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Microsoft's SUSE Coupons Have No Expiry Date

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the oh-is-it-ever-a-trap dept.

Microsoft 298

mw13068 writes "In a recent article in the Seattle Post Intelligencer FSF General Council Eben Moglen points out that the Microsoft SUSE coupons have no expiration date. The result? 'Microsoft can be sure that some coupons will be turned into Novell in return for software after the effective date of GPL 3. Once that has happened, patent defenses will, under the license, have moved out into the broad community and be available to anybody who Microsoft should ever sue for infringement.' Groklaw is also covering the story in it's inimitable way."

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298 comments

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Don't worry Zonk (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187465)

Google says 11,000 people also misspelt Expirey.

Re:Don't worry Zonk (1)

h2g2bob (948006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187977)

Nah, they're all just dupes of this...

Re:Don't worry Zonk (2, Funny)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187989)

Facts:

Expirey Goatse -- 2 hits on Google
Expiry Goatse -- 14,500+ hits

Conclusion:

As a spelling nazi you are x7,500 times more likely to crave goatse than someone who cannot spell. But you probably already knew that about yourself, you pervie

Zonked again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19188229)

Looks like we've been zonked again.

Expirey? (3, Informative)

nlitement (1098451) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187467)

Why doesn't anyone at least proofread the title? What's "expirey" anyway?

Re:Expirey? (3, Funny)

nxtr (813179) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187541)

Ex pire y
1. A state of expiration, not quite fully expired, but not as good as new. Kind of like milk that's been sitting in the fridge for a while, but still hasn't reached its expiration date.

Max character limit (0)

Nymz (905908) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187575)

Submission titles have a max character limit, and swaping expirey for expiration was probably neccessary.

Re:Max character limit (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187591)

If thats the case, they could have saved an extra character by spelling it correctly ;)

Re:Max character limit (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187659)

If thats the case, they could have saved an extra character by spelling it correctly ;)

I think expirey is spelled correctly, although an uncommon word, but after counting the characters it wouldn't matter with a 50 character limit.

(45) Microsoft's SUSE Coupons Have No Expirey Date
(48) Microsoft's SUSE Coupons Have No Expiration Date

Re:Max character limit (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187683)

If you tried entering that word into any online dictionary, you would notice that it is in fact spelled "expiry".

Re:Max character limit (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187831)

If you tried entering that word into any online dictionary, you would notice that it is in fact spelled "expiry".

Actually I did look it up, but there was no entry (Random-House). As my initial guess for the choosen usage was based upon a limitation of maximun length, I expounded by counting and comparing the number of characters. If the word was misspelled, or made-up, or archaic, or foreign, it really didn't matter to me as I understood the meaning.

Re:Max character limit (5, Funny)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187695)

Maybe they have a 49 char max, but I could be wro

Re:Expirey? (1)

LightForce3 (450105) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187617)

A mis-spelled expiry [m-w.com] .

Re:Expirey? (3, Funny)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187621)

It's a perfectly cromulent word.

Re:Expirey? (1)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187705)

Quidquid Cromulane dictum sit, altutatitum videratitursus.

Re:Expirey? (2, Funny)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187691)

That gives me an idea...

Blackadder: Do you know what expirey is, Baldrick?

Baldrick: Oh, sure, it's like breezy or slackery or yggdrasily...

Re:Expirey? (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187795)

There's never been a Breez linux that I am aware of.

There's Slack and Yggdrasil, however.

Breez? (1)

jgclark123 (812195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187845)

He might have meant Ubuntu Breezy Badger (5.10).

Re:Expirey? (1)

joto (134244) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188171)

There's never been a Slack linux either.

Re:Expirey? (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187849)

Maybe a misspelling of "expiry"?

Main Entry: expiry
Noun
: EXPIRATION: as a : exhalation of breath b : DEATH c : TERMINATION; especially : the termination of a time or period fixed by law, contract, or agreement

Re:Expirey? (1)

bestiarosa (938309) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187887)

Zonk is expireying in hi's inimitable way.

