Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 8th Nov 2006 11:24 UTC
Novell and Ximian Microsoft will pay Novell USD 348 million up front, but Novell will return USD 200 million of that amount over five years. The specific numbers came in an a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission made by Novell late Tuesday. "The financial commitments Microsoft is making as part of this agreement are significant," company CEO Ron Hovsepian said in a statement. In related news, Microsoft has denied that its patent deal with Novell is in breach of the GPL or will automatically spread Microsoft's patent protection to other Linux distributions.
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RE[2]: This is sad...
by grat on Wed 8th Nov 2006 17:39 UTC in reply to "RE: This is sad..."
grat
Member since:
2006-02-02

The problem here is Novell trying to look like a safe choice when it - in reality - can easily lead to either Novell violating the GPL or Novell having to cease distribution of Linux.

Err.. No. You see, it can't, unless someone actually puts patent infringing code into a linux distro. And if they do, they can't license it for just themselves, they have to license it for everyone. Well, they could, but then they couldn't distribute it as GPL.

Strictly speaking, as long as the code isn't a derived work of the linux kernel, and isn't licensed under the GPL, there's no reason why a vendor can't develop a proprietary, patented application, and distribute it in any way they desire. It would come under the heading of 'non-free', and people would have to make their own choice, but that situation exists RIGHT NOW.

If Novell *were* to release any patent encumbered code as open source, it wouldn't be under the GPL. Oh wait-- they did that, and it's called "Banshee".

So, actually, someone has to embed patent infringing material in a GPL product, then license that patent for only themselves, THEN try to distribute it before section 7 kicks in.

And no one, including Novell and Microsoft, is stupid enough to do that.

Finally, please tell me which patents are being licensed by Novell. With specificity, folks. Otherwise, you're no better than Darl McBride.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[3]: This is sad...
by milles21 on Wed 8th Nov 2006 18:25 in reply to "RE[2]: This is sad..."
milles21 Member since:
2006-11-08

I agree totally well said!

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: This is sad...
by dylansmrjones on Wed 8th Nov 2006 19:28 in reply to "RE[2]: This is sad..."
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

It's not that difficult to put in infringing code. There are so many patents that nobody can see the whole image. There is already possibly patent encumbered code in pretty much all linux distributions - or possibly patent encumbered code is available through repositories.

Non-GPL'ed code is irrelevant. Of course they can ship proprietary code as well. But that isn't the issue. The issue is what happens _if_ Microsoft decides to sue Distro B for distributing patent encumbered code in some GPL'ed package. Then Novell has the choice between violating the GPL or cease to distribute that particular GPL'ed package. In which case the patent protection from MS is empty.

I haven't said anything about patents being licensed by Novell. They are not licensing any patents. What I said is that it _could_ lead to a possible GPL violation in case Microsoft _did_ sue another distribution.

The problem is that Novell isn't protected against the consequenses of Microsoft sueing another Linux distributor.

There is as such no problem in releasing patent encumbered sources under the GPL. The problem only arises if somebody _else_ is owning the patent, and only in countries that supports software patents.

If you own a software patent and releases GPL'ed software implementing the patent, then everybody can use that patent in GPL'ed applications, simply because you have implicitly allowed everybody to use the patent in any derivative.

Reply Parent Score: 1