so much in the area of "getting it" that one can expect of a company which continues to proudly proclaim its "Mixed Source" standing.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Lower the boom!
by SReilly on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 19:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Lower the boom!"
SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

Agreed. I too have often been surprised by whom the community picks as target for they're collective ire and must say that, to begin with, I was happy to hear about the Novell/MS deal. That is, until I started to read about the patent "small print" and consider the implications of that small print.

I still think that interoperability is very important in our, or indeed any, industry but I don't think that it's worth losing one of our greatest strengths, the community, over it.

At the end of the day, and this is something Novell has to realize, the community has done wonders to enhance interoperability without the help of anyone else.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Lower the boom!
by twenex on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 23:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Lower the boom!"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

I've been observing the OSS community for 11 years. And I must say that I was puzzled by the community's initial positive response to Novell. Novell proudly proclaimed themselves as a "mixed source" company, and the the community seemed to feel that was just fine.

I think Novell got a lot of Kudos from users who wanted to see YaST open-sourced. (There may be other things from SuSE that they open-sourced, too.) Strangely, afaik, that hasn't resulted in a single other distribution adopting YaST, unless of course you count openSUSE, which is a pretty pointless thing to do in this context.

Flashback to a few years previous, and Ransom Love, of Caldera (who was ousted and replaced by the current management of that company that we call "The SCO Group" today), got into deep doo doo with the community simply by having the audacity to suggest that the GPL might not always be the best license for all purposes, and that in some cases BSD might be a better choice.

The community is a lot bigger than it used to be, and also possibly a lot better at agreeing to disagree. At my LUG we have several members who still use SuSE, and if we were to reject them we would splinter our local Linux community (which is small enough as it is, though I don't think it's that small considering where it is). OTOH if I, personally, were to reject people because they still use SuSE or use open source, as opposed to free, software, or even - Gosh! prefer proprietary software - I might just as well be ejected myself for being a (now former) user of Gentoo or being a GPL "purist" or Ubuntu detractor.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Lower the boom!
by saxiyn on Wed 4th Apr 2007 01:04 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Lower the boom!"
saxiyn Member since:
2005-07-08

Strangely, afaik, that hasn't resulted in a single other distribution adopting YaST, unless of course you count openSUSE, which is a pretty pointless thing to do in this context.


Some people using Debian tried. They got it to compile, made all backends working, and got user admin done and posted screenshots. But YaST is *huge*. Currently the project is stopped due to lack of resource.

See http://yast4debian.alioth.debian.org/ for their works.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Lower the boom!
by lemur2 on Wed 4th Apr 2007 03:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Lower the boom!"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{I've been observing the OSS community for 11 years. And I must say that I was puzzled by the community's initial positive response to Novell. Novell proudly proclaimed themselves as a "mixed source" company, and the the community seemed to feel that was just fine. }

I don't have any problem at all with the notion of "mixed source". As far as I am concerned, the more people writing applications for Linux, open or closed, the better.

The only thing that Novell got wrong was to be subverted by a notion that "you have to get your open source from us".

Supplying closed source is not wrong in any way. Trying to commandeer/appropriate/usurp/seize open source (that does not belong to Novell or to Microsoft) is dead wrong, in every way.

Edited 2007-04-04 03:21

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Lower the boom!
by WarpKat on Wed 4th Apr 2007 15:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Lower the boom!"
WarpKat Member since:
2006-02-06

I don't know if you've been keeping track of recent events, but I initially didn't have a problem with Novell being a mixed source company - I still don't. As a matter of fact, that's what it takes for good projects to come together from closed source and open source camps.

What we take objection with is Novell getting into bed with Redmond with the 'best of intentions' and allowing Microsoft to start with their, "See, we told you open source infringed our IP!"

THAT is what we take objection to. It's like the school bully dating your sister 'with the best of intentions' and then kicking your butt up and down the street as he sees fit while your sister doesn't lift a finger or say a damned thing to stop it.

Novell = puppet.

Novell = SCO.

Novell = the bully's concubine.

Reply Score: 1

Just one thing to keep in mind...
by IanSVT on Wed 4th Apr 2007 17:31 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Lower the boom!"
IanSVT Member since:
2005-07-06

I understand the issues with Novell over all of this. From a PR standpoint, they really botched this(PR needs to stop hanging out with Novell's marketing division). I'm not sure they really thought this all out, and they certainly didn't talk to the right people inside Novell and out.

Saying Novell is overtly doing this to screw Linux over and take the crown as king bastard to the Linux community from SCO is a matter of opinion. Could those tinfoil hat wearers be right? It's possible. Would Novell purposely undercut their own business to screw over some Linux users? I doubt it. The only way that could be the case is if there are real shady Gordon Gekko tactics being done by the execs.

A big contention from this is part of the community is that it gives ammo to Microsoft to generate FUD(I truly hate that term, but it fits). Other than a couple of shots from Balmer, Microsoft has been fairly quiet. Most of the uproar has been generated from the OSS community. Some of it valid and some of it pure FUD(again, vomit). There are many people here, like the Novell=SCO segment, that are doing Microsoft's job for them.

The fact of it all is, if the GPL3 does destabilize Novell's ability to distribute Linux or Linux based products, it's going to hurt Linux in the enterprise. Now if you don't care about the enterprise, it's probably a win-win. However, if you do see the value of enterprise support of Linux, customers and third party vendors will be vary wary of Linux support. That only means one thing, continued or expanded Microsoft support and dropped or no possibility of Linux support.

Outside of Novell, the biggest issue seems to be the violation of the spirit of the GPL. That lends itself to a moral dilemma. Morals and business have a tendency to fly in the face of each other. The closer Linux gets to "critical mass" and thereafter, the more you're going to see moral dilemmas, even if no 'laws' were broken.