Re:Expirey? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188081)

It's French :)

expiry its (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187469)

Slashdot editors, do your jobs, please...

Re:expiry its (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187693)

or stop using the term "editors".

3rd grammar error (2, Insightful)

adrianmonk (890071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187771)

"Expiry" and "it's" were two of the grammar errors, but there is a third. The phrase should not be "some coupons will be turned into Novell in return for software". Instead, it should be "turned in to Novell".

It's hard to give a formal justification for this (it's not a grammar rule taught in school, but it is nevertheless followed in real-world writing), but the best I can explain it is that "turned in" is one underlying structure in the sentence and "to Novell" is another. So uniting the "in" from one structure and the "to" from the other implies a tie between the two structures that does not exist. And that makes it unclear and confusing.

Or to put it more simply, "turned into Novell" makes it sound like the coupons are becoming the company.

Re:3rd grammar error (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187805)

That's great.

I'm not sure everything that gets posted on Slashdot needs to be "formal english" but, at the same time, it wouldn't hurt to fix a few obvious spelling mistakes.

Re:3rd grammar error (1, Offtopic)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187905)

I am now convinced there should be an ontopic moderation. (ontopic btw is not a word, neither is btw, of course IANAL).

Great, (3, Interesting)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187485)

But could they only apply to GPL v2 software? Does anyone know the wording of one of these cupons?

Re:Great, (2, Interesting)

WarlockD (623872) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187553)

FTFA

As you can see in the section I highlighted, the minute someone turns in a voucher after GPLv3 is in effect, Microsoft will be granting a patent license to everyone, not just Novell's paying customers: "the patent license you grant is automatically extended to all recipients of the covered work and works based on it". Voila. I hope your PHB understands this.


Will anyone enter into such a deal with Microsoft now? Doesn't this explain why Microsoft suddenly began talking publicly about patents and wanting folks to hurry up and enter into patent peace agreements fast? Will anyone buy SUSE for a patent peace, if they know the patent peace is shortly to be available to the world and his penguin? Novell, by the lack of retroactivity, gets to stay in business. But it loses its "we are the only ones that are not threatened by Microsoft's patents" standing. It can still differentiate itself in the market in other ways, the interoperability angle, which is fine.


But..why? Just to stir up FUD and to have it all unravil? Hell, is GPL3 in its "Final" final draft? What was the point of microsoft spending all this money to Novell? Or was it the other way around. Arg. Even I am confused now.

Re:Great, (4, Interesting)

trianglman (1024223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187699)

From having read Moglen's blog and a number of other interviews/articles of/about him, GPL3 is in its final draft and will be released in June (IIRC). It closes the loophole Novell used, and not only does what is described in this article, but also, could make Microsoft a Linux distributor, subject to GPL, et. al.

As far as the MS/Novell deal, Novell paid a small sum (relatively speaking), Microsoft paid a much larger sum, in part for these coupons which they are reselling. I forget the numbers but they should be easy to google.

Re:Great, (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187721)

Sorry, forgot the blog link - http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/blog [columbia.edu]

Re:Great, (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187773)

FTA it seems that MSFT doesn't believe that their coupons make them a distributor of any of Novell's software. I'm not too clear on what the coupons are, so I'm not so sure that MSFT can be taken to task in this manner.

Thoughts?

Re:Great, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187829)

re-read section 11. doesn't matter if they're distributing GNU/Linux (which got them out of the GPLv2), they're conveying a patent license either way. which gplv3 draft 3 covers.

"If, pursuant to or in connection with a single transaction or arrangement, you convey, or propagate by procuring conveyance of, a covered work, and grant a patent license providing freedom to use, propagate, modify or convey a specific copy of the covered work to any of the parties receiving the covered work, then the patent license you grant is automatically extended to all recipients of the covered work and works based on it."

Re:Great, (1)

jp10558 (748604) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187889)

I'm not a lawyer, but I still don't see how this makes MS a distributor.

