Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 17:13 UTC, submitted by davidiwharper
Novell and Ximian "The Free Software Foundation has published a third draft of the GPL3 license. The FSF had indicated leading up to this draft that it would be addressing some concerns it had with the Novell-Microsoft agreements in the draft. Here's Novell's position on the new draft."
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Lower the boom!
by sbergman27 on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 18:07 UTC
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

I have tried very hard to evenhanded and careful not to be reactive with regards to Novell's patent cross license deal with Microsoft.

But every time I hear them come out and say things like:

"""
Nothing in this new draft of GPL3 inhibits Novellís ability to include GPL3 technologies in SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE, and other Novell open source offerings, now and in the future.
"""

it just makes me want to see the FSF pull the rug out from under them by removing what my friend Twenex refers to as the "Novell Escape Clause", which is the only thing saving them at this point, and is only in there tentatively. Novell should at least have the decency to keep quiet on the matter.

Novell has said that if the GPLv3 forbids them from distributing GPLv3 software they will address that with their partner, Microsoft.

I say we need a draft of the GPLv3 without the escape clause just to see what Novell might accomplish with "their partner, Microsoft".

It could always be put back in before the final release of the license. And besides, it would be fun to see Ron Hovsepian pee in his pants! ;-)

Edited 2007-04-03 18:07

Reply Score: 5

RE: Lower the boom!
by SReilly on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 18:33 in reply to "Lower the boom!"
SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

I would love to see how Novell would react to that particular rug being yanked out from under them, although I could see MS using it in they're PR war as a reason for any "sane" CTO to not consider Linux.

I still think that Novell didn't get into this deal for any bad reasons but that alone does not excuse the damage that has been done to the image of other distros.

Novell can say what they like. As far as I am concerned, until they get out of this deal with MS, they're word holds very little meaning to me and I'm willing to bet that many in the community will take a long time to forgive, even if they do.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Lower the boom!
by sbergman27 on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 18:54 in reply to "RE: Lower the boom!"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I've been observing the OSS community for 11 years. And I must say that I was puzzled by the community's initial positive response to Novell. Novell proudly proclaimed themselves as a "mixed source" company, and the the community seemed to feel that was just fine.

Flashback to a few years previous, and Ransom Love, of Caldera (who was ousted and replaced by the current management of that company that we call "The SCO Group" today), got into deep doo doo with the community simply by having the audacity to suggest that the GPL might not always be the best license for all purposes, and that in some cases BSD might be a better choice.

I guess it was Novell challenging SCO in court that kept them in such good grace for so long. But what they have done there has been purely out of self interest, and for reasons of their own.

I suppose that there really is only so much in the area of "getting it" that one can expect of a company which continues to proudly proclaim its "Mixed Source" standing.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Lower the boom!
by grat on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 19:38 in reply to "Lower the boom!"
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

Assuming that the FSF is unbalanced enough to totally remove the so-called escape clause, and "lower the boom", as you suggest, Novell would have two possible actions available to them:

1) Renegotiate with Microsoft to specifically exclude GPL licensed code from the Microsoft deal (Personally, I think they should have done this from the start).

2) File suit against the Free Software Foundation for using it's position to prevent Novell from being competitive. Telling Novell to write/maintain their own code doesn't cut it, as no other Linux distro has (currently) such a restriction.

Given the number of public comments by people from both the FSF, and others such as Bruce Perens, it would be almost trivial to prove that the latest draft of the GPLv3 was designed to deliberately harm and/or punish Novell's business.

I suspect that this is why the grandfather clause exists in the current draft anyhow, and may explain the repeated delays on this draft.

Regardless, organizations like ACT (Association for Competitive Technology) are already putting out the press releases that I expected, that say that "See? We told you GPL is anti-business". Whatever YOUR opinion of ACT is, the reality is that they're a lobbyist organization, and they know how to get their message to both Congress, and big business.

Finally, I find it ironic that a community that reacts with such outrage to the use of submarine patents would be in favor of using the GPL as a weapon retroactively.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Lower the boom!
by sbergman27 on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 20:19 in reply to "RE: Lower the boom!"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I hear what you are saying.

As a warning, I should say now that the rest of this is likely to wander off topic, so anyone who is not interested can feel free to exit now. ;-)

I am in a state of transition. For 19 years I've been a Unix (and later, Linux) admin and advocate. I am considering getting out of this business. And it is interesting how that is affecting my views on some topics.

I've always had the option of caving in and doing the Windows thing. It would have been advantageous to me financially. But it just never seemed right. And so I have always refused to "do Windows" and my employer understands that.

But now that I am considering freeing myself from dependency upon this field for my livelihood, it is interesting to note how it also affects my views regarding these kinds of issues that are in "gray areas".

I am finding myself ready to entertain ideas that I might have dismissed before. And I find myself wondering if the benefits of Linux going mainstream are really worth the costs.

As long as FOSS software and drivers do what I need, why should I care how many other people are using it?

I've always taken it as a given that more users are good. And I still feel that way; I do want more people to benefit from FOSS. But I also find that the balance is changing between how much I value more users and how high I perceive the cost of gaining those users to be.

Today, I'm wondering if the cost of allowing Novell to get away with their deal is not too high.

ACT cannot forbid us to write, distribute, and use free software. They can only try to keep it out of government. But I have absolute faith in the power of the OSS development model. It cannot be stopped, but can only be delayed.

I'm wondering if, perhaps, we are not better off sticking to our guns and waiting a little longer rather than worrying about PR, or taking any shortcuts with repercussions that may be with us for a long time.

All of this is quite tentative. The re-evaluation of one's own position on a major personal issue is always a bit disconcerting. (And FOSS *is* a major personal issue for me.)

But I guess that's how we grow.

Edited 2007-04-03 20:27

Reply Parent Score: 3