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Red Hat License Challenged

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the challenge-is-good dept.

Red Hat Software 391

An anonymous reader writes: "David McNett has noticed an apparent discrepancy between the Red Hat Linux EULA and the GPL. He has written an open letter to the FSF asking for their opinion on the matter. Does Red Hat have the right to "audit your facilities and records" to ensure compliance with their license?" McNett misreads the Red Hat documents. Their contract is for the various services, not the software, and for the services they are entitled to demand whatever concessions they think the market will bear.

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I love /. (5, Funny)

gergi (220700) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180539)

So now the /. editors are posting stories that they are going to immediately refute and say isn't a story at all? I love this place :).

More amazing is that this story will generate hundreds of comments.

Re:I love /. (5, Insightful)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180566)

You immediately got modded down (was "1, Offtopic" when I looked at it, now "-1, Offtopic" when I clicked "Reply"). I probably will be too, but I wanted to say I agree with you.

What is it with the editors? They posted an article like "here's some news, but don't bother reading it because the guy is wrong". Come on, guys!

GO PHIL MICKELSON (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180574)

This is the Major that he'll finally break through in!! Go Lefty!!!

michael posted it, he must need an ego boost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180618)

I guess his rampant modding of people who don't follow his ideas just aren't enough, he has to try to demonstrate some intelligence on the front page write-up. I still can't believe some people take this site seriously.

Got your ego jollies, michael? Go ahead and mod this post down. Get creative and mark it as a "troll" as to placate your ego.

Editors...say it with me...EDITORS...Very good! (4, Insightful)

somethingwicked (260651) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180738)

What's wrong with saying-

"Okay, here's a story that you will prob see all over your favorite Free Software Slanted News Sites today. Here's what's wrong with it..."

The title says it all really: They are EDITORS. Not gatekeepers that post stories only, they have a staggering ability to actually add there own text. *yawn*

I see them taken to task often (and rightfully so) for posting dupes, unchecked links, etc...and they deserve the hassles on that stuff

Don't agree with his editorializing? Cool thing about /. is your can post your own reply AND other people actually READ them! Try that at your favorite newspaper site

Editors? What editors? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180770)

The forum admins on this site are not "editors". The term "editor" imples some sort of professionalism. The term "janitors" that gets thrown around here is more apropos. This site is, and always will be, a venting ground for zealots of various flavors and will always be runned by non-professionals.

Re:I love /. (1)

robslimo (587196) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180782)

yeah, from the link at livejournal:

Heh, regarding the first post, that sounds like something Slashdot would do. Post a story saying "Oh, somebody's challenging Red Hat's license claims but they're wrong so we'll post a story on it anyway."

The only thing that makes this funny is that it's Nugget.


It *is* interesting that it was nugget (of distributed.net fame and more) who asked the questions. Normally I'd have disregarded it completely, but, with his background, it did make me pause a bit. On review, I'd have to agree that he missed the mark.

good to know (-1, Offtopic)

gnabes (532502) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180543)

ok. he misread. let's go to the next one.

first post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180544)

first post?

Wait a minute (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180548)

Redhat is SCO is Microsoft is EVIL!!

Isn't it a bit pointless (3, Insightful)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180549)

...commenting on this story, since the editors have already done it for us? Must be a slow day ;-)

Re:Isn't it a bit pointless (-1)

Seth Finklestein (582901) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180680)

Hi. I'm Seth Finklestein, world-famous cybersecurity researcher. I'd like to tell you a story.

Years ago, I started a site called the Censorware Project. It was truly the most advanced site on the entire Internet. We were getting over 50 million hits per day and winning awards left and right. I won the EFF Pioneer Award for my superb work.

Then, Michael Sims pulled the plug.

I first learned about this horrible injustice when my wife awoke me to say, "Seth, your web site is down." Knowing that she was wrong, I got up and walked over to my Dell Dimension PC and tried to log in. Do you know what it said?

"The Censorware Project is now closed."

Michael Sims, you have done the world a great injustice by closing the Censorware Project, censoring the people I love who love to write about being censored. Well, you messed with the wrong crowd. In the coming weeks, I plan to start an Internet petition and possibly even an e-mail campaign to get you eliminated as a Slashdot "editor." No longer will we have to deal with your whiny rhetoric, your surreptitious downward moderation, and your editorializing of stories.

Beware the ides of March, Michael Sims. They could strike at any time.

werd to teh mutha fuckn ghoppaz (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180551)

gimme some grits.

FP! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180553)

fp

Well... (4, Funny)

FoxIVX (104861) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180556)

At least things are getting more efficient around here. The editors are posting bogus news stories, then retracting them themselves before someone points it out. I call that progress!

Re:Well... (1)

caffeinex36 (608768) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180586)

And remember...If your not moving Forward, your moving Backward.

Re:Well... (-1, Offtopic)

Psiren (6145) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180802)

Well, you're obviously not moving anywhere.