Edited 2007-04-04 17:43

Reply Score: 2

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
The fact of it all is, if the GPL3 does destabilize Novell's ability to distribute Linux or Linux based products, it's going to hurt Linux in the enterprise. Now if you don't care about the enterprise, it's probably a win-win. However, if you do see the value of enterprise support of Linux, customers and third party vendors will be vary wary of Linux support. That only means one thing, continued or expanded Microsoft support and dropped or no possibility of Linux support.
"""

You are forgetting that Redhat is a more major player than Novell in that market. If Novell is crippled, RedHat is there to fill the void and take on customers that would have been theirs anyway if Novell had never gotten into the business.

I would as soon see RedHat have some competition. But Novell's exit from the market would make room for another Linux pure play.

Novell is a middle aged balding company desperately trying to think young and talk hip. But their minds and attitudes are still those of middle aged businessmen who think in terms of patent agreements, exclusive contracts, and licensing proprietary software.

They tried. I'll give them that. But they failed. Best to sweep that failure off the table and make room for another company which really "gets it".

Edit: Yeah, I'm playing devil's advocate today! ;-)

Edited 2007-04-04 19:01

Reply Score: 2

IanSVT Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm pissed, I normally agree with you! Now what am I going to do? ;)

Seriously though, I agree RedHat will fill the gap, but certainly not all of it and the amount they can fill is very debatable. Novell has products which neither RedHat nor any other Linux distros have. GroupWise being the biggest example of a "killer app". IBM does have Notes, but there isn't much movement to Notes. The only other major player in that domain...is...you know who.

Moreover, a meltdown of a "Linux company" spurred by the license would cast a shadow of a doubt over the viability of Linux in the work place, regardless of its technical merits. If technical merits were what really counted in terms of sales, NetWare would have squashed NT a decade ago. That shadow of a doubt would likely push many organizations on the fence over to the MS side. I can tell you now, if Novell folded tomorrow, there's nothing I could do to keep MS from taking over my server in full. I suspect there are many similar situations.

Reply Score: 3

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

You're right, of course. I'll be very honest and say that for the last couple of days I've intentionally argued positions that I normally would not because:

1. I'm in an odd mood.

2. It's a good way to understand better how the people on the other side of the debate think.

I am a bit uncomfortable with the second most important Linux company in existence being involved with Linux largely as a matter of convenience.

I don't think that they have the same kind of deep commitment to the OSS philosophy that RedHat has. And by that, I do not mean idealism. I mean that RedHat believes, in its corporate soul, that if it stands true to its OSS philosophy, that it will flourish as a company.

Now they may be right, and they may be wrong. But the important thing is that they believe this with all their yuppie, executive, hearts. ;-)

Desperation drove Novell to OSS. I don't think that they have the same convictions. And I don't think that they are in this for the long term.

But yeah. I guess we need 'em.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Lower the boom!
by grat on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 19:38 UTC in reply to "Lower the boom!"
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

Assuming that the FSF is unbalanced enough to totally remove the so-called escape clause, and "lower the boom", as you suggest, Novell would have two possible actions available to them:

1) Renegotiate with Microsoft to specifically exclude GPL licensed code from the Microsoft deal (Personally, I think they should have done this from the start).

2) File suit against the Free Software Foundation for using it's position to prevent Novell from being competitive. Telling Novell to write/maintain their own code doesn't cut it, as no other Linux distro has (currently) such a restriction.

Given the number of public comments by people from both the FSF, and others such as Bruce Perens, it would be almost trivial to prove that the latest draft of the GPLv3 was designed to deliberately harm and/or punish Novell's business.

I suspect that this is why the grandfather clause exists in the current draft anyhow, and may explain the repeated delays on this draft.

Regardless, organizations like ACT (Association for Competitive Technology) are already putting out the press releases that I expected, that say that "See? We told you GPL is anti-business". Whatever YOUR opinion of ACT is, the reality is that they're a lobbyist organization, and they know how to get their message to both Congress, and big business.

Finally, I find it ironic that a community that reacts with such outrage to the use of submarine patents would be in favor of using the GPL as a weapon retroactively.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Lower the boom!
by sbergman27 on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 20:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Lower the boom!"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I hear what you are saying.

As a warning, I should say now that the rest of this is likely to wander off topic, so anyone who is not interested can feel free to exit now. ;-)

I am in a state of transition. For 19 years I've been a Unix (and later, Linux) admin and advocate. I am considering getting out of this business. And it is interesting how that is affecting my views on some topics.

I've always had the option of caving in and doing the Windows thing. It would have been advantageous to me financially. But it just never seemed right. And so I have always refused to "do Windows" and my employer understands that.

But now that I am considering freeing myself from dependency upon this field for my livelihood, it is interesting to note how it also affects my views regarding these kinds of issues that are in "gray areas".

I am finding myself ready to entertain ideas that I might have dismissed before. And I find myself wondering if the benefits of Linux going mainstream are really worth the costs.

As long as FOSS software and drivers do what I need, why should I care how many other people are using it?

I've always taken it as a given that more users are good. And I still feel that way; I do want more people to benefit from FOSS. But I also find that the balance is changing between how much I value more users and how high I perceive the cost of gaining those users to be.

Today, I'm wondering if the cost of allowing Novell to get away with their deal is not too high.

ACT cannot forbid us to write, distribute, and use free software. They can only try to keep it out of government. But I have absolute faith in the power of the OSS development model. It cannot be stopped, but can only be delayed.

I'm wondering if, perhaps, we are not better off sticking to our guns and waiting a little longer rather than worrying about PR, or taking any shortcuts with repercussions that may be with us for a long time.

