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Is Novell losing Linux? No, it's just bad reporting

By Joe Barr on February 05, 2007 (8:00:00 AM)

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Commentary: Blame Jim Finkle at Reuters, I suppose. His story is the one that started this large dung-ball of misinformation rolling around the Internet. You know the one, about Novell losing the right to distribute Linux.

The Reuters story quotes Eben Moglen, general counsel for the Free Software Foundation, as saying, "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."

Finkle goes on to say, "Novell angered members of the open-source community that develops Linux and other free software programs in November when it entered a wide-ranging business deal with Microsoft."

An observation: conflating the open source and Free Software communities -- as Finkle has done -- shows about as much familiarity with the subject matter as I have with quantum physics. My guess is that open source folks, a group that leaves Stallman and Moglen largely unimpressed, are pretty much OK with the Microsoft/Novell deal. But not so the FSF, which has been considering as yet unpublished changes to the draft of GPLv3 to effectively block such deals in the future.

As an illustration of how far and how quickly misinformation can spread on the Internet, Geek.com published a story this morning entitled "Novell may lose access to new Linux versions."

According to Brian Osborne, the author of the Geek.com piece, "The Free Software Foundation may ban Novell from selling new versions of the Linux operating system due to concerns over the close partnership with Microsoft."

In the face of such towering ignorance, it may be worthwhile to note:

1. The FSF has absolutely no control over Novell's distribution of Linux. None at all. Zero. It doesn't matter a whit how much Stallman hates the Microsoft/Novell deal. It's legal. It's legit. It's in full compliance with the GPL.

2. GPLv3 is still on the drawing board. Jumping to conclusions about the consequences of its impact on Novell is insanely irresponsible. Any changes to the current draft version of GPLv3 will go through the same public debate and discussion as have the previous drafts.

3. The odds of the Linux kernel ever moving to GPLv3 -- so long as its current anti-DRM and other restrictive clauses remain in place -- is about the same as mine being crowned Miss America. And I don't even know Donald Trump.

This story -- the meme about Novell not being allowed to sell Linux -- is too stupid to even be considered FUD. Both Novell and Eben Moglen have declined our invitation to comment on it.

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on Is Novell losing Linux? No, it's just bad reporting

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I agree, but...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 09:57 AM
I agree the reporter from Reuters basically misunderstood when he implied that the FSF would take legal action to prevent Novell from distributing Linux. No such action is planned, nor would it be legally viable by Stallman's own admission.

However, it may be that a confrontation between these two organizations will take place down the road, let's say after GPLv3 is rolled out and the GNU projects (gcc, gmake, binutils, bash, and standard Unix command line utilities) adopt the new license going forward. It could be that Novell will have to fork these projects to in order to distribute new versions of their Linux distro (we should expect that the kernel will not upgrade its license due to heavy opposition by Torvalds and other kernel developers).

The FSF and Novell represent opposing poles of the umbrella of interests involved in free software. The FSF has its philosophy; Novell represents the ultra-pragmatic corporate interests that can and will change course on a dime to meet quarterly earnings estimates. Without the FSF, there is no "free software", only open source and various kinds of encumbered "shared source" licenses; but without Novell and other large corporations willing to supply R&D funding and marketing muscle, free software is in danger of being relegated to the academic and hobbyist communities.

A large-scale fork would be a major problem not only for Novell, but the entire community. A fork of these tools over licensing helps nobody except for Microsoft. Maintenance and security patch hassles would double overnight. It would give companies substantial reason to pause before using or adopting free software, if they do any software development themselves, because of fear of legal entanglement with the FSF.

Therefore this article is slightly worthwhile in that it offers people the chance to anticipate the consequences of the GPLv3 blowing the Novell-Microsoft agreement out of the water. Joe points out that GPLv3 hasn't even been finalized yet. Correct, but the FSF has given every indication they want to prevent two party patent covenants such as Novell-Microsoft, and are not willing to overlook this agreement under a grandfather clause. Further, they want the new license to enforce their philosophy on DRM.

#

Sun has said Solaris OS will be GPLv3.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 09:06 PM
It has been reported that Solaris will be GPLv3.

Meaning, that there will be a pure GPLv3 player in the OS space (something that Linux can never be because of GPLv2 code that exists, and will not be replaced).

Of course one wonders if at some point some key parts of LINUX suddenly evolved or are changed to GPLv3 code, it that means that to use LINUX you would have to comply with GPLv3, as you will not be able to remove that GPLv3 code and plug in your own to make it less restrictive.

Linus has said todate he is happy with GPLv2, we shall see what GPLv3 is when it is finally born, as of right now, we don't know if it is a boy or a girl.

And if Solaris becomes GPLv3... then things will really heat up. Can you imagine Richard Stallman endorsing the use of Solaris over Linux?

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FSF is *not* the sole source of "free software"

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 09, 2007 03:24 AM
The Apache license is recognized as a "free" license - just look at the "free software" directory at fsf.org. Within the GNU package list, you'll find Apache and ANT - both licensed under the APL and not the GPL.

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What's the source of this Novell hatred?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 11:19 PM
OpenSuse is a very good, community driven, free linux. It's easily in competition with Ubuntu and Fedora. Yet for some reason, there is a lot of dislike for Novell and Suse.


This is more of the same thing. What's worse, is that it was blindly sort of propagated by the FOSS community. I don't particularly like Novell making deals with MS, I think Novell will regret it but it's their company and they do make a very good Linux.

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Novell has lost integrity with Open Source!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 12:14 AM
Re:What's the source? Novell lost integrity.

By going over to the Dark Side. Now, who can trust them ever again for what they have done?

At one time Novell was saying that they were ready to put their full patent resources out there to protect Linux.

It appears they went back on their word and the patent agreement with Microsoft points this out, clearly.

The idea of Novell having integrity now is lost. They can get it back. But, as the clock ticks toward GPLv3, well it will have less impact if they are forced to agree to give up their Microsoft mistake, vs NOW, changing course and asking for the sympathy of the community with some kind of honest apology.

I was upset at them, as when they purchased Ximian, they started to show their true colors as there was an Ximain (a true Open Source Company) product called Red Carpet (an updater) that was wonderful and I was using it on a RH9 system... well, Novell buried the opensource version, renamed it something else and made it available to their corporate clients instead. That was not very open source-like of them, was it.

So - this MS deal does not surprise me. AND it would not surprise me if they held to their guns and continued to bend over for Bill Gates and Steve chair-throwing Balmer (who per an actual testimony at a recent court case where MS was challenging a defection of one of their employees, MS is out to crush others! There is solid evidence of the MS tactics against open standards on many web sites (one to follow):
<a href="http://www.grokdoc.net/index.php/Dirty_Tricks_history" title="grokdoc.net">http://www.grokdoc.net/index.php/Dirty_Tricks_his<nobr>t<wbr></nobr> ory</a grokdoc.net>

Novell hates it that they are not powerful like Microsoft! So they made the deal to try to get something that other LINUX distros do not have. Well they got it (it seems). And MS loves to have them bent over like they are. MS as a past company policy, does nothing to advance interoperation with anyone.... unless it is to MS's advantage to do so, and they only do it for a little while before they pull the rug out from under the feet of their bent over partners.

