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Novell May be Banned from Distributing Linux 553

Posted by Zonk
from the when-penguins-get-to-meddling dept.
Hymer writes "Reuters is reporting that Novell may be banned from selling Linux. In the wake of the (much maligned) Novell/Microsoft deal, the Free Software Foundation is reviewing Novell's right to sell the operating system at all. The foundation controls the rights to key parts of the operating system, and council for the organization said that 'the community wants to interfere any way it can' with the Novell business arrangement. No decision has yet been reached, but one should be made in the next two weeks." Is this a measured response, or an over-reaction to the Novell/Microsoft arrangement?
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Novell May be Banned from Distributing Linux

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  • I'm confused (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rm999 (775449) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @07:21AM (#17871818)
    "The two companies agreed to jointly sell their products and also develop technologies to make it easier for businesses to use Linux alongside Windows software."

    Why is that so bad?
    • by gronofer (838299)
      It's OK up to "easier for businesses to use Linux", but goes bad after that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Why is it bad? Because Novell ins't selling it's own products - it's trying to sell someone else's products apparantly in violation (or at least a creative interpretation) of the license agreement under which it was given rights to sell the software. I, and probably most people who contributed to the software that Novell is trying to exploit by playing funny games with legalese interpretation, don't appreciate that.

      • Spreading FUD (Score:5, Informative)

        by lRem (914073) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @09:44AM (#17872690) Homepage
        Ahhh, another AC spreading FUD...
        The whole Reuters article is FUD. Novell has not crossed any license, nor anybody at FSF thinks they can ban Novell from anything. What they are thinking about, is including something in GPLv3 to forbid wording that may suggest OSS breaking patents in those public deals. They even already posted a clarification! [linux-watch.com]
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Wow, it's a very dangerous FUD article... Reuters is trying to make the FSF looks worse than it is (I am one of the people thinking the GPL-2 is far enough, and the license should stay as simple as possible, and I think the GPL-3 is really bad, and will hinder -and certainly, has already- the adoption of Linux, by new companies), and make other companies think their Linux business could be destroyed, if they did anything to "anger the Linux people"...

          There is a very clear manipulation of what has been reall
        • by Famatra (669740) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @12:39PM (#17873890) Journal
          "Ahhh, another AC spreading FUD..."

          I don't see any FUD anywhere, at least not the D[oubt]. The FSF foundation is: "reviewing Novell Inc.'s right to sell new versions of Linux operating system software".

          The FSF is doing a review of the matter to see if they can stop Novell (stop why? read below). Perhaps they can find a legal reason to stop Novell and perhaps they won't, but that the review is taking place isn't in [FU]Doubt.

          What also isn't in doubt is that people (esp. the FSF, enough to do a review) are not impressed with Novell making back room deals with Microsoft in an apparent effort to circumvent the GNU GPL in playing patent agreement games.

          The uncertainty is not really an issue, the FSF is making it clear that the will either restrict Novell now in using the FSF's software (if the review is successful), or they will be restricted (from using the latest FSF versions) later when the GNU GPLv3 comes out and the FSF moves all of its software over th the license which will prevent patent games.

          As for Fear, I'd be afraid too if I was Novell going down the path it's on. They can remove any fear if they choose to back out of their Microsoft deal - the choice is theirs. What isn't their choice is to make use others' works without, at the very least, deference to the license it's under.
          • FUD, indeed. (Score:3, Informative)

            by DrYak (748999)

            The FSF foundation is: "reviewing Novell Inc.'s right to sell new versions of Linux operating system software".

            The foundation is not.

            Go to http://fsf.org/ [fsf.org], read the current event / news / etc... The words "Novel" "Stop" and "SuSE Linux" never occur in the same sentence. There are the BadVista campaign, events around the GPLv3, rants about iPhone, TiVo and other non-open platforms, news about openness in EU. Nothing about SuSE or Novell.

            Jump to http://www.opensuse.org/ [opensuse.org]. There are news about SuSE Linux 10.2,

      • Re:I'm confused (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Hatta (162192) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @10:17AM (#17872902) Journal
        it's trying to sell someone else's products apparantly in violation (or at least a creative interpretation) of the license agreement under which it was given rights to sell the software

        How exactly? Selling GPL software is quite clearly [gnu.org] within the bounds of the license. If you have a problem with that you shouldn't have given your code away to begin with. And this response is pretty asinine. How is linux lock-out any better than microsoft lock-in?
        • by Anders Andersson (863) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @11:50AM (#17873538) Homepage

          Selling GPL software is quite clearly within the bounds of the license.

          You are misreading the parent. It's not selling the GPL software that is prohibited; it's selling (or giving away) the GPL software in violation of the license agreement that is prohibited. Nobody is concerned about Novell making money; people are instead concerned about Novell sort of acknowledging that Microsoft may have patent claims as to what they are selling (which is software not produced by Microsoft, but produced by programmers who dislike being branded as plagiarists).

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by anagama (611277)
            Wouldn't a copyright violation be plagarism? A patent violation could technically be 100% your own work, its just that the patent holder got a patent and others did not.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's not bad at all. If the FSF has this kind of control, then software under GPL isn't truly free as they like to claim. Free should mean free _for all_, not just free for the people who are deemed worthy.

      This is one of the reasons I have always like the BSD style licenses more. A stunt like this would be laughed at and shrugged off.
      • Re:I'm confused (Score:5, Insightful)

        by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsn&earthlink,net> on Saturday February 03, 2007 @01:59PM (#17874530)
        The GPL is not and never has been free in the same way that BSD is free.

        OTOH, the GPL is freer in a different way. With the GPL, derivative works are also GPL-free. With the BSD, there aren't significant limits on derivative works. They are frequently sold into slavery.

        Saying that the GPL isn't free is like saying that because a country doesn't allow you to sell your children into slavery it isn't free. That would mean that YOU would be more free, but your children would be less free. The GPL is a rule requiring that the children remain free.

