Bonum Certa Men Certa

Is Novell in a Deep State of Denial? (Updated)

The headlines (and the overall message) are very clear. The relationship between Microsoft and Novell will need to be changed, if not altogether suspended. In fact, unless Novell forks a plethora of GNU utilities, it will stay behind, virtually frozen in GNU/Linux of 2007. Unless the draft changes significantly, the following articles from vnunet are accurate.

Microsoft 'defeated' by GPL3

"We believe we can do more to protect the community by allowing Novell to use software under GPL3 than by forbidding it to do so," the FSF stated in a Final Discussion Draft Rationale document to explain the most recent changes.


Novell fears closing of GPL loophole

"We may need to modify our relationship with Microsoft under less advantageous terms than our current agreement," Novell said in a section of its annual report that lists potential 'risk factors'.


It is very strange to see Novell's most recent stance on this. Is it possible that their employees have not been brought up to date? Is it a strategic choice of attitude (poker face)? Denial from Novell as a whole? Just consider this:

"We note that the language which grandfathered the Novell–Microsoft agreement remains in the draft. All of this is good news for our customers," he [Novell spokesperson] said.


How about this one?

GPLv3 is still in draft level, but the consequences of the current draft are that we can continue what we have done. Every single step will be discussed with the software foundation. For example, there are four forums, which continue to discuss GPL. We are part of the vendor forum deal and we will continue to discuss, without engaging in future public speculation.


It seems likely that these newly-published interviews are slightly out of date, but the former one clearly refers to the latest draft.

Update: BetaNews summarises some of the latest events and it appears to suggest that Microsoft gets 'punished' whereas Novell is not affected.

"Microsoft wants to use its thousands of patents to make GNU/Linux users pay Microsoft for the privilege, and made this deal to try to get that," Stallman writes. "The deal offers Novell's customers rather limited protection from Microsoft patents. Microsoft made a few mistakes in the Novell-Microsoft deal, and GPLv3 is designed to turn them against Microsoft, extending that limited patent protection to the whole community. In order to take advantage of this, programs need to use GPLv3."


A certain observation returns to mind.

I don’t know which lawyer wrote the vouchers, but I’m guessing somewhere in Redmond, there is a lawyer beating his head against the wall right about now.

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