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What the GPLv3 Means for MS-Novell Agreement

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the dry-as-a-cracker dept.

Patents 161

eldavojohn writes to mention IT Business Edge has a dry but interesting interview with a lawyer (Antoinette Tease) on the effects the GPLv3 on the Microsoft & Novell alliance. From her answers: "Unlike prior versions of the GNU General Public License (GPL), which did not address patent rights, the current draft of the GPL version 3 has several provisions that address patent rights. Section 2 states that the license to use the open source code 'terminates if you bring suit against anyone for patent infringement of any of your essential patent claims' based on any version of the open source program." She goes on to say "the GPLv3 as currently drafted would impose an obligation on Novell to somehow 'shield' its customers from patent lawsuits brought by Microsoft, or, alternatively, to make the source code publicly available..."

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What it means (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18266260)

is that I'll have sperm in my keyboard. Any suggestions as to how to get it out ? My tongue is too big.

Re:What it means (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18266274)

Use your dick, it's probably small enough.

micro$oft (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266270)

What is microsoft doing? Are they trying to get into the Linux market or are they just playing patent games?

Re:micro$oft (4, Funny)

PhysicsPhil (880677) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266342)

What is microsoft doing? Are they trying to get into the Linux market or are they just playing patent games?

Can't they do both?

Re:micro$oft (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266388)

What is microsoft doing? Are they trying to get into the Linux market or are they just playing patent games?

FUD and misdirection I should think.

The more we can bandy about the claim that only people who get indemnity from MS/Novell can be free of all of the (alleged) patent infringement which is (allegedly) peppered throughout the Linux codebase, the more people might actually believe it.

They want to be able to spread the perception that Linux is tainted by their IP, and that running it if it isn't the 'blessed' system is done at your own peril. If they 'embrace' Novell, then they can extinguish all of the other ones by freezing them out. Then, they extinguish Novell over time.

Of course, that's just what I think. I've been known to be wrong before. :-P


it's a way to divide the community (4, Interesting)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266670)

> FUD and misdirection I should think.

Surely, but I think there's more to it.

One goal is to divide the free software community. With the Novell deal, Novell no longer has an interest in helping the community to fight MS's patents. Worse, Novell now benefits from Microsoft's patents getting more and more dangerous. To fight the patent problem, we can't afford to lose any friends. ...not the Novell was much of a friend in the anti-swpat campaign [] , but if MS is allowed to buy on free software distributor, they can buy others.

And another motivation a little more base: extortion. Microsoft has been in stagnation for a long time and it now scrambling to slow everyone down to prevent their demise. It would be a clever long term strategy to find a way to profit from the free software operating system that will probably replace theirs.

Re:it's a way to divide the community (3, Insightful)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266850)

I think that its more about Microsoft being able to say they interop without having to actually do it in a real, significant way. That way they can avoid possible lawsuits without actually having to give people a possible migration path. They're getting sued in the EU over interop issues after all... and it does fit in with Microsoft's MO. Not that FUD isn't a nice bonus.

GPL v3 will certainly further divide the community (2, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267280)

Why is Microsoft trying to make it impossible for Novell to use GPLv3 components?

BSD will benefit. Will we see the GNU tools replaced by BSD based tools?

Is that even possible? (I'm asking a serious question, as opposed to the troll like nature of the rest of this post)

I see GPLv3 as being far too political a license.

Stallman has had his Shockley moment. After being surrounded by people telling them 'your poop don't stink' and how smart they are for a period of time lots of smart people 'Go Hollywood' and start to believe it. They then start talking out of their butts about shit they are unqualified to speak of (e.g. Shockley about eugenics, Pauling about vitamin-C, Stallman about economics and politics, Chomsky about economics and politics, the Pope about sex etc etc)

I'm coping to this being troll like. Only 'cause I understand the audience. It's an honestly held opinion. I'm consistently amazed I have any karma at all.

Re:GPL v3 will certainly further divide the commun (4, Interesting)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267356)

I never understood people complaining about GPL3 being a political license. Of course it is. GPL has always been political. The very reason for it existing is political. It was made to encourage the spread of Stallman's views concerning software, and to enforce the FSF's definition of Free software. And there's nothing wrong with that. You aren't being forced to use it.

Re:GPL v3 will certainly further divide the commun (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18268392)

I guess the problem is a little like politics. You get confortable with certain political aspect that you expect it as being normal.

The GPLv2 did just this. It was the just enough that everyone thought it was right and the way to be. The GPLv3 forgot to take babysteps and asumes that people will follow in groves. Unfortunatly, quite a few of those people see it as excessive and impracticle. They don't aggree with part of it while some don't agree with all of it. I personaly don't think it is in the spirit of the other GPL's and does nothing in terms of stopping the Tivo like devices or half of everything else that it tries to do.

But yea, the political aspect is because the normal GPL just seemed so right were this GPLv3 doesn't make a lot of sence to most. It might have been better accepted if the changed were brought in threw a period of several releases like GPLv3.1 v3.2 and so on over a course of a few years. But it wasn't so it is charged and disapointing to some.

Can Novell ditch GNU? No. (4, Informative)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267414)

No, Novell can't replace the GNU bits with BSD bits - even the BSDs don't do that!

Every BSD is GCC built and ships GCC to their developers.

Also, there's no BSD replacement for GIMP, and replacing Glibc and replacing it with a BSD libc would be very hard. An operating system's libc has to marshal between the kernel and the userspace - Glibc has been doing this for 15 years for Linux and the GNU userspace. A new libc would be a world of problems.

Anyway, other packages such as SAMBA would still be out of bounds (they've said they're moving to GPLv3 too).

Oh, and as for Stallman being surrounded by sycophants - his main job is travelling and giving speeches and answering emails - he hears criticism and questioning every day.

Re:Can Novell ditch GNU? No. (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267836)

An operating system's libc has to marshal between the kernel and the userspace - Glibc has been doing this for 15 years for Linux and the GNU userspace. A new libc would be a world of problems.
Actually, it's surprisingly easy. Obviously it's non-trivial, but BSD libc implementations tend to be quite portable. Issuing a system call is done differently between Linux and BSD[1], but that isn't much of a problem since everyone uses a macro or an inline function wrapping the assembly that issues the system call. *BSD and Linux system calls have very similar semantics in a lot of cases. Since they both aim to implement POSIX / SUS, they both tend to have very similar arguments to their system calls. If you look in the FreeBSD kernel's Linux compatibility layer (for example), then a lot of Linux system calls are handled by the function that handles the corresponding FreeBSD system call; the only difference is the system call vector that handles the calling-convention translation.

The vast majority of Free Software runs on FreeBSD at least as well as it runs on Linux (there are occasional Linuxisms, but people seem to be getting better at avoiding them), so there aren't any issues with most applications running on something other than glibc. Incidentally, glibc itself isn't particularly tied to Linux; it runs happily on HURD, and has been at least partially ported to FreeBSD and Solaris (I don't know the current status of either port, however, since they were not integrated into the main tree).

[1] Both use Interrupt 80h, but Linux uses the DOS calling convention, and passes arguments in ebx, ecx, etc, while *BSD uses the UNIX convention and passes arguments on the stack. Both pass the system call number in eax.

