Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 3rd Feb 2007 16:43 UTC, submitted by mwtomlinson
Novell and Ximian The Free Software Foundation is reviewing Novell's right to sell new versions of Linux operating system software after the open-source community criticized Novell for teaming up with Microsoft. "The community of people wants to do anything they can to interfere with this deal and all deals like it. They have every reason to be deeply concerned that this is the beginning of a significant patent aggression by Microsoft," Eben Moglen, the Foundation's general counsel, said on Friday. Update: The FSF claims this is being hyped.
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molnarcs
Member since:
2005-09-10

As I understand nobody have the righ to say who can or who can't use GPL software, not even the FSF, so they are contradicting the GPL, the freedoms they protect.

Than you don't understand either the GPL or the situation very well (or both). Yes, the GPL permits running the software for whatever purpose you want (freedom 0) - but it restricts the way it can be distributed: basically, anyone who distributes free software must guarantee every right the GPL was designed to guarantee to anyone. Now the Microsoft/Novell patent deal implies that Novell customers get more rights (additional patent protection from Microsoft) than other customers (of the same GPL-ed software). This is patently (excuse me) wrong! That's what the GPL v3 will rectify. This was always in the spirit of the GPL (provide non-discriminatory access to the software) - and Novell violated the spirit, because the latter of GPL v2 allowed for workaround.

Now if the letter of the GPL v3 will prevent such workarounds, than Novell won't be able to distribute software distributed under v3. The FSF has every right to change the license of software copyrighted by them. That includes the GNU toolchain - without which any Linux OS is pretty much crippled. Others (like the SAMBA team) already made clear their intention to change to GPL v3 when it becomes final. In fact, Novell's actions became a catalyst for adoptation, because when the SAMBA team chose the GPL for the software they wrote, they certainly didn't want to have company X distributing their software make a deal that suggests that anyone who is not their customer is under legal threat from Microsoft.

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