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Novell Software Linux

Novell Worries About GPL v3 157

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 cant_get_a_good_nick ( 172131 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:20AM (#19321177)
    In these filings you have to state EVERYTHING you may ever think of that could even slightly affect your stock price, or bear the brunt of a multi-million dollar shareholder lawsuit later if it hiccups in the slightest. The fact that they stated this doesn't imply any amount of actual fear of the GPL, just that it's something they need to be aware of.

    Not quite "nothing to see here, move along" but definitely not a tabloid headline.
  • by bigtomrodney ( 993427 ) * on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:20AM (#19321183)
    I agree. If you are going to follow the letter but not the spirit of an agreement then you can't expect anyone to come to comfort you. The GPL and the FOSS community may exist in a world where legalese prevails, but it is the heart and spirit of the community that drives it not profit. Novell tested the GPL and won. It's only fair that the community push back to defend themselves.
  • oh no! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by darth_linux ( 778182 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:21AM (#19321199) Homepage
    Please, OSS community, let us trample on your work product! What will we do if we can't leech of someone else? We need you. We need you to play nice with us and our task.. uh.. I mean business partners.
  • Why worry? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jshriverWVU ( 810740 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:28AM (#19321299)
    Thought even after GPL 3 comes out authors had the right to choose which license they could use. People may very well stick to GPL 2, or dual license.
  • Exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pavon ( 30274 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:30AM (#19321343)
    Note, that they also listed the SCO lawsuit as a risk in the report, and we all know how likely that is.
  • Re:Why worry? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by supersnail ( 106701 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:47AM (#19321599)
    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.

    These tools are written and maintained by RMS et al. who have an idealogical commitment to GPL 3 and Open Source and dont really care about market share etc.

    So if Suse want to distribute a linux minus the tools, the compilers and a major desktop environment good luck to them.

    Incidently there is a business principle so basic I dont think it is even mentioned in self help management books :- "Dont sue your customers" you may win the law suit but you will have an ex customer for sure. So the chances of a real cutomer being sued by MS are practicaly 0.
  • Re:GPL2 vs GPL3 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by supersnail ( 106701 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:52AM (#19321711)
    To drastically over simplify the GPL3 -- you can't use it with patented software.
  • Re:Why worry? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:16AM (#19322041)

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

    Are you joking? There is probably more ongoing effort put into improvements to GCC than almost any other project I can think of. There are a lot of people (at various big companies) whose sole job is to improve GCC. The main advantage of GPL OSS over BSD is that you get continuing improvements from other players. Having to maintain all of that yourself in a fork means you might as well go with BSD licensed software in the first place. At least them you're not specifically generating ill will while losing the main benefit.

  • Re:open (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Freed ( 2178 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:17AM (#19322059)
    >open source is open source, with or without a license... i generally dont really care about licenses...

    Democracy is democracy, with or without laws...i generally don't really care about laws...
  • by Freed ( 2178 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:24AM (#19322193)
    Had the deal been with Red Hat, IBM, or whoever, Novell would still be rightly shunned. The patent agreement itself is what stinks. (Although Microsoft admittedly adds stink in their own unparalleled way.)
  • Re:oh no! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JimDaGeek ( 983925 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:36AM (#19322399)
    The GPL is about user rights, not developer rights. I think the GPLv3 is doing what it has to to protect end-users from DRM and other patent crap. Don't think of the GPLv3 as trying to control what developers can and can't do. Think of it as trying to make sure that end users get to have rights to the software. That should help put it in the right perspective.
  • Re:Why worry? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @12:16PM (#19323069)

    And if there is a GPL version fork, which side will those big companies choose?

    GPLv3. None of these companies are selling GCC. They use it as a tool. They don't want submarine patents in it any more than individual users do. It takes effort to switch to a non-standard fork and download from a new place. It takes effort to approve a new license within a company. Approving a new license, however, is a one time stamp from legal, while switching versions to non-standard ones has to be done for every project and has to be done by engineers within the company, who probably would prefer to stick with the RMS version. I'm betting if it comes down to a fork it will be Novell left out in the cold by themselves while almost everyone else goes GPLv3.

  • Re:oh no! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DarkAvZ ( 863312 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @12:55PM (#19323667)
    No license, free or otherwise, can take away your rights as a developer... recall that you own the source code, so you can license it as you see fit.
  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @02:19PM (#19324929)

    No, it's not counter-productive, because having something merely called Free, but which actually isn't, doesn't do us any good anyway!

    Personally, I don't give a shit about "Open Source" software. "Free Software," on the other hand, is important, as is keeping it Free. If those companies wanted to have their product be restricted, they should have used something BSD-licensed instead.

  • Re:oh no! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @03:11PM (#19325737)
    Yes. because Novell doesn't employ the Ximian team, and The Ximian guys don't actually contribute anything because they're too busy leeching, right? Because we're happy with simply berrating MS over .NET being locked to their platform, rather than developing Mono (not courtessy of Ximian, and deffinately not funded by Novell). And let's not forget that Novell never put in significant time and resources into xgl, someone else must have done that!

    And they surely never pointed out that they actually own the patets SCO was makig so noise much noise about, and they never counter sued. No, that was all IBM.

    And a large company backing Linux surely can't possibly help Open Source, right?

    Frankly, I can't see how anyoe who claims to value freedom can support the GPL3 and all its restrictions. "you're free to do what you please, unless its something I don't like", methinks it's time forcertain people to re-evaluate their definition of "Freedom" only to find that it differs wildly from the actual one.

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn