Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 11th Nov 2006 16:53 UTC, submitted by deanlinkous
GNU, GPL, Open Source "The Software Freedom Law Center's CTO Bradley Kuhn has issued a statement regarding the Novell-Microsoft agreements and how they will impact FOSS developers. They have analyzed in particular Microsoft's Patent Pledge for Non-Compensated Developers and see little value and in fact say it's worse than useless, because it creates an illusion of safety and because it limits severely what that developer is allowed to do with his work."
Thread beginning with comment 181323
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Please step away from the cool-aid
by Jody on Sat 11th Nov 2006 21:06 UTC
Jody
Member since:
2005-06-30

This isn't just about the Novell dal as others have stated, but the SFLC had this to say:

"The patent covenant only applies to software that you develop at home and keep for yourself; the promises don't extend to others when you distribute. You cannot pass the rights to your downstream recipients, even to the maintainers of larger projects on which your contribution is built...

It's worse than useless, as this empty promise can create a false sense of security. Don't be confused by the illusion of a truce; developers are no safer from Microsoft patents now than they were before...

....You cannot pass the rights to your downstream recipients, even to the maintainers of larger projects on which your contribution is built..."


Now we are playing both sides on the Novell thing. First we claimed the protection meant it was a cross licensing agreement on the part of Novell and they violated the GPL.

Now we are claiming it is useless becasue the contributions can't be distributed (which means IT DOES NOT BREAK GPL).

Why are we conviniently overlooking the fact that this is a counter-point to the anti-SuSE GPL complaints?

The GPL says you cannot distribute patentented software under GPL anyway, so even if MS did permit the changes to be passed downstream it would still be useless as far as the GPL is converned.

As for the Novell thing, it does not impact Novell directly (who distributes software downstream), rather their customers are able self-create what every they need without fear of MS so long as their changes are not redistributed.

The agreement is pretty much worthless, but it does nothing to stand in the way of GPL software.

Reply Score: 1

b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

Look at the big picture: the lawyer behind the GPL has been down on the Novell thing and vows that v3 will not fall prey. Now the SFLC is getting involved. The agreement is, in effect, FUD. Ballmer unsurprisingly is coming off as a clumsy thug. Then there is the guilt by association with the track record of MSFT, the source of the money for Novell.

Not all of the above bad perception of Novell/MSFT is necessarily justified, but anyone can understand why the perception itself exists and the burden is now on Novell/MSFT (with help from the SFLC) to prove that perception to be false. So this is not as simple as kool-aid.

Reply Parent Score: 4

Jody Member since:
2005-06-30

You are talking but what are you saying? You completely avoided countering the point I made in my post which was that the non-distribute clause that the SFLC says makes this agreement worthless is the same clause that means it complies with the GPL section 7 which prohibits passing patents downstream.

If I am wrong please counter my point with a more solid reason than Ballmer is a thug and anyone who deals with MS is bad.

Reply Parent Score: 2