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Re: Novell-MS Pact: "Moglen misquoted by Reuters" says PJ-groklaw's subs

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: Novell-MS Pact: "Moglen misquoted by Reuters" says PJ-groklaw's subscriber "nb"
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2006 17:58:50 +0100

In comments to PJ's story "Novell Speaks - Updated"...

Moglen misquoted by Reuters 

Authored by: nb on Tuesday, November 21 2006 @ 10:45 AM EST 

Reuters quotes Moglen with a statement which makes him sound as if he
were brainlessly spouting Microsoft's FUD: "Either customers desert Red
Hat to go to Novell, to get safety, or Red Hat will be forced into a
similar deal with Microsoft," which I'm sure is far from what Moglen
would actually intend to communicate. 

Of course, since this is Reuters, this misquotation is all over the
world's media now. 

Is there anything one can do against this kind of misquotation?

And "all over the world's media now"...

Microsoft to face challenge over Linux licenses

Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:01am ET

By David Lawsky and Sabina Zawadzki

BRUSSELS, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Supporters of PC operating system Linux are
preparing to counter a recent deal penned by Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O:
Quote, Profile, Research) which establishes for the first time the
principle of paying the software giant for the operating system, whose
licence requires it to be free.

Microsoft signed a deal with Novell, one of the providers of Linux, in
which Novell paid it a lump sum in return for a guarantee that Microsoft
would not sue Novell's clients for what it calls a violation of its own
patents in the Linux programme.

The prospect of a drawn-out legal battle with Microsoft, an experienced
litigator, could push users of Linux into the hands of Novell (NOVL.O:
Quote, Profile, Research) and away from dominant Linux provider, Red Hat
(RHAT.O: Quote, Profile, Research), which does not have such a deal with

Although Linux is free, providers of the system offer the software with
packaging, documentation and -- most important -- installation and
maintenance, so any client shift from Red Hat would cost it money.

"Either customers desert Red Hat to go to Novell, to get safety, or Red
Hat will be forced into a similar deal with Microsoft," said Eban
Moglen, a professor at Columbia Law School and founding director of the
Software Freedom Law Center in New York.

Moglen, one of the pioneers of free software, said Microsoft's deal
skirts the requirements of the GNU General Public License, used by Linux
and other free programmes, which requires the software to be given away.

He and others have started work on updating the licence to close the
loophole by saying a promise not to sue, such as the one given by
Microsoft, would be automatically applicable to everyone.

That would effectively flip Microsoft's agreement on its head and
guarantee that no one would face a suit from Microsoft if anyone were

"A clause like that would not be difficult to get community agreement on
these days," Moglen said, adding that a change could be ready in weeks
or months.


Under the Novell deal, in which both companies agreed not sue each
other's clients for patent violation, Microsoft agreed to pay Novell
$348 million, while Novell pays Microsoft $40 million, on the basis that
Novell has fewer customers. 

Microsoft says it has patent rights to some of the technology in Linux,
although it has never said exactly what those rights might be or what
patents are involved.

Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said if customers bought Linux
from anyone but Novell, they could face trouble.

"If a customer says, 'Look, do we have liability for the use of your
patented work?' Essentially, if you're using non-SUSE Linux, then I'd
say the answer is yes," Ballmer told recently, referring to
the Linux system sold by Novell.

"I suspect that (customers) will take that issue up with their
distributor," Ballmer said, adding that if customers considered doing a
direct download of a non-SUSE Linux version, "they'll think twice about

Microsoft makes the Windows operating system, for which it charges
billions of dollars a year, but Linux has been a thorn in the software
giant's side because it is freely available.

Linux was created, maintained and improved by volunteers working under a
license requiring that it be freely available for copying, modification
and improvements. 

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved. 

He he.


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