Re:GPL v3 will certainly further divide the commun (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267628)

Sure it's possible, and I've done some of the work. It's on svn [] at Sourceforge, and I'm open to suggestions on what other tools would be useful to migrate from BSD.


a package, can't remember the name GC... something (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267738)

What about the compiler that all the BSDs use, could you port that over? Thanks.

Re:a package, can't remember the name GC... someth (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267868)

FOX is like core-utils and such, it's not a whole OS. It's more all-encompassing than core-utils, but it's still not everything. I doubt OpenBSD considers the compiler to be part of base - you know how much de Raadt hates GNU - it's not part of base on FOX either, though, I am considering possibilities for using other compilers, such as an earlier compiler from 4.2BSD, or perhaps tcc [] , or I've heard de Raadt was considering TenDRA [] as it's BSD-licensed.

I have my own limitations. And I haven't yet gotten a libc ported least, a working one...


compiler matters coz someone had to write it (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18268606)

In 1983 when there were no free software compilers, Stallman didn't have the option of saying "Well, I won't ship a compiler in the 'base' configuration, therefore I don't need to write one".

It's essential for developing an operating system.

Stallman wrote a compiler, and now every BSD developer can use it - and they can be glad or surely about it, as they choose.

I don't understand (4, Interesting)

Degrees (220395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267346)

I have to admit: I don't understand the idea

Worse, Novell now benefits from Microsoft's patents getting more and more dangerous.

I'm a Novell customer, and Novell makes a decent amount of money off us. If Novell gave Microsoft a reason to sue us, we'd drop Novell and become an all-Microsoft shop.

I don't understand why people think Novell wants to jeopardizes it's business.

There was speculation that the deal was designed to scare Red Hat customers over to Novell. But I don't see that as reasonable either. If Microsoft sues Red Hat customers, Red Hat, the FSF, and indeed Novell will sue Microsoft to show us the code [] .

I just don't get it. We had one Linux server going into 2006, and because of our Novell license agreement, at the end of 2006 we had twenty-two. (We're up to 25 now). Seven or so of those were migrations away from NetWare - which is the sensible path Novell is suggesting to it's customers. Why does Novell want to jeopardize that?

What does make sense to me is that Novell kept trying to sell Linux into big companies, and the Microsoft FUD was working. The only real way for Novell to counter that was the Novell-MS deal.

My CIO thinks better of Linux, now that Microsoft has acknowledged it. If Microsoft was trying to sow FUD in our shop, that certainly back-fired.

Although, if the FSF is successful in cutting Novell's Achilles Heel, then I suppose the Microsoft gamble will have been worth it (to Microsoft at least).

How Novell benefits from Microsoft winning (4, Interesting)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267620)

Novell benefits from Microsoft's patents becoming more dangerous because Novell is the only GNU+Linux distro that is protected from those patents, so if people are afraid of Microsoft's patents, they might run to Novell to benefit from the protection.

So when Microsoft's patents are more dangerous, Novells advantage is more prominent.

So we've lost one ally (or should-be ally) in the long-term fight against software patents. What if we also lost Red Hat and Sun and the other companies that love our software because it lines their pockets? What would our chances look like then in the campaign against software patents? The campaign against DRM? The campaign against proprietary formats? etc. etc.

What Novell did was not bad for Novell's business (if we ignore what it did to their status in the community, and that GPLv3 is going to create big problems for Novell now). For a dog-eat-dog mindset, it was a smart move. But the relationship between the free software community and the companies that profit from free software is not meant to be dog-eat-dog - it's supposed to be solidarity. That's how we win, together.

So GPLv3 will say: "No giving in - no selling out". If some code violates a patent, we try to get the patent thrown out, or we ditch that piece of code. GPLv2 said that too, but Novell found a loophole. That will be closed.

Re:How Novell benefits from Microsoft winning (1)

Degrees (220395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269248)

Thank you for that. It is understandable to me now, and I can see why you think that. I'm not in total agreement - but at least it makes sense to me now. :-)

My primary concern is that if my CIO has to choose between Free Software and Microsoft - he will choose Microsoft. If the FSF is dead-set against Novell being able to redistribute GPL v3 code, then I'm going to have to learn to love The Dark Side.


Re:How Novell benefits from Microsoft winning (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269472)

Hmmm, there's still some misunderstanding.

FSF isn't against Novell being able to redistribute GPLv3 code. FSF's deal is that you can't profit from harming the community and still distribute GPLv3 code. So the outcome is that Novell is going to have to go back to Microsoft and renegociate their deal. (Unfortunately for Novell, MS has a history of shafting its business partners.)

(Deals can always be renegociated in the case of "frustration of contract" - for example if you contract me to build a boat for you, and I build it but it sinks before I hand it over to you, then we have to renegociate because it has become impossible for me to fulfil my side of the deal.)

Making deals with MS can be ok. Red Hat did it recently - they're collaborating on some technical issue. That deal is no problem. You can even run Microsoft software on GNU+Linux systems. That's no problem too (although it would be better to reject the MS software, but that's another issue).

The only thing that FSF is going to prevent is the practice of profiting from harming the community. Novell will have to stop that - or they can't distribute GPLv3'd software.

But Novell isn't the only distro. There's Red Hat, and Debian, and gNewSense.

Re:How Novell benefits from Microsoft winning (2, Interesting)

Degrees (220395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18270122)

"Harming the community" in this case means "Novell got Microsoft to agree to not sue Novell customers" ?

And if Novell renegotiates that portion of the deal, then the FSF would be happy?

I see where that has some appeal; it puts Novell in the same position as Red Hat. But to me it also means the death of Linux in large data centers. Not that Sun would mind that....

If you are large enough to have a big data center, you are large enough to attract nuisance lawsuits. No CIO is going to expose his company to those kinds of lawsuits just for an OS. (Which brings my CIO back to Windows). And that is exactly why Novell lost four big data center deals: Novell made their pitch, and Microsoft followed up with "So Novell is telling you to commit to a new OS that has Intellectual Property problems, hmmm?" It is classic FUD - but it works. In the large corporation with enough cash to be a litigation target - a CIO would have to be reckless to the point of "fiduciary malfeasance" to purposefully adopt something with such well publicized baggage.

We only got permission to install Linux because we promised the CIO that he wouldn't get egg on his face. Novell had already promised us indemnity in case SCO (or whomever) sued.

I cannot imagine that Novell or Red Hat wants to approach new customers with the line "in case you get sued by Microsoft, we'll be here for you".

I assume that it was the "we won't sue each other's customers" clause that made this stink. That's the driver toward Novell and away from Red Hat, right? If my assumption is wrong, then I still don't understand.

Boggles the mind... (1)

Godji (957148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269852)

What, now licenses have security holes too? Who would've thought?! Good to see the FSF are quick to release a patch!

Disclaimer: I'm joking.

Re:I don't understand (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18268686)

I have to admit: I don't understand the idea
Thats because the idea is too complicit on the idea of malice being at the front of it. Someone once told me to never attribute malice to something that can be explained by ignorance. And giving Novell's history of getting burnt when working with microsoft, I would say they were verry ignorant in the deal.

But if you ask me, the only thing this boils down to is microsoft covering their ass in trying to stop people from migrating away from their products. They released an OS that is still bug ridden to some extent and will take every bit of everything all those TCO studies contributed to linux being more expensive. Retraining, new hardware, new programs, all that. With Vista, it is the same so from microsoft's TCO perspective, it is a wash to switch to linux right now or upgrade to Vista.