As this has been explained, you do something to get a Voucher. The voucher is for support as far as I can see as GPLed stuff is still free. MS hands you a piece of paper, and they have distributed a piece of paper. But the paper isn't GPLed.

You give the paper to Novell, who then gives you the software. You go to (novell or MS) for support.

I just don't see where in any of this MS is even touching software, much less distributing GPLed software.

It seems to me that the voucher is like a gift card - Once I give you the gift card, any transactions are between you and the vendor and I have nothing to do with them.

Even if MS is offering support for SLES, they don't have to distribute any software to talk to you via e-mail or phone...

Re:Great, (4, Informative)

trianglman (1024223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187959)

Like the person above you quoted, Microsoft wouldn't exactly be a "distributor", they would be a "conveyor" by giving access and patent litigation protection to a distribution of a GPLv3 piece of software. Thus every other copy of that software would then be protected from patent litigation, no matter who is using it. Thus the paper itself doesn't have to be under GPLv3 to make MS subject to the license. Mind you this would still have to be upheld in court, if Microsoft thought it could fight it. IANAL, but from everything I've read MS is either going to have to cancel this Novell deal completely, and revoke those coupons (don't know if that is possible in the Novell deal or not), or bend over and say thank you, either now or 3+ years of litigation from now.

What I want to know is.. (1)

halycon404 (1101109) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188135)

Does this apply to all software under GPLv2? I don't really understand everything in the GPL.. but how does this keep everything going on NOW, from being possibly illegal under patent law. Yes, in november, microsoft will be unable to file charges for patent violations for anything under GPLv3. But what does that really have to do with everything that is supposidly released right now, this instant, released under GPLv2? According to Microsoft, everyone running linux at the moment, is breaking patent law. If Microsoft actually releases a list of everything we break patent law with, all 235 patents.. and if just 1 single patent is unable to be bypassed in some manner.. we all still broke the law under GPLv2.. right? So we are fair game to be sued? Or is GPLv3 retroactive and blanket any violations made under GPLv2? If anyone understands the way this works please let me know, because I couldn't find it covered in TFA, and I'd really like to know.

Re:Great, (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188061)

The deal is apparently for a few hundred million dollars:

http://www.linuxdevices.com/news/NS3470257929.html [linuxdevices.com]

To put that in context, Microsoft, each month, has more than a billion dollars in profits. Microsoft sees the deal as a cheap hedge, and probably doesn't mind that it stirs the waters a bit.

Re:Great, (1)

LightForce3 (450105) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187559)

Good point. Unless I'm mistaken, if Novell chooses to continue to distribute SUSE under GPLv2, then any new patent-related provisions of GPLv3 simply don't apply. Even if the individual authors of the numerous programs included in SUSE switch to GPLv3, Novell could just maintain their own versions based on the last release made under GPLv2.

Any flaws in this scenario? I'm by no means an expert.

Just one. (2, Informative)

WarlockD (623872) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187581)

Linus says "You know what, GPL3 is where I like it, so 2.8 is going to be it"
Heck, what about GNU? Can't have linux without GCC or the lib. Unless Novel wants to fully fork their distro, they don't have much of a choice. Someone is going to use GPL3.

Re:Just one. (1)

WarlockD (623872) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187607)

Meh. I got to start using Plain text and preview more often.

Re:Just one. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187611)

It really depends if it is just GNU who switch to GPL3 or a lot of other people.

Novell could conceivably continue development on the GPL2 versions of the GNU software.. they couldn't conceivably do the same for all the other free software in the world.

Re:Just one. (2, Informative)

stinerman (812158) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187681)

Linux will never be GPLv3 because quite a bit of code in it is GPLv2 only (rather than GPLv2 or later). In order to release the entire kernel under GPLv3, all contributors would have to be contacted and asked if the code can be licensed as such. Anyone who can't be reached or does not agree to the license change could derail the entire thing. If Linus was still staunchly for it (which all signs point to that he doesn't like it), he'd have to strip out GPLv2 code and rewrite it with GPLv3 code.

There can be only one... (1)

pallmall1 (882819) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187783)

and that one may be Solaris.

hehe... covered two movies in one post. :)

Re:There can be only one... (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187851)

Indeed.

If Solaris is licensed under GPLv3, I'll be making the move to Nexenta [gnusolaris.org] as soon as it is stable enough to run on my system. Better yet would be if Debian co-opted it and created a GNU/OpenSolaris distro, much like their GNU/kFreeBSD variant.

Re:Just one / No 2.8 anytime soon (1)

necio_online (260138) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187739)

Linus said Linux will not have 2.8 while he is in charge :)

Re:Great, (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187583)

Only one: It will become increasingly difficult to maintain as applications go through major versions and Novell needs to keep its GPL2 forks compatible with the GPL3 versions.

Re:Great, (2, Interesting)

cortana (588495) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187627)

A lot of the software that they distribute is licensed under "GPLv2 or later". Novel can't just arbitrarily chanage the license of software they distribute.

Re:Great, (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187827)

And parts of the Linux kernel are 'GPLv2 only.' So Linus can't just change the license of the kernel tarball he distributes.

Re:Great, (2, Insightful)

stinerman (812158) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187657)

If Novell so chooses to only distribute software under GPLv2, they are certainly welcome to do so. The downside is that they will be stuck maintaining the GPLv2 versions of GCC, GDB, binutils, etc. All GNU software will be GPLv3 as soon as the license is finalized. In effect, Novell would have to fork all of the GNU tools or find a suitable replacement for them under a more permissive license. They'll need to reinvent the wheel each time an advance is made in the GPLv3 line for their old toolchain.

Re:Great, (4, Insightful)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188149)

As I've stated before, I really don't see what the downside here is. GCC just did a huge update, but GCC5 is a long time a-comin', glibc's rock steady, most of the toolchain stuff is stable and has been for the last five to ten years, Emacs 22 is vaporware, and I think we'd all prefer if Bash didn't update anymore. The Novell-MS deal is valid for five years, and Novell can do that standing on their heads with what they've got. The stuff users actually use might be a different area, but KDE's ultimately going to go the way Qt goes (haven't heard anything), and Novell's got enough pull in GNOME's development and/or the technical expertise to maintain a separate desktop if the pull doesn't go their way.

Re:Great, (1)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187561)

For that matter, I thought the whole point to the last few months of GPLv3 review was to come up with a way to keep Novell from distributing GPLv3 software.

Re:Great, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187655)

The "or later" clause of the GPLv2 means that you can "upgrade" it to GPLv3.

All it takes is ONE piece of that product to contain the license (I believe the Linux kernel does not, but many others do, does openSUSE include gcc?)

Of course, IANAL!

Re:Great, (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187671)

I am pretty sure that the Novell distribution will use entirely GPLv2 code. If any GPLv3 code makes its way into Novell then both Novell and Microsoft will probably end up dead in the water.

Re:Great, (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187737)

You do know that the new versions of GNU and many other projects will be GPLv3 only right?

If Novell chooses to distribute only old forks, good luck to them, they're dead in the water already.

Re:Great, (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187857)

It doesn't matter if Suse has moved onto GPL 3 4 5 or 6.
If MS are giving away coupons for a version of SUSE, what the hell is stopping them from giving away the disk version from the day they made their coupons?

There are plenty of places which offer an older, freeware (or other licensed) version taken from before some change in licensing occured.

MS won't break a sweat over this.

So M$ Suse is like WinDOS? (3, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187953)

If MS are giving away coupons for a version of SUSE, what the hell is stopping them from giving away the disk version from the day they made their coupons?

You mean try to push it as bits in a box like Vista or XP with a five year "cycle" time?

They could do that, but no one will buy them and that will hurt M$. Who wants to pay for a year old version of free software? Sure, it works but you can just download one that works better. The terms of the deal were that Novel would pay a percentage or a minimum of $40 million. Looks like the minimum is going to be what they get, so they will be down about $120 million. That's the cost of FUD, I suppose.