ODF and MS's position there is an example of what kind of bed fellow that Novell has decided to breed with. It was a really obscene move by them, and they deserve the response they got, they should have expected it, and the sickening irony is that most likely did expect it, but did not care.

That is Novell today. Got it now?

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Re:Novell has lost integrity with Open Source!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 04:19 AM
Geez, Take a vallium! If anyone is aware of MS's behavior and what they are capable of it's Novell. You cannot think for one moment that they don't know the beast they are caging themselves with. Thave have been bitten and they understand better now what to look for. If anything MS has a lot more to loose in the deal in that they just gave a bit of credibility to Linux.

Novell has to look out for itself and if your customer is wanting interoperability, you give it to them. So you are a little miffed about red carpet. So it's not "open source" anymore (or is it that you can get the source, but not the resources they offerd.) Understand that the new package system, ZMD, is based on the old red carpet technology. So gripe away. You can hate them all you want, but they have brought alot more than you are willing to admit to the table.

You purist and zealots are really entertaining with the way you have to froth over this. Where is the talk over Red Hat and JBoss? Where is the venom over Oracle "Forking" Red Hat?

You should be thankful that Novell is in the game. There answers to SCO over Linux along with IBM will put that whole matter to rest. Think of the patent concerns that alone is putting to rest.

A patent agreement that is essentially a non-aggression pact is not a bad thing. Sure it could back fire. But be realistic. How can Novell indemnify EVERY linux user. Their previous indemnification program was limited to THEIR products, not all of the Linux world. How can they indemnify on behalf of Red Hat, Mandriva, Ubuntu or the other million distributions out there? THEY CAN'T

Sure there are a lot of implications that can impede Linux, but Linux will survive, and in actuallity, if you understood the business world you would know that. This entire matter is the software equvalent to what happened with IBM when their enginieers left and started the Clone market. Look at where that has brought us today. So put a cork in it an understand that the world/linux is bigger than Novell and MS. You alarmist attitude will only give you an ulcer and cause me to fall out of my chair from rolling my eyes too much...

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Re:Novell has lost integrity with Open Source!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 05:26 AM
Novell lost credibility with this in my eyes, but this was just the straw that broke the camel's back. There were many more issues that annoyed me about them to the point of switching distributions, but that was enough to push me over the edge.

Anyway, you are obviously a Novell employee... uh, I mean fan, so I can see I'm not gonna change your mind. I wish you luck with your interoperability!! <nobr> <wbr></nobr>:-)

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indemnify EVERY linux user - I never said that.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 07:03 AM
I never said indemnify every LINUX developer or user... you at Novell totally do not "get it", do you!

If you looked at software patents and big companies... you have the big companies with patent portfolios, and little FOSS folks with no portfolios.

But, the Bigger LINUX folks, IBM, Novell, RH, even Oracle now, depend on a lot of little Linux folks to start some stuff that takes off, and in time, the Bigger Linux folks start to use this very cool stuff that they never could get going due to their overly big stupid management structures, and lack of dedication at the employee levels. Little stuff WORKS and starts out small (small like Ximain, remember them, if you worked for them at one time then we probably talked at a LINUX world in NYC as I loved to spend time asking questions at the "jungle theme" they had going on there at one show. It was when Evolution was 1st rolled out big time, I think, and the demos were wonderful, but the promise of Red Carpet that I really learned about at the show, turned out to be a lie, as Red Carpet was withdrawn afer the Novell merger)! That was a Microsoft style move if I ever saw one! Show me the money? Greed is good, is not part of the GPL ideals, Novell and some of the folks at the former Ximaian were/are quick to defy those same roots from where they started.

Anyway, Big Patent portfolio companies, instead of doing battle with each other, can make patent peace with patent cross licenses! AND everyone , at least everyone in the same BIG patent cross license club, then breathes easier (this is the equal to a IP Feudal Lord situation that benefits those rich and powerful and damn the serfs to hell, those scum is what the Feudal IP lords think, they are not our equal, let us join our forces to squash them scum). Instead, the most respectable of the lords could join and be like those in the stories of the good kings, that were for the little guy vs being the dark villan tyrants out for their own good.

YEP, THOSE big patent holding folks, who truely love FOSS (I think of IBM and now SUN is showing that they are true FOSS players afterall) well the big folks capitalize on a lot of little FOSS developers startups and ideas, and successes, and these big folks, who have the IP patent war bombs in their IP stockades, could ALL join in a Patent Blockade vs Microsoft.

Such an IP blockade, it would be a blockade that Microsoft would need to by-pass, as with patents in the blockade from IBM, HP, and Novell, all aligned as a blockade. Microsoft would find it hard to bypass this combined portfolio of defensive patents. Hey, if Microsoft fired an IP shot against any FOSS developer, or user, and sued, then the Blockade IP war ships, by treaty, or agreement, would all then open fire on Microsoft.

That is what I was talking about. That is what Novell could do by committing it's patents toward an anti-microsoft blockade.

Instead, what they did is almost treason.

I am not a zealot, only a realist.

I use the tools that work, and with Novell's actions, Novell, in effect, damaged some tools that I like to use... ie: the same ones that Steve Balmer announced after the deal with Novell that were in the MS patent submarine scopes for infringement. Novell let MS bypass the blockade and assigned free Novell patent use for what? Not for the little developer with an idea, but to the idea of let us get rid of those pesky little guys that started LINUX in the first place.

It was a treaty with the dark side that Novell did. AND they still have time to correct this.
If they got the guts and the sense to suck it up and say "We are sorry", "We will fix this", and "we will assign our patents for the use of a FOSS blockade vs Microsoft".

If they don't do this, then let the traitors rot.

#

Re:Novell has lost integrity with Open Source!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 04:38 PM
You state that if Novell's customers want interoperability then Novell should give it to them. Are these Novell customers also Microsofts customers? If so, why are Microsoft not giving their customers interoperability. All they need to do is follow standards, not break them and set their own.

#

Oracle "Forking" Red Hat? They never said that...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 06:47 PM
Re: your question:

"Where is the venom over Oracle "Forking" Red Hat"?

Oracle "Forking" Red Hat?

Get your facts right. Oracle never said they were changing Red Hat code. Nope, not one bit. They said they were going to take that exact code, and resell it WITH SUPPORT at a lower price. They said that they are doing integration work anyway with RH and their database products, etc. SO - doing the Red Hat Support would be an obvious add-on to their support product line (only they promised to support RH for less money and at a cheaper cost vs what RH was charging).

That is not a FORK. That is flattery for Red hat's product line. Oracle just gave Red Hat one of the biggest endorsments EVER publicly made.

Red Hat knows the reality is that they can not support every company in the universe that uses Red Hat Linux. SO - Oracle would be doing RH support, just like IBM is doing. AND Red Hat would be doing the development work, but really behind the scenes Oracle would be passing GPL code back to Red Hat (they gotta, because it is still the GPL and once you distribute, you gotta share)!

NO FORK... it just is an endorsement for Red Hat and what they got going on!

SuSE takes their own tact, for example NOT supporting SE LINUX and going their own way! Really, if anything THAT is a FORK of a unified LINUX direction over Security.