And the really genuise part of this is how microsoft used the communty to stir all the FUD up. They used novell, they used the community and in the end, most companies will still use microsoft's products. Just look at how different these off the wall interpretations of the GPLv3 are comming out. Someone say purple cows can fly, someone echos it, then someone says cows cannot fly only pigs can, then there is a fight between otherwise level headed people that get broadcast all over the place. And don't be confused with the use of cows and pigs. I just used them to show how far off from thereal thing some of these claims are that ignite these flame wars.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Degrees (220395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269406)

I'm sure you are correct that Microsoft is trying to stop people from migrating away from their products. You are also correct that their FUD machine spun up the community to a fearsome level.


Almost like they knew that the idealists would work against the pragmatists.

Re:I don't understand (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269878)

Oh yea. It was plan B sitting there waiting to see Vista's reaction and acceptance. Microsoft likley held back the public release to get this all in order.

If i remeber right, Novell claims they were just looking into how to better serve their customers and microsoft tossed this IP deal out there. You don't just offer all your secretes for nothing or to be nice. Well microsoft doesn't anyways. And the vast majority of us are still looking between the FSF and novell instead of where we should be.

Re:it's a way to divide the community (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18268278)

The most important goal is the one you missed. And unfortunatly it is so obvious the fact you missed it is likly to mean it is working.

Ask you self, what is going on at microsoft right now.

This entire situation is created with the sole intent to keep people away from non microsoft products. And microsoft didn't want to look like the bad guy for obvious reasons so they pushed it off onto Novell. And in all this, the opensource cominity is extreamly happy with creating as much chaos as possible to keep large companies away from non MS products.

Someone once said, "Microsoft doesn't know how to deal with the opensource comunity. They cannot treat them like some company they can use their monopoly powers to squash like normal". So instead Microsoft recuites the open source community to spread all the FUD possible and create resentments to the point that most companies would stay as far away as possible. And they don't need some expensive add campaing to do their. Their entire expense is what it took to pay a lawer to make some wrong statments and whatever balmer gets paid in the few seconds it takes to incite the riot. I think it was less then a paragraph the first time. A few sentences more the next.

Re:micro$oft (1)

nostriluu (138310) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267576)

They want to create more FUD. I know a lot of shrill voices here don't like Java (sometimes for good reasons, no language is all things), but the JVM is the alternative to CLR/Mono. Check [] to see what I mean.

Novell produces Mono, and there is now a window where organizations can consider it "safe" to use - safe from patent and other "IP" discrimination. That window may be enough to distract people from the Java/JVM alternative, and if they manage any kind of dominance they can just close Novell's window or maintain them as their pet, and the market could be sewn up. They can harm Linux, Java, and Free/Open software - their biggest competitors - at the same time.

Re:micro$oft (1)

TemporalBeing (803363) | more than 7 years ago | (#18268460)

What is microsoft doing? Are they trying to get into the Linux market or are they just playing patent games?
Here's my take [] . Plausible, and even possible. Probable? I don't know.

So they will continue to use GPLv2...? (1)

rizzo320 (911761) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266414)

From doing a quick read, it sounds like there are concerns on how much protection GPLv3 actually provides. Does this mean that developers will continue to release software under the GPLv2 until this gets straightened out. Is this an option for Novell, or, has their cross-licensed software already been released under GPLv3?

Re:So they will continue to use GPLv2...? (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266708)

From doing a quick read, it sounds like there are concerns on how much protection GPLv3 actually provides. Does this mean that developers will continue to release software under the GPLv2 until this gets straightened out.

The GPLv3 doesn't exist yet. It's still being drafted [] . Any complaints about the GPLv3 are thus actually complaints about a possible, future GPLv3, and can still be addressed.

Re:So they will continue to use GPLv2...? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267488)

Furthermore, GPLv3, when it does finally exist, will be unlikely to cover the Linux kernel. Linus (along with other kernel copyright holders) has already stated his distate for GPLv3 multiple times, and the current license for the kernel states GPLv2 only and has for more than 5 years.

v2 is not an option for Novell (4, Informative)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266764)

Using GPLv2 is not an option for Novell because they don't own the software they package and redistribute.

When developers switch future versions of their software to GPLv3, Novell will not be able to incorporate the changes in those new versions.

So if Novell wants to avoid GPLv3, they will have to forever stay with Glibc 2.5, GCC 4.1, coreutils 6.7, and old versions of GIMP, emacs, bash, gdb, etc. etc.

Re:v2 is not an option for Novell (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18266978)

How much of this old crap do they really need modifications for? If GCC isn't working now, it never will.

Re:v2 is not an option for Novell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18267190)

You assume everyone is going to adopt GPL3.

GPLv3 will be widely adopted, it's a given (3, Informative)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267312)

The whole GNU project will use it. That means Glibc, gcc, parted, GIMP, parts of GNOME, gdb, binutils, coreutils, bash, gettext, aspell, grep, gzip, findutils, cpio, make, grub, etc.

The SAMBA project have also said they'd be using it, and MySQL sound like they will be too. Sun might or mightn't. Some others will too, surely.

Re:v2 is not an option for Novell (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18268856)

lol. it isn't forever. It can be forked and developed independent of the FSF. So Glibc 2.5 could become something like Glibc 2.5N for novells version.

And I don't think Novel is the only one who is going to be wanting to use this. So it will probably continue to be a community effor with the biggest difference in being that both communities are smaller now.

As far as I know, unless something drastic happens the kernel will be staying GPLv2 also. SO they better watch how tight they try to make the GPLv3 restrictions that it doesn't make it completly compatible with the Linux kernel and now you have a bunch of newly licensed tools that have problems being used.

Besides, Novell haas done nothing that would stop them fro using the GPL. And unless the GPLv3 has changed in the last few days, this ideaof novell being require to jump through hoops is rediculous. Ther eis nothing stoping them from using anything GPLv3 as it was drafted as of March 1 2007. SOi don't know why all the hubbub is about.

Patent rights (2, Informative)

hexene (68121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266422)

Er, GPLv2 does address patent rights. It's just that GPLv3 overhauls how they're handled.

The lawyer has a point (2, Interesting)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266436)

The correct language in GPL v3 would be something like, "This agreement is void in its entirety if the covered software is found to implement a current, valid patent whose owner has not offered the patent for use for free in any manner comperable to how it is used in the covered software." They keep trying to skirt the issue, which is that you can't have free, open-source software if it implements non-free patents or if the patent license materially impacts what you would otherwise be able to do with the software or change the software in to.

Correct for what goal? (4, Insightful)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266588)

The correct language in GPL v3 would be something like, "This agreement is void in its entirety if the covered software is found to implement a current, valid patent whose owner has not offered the patent for use for free in any manner comperable to how it is used in the covered software."

If their goal was to avoid accidentally using a software patent, that would be correct.

But if their goal is to instead set up a state of (some degree of) mutually assured lawsuits, then what they are doing is the correct choice. If Microsoft (or any other software vendor, for that matter) takes a single piece of GPL v3 code that wasn't previously released as GPL v2 code, any software patent lawsuit will trigger a response of copyright infrigement lawsuits.

Re:Correct for what goal? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267034)

That's a non-issue for MS because they aren't using GPL'd code of any version and are unlikely to do so in the future.