All of this is quite tentative. The re-evaluation of one's own position on a major personal issue is always a bit disconcerting. (And FOSS *is* a major personal issue for me.)

But I guess that's how we grow.

Edited 2007-04-03 20:27

Reply Score: 3

My comment for Novell
by JoeBuck on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 18:27 UTC
JoeBuck
Member since:
2006-01-11

I posted the following comment on the linked-to article, but it still says "waiting for moderation" so I will post it here as well.

-----------------------------------

Bruce, I agree that you guys aren’t SCO; Novell employees, particularly those coming from SUSE and Ximian, have made extensive contributions. A lot of good guys work for you.

Nevertheless, the ink wasn’t dry on your agreement before Microsoft was crowing that you had acknowledged that this was a surrender, that you had acknowledged that all GNU and Linux users owe Microsoft money from their patents, and the only safe way to proceed was to abandon all independent open source development and get your Linux only from Novell. It seems that the least you can do is fight hard to counter Microsoft’s rhetoric: if their assertions about your agreement are correct, then Richard Stallman’s efforts to rein you in with GPLv3 are simply a matter of survival.

Yes, I’m sure that you were thinking, in part, that this deal would make customers more comfortable with adopting Linux. But I fear that you were also thinking that this deal would frighten customers away from Red Hat and have them choose Novell instead. But the relationship between Red Hat and Novell doesn’t resemble the cutthroat competition you see in other industries: you rely on code that they develop, and they rely on code that you develop, and the only payment that you make to each other is your code. If that code, from you, comes with strings, you’re reneging on the deal. If you succeed in frightening independent open source developers away, since they are not under your patent shield, your own R&D efforts will become much more expensive, because you’ll have to pay everyone. This is not a game that you want to win.

Microsoft hopes to help you undermine Red Hat and make Linux look more like proprietary software, with one source of development and control, namely Novell. After that, they are confident that they can crush you. That’s how they work.

Reply Score: 5

RE: My comment for Novell
by butters on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 20:26 UTC in reply to "My comment for Novell"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

That's a very nice argument.

I had a long discussion with Miguel de Icaza where I raised many of these same points and some others. He's obviously pretty good at explaining his side of the story, but he didn't have a response for the following:

1) Red Hat stood by their products and guaranteed IP indemnification without making deals with IP holders. Why couldn't Novell have done the same?

2) If Novell is interested in protecting its customers, why are they only protecting them from Microsoft? Surely there are other patent holders that might make infringement claims.

According to Miguel, Novell believes that their Linux products do not infringe any patents, but it cannot convince its prospective customers of this, and it won't guarantee it.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: My comment for Novell
by binarycrusader on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 21:02 UTC in reply to "RE: My comment for Novell"
binarycrusader Member since:
2005-07-06

1) Red Hat stood by their products and guaranteed IP indemnification without making deals with IP holders. Why couldn't Novell have done the same?


Why would any sane company indemnify their customers when they know that the product they ship (Linux) has a possibility of infringing on an extremely rich company's patents? Given the size of Microsoft's patent portfolio, I have no doubt that some part of the Linux kernel *does* infringe on Microsoft's patents. As screwed up and as silly as some of the patents that companies are granted, it should be no wonder. Now whether or not those patents it infringes on are *valid* or would stand up to a validation test is another story....

2) If Novell is interested in protecting its customers, why are they only protecting them from Microsoft? Surely there are other patent holders that might make infringement claims.

Maybe because they are the biggest threat?

According to Miguel, Novell believes that their Linux products do not infringe any patents, but it cannot convince its prospective customers of this, and it won't guarantee it.

I've never seen that said. I have seen those claims about Mono, but even then they are quick to say that there are certain parts that could be patented.

I'd like to see the source of this.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: My comment for Novell
by butters on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 21:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: My comment for Novell"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

Miguel wrote:

Because like everyone else in the open source world, we claim that we do not infringe on Microsoft IP. We claim that there is prior art and we have processes in place to remove code that might infringe on a third party patent claim.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: My comment for Novell
by binarycrusader on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 22:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: My comment for Novell"
binarycrusader Member since:
2005-07-06

Miguel wrote:

[q]Because like everyone else in the open source world, we claim that we do not infringe on Microsoft IP. We claim that there is prior art and we have processes in place to remove code that might infringe on a third party patent claim.


Which contradicts earlier statements (and statements currently on the Microsoft website), also where did you get that statement from? Sources please.

Finally, even if he does say that doesn't change the fact that their agreement does provider their customers additional protection.

Edited 2007-04-03 22:28 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: My comment for Novell
by g2devi on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 21:35 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: My comment for Novell"
g2devi Member since:
2005-07-09

> Why would any sane company indemnify their customers
> when they know that the product they ship (Linux) has
> a possibility of infringing on an extremely rich
> company's patents?

And that is precisely the problem. Novell can contribute code to a GPLv2 application that no-one else will be able to use because of the M-N patent licensing. A clear consequence of this is that Novell doesn't have to care about doing its due diligence (heck they can even look at shared source code without fear of contaminating themselves) in ensuring that their software is safe (as RedHat, Sun, and friends would) so code from Novell should be treated with more suspicion than contributions from other sources that have something to loose through the patent deal.

In addition, they've legitimized Microsoft FUD that Linux is a patent mine field -- after all Novell licensed valuable Microsoft licenses -- if they didn't think there was anything to license then why did they do it? If you don't use "Microsoft Approved Linux"[TM] you're in trouble, and "I'd hate it if you had an unfortunate IP lawsuit 'accident'".

The Novell is the beneficiary of Microsoft protection money and it's in the community's best interests to make sure such appeasement is impossible, since as Ben Franklin said "We Must All Hang Together, Or Assuredly We Shall All Hang Separately".

