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Novell Software Linux

Novell Worries About GPL v3 157

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the deliver-the-code-and-nobody-cares dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In its annual report for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2006, Novell expressed concerns over how the new version of the GPL may affect their business. Microsoft might stop distributing Suse coupons if the GPL version 3 interferes with their agreement or puts Microsoft's patents at risk, ultimately causing Novell's business and operating results to be adversely affected."
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Novell Worries About GPL v3

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  • by beheaderaswp (549877) * on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:21AM (#19321195)
    Par for the course.

    As a dying and irrelevant company, Novell aquires a linux distribution to save themselves, and summarily get in bed with Microsoft, who essentially would prefer to either cage or completely destroy FOSS. Within this "tasty little eggroll" is the fact that Novell seems to forget that FOSS isn't just software but a social movement.

    It is a software movement pushed forward by and large by the people who actually are responsible for running large segments of the internet and computer infrastructure worldwide. Linux has been taken well past Linus Torvald's initial vision because there was a *need* for an alternative in the data center.

    Novell should be worried- very worried. First, their distribution isn't all that good in my experience. Debian and Redhat basically bury it in important areas (cost, stability and Q&A- pick two). Second, they get in bed with Microsoft, a company that provides more frustration per byte than any other software company in history.

    I revert to a lame Star Trek quote:

    Spock: "They are dying" (in reference to the Klingons)

    Kirk: "Let them die!!"

    I've never used Suse, but have tested the distro, and talked with their reps. I never used them because I think their product is below par. The Microsoft deal again reinforces the decisions I made for clients who expend a great deal of money on data infrastructure and expect a minimum of frustration.

    Evolution works people. Sit back and grab a coffee.
  • Re:Cross Licensing?? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Miguel de Icaza (660439) <trowel@gPERIODmail.com minus punct> on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:49AM (#19321651) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft and other big companies develop big patent portfoloes to protect themselves, and to use against our competitors with even vaguely similar projects.

    Open source developers have no such protection. It's exactly why Sendmail rejected using Microsoft's patented "SenderID", as described by Eric Allman here . And it's exactly why GPLv3 has all this complex and oddly writtten patent material (at ), as mentioned in other old Slashdot stories. Even if you think it's silly, or think that software patents are a burden to the market that should be thrown the heck out. it's a necessary licensing step to protect us from this sort of whackiness. I hope the Mono project can be re-licensed under GPLv3 to avoid repercussions from this sort of suit

    This is why GPLv3 encumbers patents. the current insanity of software patents, and the risks of this kind of nuttiness, could be extremely nasty to lots of open source projects.
  • A few reasons... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:50AM (#19321675)

    That is a really relevant point. Is anyone actually publishing software under the GPL 3?

    Why would they be? It's "beta". But that's not the point. Of course anyone can publish their intellectual property under any license they feel like. But obviously, companies that are invested in the dreaded DRA and have associations with other companies that do, will be nervous.

    I think that hardware companies that use embedded OSS have the most to fear, as it opens up a huge can of worms for product liability and support, especially with the so-called "mission critical" applications. Many such companies feel the need to standardize and lock in on a specific set of often specially modified code that has been customized and tuned to their specific hardware. Allowing unrestricted modifications to the underlying software presents a spectrum of potential problems.

  • by Tuoqui (1091447) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:01AM (#19321849) Journal
    Well to be technical, Novell has 2 options... They can choose to continue using GPLv2 components and become obsolete over time or they can move to GPLv3 and realize the Microsoft deal is dead in the water.

    The FOSS community gets hung up on the philosophy because to be honest if you do not adhere to your original philosophy then you end up like Google's 'Do No Evil' philosophy. Basically it gets ignored or back burner-ed for the reasons of profit.

    Remember that the GPL was about making free software available to all. It was also designed to protect developers and projects from the overreaching commercial interests that the Microsoft-Novell deal basically puts into writing. Just look at the terms of it, they explicitly exclude Open Office, Wine and I think Samba... If Microsoft was serious about extending the olive branch to the OSS community they would not have made these glaring exceptions in the Novell deal.
  • Re:Why worry? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:10AM (#19321955)

    I would pretty much guarentee that the core GNU tool set -- bash, gcc, nmake, emacs, GTK, GIMP etc. will go GPL 3
    as soon as is practical.


    Most of that is pretty mature stuff. Forking at GPL v2 and maintaining the fork really wouldn't be that big of a deal.

    Also, an ENORMOUS amount of maintenance is done by the big players anyway. If RedHat, Novell and IBM got together to maintain a GPL v2 fork of whatever they needed, it would be interesting to see which side of the fork fell behind.
  • by rs232 (849320) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:27AM (#19322257)
    "If the final version of GPLv3 contains terms or conditions that interfere with our agreement with Microsoft or our ability to distribute GPLv3 code, Microsoft may cease to distribute Suse Linux coupons in order to avoid the extension of its patent covenants to a broader range of GPLv3 software recipients," Novell stated in the document"

    Well DOH, the 'covenant' only applies to a very restricted set of NOVL customers and specifically excludes downstream providers or developers of 'Original Work'. The pledge also lays claim to 'Original Work' and excludes openSuSE developers from working on their own code in company time. Any such work must also be rolled back into Novell SuSE. Not much of a covenant then.

    Wow there, I just noticed something, it don't say original code, but original work, thereby extending the coverage to properties and methods? If this was cricket that would be know as throwing a googly .. nice.

    '1.10 "Customers" means an enterprise or individual that utilizes a specific copy of a Covered Product for its intended purpose as authorized by a Party in consideration for Revenue'

    What is the definition of 'intended purpose' and 'utilizes' in the current context. Who defines 'intended purpose' and 'utilizes'. If these terms are not defined (I can't find them) or can be arbitarly changed by either party at a future date then of what use is it to me the 'customer' as a legal document. I'm not a lawyer, but this says to me the 'pledge' can be revoked at any time. By either party I assume. I do assume the NOVL lawyers got one too. I can't see it! I do assume the NOVL lawyers actually read it before signing!

    "In addition, Microsoft reserves the right to prospectively update and revise the terms of this pledge"

    A close reading of the 'covenant' and associated documents reveals its true purpose, to drive a wedge between the Commercial Sector and Open Source developers.

    MICROSOFT - NOVELL PATENT COOPERATION AGREEMENT [sec.gov] --

    translation: I pledge not to sue you for indeterminate IP violations for a period that can be arbitrary revised, extended, canceled by me at any time. You agree that I own your own original work - not just code ;).
  • Dig your own grave (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Danathar (267989) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @12:11PM (#19322967) Journal
    When you dig your own ditch you have to be careful not to fall in. NOVELL should of known better.

No amount of careful planning will ever replace dumb luck.

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