Notice that Oracle did not say they were going to support SuSE installs... and my guess is the lack of such a statement, was not an ommision at all! What Oracle basicly is saying by not supporting and using SuSE, is that Oracle could be just a little suspect of Novell's management directions over LINUX, and of Novell's propreitary directions (MADE EVEN MORE OBVIOUS by their sole deal with MICROSOFT that Novell has yet to have a good excuse for).

What good does the MS-Novell deal do for LINUX, or for FOSS? Please explain.

#

Re: "You purist and zealots"... ?????

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 07:00 PM
One thing that lawyers do when they don't have a case. It is a trick that they are taught or pick up along the way.

If you can't attack the message, then attack the messenger.

So you are attacking the messenger in this case by calling the poster a "purist and a zealot"???

You obviously have no way you can defend Novell's actions, so you turn around and attack the users who are, maybe Novell SuSE users already. In this case you are hearing from a Novell user, I am using it right now! You are attacking as "purists and zealots" IT consultants in this thread, who have advised companies to use Novell SuSE, and who just might be waiting and praying for Novell to reverse course! No doubt planning for a way to escape the Novell integrated with SuSE only, Microsoft patented and compatible code (we can say FORK over this I think) and thinking of how to get as far away from the possiblity of Novell being bought by Microsoft after the 5 years is up (a nightmare scenerio). As what else can Novell do, after the 5 years are up and the deal is terminated with Microsoft. No patent protection then, and guess what... Microsoft knows every inch that Novell or SuSE at that time is infringing.

#

Re:Novell has lost integrity with Open Source!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 07:59 AM
Specifically how have they hurt Linux or FOSS?

#

Do you live under a rock? Phlease...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 09:39 AM
Really, do you live under a rock?

Microsoft has just rolled out with a new monopoly enriching Vista, with DRM patents, and a whole host of new proprietary "not open standard formats" and you at Novell want this? I know, you had no choice, as the sight of this Death Star focused on your universe had you thinking only of the little people right? SO - poor Novell had no choice but to look inspired when they elected to get PAID to feel the power of the dark side!

It happened, and per the below evidence you can't seem to come forward and explain?

End of story.

Groklaw References (lots of questions of you Novell folks here that you seem to be afraid of):

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting - Updated, Monday 22nd January 2007
<a href="http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070122184952367" title="groklaw.net">http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070122<nobr>1<wbr></nobr> 84952367</a groklaw.net>

and because Novell has no answers they backed out of the meeting and all bets are that this Dan Brinklin meeting will never happen because they can't dream up enough FUD to spin everyone dizzy.

see:
Novell-MS "Building Bridges" Meeting in MA Postponed, Thursday 25th January 2007
<a href="http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070125123135213" title="groklaw.net">http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070125<nobr>1<wbr></nobr> 23135213</a groklaw.net>

"I'll keep you posted on any new date. Meanwhile, both Novell and Microsoft are aware of your questions, and hopefully they are having deep thoughts". Yea RIGHT - it seems Novell has lost the ability for any deep thinking.

Why is Novell afraid of answering the questions? AND facing the facts:

An Honest True Open Source Icon, well he leaves Novell (must know something)!
Jeremy Allison Has Resigned from Novell to Protest MS Patent Deal, Thursday 21st December 2006
<a href="http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20061221081000710" title="groklaw.net">http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20061221<nobr>0<wbr></nobr> 81000710</a groklaw.net>

Aside,
No one hates Novell, they just wonder why Novell suddenly lost their minds. Here is what Microsoft does... what makes Novell think that they are not being used. Microsoft has had it's own internal LINUX labs for years... don't you think that they already have all of the SuSE stuff running, why take the time to set up a lab when all Novell has to do is to move right into the LAB that Microsoft has right now? The fact that Novell and Microsoft are building a joint interoperablity LAB is a JOKE adn is evidence of how "wet behind the ears" that Novell is! MS already has LINUX interoperability from their end figured out... don't you think? Duh?

<a href="http://www.grokdoc.net/index.php/Dirty_Tricks_history" title="grokdoc.net">http://www.grokdoc.net/index.php/Dirty_Tricks_his<nobr>t<wbr></nobr> ory</a grokdoc.net>

Run Novell quick, there is still time to get away.

Dan Bricklin, and the FOSS folks, and the folks over at Groklaw, are all waiting for you to show up and answer the tough questions! And provide answers, with out the dumb marketing guys showing up with those idiotic one-line "canned" non-statements (you know, like the ones that politicians use all the time when they want to say nothing at all, but make it look like they said something)! You can't hide from this world of today's bloggers. The truth comes out, one way or another!

#

Specifically how does this benefit linux?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 09:48 AM
Specifically how does this MS - Novell deal benefit Linux or FOSS?

Cat got your tongue?

#

Re:Specifically how does this benefit linux?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 08, 2007 09:47 PM
I don't know exactly how it benefits FOSS or Linux as a whole. Presumably it benefits Novell and their customers.

Now how does it hurt anything?

#

It hurts...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 09, 2007 04:08 AM
- helps Microsoft
- other Linux users and distros can't use MS and Novell's lab worked out stuff... so, then Novell is on it's own, there is no end result other than they will have FORKED (known proprietary code mixed with known FOSS code = proprietary code, that MS has a 5 year right to cancel the use of...)
- because of this, then using Novell is a risk for anyone looking to build a foundation on FOSS code only. A company can't build a future based on Lock-in and in 5 years anything that comes out of the MS / Novell dealings will be at risk of falling under the rights and ownership of one party (not Novell).

If you walk in the barn with the cows, then you can't walk in the house and not smell like the barn, unless you change your cloths and wash first. Novell needs to wash themselves of the Microsoft format smell, and stick to the long term plan of being just another FOSS company.

If they don't then they risk losing to the likes of the aliance just built between almost every major Debian player.
see:
Linspire to Base Linspire/Freespire on Ubuntu and Canonical to Use CNR. - Authored by: Brian S. on Thursday, February 08 2007 @ 06:41 AM EST
<a href="http://www.groklaw.net/comment.php?mode=display&sid=20070208021454284&title=Linspire+to+Base+Linspire%2FFreespire+on+Ubuntu+and+Canonical+to+Use++CNR.&type=article&order=&hideanonymous=0&pid=536015#c536042" title="groklaw.net">http://www.groklaw.net/comment.php?mode=display&s<nobr>i<wbr></nobr> d=20070208021454284&title=Linspire+to+Base+Linspi<nobr>r<wbr></nobr> e%2FFreespire+on+Ubuntu+and+Canonical+to+Use++CNR<nobr>.<wbr></nobr> &type=article&order=&hideanonymous=0&pid=536015#c<nobr>5<wbr></nobr> 36042</a groklaw.net>
or
<a href="http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/02-08-2007/0004523131&EDATE=" title="prnewswire.com">http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT<nobr>=<wbr></nobr> 104&STORY=/www/story/02-08-2007/0004523131&EDATE=</a prnewswire.com>

This is powerful, and SuSE should be part of this family as well... why not? This is the future!
Foss friends that are friendly toward each other.

#

I Laugh Now

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 05:43 AM
I nearly blew a gasket when I first read the article which was on <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070202/tc_nm/novell_linux_dc" title="yahoo.com">Yahoo! News</a yahoo.com> February 2. My initial reaction was to take the article as read which directed my extreme anger towards Eben Moglen and the "unbelievably presumptuous" FSF. Three paragraphs into a venomous, ranting and likely incoherent email I decided that the article, even if true, was ridiculous and hit Cancel.