Re:Well... (2, Funny)

jmv (93421) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180601)

Yeh, still trying to figure out what is new in that. It's like: "Cure for Cancer discovered! No in fact, it doesn't work. Never mind.".

Re:Well... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180616)


> The editors are posting bogus news stories, then retracting them themselves before someone points it out.

Sounds like this is going to be the slow news day from hell.

Re:Well... (4, Funny)

will_die (586523) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180634)

But it does give them a better track record then the New York Times.

Re:Well... (5, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180717)

The news is somebody worrying about the redhat EULA and taking their interpretation to FSF for an opinion. The comment by michael is just that - a comment, not a retraction or whatever.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

intnsred (199771) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180812)

The news is somebody worrying about the redhat EULA and taking their interpretation to FSF for an opinion.

Agreed. Plus for folks like me -- someone who uses Debian and not Red Hat -- I was shocked to learn that Red Hat would be doing audits on anyone. I mean, isn't that a huge reason people want to use Linux in the first place?

Re:Well... (1)

kubrick (27291) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180729)

Will it still qualify as progress when it gets posted again tomorrow, without the immediate rebuttal? :?

Okay when "we" do it (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180558)

... they are entitled to demand whatever concessions they think the market will bear.

Gee, when Microsoft (and other "bad" companies) does that kind of thing, everyone here gets upset. I wonder why that is.

Re:Okay when "we" do it (1, Insightful)

Negatyfus (602326) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180626)

It's not about that being a good or bad thing, it's about the fact that they actually *can*. Since, well, they *can*. I'm sure everybody would get upset when Red Hat'd pull some crazy Microsoftish stunt. It's just that Microsoft has a little more power that makes it slightly more upsetting.

Re:Okay when "we" do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180699)

"It's just that Microsoft has a little more power that makes it slightly more upsetting."

If the terms are in the EULA, then it is equally enforcable, no matter whose company it applies to. When a user agrees to RedHat's EULA, they have a much legal authority to enforce it as Micorsoft does.

Re:Okay when "we" do it (1)

colinleroy (592025) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180688)

Microsoft and other "bad" companies do that kind of things to almost-mandatory software, not optional services.

Its the monopoly, stupid (5, Insightful)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180709)

RedHat doesnt have anywhere close to a monopoly on any market that it produces products for.

Microsoft has monopolies (ones that have been found guilt of illegally maintaining, even) in several markets.

Remind you of anything? (1, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180564)

Now doesn't this sound exactly like the BSA's strongarm enforcement tactics? It sure does to me!

Think before you reply defending RedHat, lest you sound like a hypocrite.

Similar but not the sam (3, Informative)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180641)

4. REPORTING AND AUDIT. If Customer wishes to increase the number of Installed Servers, then Customer will purchase from Red Hat additional Services for each additional Installed Server. During the term of this Agreement and for one (1) year thereafter, Customer expressly grants to Red Hat the right to audit Customerâ(TM)s facilities and records from time to time in order to verify Customerâ(TM)s compliance with the terms and conditions of this Agreement. Any such audit shall only take place during Customerâ(TM)s normal business hours and upon no less than ten (10) days prior written notice from Red Hat. Red Hat shall conduct no more than one such audit in any twelve-month period except for the express purpose of assuring compliance by Customer where non-compliance has been established in a prior audit. Red Hat shall give Customer written notice of any non-compliance, and Customer shall have fifteen (15) days from the date of such notice in which to make payment to Red Hat for any additional Installed Servers, such payments to be determined by the number of additional Installed Servers multiplied by the applicable annual fee for Service per server. If Customer is found to have underreported the number of Installed Server by more than five percent (5%), Customer shall, in addition to the annual fee for Service per Installed Server, pay a penalty equal to twenty percent (20%) of the underreported fees.

There are some reasonable limtiations for the audits. If you buy a product including services, the burdon on RH would increase with every deployement, so it seems reasonable to charge per server. But how can you free the software and not the service ?

The point remains to be checked, is there a conflict with the GPL ?

Re:Similar but not the same (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180677)

"Red Hat shall give Customer written notice of any non-compliance, and Customer shall have fifteen (15) days from the date of such notice in which to make payment to Red Hat for any additional Installed Servers"

I don't know about you, but to me that sounds awfully like a corporate Windows lisence, where the customer is expected to pay for each server the software is installed on. I know it's not EXACTLY the same, but there will be plenty of people who will go to bat for RedHat when Microsoft (via the BSA) does pretty much the same thing.

Why was this even posted? (1, Insightful)

signe (64498) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180565)


So, Michael. If David is incorrect, why did this even get posted. It's not news. It's not anything. It's just someone misreading a document and getting all up in arms about what he misread.

Once again, Slashdot shows us it has no filters. "News to Noone. Stuff that falters."