        There is no absolute freedom. BSD is one compromise. GPL is another. I prefer the GPL.

        P.S.: Sorry about the emotional nature of the argument, but it's the closest analogy that I can think of.

        N.B.: I'm a bit of a dreamer. I freely acknowledge that current code is not sentient, and can't be properly considered to have any rights. But the GPL is, essentially, all about giving code ownership of itself. It hasn't gotten there yet, it's only a couple of steps along the way. The BSD was one step, and the GPL is a successor step. I think that the GPL3 is a third step, but I could be wrong. Where we ought to be headed, my guess, is towards sentient code that owns itself. We won't get there for awhile, but the pieces need to be crafted separately, and they need to be able to work together. That means a license that encourages code with compatible license. BSD code tends to flake off into proprietary branchings. This probably puts a limit on the complexity of the systems that can evolve. OTOH, something like BSD (or LGPL) is needed for things like interfaces. GPL3 is trying to be a "one size fits all", and this is probably a mistake. I suspect that GPL4 will branch into GPL4a and GPL4b (c? d?) with different specialized purposes...but mutually compatible.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fredrik70 (161208)
          >that the GPL isn't free is like saying that because a country doesn't allow you to sell your children into slavery it isn't free.
          This is a bit harsh really. What licence an author decides to use is up to him/her. If he/she is up for other party using the code for their benefit then so be it BSD otherwise GPL, it's about how yuo're happy with how people treat your code. to compare it with slavery etc. is bit over the top imho.
      • Re:I'm confused (Score:4, Insightful)

        by kimvette (919543) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @03:23PM (#17875234) Homepage Journal
        The BSD allows mega-corps to borrow code, embrace and extend that standard, and contribute NOTHING back to the community who spent thousands of man-hours developing the product to begin with. Windows' TCP/IP stack, anyone?

        If it were GPL then mega-corps can borrow code, embrace and extend it, and be required contribute the derived work back to the community. Apple's Safari and KHTML, for example (Thanks, Apple!).
    • Re:I'm confused (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 03, 2007 @07:51AM (#17871952)
      It's bad because the GPL says (section 7):
      If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.
      ... and that allthough Novell hasn't itself (officially) payed any patent license to Microsoft, they have implicitly acknowledged that the users of the software they sell need a promise from Microsoft not to sue. If there's any reason to do that, then the Novell customers have not gotten the right to re-distribute. Section 2.b og the GPL:
      You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License.
      .. and therefore Novell would properly fall under section 4 of the GPL (at least in spirit):
      Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License.
      • Your Confused (Score:3, Interesting)

        by budgenator (254554)
        Woah, slow that thing down, here's the problem, If Novel can't sell Linux, it's because patent impairments exist, not because they ADMIT the impairment exist. So if Novel can't distribute, then NOBODY can distribute. Brighter minds than mine would have to figure out all the implications of distribution in countries that don't observe software patent vs. those that do.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by juergen (313397)
          But other companies don't come with DIRTY HANDS to the table. They never acknowledged Microsoft's claims. Novell on the other hand, at least implicitly, does. That's what their deal with MS is all about. Novell can't have it both ways.

          Apart from legal nitpickings, imagine a reversed situation. We find a way to distribute Vista for free by a loophole in their EULA. Now do you really expect MS to not try to remedy this?

          Therefore, the OSS community has every right to protect the spirit of the GPL vigiously. If
      • It's bad because the GPL says (section 7):
        If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of th

    • Re:I'm confused (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mverwijs (815917) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @07:57AM (#17871980) Homepage
      It is not about the jointly selling of their products. It's about the way the products are developed.

      Microsoft and Novell have agreed not to sue each other over patent violations. Therefor, Novell can now (continue to?) develop software that violates Microsoft's "Intellectual Property".

      The catch is: Novell develops GPL software. It helps *existing* GPL'd projects, like Evolution, SAMBA, OpenOffice.org.

      Novell doesn't have to worry about patent violation anymore, so they can code whatever they want into those type of projects. The Community, however, does not have this luxury deal with Microsoft.

      SAMBA could get sued. Debian could get sued for distributing SAMBA. All kinds of nastiness that may never happen, but scares the hell out of people. Scares them enough to stay away from all those 'nasty hacker' distributions, and go for Litigation Free Novell Linux.

      *That* is why it is bad. That is why we should do everything and anything to stay away from Novell.

      Regards,

      mverwijs

      • Re:I'm confused (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MMC Monster (602931) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @08:27AM (#17872156)
        Fine. Novell can violate any microsoft IP with impunity.

        My question is: Can they release that code under the GPL, knowing that it cannot be freely distributed?
        • Re:I'm confused (Score:5, Interesting)

          by stinerman (812158) <nathan.stine @ g m a i l . c om> on Saturday February 03, 2007 @09:15AM (#17872462) Homepage
          I believe not. Section 7 of the GPL states:

          If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.

          Novell would seem to have a patent license for any of MSFTs patents. Unless Novell can guarantee anyone who uses their GPL'd code would have the same indemnification, they wouldn't be allowed to distribute the code. Of course, Novell can't guarantee this. In fact, the whole point of the deal with MSFT is so that they are the only ones with such a guarantee.

          To get academic, if Novell wrote the code from scratch, they could license the code under the GPL, but I'm not sure how that would work. The GPL can't diminish rights held by the owner of the copyright. One could argue that placing code under the GPL would be a blanket patent license, but that doesn't seem likely to hold up. You'd have to talk to a copyright and/or contract lawyer about that.
          • Re:I'm confused (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Alchemar (720449) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @10:32AM (#17872986)
            And then the word games come in.

            The agreement DOES endemnify anyone that Novell distributes to, but it will not endemnify anyone else. Novell is trying to claim that the people they distribute to get the protection so the GPL is followed to the letter. The people that recieved it can not comply with the GPL by providing endemnification and therefore cannot redistribute it. Thus defeating the entire purpose of the GPL.
            • Re:I'm confused (Score:4, Informative)

              by Skapare (16644) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @12:10PM (#17873634) Homepage

              The people that recieved it can not comply with the GPL by providing endemnification and therefore cannot redistribute it. Thus defeating the entire purpose of the GPL.