Re:Correct for what goal? (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267224)

Microsoft Services For Unix (formerly Interix).

Re:Correct for what goal? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267874)

Perhaps if you actually wrote a sentence, I'd know what your point was.

Re:Correct for what goal? (1)

init100 (915886) | more than 7 years ago | (#18268198)

The point is the Microsoft are using GPL code in their Services for Unix addon to Windows.

Re:Correct for what goal? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269294)

There is nothing indecating they need to take this to GPLv3. SO as long as they don't update the microsoft services for unix or if they just update it themselves, there isn't a problem.

Re:Correct for what goal? (2, Insightful)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267316)

There is no way that you know that as
you can not see the source code.

Actually... (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267804)

SFU includes GCC.

If'n that ain't GPL, I dunno what is.

(I suppose I could get out my old dust-laden copy of SFU 3.5, and peek through it to confirm that there's a copy of the GPLv2 included, but...)


Re:Actually... (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18268100)

When most people talk about MS using GPL'd code, they're talking about Windows, Office, etc, but technically you're correct.

This is a product with no other purpose than to allow interoperability between Unix and Windows, so naturally it's logical for it to use GCC. So MS could be forced by GPLv3 to drop this product. This would be so trivial an event that Balmer probably wouldn't even give a chair a dirty look. Perhaps he'd be happy for having a good legal excuse to limit support for Unix and perhaps sell a few more Windows servers in the process.

Re:Actually... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269338)

so naturally it's logical for it to use GCC. So MS could be forced by GPLv3 to drop this product.
Only if microsoft uses the GPLv3 version of GCC. I don't see this happening. It will be more likley that microsoft would use it as an excuse to not provide unix-windows interpoerability when something new in linux breaks their version.

Re:Actually... (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269958)

Either one of these consequences is reasable. The bottom line is that MS isn't really going to be hurt by GPLv3.

Re:Correct for what goal? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18270102)

Sure, in the same sense that we don't know if your code is in it. The point is that there's no reason to believe that GPL'd code in particular exists within MS code (with the exception of Windows Services for Unix as others have informed me here, but that's not covert).

There are two broad categories of GPL'd code: Core utilities that provide functions that Windows has had for many years and full-blown applications whoose code would be difficult to resuse in a Windows application. Neither is particuarly useful for MS to steal.

M.A.D. or M.A.L.? (2, Funny)

Kazrael (918535) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267138)

Mutually Assured Destruction through mutually assured lawsuits?

Re:Correct for what goal? (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267606)

Pardon me; I assumed the goal was to include software patents in the mix with the same goals and spirit as GPLv2. If GNU's goals have changed since GPLv2, that's another matter entirely.

Re:Correct for what goal? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269412)

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Damn, someone who actualy calls it like it is.

We've been through this twice already! (2, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266442)

Remember, when the (false) news came out, that OSF/GNU/whatever is going to sue Novell over their deal with Microsoft?

First, when the news was still hot, a number of (Insightful) comments were posted, explaining the issue along the lines of Ms. Tease's argument.

Then, the next day, it was announced, that there are no such plans (for litigation) and the author of the original article was criticized for pulling something out of you-know-where.

Some of the comments (including mine) then reminded, that the "GPL is da bomb", much to the annoyance of GPL fan-boys, who claimed, there is absolutely no danger for a business in mixing it with their own wares.

Here we go the third time around, and GPL really is "da bomb" (no litigation today does not mean, no litigation tomorrow)... Its fans may argue, that it is a weapon in good hands, guarding freedom against proprietary evils — may be. But there is no denying, that it is a weapon (bomb), and that businesses may want to give the idea another thought — or opt for BSD-licensed software instead.

Re:We've been through this twice already! (4, Informative)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266570)

But there is no denying, that it is a weapon (bomb), and that businesses may want to give the idea another thought -- or opt for BSD-licensed software instead.

It is not "da bomb". It is "da shield". It is not like companies were being forced to use GPL licensed software, or if they were unaware of the terms of the license. GPL v3. will *not* work like those "submarine patents", that are granted and kept low profile, and them when someone makes a profit of it are used to sue the company for a lot of money. In fact, it is exactly the opposite, it is a way to ensure that the company distributing derivative software using that GPL (and I say derivative because, if they own the copyright, they can still (re)license in whatever license they want) doesn't not hijack the code and deny to the public the benefits they were granted when accepting the terms of GPL.

A license is just that. Without GPL, they have no right to distribute derivative works. With GPL, they get the rights, but must to abide to the terms. The terms are there to ensure that they will pass along the rights they got, and that they will not pull a card from the sleeve and deny people the very freedom that the GPL license is born to grant.

In short: you have the right to not distribute GPL'd software. If you do, you must abide to the terms and preserve the intended freedoms. Play by the rules or go away, it is simple as that.

Re:We've been through this twice already! (1)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#18268318)

It is not "da bomb". It is "da shield".

No, it is not a defensive weapon. Just as this very case is showing, a business (Novell) can adapt GPL-licensed software (Suse) and then find itself limited in their choice of other partners (Microsoft). GPL may be defending GNU-license users against suits by Novell/Microsoft, but it is harming Novell beyond the traditionally understood requirement of "provide the source and you'll be fine".

That no one is suing Novell right now, does not mean, no one will — FSF's leadership may change in a few years... It is not a "time bomb" in that an explosion is not certain. It is a remotely-controlled (by FSF and individual authors) bomb — if they decide, you violated the terms, they could sue — potentially winning, and certainly bringing you a ton of bad publicity...

Play by the rules or go away, it is simple as that.

Why, of course! I'm not disputing the rights of people, communes, and corporations to attach any strings to their works. Just arguing, that the particular bundle of strings called "GPL" is more restrictive than many realize...

While modern BSD-licenses [] don't carry even the controversial "advertising clause" [] (which merely required a mention of UC Berkeley), GPL is getting aggressively more restrictive to users helping (like commercial licenses do) the authors instead.

I understand, why someone may pick GPL for their own work, but I don't understand, why Novell did not pick a *BSD Operating System to build upon... Apple made a smarter move.

Some links to statements by Stallman on the topic (3, Informative)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266474)


scenestar (828656) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266476)

This could mean the FINAL BLOW to the evil empire

MSFT is quietly trying to weasel it's way into the linux world through Novell

Without their Novell patent strongarming they have no single foothold within the Linux world.

Re:SUPPORT THE GPLV3 NOW (2, Insightful)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266604)

I think it more likely that MS is trying to kill the *nix world through their deal with Novell - how much longer before software that was Open Source/GPLd becomes MS' property and whole sections of *nix need to be re-written? MS can either put pressure on Novell to copyright or patent the code, or put pressure on Novell to allow MS to patent or copyright the code.

Keep in mind, MS doesnt need to have the code copyrighted - they can patent the "idea" that the code implements, allowing no one else to write replacement code that MS wont consider a violation of their patent.

It cant be as simple as MS trying to get into the Linux market - with what products? They dont have a *nix OS or a *nix app to make money off of in that arena. Anyone remember Connectix? Remember MS' promise to keep support for running on other OS's? Then the OS/2 and Mac clients were dropped... Buy (or buy your way into) anything that they see as a threat and corrupt it from the inside out...

Just my thoughts...


