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The Courts Software Government Linux News

Perens Counters Claim of GPL Legal Risk 145

Microsoft Delenda Est writes "After ACT, a Microsoft front group, started claiming that the GPLv3 was legally 'risky' and could give rise to anti-trust liability, eWeek has published a rebuttal by Bruce Perens. Aside from the fact that IBM, HP, Red Hat, and a couple dozen corporate lawyers are watching over the creation of the GPLv3, there is already precedent that shows the GPL is unlikely to give rise to any significant liability — Daniel Wallace v. FSF. In that case, pro se litigant Daniel Wallace was all but laughed out of the courtroom for alleging the GPLv2 violates anti-trust law, and the GPLv3 clauses in question are simply clarifications and extensions of clauses in the GPLv2. Presumably, that is why the ACT neglected to cite any precedent substantiating their allegations."
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Perens Counters Claim of GPL Legal Risk

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  • by filesiteguy ( 695431 ) <> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @01:00PM (#18677881) Homepage
    Wow! After reading that the GPL v3 could constitute a legal risk by me, I'm happy I'm using SUSE and not <insert distro here>, which isn't covered by the non-agression treaty setup between Microsoft and Novell.

    Think about the droves of people and organizations who will now be joining us (Microsoft and Novell) in ensuring their users and customers are lawsuit-free by only using GPL v2 and hiding behind the MS agreeements.

    Thank you ever so much, Steve!

    Thank you Ron!

    Seriously - I figure the GPL v3 is being worked over so much that - like v2 - whatever challenges will hold up just fine.
  • by MarkWatson ( 189759 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @01:05PM (#18677951) Homepage
    Hey, I actually read the article - I must be new here :-)

    I am looking forward to the V3 release of GPL and LGPL. I especially like the way the new LGPL draft basically just references the V3 GPL (draft), with exceptions.

    I believe that Microsoft's claims of anti-competitiveness of the new GPL is laughable. Microsoft sets a high standard for anti-competitive activities, in my opinion. Also, people and organizations who want to live, play, and build systems in the LGPL/GPL infrastructure world should be allowed to do so - Microsoft's push here seems to be desiring to remove people's freedom to pick alternative (to Microsoft) development strategies. No big surprise.

    I have some influence on my customers (I am a consultant) and I use this influence to convince them to go open source on more of their projects.
  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @02:16PM (#18679265) Homepage Journal
    You'll be surprised how significant a fork over a license change can be.

    Why has *BSD acheived less of a market than Linux? Which of these popular reasons do you believe?

    • Because BSD came out for SCSI disks, and Linux came out for PC disks, and BSD has never been able to regain the early-mover advantage.
    • Because people like and respect Linus.
    • Because the good developers prefer sharing-with-rules licensing to gift licensing.
    • Because even RMS is more warm and fuzzy than Theo.



  • by chihowa ( 366380 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @02:17PM (#18679293)
    OT, I know, but Bruce... c'mon. It's impolite to usurp all of the +5 mods on an article about yourself!
  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @02:39PM (#18679641) Homepage Journal
    OT, I know, but Bruce... c'mon. It's impolite to usurp all of the +5 mods on an article about yourself!

    I'd rather you hear it from the horse's mouth than from the other end of the horse :-) I guess that's a pretty good description of ACT's lawyer, isn't it?


  • by The Monster ( 227884 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:40PM (#18681511) Homepage

    Because even RMS is more warm and fuzzy than Theo.
    You're INHUMAN! And your inhumanity retroactively excuses code theft. Which we didn't do. How dare you accuse one of our developers of code theft! It wasn't deliberate; it was a mistake. We meant to rewrite the copied code before committing it to the tree, and thereby create merely a derived work of the original, but not 'derived' in the legal sense, mind you. We didn't really steal anything because it didn't actually run or anything.

    You inhuman bastards are the reason we hate Linux.


All the simple programs have been written.