Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 17:13 UTC, submitted by davidiwharper
Novell and Ximian "The Free Software Foundation has published a third draft of the GPL3 license. The FSF had indicated leading up to this draft that it would be addressing some concerns it had with the Novell-Microsoft agreements in the draft. Here's Novell's position on the new draft."
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h times nue equals e
Member since:
2006-01-21

I will skip commenting on your "anti-trust" theory against the copyleft licenses (it definitely sounds "interesting", although I fail to see a legal lever to pull this, but nevertheless) and will concentrate on the parts, where you seem to still not have grasped the concept of - and the ideas behind - the GPL:

However, as soon as Novell reaches a Linux-related agreement with Microsoft -- who they were doing business with anyway, making Windows products -- the community attacks them as if they had been "betrayed."


It is not a far stretch to say, that they at least some of them (the SAMBA folks for instance) indeed can quite legitimately feel betrayed. The GPL implicitly states, that you can't discriminate the rights of some of the parties that receive the software downstream if one is not the sole holder of copyright (e.g so that one is itself a receiver) und thus in the position to dual license. Tit for tat, like Linus has put it once. Sadly, Novell has collaborated with MS to find a way to outsmart the license, that grants them the rights to distribute software that they have neither developed themselves nor would otherwise hold the distribution rights to (one could go easily so far and say, that Novell has snubbed the very same individuals, that gave Novell the base for their product).

Going so far as to change the license to try to prevent people from doing business with the foes Stallman identifies as "the enemy" (without asking if everyone agrees) is just one example of this.


The way Novell and MS read the GPLv2 was certainly not the way the FSF intended it to be read when they worded it. So the FSF has decided to state explicitly what should have been clear implicitly. This is neither juvenile nor dangerous, this is the way exploits of code and licenses should be addressed. Period.

If you were Novell, and you had the choice of two major competitors, who would you rather deal with: Microsoft, who has been quiet and even-headed throughout all this...


Yeah, Mr. Ballmer for example was very even headed. Especially the quiet "you owe us money for our IP if you are not a Novell customer" speech sent without doubt warm fuzzy feelings down the spines to all stakeholders in the FOSS community.

.. and who has gone out of their way to ensure Novell's products would stay stable over new versions of Windows over the years


Have I missed something? So far, the only fallout of the interoperability deal is (to my knowledge) the OOXML plugin (written in Mono, still don't know why ... ) for OpenOffice.org and if the "openess" of OOXML is not only a PR stunt, it should (in theory) be possible to achieve this following the OOXML specifications MS had to submit in order to reach for ISO standard status. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but how is it, that it takes a special interoperability deal/sugarcoat to implement something which is allegedly an open standard? Furthermore, I guess we should judge the impact of future versions of Windows on the stability of SLED and Co. when both arrive, Ok ?

If worst comes to worst, Novell still owns their code. They could pull their code from the GPL (the GPL is many things, but as of v2.0 at least, it is neither pepetual nor exclusive) and continue to develop their SUSE, now without the Linux trademark, and possibly sue others who were still using SUSE code.


You still seem to be a little bit confused about the differences between "trademarks" and "copyright". Novell can not take back what they have already contributed under GPLv2, but they are of course free to dual license their 100%-own contributions and do whatever they want to do with it, as long as they have not assigned their copyright to somebody else. So sueing people over the use of SuSE code is a no-go for the things they have already contributed.
Furthermore, I doubt they would remain competative compared to their direct competitors (which is not so much MS, but RedHat, Sun, increasingly Canonical, et al as they operate in the same or at least a very similar ecosystem) without the contributions of others in the FOSS community, so that the (how possible?) trademark infringement on the (GPLv2) Linux kernel would be a minor problem.

I mean, it seems silly to me. Novell convinces the largest OS company on the planet to help develop and market Linux -- a possible step in Microsoft getting on the open-source bandwagon, which would be a enormous paradigm shift that would probably be welcomed by everyone but me -- and the community tries to prevent it. This should be looked upon as a coup for the Linux community, not a catastrophe.


It would have been indeed a big shift in paradigm if MS would have chosen to collaborate in conformance with the ethics of the community, that provide the base for the business model of their partner. Trying to outsmart others is not a paradigm shift for MS, sorry. Stating "You owe us money for our IP" without disclosing what parts of their IP portfolio are allegedly affected is neither. This is business as usual for MS. It is however, sadly I have to add, a paradigm shift on behalf of Novell.

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