Re:SUPPORT THE GPLV3 NOW (2, Interesting)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266774)

I think its less likely that this specific initiative is designed to kill the *nix world. I think that they're trying to pay lip-service to interoperability in a way that doesn't give people an easy path to migrate completely to FOSS/OSS. After all, they're being sued a lot in the European union over interop issues. This way they can say "Hey, we interop, look at our deal with Novell! Its not our fault that those other guys don't want to work with us." The FUD aspect is likely just some extra icing on the cake.


linvir (970218) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266916)

It is a dark time for the rebellion. Although the TCO study has been destroyed, Imperial patents have driven the rebel forces from their base and pursued them across the galaxy.

Evading the dreaded Imperial Lawsuit, a group of freedom fighters led by Richard Stallman has established a new secret base on the remote ice world of

The evil Lord Ballmer, obsessed with finding young Stallman, has dispatched thousands of remote lawyers into the far reaches of space...


Hugonz (20064) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267160)

We all know how that episode ends....


Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18267288)

Oh my dear lord there really are people like you.


scenestar (828656) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267292)

dammit, perhaps i was a bit enthousiastic, but common a troll? someone needs to posi up.

Nothing (3, Informative)

edbob (960004) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266480)

As far as I know, the Linux kernel will remain with GPLv2. Right now, nothing is covered by GPLv3, so it means nothing. It should get interesting if some open source component used in Suse goes with GPLv3, though.

Re:Nothing (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18266654)

I believe that is about to be GCC.

Re:Nothing (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266830)

I'd be surprised if a lot of the GNU toolchain doesn't move over to GPL3. This would likely cause problems with Novell if they aren't able to amend their Microsoft deal to work around whatever GPL3 throws at them.

You're correct, 25-50% of each distro'll be GPLv3 (4, Informative)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267046)

All of the GNU project will move to GPLv3. That's glibc, gcc, gdb, binutils, coreutils, bash, grub, grep, cpio, readline, make, gettext, GIMP, aspell, parted, parts of GNOME, etc. etc. etc.

Also, SAMBA said they'll be moving to it, and MySQL said they expect to move to it. Sun might, or might not, use it too.

OT: Some GNU software is not copyleft!? (1)

CandyMan (15493) | more than 7 years ago | (#18268752)

Slightly offtopic: Yesterday, reading, this bit of news jumped on me:

Most GNU software is copylefted, but not all [] ; however, all GNU software must be free software.

Yes, I am surprised too. Any guess as to which piece of GNU software is under a non-copyleft license?

Re:OT: Some GNU software is not copyleft!? (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#18268882)

God, every time I read that site I'm more amazed at just how insufferably arrogant it is. It's like reading Jack Chick's site. Nothing is worse than the condensed opinions of people who are convinced they cannot be wrong, despite the fact there is no objective measure proving any such thing.

Why sometimes GNU isn't copyleft (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269052)

Well, I can't think of any GNU software that is not copyleft, but I know a prominent example of GNU software that is weak copyleft rather than strong copyleft: GNU libc. And I know an example of software which is not in the GNU project but for which Stallman agreed that a non-copleft licence was best: Ogg vorbis codec.

The reason for GNU libc using a weak copyleft licence is tactical. From "Why you shouldn't use the Library GPL for your next library" [] :

There are reasons that can make it better to use the Library GPL in certain cases. The most common case is when a free library's features are readily available for proprietary software through other alternative libraries. In that case, the library cannot give free software any particular advantage, so it is better to use the Library GPL for that library.
(The "Library GPL" is today called the "Lesser GPL" - it's the GPL's weak copyleft sibling). If GNU libc required that software that is built on top if it be free software, that would have encouraged the proprietary companies to write a competing libc or to port over the BSD libc - and then the system's libc would have been completely proprietary. So using weak copyleft is somewhat admitting that you can't win a certain battle right now, and it's a decision to take what you can win rather than lose completely.

The reason for endorsing the use of a non-copyleft licence for the Ogg vorbis codec was that the goal was to maximise adoption. Vorbis had to displace the entrenched MP3 format, so any inconveniences or legal problems would impede that goal. So Stallman agreed that the developers should use an X11 style permissive licence.

I can't be the only one... (2, Funny)

shinma (106792) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266516)

That thinks Antoinette Tease sounds like a porn star name...

Re:I can't be the only one... (2, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266738)

Sorry to disappoint, but there are pictures [] and the only position she'd hold in porn would be behind the camera, unless it was one of those boring-ass pornos supposedly made by women for women but they're actually made by women for geriatrics.

didn't it already? (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266572)

I thought that was already part of the GPL2, it just didn't explicitly mention patents. I see listing things explicitly (patents, DRM), rather that relying on a sweeping "anything you do to restrict others' ability to enjoy the same rights to use the software which you have, terminates your rights under this license in full"[of course, worded better], as a mistake.

to push a hypothetical beyond the breaking point:
I would like anyone who prevents, at gunpoint, users of my software from freely modifying and redistributing it, to lose their rights to redistribute my software.

The GPL3 has no such provision.

CYA (or maybe somebody else's) (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266648)

I think it is a particular instance of CYA. While sweeping statements have a harder time holding up in (specifically American) courts, while the more specific the statement, the harder it is to find a loophole.

The tricky bit is to KISS (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18266608)

The reason the GPL is so successful is that it is very simple. That makes it very hard to pick holes in. The more bits they tack onto it, the more likely it can be overturned in court. It's darn hard to write something simple, elegant, comprehensive and bullet proof.

License can't solve patent problems (4, Interesting)

starseeker (141897) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266740)

As much as I like the idea of protective clauses in the GPL3 license, I have a feeling that the people inclined to make trouble for free software with patent cases are unlikely to be in a position where the GPL would stop them. They will be competing with GPL software, not using it - being forbidden to use it won't stop them at all.

The conflict is fundamental - patents stop people from doing things with software, and open source programmers want to do those things. The law is a tool towards those ends, which both sides will employ. The stark fact seems to be that the law supports patents, and so does the political establishment and commercial support which funds said establishment.

There are two things stopping a WW3 style patent nuke war, as far as I can tell - one is the MAD assurances provided by the larger open source companies and/or supporters, and the other is the cost/benefit analysis of launching an attack on an open source author/project is not so good. Attacking the project means lots of legal fees if the case is fought, very bad press among the tech community, and the distinct chance the software you are attacking will be reborn, rewritten, or even replaced by something better as thousands of irate geeks seek a technical solution to the legal action. If by some chance the patent being used has covered all possible useful methods of doing something, the community simply waits until it expires and THEN proceeds. Yes 20 years is a long time, but it is not forever. The GIF patents eventually expired, and I would be very surprised if the cost/benefit analysis of those patents was a net plus. Apple has not gone after the freetype project, for example (although they did contact them).

However, these mechanisms cannot be entirely relied upon. JMRI is certainly an example: [] So long as patents can be filed on software, there is the potential for a slaugher among free projects. I can't think of any license change JMRI might have made that would avoid their current situation. Patents will always pose a serious threat to free sofware, as the representative of commerical control interests. Indeed, I would expect that if patents are abolished some other method would be found, but at least it would be more difficult.

you're 1 paragraph point is correct (3, Informative)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266884)

The point you make in the first paragraph is correct. Stallman points this out:

We keep looking for ways to protect the users from the danger of software patents, but there's only a limited amount that any software licence can do this. The thing that makes software patents so dangerous is that somebody that you've never heard of and with whom you have no relationship whatsoever can have a patent covering a technique that you implemented, and sue you for the code you wrote.

This is precisely why software patents are so bad, and since you have no relationship with that person, there's no opportunity for any licence on your software to have any effect on him. So all we can do is get rid of a small part of this large danger for all software developers.

Quoted from here (scroll to the audience member's 2nd intervention): Stallman speaking in Bangalore []

Re:License can't solve patent problems (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267084)

GPLv3 can't address patent-holders who don't use or distribute Linux enforcing any patents that might be infringed by Linux, but that's IMO right and proper. Any such patent-covered code would've been in Linux by mistake, and should and will be removed. GPLv3 does address two classes of patent issues, though:

  1. Patent-holders like TiVO who benefit from using GPL'd software as the basis for their products. If they want to continue to use the GPL'd code in their product, they have to allow anybody else to use their patents in the code (including to make a competing product). If they want to enforce their patents and block anyone else from using them, they have to give up the GPL'd code and write their own.
  2. Deals like the Microsoft-Novell one. The GPLv3 proposed language puts Novell in a bind. If they want to distribute GPLv3'd software containing patents for which they have a license, they have to sub-license all direct and indirect recipients for those patents. If they can't sub-license, they can lose the right to distribute the GPLv3'd code entirely. GPLv3 can't do anything to the Microsoft half of such a deal, but it can and does force the Novell half to either negotiate terms compatible with the GPLv3 or find themselves unable to comply with one set of terms without breaking the other set. This isn't perfect, but it's the best that can be done.

Re:License can't solve patent problems (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269802)

It is nice to see someone finaly get it correct. Novell would need to do something that it isn't doing currently in order to be effected by the microsoft deal and the GPLv3. MOst people forget that ad go straight to the Novell is friendly with MS let kill them now.

As for the Tivo issue. I'm not sure I can agree in as much. IF the patented GPLed code in question is used with GPLv2 software then the GPLv3 cannot touch them. This has to do with the ability of the two GPLs to co exist. The GPLv2 says no further restrictions and if the GPLv3 placed one on it, then it would be in violation of the GPLv2 licenes. I know there are expections but only the ecections in the GPLv2 matter as to what is compatible with it. So the GPLv3 is a little out except were the restrictions come into play. The linux kernel is likley to remain GPLv2 for quite a while so there need to be some interoperability.

Wrong, wrong, wrong (4, Informative)

massysett (910130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18266972)

Did the person interviewed for this article actually read the draft [] ?

"This License explicitly affirms your unlimited permission to run the unmodified Program." (emphasis added) "This License permits you to make and run privately modified versions of the Program, or have others make and run them on your behalf." It is only this permission to make and run privately modified versions that terminates if the licensor sues for infringement. This is a far cry from what the article suggests, which is that the license "to use the open source code" terminates when the licensor brings a patent claim.

I hope the article is a distortion of what this attorney said. If it isn't, then anybody who has hired this lawyer for anything software-related should get another lawyer, pronto.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong (1)

CandyMan (15493) | more than 7 years ago | (#18268316)

It is the *licensor's* license to distribute (not the end user's right to use) which is terminated when said licensor brings a patent claim. Otherwise the article makes sense; I don't agree with her take on software patents, but it is pretty consistent with the received 'wisdom' among patent lawyers.

What it means... nothing. (2, Insightful)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267078)

Ok so someone creates a version of linux, I get that version of linux under the GPL (v1 v2 or v3). The next day the author decides that they want to use the next version of linux. They can redistribute it under the GPL v2 but unless there's a provision that says the creator can change the terms of the license at a moment's notice. Last I heard (or didn't hear) no such provision is made, and no one would accept it if it was. If I got the GPL v2 version of the software then I'm required to only use it as specified in GPL v2. If GPL v2 said I can share that code as long as I share it's source and the license then anyone can take it from me. So from that perspective the version of software Novell and Microsoft are discussing is theirs they have no fear from GPLv3.

On the other hand if they are going to incorporate new parts there's a problem, however just from the last 6 months, I've heard numerous people who will flat out not support GPLv3, which tells me that GPLv3 is going to have issues if not be down right thrown out. Unless everyone supports it (namely the people coding the kernel of linux is going to be a big factor) then it's going to screw everything up.

This is part of the problem with the FSF, they want their license to succeed but to do so they kinda steamroll over problems like this and the semi viral nature of GPL (if you use our code your code must be GPL). GPL has issues and the solution isn't a new version that creates new problems, if anything a lot of these problems make me want to avoid GPL more than try to embrace it.

Re:What it means... nothing. (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#18268886)

Except that a Linux distribution is more than just the kernel.

All the tools used to compile the kernel are FSF-owned, and will go over to GPLv3. Things like bash, grep, gimp are also included.

A handful of other major projects have also made pro-GPL3 noises - Samba being the most well known.

Now, there's nothing to stop me taking the last GPLv2 version of these, entering into an agreement with someone which would stop me distributing GPLv3 code but not v2 and simply never upgrading the versions I ship - or alternatively maintaining my own versions complete with clean-room reimplementations of any new features in the GPLv3 software as and when it's updated - but that immediately puts me at a massive commercial disadvantage to anyone else who's not made such an agreement.

If I never update the versions of software I ship, then my distribution starts to look rather dated inside a year, and positively antiquated inside 3.

If I go down the "reimplement every new feature" route, my software development costs go through the roof because all of a sudden I have to keep up with all this GPLv3 software but I don't have anything like the number of volunteer developers working on my code that I did before. There's also a strong chance that the agreement I made earlier will effectively make a lot of project leaders who are using GPLv3 think twice before accepting patches from me - that's assuming I can submit such patches in the first place.

Benedict Arnold (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18267134)

Here [] is the biggest traitor of the Linux community.He is working for Novell, which is bad enough and then developed a C# platform for Linux, which is a Venus fly trap. He should be shunned as a traitor to the community.

Re:Benedict Arnold (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269752)

de Icaza might be slime, but Mono's good stuff. Very nice to use, effective, and better than Java.

If Java didn't suck, I wouldn't be using C#.

I predict: (1)

JPriest (547211) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267214)

GPLv3 matters not because it is a license for software that is distributed. Novell distributes Linux but this code is not covered by the agreement. If the customers distribute Linux code, all the standard GPL rules still apply.

The deal would have been against GLPv2 if it applied SuSE Linux in the first place. Because the deal never pertained to SuSE Linux, it matters not what the license is modified to say.

I predict GPLv3 won't matter to the Novell-MS Deal.

the effect of Novell / Micro$oft on me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18267650)

I do not like Micro$oft. I used computers before Brother Bill made a company. I see what they've
done. I don't want anything to do with them. Novell has made a deal with them. The main concern for
me is software backdoors. For this reason I do not trust MS, Apple, or, now, SuSE Linux, which I have used for five years.
Therefore, I am very happy to be using Ubuntu at the moment. Personally, despite my previous support of Novell and SuSE, I think SuSE is set to fall apart. No one in the open source community has any reason whatsoever to do business with MS, or, for that matter, to chase after them. Personally, you can stack my room with millions in cash. I can not be bought. I do not sell out to anyone - ever. I anticipate the EU case against the Microsoft crime. They should yield an action within a month.

