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Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- "FSF to tweak GPLv3 to bust up MS Novell d

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- "FSF to tweak GPLv3 to bust up MS Novell deal"
Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2007 09:29:02 +0200

FSF to tweak GPLv3 to bust up MS Novell deal 

7:32AM, Tuesday 27th March 2007

The Free Software Foundation, non-profit group that owns rights to much
of the Linux operating system, says it will seek to undermine a
controversial deal between Microsoft and Novell through a new software
licensing agreement to be unveiled on Wednesday.

The two companies announced a business partnership in November that
included a cross-patent protection agreement that some critics say
implies Microsoft has legal rights to Linux, the cooperatively developed
software that is gaining ground with corporate users.

'We need to make sure such deals don't make a mockery of the goals of
free software,' Peter Brown, executive director of the Free Software
Foundation, said in an interview with Reuters late on Monday.

Free software, which is also known as open-source software, refers to
computer programs that are available to the general public to be used,
revised and shared. Products from companies like Microsoft are
considered proprietary and their code generally cannot be revised and

While open-source software is free, it also has become big business. An
industry of consultants and other services supports it, and corporations
contribute heavily to open-source development.

Linux runs on more than 20 per cent of global server computers, compared
with well over 60 percent of such powerful machines running Windows,
according to recent Gartner data.

Microsoft and Novell say their deal lets powerful server computers
running Windows and Linux systems communicate better. They announced the
deal in November as part of a broad sales, marketing and development
partnership that brought Novell $348 million in upfront payments.

Members of the free software community attacked the patent deal,
particularly an agreement by Microsoft not to sue Novell's Linux

They say its existence implies that Microsoft holds patents it could one
day claim are being infringed upon by Linux users.

The Free Software Foundation will seek to undermine the Microsoft-Novell
patent deal by incorporating language that will accomplish that goal
into the new license agreement that will cover rights to much of the
code in Linux, Brown said.

Brown declined to discuss details of the changes in advance of
publication of a draft of the agreement on Wednesday, though he said the
foundation was committed to preventing Microsoft from claiming rights to

'They found a way to effectively proprietize free software by offering
patent promises to Novell,' Brown said. 'Whenever a new method comes
along to effectively turn free software into proprietary software, we
will adjust the license.'

The foundation will seek public comments on the draft for 60 days before
finalizing the new license agreement, which will go into effect from
June 26. It will only apply to upgrades to Linux operating system code
controlled by the foundation that are made from that date, Brown said.

Novell will be able to continue to distribute its current Linux products
without violating the new license. But financial analysts have said that
it will need to upgrade that software to remain competitive with rivals
such as Red Hat.

Novell spokesman Bruce Lowry declined to comment on the foundation's
plan, saying he hadn't seen its draft. Microsoft also declined to
comment before seeing the draft.

Linux is distributed under the terms of a license that was written in
1991, the General Public License version 2, or GPLv2. The new license
will be known as GPLv3.

Linus Torvalds, who heads up development on the Linux kernel, has
already cast doubt as to whether he would move his software to version
three of the licence, rendering the efforts of the FSF redundant.

Novell and Red Hat make money selling Linux bundled with service
contracts that include technical support along with regular maintenance
and upgrades to their software.

And while both seek ensure their products work well with those of
Microsoft, Red Hat has always maintained that it is able to do so
through its membership of the Microsoft led Vendor Interoperability
Alliance, without having to make special arrangements with Microsoft.

Reuters and Matt Whipp


                                         PROGRAM  MANAGMENT

    COMPENSATION:                        116,875.     38,959."

                          -- SOFTWARE FREEDOM LAW CENTER, INC.

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