Personally, I hope Novell comes back into the fold and renegotiates to remove the "Microsoft Approved Linux"[TM] protection racket clause, but if they don't,

I hope that GPLv3 (without grandfathering clause or only grandfathering before draft 2 the N-M deal was inked) forces them to show their hand (i.e. if they don't fork all GPLv3 projects they patch, they'll be opening themselves up to a major lawsuit from Microsoft. If they do fork, we'll know that they're lying and they'll have to bear the financial burden of maintaining a fork).

Reply Score: 3

Almafeta
Member since:
2007-02-22

Now, I'll admit, I'm no fan of the copyleft movement. Nothing would make me happier than seeing Stallman and the FSF get taken up on anti-trust charges and its licenses (and all licenses like it) declared null and void by all the freedom-loving nations of the world.

But my bias aside...

Isn't attacking Novell and attempting to 'kick them out of the playground' not only juvenile, but actively dangerous to the Linux community?

Novell's already taking a risk in a very niche market, and it has put in a lot of money and research into Linux's development. (I'd dare say they're a leader.) However, as soon as Novell reaches a Linux-related agreement with Microsoft -- who they were doing business with anyway, making Windows products -- the community attacks them as if they had been "betrayed." Going so far as to change the license to try to prevent people from doing business with the foes Stallman identifies as "the enemy" (without asking if everyone agrees) is just one example of this.

Now, take a step back for a moment, and consider: isn't doing that incredibly dangerous? If you were Novell, and you had the choice of two major competitors, who would you rather deal with: Microsoft, who has been quiet and even-headed throughout all this, and who has gone out of their way to ensure Novell's products would stay stable over new versions of Windows over the years (despite the fact that their SUSE Linux is a competitor for Microsoft's lucrative server business); or the Linux community, whose leaders have been attacking Novell viciously and taking steps to prevent Novell from doing business with anyone but them. With these factors, if the community doesn't take a step back and look at what it's doing, Novell might just withdraw its Linux support altogether.

If worst comes to worst, Novell still owns their code. They could pull their code from the GPL (the GPL is many things, but as of v2.0 at least, it is neither pepetual nor exclusive) and continue to develop their SUSE, now without the Linux trademark, and possibly sue others who were still using SUSE code. Whether or not these lawsuits would work and prevent the distribution of their code is another discussion entirely, but you all have to agree that that sort of hostility would be completely contrary to the collaborative environment that existed before the open-source community let loose their collective rage.

I mean, it seems silly to me. Novell convinces the largest OS company on the planet to help develop and market Linux -- a possible step in Microsoft getting on the open-source bandwagon, which would be a enormous paradigm shift that would probably be welcomed by everyone but me -- and the community tries to prevent it. This should be looked upon as a coup for the Linux community, not a catastrophe.

Edited 2007-04-03 18:53 UTC

Reply Score: 5

SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

Microsoft, who has been quiet and even-headed throughout all this

I'm sorry to say this, but MS has been anything but quiet concerning this deal. In fact, Ballmer started beating his chest and crowing out that the deal was mostly about patent infringement from almost day one and in direct reply to Novell saying that it was not.

Novell convinces the largest OS company on the planet to help develop and market Linux

Market, yes. Develop, no. MS never signed up to help develop anything. In fact, the only thing MS had agreed to was to help Novell create better interoperability technology and to support Linux used in Virtualisation.

If worst comes to worst, Novell still owns their code. They could pull their code from the GPL

I'm afraid that it's to late. Although Novell could relicense they're code and release any future versions according to that new license, what they already have released will remain in the wild and I doubt that, once source code is released via the GPL, it would be possible to legally block any attempts at using that code even if you had changed your license. The only thing the community would lose is any changes that Novell would make in the future.

Anyway, Novell's code is miner compared to what they would lose if the GPLv3 prohibits them from distributing any GPLv3 code. We can do without them but they cannot continue to release a valid Linux distro without us.

Reply Score: 5

trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

Far as I know GPL asserts that the author may change the license anytime she sees fit. If the license is changed to proprietary one everybody "in the wild" could be sued.

DG

Reply Score: 3

markjensen Member since:
2005-07-26

Isn't attacking Novell and attempting to 'kick them out of the playground' not only juvenile, but actively dangerous to the Linux community?

I suppose one has to weigh the danger to the "Linux community" of fragmentation by supporting the Novell-Microsoft deal. After all, that deal provides legal protection from Microsoft on code from Novell only. Yet, identical code from Red Hat, Ubuntu, or even source code tarballs would not be protected, and subject to the whims of Microsoft and their legal team.

Is there greater benefit in making a cohesive Linux community, rather than one that has to check the download IP address of where you got your code to see if you are protected from Microsoft or not?

I'm not opposed to a non-aggression pact between Microsoft and the Linux community, but I do believe it should be apply to all, not just to one company.

Reply Score: 5

h times nue equals e Member since:
2006-01-21

I will skip commenting on your "anti-trust" theory against the copyleft licenses (it definitely sounds "interesting", although I fail to see a legal lever to pull this, but nevertheless) and will concentrate on the parts, where you seem to still not have grasped the concept of - and the ideas behind - the GPL:

However, as soon as Novell reaches a Linux-related agreement with Microsoft -- who they were doing business with anyway, making Windows products -- the community attacks them as if they had been "betrayed."