Another BIG problem with your scenerio is that they may have to cut out all software licensed under GPL 2 or later. It's the user or author that gets to decide the GPL version, not the vendor. In that case they will have to just throw the coupons away.

This is a fine ending for M$'s attempt to charge licensing frees for free software like they own it. They can own it, so long as they abide by the terms of the GPL, like IBM and everyone else. It's M$'s steadfast refusal to co-operate that keeps them out of the free software party. They can't just get along and compete like everyone else, they have to own everything and squeeze every nickel out of every user. It's not going to work any more than their in house software can compete in a free market. At the very best, they will get a old, modified and incomplete version while everyone else enjoys the latest and greatest.

Expirey? (0, Offtopic)

Voice of Meson (892271) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187499)

In related news, Slashdot's editors have no spellcheckers.

lol wut (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187505)

Jews did GPL3

Let me tell you a story... (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187529)


When I was a wee lad of 5 or 6, my grandpa would sit me on his lap and tell me about life and learning. He'd say things like "Boy, always treat people as you'd like them to treat you" or "A penny saved is a penny earned".
My favourite one was "Boy, never, ever misspell the word "expiry" or you'll look like a fucking retard."

I sure miss Grandpa.

Re:Let me tell you a story... (1)

allforcarrie (901516) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187587)

Now that is comedy.

Re:Let me tell you a story... (1)

LoveGoblin (972821) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187809)

Don't forget:

Groklaw is also covering the story in it's inimitable way."

Re:Let me tell you a story... (3, Funny)

hcmtnbiker (925661) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187923)

My grandpa told me "Boy, never, ever use double quotation marks inside a quote, you'll look like a bigger fucking retard then the person who misspelled expiry"

;)

The first rule of SUSE coupon club is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187533)

you do not talk about SUSE coupon club!

Re:The first rule of SUSE coupon club is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187577)

but be sure to post a dupe of this story when SUSE goes GPL3.
Now to get me an eternal MicroSUSEft coupon...

Well (1)

Handbrewer (817519) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187543)

IANAL - But, usually when you agree upon a contract, its for the terms as presented at the time, and any change, like this - would void the contract? No? So the coupons are invalid with the introduction of GPLv3?

Re:Well (4, Interesting)

click2005 (921437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187601)

The vouchers can be exchanged for Suse Linux which currently uses GPLv2. When the linux kernel switches to GPLv3 they will have to release newer versions of Suse with GPLv3 (or fork off the current GPLv2 licensed tree and be stuck with an old kernel). If a single person exchanges a voucher after Suse switches to GPLv3, everyone gets protection. The MS voucher cant change the license that Suse comes with. Its possible the vouchers specify which version of Suse they can be exchanged for but this appears to not be the case.

Re:Well (2, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187673)

When the linux kernel switches to GPLv3....
It will be a bit chilly in Hell.

Re:Well (1)

Checkmait (1062974) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187649)

Usually, but in this case the vouchers are for a system delivered at a date when the user requests. Under your logic, the vouchers would only be good for a system available the day that the deal was signed: a definitively out-of-date version today.

Well, of course! (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187545)

Of course these coupons don't have an expirey date because there is no such a thing! On the flipside, I think you just developed a new adjective. Imagine:

"You're so expirey today!"

Okay, maybe not.

Re:Well, of course! (3, Funny)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188263)

My expirey-sense is tingling!

This doesn't make any sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187613)

If I sell an unused Windows license, an I responsible for whatever Microsoft might add to the license agreement in the next service pack? No.

If Microsoft sells some coupons from Novell, are they responsible for any GPL3 stuff Novell might add in their next Linux distro?

This doesn't make any sense. I don't see how you can hold Microsoft accountable for whatever Novell might do in the future just because they sold some Novell coupons. MS may be selling coupons from Novell, but it's Novell's responsibility to comply with the GPL.

Re:This doesn't make any sense... (3, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187703)

In the future Microsoft will either have to trade in those coupons for software (which will be licensed to them under the GPLv3) or they will have to dump them in a sewer drain and forget about them. The article says what it will mean if Microsoft trades them in.