              As long as the entirety of what was distributed is created only by Novell, then this is so. However, if any part of what Novell distributes consists of GPL components from others, then this is a violation by Novell because Novell does not have the rights to limit or restrict distribution of anything containing such parts. The entirety of the GPL must apply in whole to the whole thing being distributed (e.g. a Linux kernel ... and other components like glibc) and that requires the distributor (Novell at that point) to grant all the rights of the GPL (which means anyone who gets it from Novell also has to have royalty-free patent rights, too).

              Basically, Novell is losing its right to distribute the components it does not create that are covered by GPL because it is attaching something that cannot be redistributed. It's similar to linking in some piece of code they write and saying "You can distribute the rest of Linux but not this little part we wrote". The GPL does not allow that.

              Novell could go write their own OS entirely themselves and distribute that under any terms they choose. But they can't distribute the pieces of Linux (as part of the whole) they did not develop unless they grant to the entire thing all the rights they have in it. If they add patent indemnification to it, they have to grant full free and infinite redistribution of those rights for the whole thing to be able to legally distribute that which contains the other parts (other parts being parts of Linux they did not distribute).

        • Re:I'm confused (Score:4, Interesting)

          by TeXMaster (593524) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @09:16AM (#17872464)

          Fine. Novell can violate any microsoft IP with impunity.

          My question is: Can they release that code under the GPL, knowing that it cannot be freely distributed?

          This is the crux of the issue: if Novell develops code to extend any existing GPL program to be more compatible with MS software, they have to distribute it under the GPL. By doing this, they are granting everybody else the right to read, modify, redistribute their contributed code. If said Novell-contributed code makes use of MS protected intellectual property which Novell has the newly-acquired right to use, by redistributing it under the GPL Novell will be granting everybody the right to use such protected intellectual property —a right they do not have.

          This actually means that Novell cannot legally distribute programs that they changed by adding MS protected intellectual property, if and when they will do such changes. The GPLv3 has nothing to do with it: Novell would be in breach of contract even for GPLv2 programs.

          Indeed if Novell does make MS-IP-protected changes to GPL programs and if they do distribute such modified programs (which they must do under the GPL, if they do it at all), it's up to Microsoft to go after them, because Novell would be granting other people rights (the right to use MS protected IP) they (Novell) don't have the right to grant. That's because the Novell-MS deal only protects Novell customers, but the Novell-released GPL products would also be accessible to non-Novell customers, so by distributing such modified programs Novell would be breaking its side of the deal with Microsoft, and not just their contract (licence) with the copyright owners of the GPL programs they would have modified. The FSF (or any other GPL-program-copyright-holder) cannot prevent Novell from distributing their programs currently, but they can sue Novell for breach of contract if and when Novell starts distributing versions of GPL-protected programs modified to include MS-IP-protected changes.

          IOW, Novell has wedged itself in a situation where they can't really exploit the potential benefits of their deal with Microsoft without getting sued by Microsoft, the FSF, or both.

          Finally, a question for the lawyers, if there are any here: if Novell does distribute such conflicting changes and if MS chooses not to sue Novell over this, can they (MS) go after anybody else? Don't they lose the rights they choose not to defend?

          • Re:I'm confused (Score:5, Informative)

            by drawfour (791912) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @10:32AM (#17872982)

            Finally, a question for the lawyers, if there are any here: if Novell does distribute such conflicting changes and if MS chooses not to sue Novell over this, can they (MS) go after anybody else? Don't they lose the rights they choose not to defend?
            IANAL, but I know the answer to this. Trademark is the only thing required by the law to be actively defended or you lose it. Selectively enforcing patents or copyright violations is perfectly legal.
          • Re:I'm confused (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Kjella (173770) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @11:12AM (#17873258) Homepage
            If said Novell-contributed code makes use of MS protected intellectual property which Novell has the newly-acquired right to use

            See now, here's the critical issue in the suckerpunch. If Novell had recieved a proper patent license, everything would be very clear cut. They haven't, they've recieved a "promise not to get sued" which smells, acts, talks and walks like a patent license, but in legal terms isn't. For example, say I'm the RIAA and I'm off to sue people. I can arbitrarily decide not to sue people whose names start with 'A' - that doesn't mean those people have any explicit license to the music. I can even choose not to sue people that have donated to the "Friends of RIAA" foundation, which makes it a protection racket but AFAIK not an illegal one. Selective enforcement of civil law by a private company is AFAIK not illegal.

            Indeed if Novell does make MS-IP-protected changes to GPL programs and if they do distribute such modified programs (which they must do under the GPL, if they do it at all), it's up to Microsoft to go after them, because Novell would be granting other people rights (the right to use MS protected IP) they (Novell) don't have the right to grant.

            This is in any case a wrong legal interpretation. Even if we assumed Novell had recieved a proper patent license, they don't have the right to sublicense it beyond their direct customers. Thus it is never granted and Microsoft can sue whoever they want with impunity. It is the FSF (or other GPL copyright holders) who'd have to sue Novell over violation of the GPL (if you can not comply with this license and your other legal obligations, you must refrain from distributing it completely).

            However, let's get back the facts where Novell has nothing but a "promise not to get sued" and not an actual patent license. Because they formally have no license to use the patents, they're in a position much like say the XviD codec. It's covered by plenty patents, they have no patent license but distribute their code under the GPL. Nobody seems to have a problem with that, because they're distributing all the rights that they have even though it's obviously not all the IP rights to the code. Anyone who claimed they had gotten patent licenses by downloading the XviD codec and pointing to the GPL would be laughed out of court when the MPEG4 LA sued them.

            Finally, a question for the lawyers, if there are any here: if Novell does distribute such conflicting changes and if MS chooses not to sue Novell over this, can they (MS) go after anybody else? Don't they lose the rights they choose not to defend?