Now I just have to laugh when I see it but, this false report will damage many including/especially Novell in the eyes of the general public.

We agree on yet another article Joe!

Scary.

Your favorite "Microsoft shill".

#

Re:I Laugh Now

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 06:24 PM
>
> My initial reaction was to take the article as
> read which directed my extreme anger towards Eben
> Moglen and the "unbelievably presumptuous" FSF
>

You should read: <a href="http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS6837365670.html" title="linux-watch.com">http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS6837365670.html</a linux-watch.com>

The FSF has been hugely misquoted, and though there is a lot to say about the GPL-3, the problem, today, is with Reuters hugely manipulating an article, to make it look like any company "angering the Linux people", will have to face the consequences...

I sent an email to the FSF, because this is not just "hype" and "unnecessary waves". The Reuters article clearly damages the Linux image, to non-geek companies (geek companies should know better), notably those thinking about supporting Linux... (notably for hardware drivers...). The FSF should be far more active on this, and request Reuters to modify the article, and then contact authors of consequent articles (like the Slashdot article)...

#

they could, but probably wouldn't

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 05:45 AM
1. The FSF has absolutely no control over Novell's distribution of Linux. None at all. Zero. It doesn't matter a whit how much Stallman hates the Microsoft/Novell deal. It's legal. It's legit. It's in full compliance with the GPL.

I think you're wrong about that. First, the article refers to "new versions" of the software. Obviously, if Novell is in compliance with the current license, FSF cannot stop them from distributing current versions.

But for parts that the FSF owns (the GNU tools, for instance) there is nothing that would stop the FSF from adding a clause to exclude Novell from distributing future versions where FSF owns the copyright to the updates.

I don't think they would do it. And I agree that the writing of the article isn't very clear. I would certainly want to hear it from another source before I believed that the FSF is really considering this.

#

Re:they could, but probably wouldn't

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 07:39 AM
Uhh... I could be wrong here, but the article was about Linux, not the GNU tools. And if the FSF does hold the rights to anything in Linux, I'm sure Linus would strip it out pretty quickly if the FSF tried to bump it up to GPL v3.

Remember Bitkeeper?

#

Re:they could, but probably wouldn't

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 10:56 AM
First sentence of the article: "The Free Software Foundation is reviewing Novell Inc.'s right to sell new versions of Linux operating system software after the open-source community criticized Novell for teaming up with Microsoft Corp."

Third paragraph of the article: "The foundation controls intellectual property rights to key parts of the open-source Linux operating system."

Obviously, they writer is talking about "Linux" the operating system, not the kernel.

Would you seriously expect an article from Reuters to explain the distinction between the Linux kernel and "GNU/Linux" the OS?

#

Ugh...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 05:52 AM
The geek.com article is even worse.

"I'm sure many Microsoft haters are jumping with joy over the thought that Novell might be punished over its new partnership with Microsoft. The new partnership gives Microsoft access to Linux customers and intellectual property, which will allow Windows and Linux greater interoperability. Microsoft shouldn't have access to such things, right?"

Uhm, whatever.

#

Result still the same for Novell

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 05:57 AM
FSF may not control the Linux kernel, but it does control the GNU toolchain and many of the utilities we've come to consider part of the 'Linux OS.' And those will be moving to the GPLv3. So yes, the article is faulty in that it conflates the kernel with the rest of the OS. But other than that, the implications to Novell seem about the same.

#

You're Very Wrong.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 06:20 AM
You and others are conveniently forgetting what the GPL says. See this <a href="http://enterprise.linux.com/comments.pl?sid=38011&op=&threshold=0&commentsort=0&mode=thread&tid=23&tid=51&tid=11&pid=95519#95522" title="linux.com">previous comment</a linux.com>.

#

Re:You're Very Wrong.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 10:07 AM
And you seem to forget that Richard Stallman himself said that this agreement does not violate the GPL in its current form.

It might be nice to assume the FSF has some authority, but copyright? Isn't the whole point of the FSF to get rid of copyrights? Seems to me if MS and Novell don't violate the GPL now, they will keep from doing so in the future.

Frankly, the FSF has outlived its usefulness. I doubt any corporate customer is going to give a shit what the FSF has to say.

#

Re:You're Very Wrong.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 10:12 AM
you are forgetting they are talking about future versions of the GNU tools, which will come out under GPLv3, along with all the other GNU software they own the rights to, Emacs, GCC and many others. Also who knows what other groups will do, such as GNOME. Novell's only recourse woyld be to fork all this software from there last GPLv2 edition. And I don't Linux brings in enough money to support all that developement, at that point they'd be better off switching to FreeBSD as their core system.

#

You're right; this could hurt Novell

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 11:25 AM
This is one reason (among several) why Apple used FreeBSD as the core of Mac OS X--it is choosing to maintain its own version and spend that development cost. Of course, Apple also includes the GPL'd GCC, but it's not a core part of the OS itself.

GNOME, though, is an interesting point. If both GNOME and KDE go to GPLv3, then what will Novell do--maintain an entire desktop? Do they have that much in developer resources? Or will they choose to ship FVWM or XFce (or maybe Enlightenment)?

However, remember also that there are a lot of BSD-licensed equivalents to the GNU tools. Novell could switch to those.

#

Re:You're right; this could hurt Novell

Posted by: Administrator on February 06, 2007 05:55 PM


However, remember also that there are a lot of BSD-licensed equivalents to the GNU tools. Novell could switch to those.



This brings an interesting scenario: a Linux distribution with a BSD userland. AFAIK nothing of this kind exists (sounds strange to me, given that there is the opposite: GNU/kFreeBSD), but maybe the reason is condensed in this post: <a href="http://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-questions/2004-December/067723.html" title="freebsd.org">http://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-questi<nobr>o<wbr></nobr> ns/2004-December/067723.html</a freebsd.org>.


At this point, Novell should be happier restarting from DesktopBSD, PCBSD or something similar. The main problem would be driver support. If Novell is bold enough, it could add driver support to FreeBSD and this would strenghten BSD. Interesting.


If the desktops go GPLv3, this would be serious trouble for them. Although they could comply by kludges like installing them from the network instead of physically redistributing them (sort of what Ubuntu does with restricted formats).

#

Re:You're Very Wrong.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 04:59 AM
It's not clear to me how much development effort Novell would require to keep their forked versions of GPLv2 utilities consistent with any future FSF GPLv3 utilities. They don't have to do any original development themselves except the reverse engineering to keep their versions consistent with any new FSF versions. And they might well have enough developers both in and out of the company who might wish to insure that both versions are consistent that they could draw on enough manpower to do the necessary reverse engineering.

The only question would be if they could do so without bringing their reverse engineered GPLv2 utilities under the GPLv3 as "derivative works".

Granted, this WOULD raise costs at Novell. But it's not clear how much or whether this would be sufficiently damaging to prevent them from doing it.

Since the Novell deal explicitly does not harm anything under GPLv2, as Stallman has admitted, it's not clear to me why the FSF is adamant about trying to use GPLv3 to prevent such deals in the future. We've gotten along fairly well under GPLv2 and I don't see how the Novell deal causes any damage to any existing OSS parties - particularly since Linus Torvalds doesn't seem terribly concerned about it. There may be reasons to produce a GPLv3, but I don't see how the Novell deal is one of them.