Re:This doesn't make any sense... (1)

Anomolous Cowturd (190524) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188049)

No, it's too late already. The GPLv2 explicitly grants the right to redistribute the software under GPLv2 or ANY LATER VERSION. If any coupons have already been handed out, then Microsoft has effectively distributed GPLv3 software and the game is over.

Re:This doesn't make any sense... (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188127)

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License
as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2
of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
Guess who's option it is.

Re:This doesn't make any sense... (3, Informative)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187797)

you're missing the point.

MS (effectively) bought a bunch of coupons for SuSE. MS is who will be handing out those coupons.

So either MS just shrugs its shoulders, and counts the money they paid to Novell as a loss (meaning - they don't give away the coupons), or they somehow give away all the coupons before anything in SuSE uses GPL3 (which is the only way what you're saying would matter), or..., and the point of the GP, MS uses the coupons realistically, and by so doing sanctions the GPL3 as it is Microsoft giving out the coupons, not Novell.

Re:This doesn't make any sense... (2, Interesting)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187937)

Coupons for a product are like gift cards. You turn the coupon in to Novell, and Novell gives you the copy of Suse, Microsoft is not involved in the distribution of anything other than the coupon.

Re:This doesn't make any sense... (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187983)

MS is giving away a coupon for a specific item. By so doing, they are involved in the distribution of that item. If MS gives out the coupons after the point that Novell is distributing GPL3 software, there is more than a reasonable expectation said coupon will be used for GPL3 software, which involves MS in the purveyance of said GPL3 software, which means MS is sanctioning it.

If instead MS gives the coupons to people prior to GPL3 software within SuSE, and then people use the coupons after the GPL3 software is there, it becomes less clear-cut...but could still be argued as a sanctioning.

The issue at hand is that MS has indemnified coupon-bearers, and the coupons have no expiration. They cannot, per the GPL3, indemnify only one person....and here we are.

Re:This doesn't make any sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19188105)

GPLv2 gives an implied patent license similar to the explicit one given by GPLv3.

Microsoft is probably still fucked if they gave any of these coupons to anybody who actually redeems them with Novell.

They are just MORE fucked if anyone manages to get GPLv3-licensed software from Novell using one of these coupons, because then Microsoft will have a very difficult time suing people over those patents.

I'm not as enthusiastic about it as the folks over at Groklaw, though --- Microsoft would probably not sue FOSS over patents with the intention of winning (though that might be a nice bonus). Their only purpose in suing would be to drag out the court cases as long as possible (ala SCO) and throw lots of FUD around and run up lots of legal expenses for their competitors.

Re:This doesn't make any sense... (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188183)

Being involved with the distribution of a product isn't the same thing as distributing it.

By that logic, every retailer selling Linux is now subject to the GPL and is required to forfeit any intellectual property that may apply to Linux. You can also walk into any Fry's or Best Buy and demand they give you the source code, or sue them for not doing so.

Does anyone see that happening?

Re:This doesn't make any sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19188063)

I think you're both missing the point.

Consider that we have no idea what the wording of the agreement is. How do you know that MS doesn't have coupons for a specific version of SuSE (i.e. the current one without any GPLv3 software in it)? What if the agreement has clauses that say that Novell must provide these copies to Microsoft in such a way that Microsoft's ability to sue someone isn't diminished, thus preventing Novell from giving MS any GPLv3 software under the contract, and making the burden fall on Novell instead of MS? The contract could just as easily prevent Novell from adding GPLv3 software to their distro rather than preventing Microsoft from suing anyone because they have GPLv3 software.

Another option is what if MS simply refuses to sell any version of SuSE new enough that it has GPLv3 software? If there are no other constraints in the license to help MS with this, then they could simply do that, unless the contract states that they must sell the latest version, which I doubt.

