Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 2nd Nov 2006 22:05 UTC, submitted by anonymous
Novell and Ximian At a press conference in San Francisco, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is expected to announce a new partnership between Microsoft and Novell. The unprecedented deal will have Microsoft offering a degree of sales support for Novell's SUSE Linux while both companies work towards better interoperability between their respective operating systems. As part of the agreement, Microsoft also promises not to wield its patent portfolio against SUSE Linux. More here. You can follow the live webcast announcement, by Steve Ballmer, here. Update: Novell has put up a detailed FAQ about this deal.
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RE[5]: is
by h times nue equals e on Fri 3rd Nov 2006 17:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: is"
h times nue equals e
Member since:
2006-01-21

Again, IANAL, so please correct me if I'm wrong on this, but for me the situation looks like this:

If Novel distributes their (= they are the sole holder of copyright) original work under the GPL
AND violates a patent, then it should (IMHO) be immanent, that they must get a patent license, preferably before they release the software. If they fail to get a license from the patent holder, that is compatible with the GPL (e.g. allows to obtain a royality free license for all derivative works), then the software does not qualify for the GPL. If they still choose to distribute the software under the GPL although they are fully aware, that the authors of derivative works may be hindered by the patent holder to enjoy their right to create and distribute consequent modified versions, then I guess that the project will loose its appeal to FOSS developers pretty soon. Whether such (hypothetical) behaviour on behalf of any party (incl. Novell) is legal or not, I'm not sure about. But for me, it is clear that the license is not the one to blame here.

I assume that aboves example is the situation you had in mind. Because, if otherwise Novell joins an existing, GPL-only licensed project and creates derivative works + adds patent encumbered technologies with the same restricitve patent licenense from above, it would violate the terms of the license, that granted the access to the base of their derivative works. Novell would loose the right to modify AND distribute their works on base of the GPL.

I agree, that the orthogonality of patents and copyright can lead to situations, where the license itself is ridiculed. Still, I do not see where the GPL is legally questioned with respect to this.

(From the flawed-Car-analogies department; If I buy a car in my country, then I have several rights granted by consumer protection laws including warranty times, not manipualted the kilometer counter, .... , and the full transfer of ownership, e.g. I can sell the car myself, if I have fully paid the price. If the vendor chooses to sell cars he has no right to sell, for example because they are stolen, then this does not render my consumer rights invalid. Ok, this analogy uses contract law, and not licenses, but I hope you get my point)

Regards

Reply Parent Score: 1