What about Open in Open Source? (2, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267700)

I realyu don't get it why people behind GPL3 are so much forcing to close and forbid things. And as far as I can see GPL3 is not so much for something as it is against something else.

I am not into Open Source because I am against something, it is becaue I am for openness. GPL3 takes that openess partly away. It sounds like Bush fighting for his country and taking many rights away in doing so.

I used to think it was nice, but I am much more drawn to the BSD licence, because it is much opener then GPL3.

(Either this will be +5 Insightfull, or -1 Trolling)

Re:What about Open in Open Source? (3, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#18268020)

I used to think it was nice, but I am much more drawn to the BSD licence, because it is much opener then GPL3.

A lot of people invest a lot of time in writing code they contribute to open source projects. Usually those people are less motivated by some hippy idealism of giving away things for free and are more interested in the benefits they can get from a license in terms of protecting their investment and soliciting free work from others. The GPL is so popular not because it is the most "free" but because it strikes a balance that makes most people happy. If I or my company devote significant time and investment in creating some code, I don't think it is fair that some other person or company should make minor addition (like adding a new type of hardware support) and then sell my work back to me and to others. Do you think it is "right" for you to take code that is 99.9% written by others and make money off of it while the people who did all the work get nothing? Most people don't so they avoid the GPL for most userland software.

Now I've contributed to BSD licensed projects, but I don't think they are ideal in most cases. The GPL is a guarantee that the code that is being actively developed will not be a closed fork that I can't access anymore. The intention of the GPLv3 is to insure that the code that is actively being developed is also not covered by some patent that makes it almost as unusable to me. I'm not advocating the GPLv3 and I'm not certain it is the right way to go, but I certainly understand and sympathize with the intent. Like it or not most open source code is developed by commercial companies for profit and if the deal you struck with the companies doing the rest of the development is not in your own best interests and, in fact, is exploiting your generosity, well, you have no one to blame but yourself for choosing that license. The GPL like all licenses is about protecting the interests of the developers.

BS meter going off (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18267838)

This has been discussed before. If anyone is claiming that the GPLv3 imposes additional restrictions on GPLv2 materials then the two cannot be placed together. Even in a package or disto as the exemtion attempts to offer.

It is really plain and simple. Either it places additional restrictions and cannot be used or it doesn't and can be used.

Novell having to offer microsoft's pattent shield to the entire community is BS too. The GPLv3 specificly states that all have to offer is the rights offered to you through the use of the GPL. Anything additional that you or in this case Microsft offers is totaly seperate from it. And when the first person opens the Bullshit lawsuit on this, All hell is going to break loose.

First, The GPLv3 is refering to only GPLv3 covered item. It cannot impose a restriction on GPLv2 or earlier covered items. Second, the wording says YOU cannot bring pattent suits against anyone else. Not anyone you do business with. How this could be missunderstood when it is in plain english right in fron of everyone leads to only one answer- FUD. This whole position is nothing but FUD and is trying to steer people to Microsoft products. Unless Novell adds something of microsoft's into the GPL coverage that is patentable, it doesn't effect them at all.

And where do they get the Shield everyone or make the source availible from? There is nothing at all like this in the GPL. If you offer something as a GPLed product, you have to make the source availible. But the license says YOU CANNOT USE THE GPL if your not willing to make the source code availible. So were is the problem?

I stupidfied that this type of misinformation is allowed to propagate on slashdot. This interview is little more the a By Vista add sponsored by microsoft. The GPL says what it says. And unless they changed something that no one else has access to but this lawer, his comment are a bastardization of it. I know there are some who welcome the intent of screwing Novell because they don't like the new friend. But supporting this is nothing but selling out to microsoft. Plain and simple.

Re:BS meter going off (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269634)

First, The GPLv3 is refering to only GPLv3 covered item. It cannot impose a restriction on GPLv2 or earlier covered items.

As it stands right now, maybe not...but you can bet your boots that RMS will likely be pushing for retroactive changes to v2 if it looks like v3 isn't going to be adopted widely enough for his liking.

Re:BS meter going off (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269902)

HE can push all he wants. I doubt it would achive anything. If a contract says you cando this and not accept any changes to the contract, then making a new contract to push on it is expressly progibited. In the least he would be grinding his wheels. At worst, he would have the GPL or however he pushed it, invalidated to that respect by a court.

Applicable?? (1)

amigabill (146897) | more than 7 years ago | (#18268262)

What of the MS/Novell alliance is governed by GPL3? I thought it was all GPL2. Is the "or newer" phrase in some GPL source notices mandatory or can Novell choose to consider all of those items to be GPL2 even after GPL3 is "released"? Or does every such file automatically become GPL3? How important or useful is the "or" in that compared to instead writing such text as "whatever the most recent GPL revision happens to be"?

Re:Applicable?? (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269034)

A lot. The copyrights to much of the critical software on Novell's Linux distribution are held by the FSF, and we can expect all of that software to migrate to GPLv3 as soon as it's finalized. Such critical software as bash and gcc will suddenly have all future versions released under "GPLv3 or later" terms. I expect a fair amount of non-FSF software to follow suit, such as Samba. At that point Novell has a problem: they can't bring the new versions into their distribution without being caught squarely between the GPLv3's terms and their deal with MS, but keeping the last GPLv2 versions up-to-date without being able to use any of the community's code is going to be a logistical and financial nightmare.

The "or later" language means just what it says: if you receive software under GPLv2 with the "or later" language, you can redistribute it under the terms of the GPLv2 or any later version of the GPL. Yes, that means you're relicensing it if you redistribute it under GPLv3. The "or later" language is the copyright holder explicitly giving you permission to change the license in that particular way. And once you have, anyone receiving the software from you can only redistribute it under GPLv3 or later (although if you didn't modify the software in any way before redistributing the recipient could simply get a GPLv2 version and go from there, so in practice unmodified software can be reverted back to any version of the GPL under which it's still available from someone).

does anyone use this license? (1)

sentientbrendan (316150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18268994)

All of the new provisions in the GPLv3 seem guaranteed that the largely corporate market for linux will steer clear of it.

Has any major software adopted it yet? I would imagine that the FSF would be switching software like GCC, etc, over the GPLv3 since FSF supposedly owns the copyright. Has this happened? How have the existing devs reacted?

Personally, I'm a little annoyed at RMS' arrogant and loudmouthed politicking of late. My feeling is that RMS' general orneriness has extended into the GPLv3 and added a bunch of provisions he knew would cause nothing but contention in the community, and gain us nothing material.

Re:does anyone use this license? (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#18270050)

Personally, I'm a little annoyed at RMS' arrogant and loudmouthed politicking of late. My feeling is that RMS' general orneriness has extended into the GPLv3 and added a bunch of provisions he knew would cause nothing but contention in the community, and gain us nothing material.

I can explain that for you:- Vista.

Given that Vista is as autocratic as it is, not to mention unpopular, the reason why the FSF has been increasingly throwing its' weight around in the last two years or so is because they believe that due to more and more people abandoning Microsoft, they will have said Windows refugees over a barrel. Look for Stallman and his people, as well as members of the Debian Project (especially the latter given that Ubuntu is the primary mainstream distro, and is a Debian derivative) to become ever more aggressive and strident in their opposition to the use of binary video card drivers, as an example. They're going to get that way because they are starting to feel that they have control of a group of end users who have no choice but to capitulate to their demands if said end users want to be able to use a computer at all. Stallman also now has a monopoly lock on a crucial piece of operating system infrastructure; the C compiler. There is no other genuinely viable FOSS C compiler in existence, other than GCC.

