Over at Free Software Magazine, David Sugar writes “Never before has the contrast between software freedom and intellectual slavery been more clear thanks to the proud efforts of gNewSense, and the craven ones of Novell.” and challenges Novell’s assertion that they acted on behalf of the community and developers:
It is interesting that Novell chooses to say they negotiated this agreement on “behalf” of all software contributors to (and customers) of Novell. Some of my packages are included in SuSE, though, strangely, I do not recall them ever asking me to negotiate this agreement on my behalf. That it claims to only protect “non commercially involved” contributors, it’s clear it is about limiting what I can do and to whom I can safely distribute my code through. It’s meant to threaten and intimidate those who develop software in freedom, and to control what they will be allowed to do. I do not remember requesting to become Novell’s slave, or of desiring to pay a Microsoft slug for the right to practice freedom. As such it is an insult to everyone who has ever contributed code that they now use.
Sugar likens Novell to a rabid dog that must be put down rather than risk infection of the populace, and issues a call to package owners to investigate if Novell is in violation of the GPL as it stands now, and if it is determined that they are to rescind their distribution rights:
What we can do, those who believe in freedom, those who use GNU/Linux, or those who everywhere who believe in free markets and reject gangsters and thugs and the destruction such people do to society? First and foremost we must stand together in solidarity and not let the enemies of freedom succeed in their game of divide and conquer. If Novell has violated the letter of the GPL as well as its spirit, those of us who maintain packages that are distributed today as part of SuSE/Novell GNU/Linux must exercise our option to issue cease and desist orders. When dealing with a dog with rabies, even if once a loved family pet, it is best to put such an animal down before it also has the opportunity to infect others. As for thugs like Microsoft, they must be treated as the cancer to business and society that they are.
As is evidenced by their recent financial statements, Novell is completely hitched to Linux as their future as their Netware revenues plummet, but it appears that they are also completely hitched to Microsoft as well. Now it appears that the community is not interested in being two-timed, and is divorcing Novell. We don’t do bigamy.