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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by cfaak on Sun 4th Feb 2007 02:28 UTC
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Everyone agrees that Novell has not violated the GPL - they, they did not in any way license any patents to or from MS - these two firms just agreed not to sue each others customers!!! In reality there is no Patent agreement between MS and Novell in the normal sense of the concept. Novell did not get the rights from MS to use any MS patents in this agreement. This agreement will not violate will not GPL3.

This has not changed MS's ability to sue other Linux distros customers - if they should so chose. Nothing has changed except that the major holder of UNIX patents has agreed not sue MS customers for violatons of UNIX patents (you do remember that Novell holds rights to all UNIX patents). Note that Novell did not make any promises about patent enforcement against MS directly.

The rest of the agreement does not differ from ohter agreements that have been entered into by other Linux distro developers.

In fact the rest of the agreement may well make Patent actions by MS against any Linux user much more dificult. As they sell Linux and take no actions against Novell for any patents they feel were infringed and they continue to sell the Linux they may soon face the "Dirty hands" defense.

The next part of the problem is if the GPL have not been violated then on what growns can any holder of GPLed software can ask Novell to stop distrubiting of the GPLed software. In fact any attempt to do this may well place the FSF in violaton of the free distrubition clauses of the GPL.

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