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03.19.07

FSF Corrects Justin Steinman

Posted in Action, Boycott Novell, Deals, Deception, FSF, FUD, Novell, Patent Covenant at 7:36 pm by Shane Coyle

Recently, we noted that Novell’s Justin Steinman had asserted that their Microsoft agreement is backed by 80-85% of the open source community.

During that interview, Steinman also made statements regarding Novell’s "significant" financial support of the Free Software Foundation and their intention to work with the drafters of the next version, "helping develop a version of the GPL that enables that (Microsoft) agreement to continue".

Well, those comments didn’t sit well with many, including Pamela Jones of Groklaw. PJ contacted Peter Brown at the FSF for a reaction, and well, it seems that Mr Steinman is working off of old, if not inaccurate, data:

But, what matters is, is it true? Has Novell bought FSF into going along with the Novell-Microsoft patent agreement? I asked Peter Brown of FSF for a reaction and here is his statement:

Novell last gave funds to the FSF in October 2005, when they donated $5K as part of FSF Corporate Patron program. Since their deal with Microsoft was announced we have not asked them to renew as a patron, nor would we. Novell is not “a significant financial contributor to the Free Software Foundation”, but what’s a little exaggeration compared to their deal with Microsoft?
We remain determined to make sure that GPLv3 does not permit deals of this kind. We are now studying how to achieve this without causing unintended trouble for other industry practices.

You can verify it for yourself by going to the FSF’s list of corporate patrons. Do you see Novell on the list on that page? No, you don’t. Because they aren’t a corporate patron currently.
Here’s what I know: even if Novell gave FSF $5 million, it couldn’t get what it wants. Some people are not for sale. Marketing guys might not get that concept. But there you are. Now for my request…

PJ’s request is simple, and is a sentiment echoed here at this site often: Microvell, give us the details. Until Novell makes the details of their patent covenant public, they cannot and will not be trusted nor fully embraced by the Free Software community. Instead, they can embrace Microsoft in their attempts to proprietize Free Software and cartelize the software industry.

Someone should tell Novell’s management what the steps after embrace are when dealing with Microsoft.

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