            No, trademarks have to be defended but copyrights and patents don't.

            Anyway, here's the end game if it goes the way Microsoft and Novell wants:

            1. Novell contributes code covered by patents
            2. Customers get code
            3. Non-customers get code
            4. Microsoft sues non-customers
            5. Non-customers claims they have patent license through GPL
            6. Courts: "Nope, it hasn't been sublicensed to you"
            7. FSF sues Novell over not distributing all their rights
            8. Courts: "Nope, they're distributing all their formal licenses"
            9. FSF sues Novell over being bound by patent lawsuits
            10. Courts: "Nope. that only applies to the sued parties"
            11. Non-customers buy Novell products
            12. Microsoft and Novell: Profit
            • Re:I'm confused (Score:4, Insightful)

              by marcello_dl (667940) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @12:11PM (#17873640) Homepage Journal
              The strange kind of agreement between Novell and MS seems to point to a scenario like you describe. That makes Novell either:
              A company trying to hijack Linux by providing kind of a "safest" distro for enterprises
              A SCO-like proxy to hurt free software

              Therefore, Novell must end the SCO way.
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by mooingyak (720677)
                Therefore, Novell must end the SCO way.

                SCO looks like they may pretty much end when their assets are frozen due to a preliminary injunction filed by... Novell. It's all so confusing.
            • Re:I'm confused (Score:4, Interesting)

              by jbolden (176878) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @12:41PM (#17873916) Homepage
              6. Courts: "Nope, it hasn't been sublicensed to you"

              But in doing that the courts would be affirmatively establishing a contract violation. That is the Novell claimed to be distributing all patent rights they had when the distributed the software under the GPL. The non customer could then argue that they acted in good faith. I think the non customer has a pretty strong claim that any monies owed microsoft are owed by Novell.

              Further you might get

              6a. licensing code containing your patented material to be distributed in a GPL product constitutes a waver of patent and thus there is no more enforceable patent with respect to this code. A very reasonable outcome btw.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by quanticle (843097)

                But in doing that the courts would be affirmatively establishing a contract violation. That is the Novell claimed to be distributing all patent rights they had when the distributed the software under the GPL.

                Not necessarily. If you read what the grandparent said about the XVid codecs, you'd see that the Novell agreement is similar. Novell can acknowledge that they don't have the full rights, but as long as they're distributing the rights the do have, they can stay in compliance regarding the GPL.

                As fo

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by GoofyBoy (44399)
        Isn't this covered before?

        1. If patented code is in there, its being placed there knowingly/mistakenly by Novell, the project can deny it knew it was patented and further, can take steps to remove the offending code.
        2. Is this any different from an employee (ex or current) adding patented code into a GPL project? There is no ban/special treatment of employees of companies with software patents.
        3. Code still has to be accepted into a project. Why not let the individual project leaders decide if they trust
      • WRONG! (Score:2, Informative)

        by JPriest (547211)
        "Therefor, Novell can now (continue to?) develop software that violates Microsoft's "Intellectual Property".

        You mean, therefor Novell CUSTOMERS can now develop software that violates Microsoft's "Intellectual Property.
        Quite Honestly it makes little difference what these customers develop in the first place because their are not redistributing this software.
        Now when a customer using Windows and Linux needs to copy a feature used by MS to get proprietary application X to run on Linux they have an agreem

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mysticgoat (582871)

          Quite Honestly it makes little difference what these customers [of Novell] develop in the first place because their are not redistributing this software.

          You are making a major assumption that no customer of Novell's would ever develop and distribute a derivative of Suse-- and that is absurd.

          One of our projects in early incubation is developing a distro on a flash drive or low cost portable computer that would provide adult students in back-to-work programs with an affordable interactive curriculum. If we can get this funded and developed, we will want to distribute it under GLOSS [see below] licensing both directly to students and to similar back-to-wo

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by JPriest (547211)
            You are making a major assumption that no customer of Novell's would ever develop and distribute a derivative of Suse-- and that is absurd.

            No I am not. Any software you plan to distribute will be handled the same as it always has. You can rebrand and distribute Suse if you see fit. If you contributed code you are welcome to release it under GPL as well so long as it does not infringe on someone elses legal rights. The only thing that changes is that you CAN develop and use portions of MS code in house.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      As part of the deal, Novell stopped funding an open source program to compete with Microsoft's Outlook [pcworld.com]. So, the public face of this agreement compared to the actual back-room details leave much to be desired.

      Put a little differently, would you be upset if your friend was helping you and the neighborhood bully showed up and paid your friend not to help you anymore? You might be upset at your friend if he accepted the neighborhood bully's money and stopped helping you.
    • Re:I'm confused (Score:5, Insightful)

      by squiggleslash (241428) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @08:08AM (#17872030) Homepage Journal

      I can't believe the majority of the responses act as if that is what the FSF is objecting to. The FSF (together with most of the developers in the GNU/Linux community) is objecting to a part where Microsoft provides Novell customers with a patent indemnity, which does not apply to non Novell customers.

      In other news: Tensions rise with Iran, which is a country that has 28 television stations.

      Geez. Why the hell would you be concerned that Iran has 28 TV stations? What a stupid thing to threaten war over!

    • Re:I'm confused (Score:5, Insightful)

      by elronxenu (117773) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @08:36AM (#17872214) Homepage

      It's bad because Novell is paying Microsoft for the use of Microsoft patents in Linux. Linux is free software. When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. The fact that Novell has effectively admitted that Microsoft holds some Intellectual Property leverage over Linux, implies that Linux is non-free. And that's not acceptable to the community. Worse, it implies that Linux is non-free and beholden to Microsoft, a convicted monopolist, the owner of Linux's principal competitor, a company with no love for Linux and one which is well known for shafting its partners and enemies alike.

