Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 18:16 UTC, submitted by anonymous
Novell and Ximian Novell and Microsoft recently entered into an agreement regarding software patents (really?) that betrays the rest of the Free Software community, including the very people who wrote Novell's own system, for Novell's sole financial beneift, according to Bruce Perens. Join Perens in signing an open letter to Novell's CEO Ron Hovsepian. "As the agreement stands today, it betrays the authors of the software you re-market and their users worldwide for Novell's sole commercial benefit."
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RE[4]: Clue Stick
by tomcat on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 05:29 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Clue Stick"
Member since:

Hear, hear. People are so clueless about the implications of this situation. The fact is that Novell (like anybody else using the GPL) will continue to operate freely and without limitations.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[5]: Clue Stick
by 2fargone on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 10:44 in reply to "RE[4]: Clue Stick"
2fargone Member since:

You're forgetting the fact that while Novell and IBM employ developers who contribute to OSS, they are not the sum of OSS, not by a long shot. Will Novell and IBM operate freely when major portions of GPL'ed software is unavailable to them via v3? Will they operate freely if developers turn on them, the very developers who are making the software Novell and IBM are using?

It's a community. If they don't understand that and start abiding by it, they'll soon find themselves on the outside looking in. So they might continue, but certainly, there will be some sort of limitations.

Here's to hoping they clue-in. Personally, I would rather have Novell and IBM as part of the community. But I don't want them around if all they're going to do is try to circumvent the purpose of the GPL with shady legal tactics.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: Clue Stick
by Marcellus on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 11:50 in reply to "RE[5]: Clue Stick"
Marcellus Member since:

Will Novell and IBM operate freely when major portions of GPL'ed software is unavailable to them via v3?

You're making the assumption that GPLv3 will prevent Novell from distributing GPLv3 stuff.
The clause that Moglen mentioned:
"Suppose GPL3 says something like, 'if you distribute (or procure the distribution), of a program (or parts of a program) - and if you make patent promises partially to some subset of the distributees of the program - then under this license you have given the same promise or license at no cost in royalties or other obligations to all persons to whom the program is distributed'."

How does this affect MS when MS is not distributing the GPLv3 covered stuff?
The clause barks very loudly, but appears to be completely toothless.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: Clue Stick
by elsewhere on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 22:50 in reply to "RE[5]: Clue Stick"
elsewhere Member since:

Will they operate freely if developers turn on them, the very developers who are making the software Novell and IBM are using?

Let's keep things in perspective. The linux kernel and the gnu toolchain are subsidized by companies like IBM, in terms of code contribution, development, funding and yes, royalty-free patent licenses. Certainly community developers play an important part, but these aren't grassroots development projects anymore. These are the cornerstones for a multi-billion dollar industry that many contributing companies have invested heavily in.

If v3 somehow prevents companies like IBM from distributing GPL v3 software, those companies will have a much easier time maintaining and further developing v2-derived forks than the GNU community will have progressing without them. I certainly want to give the community credit for what has been accomplished, but it seems hypocritical to wave v3 as a cure-all for the packages that relied on corporate largesse and patent grants to develop in the first place and seems too willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

IBM has yet to formally comment on v3, but their recent statement supporting the MS - Novell deal combined with the fact that they don't see the need for patent indemnity in linux, also combined with the fact that IBM is one of the largest patent holding companies in the world, are indirect comments in themselves and should not be taken lightly. The FSF's vow to add a clause to prevent MS-Novell deals will further alienate the IBMs.

It's easy for the community to say, fine, IBM and Novell can't distribute v3 software and that's their own problem. But it's not. IBM is probably the single largest contributor to OSS. Period. Many key OSS projects could simply not have achieved their current level of success without vital contributions from IBM. IBM is commmited to linux. If IBM says no to v3 and elects to stay v2, then it's a safe bet that the rest of the commercial industry will follow. Or aside from IBM, peruse some of the core documentation and packages in an average distro, you'll find many developers with email addresses. If v3 turns away the corporates, there will be a clearly delineated split between the FSF and the OSS sides of the linux camp.

Maybe that's for the best. But the FSF side should really think about that for a minute. There seems to be this pervasive thought from many in this and other forums that v3 will just be accepted naturally, I mean, the FSF controls the GPL so everybody will have to follow, right? And they're making the false assumption that a lack of critical comment from the parties involved (except for HP who has spoken up) implies consent and agreement. They also like to imply that the IBM's are "taking code from the community" and using it in a non-reciprocal manner, when the fact is the reverse is true. The companies collectively contribute far more than the independent non-paid developers do to many of these projects.

v3 could very well cause far more problems than it solves, if it truly solves any, but that "concern" seems to be too easily dismissed by many. The community should just be careful about what they wish for.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: Clue Stick
by tomcat on Sat 25th Nov 2006 05:58 in reply to "RE[5]: Clue Stick"
tomcat Member since:

Who cares. The vast amount of code is released under GPLv1/v2.

Reply Parent Score: 1