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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Nothing would make me happier than seeing Stallman and the FSF get taken up on anti-trust charges and its licenses

Anti-trust legislation exists to prevent monopolists from leveraging their market share in one market to eliminate competition in another. Free software doesn't have dominant market share, and it doesn't engage in anti-competitive behavior. It doesn't even fit the definition of predatory pricing, since it funds the losses due to undercutting the competition on licensing with revenues from the highly competitive IT services market.

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 drafting process for the GPLv3 is undoubtedly the most collaborative and democratic process ever used to craft a copyright license. It's impossible to get everybody in a sufficiently sized group to agree on anything, but the FSF is doing their best to please the various stakeholders.

Microsoft, who has been quiet and even-headed throughout all this

Are you kidding me? Ballmer declared that Linux infringes Microsoft IP, warned the Linux community that it "will have to respect IP rights," and called running non-Novell versions of Linux "an undisclosed balance-sheet liability."

Novell might just withdraw its Linux support altogether.

It would be unfortunate to see the situation come to this, but so be it. As we've seen, Red Hat and a host of other companies (Google, IBM, Intel, etc.) are more than happy to employ experienced Linux developers. The corporation made the deal. The developers do the work.

isn't doing that incredibly dangerous?

As far as I'm concerned, the only viable threat to the free software community and to commercial Linux users alike is intellectual property law. In this particular case, the Novell deal represents a resolution to play out the IP controversy in the court of public opinion rather than in the court of law. It doesn't explicitly affect any future legal action that might be taken against Linux vendors or users. But it tarnishes the perception of Linux in the marketplace, and future patent covenant deals might carry more explicit legal implications for excluded parties.

There will always be plenty of talented developers to move the Linux platform forward, with or without Novell. But if we don't take steps to protect our right to distribute free software with nonexclusive and transferable IP grants, then our work will go to waste. I appreciate what Novell has done for our community, and I don't believe that their deal with Microsoft places our IP rights in jeopardy, but this deal exposes a loophole in the GPL that must be closed to protect our rights going forward.

I'm in favor of this draft without the Novell Escape Clause because there's no compelling reason for their deal to be grandfathered in. Red Hat told their customers that they stand by their products and will defend them against any IP claims. Novell can nullify their deal and do the same. The customers are right to expect legal protection when using their licensed software, but they should get it from the vendor, such as Novell, and not from various IP holders such as Microsoft.

This should be looked upon as a coup for the Linux community, not a catastrophe.

It's not a catastrophe, it's a learning experience, and we will be better off because of it.

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