      It appears likely that the patent covenant which Novell signed violates the GPL - either Version 2, or certainly Version 3. If so, Novell loses its right to distribute affected code under the GPL. No other license permits it to do that, so Novell must cease distributing.

      Also, the possibility that Novell has insider access to Microsoft Intellectual Property creates a risk that Novell's contributions to Linux will leak some of that Intellectual Property into Linux. Thus, the scenario described in the first paragraph, while Linux may not presently be tainted by Microsoft's IP, in future it may become so. I think it is purely common sense for the community to reject patches supplied by Novell.

      So, people don't hate Novell, but by their actions they are putting Linux at risk, in order to line their own pockets (presumably funded by patents which Novell owns and which may be used in Windows). Novell aren't playing fair with the community.

    • Re:I'm confused (Score:4, Insightful)

      by EjectButton (618561) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @08:56AM (#17872334)

      "The two companies agreed to jointly sell their products and also develop technologies to make it easier for businesses to use Linux alongside Windows software." Why is that so bad?

      What is bad is that it's a complete lie, it's the most plausible, positive-sounding story they could come up with to explain away what they are doing. Microsoft has described Linux and the open source movement using terms such as "a cancer", "communist", "viral", and more recently referred to open source developers as "pawns" engaged in a "one-night stand". Also immediately after the Novell-Microsoft deal was announced Balmer said publicly that he believed any non-Novell distribution was now a legitimate target for Microsoft legal attacks. They are doing everything they can to smear, stall, and frustrate open source developers while simultaneously trying to sell the "we cooperate and inter operate with everyone to make your life easier" image to the corporate types with these sort of cover stories.

      What Microsoft is trying to get out of the deal is to turn Suse into the one-and-only Linux distro that is blessed by Microsoft as being "safe" from patent concerns via indemnification. Then when the indemnification period runs out Microsoft can choose to charge Novell an exorbitant amount of money for renewal, or simply pull the plug altogether. This would also have the bonus effect of making lawsuits against other Linux distros more plausible in the minds of corporate customers because the fact that one distro is seeking indemnification makes the notion that others are at risk without a similar deal seem logical. Allowing Microsoft to create yet more FUD around Linux without putting itself as much immediate risk. I personally doubt Microsoft will actually sue any distro directly because of the potential nuclear patent war that could be triggered if, for example any of the Open Invention Network members felt compelled to get involved (specifically IBM).

      What Novell gets out of the deal is a big pile of quick money and potentially greater market share as a side effect of the afore mentioned FUD around competing distros. Unfortunately for Novell these are both short-term benefits that come with the cost of making them beholden to Microsoft, and alienating them from many in the developer community (see samba).

      How Novell thought they could get away with this is beyond me, If I had to guess I would say either the upper management sees other Redhat taking the server support market, and Ubuntu taking the desktop Market, leaving Suse out in the cold so they decided to cash out, not caring what happens in the long term. Or their lawyers came up with their now famous gpl2 end run, thinking themselves clever for coming up with a deal that Microsoft was happy with and didn't violate the letter of the gpl, but having little understanding of what the repercussions would be from the developer community and the fsf. After reading some comments from Novell employees I suspect the latter.

      In either case Novell made the decision to cut this deal, they acted with great disregard to the effect it would have on the community whose work sustains them. They have attempted to sneak through a legal loophole and if it closes around them it will be their comeuppance.

  • by babbling (952366) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @07:29AM (#17871854)
    If the FSF has the power to do this, I wouldn't necessarily oppose them doing it, but do they have the power to do this with GPLv2? I'm aware that GPLv3 wouldn't allow Novell to enter into a patent swap deal with Microsoft.

    Considering that the software is still all under the GPLv2 and not GPLv3, on what grounds could the FSF revoke Novell's right to distribute copyrighted FSF software?
    • by morleron (574428) * <morleron@ y a h o o.com> on Saturday February 03, 2007 @07:53AM (#17871962) Journal
      Bear in mind that IANAL, but I suspect that the FSF could make life very difficult for Novell if they change the license for all of the many utilities and applications that they control from GPLv2 to GPLv3. Novell would have a lot of work to do if they were suddenly put in a position in which they could no longer distribute the gcc package, GIMP, GNOME, etc. with SuSE or any other Novell-branded Linux distro. There are a lot of small pieces of the overall that use FSF-developed code and are essential to running a Linux system. We could find out how much truth there is to RMS' statement that the overall system should be called GNU/Linux if the FSF goes ahead with this move.

      Personally, I would support the FSF if they decide to do this. The Novell/ MS deal is nothing, but a way to provide Novell with a marketing tool, the ability to say "use our Linux distro and be safe from MS patent claims", at the expense of the overall community. Novell is essentially saying that it's OK for MS to sue everyone, except Novell customers, for so-called IP infringements. It is a move by Novell to establish themselves as the Linux monopoly by making their product "safe" from MS lawyers. Novell is hoping that the business community will make wholesale migrations to their products in order to avoid the threat of MS litigation and is a, somewhat silent, partner in MS' efforts to spread FUD about the "use of MS proprietary technology in Linux". Make no mistake about it Novell is evil: to my mind it is more evil than MS in that it portrays itself as a friend of the Linux/FOSS community, while doing whatever it can to undermine the philosphical and legal basis for that community. MS at least makes no claim that Linux is OK - they just flat-out hate us and do everything that they can to prevent the spread of freedom within the community of computer users.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by NotZed (19455)
      If you read the article closely, they are talking about GPL3. The article is poorly written.

      i.e. they're saying that they'll change the license of code they own to be GPL3 once it has been finalised, and they may revoke Novell's right to distribute said code, since they will be in breach of this new license. That is why it will only affect 'future versions of linux'. By which the author probably actually meant 'GNU', not the Linux kernel - e.g. gcc for instance.

