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.
Thread beginning with comment 208793
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[3]: FUD...
by rayiner on Sat 3rd Feb 2007 18:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: FUD..."
rayiner
Member since:
2005-07-06

What color is the sky on your planet? It would be nice to live in a world where programmers could concentrate solely on the code, but we don't. We live in a world of Rambus and SCO. We live in a world where slapping a lawsuit on a competitor is just as valid a tactic to gain market-share as releasing a great new version of a product.

Just because open-source projects are done voluntarily does not mean that they are immune to damaging legal tactics. The situation that tied up BSD for years wrangling with AT&T should be all the proof you need of the FSF's belief that free software needs strong legal protection. At the end of the day, Linux is competing with a convicted monopolist. Relying on their best intentions and neglecting to protect yourself is stupid, plain and simple.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: FUD...
by Hiev on Sat 3rd Feb 2007 18:47 in reply to "RE[3]: FUD..."
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

I see it different Is like allowing gay marriage one day and then saying the other day "You know what, I think I gave you to much freedom so i'll revoke gay marrige".

Edited 2007-02-03 18:48

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE[5]: FUD...
by dylansmrjones on Sat 3rd Feb 2007 19:48 in reply to "RE[4]: FUD..."
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Is like allowing gay marriage one day and then saying the other day "You know what, I think I gave you to much freedom so i'll revoke gay marrige".

That's exactly what the Novell-Microsoft deal is like. Incl. the spelling errors :p

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[6]: FUD...
by jango on Sat 3rd Feb 2007 22:01 in reply to "RE[4]: FUD..."
jango Member since:
2006-11-22

hear hear- God Bless the FSF and RMS for ridding us of gay marriage

im not being tongue in cheek im serious

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE[5]: FUD...
by rayiner on Sat 3rd Feb 2007 19:02 in reply to "RE[3]: FUD..."
rayiner Member since:
2005-07-06

Having or not having gay marriage isn't something that impacts the protection of the community as a whole. A better example would be making a law that regulates the use of X-rays in machines. Before X-rays became widely used, such laws weren't needed. When X-rays were originally discovered, people used them very irresponsibly in machines, leading to numerous fatalities. Eventually, the government had to step in and set regulations.

This is analogous to the situation with patent terms in the GPLv3. Software patents weren't a major source of abuse 16 years ago when the GPLv2 was written. Now, software patents are a significant source of abuse, one one that is becoming more threatening over time. Again, IBM, Sun, and the Mozilla foundation all realized the importance of addressing software patents directly in the license. It's no surprise the FSF does too.

For everyone who thinks the FSF is alone in their thinking, try reading the OpenSolaris license sometime. The CDDL includes numerous patent clauses, and includes a termination clause that revokes your right to distribute a piece of CDDL'ed software if you claim patent infringement against the developer or any contributer to that software. This covers any patents at all, not just ones contained in the software in question.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[6]: FUD...
by Hiev on Sat 3rd Feb 2007 19:10 in reply to "RE[5]: FUD..."
Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

Yes, but Novell never claimed copyrigh of any GPL software, just from the software they made that hapens to use GPL libraries, nothing more.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[7]: FUD...
by rayiner on Sat 3rd Feb 2007 19:14 in reply to "RE[5]: FUD..."
rayiner Member since:
2005-07-06

Novell signed a deal with Microsoft to give patent protection to their users regarding Microsoft's patents. That's opens up everyone else who distributes Linux but isn't part of the deal to patent lawsuits from Microsoft.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[6]: FUD...
by butters on Sat 3rd Feb 2007 23:37 in reply to "RE[5]: FUD..."
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

It's really a shame that none of the current licenses are addressing the needs of the Linux kernel community:

We have the GPLv2, which is working very well for the kernel, but it leaves us open to patent claims.

We have the GPLv3, which addresses the patent claims but imposes usage restrictions that aren't appropriate for the kernel. Vendors selling services based on Linux require the use of digital means for enforcing their TOS. If you don't like the terms, don't buy the service. TiVo is a restrictive service provider, not a danger to free software in general. See more below.

We have the CDDL, perhaps the most compelling license for OSS developers. It has the patent protections, grants the developer exclusive rights to the IP in their original source files (yet they can't sue their downstream users), requires the availability of corresponding source code, and requires sharing of downstream modifications. Unfortunately, while it is a copyleft license, it is based on the source file definition rather than the link definition. Therefore, a distributor can add source files licensed under less protective licenses. This makes the CDDL inappropriate for the kernel, which must remain unified under one license.

The Linux kernel community requested that the FSF remove the anti-DRM clauses from the GPLv3 drafts. They would have seriously considered switching to GPLv3 in this case because of the patent protections. But the anti-DRM clauses were one of the FSF's primary reasons for drafting a new GPL. They only really apply to the kernel (try implementing DRM in userspace), and the Linux kernel community rejects the notion that Linux shouldn't be used by commercial service providers.

The kernel community embraces all users of Linux that respect its IP rights. There are so many possibilities and so many applications for free software as long as we keep it truly free. As soon as we start limiting what users can do with free software, our license stops looking like a free software license and starts looking like a EULA. TiVo isn't improperly distributing the kernel community's IP. They don't care if TiVo's customers are pissed at their service. That's between TiVo and their customers, and this shouldn't affect the way Linux can be deployed in other devices.

Reply Parent Score: 5