In short, this article seems to be some back-slapping by the FSF folks. Oh, how smart they must be that MS is now unable to sue anyone because that'd cause them to lose the ability to distribute GPL'ed software. The MS lawyers aren't dumb. Either they won't bother with GPLv3 software, sue Novell because Novell is unable to fulfill its contract, terminate their contract early (as the deal says they can), or distribute it because they never planned to sue, anyway (as they recently said).

Re:This doesn't make any sense... (1)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188107)

Isn't there an option D where Microsoft just distributes an out-of-date version to anyone who turns in a coupon after the GPLv3 handover? Wouldn't that stuff still be licensed under GPLv2?

Or does the GPL changeover apply retroactively to old versions as well? That seems kind of... odd.

Dot Points Please ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19187615)

Can someone please rephrase this terrible piece of writing into something more understandable ?

Re:Dot Points Please ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19188025)

OK, here you go:

1. FLIRG

2. FLIRG

3. microsoft has apparently patented the uretha.

4. FLIRG

5. the gpl v3 fixes everything - hooray! Flirg

better?

Re:Dot Points Please ? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19188027)

I'll give it a go.

It's 4th down at the 1-yard line. The FOSS defense has be taking a beating from Microsoft offensive patent drive. Ballmer's throwing arm has been dead-on leading the proprietary software vendor on a 80-yard drive. Now, with seemingly only seconds remaining in the game, Microsoft still has the longest yard to go yet.

The huddle breaks and you can see Ballmer has put lawyer's split wide and the Novell front line in tight formation. Microsoft is going for the Hail Mary play! The ball is snapped, Ballmer goes back deep. He scrambling back and forth like a wild man on a stage dodging one GNU line backer after the next trying to kill the time on the clock.

The free crowed is on their feet in screaming. The PHB crowed is nervously biting their nails. Ballmer looks exhausted. You can see his sweaty arm pits from the stands. Ballmer, blinded by falling SuSE ticker tape from crowd can't see the time on the clock, throws the ball wildly like a chair against a wall. But the FOSS defenses intercept the pass and return the ball to the 50-yard line after spectacular blocking by the GPL3.

And the game goes into over-time.

wishfull thinking. (1)

anwyn (266338) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187907)

As the FSF is fond of saying the GPL (all versions) is a copyright license not a contract. Copyright Licenses allow you to do things that would otherwise be illegal under copyright law.

I can not find the provision of copyright law, that says you need a license to distribute coupons. Copyright law talks about copying, distributing, and creating derived works! MS does none of these things! (with respect to Linux). The distribution of coupons is not regulated by copyright law. (Unless the coupons were themselves copyrighted, but that is a digression.) Therefore MS does not require a copyright license like the GPL.

A license that MS does not require, and has not agreed to can not restrict MS in any way.

If people had not been engaged in wishfull thinking, they would have realized this already.

Re:wishfull thinking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19188035)

A license that MS does not require, and has not agreed to can not restrict MS in any way.


Great, then that copy of windows that I have which I have never looked at the "EULA" for should be okay to copy and send to all my friends, then? After all, its a license that I do not require and never agreed to, so it cannot restrict me in any way.

Re:wishfull thinking. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188211)

If you can provide some other provision under copyright law that allows it, then yes. Otherwise, what you just said has no connection to what GP said, which was that the EULA doesn't prohibit you from copying Windows, copyright law does.

Good news for Digg (5, Insightful)

mrsam (12205) | more than 7 years ago | (#19187931)

From TFA:

[ A spokesman for a Microsoft-funded trade group ] disputed the assertion that Microsoft's distribution of Suse Linux service and support coupons makes it a Linux distributor.

"They're not distributing Linux," Wilder said. "They're providing somebody access to a service but they're not providing copies of Linux on a disk, and they're not providing somebody access to Linux for the purpose of download, and so they're not engaged in any distribution."





Great news! Let's start all posting the AACS key to Digg, again. After all, you won't be distributing AACS yourself, and you are not going to provide access to download anything.


Re:Good news for Digg (3, Insightful)

jellie (949898) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188155)

I had the same reaction when I read that sentence. If I twist their own logic... can't I distribute Windows keys, because that's only "providing somebody access to a service"? I'll tell them to find their own copy to download, but the key is legitimate!

