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12.19.09

Why GNOME Funding is Equivalent to Lobbying and Why Novell is Likely Against GPL Enforcement

Posted in Finance, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell at 4:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Washington monument
K Street or G Street?

Summary: “[GNOME] Advisory Board a euphemism for Lobbying,” argues one man and Novell’s Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier is against GPL lawsuits

YESTERDAY we explained why funding of GNOME is like lobbying, such as what leads to the backlash against GNU [1, 2, 3, 4]. We quoted Brandon, who now has this well-structured explanation with links.

First of all I don’t believe there is anything wrong with accepting corporate funding. The issue at hand is that corporate funding shouldn’t dictate or suggest the direction of an organization.

The FSF has three tiers of funding each receiving the same benefits. The only difference is that each tier is represented on the Patron List in groups. The first tier is $30,000. The Second tier is $25,000 and Under. The Third tier is $15,000 and Under. You can see who contributes the most as they are listed first.

Novell already owns the "Director" position at GNOME.

Yesterday we also wrote about the SFLC suffering from backlash that is further exaggerated by OpenLogic, which makes money from it. Novell’s community manager for OpenSUSE, Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier, seems to be among the complainers about GPL violations being addressed (Novell worked with Microsoft on circumvention of GPLv2) and Bradley Kuhn from the SFLC finally replies to this man, who lied about Kuhn's colleague, Eben Mogeln.

He writes:

Joe, I’ve been doing GPL enforcement for about ten years. When I count the number of the products on the market that include GPL’d software, and the number of violations, the percentage stays constant. There are more violations because more are adopting GPL’d software. Also, we slowly see specific industries learn their lesson. I think we’re nearing the end of the “home router as the default violation” era. If you look at the lawsuit, there are only a few router products among the many listed. We’re in a new age of consumer electronics violations. It will take time to improve compliance there, but I certainly think given that we have only a few parties around the world (FSF, SFLC, and gpl-violations.org) even bothering to enforce GPL, we’re doing a really efficient job! If folks have concrete suggestions on how to make our work more efficient, I’d love to hear about it.

Meanwhile, denying rights forever under v2 doesn’t seem right to me. The goal in GPL compliance work is to ultimately encourage more use of Free Software in a compliant way. The idea of being hard-nosed with the GPL might be permitted by the letter of the license, but I think refusing to restore someone’s rights who makes a successful effort to come into compliance is against the spirit of the GPL.

It is not surprising that Novell people are unhappy with GPL enforcement. It is them who conspired with Microsoft (against the GNU Public License) 3 years ago.

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