      Which would force Novell to fork and contin
    • by MooUK (905450) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @08:34AM (#17872192)
      As said in an earlier post, Novell's continuing distribution of GPLd software may be against the GPLv2. They have patent indemnification licenses with MS. This suggests they believe that without those licenses they would be violating patents. Distributing GPL software that your customers cannot then distribute in turn without violating patents is expressly forbidden by the GPL, and if you violate one section of the GPL you have no right to distribute GPLd software at all. Hence they are violating the GPL and the copyright on the GPLd code.
    • by gtoomey (528943)
      All the copyright to the kernel is assigned. If the kernel goes GPLv3 then this applies.
  • For the best (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phat_goat (836325) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @07:32AM (#17871864)
    I don't think that I ever really trusted this agreement, something about Microsoft wanting to "help" Linux, or free software for that matter, never really digested with me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by heroofhyr (777687)
      To me it always stank of some sort of submarine plan to get rid of Novell using their own greed as a blindfold. Sure, you can compete directly against them, attack them in marketing, etc., but that just raises their street cred in the eyes of others in the Linux community. Flashing millions of dollars in front of the CEOs eyes until they are incapable of making any decisions with foresight is a much easier way. The company loses its respect in the community, become isolated by their cooperation with "the en
  • Poor Article (Score:5, Informative)

    by kripkenstein (913150) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @07:33AM (#17871870) Homepage
    The article is poorly written. For example, the GPL3 is referred to ("If the foundation decides to take action, the ban would apply to new versions of Linux covered under a licensing agreement due to take effect in March."), but the writer doesn't explain that 'Linux' won't be under this license - only parts of it.

    However, the point is somewhat (perhaps) valid - if most of SUSE goes GPL3, and if the GPL3 is indeed in conflict with the Novell-Microsoft agreement, then there may be an issue (both qualifications seem likely, at present, but time will tell). The issue may be easily solvable, however, depending on the details of the Novell-Microsoft deal - which we do not know (Eben Moglen, however, supposedly does, or so we have been told).
    • Thanks for explaining it.

      In any case, I switched from SUSE to Linux Mint [linuxmint.com] a while ago... it's the only other distro I've found that supports my wireless card with WPA-PSK "out of the box". Being able to play DVDs and videos without finding and manually installing the packages is a bonus.

    • Re:Poor Article (Score:4, Informative)

      by xtracto (837672) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @07:48AM (#17871932) Journal
      , but the writer doesn't explain that 'Linux' won't be under this license - only parts of it.
      Well, from what I know, it would be really difficult to migrate the Linux Kernel from GPL2 to GPL3, even /if/ Linus liked to do so as each contribution is copyright of the contributor.

      But from this:
      The foundation controls intellectual property rights to key parts of the open-source Linux operating system.

      I assume they are talking about the GNU toolchain (remember kids, its GNU/Linux, not just Linux). I guess the FSF *will* use the GPL 3 for the new GNU tools version, if they prevent Novell from *distributing* the GNU tools, then I guess things will get difficult for Novell.

      • Re:Poor Article (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kripkenstein (913150) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @08:10AM (#17872042) Homepage
        Well, from what I know, it would be really difficult to migrate the Linux Kernel from GPL2 to GPL3, even /if/ Linus liked to do so as each contribution is copyright of the contributor.

        Difficult yes, impossible - no. And Linus may get additional motivation soon. If OpenSolaris goes GPL3, then it can use any "GPL2 or above" code from the Linux kernel (which I have heard is the majority). The Linux kernel, on the other hand, won't be able to use anything from OpenSolaris. This 'one-way-street' of code certainly isn't in Linux's interest.
        • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
          The Linux kernel doesn't have the 'or above' clause (neither do a lot of opensource projects, incidentally).

          So OpenSolaris can't use any of it.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by kripkenstein (913150)
            I may be wrong, but all I have read points in the other direction. Basically, various people contributed to the Linux kernel, and they wrote their own licensing texts. Some said "2 only", some "2", and some "2 or above". See Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] for the following quote:

            "[...]the terms of the GPL state that if no version is specified, then any version may be used, and Alan Cox pointed out that very few other Linux contributors [other than Linus] have specified a particular version of the GPL."

            So OpenSolaris would
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Tony Hoyle (11698)
              In the absence of any specific statement from those authors they implicitly accepted the license in effect at the time - the one on the whole package which is v2 only. Saying anything different without having a *good* lawyer on retainer is not wise.

              They can't legally change that without contacting every contributing author and getting permission to change to v3... and I can bet that more than a few would refuse (not least Linus). I'm sure my meagre contributions don't exist any more (long time ago) but I
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by kripkenstein (913150)
                Well, I guess the lawyers will need to figure out the licensing issues, I certainly am not one. So I am not claiming to be sure of any of the legal issues; I just know what I read. Time will tell, I guess.

                Changing the entire kernel to GPL3 would be very hard, as you say, while getting various parts of it would be much easier. Now, obviously you are right that 'bits and pieces' of the kernel are not functional by themselves. Yet OpenSolaris would want precisely just 'bits and pieces'; they already have a
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Rich0 (548339)
          If OpenSolaris goes GPLv3 I think we'll see a huge adoption - as you said much of the FOSS code out there could be ported over, and linux could not pull solaris code back in. I've heard a lot of good things about dtrace/etc, and I'd expect that with the commercial support that solaris would have much more user-friendly administrative features. I'm not sure how ZFS compares to LVM2, but it looks like it delivers all of that and possibly more.

          Competition is good for everyone!
      • by gtoomey (528943)
        You do NOT have multiple copyright owners for the kernel.

        ALL the copyright of the kernel is assigned to one entity (not sure if its Linus, but there is only one owner of the source).

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Deorus (811828)
          That is not true for a simple reason: a contributor doesn't have to agree with anything besides the compatibility of their code with the GPLv2 in order to submit code. Therefore, without an agreenment, there's no reassignment of rights, and the effective license at the end of the day is the kernel's (since that's the licence with which the mainstream-blessed code is distributed): GPLv2.