-Todd

Re:Why was this even posted? (1)

Oscaro (153645) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180615)

you meant "Staff that mutters"

Re: Why was this even posted? (1, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180640)


> you meant "Staff that mutters"

I first started reading Slashdot because I thought they were going to have "Nudes for Nerds".

Re:Why was this even posted? (5, Insightful)

skroz (7870) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180638)


Once again, Slashdot shows us it has no filters. "News to Noone. Stuff that falters."

If this is your opinion, why are you reading? Why are you posting? You're acting like the religious nuts that listen to Howard Stern all day just so they can find something to complain about. If you don't like it, change the fucking channel.

Yes, because how dare we demand quality content. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180747)

Michael posts a crap article that he instantly refutes on the writeup, people mention that it's useless to post this kind of stuff, and you retort with that? What good is slashdot being a discussion forum if the topic of discussion is useless? How about you leave since you aparently have no standards of quality.

Re:Why was this even posted? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180847)

You're acting like the religious nuts that listen to Howard Stern all day just so they can find something to complain about

just for the record, my nuts are not religious.

News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180568)

Somebody got confused by licenses, the GPL is involved, people can't read to save their lives, where are the "news"?

Welll, euh (1)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180571)

sounds resonable?

What more is there to say?

Redhat have defended this before. (5, Insightful)

iainl (136759) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180577)

The problem with Services contracts for Linux boxes is that you're allowed to install as many machines as you want (obviously - its GPL software). When clients only take out a service contract for some of their machines, then they have to have a certain amount of cover in their contracts to deal with the fact that you can pretty much guarantee that, out of the 5 servers you have, its always the one with the Service Contract that has the problem.

Creative server registering of this type has been catching them out for a while, so they are trying to minimise it with that change.

Re:Redhat have defended this before. (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180720)

Yes, but they dont make this fact clear and thus it's what is causing the trouble and uproar. This fact is not CLEARLY defined and can be interpeted in an overly broad manner. THIS is the basis for the gripe against the terms and conditions.

They want to force redhat to write these things clearly or completely remove them from the OS documentation and only allow them to say such scumbag things in the contract for the services.

I understand redhat's position on this but it was written very poorly and any EULA at all on a linux distro is underhanded and pretty damned scummy.

So I havent bought a RH distro cince 7.1 because of their EULA and words on the CD envelope that states that I agree by the EULA if I open it.

The download site I got 9.0 from didn't have no eula stated and the install doesnt either. so I DO NOT agree to any EULA they have.

simple as that.

They really need to re-think their strategy... small business is one that really need a cheap server product that they can buy a $300-$500 dollar a year minimal support contract on from redhat.. but they do not want that business.

Luckily I found a company that supports slackware in that manner, and they support each release for 5 years before EOL's it in their service packages...

Then it's a stupid contract (2, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180837)

There's one thing about any legal document: if it's impossible to enforce, it shouldn't exist. A services contract like the one Red Hat uses is guaranteed to create more trouble than it's worth. Why not make a contract valid for a certain amount of services, such as solving a number of problems? A good Linux contract, IMHO, would contain a list of the types of problems they would solve, and a number of calls allowed, one call per problem solved.

Scary Headline but no meat (5, Insightful)

haydenth (588730) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180581)

At first when I read this headline, it scared me, especially with all the SCO stuff going on, its getting harder for me to explain to my bosses how the Linux licensing works and what is going on.

BOOO REDHAT (0, Troll)

djcdplaya (220461) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180585)

Boooo Redhat! Go FreeBSD. I'll be switching a server over to a *BSD today!

Re:BOOO REDHAT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180775)

And you get even less applications than one does on linux :)) loose loose scenario :D Linux has nothing, bsd has less.

Re:BOOO REDHAT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180785)

You've obviously never heard of... oh... Mac OS X

Re:BOOO REDHAT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180845)

SCO will still get you!

Come again? (0, Redundant)

xNullx (635439) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180588)

So the editors post a story, then they decide to say the author is wrong? Is this just a bogus story or are the editors' opinions getting mixed into stories now? Not that it never happens here on /., just wondering.

Redhat business model... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180592)

You work, you write, we package, we distribute, we profit, you continue to work, you get some scraps for your trouble

RedHat turning into Microsoft (-1, Troll)

AwesomeJT (525759) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180596)

Oh goodness, it's time to switch to another distribution. RedHat is getting to big and mighty, an bullying the Linux community (at least RH users). At least with RH, users can just switch to another distribution like Debian or Slackware. Never liked RPMs much anyway, less problems if I compile from source. :-) Looks like someone has been taking notes from M$....

