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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RE[2]: My comment for Novell
by binarycrusader on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 21:02 UTC in reply to "RE: My comment for Novell"
binarycrusader
Member since:
2005-07-06

1) Red Hat stood by their products and guaranteed IP indemnification without making deals with IP holders. Why couldn't Novell have done the same?


Why would any sane company indemnify their customers when they know that the product they ship (Linux) has a possibility of infringing on an extremely rich company's patents? Given the size of Microsoft's patent portfolio, I have no doubt that some part of the Linux kernel *does* infringe on Microsoft's patents. As screwed up and as silly as some of the patents that companies are granted, it should be no wonder. Now whether or not those patents it infringes on are *valid* or would stand up to a validation test is another story....

2) If Novell is interested in protecting its customers, why are they only protecting them from Microsoft? Surely there are other patent holders that might make infringement claims.

Maybe because they are the biggest threat?

According to Miguel, Novell believes that their Linux products do not infringe any patents, but it cannot convince its prospective customers of this, and it won't guarantee it.

I've never seen that said. I have seen those claims about Mono, but even then they are quick to say that there are certain parts that could be patented.

I'd like to see the source of this.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: My comment for Novell
by butters on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 21:24 in reply to "RE[2]: My comment for Novell"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

Miguel wrote:

Because like everyone else in the open source world, we claim that we do not infringe on Microsoft IP. We claim that there is prior art and we have processes in place to remove code that might infringe on a third party patent claim.

Reply Parent Score: 4

binarycrusader Member since:
2005-07-06

Miguel wrote:

[q]Because like everyone else in the open source world, we claim that we do not infringe on Microsoft IP. We claim that there is prior art and we have processes in place to remove code that might infringe on a third party patent claim.


Which contradicts earlier statements (and statements currently on the Microsoft website), also where did you get that statement from? Sources please.

Finally, even if he does say that doesn't change the fact that their agreement does provider their customers additional protection.

Edited 2007-04-03 22:28 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: My comment for Novell
by g2devi on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 21:35 in reply to "RE[2]: My comment for Novell"
g2devi Member since:
2005-07-09

> Why would any sane company indemnify their customers
> when they know that the product they ship (Linux) has
> a possibility of infringing on an extremely rich
> company's patents?

And that is precisely the problem. Novell can contribute code to a GPLv2 application that no-one else will be able to use because of the M-N patent licensing. A clear consequence of this is that Novell doesn't have to care about doing its due diligence (heck they can even look at shared source code without fear of contaminating themselves) in ensuring that their software is safe (as RedHat, Sun, and friends would) so code from Novell should be treated with more suspicion than contributions from other sources that have something to loose through the patent deal.

In addition, they've legitimized Microsoft FUD that Linux is a patent mine field -- after all Novell licensed valuable Microsoft licenses -- if they didn't think there was anything to license then why did they do it? If you don't use "Microsoft Approved Linux"[TM] you're in trouble, and "I'd hate it if you had an unfortunate IP lawsuit 'accident'".

The Novell is the beneficiary of Microsoft protection money and it's in the community's best interests to make sure such appeasement is impossible, since as Ben Franklin said "We Must All Hang Together, Or Assuredly We Shall All Hang Separately".

Personally, I hope Novell comes back into the fold and renegotiates to remove the "Microsoft Approved Linux"[TM] protection racket clause, but if they don't,

I hope that GPLv3 (without grandfathering clause or only grandfathering before draft 2 the N-M deal was inked) forces them to show their hand (i.e. if they don't fork all GPLv3 projects they patch, they'll be opening themselves up to a major lawsuit from Microsoft. If they do fork, we'll know that they're lying and they'll have to bear the financial burden of maintaining a fork).

Reply Parent Score: 3