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Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- Reuters: "Novell won't be punished for Mic

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- Reuters: "Novell won't be punished for Microsoft deal - source"
Date: Thu, 31 May 2007 14:12:29 +0200

Novell won't be punished for Microsoft deal - source

May 31, 2007

By Jim Finkle

BOSTON (Reuters) - A foundation that owns rights to much of the code
behind Linux software has decided not to carry out threats to punish
Novell Inc. over a deal with Microsoft Corp, a person familiar with the
matter said.

The nonprofit Free Software Foundation had threatened to take punitive
action against Novell for entering into a patent agreement with
Microsoft, whose Windows operating system is a rival to Linux and is
seen as a foe by the open source community.

Some saw the deal as endorsing Microsoft's claims that it holds patents
to intellectual property behind some open source software.

The foundation was reviewing whether to block Novell from getting access
to the foundation-controlled components of Linux that will be
distributed under the terms of a new licensing agreement that is being

One of the pioneering forces behind the open source software movement,
the foundation has decided not to include any language in the final
draft of the agreement that will punish Novell, according to the person
familiar with the foundation's deliberations.

"This is good news for Novell," said Katherine Egbert, an analyst with
Jefferies & Co."

The foundation controls rights to a group of programs known as the GNU
operating system, an important part of Linux.

The group does not control the software's namesake, the Linux kernel,
which is owned by another nonprofit, the Linux Foundation.

Free Software Foundation Executive Director Peter Brown would not
discuss the foundation's decision, but confirmed that it had finalized
its proceedings.

Novell and its main rival Red Hat Inc. sell standardized versions of
Linux with custom features, maintenance plans and technical support.

The two companies also sell other types of open source software,
including OpenOffice, which competes with Microsoft Word; Excel and
PowerPoint programs; and XenSource, a rival to EMC Corp.'s VMware
software that boosts the efficiency of server computers.

Sales of Novell's SUSE Linux products accounted for 5 percent of the
$967 million in revenue that the company reported last year. The deal
with Microsoft has turned into a far bigger cash generator, bringing in
two upfront payments totaling $348 million.

The two companies agreed to sell their products jointly, develop
technologies that make it easier for businesses to use Linux alongside
Windows software, and not sue each other's customers for any patent
violations when using their software.

Some members of the open source community said that deal would undermine
the patent security of Linux software and give Microsoft an edge in
persuading businesses to use Microsoft products over Linux and other
types of open source software.

The foundation is scheduled to disclose its decision on the Novell
matter by June 4 on its Web site,, when it will post the
final draft of the new license, which is known as the General Public
License version 3, or GPLv3.

Novell Chief Financial Officer Dana Russell declined comment on the


"I can change the rules."

   Herr Prof Eben

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