A Zonk (1)

A-Rex (602166) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188065)

Someone made a Zonk in the post title.

Reservations about the timing. (3, Insightful)

Chronus (201970) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188073)

Okay, this sounds like bullshit. I have two main points to make and I'd like to get an answer to these reservations.

I don't think that these coupons would be effected by the change over to GPL3. I'm betting they're a not too hard legal fight away, tops, from legally declaring that these coupons were released for a particular legal/business situation and making them not count for GPL3 versions of the product.

And even if this all goes down the way groklaw says it will, I don't believe you could mount an effective legal challenge against Microsoft when they invalidate all the vouchers and offer either a refund or a product of equal monetary value.

I also kind of get the feeling that if these guys waited they coulda sprung this on Microsoft at the first legal challenge they offered and totally took the advantage or at lest made a nice high profile case with more amusing geeky stories following it up. Now, I think the Microsoft legal beagles will shut this down before it comes to anything.

It happens.

jesus fucking christ (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19188077)

is it REALLY THAT HARD? it's = it is. its = possessive. anyone who can't figure this out is a fucking maroon.

GPL v3 - Patents - Kernel - Linus (2, Interesting)

achten (1032738) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188101)

So, if understand correctly this part of Groklaw discussion
As you can see in the section I highlighted, the minute someone turns in a voucher after GPLv3 is in effect, Microsoft will be granting a patent license to everyone, not just Novell's paying customers:
protection against MS-expected-patent-infringement will be available only if kernel is released under GPLv3. Linus does not seem to be very much inclined towards GPLv3 the last I read about it. Am I missing anything here?
Will it lead to some people seeing GPLv3 in different light?

Not true, 1 year expiration! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19188111)

Not true...the subscriptions are one-year agreements... agreement [novell.com]

Under the business collaboration agreement, the companies will pursue a variety of joint marketing activities to promote the adoption of the technologies they are collaborating on. In addition, Microsoft will purchase a quantity of coupons from Novell that entitle the recipient to a one-year subscription for maintenance and updates to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Microsoft will annually make available approximately 70,000 of these coupons to customers, with a mix of priority and standard support services. By providing its customers with these coupons, Microsoft is enabling companies to benefit from the use of the new software solutions developed through the collaborative research effort, as well as a version of Linux that is covered with respect to Microsoft's intellectual property rights

Re:Not true, 1 year expiration! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19188143)

But no expropriation when you can redeem this one-year subscription.

Do they specify a version of Suse either? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19188121)

DUH?

Gonna be some chair throwin' over this one (1)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188137)

"So, in summary, Novell will be protected for the long haul, and Microsoft will be endangered for the long haul by GPL 3, and that's as it should be."

You can pan-fry Novell's ass too for all I care. They knew what they were getting into and went ahead with it anyway. Thing I don't get is how Microsoft's army of lawyers missed this.

Re:Gonna be some chair throwin' over this one (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188233)

Lawyers (especially a bunch of them) are still somewhat 'people'.

This is not good enough (1)

astrashe (7452) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188215)

Obviously, Moglen is a smart guy, and I have to assume his theory here is at least plausible. But it seems to me that someone could make a counter argument that would also be plausible.

So it's something to be worked out in endless litigation. Look at how long the SCO trial has gone on, how expensive it's been, and how little substance there seems to have been in the claim.

In this video clip Moglen describes his take on MS's strategy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YExl9ojclo [youtube.com]

The point, he argues, is to split the community so our interests are not all aligned with one another. Specifically, to create a situation in which large enterprise customers are safe, and small individual developers can be harassed.

Those developers need more than a theory that can be defended, very expensively, in an endless trial. They need a slam dunk, something that will prevent them from being sued in the first place. They need to be safe.

Re:This is not good enough (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19188261)

That's some great stuff. I really love listening to Eben Moglen.. he has such a great law professor tone. Unforutnately, the same tone puts many people to sleep before they hear what it is he is saying. Business people.
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