It is not a far stretch to say, that they at least some of them (the SAMBA folks for instance) indeed can quite legitimately feel betrayed. The GPL implicitly states, that you can't discriminate the rights of some of the parties that receive the software downstream if one is not the sole holder of copyright (e.g so that one is itself a receiver) und thus in the position to dual license. Tit for tat, like Linus has put it once. Sadly, Novell has collaborated with MS to find a way to outsmart the license, that grants them the rights to distribute software that they have neither developed themselves nor would otherwise hold the distribution rights to (one could go easily so far and say, that Novell has snubbed the very same individuals, that gave Novell the base for their product).

Going so far as to change the license to try to prevent people from doing business with the foes Stallman identifies as "the enemy" (without asking if everyone agrees) is just one example of this.


The way Novell and MS read the GPLv2 was certainly not the way the FSF intended it to be read when they worded it. So the FSF has decided to state explicitly what should have been clear implicitly. This is neither juvenile nor dangerous, this is the way exploits of code and licenses should be addressed. Period.

If you were Novell, and you had the choice of two major competitors, who would you rather deal with: Microsoft, who has been quiet and even-headed throughout all this...


Yeah, Mr. Ballmer for example was very even headed. Especially the quiet "you owe us money for our IP if you are not a Novell customer" speech sent without doubt warm fuzzy feelings down the spines to all stakeholders in the FOSS community.

.. and who has gone out of their way to ensure Novell's products would stay stable over new versions of Windows over the years


Have I missed something? So far, the only fallout of the interoperability deal is (to my knowledge) the OOXML plugin (written in Mono, still don't know why ... ) for OpenOffice.org and if the "openess" of OOXML is not only a PR stunt, it should (in theory) be possible to achieve this following the OOXML specifications MS had to submit in order to reach for ISO standard status. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but how is it, that it takes a special interoperability deal/sugarcoat to implement something which is allegedly an open standard? Furthermore, I guess we should judge the impact of future versions of Windows on the stability of SLED and Co. when both arrive, Ok ?

If worst comes to worst, Novell still owns their code. They could pull their code from the GPL (the GPL is many things, but as of v2.0 at least, it is neither pepetual nor exclusive) and continue to develop their SUSE, now without the Linux trademark, and possibly sue others who were still using SUSE code.


You still seem to be a little bit confused about the differences between "trademarks" and "copyright". Novell can not take back what they have already contributed under GPLv2, but they are of course free to dual license their 100%-own contributions and do whatever they want to do with it, as long as they have not assigned their copyright to somebody else. So sueing people over the use of SuSE code is a no-go for the things they have already contributed.
Furthermore, I doubt they would remain competative compared to their direct competitors (which is not so much MS, but RedHat, Sun, increasingly Canonical, et al as they operate in the same or at least a very similar ecosystem) without the contributions of others in the FOSS community, so that the (how possible?) trademark infringement on the (GPLv2) Linux kernel would be a minor problem.

I mean, it seems silly to me. Novell convinces the largest OS company on the planet to help develop and market Linux -- a possible step in Microsoft getting on the open-source bandwagon, which would be a enormous paradigm shift that would probably be welcomed by everyone but me -- and the community tries to prevent it. This should be looked upon as a coup for the Linux community, not a catastrophe.


It would have been indeed a big shift in paradigm if MS would have chosen to collaborate in conformance with the ethics of the community, that provide the base for the business model of their partner. Trying to outsmart others is not a paradigm shift for MS, sorry. Stating "You owe us money for our IP" without disclosing what parts of their IP portfolio are allegedly affected is neither. This is business as usual for MS. It is however, sadly I have to add, a paradigm shift on behalf of Novell.

Reply Score: 5

butters Member since:
2005-07-08

Nothing would make me happier than seeing Stallman and the FSF get taken up on anti-trust charges and its licenses


Anti-trust legislation exists to prevent monopolists from leveraging their market share in one market to eliminate competition in another. Free software doesn't have dominant market share, and it doesn't engage in anti-competitive behavior. It doesn't even fit the definition of predatory pricing, since it funds the losses due to undercutting the competition on licensing with revenues from the highly competitive IT services market.

Going so far as to change the license to try to prevent people from doing business with the foes Stallman identifies as "the enemy" (without asking if everyone agrees) is just one example of this.


The drafting process for the GPLv3 is undoubtedly the most collaborative and democratic process ever used to craft a copyright license. It's impossible to get everybody in a sufficiently sized group to agree on anything, but the FSF is doing their best to please the various stakeholders.

Microsoft, who has been quiet and even-headed throughout all this


Are you kidding me? Ballmer declared that Linux infringes Microsoft IP, warned the Linux community that it "will have to respect IP rights," and called running non-Novell versions of Linux "an undisclosed balance-sheet liability."

Novell might just withdraw its Linux support altogether.


It would be unfortunate to see the situation come to this, but so be it. As we've seen, Red Hat and a host of other companies (Google, IBM, Intel, etc.) are more than happy to employ experienced Linux developers. The corporation made the deal. The developers do the work.

isn't doing that incredibly dangerous?


As far as I'm concerned, the only viable threat to the free software community and to commercial Linux users alike is intellectual property law. In this particular case, the Novell deal represents a resolution to play out the IP controversy in the court of public opinion rather than in the court of law. It doesn't explicitly affect any future legal action that might be taken against Linux vendors or users. But it tarnishes the perception of Linux in the marketplace, and future patent covenant deals might carry more explicit legal implications for excluded parties.

There will always be plenty of talented developers to move the Linux platform forward, with or without Novell. But if we don't take steps to protect our right to distribute free software with nonexclusive and transferable IP grants, then our work will go to waste. I appreciate what Novell has done for our community, and I don't believe that their deal with Microsoft places our IP rights in jeopardy, but this deal exposes a loophole in the GPL that must be closed to protect our rights going forward.

