Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 3rd Feb 2007 16:43 UTC, submitted by mwtomlinson
Novell and Ximian The Free Software Foundation is reviewing Novell's right to sell new versions of Linux operating system software after the open-source community criticized Novell for teaming up with Microsoft. "The community of people wants to do anything they can to interfere with this deal and all deals like it. They have every reason to be deeply concerned that this is the beginning of a significant patent aggression by Microsoft," Eben Moglen, the Foundation's general counsel, said on Friday. Update: The FSF claims this is being hyped.
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molnarcs
Member since:
2005-09-10

As I understand nobody have the righ to say who can or who can't use GPL software, not even the FSF, so they are contradicting the GPL, the freedoms they protect.

Than you don't understand either the GPL or the situation very well (or both). Yes, the GPL permits running the software for whatever purpose you want (freedom 0) - but it restricts the way it can be distributed: basically, anyone who distributes free software must guarantee every right the GPL was designed to guarantee to anyone. Now the Microsoft/Novell patent deal implies that Novell customers get more rights (additional patent protection from Microsoft) than other customers (of the same GPL-ed software). This is patently (excuse me) wrong! That's what the GPL v3 will rectify. This was always in the spirit of the GPL (provide non-discriminatory access to the software) - and Novell violated the spirit, because the latter of GPL v2 allowed for workaround.

Now if the letter of the GPL v3 will prevent such workarounds, than Novell won't be able to distribute software distributed under v3. The FSF has every right to change the license of software copyrighted by them. That includes the GNU toolchain - without which any Linux OS is pretty much crippled. Others (like the SAMBA team) already made clear their intention to change to GPL v3 when it becomes final. In fact, Novell's actions became a catalyst for adoptation, because when the SAMBA team chose the GPL for the software they wrote, they certainly didn't want to have company X distributing their software make a deal that suggests that anyone who is not their customer is under legal threat from Microsoft.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

I can tell you that GPLv3 software will be forked not only by Novell, but for the mayority, at then end GPLv3 versions will lose steam, Im sure of that and Im eager to see how it hapends, so, I'll just take some pop-corn and see how Linux gets distroyed by the FSF, It won't really affect me at all, but it will affect you.

Reply Parent Score: 1

molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

You are probably one of the most clueless person engaging in this discussion. You claim that GPL v3 will marginalize free software - which is rather funny in the light of recent developments. In all the history of GPL, the industry has been quite weary of adopting it - until SUN's historical move of GPLing JAVA. This was the single biggest contribution ever released under a free software license by a commercial company. And the same company is now considering releasing its premier os - Solaris - under GPL v3 - and they are not against the idea of moving to JAVA to v3 when it is finalized.

Often trolls label the FSF and Richard Stallmann a zealot - and speak about "religion" of free software. The best thing about the ideology (call it religion if you like) of the FSF - the sacred four freedoms if you wish - is what made free software ecosystem work and the GPL attractive for many developers. But when people think of these freedoms as merely ideologies, they disregard its practical aspect: when you read the GPL or the FSF's mission statement, you can interpret it as purely a practical description of a development model, and the "law" of an ecosystem that guarantees all the benefits of a free market (fierce competition) without capitalism's drawback (condensation of wealth for instance, for it constantly enforces a level playing field). It is basically the rule of the free software economics (a gift economy).

Novell by its actions threatens that level playing field - so far, free software companies competed on two major aspects of their offerings: quality of the software (how well tested and reliable is their distribution) and quality of support. Now Novell has another tool: patent threats with the help of Microsoft. This is exactly what the GPL tried to prevent from the very beginning, but Novell, with some help from Microsoft legal found a loophole in the current wording of the GPL. The legal climate has changed, company tactics has changed, and it is time to plug some holes in the current license. Nobody forces anyone to adopt GPL v3. The kernel probably won't, mainly for technical reasons (it is almost impossible to contact all the copyright holders). Others will. Even commercial entities like SUN, not to mention gcc and friends, SAMBA, etc.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

anyone who distributes free software must guarantee every right the GPL was designed to guarantee to anyone. Now the Microsoft/Novell patent deal implies that Novell customers get more rights

Amazingly enough, giving people more rights without restricting the rights supposedly protected by the license is not a violation of the license.

Reply Parent Score: 1

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

What the Microsoft-Novell deal implies is that non-Novell customers have fewer rights than granted in GPL2 and only Novell customers have the rights granted in GPL2.

Reply Parent Score: 5

nedvis Member since:
2006-01-02

Only equal rights are RIGHT !!!
You said: "...giving people more rights without restricting the rights s-u-p-p-o-s-e-d-l-y protected by the license is not a violation of the license."
You are wrong if you think Novell gave "more rights" to Linux users by signing deal with Microsoft since it pertains to NOVEL-SuSE Linux user ONLY and it's not extended to entire Linux community.
Now that's the violation of GPL simply because other Linux users ( RedHat,Debian and so on...) are EXCLUDED from the "peace treaty" signed by Novell and Microsoft.

Reply Parent Score: 1