Novell has supplied ‘ammunition’ to those seeking to demonise and criticise the Linux/Free software community. If you thought that Reuters had chosen sensationalist headlines, then have a look at this new article from InformationWeek. It is titled “Microsoft-Novell Deal: Nightmare In Linux Land”.
When Microsoft and Novell announced their Linux agreement last November, it knocked the open source community for a loop, and some hit back hard. “The Microsoft message here is clear. ‘I can pick and choose among the players and bribe whomever I want,’” says Francois Banchilhon, CEO of Mandriva, a Linux marketer.
The journalists’ exaggerations are, needless to mention, damaging to the reputation of Linux. There is no “nightmare in Linux land” and Novell is not “banned from selling Linux”, either.
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Groklaw compares Blackboard’s supposedly-good deed to Novell’s big mistake.
The Blackboard Patent Pledge – Novell II?
There’s another issue some are raising: Moodle is licensed under the GPL. Blackboard, then, appears to be attempting to place restrictions on GPL’d code by means of its nonassertion pledge, particularly as explained in the FAQ, which is incorporated by reference.
Here is something that resembles Novell’s loveaffair with Microsoft, which is forced upon those who are repelled by it.
Microsoft seems to have hijacked Linux Asia
Was the general feel amongst the attendees at Linux Asia 2007; MS however, just wanted to say ”let us walk hand-in-hand”
Lastly, after a couple of frowned-upon delays, Novell sets a date for its financial results to go public.
Form 8-K for NOVELL INC
Novell, Inc. will issue a press release providing an overview of financial results for its first fiscal quarter of 2007 on Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 4pm ET.
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There is a Reuters news report that is proclaiming "Novell could be banned from selling Linux: group", and it made my heart flutter. Honestly.
Moglen said the board has not made a decision on the matter but that he expects it to announce a ruling within two weeks.
If the foundation decides to take action, the ban would apply to new versions of Linux covered under a licensing agreement due to take effect in March.
John Dragoon, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Novell, declined to comment saying it would be premature to speculate on how the issue would be resolved.
“We’ll take a look at the final determination and we’ll react accordingly,” he said.
Actually, it seems that the quote from Eben Moglen on which the article is premised was taken slightly out of context, and Moglen himself says the reporter is hyping the report to create "unnecessary waves".
“What he actually asked me,” said Moglen in an email interview, “was ‘Is it true that some members of the community want GPLv3 to keep Novell from distributing future versions of GPL’d software?’ I said, ‘Yes, the Free Software Foundation is opposed to the deal, and is thinking about what to do; there will be a new draft soon [of the GPLv3]” (GNU General Public License Version 3).
Therefore, “The actual quote he prints is entirely accurate, but his lede destroys the context and is making unnecessary waves.”
What is actually happening is, in the coming weeks, Moglen and the FSF will be working on the language to address Microvell’s license exploit, and then Novell will have something concrete to ponder – comply with GPLv3 or fork nearly every major package in their distribution, starting with Samba.
Of course, as Jeremy Allison astutely pointed out in our interview with him after leaving Novell, it is likely that Microsoft will find the deal untenable after GPLv3 is introduced, since the new version is likely to include verbiage that extends Novell’s patent covenant to all downstream users, without restriction.
Stafford Masie has already stated that Novell will "do what it takes" to be GPLv3 compliant, including amending the Microsoft deal if necessary. And, as the new GPL version nears completion, we should watch Novell to see if they are indeed willing and able to comply with the new license, or if their deal with Microsoft will take precedence over the community from which they derive their product.
We should find out shortly just how beholden to Microsoft Novell really has become.
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