I'm in favor of this draft without the Novell Escape Clause because there's no compelling reason for their deal to be grandfathered in. Red Hat told their customers that they stand by their products and will defend them against any IP claims. Novell can nullify their deal and do the same. The customers are right to expect legal protection when using their licensed software, but they should get it from the vendor, such as Novell, and not from various IP holders such as Microsoft.

This should be looked upon as a coup for the Linux community, not a catastrophe.


It's not a catastrophe, it's a learning experience, and we will be better off because of it.

Reply Score: 5

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{If worst comes to worst, Novell still owns their code. They could pull their code from the GPL (the GPL is many things, but as of v2.0 at least, it is neither pepetual nor exclusive) and continue to develop their SUSE, now without the Linux trademark, and possibly sue others who were still using SUSE code. }

You have a major misunderstanding here.

(1) Most of the code in the SuSe Linux distribution isn't Novell's code. It is GPL code, relatively little of it was even written by Novell.

(2) That part of GPL-licensed code in SuSe that does indeed originate from Novell and belongs to Novell (principally this is Mono) could indeed be made into a proprietary product by Novell ... but that wouldn't mean that the existing version of Mono would cease to exist as GPL code. There could be a "fork" - there would be a "free" Mono under the GPL, and a "Novell Mono for SuSe" that was closed, proprietary, and people had to pay for. Guess which one would win in the market?

(3) In the same way that Novell insist that they can continue to distribute code which they didn't write (GNU/Linux itself) since it is under the GPL, then GNU/Linux can continue to distribute Novell's GPL code (such as compiz, Mono, Yast etc), since it too is under the GPL. If FSF cannot "pull" GNU/Linux from Novell, then equally by the exact same reasoning Novell cannot "pull" compiz, Mono, Yast etc from GNU/Linux.

{I mean, it seems silly to me. Novell convinces the largest OS company on the planet to help develop and market Linux -- a possible step in Microsoft getting on the open-source bandwagon, which would be a enormous paradigm shift that would probably be welcomed by everyone but me -- and the community tries to prevent it. }

You again fail to understand. There is no attempt to prevent marketing and development of Linux ... there is only an attempt to stop Linux from being subverted into proprietary conditions ... such as any condition that you have to get Linux from Novell/Microsoft in order to be assured that you won't be sued. That last bit is the utterly unacceptable bit. After all, this is for the most part NOT Novell's code, and it is most certainly not Microsoft's code, so where do they get off trying to put conditions on its distribution? We "free market" GNU/Linux people recognise instantly that any move to a sole source supplier and/or cartel is intrinsically bad. This is an obvious truth that utterly escapes Microsoft supporters every time.

Edited 2007-04-04 02:31

Reply Score: 5

GPL and the Linux Community
by Southern.Pride on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 19:43 UTC
Southern.Pride
Member since:
2006-09-14

Recent events and the news coverage have been so derogatory towards Novell and I do not see SUSE in the way the Linux Community sees it. One has to think about the whole picture not just the small slice of the pie Novell’s revenues is up and SLES is a solid robust operating system built for the Enterprise and SLED a first class OS for the desktop. If anything Microsoft make SUSE Linux legitimate by listening to the customer stating they want both solutions in the Enterprise. It would be nice if the rhetoric would cease because it does not help the case of free software it hampers it by creating tension and strife. There is plenty of room in the market place and Linux is not going away no matter what this situation brings out.

Reply Score: 5

RE: GPL and the Linux Community
by butters on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 20:09 UTC in reply to "GPL and the Linux Community"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

The issue here isn't how great SLED, SLES, and OpenSUSE are, or how much Novell has contributed. It's about our IP rights, the only thing that can effectively make Linux "go away." That's the big picture. Novell's revenue and Microsoft's validation is the small slice of the pie.

Reply Score: 5

RE: GPL and the Linux Community
by Rehdon on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 20:11 UTC in reply to "GPL and the Linux Community"
Rehdon Member since:
2005-07-06

The FOSS community looks at the whole picture, that's why people are so upset by this deal: in the bigger scheme of things this is not a simple "let's interoperate" deal, which nobody could sensibly object (after all, isn't that the aim of the SAMBA project? you know, those pesky Linux zealots wanting to interoperate with the MS servers?), but it's an attempt to divide the community to conquer it. And a quite successful attempt, at least in the "corporate community" (is there such a thing?), judging from your comment.

In fact, thanks to this deal, the Linux users are now divided in "the haves" and "the have nots": have (not) what? Why, but Microsoft's blessing in running Linux, don't you know? because there's so much MS IP in Linux, somewhere, so you got to have their blessing to run Linux. And no, you don't get to know what this IP is, that'd be too easy.

"Listening to customer" is MS' mantra to justify anything they do: who is creating tension and strife here? could that be MS' FUD (TM)? the "what a nice little OS you have there, now fork some money because it'd be a shame having somethin' happening to it" perhaps?

Well, d'you know what? there's a reason why it's called free software, and that's just because we want to be free from this racketeering scheme, free from greedy corporations, free from the "oh I will eat that bug if you give me enough money" mentality. The day we'll need MS' blessing to run Linux will never arrive. You call that "rhetoric", I call it "sound principles".

Rehdon

Reply Score: 5

RE: GPL and the Linux Community
by lemur2 on Wed 4th Apr 2007 03:16 UTC in reply to "GPL and the Linux Community"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{If anything Microsoft make SUSE Linux legitimate by listening to the customer }

Microsoft don't have any rights to Linux.

Therefore, Microsoft have nothing to license to Linux customers.

Reply Score: 3

v GNU-evangelism is whats holding linux back.
by Kishe on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 19:59 UTC
My thoughts.
by systyrant on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 21:09 UTC
systyrant
Member since:
2007-01-18

First let me say that I've been a Novell supporter for several years. When they bought Suse Linux I was both excited and scared about what would happen. So far I believe Novell has done a great job with Linux, but still comes up short in many areas.

