Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 10th Jul 2007 18:12 UTC, submitted by deanlinkous
GNU, GPL, Open Source "Now that Microsoft has declared itself untouched by any GPLv3 terms, everyone is trying to figure out if they have a leg to stand on. There is a whole lot of analysis going on, with some wondering if Microsoft is a distributor of software under GPLv3 by means of the voucher distribution and others wondering just what those vouchers included."
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Consider for a moment.
by Googlesaurus on Tue 10th Jul 2007 19:02 UTC
Googlesaurus
Member since:
2005-10-19

Consider for a moment MS can't be held to GPLv3 simply because they have had no interaction with it. They have touched nothing involving the license, and you can bet the farm they won't. The voucher argument is worthless, GPLv3 didn't exist at the time of the agreement with Novell.

The column which recently appeared on Grolaw is a lot of speculation, coupled with a healthy dose of wishful thinking. Neither of which will hold a drop of water.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Consider for a moment.
by zizban on Tue 10th Jul 2007 19:19 in reply to "Consider for a moment."
zizban Member since:
2005-07-06

Nope.

The coupons for SLES had no expiration date. Someone could turn on in a year from now, or two years then sure as heck MS will be bound by GPLV3. Whether or not V3 existed when MS and Novell came up with this irrelevant. The fact it does and the fact those coupons are out there makes it just a matter of time.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Consider for a moment.
by Googlesaurus on Tue 10th Jul 2007 19:28 in reply to "RE: Consider for a moment."
Googlesaurus Member since:
2005-10-19

"The coupons for SLES had no expiration date."

Brilliant..... According to MS they just expired.
Next.

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE[2]: Consider for a moment.
by TaterSalad on Tue 10th Jul 2007 19:33 in reply to "RE: Consider for a moment."
TaterSalad Member since:
2005-07-06

Does anyone have a coupon? I'd like to see the wording on it. A lot of people said it has no expiration date but does it have any other legal jargon saying the coupon will be invalid if certain conditions are not met?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Consider for a moment.
by borker on Tue 10th Jul 2007 19:45 in reply to "Consider for a moment."
borker Member since:
2006-04-04

the point the article makes (and you ignore) is that if / when novell want to start shipping gpl3 covered code MS will no longer be able to provide vouchers that escape the terms of GPL3 with regard to being 'secondarily liable' for propagating GPL3 code.

So MS has three choices: comply with GPLv3 (extremely unlikely), cancel it's deal with novell or carry on regardless and let the chips fall where they may (i.e. go to court with GNU/FSF and anyone else with GPLv3 code used by novell (redhat? samba? etc etc)).

Realistically, the most likely is that they drop the novel deal. The only hiccup with that is that apparently the current vouchers have no expiration date on them. Much has been made about this but I don't see a real problem besides having to give someone their money back (am I wrong on this point?). I don't think that it can be used to force MS to convey a GPLv3 work

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Consider for a moment.
by Googlesaurus on Tue 10th Jul 2007 20:48 in reply to "RE: Consider for a moment."
Googlesaurus Member since:
2005-10-19

"the point the article makes (and you ignore) is that if / when novell want to start shipping gpl3 covered code MS will no longer be able to provide vouchers that escape the terms of GPL3 with regard to being 'secondarily liable' for propagating GPL3 code."

So.... They stop.
Next.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[3]: Consider for a moment.
by lemur2 on Wed 11th Jul 2007 00:23 in reply to "RE: Consider for a moment."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

carry on regardless and let the chips fall where they may (i.e. go to court with GNU/FSF and anyone else with GPLv3 code used by novell (redhat? samba? etc etc)).


Just to clarify the point, if Microsoft decide to "carry on regardless" then so will GNU/Linux. GNU/Linux will not initiate any court action.