Re:RedHat turning into Microsoft (1)

djnichol (674571) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180843)

If I actually buy RedHat I pay $40--or more. Then they want me to pay $60 per year to take advantage of their service to keep it updated. On the open market M$ expects me to pay $200 for XP Home or $300 for XP Pro but they don't expect me to pay to keep either updated. RedHat sells us an embarrassment of riches in open source software but that embarrassment of riches is beginning to look embarrassing.

no posts needed.. (0, Redundant)

plnrtrvlr (557800) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180598)

It would seem that the editors are doing their best to lighten our workloads, they've already posted all the commentary needed! And now, with thought not being required, I can skip out on reading the rest of slashdot and head straight off to surfing porn... good day all!

What? (3, Insightful)

AVee (557523) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180599)

McNett misreads the Red Hat documents. Their contract is for the various services, not the software, and for the services they are entitled to demand whatever concessions they think the market will bear.

Then why is it news?
End why is it that all the legal stuf seems to have become so important in the Open-Source/Unix® world. Can't we just go on and write interesting programs and good code?

Move along people, there's nothing to see here...

Because it got submitted a billion times? (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180674)

perhaps.

Re:What? (1)

tdvaughan (582870) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180687)

Can't we just go on and write interesting programs and good code?
An admirable sentiment, but the problem is that as soon as you start writing 'good code' a company somewhere is going to think about using it. That's when everything starts getting legal and complicated as we've seen with recent licensing issues, IP regulation etc.

Re:What? (0, Offtopic)

autocracy (192714) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180697)

You think that's bad? You should see how nasty it's gotten on Slashdot when it comes to complaining about proper grammar. On that note, before somebody else says it: End why is it that... And why is it that... Don't forget the spelling of "stuf" either...

I don't know what causes concern with such petty things (other than that in this case you did have a high typo rate ;), but it seems to be overly prevalent for whatever reason. I think perhaps the best answer is to just pretend it's not there... especially when it comes to a story that answers itself and removes the point of debate (which I believe is what the site is really about... and what's with that self-answering issue anyway? Why post it?).

Opposingly, laws are the things that will restrict us most now that the Interweb(C)(R)tm has become mainstream and everybody wants in. Personally, I'd like to see control swing back to the hands of the technical elite weilding power through their command lines; Congress wouldn't. So legal issues are important. I still maintain this story was one of the stupidest I've seen on Slashdot though...

Now, everybody applaud the self-answering comment ;)

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

Zapman (2662) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180716)

End why is it that all the legal stuf seems to have become so important in the Open-Source/Unix® world.

{sigh} You obviously havn't been around the Unix wolrd for very long. The unix world has been beset by hideous legal issues since at least the early 80s:

Just who owns the unix trademark? I can think of at least 5 different owners.

The BSD 4.4 -> BSD Lite stupidity that stopped the *BSD's cold for at least a year (without that, it's quite possible that /. would be a BSD focused forum)

IIRC, there were several Xwindows legal challenges, OpenWin never came to fruition, etc, etc, etc

and those are just the ones I can think of on a couple hours of sleep.

Notice how it is all Open Source? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180841)

Notice how it is all Open Source Software that caused all the problems? It really is a parasite.

Re:What? (1)

tkg (455770) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180762)

End[sic] why is it that all the legal stuf seems to have become so important in the Open-Source/Unix® world. Can't we just go on and write interesting programs and good code?

Perhaps because the corporate world would rather that you didn't have that freedom. They want you to pay them for the privilege and the legal system is how they'll try and force you to.

FSF = oracle? (4, Interesting)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180600)

Why should the FSF be able to interpret Red Hat's inconsistent licensing terms? Wouldn't it be more natural to natural to ask Red Hat for a clarification first?

Re:FSF = oracle? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180723)

Yeah, it sounds like someone is trying to start shit by trying to "dob" redhat in. What are the FSF going to do? "Oh.. we thought you were our friend? boohoo".

Some people need to get over that Redhat is a _business, they have share holders to please_. Yes, they are a linux distribution but they are out to make money and nothing else.

Redhat is not a fucking charity!

Re:FSF = oracle? (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180752)

I dont think they are asking them to interpret the terms - they are asking the FSF to review wether the terms are compatible with the GPL, or if they conflict with it (and as such, are rendered void since RH *has* to comply with the GPL when distributing linux)

Penis Bird License Challenged (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180603)