          Don't take my word for it, let me dispell your beliefs with this thread [lkml.org] on the LKML, or if you're not feeling like reading
  • "...council for the organization said that 'the community wants to interfere any way it can' with the Novell business arrangement."

    Statements like that make lawyers see dollar signs. Nice move, idiots.

  • This is retarded (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dnaumov (453672)
    If the FSF can actually do this and if they go through with it, this is going to be very BAD for busines adoption Linux (and therefor, Linux development). And what's worse is not that FSF doesn't know this, they do, it's just that they don't care about anything but their distorted definition of "freedom". As Stallman once said: "We are not here to give users what they want, we are here to spread freedom".
    • Why? Because it's just the thing PHBs need to justify fears about it. One of the points that people like to sell Linux on is that because of it's license you can't be screwed over like you potentially could with a commercial OS. They can't just take it away from you. Well, regardless of the actual details, any ban against Novell would be interpreted as precisely that. The Evil Linux Overloards(tm) screwing over a company.

      A big part of selling Linux's freedom is letting people do things that you may not like
      • by Rich0 (548339)
        If you start saying "You are free to do whatever you want with Linux so long as you support our ideals, but if you play nice with MS or other companies we don't like we'll take it away form you," well hell, you end up looking more restrictive than MS.

        Uh, the GPL pretty much states that plain and clear. The intent of the GPL is for users to be able to:

        1. Redistribute their software freely.
        2. Obtain the source to their software.

        If you distribute GPL software and you want to interfere with either of these g
    • by tdvaughan (582870)
      RMS's definition of freedom has repeatedly been shown to be thoroughly pragmatic (see Bitkeeper fiasco) as well as idealistic. In this case, I suspect, the pragmatism will be along the lines of "supporting MS's FUD about their IP being in Linux is a bad idea". Business adoption of Linux will proceed with or without Novell and their attempt to abuse the GPL.
      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
        No it won't.

        Kill SuSE and you've killed the most popular business oriented linux distribution in Europe.

        You think that businesses will go back to Linux after that fiasco? Nope. Hell, I'd think twice myself! I can't afford to fight legal battles. It used to be that you comply with the license then you're OK. Now if you comply with the license and the FSF take a dislike to your distribution - or worse, you - you're stuffed.

        So you get either one of two outcomes:

        1. Migration to BSD (OpenSolaris is GPL so n
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Teun (17872)

          Kill SuSE and you've killed the most popular business oriented linux distribution in Europe.

          You think that businesses will go back to Linux after that fiasco? Nope. Hell, I'd think twice myself! I can't afford to fight legal battles.

          But in Europe the mysterious MS software licence claims that Novell wants to protect it's customers from are null and void, Suse like any other distribution is not affected.

          (I'm not talking here about IP claims).

  • by haakondahl (893488) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @07:44AM (#17871922)
    If it were good for Linux, Novell would have paid Microsoft instead of the other way around.

    This will be another example of Microsoft's very successful "take and break" strategy. Once SuSE is up to speed and working well with Windows abominations such as Active Directory, other distributions will be the ones which are somehow not compatible with the "SuSE Linux Standard". Once Microsoft has killed off the other major distributions, they will quietly break compatibility even with SuSE, in a flood of tiny little things that just have to be that way, because of the structure of the WIndows kernel (or some damned thing).

    The only reason we are not all using Java desktops with a common intermediate layer is the Microsoft "take and break" implementation of the JVM.

  • Disproportionate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OpenSourced (323149) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @07:49AM (#17871940) Journal
    If they haven't banned SCO from selling Linux, I don't know how they can consider banning Novell.

  • by ndykman (659315) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @07:55AM (#17871976)
    If the FSF actually tried to do this, it'd be great for Microsoft. It would basically allow Microsoft to say that Linux can't be taken seriously by any business, because the FSF will basically revoke your "right to use" Linux if they don't like how you do business (do you have software patents? No Linux for you).

    It wouldn't matter if it was technically correct or not, the perception would be enough. And frankly, the fact if the FSF is really even considering this casts a bit of a shadow on Linux and Enterprise Support in general: Is it FSF sanctioned businesses only?

    Besides, why just Novell? IBM has patent agreements with Microsoft. IBM sells Windows Servers. This seems like nothing more that "We don't like the MS/Novell deal, so let's punish them!"
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DarkOx (621550)
      That's right IBM has patent deals with Microsoft. Novell made a deal on behalf of other parties their customers supposedly. The did this without consultation of those customers. Which is even if legally possible is still from a view of actual justice highly questionable, especially when it puts other parties of unknow relationship to the Novell customers in grave danger.

      Suppose I am and ISV that produces SuperWonderfulMagicPony for Linux. I run SUSE in house for my operational systems. The deal is grea
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MooUK (905450)
      It was said quite nicely in an earlier post in this thread, but I'll try to summarise here:

      Novell seems to believe that only its patent agreement with MS protects its customers. *If* this is the case, then Novell's customers cannot exercise their rights to redistribute or modify software under the GPL without violating patents. The GPL (yes, even V2) forbids Novell from distributing GPLd software if this is the case.

      The FSF is (probably) working out whether this applies in this case.
  • Novel is still free to distribute gplV2 software; the article states that they haven't decided what to do and the ban would only apply to V3 licensed versions:

    "f the foundation decides to take action, the ban would apply to new versions of Linux covered under a licensing agreement due to take effect in March."

    Which means Novell would be free to fork v2 and keep anything they do under v2 as well as prevent it from being incorporated in any v3 licensed version; since they could limit it to v2 and earlier lice
    • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
      If Novel fork v2 it'll cause a massive split. Novell are big enough and have enough developers to make it stick.. so you'll end up with 2xgcc, 2xsed, 2xgrep, etc. etc.

      It's inevitable that forks will happen - a lot of people don't like the way gplv3 is headed - but a major player doing it is a big issue.

  • While the deal between Microsoft and Novell isn't good, Novell has plenty of patents and Unix rights which could make the life of the Linux community rather hard.

