Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 7th Nov 2006 22:56 UTC
Novell and Ximian "Often cast as the peacemaker in free software disputes, Bruce Perens is on the warpath. When we caught up with him, he wasn't in a mood to be charitable to Novell. On Friday the Utah company, which markets the SuSE Linux distribution, revealed that it was entering into a partnership with Microsoft. Redmond would pay Novell an undisclosed sum in return for Novell recognizing Microsoft's intellectual property claims. Novell received a 'Covenant' promising that it wouldn't be sued by Microsoft."It's a case of 'Damn the people who write the software'", he told us. "Novell is in a desperate position - it has a smaller share of the market than Debian,"" he told The Register. Update: Novell responds to community's questions: here, here and here. Update 2: Havoc Pennington's take.
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//While MS engineers and developers are most certainly capable of looking at asm and C code, there may be legal implications in doing that. //


GPL code is copyrighted code. Under copyright law, anyone may look at the code (just as anyone may read a copyrighted book), but one is restricted as to what one can do when it comes to copying the code.

In the case of the GPL, it gives anyone a license to copy and modify the code, provided that the code and any modifications remains visible to everyone ... ie. provided that the code remains licensed under the GPL.

There is most decidedly no restriction on looking at the code & studying it.

"Legal implications" pertaining to restrictions about looking at and studying code apply to code which is patented or trade secret. Neither of those apply to Linux and/or any other GPL code.

//At least economically it makes more sense to work together with the "other side" so that both sides can agree on what things mean. //

Literally many thousands upon thousands of programmers worldwide contribute meaningfully to GPL code repositories. They do this collaboration over the Internet, mostly via mailing lists and discussion forums. Why should it be the case that only Microsoft programmers need to "work together" in a different way?

Edited 2006-11-08 10:21

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