Dear rotten.com, I am unsure if you are aware of the problems that your "Incident with the bird" picture has caused on the popular technology website slashdot (http://slashdot.org).
Many users of this site's messageboards are posting links to http://smoke.rotten.com/bird/ [rotten.com] and making text based representations of a bird on a man's penis. Frankly, while I am pro-freedom, this type of photo sickens me. Could you please move the location of the bird page on your site to keep slashdot readers from seeing things that are completeley unrelated to computers and technology? I'm not asking you to remove the content, just to relocate it.
FYI the text representation of the bird is:
*p_e_n_i_s_b_i_r_d_p_e_n_i_s_b_i_r_d_* [rotten.com]
p______...___________________________p
e____(_..__`'-.,--,__________________e
n_____'-._'-.__`\a\\_________________n
i_________'.___.'_(|_________________i
s____________7____||_________________s
b___________/___.'_|_________________b
i__________/_.-'__,J_________________i
r_________/_________\________________r
d________||___/______;_______________d
*________||__|_______|_______________*
p________`\__\_______|__/__''\_______p
e__________'._\______/.-`____{}|_____e
n___________/\_`;_.-'_________/______n
i___________\_;(((____.--'\_/________i
s_________.(((_____.-;\______________s
b____.--'`_____,;`'.'-;\_____________b
i_taco's____.'____'._.'\\____________i
r_dick_--'_________|__\_|____________r
d__________________\_\,_/____________d
*p_e_n_i_s_b_i_r_d_p_e_n_i_s_b_i_r_d_*

with a link to the offensive site (http://smoke.rotten.com/bird/ [rotten.com] ) underneath, these "Penis Birds" are posted by Penis Bird Guy, Penis Bird MAN and several other users.
Regards, Andrew J. Tosh

That's weird... (2, Interesting)

tdvaughan (582870) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180604)

So, by charging for their services they're able to use a license that relates to their clients' use of the software? How is that different from licensing the actual software?

Re:That's weird... (3, Interesting)

Orblivion (548121) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180690)

The argument is that you can download and install all the open source parts of RH advanced server under the GPL without ever agreeing to this EULA.

The interesting side effect of all this is that you are free to run as many copies of RHAS as you want until you buy even one copy. Once you 'taint' your company with even one fully licensed and supported copy of RHAS, you have agreed to this per-server licensing, and audits to make sure that you have enough licenses to cover all of your servers.

This may violate the GPL in the part that says "You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein."

Re:That's weird... (5, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180749)

Um, no. It's all about the service contract, not the software. If you aren't compliant, then your service sontract with redhat is invalid. You can happily continue to use the software all you want, but you're not entitled to their corporate support anymore.

As GPL does not say anything about service and support, there is no conflict whatsoever.

ugh. (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180605)

Whatever happened to just buying goods and services?
No strings attached, aside from paying for it? Licenses? Bah. Agreements? Bah. This game is about money, not for what you can bend the other person to do. Stipulations are for Microsoft. Redhat, or any other company of that nature, is supposed to see the beast for what it is, and improve on that. Be a better company. When I call a vendor, I dont want to jump through hoops, I just want the job done. We don't tolerate it from Microsoft, and we shouldnt tolerate it from Redhat. Redhat shouldn't try to emulate Microsoft, they should be BETTER.

Michael is right .. (3, Informative)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180619)

From the EULA:
"If Customer wishes to increase the number of Installed Servers, then Customer will purchase from Red Hat additional Services for each additional Installed Server."
Clearly, they are talking about the services, but I agree with the above posters, why post this as news if the letter itself is bogus ?
He also says:
Along these lines, simply installing GNU/Linux binds me to the following "extensions" to the GPL
But .. I didn't think you could add elements to the GPL and still call it a GPL license .. ?

Re:Michael is right .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180637)

I guess part of the problem is that, unlike standard Red Hat distro, Red Hat Advanced Server includes commercial programs. So they are not covered by the GPL.

Not so fast... (5, Interesting)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180624)

Actually, I see his point.

RH is saying that if you signup one of your servers to participate in their support services, that they have a right to audit your site (which may be ok), but they seem to imply that if you have 5 other RH servers (that arent participating in their services), they have a right to backbill you (with penalty) as if those servers were participating.

Now, maybe its legally ok for them to ask you to agree to this - but it does seem at quesition wether its 'ethical', and how they can reconcile that with the GPL.

I would definately be interested to read the FSF's response when they publish it.

Re:Not so fast... (2, Insightful)

GrenDel Fuego (2558) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180789)

The problem isn't with "5 other RH servers", it's with 5 other server running RH Advanced Server that aren't covered by the service contract.

You can have as many machines as you want running other Redhat versions, but you aren't allowed to install RHAS on more machines than you have service contracts for.

http://www.redhat.com/licenses/rhlas_us.html

"If Customer wishes to increase the number of Installed Servers, then Customer will purchase from Red Hat additional Services for each additional Installed Server."

Earlier they defined "installed server" as "the number of servers on which Customer installs Red Hat Linux Advanced Server"

Re:Not so fast... (1)

swv3752 (187722) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180795)

The reall problem is with unethical people buying a contract for one server and have 5 and then keep switching which server the contract is really for.

The license wording is meant to give RH a legal leg to enforce peopel to pay for the service they are using.

mod the story (0, Troll)

asr_man (620632) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180627)

How do I use my mod points on the story? -1 Redundant...

