Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 21st Dec 2006 22:29 UTC, submitted by John Mills
Novell and Ximian Jeremy Allison (of Samba fame) has resigned from Novell in protest over the Microsoft-Novell patent agreement, which he calls 'a mistake' which will be 'damaging to Novell's success in the future'. His main issue with the deal, though, is "that even if it does not violate the letter of the licence, it violates the intent of the GPL licence the Samba code is released under, which is to treat all recipients of the code equally." He leaves the company at the end of this month.
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Member since:

As far as I can work out, the 'Covenant' doesn't break the GPL, or the spirit of it, but it is worthless.
Only if MS successfully sues any distro for Patent abuse, then Novell cannot legally continue distributing Suse under the GPL, unless they remove the patented code from Suse.

Reply Parent Score: 1

melkor Member since:

I beg to differ, but then I've always been a FSF that does not care about corporations. You might want to also consider that the FSF WILL be changing the GPL v3 draft to make agreements like the Microsoft/Novell one invalid under the GPL.

I'm quite happy to see FSF utilities suddenly upgraded to GPL v3 and Novell not being able to use them because of this 'patent agreement'. It will send a clear message to the corporations that the GPL is not to be messed with. I don't care about Linux becoming 'mainstream', or 'popular', or 'popular with business'. I couldn't care one bit less. What I do care is that the GNU/Linux operating system wholly remains within the community, and that that community abides by the GPL, and the spirit of the GPL. I value GNU/Linux because of the values that the FSF extolls, nothing more and nothing less.

I couldn't care less if Novell did this type of deal with AT&T - it's still wrong, no matter who they do the deal with. My comments aren't so much anti-Microsoft based, but simply based on the fact that, like Jeremy, I believe that the spirit of the GPL has been broken by the agreement, and that Novell should realise this and ditch the agreement. Period. I see no such value in this agreement, other than for potential Suse users. I see many negatives for every other single distribution out there.

I can only hope that software patents in the US are abolished entirely, that would be a good step forward to all of this nonsense, and would open up TRUE competition.


Reply Parent Score: 5

stestagg Member since:

I agree, I don't like (software) patents, and wish America would see sense on the issue. However, given that Software patents exist, I can't see that a covenant not to sue is (in its self) a bad thing.

Reply Parent Score: 1