    They could become another SCO.
  • by bmo (77928) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @08:24AM (#17872140)
    First off, unless GPL 3 gets off the ground that specifically bans the actions that Novell and Microsoft have done, nobody can "ban" Novell from distributing Linux, as they have not violated the GPL as it stands (I think, see below).

    Secondly, John Dragoon doesn't get it. He honestly thought that this was a Good Idea and we parted ways agreeing to disagree. He's a PHB sales-type. He's not "one of us."

    I have ranted here and vehemently castigated Novell (see sig) for the stupid move, but I'm not sure that they should be "kicked out of linux" yet. They should be given the chance to redeem themselves or at least clear the air on what they really signed. But I have yet to hear anyone from Novell explain exactly what was in that contract. I've waited and waited for a clear explanation, and it has not been forthcoming from what I can see. So all I've had to base my opinion on is a smattering of articles and analysis on Groklaw of generalities taken from press releases. For all I can tell, it's a lot of hot air.

    I am more of the opinion that we don't need a "Novell Clause." Instead I think that Linux market forces will relegate Novell's brands of Linux to the dustbin if they don't get their act together and get right with the community.

    --
    BMO

    "I have never come upon a post which makes its point so excellently, and also contains so many F-words." - Bruce Perens
  • They should extend the ban. Novell isn't the only company that has dealings with Microsoft, lots of companies do. To complicate the matter further, there are also lots of individuals who have dealings with Microsoft or support Microsoft by buying their products.

    Every company and every person should be banned from using Linux.
  • Novell recently stroke a deal with , so I think this is total and utter FUD, spelled out by some Microsoft funded journalist, who also is in Reuters (which wouldn't surprise me at all).

    So, Microsoft sees that Novell gets it's deal (20 000 workstations and 5000 servers, come on, if it is not serious, then what is), goes in panic mode and starts to create FUD. FSF could be overreacting on all stuff what happens around Novell and Microsoft deal, but there is no WAY they could stop Novell to distribute GPL code
  • Article is FUD. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Aim Here (765712) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @08:37AM (#17872226)
    An eweek article [eweek.com] clarifies the situation. Eben Moglen was quoted out of context; he was talking about writing GPLv3

    "According to a recent Reuters report, the FSF's (Free Software Foundation) board was going to be looking into Novell Inc.'s rights to continue selling its version of the Linux operating system. That's not actually what's will be happening.

    Eben Moglen, the Software Freedom Law Center executive director and FSF board member, explained: "This is a story being hyped by the Reuters guy who wrote it."

    The Reuters quote was: "The community of people wants to do anything they can to interfere with this deal and all deals like it. They have every reason to be deeply concerned that this is the beginning of a significant patent aggression by Microsoft."

    "What he actually asked me," said Moglen in an e-mail interview, "was 'Is it true that some members of the community want GPLv3 to keep Novell from distributing future versions of GPL'd software?' I said, 'Yes, the Free Software Foundation is opposed to the deal, and is thinking about what to do; there will be a new draft soon [of the GPLv3 (Gnu General Public License Version 3).]"

    See Special Report: Novell's Linux Facelift

    Therefore, "The actual quote he prints is entirely accurate, but his lede destroys the context and is making unnecessary waves."

    The FSF, which governs the GPL (GNU General Public License), has long been concerned about Novell recent patent deal with Microsoft Corp. The Samba Group has stated that it wants Novell to abandon the deal. Open-source figure Bruce Perens started a petition that accused Novell of betraying the free software community. And, one group of free software supporters launched a Web site with a self-explanatory name, Boycott Novell. "
  • by QuickFox (311231) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @08:49AM (#17872294)
    The FSF is shooting itself in the foot big time. They're handing Microsoft a huge victory on a platter.

    Consider how this ban will affect those customers of Novell who use Linux. And consider the kind of reputation that this will give the open-source community.

    One reason companies pay for expensive proprietary software is that the companies that write proprietary software are considered reliable. They won't suddenly throw a tantrum and refuse to deliver.

    If the open-source community is seen as throwing a tantrum and refusing to deliver, then good-bye credibility. Companies just won't dare use open-source software.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by muellerr1 (868578)
      One reason companies pay for expensive proprietary software is that the companies that write proprietary software are considered reliable. They won't suddenly throw a tantrum and refuse to deliver.

      Just because a company charges for their software doesn't prevent them from adding terms to their EULA that allow them to do just this. I recently had a large well-respected graphics software company (I won't name names, but it starts with 'a' and ends with 'dobe') functionally revoke my licenses because I had
  • So much for "open" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by argStyopa (232550) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @10:00AM (#17872782) Journal
    So if I understand, the "open" part of open source means "free to anyone...except you. Because, well, we don't like that jerk you hang around with."

    (?)
  • by reallocate (142797) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @10:39AM (#17873032)
    Credible or not, stories like this represent one big reason why many organizations don't want to invest in Linux or a lot of other open source products. Who wants to risk going with a vendor who's at risk of being tied up by a bunch of lawyers they've never heard of?

    Nor does the fact that when open source hits the non-techie media, the story is usually about geeks and lawyers fighting about byzantine licensing issues that only they care about. If open source delivers better technology, why isn't open source making sure people read about it? (To that, I'm sure, some will blame the Great Evil Mainstream Media Conspiracy. Nonsense, Play the media game as others play it, and the coverage wil be there. If you think that means abandoning your principles, sorry. Convincing all the other players to change the rules is the wrong way to win the game.)
  • by pyite69 (463042) on Saturday February 03, 2007 @03:48PM (#17875494)
    I am as anti-Microsoft as anyone, but this seems like a ridiculous concept.

    The whole point of Free Software is freedom - enforced by the GPL. Why would Novell not be able to distribute Linux software? Perhaps there may be trademark issues, but restricting someone from doing what they want with GPL software would make Stallman quite the hypocrite.

No hardware designer should be allowed to produce any piece of hardware until three software guys have signed off for it. -- Andy Tanenbaum

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