Name Change... (-1, Flamebait)

ccbaxter (660318) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180628)

...to RedmondHat

Redh Hat's increasing corporatization... (1, Interesting)

emil (695) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180629)

I remember a Red Hat that forced TrollTech to GPL QT. I remember a RedHat that preferred PostgreSQL over MySQL, voicing a preference for standards compliance. I remember a RedHat that never buckled to the pressue to include a proprietary YAST, and who made Anaconda open source.

What has happened to Red Hat? Where did my favorite UNIX distribution go? I want it back!

Not again.. (1)

Domino (12558) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180630)

I think I start to filter out topics with "License" in it. At least until there is a REAL license problem not involing 80 lines of copied code or some messed up wording in an EULA.

Relevant quandry (3, Insightful)

Ioldanach (88584) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180631)

"If Customer wishes to increase the number of Installed Servers, then Customer will purchase from Red Hat additional Services for each additional Installed Server."

His relevant quandry seems to be:

"During the term of this Agreement and for one (1) year thereafter,

Customer expressly grants to Red Hat the right to audit Customer's facilities and records from time to time in order to verify Customer's compliance with the terms and conditions of this Agreement"

And like the editor says, that's for the support services. If you want support, you pay for each server. If you're signed up for support for 3 boxes, RedHat has the right to come in and make sure you're running 3 boxes, not 6. Otherwise, they're going to charge you a support fee for 6.

Re:Relevant quandry (1)

Ioldanach (88584) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180645)

That'll teach me not to preview first...

His relevant quandry seems to be:

"If Customer wishes to increase the number of Installed Servers, then Customer will purchase from Red Hat additional Services for each additional Installed Server."

"During the term of this Agreement and for one (1) year thereafter, Customer expressly grants to Red Hat the right to audit Customer's facilities and records from time to time in order to verify Customer's compliance with the terms and conditions of this Agreement"

And like the editor says, that's for the support services. If you want support, you pay for each server. If you're signed up for support for 3 boxes, RedHat has the right to come in and make sure you're running 3 boxes, not 6. Otherwise, they're going to charge you a support fee for 6.

Re:Relevant quandry (1)

forgoil (104808) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180793)

Why should they be able to charge that company/person/whatever for 6 machines? As long as only those 3 machines have the support deal, why should Red Hat be allowed to rack down on something that you legally can download from their site and install to your hearts content?

Only if the OS that is install on the additional machines are "this can only be installed if you have support".

RedHat == Microsoft (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180635)

I've said it before, I'll say it again - RedHat is trying to become the Microsoft of the Linux world.

Lets review, shall we? Onerous licensing terms, they give nothing back to the community, and they are continually threatening other distros with lawsuits.

No, I'll be sticking with Debian, thanks.

Re:RedHat == Microsoft (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180846)

I thought they gave away for free the bulk of their stuff. You can go download it. You can also get updates and errata fixes and whatnot merely by registering, or, again, go to their ftp site and just get what you need, I know I for sure have done it a lot. How is that not giving anything back? And the stuff they developed in house, package manager, anaconda, all the goodies? All free. Their core product, the server offering that they are commited to for five years support, and the services that go with it don't come free,but certainly come reasonable compared to brand X,and if you don't want it, you still get the regular give away version of the distro that has apache, all the modules, etc right on the install disks/ISOs, use that. Seems like free equals free. All this looks like is the extra services they charge for they have an exact framework they work under and offer, that's about it for trying to run a business off of open source and free software. If they didn't do that, well, how would they stay in business then, a paper route, or what? If you like and use debian, swell, just don't spread FUD over the distro that got millions started, and is one of the few places that is making a global impact with other big corporations and getting linux being taken seriously.

Right on (3, Funny)

bahamat (187909) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180636)

Way to go Michael, for publicly spanking that boy.

This could have easily been relegated to "not news" since it's apparent that McNett simply misunderstood. But I'm all for public humiliation, especially here on /. where we all can ridicule him for his mistake.

Well- Interesting arguement, but... (5, Interesting)

Frightened_Turtle (592418) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180639)

Well, assuming I read his letter correctly, Red Hat states that the set up of their system, which is based on Linux, is copywrited. Sort of like the difference between a Ford pickup truck and a Dodge pickup truck. We all know what a pickup truck is, so the styling between the two is apparently what is covered. Perhaps this is the concept Red Hat is drawing on.

But I guess the question is, when adding a second server to the system, does this count as violation of the license? When I buy a pickup truck, I can modify it in any way I feel like -- but I will void the warranty on the truck. This means that I can't get free work done should something fail, because that failure could be caused by one of the modifications I made.

The GPL pretty well allows users to modify whatever they want, so long as they share what they did with the public. But if you created an application that can be run in a GPLed environment, but is not actually part of it, I would assume that this application is to be considered your intellectual property and therefore you can place your own licensing on it.

So- Does Red Hat have any proprietary code in there? I guess in such an event, they could demand that you purchase more licenses for the extra servers you want to add. But if not, then I guess all they could do is claim you voided the warranty, and declare you inelligable for any tech support or warrantied upgrades.