#

No Forking Way!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 06:14 AM
But you are just referring to Linux -the kernel. Another thing is GNU/Linux. And the FSF actually owns the copyright of a lot of fundamental GNU/Linux software. Now imagine that tomorrow the FSF revokes Novell any right to redistribute: - gcc - glibc - GNU make - Bash

You forget the power of the fork. That is the whole point of the GPL and that is why the FSF cannot stop ANYONE from redistributing ANY GPL2 software. The GPL gives anyone and everyone the right to redistribute in perpetuity(for forking ever)!

If the FSF decides that they are moving gcc under a new more restrictive license, they cannot put the genie back in the bottle. All versions up until today are available under GPL2 to any and everyone and nothing can stop them from further distributing and developing that version. GPL3 cannot cage software that is already free!

If FSF tries to "stop Novell", Novell can merely continue to distribute the present utilities. If Novell wishes, they can fork them and go about their business with further development. The ONLY "restriction" is that any forks that are redistributed must be released under the conditions of the GPL2, the license the utilities were originally released under.

Have a taste of freedom. It is sometimes a bitter pill. To me though, this is the sweetness of the GPL.

#

Re:No Forking Way!

Posted by: Administrator on February 06, 2007 06:35 AM

Have a taste of freedom. It is sometimes a bitter pill. To me though, this is the sweetness of the GPL



Hey, I fully agree. I generally like the GPL.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)




If the FSF decides that they are moving gcc under a new more restrictive license, they cannot put the genie back in the bottle. All versions up until today are available under GPL2 to any and everyone and nothing can stop them from further distributing and developing that version. GPL3 cannot cage software that is already free!



IANAL, but are we sure the argument would apply when the copyright owner is a single owner (like in this case, because ALL contributors to these projects assign copyright to the FSF)?


That means that, for example, all versions of GCC are in fact owned by the FSF. If the FSF comes in and says "We have been possessed by the Devil himself and we send all rights for every GCC version to Microsoft", I am not sure of the consequences. The GCC is *their*: they agree to distribute it under the GPL, but maybe they can revoke it anytime now. The problem wouldn't exist in the case of a multi-copyrighted project



That's the reason they can unilaterally decide to change all the licenses of their projects to GPL3. For Linux this has been deemed impossible, because they would have to ask to every contributor -which is often impossible.



Note that I personally like the GPL, but I don't know if it protects from such a risk.

#

Re:No Forking Way!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 07:11 AM
You miss the point.

If all current versions of the GCC are distributed under GPLv2, the Novell can simply take on the responsibility of forking GCC and continue to use THEIR version forever under GPLv2. Any NEW version of GCC that the FSF releases under GPLv3 will be irrelevant to Novell.

Except of course the damage that such forking might do to consistency in the implementations. Novell can, of course, avoid such damage merely by copying every improvement of the GPLv3 GCC into the GPLv2 GCC they maintain by reverse engineering - easy when you have the source code. There might be some legal question as to how the improvements are incorporated and whether that constitutes a "derivative work", thus bringing the old GPLv2 version under the GPLv3, but I'm sure the lawyers will figure that one out to Novell's benefit.

The same applies to every other FSF utility in Linux.

It doesn't matter that the original developers consigned their copyright to the FSF. The only thing that matters is what version of the GPL did the FSF use to distribute the utilities. And since every FSF utility must contain the source code, and since all of them were released under the GPLv2, they can be forked and maintained identically to any GPLv3 utility.

Therefore it would be pointless for the FSF to release all its tools under the GPLv3 merely to try to prevent someone from using them. Their goal in going to v3 is merely to prevent anyone from doing the same deal that Novell did with Microsoft and continuing to use the future tools as released under the v3 GPL, thus forcing anyone making such deals to revert to the GPLv2 utilities - which again, is really pointless, but understandable.

This has absolutely NO effect on the GPLv2 utilities themselves - only on utilities released under GPLv3.

You can't, by the way, "send all rights for every version of the GCC to Microsoft" - rights are not retroactive. GPLv2 will continue to be in force for every utility released by the FSF under that version. They can't even re-release existing tools under GPLv3 and thus revoke the ones under GPLv2 because the versions - even if identical - under GPLv2 would STILL be under GPLv2 as marked in their source code.

#

Re:No Forking Way!

Posted by: Administrator on February 06, 2007 08:32 AM

Probably it's me being dense but...



You can't, by the way, "send all rights for every version of the GCC to Microsoft" - rights are not retroactive. GPLv2 will continue to be in force for every utility released by the FSF under that version. They can't even re-release existing tools under GPLv3 and thus revoke the ones under GPLv2 because the versions - even if identical - under GPLv2 would STILL be under GPLv2 as marked in their source code.



This quite surprises me. It seems to me your statement is analogous to: "I cannot change the license of something I released and of which I own all copyrights". Is this really true? The fact that rights are not retroactive, as I understood it, means I can't do anything previous uses of GCC under the GPL -at that time this was the license, and they were perfectly right to comply with that license. So if I am the FSF and I change the licence of all GCC versions tomorrow, I can't sue anyone for having distributed it under the GPL today. But I can't understand why I can't have the freedom to change my mind on the license of something I 100% own and then enforce the new license from now onward.



Anyway yes, forking would be a great damage anyway to Novell. Even if Novell lawyers can cover their rear-end, I think development costs etc. would rise a lot (who would like to contribute OSS work to a Novell-specific fork? Except of course the Novell fork becomes somehow more interesting than the official fork...hmm, interesting times ahead.)

#

Re:No Forking Way!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 11:12 AM
(new anonymous reader entering the discussion here)

This quite surprises me. It seems to me your statement is analogous to: "I cannot change the license of something I released and of which I own all copyrights". Is this really true?

Yes it is. The reason is this. You gave out a license. If the licensee complies with the rules of the license, and the license does not expire by its own terms, then you may not revoke it.

A license is similar to a contract, but it is also a property right. Once you give it away, the terms are set, and the licensee "owns" his license.

You could stop distributing it under the previous license. But under the GPL, those whom you have already licensed can still redistribute it under the license that they received from you.

So if Novell is complying with GPLv2, they can not be prevented from redistributing software for which they have a license under GPLv2.

Look at it this way... you buy a copy of Office from Microsoft (not that you would want to, but just as an example). MS grants you a license to resell the software, as long as you delete all of your installed copies and all of your backup copies before the sale.

If you have complied with the license, Microsoft cannot suddenly change its mind and sue you for redistributing its software.

Do you see how that would be unfair?

#

Re:No Forking Way!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 05:49 AM
Look at it this way... you buy a copy of Office from Microsoft (not that you would want to, but just as an example). MS grants you a license to resell the software, as long as you delete all of your installed copies and all of your backup copies before the sale.

If you have complied with the license, Microsoft cannot suddenly change its mind and sue you for redistributing its software.


Do you see how that would be unfair?


Actually Microsoft can and does do things like that, but they are able to because there is a clause in the license that says "we reserve the right to change the terms of this license at any time." Since that type of phrasing is absent in the GPL, it's not an issue for Novell.