The purpose of the patent provisions and the "conveying" language in GPLv3 is not to be able to take Microsoft to court, but rather in the event that Microsoft takes GNU/Linux to court over claimed patents, to provide a defense that Microsoft has "conveyed" GNU/Linux itself and has hence given braod patent indemnification to all GNU/Linux recipients.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: Consider for a moment.
by butters on Tue 10th Jul 2007 22:04 in reply to "Consider for a moment."
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

The voucher argument is worthless because the propagation of the voucher cannot, to my understanding, be interpreted as enabling anybody to receive or make copies of GPLv3 software. There is nothing preventing anybody from receiving copies of GPLv3 software that Novell may soon distribute without purchasing or redeeming a voucher.

For all of the language in the GPLv3 about conveyance and its broader definition than distribution, it's hard to imagine an act of conveyance that is not also an act of distribution. A party either provides a means for another party to receive a copy of software, or they don't. If another party comes along and makes an offer where anybody that pays a certain fee will receive an autographed photo of Bill Gates when they receive software from the first party, that does not encompass conveyance.

What actions enable somebody to receive a copy of GPLv3 software? What actions preclude certain parties, but not others, from receiving GPLv3 software? If a covered work is distributed (in the GPLv2 sense) freely on the Internet, is there any possible way for a party to convey (in the GPLv3 sense) the covered work without also distributing it? In what practical way is conveyance broader than distribution?

The Microsoft/Novell deal is not likely to be materially affected by the GPLv3 despite the FSF's best efforts. Unfortunately, the deal happened, and the GPLv3 came to late to do anything about it. Now we have a license that will severely impact the more recent covenant parties and prevent these deals from happening in the future.

What I hope we have learned from this experience is that software vendors face market pressures that drive them to take advantage of free software in unexpected ways. We cannot set out on a Wilsonian quest to make the world safe for free software. While free software is a wonderful licensing and development model, it doesn't necessarily travel well. Our community is uniquely adapted to free software, and we must learn to coexist with the proprietary software world in a system of mutual respect.

Central to this relationship is a firm policy for protecting our freedom. We will not negotiate with patent terrorists. We will respect their intellectual property, but we will not license undisclosed patents, and we will not license patents exclusively. When patent holders sit down at the negotiating table, they are dealing with the entire free software community, not with individual vendors or projects.

The GPLv3 is the Monroe Doctrine of free software, our line in the sand. Our rejection of the proprietary software world's ambitions to build an intellectual property bridge and install proxy vendors in our community. A policy of laissez faire is no longer a suitable model for core components of a free software platform. We can't, we won't, and we shouldn't impose free software on the unwilling and the unready. But neither should be permit them from imposing their will on us.

We're not going to be able to revoke Novell's right to distribute GPLv3 software, but we can destabilize their business. I've been calling for the openSUSE community to abandon Novell since shortly after the deal was announced, and I'm still waiting for action. They can't compete without our help. It's our way of imposing trade sanctions. What will it take to leave Novell behind? What's your version of Kennedy's thousand cigars?

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Consider for a moment.
by borker on Tue 10th Jul 2007 22:15 in reply to "RE: Consider for a moment."
borker Member since:
2006-04-04

"To “propagate” a work means to do anything with it that, without permission, would make you directly or secondarily liable for infringement under applicable copyright law"

Its hard to imagine a legal argument that could prevent party A from being "secondarily liable" if they sell a coupon you can redeem at party B for a copyright infringing work.

Also

"If, pursuant to or in connection with a single transaction or arrangement, you convey, or propagate by procuring conveyance of, a covered work, and grant a patent license to some of the parties receiving the covered work authorizing them to use, propagate, modify or convey a specific copy of the covered work, then the patent license you grant is automatically extended to all recipients of the covered work and works based on it."

It is hard to see how Novell (xandros et al) could distribute GPLv3 software and not be in violation of this clause, unless MS agree to extend their patent protection to the entire universe. If they don't Novell can't release v3 software. The deal is sunk.

Reply Parent Score: 5