But, that's just my opinion. I think I'll leave this for the legally-experienced to hack out.

Re:Well- Interesting arguement, but... (1)

Frightened_Turtle (592418) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180672)

I just read Ioldanach's comment which posted ahead of my own posting, and I think my own comment is incorrect. I hadn't thought of the one-license-per-machine licensing. I was thinking along the lines of changing what was in my system. So I think I'm a bit off the mark here.

Re:Well- Interesting arguement, but... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180833)

This is more like buying 2 pickup trucks, one with an extended warrenty, and one with out, and trying to use the *single* warrenty on both vehicles.

What is it with *NIX and legal problems? (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180654)

What is it with all the recent spate of legal troubles involve Linux, Unix, SCO, Red Hat, Linus, etc? There are a lot of Slashdot items about this in the past couple of weeks.

Was this going on all the time before, but I did not know about it?

Is Microsoft no longer the biggest threat to the Linux community, having been usurped by infighting with rabid attorneys?

Re:What is it with *NIX and legal problems? (1)

banky (9941) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180691)

If memory serves correct, Microsoft has been involved in near-continual litigation with various parties including the US government since some time in the 90s.

Re:What is it with *NIX and legal problems? (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180827)

However, how much has Microsoft been suing Linux or UNIX outfits?

We know that they perceive them to be a threat.

What's with this obsession with public litigation? (0, Offtopic)

Boss, Pointy Haired (537010) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180655)

I'm getting a bit tired of all this.

If two parties have a legal dispute it should be taken up in private between themselves - ideally limited to necessary personnel and their legal departments.

You should not use "open letters" and press releases as part of what could become a legal process.

Too much media attention after all can cause cases to be thrown out of court.

Look at SCO and their press statement "we're going to revoke IBM's license at midnight Friday...." I'm sorry, but that is pathetic behaviour and something that should be a private matter between the two companies legal representatives.

Re:What's with this obsession with public litigati (1)

akpcep (659230) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180686)

I think you mean: "Mummy! Daddy! Stop fighting!"

Re:What's with this obsession with public litigati (2, Interesting)

Frightened_Turtle (592418) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180825)

It's more a focus on how to make money without making any effort. Essentially, people patenting concepts and ideas without any intention of actually trying to develop these things. Instead, they are waiting for someone else to put the money, resources and hard work into developing something, and then they come out of nowhere with a massive lawsuit to steal the profit from the company that truly developed the technology.

To me, this is a lot like cyber-squatting: buy up a whole bunch of likely-sounding domain names, and just wait until someone wants to register it and then charge them an arm and a leg for the name. In the meantime, the domain name sits totally useless and unused. (Of course, we all know what happened to that business model!)

There are other companies who try to figure out what their competition is doing, and then file frivolous patents to block their competitor's development projects from seeing the light of day. Of course, we all lose when this happens. And then there are the true leaches, those who have no knowledge or resources to develop a given technology, but purchase the IP and then sue the s**t out of everyone for using it, even though the original patent holders allowed that use. Yet they still have no intention of putting those resources into furthering the technology for the future.

All this anti-patent work does nothing more than stifle innovation and development. And we all know the wonderful things that environment does for the economy and jobs. Putting these legal battles into the press essentially allows the leach to put the "fear of God" into the little people so it makes it easier to cause them to cave in when presented with an "infringement" lawsuit.

Of course, there could be a benefit to all this. If SCO should lose this case, it could create a devastatingly powerful legal precedent showing that just buying IP doesn't necessarily give you free license to bully others with it. But in case the opposite should happen, the only way we're going to change things back to the way they should be is to band together and get our respective legislatures to change the laws.

RHAS rebuild (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180657)

This letter specifically addresses the RHAS license. Are the freely-downloadable advanced server source rpms covered under any license? There are several distributions that are based on RH, but has anyone released a rebuild compilation of the AS src.rpms as a distribution?

Getting miffed because of misread contracts? (1)

SeanTobin (138474) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180662)

Didn't SCO do the same thing?

Regarding audits (2, Interesting)

Pofy (471469) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180664)

I always found it strange. Basically an audit would be the equivalence of searching ones house/person/car/other property. The only ones usually allowed to do so is the police and they need a warrent and/or at least a suspicion of some sort of crime (this may depend on country of course). This is something ONLY the police are allowed to do, that is, no one else can demand to do it for any reason, so that means you can't put into a contract that someone should be allowed to search you, your house, whatever as a condition in the contract. So what makes people and software companies thing it is OK to do it for computers? And is this something that vary a lot between different countries? I happen to live in Sweden by the way.

Story? (0)

jabbadabbadoo (599681) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180704)

OK, so this guy was McNut. Sooooo...?

