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SuSE Businesses Software Linux

Stallman Absolves Novell 101

A few days ago we linked the transcript of Richard Stallman's talk at the Tokyo GPLv3 meeting . Now bubulubugoth writes to point us to an analysis of what Stallman said in Tokyo. In particular, these quotes: "Microsoft has not given Novell a patent license, and thus, section 7 of the GPL version 2 does not come into play. Instead, Microsoft offered a patent license that is rather limited to Novell's customers alone." And, apparently resolving the conundrum of whether GPLv2 and GPLv3 licenses can be commingled: "There's no difficulty in having some programs in the system under GPL2 and other programs under GPL3."
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Stallman Absolves Novell

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  • Comingling (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bottlemaster ( 449635 ) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @07:25AM (#17088194)
    And, apparently resolving the conundrum of whether GPLv2 and GPLv3 licenses can be commingled: "There's no difficulty in having some programs in the system under GPL2 and other programs under GPL3."
    All this says is that some code can be GPLv2 and some seperate code can be GPLv3. This is about as far as you can get from addressing the problem while still saying "GPLv2" and "GPLv3".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 03, 2006 @07:58AM (#17088334)
    Sorry for the karma whoring, but the article seems to imply that RMS thinks that there's nothing wrong with Novel's deal, which is not quite the case, as can be seed below.

    However, there's another way of using software patents to threaten the users which we have just seen an example of. That is, the Novell-Microsoft deal. What has happened is, Microsoft has not given Novell a patent licence, and thus, section 7 of GPL version 2 does not come into play. Instead, Microsoft offered a patent licence that is rather limited to Novell's customers alone.

    It turns out that perhaps it's a good thing that Microsoft did this now, because we discovered that the text we had written for GPL version 3 would not have blocked this, but it's not too late and we're going to make sure that when GPL version 3 really comes out it will block such deals. We were already concerned about possibilities like this, namely, the possibility that a distributor might receive a patent licence which did not explicitly impose limits on downstream recipients but simply failed to protect them.

    What if one company pays Microsoft for a patent licence where Microsoft says "Alright, we won't sue you, but we're just not making any promises about your customers if they redistribute it". We had already written a downstream shielding provision into GPL version 3 saying that if you convey the program, and you are benefitting from a patent licence that is not available, that does not extend to the downstream users, then you have to do something to shield them.

    This is, it turns out, inadequate in two ways. First of all, "shielding them" is vague. We're replacing that with a specific list of methods, and second, once again it assumes that the distributor has received a patent licence, so the Microsoft/Novell deal cunningly does not give Novell the patent licence, only Novell's customers.

    Well, now that we have seen this possibility, we're not going to have trouble drafting the language that will block it off. We're going to say not just that if you receive the patent licence, but if you have arranged any sort of patent licensing that is prejudicial among the downstream recipients, that that's not allowed. That you have to make sure that the downstream recipients fully get the freedoms that they're supposed to have. The precise words, we haven't figured out yet. That's what Eben Moglen is working on now.
  • by zotz ( 3951 ) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @08:20AM (#17088404) Homepage Journal
    As in, really did find a loophole that let's them legally stab everyone in the back? One that we will be sure to fix in v3 and then they can't play such games anymore.

    That kind of absolves, or did he say they what they did was perfectly fine and such practices will be ok going forward?

    Just asking.

    all the best,

  • by KillerDwarfFromHades ( 1034984 ) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @10:25AM (#17088930)
    It should be noted, since Sys-Con is hiding it as "by Linux News Desk", all articles with that by-line are written by none other than PJ-stalker Maureen O'Gara.

    The proof? It's currently the free article on Maureen's poorly-named LinuxGram website: http://www.linuxgram.com/ [linuxgram.com]

    That's all her.

    (For those who live in a cave, only surf for porn, etc., Maureen O'Gara wrote a slanderous piece about Groklaw's PJ, wherein she literally tried to stalk PJ, peeking in windows, generally making an ass of herself.)

    Sys-Con swore they'd never publish an O'Gara piece again. Good thing noone believed them, since they just hid her behind a "Linux News Desk".
  • by oxymor00n ( 780866 ) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @10:38AM (#17089008)
    Well, that's certainly true, but don't forget also that anything that's controversial is going to generate a lot of discussion, which generates a lot of page hits, which generates a lot of ad impressions.

    Yeah, but if they manage to piss of everybody the ad-dollars are going bye bye sooner or later.
  • by _dani3l ( 1034972 ) on Sunday December 03, 2006 @11:34AM (#17089308)
    It isn't James Turner who lied. He actually took a stand against the publisher demanding that Maureen O'Gara's material be removed from all of Sys-Con. If Sys-Con is publishing her again, it is the publisher, Fuat Kircaali, who went back on his commitment.

    Reference: Sys-Con Dumps Maureen O'Gara [groklaw.net]

    But at least one editor from LinuxWorld still resigned less than a week later: Another LinuxWorld Resignation [groklaw.net]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 03, 2006 @08:22PM (#17093924)
    Ximian (Novell) has been important for Gnome and Suse (Novell) have been important for the kernel. But they are far less important than the others together.

    Red Hat has developed most code for the linux distros. They are active almost everywere. Red Hat and Sun together has arguable been the two most important contributors to Gnome 2.x. Sun helped develop the HIG and accesability framework. Red Hat developed HAL, Network manager, and a lot other things.

    I see a future where Ubuntu and Sun will play a more active role. Even Asianux might start contribute more actively.

    Red Hat bought Sistina GFS file system, LVM2 and associated clustering tools acquired for 31 million dollars and Netscape directory server for around 25 million dollars. Both are totally open sourced and given to the community.

    Some of their contribution to Gnome:
    * pango: originally written and maintained
    * glib, gtk+: most primary maintainers and developer work
    * metacity: written and maintained
    * cairo: written (employee) and maintained
    * gconf: written and maintained
    * dbus: written (employee) and maintained
    * hal: written (employee) and maintained
    * gnome-keyring: written and maintained
    * NetworkManager: written and maintained
    * vino: written and maintained
    * gnome-menus: written and maintained
    * sabayon: written and maintained
    * http://gnome.org/ [gnome.org] infrastructure, hosting and bandwidth

    http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/RedHatContributions [fedoraproject.org]

    Ximian (Novell) used to be extremly important for Gnome, but their focus seems to be less of desktop infrastructure and architecture this days. Looks like their focus more on Mono and OpenOffice.org and less on everything else.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"