#

Re:No Forking Way!

Posted by: Administrator on February 06, 2007 05:45 PM

I'm sure it would be unfair, I just wondered if it was possible. I also did a little research on the Internet and it seems you are right. Hmm, I have to think better when I assign licences to my projects<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)

#

Ah, at last, a glimpse of brain on the Internet

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 03:45 PM
Great post. At last, someone got it right.
Thanks.

But it sure won't make it on<nobr> <wbr></nobr>/. nor on groklaw.

#

RE: won't make it on /. nor on groklaw.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 10:25 PM
Slash dot folks can get emotional and some posters don't get it right there sometimes... lots of fireworks to blind one in getting anything other than confusing smoke that is hard to see thru (sometimes, not all the time)!

However, Groklaw articles are 100% % on point and are correct. Remember, that Pam as a young girl went into the men's chess clubs to take em on in chess. She is not a light weight with her research and so her facts are on target (something that the FUD folks like yourself must hate). Her eye on the chess board as these players move around is correct with better that 20/20 vision.

If you find that she is not correct. Then, send her your counter-points and ask here to correct her articles.

If you are going to slam groklaw, then you better back it up with some facts... as all I see is you sending up flames. Hmmmm, if it looks like FUD, smells like FUD it is FUD. Do you work for Microsoft, or newSCO, or some other anti-OpenSource entity?

Exactly where has Groklaw EVER been wrong... If Groklaw has been wrong at any point then certainly that would be big NEWS and others would be quick to point that out. I have not ever seen any article written by a responsible journalist that is attacking Groklaw for having the facts wrong! NEVER. Because it has never happened.

SO - where's the beef. You better explain yourself as this comment that Groklaw is off base in any sense, shows your lack of intelligence (and maybe demonstrates your lack of integrity)!

I challenge you to back up your anti-groklaw statement.

#

What A Wanker

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 12:49 AM
Groklaw articles are 100% % on point and are correct.
If Groklaw has been wrong at any point then certainly that would be big NEWS

Could you possibly be a more blind, enamored fan boy? You're literally foaming at the mouth!

#

Re:What An Anonymous Wanker

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 02:25 AM
Funny how all the strawmen and FUD-meisters that hate Linux/OSS/Groklaw, can never bother to post with their real identity... I wonder why that is.

We'll just wait here for your proof of Groklaw being wrong...


  loop=true

-Saltydogmn (SCOX hater, and shill exposer)

(Hi, biff! Are things so slow at the Yahoo SCOX board that you decided to troll for a while in here?)

#

Re:What An Anonymous Wanker

Posted by: Administrator on February 07, 2007 04:24 AM
PJ was wrong. She reported that Novell was going to be banned from distributing Linux and that is not true. She even admits such but refuses to put in corrections or admit she made a rushed judgement.

All these Groklaw fans can only find the faults of others. Never their own. Its a shame really.. Cause it used to be a valuable peice of info until it started getting political and FSF can do no wrong. They are so busy looking for people doing them wrong they never step outside the box to see what is really going on. Only their Interpretation.

#

You're right, but ...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 08:51 PM

...but your comment about the Linux kernel not moving to GPLv3 is irrelevant. The Linux kernel is the least visible part of Gnu/Linux to most users. If Novell happened to find themselves in a position where they could only distribute the kernel, they wouldn't have a Linux business.


By the way, the people who are most vocal in rejecting the name "Gnu/Linux" in favor of "Linux" are mostly the same people who wouldn't be able to tell the difference if you ripped out Linux (the kernel) and replaced it with a BSD variant, or even with Sun Solaris.

#

Re:You're right, but ...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 05:04 AM
So other words, if Solaris uses ANY FSF utility, we have to call it "GNU/Solaris"?

Yeah, right.

The bottom line is that nobody but FSF fanatics cares what the OS is called. And since most people are interacting with a DESKTOP these days instead of a bunch of command line utilities, the same argument could be made that the OS should be called "KDE/Linux" or "GNOME/Linux" or even "X/Linux".

Which destroys the argument utterly...

Face it - the FSF fanatics have lost totally. The product is "Linux" and that's the way it's going down in history.

Tough cookies, FSF. You lost. Get over it.

#

Re: You're right, but ...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 08, 2007 05:44 AM
> we have to call it "GNU/Solaris"?

Which planet do you live on, my anonymous friend? We already have GNU/Solaris distributions, see <a href="http://www.gnusolaris.org/" title="gnusolaris.org">http://www.gnusolaris.org/</a gnusolaris.org> for example. It is just like GNU/Darwin (see <a href="http://www.gnu-darwin.org/" title="gnu-darwin.org">http://www.gnu-darwin.org/</a gnu-darwin.org>) or GNU/kFreeBSD or GNU/Linux for the end user, but with a kernel replaced.

BTW, my brother who posted the original message, I am all with you, but can you please spell GNU correctly? It is a recursive acronym.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)

#

Re:You're right, but ...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 08, 2007 06:12 AM
> Face it - the FSF fanatics have lost totally. The product is "Linux" and that's the way it's going down in history. Tough cookies, FSF. You lost.

What? Do you mean your "uname -o" or "uname -a" does not say "GNU/Linux"? Seems like you are too ignorant to even learn the mere operating system you use.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)

#

Hmmm, Sun has said Solaris will be GPLv3...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 09:17 PM
It has been reported that Solaris will be GPLv3.

Meaning, that there will be a pure GPLv3 player in the OS space (something that Linux can never be because of GPLv2 code that exists, and will not be replaced).

Of course one wonders if at some point some key parts of LINUX suddenly evolved or are changed to GPLv3 code, resulting in an overall result, that means that to use LINUX you would have to comply with GPLv3 FULLY, as you will not be able to remove that GPLv3 code and plug in your own to make it less restrictive. The idea of making a critical part of LINUX GPLv3, still has to get past Linux and the others. However, once it does, then all of LINUX will be executing under the GPLv3 affects.

Linus has said to date he is happy with GPLv2, we shall see what GPLv3 is when it is finally born, as of right now, we don't know if it is a boy or a girl.

And if Solaris becomes GPLv3... then things will really heat up. Can you imagine Richard Stallman endorsing the use of Solaris over Linux?

And can you imagine that LINUX might lose developers to Solaris, at least those that believe that GPLv3 is better vs GPLv2!

Already, the likes of SAMBA will be GPLv3!

I do think that there are some kernel developers who don't see eye to eye with LINUS thinking in only GPLv2 terms right now. BUT, they are not going to do anything until they see what GPLv3 really is, and is not! Most are just too busy to even entertain the idea of an opinion right now as every GPLv3 is hypothetical until GPLv3 is a reality.

Is it a boy or a girl? It won't matter actually!
But to some, if they like it better than GPLv2, and if LINUX is not GPLv3, and Solaris is GPLv3, then watch out for Solaris.

#

Boy or a girl? It won't matter! .NET is alive!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 09:50 PM
Is it a boy or a girl? It won't matter actually!

True!

It is still better than Microsoft, and better than any Novell planned fork to become the only version of LINUX that is compatible with Microsoft's DRM,<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET, etc (co-exist deal with MS is limited to only 5 years, where is Microsoft so chooses at that time they can drop Novell like a hot potato (or if in 5 years the GPLv3 is huge) and MS is free of competition in the eyes of the anti-trust folks, Microsoft could buy Novell and have a Linux distro that works with their stuff and sell the interoperability to those who are interested!

