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Re: Novell-MS Pact: Samba Team calls upon Novell to work with the Softw

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: Novell-MS Pact: Samba Team calls upon Novell to work with the Software Freedom Law Center to undo the pact
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2006 10:05:01 +0100

Samba Team Asks Novell to Reconsider

The Samba Team disapproves strongly of the actions taken by Novell on
November 2nd.

One of the fundamental differences between the proprietary software
world and the free software world is that the proprietary software world
divides users by forcing them to agree to coercive licensing agreements
which restrict their rights to share with each other, whereas the free
software world encourages users to unite and share the benefits of the

The patent agreement struck between Novell and Microsoft is a divisive
agreement. It deals with users and creators of free software differently
depending on their "commercial" versus "non-commercial" status, and
deals with them differently depending on whether they obtained their
free software directly from Novell or from someone else.

The goals of the Free Software community and the GNU GPL allow for no
such distinctions.

Furthermore, the GPL makes it clear that all distributors of GPL'd
software must stand together in the fight against software patents. Only
by standing together do we stand a chance of defending against the peril
represented by software patents. With this agreement Novell is
attempting to destroy that unified defense, exchanging the long term
interests of the entire Free Software community for a short term
advantage for Novell over their competitors.

For Novell to make this deal shows a profound disregard for the
relationship that they have with the Free Software community. We are, in
essence, their suppliers, and Novell should know that they have no right
to make self serving deals on behalf of others which run contrary to the
goals and ideals of the Free Software community.

Using patents as competitive tools in the free software world is not
acceptable. Novell, as a participant in numerous debates, discussions
and conferences on the topic knew this to be the case. We call upon
Novell to work with the Software Freedom Law Center to undo the patent
agreement and acknowledge its obligations as a beneficiary of the Free
Software community.


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