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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FSF, please be smart
by JeffS on Sun 4th Feb 2007 01:10 UTC
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It would be both stupid and catastrophic if the FSF attacked Novell and disallowed them to redistribute the GPL tool chain (which will be under GPL3 by that time). That would only help destroy a strong Linux distributor and fierce competitor to MS. It would also divide the community, and make Linux far less attractive to businesses and casual users alike.

If fact, I'm sure that MS is hoping, even praying, that the FSF does exactly that - ban Novell from redistributing the GNU tool chain. They'd be rid of a competitor, and the Linux threat would be greatly weakened.

Steve Ballmer will be laughing his @ss off if this scenario comes to play, and thanking the FSF profusely.

The FSF would be playing right into the hands of MS's divide and conquer strategy.

But hopefully the FSF, as well as the free software community, will be smart.

The smart thing to do is to declare all patent amnesty claims by MS to Novell, in regards to GPL'd software, by definition now is granted to all users, developers, and distributors of GPL'd software, as defined by the GPL3.

They could give MS the chance to pull out at any time.

But going forward upon the release of the GPL3, all relevant GPL'd software, under any circumstances, will be immune to MS patent claims against it, so long as the current patent agreement between MS and Novell is in effect.

This would put the real problem/threat, Microsoft, in the hot seat. They will be forced to put up or shut up.

Of course, they could pull out of the agreement if they wish. But doing so would cause them to alienate their customers, particularly the ones who have already received the purchased SuSE coupons from MS (16,000 and counting).

In other words, MS would be forced to either alienate current customers, or to simply declare Linux immune to all relevant MS patents.

In either case, we win.

And the GPL, as well as Linux, would be strengthened.

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