This is the dark side of might have people producing software "for the common good," but it will also generally mean that said producers (or more accurately, those who falsely appoint themselves to represent said producers) will try to make adherence to their ideology a contractual requirement for the continued right to use the software. Said tyrants will try to maintain that such is only fair and reasonable, but I know what I think of it. In functional terms, the FSF basically amounts to a de facto trade union for programmers...and as anyone reasonably versed in economic or political history knows, unionism isn't everything it's cracked up to be. Union leaders can not only attempt to hold people outside the union hostage, (via strikes, or in the FSF's case, threatening to revoke the software distribution rights of companies they don't like) but can also have a tendency to be just as tyrannical as commercial employers towards the workers they supposedly represent.

Stallman has always had the attitude that anybody who uses Linux is on his turf and basically has to accept him as an ideological authority figure, and as Linux moves closer and closer to becoming genuinely mainstream, his expression of that opinion is only going to get louder and more will the chorus of support for it from his cultists.

There are those of us who feel that the degree of similarity between the names Stallman and Stalin is slightly more than a coincidence. ;-)

Equality? (3, Interesting)

CherniyVolk (513591) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269162)

I read the original article and it seems the meat of it's argument is that if A can be held responsible, then B should be too. Supporting the argument with a question of difference between A and B.

The difference is this. Profit.

Open Source doesn't stand to profit off of it's efforts. Never mind Red Hat, SuSE et al. My contributions are done with 100% generosity with no intention, expectation or hope of return of any kind other than the concept of personal acheivement or contibution to a greater good. The later is tricky, because Adam Smith in his published works imply that within Capitalism, that a person, regardless if he feels so, usually contributes to a greater good (society) far more than he realizes underneath a capitalistic society, with every ounze of incentive being from currency (or a pay check).

I argue that while a pay check might motivate some to get out of bed and "work", it's certainly not the only thing that might equally motivate someone. Because, "work" is only "work" if you are getting paid for it, otherwise, it's a "hobby"; and contrary to popular belief including the line from Office Space, yes there are people who do enjoy being janitors. Admittedly, likely not enough however, one does what one can and all that is needed is a desire to contribute and with enough those of lesser ability would feel proud to contribute anyway they can. "Tech Support", "Testing" are all Janitorial services within IT... and obviously, there are plenty that enjoy it.

It's odd, while we're talking about incentive and what motivates a man. A paycheck really is one of the weakest forces of all the Classical motives for extreme human effort; compare the motivation of vengance, retribution, survival, integrity, patriotism/nationalism (a broader sense of family bonding and sense of self, belonging and representation). Even Machievelli pointed out that the first to run from the battlefield will be the "mercenaries", and so true that infact is.

The major difference between Proprietary Software and Open Source Software, is the goal and intentions of each. Intention is a viable concept for precedence; no matter what the case might be. For example, Apple Corporation and the Beatles for example on how "intention" can turn the tides of otherwise blatant infringments (The Beatles did have a valid claim... if only considering the surface.)

The main goal of Proprietary Software, Personal Gain, usually in the form of capital, market dominance, or any perceived benefit that clearly identifies a positive benefit within a Capitalist ideology.

The main goal of Open Source Software, more or less, Communal Gain.

All other things, in my belief, are by products to propel an effort towards the main goal. Communal Gain can not be achieved if you leave anyone out, so, to ensure that everyone may benefit, there is less demand of return or, any quid pro quos, conditions, restrictions are such that, the end result is within reasonable reach of Everyone. To amplify an extreme for clearly showing "reasonable reach", it's simply best to make the product "free"; for which, there exists no retort as for it's availability. For Capitalism, you'll have everything geared towards protecting the flow of capital, make as many streams of capitals available as possible. As a result, patents, copyrights, controlled distribution channels, controlled substances (like certain chemicals etc. required for making anything really useful) making physical ability to reproduce much more difficult... all of this is in place to ensure that only certain people will ever be in a position to "provide" or "offer" a product to the consumer.

Because Patents and all are more geared towards protecting a Companies benefit, I have argued in past posts, that enforcement of legislation and consequences should only apply to Companies in violation of their own measures. The "guy in a garage" doesn't have the breadth and depth to really threaten Sony Entertainment's production line... so, he should be exempt from anything he does in personal interest, and if he chooses to increase the availability of his fruits, he should be permitted to do so without consequence. The only effectual reason patents exist, the effectual reason for legislation on reverse engineering, copyrights etc etc., is so Dell can sue Hewlett Packard if one steps on the other's toes. And said toe stepping boils down to, one or the other has managed to redirect funds intended for, say Dell, to go into Hewlett Packards pocket.

From a business point of view, this makes damn fine sense and I'm all for it if considering a business.

But, Open Source is different. There isn't any capital interests so ingrained and involved with the workings of the System. The only equivalent from Open Source to Proprietary models regarding currency, is in Open Source we have Recognition. If someone contributes, then their name is added to a list, for good. If someone removes the name, then we have problems, if someone changes the name as if it's someone elses contribution, then we have problems.

From an Open Source point of view, demanding rightful recognition naturally makes sense, since, that's our "currency", however it's not really the same thing as real currency, as Recognition is not the motivation behind the contribution or "work" done.

So the bottom line is this. Open Source should be exempt from all legalities and formalities in place to protect Business interests; because OUR interests and incentives are nothing the same as in Business. Most of these issues debated are to protect monetary gain of Business and has nothing to do with the gain expected from the Open Source community; we don't even have money in our ideology. Our GPL really is something of a cross interest agreement, to Companies who might be interested in OUR efforts. It's up to the Companies, to consider our way of doing things, and come up with a cross license so their influence can be properly reflected within our community.

Some people in the Open Source community has opted to cator to both, such as the BSD license, which permits people to share it as they might, and allows a company to adopt a work in progress for their own proprietary means. However, that's an effort 100% from OUR end, that's OUR generosity at play here.

Flawed logic and no improvement over the GPLv2 (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 7 years ago | (#18269750)

First there is no GPLv3 only a few drafts

Novel will not lose their rights under the GPL (v3 as claimed in the article) if another party sues for patent infringement.

If MS sues a user of GPLv3 software for patent infringement it would cause MS to lose their use of that GPLv3 code, it wouldn't affect any other party.

However, once a party knows of an unlicensed patent they can't distribute it anyway. Again it doesn't matter if it is Redhat or Novel.
Additionally there is the argument that under the GPLv2 if one does distribute a patented work a patent license does accompany the work, otherwise they would be in violation of section 7.

In short the GPLv3 draft2 doesn't add any further patent protection than is already in the GPLv2.

Am I understanding this correctly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18269982)

That this clause basically says that "If we infringe (allegedly) your patent, and you sue us because of it, you may not use the software any more"?

Never mind about this being enforceable, is this even legal? Or moral?
Not so much taking their ball home, as punching the guy they're playing with in the face then taking their ball home cause he cried!

Regardless of the FSF's view on patents, they exist, and they are law.

They want their IP to be respected, so they should afford the same respect to others.
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