With that said, I'm of the mind that people are still making a big deal out of all of this. You don't change the world by demanding equality. You do it by showing people a better way.

My question is simple. Is the GPL v3 trying to show people a better way or is it trying to demand equality?

Reply Score: 3

RE: My thoughts.
by monodeldiablo on Wed 4th Apr 2007 00:10 UTC in reply to "My thoughts."
monodeldiablo Member since:
2005-07-06

The fundamental (and erroneous) assumption you're making is that the GPL3 is demanding anything from anyone. It's an elective license. Nobody's going to the courts, whining for the laws to be changed, here. If you don't care how your code is used, you're free to use the BSD license. If you're opposed to companies selling the right to sue your userbase to the highest bidder, you can use the GPL3.

It's ultimately the choice of the developer, not the users, what rights are distributed with the software. They can demand whatever equality (or inequality) they wish. If you buy a crate of food explicitly labeled "Not for redistribution", you're entering into an agreement with the manufacturer to follow the terms of the sale. The same goes for a Microsoft or Apple or FOSS license. Period. No difference.

Nobody's demanding equality, the FSF is simply giving developers the tools necessary to ensure fair use, if they wish to leverage the license. Nobody is forcing anybody to use the GPL3. Most existing software is GPL2 and will remain so. Don't like it? Don't license your software under it.

However, the fact that so many people are up in arms against it fascinates me. Why would anybody be so vocally opposed to another elective license? My thinking is that those most against the GPL3 (just like those vehemently opposed to the GPL2) feel that it will be harmful to their own endeavors (or those of their employers). Usually, this is because they would stand to benefit by violating the terms of the license (and since the license only requires reciprocation, that implies that these parties would like something for nothing).

However, the GPL3 can only really be harmful to these parties if developers apply its provisions to their software en masse. In other words, the vocal critics are at least partially convinced that it will be successful and popular, and thus devasting to their current business/distribution model.

And if even the critics are convinced of its potential success, then isn't that the sign of a well-drafted elective license? In other words, since developers can assign whatever license they want to their code, why don't we let the newer, toothier version of the GPL compete freely in the marketplace of ideas? If it wins, as I (and its critics!) expect it will, then I think that sends a pretty clear message about how the authors of software feel their otherwise free and open code should be used.

This isn't developers whining because the money isn't be spread around equally or something. It's developers getting pissed because their donated labor and art is being being used as a bargaining chip by a third party in violation of the spirit (if not the letter) of the author's license.

So my question is also simple: What do you (or anybody) stand to lose by the adoption of the GPL3?

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: My thoughts.
by systyrant on Wed 4th Apr 2007 02:06 UTC in reply to "RE: My thoughts."
systyrant Member since:
2007-01-18

I'm not opposed to GPLv3, but I'm not for it either. At this time I'm just neutral. It's wrong to think that developers adopting the new license doesn't effect the end user. The new license may, if widely adopted, may hinder further adoption of, for example, Linux or may cause wide spread forking which will only serve to divide and thin out those who are developing open source software. Then again it may have no effect or it might even help open source grow.

It will not, from my understanding, protect any open source software licensed under the GPLv3 from being sued by some company for patent infringement. It will, from the hype I've read, stop companies from making patent protection deals like the Novell/Microsoft deal. Maybe that's good and maybe that's bad. I really don't know.

I'm gonna close this up by saying that I think Microsoft will start suing Linux and other open source companies for patent and/or IP infringement. I don't think they will win big money settlements and many will probably be shown to be invalid, but the stink it will put on open source if they win even one could be bad. If my understanding of the GPLv3 is correct and software licensed under it can't be apart of any patent protection deals then open source may stand to lose.

I am assuming a lot and I may be so far off in left field that I'm in a different realm, but it's just a though.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: My thoughts.
by lemur2 on Wed 4th Apr 2007 02:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: My thoughts."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{I'm gonna close this up by saying that I think Microsoft will start suing Linux and other open source companies for patent and/or IP infringement. I don't think they will win big money settlements and many will probably be shown to be invalid, but the stink it will put on open source if they win even one could be bad. If my understanding of the GPLv3 is correct and software licensed under it can't be apart of any patent protection deals then open source may stand to lose. }

Read up about the "Open Invention Network".

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Open+Invention+Network%22
http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Invention_Network

Read up about the "Patent Commons Project".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_Commons
http://www.patentcommons.org/

Read up about the IBM Technical disclosure bullentin.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Technical_Disclosure_Bulletin

Groklaw has a lot of information on FOSS & patents.
http://www.groklaw.net/staticpages/index.php?page=20050402193202442

Do not simply assume that FOSS is defenceless against a patent attack, or that Microsoft would automatically benefit by such an attack.

It would be more like a "mutually assured destruction" scenario.

IBM has more patents than anybody, and IBM has committed a hefty amount of its patent arsenal to the defense of Linux against patent attack.

All of these facts tend to lead one to the conclusion that Microsoft cannot afford to actually attack Linux using patents in the courts, because the countersuit would cripple Microsoft.

Edited 2007-04-04 02:47

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: My thoughts.
by monodeldiablo on Wed 4th Apr 2007 03:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: My thoughts."
monodeldiablo Member since:
2005-07-06

I never said that developers adopting the GPL3 wouldn't affect users. I said that it's ultimately the developers' choice, regardless of what anybody else says. I don't hear you critiquing the "divisiveness" of Microsoft's onerous licenses, and they're a hell of a lot harsher on the user than anything in the FOSS realm. The GPL doesn't have to be "business-friendly" to be successful. The same arguments that people are using to attack v3 were used against v2... and yet Linux adoption and community growth are still exploding.

