LGPLv3 Draft Released; What Do People Say About Novell?

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, GPL, Law, LGPL, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patents at 8:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The release of a LGPLv3 draft has just been announced. Along with it, comments are beginning to emerge which analyse its impact on Novell. As both licences are very similar, many of the same rules apply to both.

Fortunately, Novell is still the the centre of this debate, so it’s unlikely to see any exemptions. From Linux Planet:

Now that the third draft of GNU Public License (GPL) version 3 is out the door, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) will be “actively” seeking out comments from the open source community–and officials expect to get particularly strong response around provisions involving the Novell/Microsoft deal and so-called “Tivo-ization” in embedded devices.

O’Reilly Radar takes a careful look at the language which addresses the Novell/Microsoft deal and simplifies all the ‘legal speak’.

Translating that into plain English, it says: If you distribute GPLd software and make a deal with another company who also distributes (some kind of) software, we will stop you from distributing the GPLd software if:

a) you pay the other company
b) the deal mentions the GPLd software
c) you get a patent license
d) the patent license mentions the GPLd software
e) the patent license has more limited terms than the GPL license on the software

In a new interview with Richard Stallman, Novell gets a mention as well.

Q: Very well. On the Microsoft side the ink was still drying on the Novell deal when Mr. Ballmer implied again that GNU/Linux infringes Microsoft patents. Are such threats credible?

Richard Stallman: Well, every large program infringes lots of patents. Microsoft has lots of patents. Most large programs, I would expect, infringe some Microsoft patents. This just goes to show why software patents shouldn’t exist.

Lastly, a new review of Opensuse 10.2 spells out one of the main disadvantages of this GNU/Linux distribution.

With the recent cloud formed over Novell striking a deal with Microsoft, many in the open source and Free software community are concerned about the direction in which Novell is going to steer SuSE in the future. There are also aspersions cast on whether this fine GNU/Linux distribution will remain Free at all.


Competing for Mindshare at Brainshare

Posted in Action, Boycott Novell, Deals, Deception, Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, GPL, LGPL, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents at 8:22 pm by Shane Coyle

The FSF Strikes Back Part II: A New Hope

Bruce Perens will be holding a press conference to coincide with Novell’s upcoming Brainshare conference, here is the announcement and a list of topics.

Bruce Perens, director of Action on Technology Policy and initiator of the Open Letter to Novell that has been signed by thousands, will hold a press conference during Novell’s Brainshare conference in Salt Lake City, Utah next week. The topics will be

  • The Microsoft-Novell agreement
  • GPL version 3 and how it will impede Novell from making use of new innovation by the Free Software community
  • Software patents vs. Free Software

The event is open to working press and to Open Source community representatives who will report the event online or help operate the event. There is an attendee list. For admission and event details, write to bruce at perens dot com.

This should be uncomfortable, too.


Stafford Masie Presentation at CITI Forum: Transcript

Posted in Boycott Novell, Deals, Fork, Formats, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL, IBM, Intellectual Monopoly, Interoperability, LGPL, Microsoft, NetWare, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, OpenSUSE, Patent Covenant, Patents, Red Hat, Servers, VBA, Virtualisation, Windows at 5:26 pm by Shane Coyle

Here, finally, is the transcript of Stafford Masie’s presentation at the CITI forum, as posted on tectonic.co.za. I only transcribe as well as I hear, so there may be small errors, but I am confident this is ‘very’ accurate. Please point out any errors or questions and I will investigate.

Related Posts: Stafford Masie’s Q&A at CITI Forum Transcript

Stafford Masie:

This whole Novell thing, the whole Microsoft thing, is an interesting thing. so, let me just start off by saying… thanks for making the time, thanks for making the time to see me. Pete was supposed to be up here this morning, and I decided to come,…

Really what I want the premise of the discussion to be is really a discussion about, I think the big thing thats gonna come up here as I go through all the…the material that I want to present initially is the patent stuff, y’know software patents and what they mean, etc I think professor Keats and I have gone back and forth online enough now.

We… we… we definitely like the fact that we have an open source community… we’re learning more and more as a proprietary vendor, traditional proprietary vendor, to participate in this community. and there are certain things that we do and there are certain things that we may not do that are good or that are bad, and y’know, really, this is what we want to do, this is what we want to do, is stir debate.
Read the rest of this entry »


Everyone Apologize to PJ

Posted in Fork, Formats, GNU/Linux, GPL, Interoperability, LGPL, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML at 2:19 pm by Shane Coyle

Novell OpenOffice.org is a Fork.

There was much furor over a recent Groklaw headline regarding Novell forking OpenOffice.org, with even Miguel De Icaza taking the time to respond, albeit in a somewhat "fast and loose" manner. Everyone said, "Novell forking Open Office? No way."

During Stafford Masie’s Question and Answer session at the CITI forum, he explained how Novell has two streams of Linux products – "FOSS" and "OSS", with OpenSUSE and OpenOffice.org being "FOSS" and SLE(S|D) and Novell OpenOffice.org being "OSS" Masie goes on to say that in their version of Novell OpenOffice, they add extra interoperability, backward compatibilty and testing, in addition to licensed fonts and graphic rendering engines. These differences are in addition to the Open XML support and even more controversial VBA support, which may or may not be accepted into OOO’s main branch.

So, Novell OpenOffice.org is a fork, it has been for some time, its okay and you don’t need to deny it. Correct me if I am wrong, but OOO is LGPL and as long as you do it right, you can have a version linked with proprietary stuff, Novell.

Now, it is just a question of how closely OpenOffice.org wants to follow their lead into Microsoft’s embrace, or branch off towards Freedom, that will determine just how much of a fork Novell’s OpenOffice.org becomes.

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