Sun (GPL for JAVA, and Solaris), Linux (all versions except Novell Suse due to MS deal), etc have one big problem. It is called that<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET trap and how to regain, or even start to penetrate markets that are lost to<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET already.

I know of whole segments of the ISV controlled application markets, in insurance company and agency software, in real estate company software, in dental software, in medical practice software, QUICKBOOKS users, etc... that need Microsoft right now as almost 100% in some markets (like the insurance agency software application market) do not use ANYTHING BUT MICROSOFT, and many have moved to<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET, as the foundation to their verticle business applications that they sell and support. Older code and databases are being upgraded to new versions running<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET in many cases!

The customers of these ISV's have no choice but to use the software they are CHAINED to... as the cost to migrate data to new applications is so far outside the scope and imaginations of such businesses, that they will end up using Microsoft software... this is something that Novell researched, and understands fully! If Novell wants to sell into those markets, they have to be certified by Microsoft to be compatible! Meaning, that the ISV's will not list Novell as a supported OS until such compatiblity is guranteed by Novell and Microsoft.

There are such things as facts you know!<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET is alive and as a trap already has many victims in it's grasp. TO change this fact, then funding to compete with those verticle app ISVs needs to be done! Meaning that OpenSource folks need to start writing dental software apps, medical practice apps, insurance agency apps, real estate company apps, THAT EXACTLY REPLICATE THE ONES THAT THOSE USERS USE TODAY (drop in over the weekend and use those apps on Monday AM, that use the existing data in the existing formats, that DON'T need any amount of training for employees to use). I don't see it happening. DO you?

#

RE: need to start writing dental software, etc!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 06, 2007 10:08 PM
Yep-

AND once Linux is GPLv3 (or Solaris, take your pick), AND for whichever one is the most stable... then, application developers can target MS based and FAT over charging (for per seat, and support licenses) verticle application segments !

AND make LOTS of MONEY selling the same support, only have less development cost (so could even license for free), vs those that are in the MS Vista (and children of Vista),<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET, MS proprietary format only game.

For example: JAVA to win, must foster this environment where open source ISVs can compete and steal business away from other entrenched MICROSOFT ISV development houses that OWN huge market share that is guaranteed to upgrade to Microsoft OS and products in the future due to an absolute lack of any other option, and SUN know this... this is why SUN sees the GPLv3 as so important.

Sun is right.

Linus needs to get a clue and see the benefit of GPLv3 (where LINUX and SOLARIS might be able merge into a unified and compatible force vs the Microsoft<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET, DRM, Vista, Office 2007 XML format, many headed monster).

I think that he sees this, but the people (company interests) that are members of the OSDL merged to be called something else might be missing seeing the lighthouse thru the fog. If they don't get on a common course with GPLv3 soon then they risk ending up hitting the Microsoft rocks.

I think that Novell KNOWS that the OpenSource folks are too fractured to unify, so they have placed a bet for their stockholders that might make sense (not opensource religion sense, but dollars and cents)!

#

This article is almost as bogus as the Reuter's

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 12:29 AM
> The FSF has absolutely no control over Novell's distribution of Linux. None at all. Zero.

This is completely wrong. The Reuter's article (no matter how bogus it is) talks about a GNU/Linux distribution. FSF owns copyrights on gcc, glibc, coreutils, gdb, bash, emacs, gawk, grep and other programs, without which even linux (the kernel) is impossible, not to speak about the whole GNU/Linux distribution.

It's another thing that FSF will never move from GPL (besides the version maybe), however it does have control over future versions of GNU software that are key parts of the Novell's distribution.

> It doesn't matter a whit how much Stallman hates the Microsoft/Novell deal. It's legal. It's legit. It's in full compliance with the GPL.

It is legal, true, the Reuters article is bogus. However your anti-Stallman attitude and incorrect arguments is another pole of silliness.

The correct subject for all this saga would be "GPLv3 will likely not allow dirty patent/DRM machinations. Novell as a non-dirty player (hopefully) will not be affected by this."

No anti-FSF FUD, please.

#

Ignorance Is Key To Stupidity

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 01:17 AM
Perhaps you should read the GPLv2 under which FSF utilities are currently licensed. It clearly and irrevocably states that the software is freely distributable under the terms of GPLv2 FOREVER! Maybe FSF can restrict FUTURE versions of bash or grep but the present version is GPLv2 FOREVER and NO ONE not even FSF can stop Novell from distributing the current version. Also, my current version of bash hasn't changed in over three years and grep over five so, there's probably not much in the way of a new bash or grep version that Novell couldn't live without.

But, more than that, Novell can also fork the utilities and continue to develop them in house and release them under GPLv2 if they like. FSF cannot stop that. The GPLv2 guarantees that right! It is the core reason for the existence of the GPL. If you read and understood the GPLv2 you would know this.

It is you who is completely wrong. Copyright ownership does not and cannot change the terms of GPLv2. Once the genie is free, it cannot be put back in the bottle. Perhaps you should get a clue before you start making asinine statements and spreading your own clueless and misguided FUD.

#

Very expensive doing your own beta testing.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 08:34 AM
Very expensive doing your own beta testing.

Yep - cause no one is going to be beta for Novell. Nope. I have been a Novell user for years, and have put Novell on many computers. Resulting in INCOME for NOVELL. Hey the fact is that I am still a Novell user (I am giving them a chance to revert back to the old Novell absent the Microsoft deal), however, by the middle of summer, ALL that will change, IF Novell does not back track, and mend it's fences and it's ways!

AND all those systems I have converted from Windows to SuSE, will be migrated to something else... as you know, SuSE with "compatiblity assurance" or some other Microsoft speak, will be nothing but another loser bastard child of Microsoft, and to stay with them, would be just unethical. The only ethical thing that I will do, is go out and replace my mistake for folks for FREE. Yep... that will be the only honorable thing to do..! Those whose systems I have to replace will wonder why? The answer it that Novell knows nothing about honor and have lost their way (they have shown a total disregard toward the spirit of the GPL, and to have their "stinking smell" associated with me by reputation, is something that I will have to wash myself of, no matter how much it costs. iF they want to keep Novell on their machines then they are on their own (I will not dirty myself by touching them, is what my opinion of it is)!

It will not take me long to replace these machines as I will have to do some upgrades anyway, along the lines of regular maintance, so even if it costs a little, it will not cost much because my pride will be restored. Right now, I feel sick. My rebirth is of two sources, if Novell reverses course, or if they don't by unloading those machines of the foulness of Novell.

#

Re: Ignorance Is Key To Stupidity

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 08, 2007 05:07 AM
(I am the top poster.)

> GPLv2 FOREVER! [...] Maybe FSF can restrict FUTURE versions [...]

But we all speak about future versions of the Novell distribution only. Are not we? Quoting the highly unprofessional Reuter's article: "reviewing Novell right to sell _new_ versions".

The Reuter's article is completely bogus, because it uses terms that FSF would never ever use, like "intellectual property", "sell" instead of "distribute", "open-source Linux" and so on. But at least it got it right regarding the _new_ versions that are to be affected.