Why the Slashdot bashing? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180713)

Look people... You just love to complain about how the /. editors aren't doing their jobs, or how Slashdot is "News to Noone. Stuff that falters." By the way, that's "no one" and what the hell people? Why do you come here everyday to get your news and complain about it? I think the slashdot editors do a DAMNED good job, and I personally think that if you're going to come here everyday, especially those of us without subscriptions, that we should at least morally support our fellow geeks, who strive to provide us with excellent geeky news.

On that subject, geeks everywhere need to stop complaining... Hello? If all the geeks would stop complaining about each other (ex. MS geeks complaining about "those open source fools" and EVERYONE stopped complaining about MS and actually did something about it) and got together, for the greater good of open source development, or development in general we could do so many more things. Stick together... geeks shouldn't fight amongst each other... that's what "they" want... whoever they might be...
I'm finished, just remember, /. is your friend.

-vaderhelmet

Not only that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180731)

I've heard that their upper management is having plans to shut down the free download servers, and only offer the 'Enterprise' editions.

That is pretty much all I know, so I'm not clear on how they plan on dealing with the traditional edition. Maybe someone can enlighten me on this point. Maybe they plan continued maintenance of the free product and send it to select mirrors. However, it sounded like they could plan to drop that line altogether.

So at the very least, they plan to stop paying for the bandwidth to get the free edition out to people. At the worst, they are trying to end their free product line.

You can bet shortly thereafter that a project would spring up to remove the commercial packages and redistribute the rest (as the GPL allows), but it still upsets me to think of all the programmers who contribute their time and interest to provide good programs for free, and having RedHat start looking at how they can profit off of that software even if the user doesn't need/want support.

Of course my other fear is that a project looking to create a Free edition of RedHat would be walking a thin line and be under constant scrutiny by RedHat. Between having to pay to get the material to modify and the anxiety over RedHat, it could possibly happen that Free RedHat will go away.

Of course, I use Gentoo, and I can bet a *lot* of people will drop RedHat should they go through with this, so ultimately it may not be much to worry about, but when a company whose name has become synonymous with Linux for many people makes plans like this, the impact could be huge.

His reading looks ok to me... (4, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180786)

Specifically, here are the clauses he's bringing to attention (reproduced from the article):

  • "If Customer wishes to increase the number of Installed Servers, then Customer will purchase from Red Hat additional Services for each additional Installed Server."

    Pardon? I can't install the product without purchasing additional services from RedHat...?

  • "During the term of this Agreement and for one (1) year thereafter, Customer expressly grants to Red Hat the right to audit Customer's facilities and records from time to time in order to verify Customer's compliance with the terms and conditions of this Agreement"

    OK - so Red Hat can come in and check I'm not claiming their services for more installations than they authorised their services for. Entirely reasonable. However, "terms and conditions of this Agreement" include the contentious point above, which is certainly not agreeable to.

Not being a RedHat Enterprise customer, I don't have a copy of the license to hand. To any that do: is the term 'Installed Server' defined anywhere? If so, what is the definition please? If it's just a server with an installation of the code on it, then there would appear to be a problem. If the definition is along the lines of 'a server with an installation for which services are also being claimed', then there would appear to be no problem.

Anyone able to clarify that?

Cheers,
Ian

what the "market" will bear? huh? (-1, Flamebait)

SubtleNuance (184325) | more than 11 years ago | (#6180822)

not the software, and for the services they are entitled to demand whatever concessions they think the market will bear

Remember, be carefull now, that at one time, this is what was said about Software Licenses.

at one time people thought, "who cares what the software license is, its their copyright, they can make any changes that the 'market will bear'" -- this lead to the GNU Revolution you are presently seeing. Most people would have prefered it was unnecessary, to wrestle back control of Computer Software from profiteers in order that an open dialogue amoungst programmers, technologists, researchers and users could take place... all comprimised by myopic Free Market Zealots.

Let profit makers comprimise your rights today, and others will do it tomorrow. RedHat, IBM, AT&T whomever -- they will stretch the bounds *together* until all Licenses are so onerous that you'll think you were living in a Corporate State. Sound ridiculous? Witness what the RIAA/MPAA/BSA/??? does in order to control their IP via "Optional Licenses" -- basically your option is "live in a dark cave" or "accept your A$$ pucking slave". Just remember what RMS did as a response to a closed source printer driver will not always work... the computer world is managing to wrestle control from powerfull corporations this time, but *in the future* this will not always work. Not every 'industry' or 'situation' is equal. Music might do it (destroy the RIAA), but will TV? Movies? Books?

Bottom line: Shame on RedHat -- no For-Profit entity has any right whatsoever to demand sight audits or any other. If you want to have a adversarial(sp?) relationship with the world, keep right at it...

GPL (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6180839)

The GPL is no good, it's has political goals, using "free" software to achieve them.

If you want truely free software use the BSD license or something similiar. GPL is not free no matter what RMS says.

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