Secondly, the purpose of the GPL (no matter what version) is not to facilitate the uptake of software. Linux doesn't have to win any business wars, here, so your argument that the GPL3 might slow adoption (while specious in its own right) is irrelevant. That's not what it's about. That's the business world. FOSS has grown so quickly because it's unhampered by an obsession with uptake and market penetration. Business and users will adapt to meet the license requirements of the software authors, just as they have for other OSS and proprietary licenses.

Thirdly, no license will protect any software from being sued for patent infringement, be it proprietary, free or otherwise. GPL3 will, however, stop companies like Novell from legitimizing farcical claims that FOSS infringes on undisclosed "mystery" IP.

I'm going to close this up by saying that I think Microsoft won't start suing Linux, largely because, unlike companies, Linux is decentralized and not controlled by any one entity. Legally, they really don't have a case against the users of Linux and other open source software, either (after all, you can't sue owners of Ford trucks because Ford violated a Toyota patent... that's Ford's crime, not their customers'). And, the real nail in the coffin is that Microsoft and company have made overtures for years (culminating in Ballmer's recent threats) that Linux violates their IP, but they've taken no legal action and done nothing to substantiate their claims. In the legal world, this often implies tacit consent and can severely hamper any case that could go to court (which is more and more unlikely, thanks to SCO).

Microsoft is merely rattling the saber to scare pointy-haired bosses away from Linux and back to Windows. They know that a few will slip to Novell because of this "indemnification", but they also know that their accusations will cast doubt upon Linux and open source at large.

And, like the rest of their propaganda campaigns, this, too, will fail.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: My thoughts.
by Spellcheck on Wed 4th Apr 2007 05:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: My thoughts."
Spellcheck Member since:
2007-01-20

affect

Reply Score: 1

Novell's Position: Uncomfortable
by moleskine on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 23:16 UTC
moleskine
Member since:
2005-11-05

What's that phrase - "Better to fight a young lion than an old lion dying"? Or something like it.

I hope that the folks who want to pull the rug from under Novell have thought through the chess game of possible moves. Novell may be showing signs of mange these days not to mention tooth decay, but if they're trapped they could still start lashing out, with Microsoft on hand offering soothing cups of arsenic to ensure than everything is ten times worse than it otherwise might be.

Whatever the community may think, for Novell the outcome of the GPL issue is a question of raw survival on which turn thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in stockholder funds. It's very unlikely the Novell board would walk away from that without a mother of a fight.

Even if Novell is held to be plainly in the wrong - and I've no views on it - the sensible thing would be to allow them a face-saving escape route. Ideas of making an example of Novell or similar are fantasies and would fall straight into Microsoft's favourite tarpit - ruinous litigation that ties down your opponent for years while Microsoft do what they want anyway.

I wonder if the FSF are up to the challenge? We'll soon find out.

Edited 2007-04-03 23:20

Reply Score: 3

Novell doesn't give a shit
by melkor on Wed 4th Apr 2007 00:36 UTC
melkor
Member since:
2006-12-16

Novell doesn't give a shit, it just wants to rip the system off and make as much money any way it wants...

The GPL is alien to these ancient corporate behemoths, they just want to continue in their old ways of screwing anything else to make a buck...

I just simply won't recommend Novell products...

Dave

Reply Score: 2

RE: Novell doesn't give a shit
by xxmf on Wed 4th Apr 2007 16:49 UTC in reply to "Novell doesn't give a shit"
xxmf Member since:
2006-06-15

"Novell doesn't give a shit, it just wants to rip the system off and make as much money any way it wants..."

Ah a publically traded company whose legal obligation is to the balance sheet, and shareholders, fancy that.....

I do find it odd that people try to attribute human emotions to companies. good grief ;)

Reply Score: 1

Agreement
by Tyman on Wed 4th Apr 2007 18:07 UTC
Tyman
Member since:
2007-04-04

The agreement was nothing more than a payoff from Microsoft to Novell to prevent Novell from suing over Microsoft's support of SCO. Follow the money. Everything else in there is hyperbole to allow both sides to claim they are getting something from the deal. Microsoft will not risk suing Linux users or distributors as it would probably open them up to anti-trust litigation, and would likely invalidate most of the patents they claim. The deal "indemnifies Novell users from patent litigation from Microsoft" This is utterly ridiculous FUD and nothing more. Linux does not infringe on Microsoft's rights and most of it's development and ideas predate similar Microsoft implementations. On the other the couple of hundred million Novell got for spreading the FUD is feeding a lot of developers contributing to open source.

Reply Score: 1

Sleight of Hand
by segedunum on Wed 4th Apr 2007 20:21 UTC
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

We will continue to distribute Linux.

It's not really Linux that is at issue.

Nothing in this new draft of GPL3 inhibits Novell’s ability to include GPL3 technologies

Are you sure about that? I don't see you pointing the relevant clauses in the draft, and then explaining why the Microsoft deal is then OK.

If the final version of the GPL3 does potentially impact the agreement we have with Microsoft, we’ll address that with Microsoft.

I doubt very much whether they'll want to resolve it.

Novell has been and continues to be a strong supporter of free software and open source.

Considering that Microsoft instantly started using this deal to imply that open source software infringes on what they see as their property, that is a pretty unsubstantiated comment.

Reply Score: 2

PC-BSD example
by trenchsol on Wed 4th Apr 2007 21:25 UTC
trenchsol
Member since:
2006-12-07

PC-BSD is user friendly BSD system created with far less resources than those that Novell has. Novell could continue their enterprise products on BSD platform, if they were forced to.

Reply Score: 1