> It is you who is completely wrong. Copyright ownership does not and cannot change the terms of GPLv2.

You are fighting the mills. Can you show the place in my original message or the Reuter's one speaking about the current Novell distribution?

Do you still want to call somebody stupid?

#

Re:This article is almost as bogus as the Reuter's

Posted by: Administrator on February 07, 2007 04:26 AM
Its fun being enslaved to freedom isnt it<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)

#

Re:No Forking Way!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 03:54 AM
It seems to me your statement is analogous to: "I cannot change the license of something I released and of which I own all copyrights".

That's right. Unless you've put clauses in the license allowing you to retroactively change it, you're held to the terms on the software you've already released when you released it. You can release it again under other terms, but the people who already have the old version in hand get to keep using it under the original terms.

And not only does the GPL not have any termination clauses that could be used as a stick against novell, it's explicitly designed to prevent it from being retroactively changed by an unscrupulous publisher who might release a program under the GPL then change their mind later. The fact that the FSF is the publisher makes no difference.

#

Re:This article...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 05:20 AM
It's not clear to me that Novell and any other OSS developers who would like to see consistent versions of the basic utilities could not reverse engineer any new versions of GPLv3 utilities under GPLv2.

The only question is how these reverse engineered versions could be prevented from being "derivative works" and thus coming under GPLv3.

The cost to Novell would certainly increase, but there is no evidence that Novell, with the possible assistance of OSS developers who are less fanatical than Stallman, couldn't handle the increased expense. They don't have to do much original development, only reverse engineer any changes without leading them to be derivative works.

The comment about how GPLv3 is not an "OSS" license is nonsense. And nothing Novell has one has threatened any GPLv2 code, as Stallman himself has admitted.

FSF fanatics are only doing harm to their cause by overreacting to insignificant events.

The Novell deal might have been stupid - although it got them a lot of money, so how stupid was it? - but there is no evidence that it has or can do any harm to OSS that Microsoft couldn't have done anyway.

The main complaint over the Novell deal is that Novell has supposedly by implication admitted that OSS code infringes Microsoft patents.

Whoop-de-doo! Like Microsoft wouldn't have made that accusation anyway! Since Novell has stated explicitly that they made no such admission, how likely is it in a future court case that it is going to be dramatically important that Microsoft will then CLAIM that Novell's action supports its case? Even if the court decides that Novell's actions DO support Microsoft's claims, the case is going to hinge on a lot more than that.

No, this is just another example of FSF fanaticism, not rationality.

Modifying the GPL to prevent future companies from EXPLICITLY violating the concept of OSS by making patent agreements of this sort might be a good idea. But it will have little effect on Novell, and even less effect on the success of OSS - or even "Free" software - in general, no matter what companies charge patent violations in the future.

OSS cannot be caged or hindered by legal decisions, as long as coders can code around it - if necessary, in countries where the patent laws are not so applied. If the state wants to make software the equivalent of drugs - and I wouldn't be surprised if they do - they will discover that just as they can't control drugs, they can't control software. It's that simple.

Tempest in a teapot. Linus is correct on that score.

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reuters' ignorance

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 07:03 AM
a more hard-hitting response to reuters is
<a href="http://www.itwire.com.au/content/view/9208/1090/" title="itwire.com.au">here.</a itwire.com.au>

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You are so full of bull fud...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 07, 2007 08:13 AM
You fail to provide proof... where are your links to the quotes that you state are evidently somewhere.

In your dreams, maybe?

Quotes:
Links:
Evidence please...

Ah - cant' come up with anything...
thought so - another FUDster bites the dust.

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Re:You are so full of bull fud...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on February 09, 2007 05:14 AM
Why don't you put your money where your mouth is?

If you are so certain that Pamela Jones (if that is even her real name) is always 100% on target with regard to Novell, then why don't you post a permanent site with current pics.

Then when I show you that you are very wrong, I'll expect you to post pictures of yourself in a tutu, fishnet stockings, and nice pink wand.

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Hmm

Posted by: Administrator on February 07, 2007 12:08 AM
Novell seems to be getting mis-interpreted in this article.

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Technically still (almost) possible.

Posted by: Administrator on February 06, 2007 05:53 AM
In the face of such towering ignorance, it may be worthwhile to note:

1. The FSF has absolutely no control over Novell's distribution of Linux. None at all. Zero. It doesn't matter a whit how much Stallman hates the Microsoft/Novell deal. It's legal. It's legit. It's in full compliance with the GPL.

2. GPLv3 is still on the drawing board. Jumping to conclusions about the consequences of its impact on Novell is insanely irresponsible. Any changes to the current draft version of GPLv3 will go through the same public debate and discussion as have the previous drafts.

3. The odds of the Linux kernel ever moving to GPLv3 -- so long as its current anti-DRM and other restrictive clauses remain in place -- is about the same as mine being crowned Miss America. And I don't even know Donald Trump.


This is all true. But you are just referring to Linux -the kernel.
Another thing is GNU/Linux. And the FSF actually owns the copyright of a lot of fundamental GNU/Linux software. Now imagine that tomorrow the FSF revokes Novell any right to redistribute:
- gcc
- glibc
- GNU make
- Bash

Yes, the kernel is untouched, but the resulting system will be barely useful. Expecially GCC could hardly be replaced (even the BSDs must use it, and the BSDs are notably unhappy of using GNU software). Other GNU software could maybe be replaced, yes, but to rebuild a professional desktop distro from those shaken grounds would involve a LOT of work and it wouldn't be compatible with most other Linux distributions. Novell would be better rebuilding its system from a BSD -and even in this case, it should find a new compiler.

So, if I understand correctly, the FSF cannot take the Linux kernel away from Novell, but can hurt them a lot.

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This article...

Posted by: Administrator on February 07, 2007 03:40 AM
The author is correct on a few key points, fails to capture others.

Point 1, the Reuters article was crap.

Eben Moglen, [...] explained: "This is a story being hyped by the Reuters guy who wrote it." (<a href="http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS6837365670.html" title="linux-watch.com">http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS6837365670.htm<nobr>l<wbr></nobr> </a linux-watch.com>)

The second point, that the kernel Linux is not likely to use the GNU GPLv3, is most likely true as well.

What the author did not grasp and seemingly should have, Linux as a kernel is useless to Novell without the GNU utilities.

This leaves Novell in a pinch. Yes, it can fork the GNU code, a right that is not only possible, but protected by the GPL.

This, however, is expensive. To maintain such a huge toolset on their own would drive profits down quickly. And because the GNU utilities released from that moment on will be under GNU GPLv3, any fixes and patches that apply to those utilities in the future will ALSO be under GPL v3. The GPL states you may use later versions, but you can NOT use earlier versions.

This means that Red Hat and Canonical have a HUGE competitive edge by releasing fixes under GPL v3. Fixes that Novell will NOT be able to incorporate.

One thing that I see as a common thread in debates over the Novell/MS deal is the reaction to what the GPLv3 will do to "Open Source". Quite frankly, it will do nothing, as GPL v3 is NOT an Open Source license. GPL v3 is a Free Software license.

The GNU utilities are Free Software, however much people wish to parade them around as Open Source. And the FSF is doing, and will continue to do, what it takes to ensure that that code remain liberated.

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