05.28.07

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Eben Moglen Confirms That GPLv3 Will Address Microvell Debacle, Acknowledgement Comes from Novell

Posted in FSF, GPL, Microsoft, Novell at 7:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Some of our readers are here to defend Novell. Comments get posted which either apologise or insist that GPLv3 won’t be effective against Novell. Eben Moglen, on the other hand, certainly begs to differ, as the following new article suggests:

Apart from the people at the two companies, one man had already seen the agreement after signing a non-disclosure agreement – Eben Moglen, the chief legal eagle of the Free Software Foundation. And Moglen was the one who came to the conclusion that the existing GPL – version 2 – could probably not stop the deal. He also concluded that language in the GPLv3 could be used to block the deal.

According to another article, it is indeed undeniable. Even Novell admits that GPLv3 will give it a hard time.

Another worry is that Novell may be restricted in its ability to include GPLv3 code in its products.

Novell admits (in the statement) if any of the cases arise its business and operating results will be adversely affected.

Hopefully this will clarify a thing or two.

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5 Comments

  1. Francis said,

    May 28, 2007 at 8:17 am

    Gravatar

    Then show me a draft where it does so. As you should know, all the drafts to date do not prohibit Novell of any of its Linux offerings. I think I’ll reserve my talk to only what we can see of the GPLv3 (that is, drafts), rather than speculations on what it might have. Yes, Eben is writing it, but yet, he has clearly written things to the contrary of what you’re hoping for.

  2. Shane Coyle said,

    May 28, 2007 at 8:59 am

    Gravatar

    Novell had to say that about the potential problems they may face, it is all part of the SEC filing – like whenever SCO says "our suit is going great, we just might run out of money before and never get to court".

    They have to tell potential investors about potential pitfalls, but it shows that they realize that it is a possibility – and that it is out of their hands. At this point, the FSF will determine Novell’s fate with GPLv3, of course Novell put themselves in this position, so I don’t feel sorry.

    Like Bruce said:

    "in short, now that Novell has chosen not to hang together with the Free Software community, we’ve chosen not to do so with you."

  3. Francis said,

    May 28, 2007 at 11:04 am

    Gravatar

    Oh come on Shane, you’re really telling me that the draft there impacts Novell? Show me where; it’s common knowledge that it doesn’t. :)

    I wouldn’t feel very sorry for Novell. Like I’ve said, they’re doing pretty great now: stocks are high, they’ve got more Linux engineers, wider adoption of SLE, etc. All in the FAQ.

  4. Shane Coyle said,

    May 28, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    Gravatar

    No, what I (and Novell, in their recent 10K filing) am saying is that if S11 P5 of GPLv3 remains, but the proposed grandfather clause is removed (a possibility, one of many) Novell would suffer just as they said:

    If the final version of GPLv3 contains terms or conditions that interfere with our agreement with Microsoft or our ability to distribute GPLv3 code, Microsoft may cease to distribute SUSE Linux coupons in order to avoid the extension of its patent covenants to a broader range of GPLv3 software recipients, we may need to modify our relationship with Microsoft under less advantageous terms than our current agreement, or we may be restricted in our ability to include GPLv3 code in our products, any of which could adversely affect our business and our operating results. In such a case, we would likely explore alternatives to remedy the conflict, but there is no assurance that we would be successful in these efforts.

    They MUST, as a publicly traded company, make potential investors aware that the cards could fall that way, because they could.

    Now, there are many who would argue that the stock is down, even right this second they are listed @7.60 – their 52 wk high is 7.96, and don’t even bother looking back at 3, 5 or 10 year graphs…

  5. Shane Coyle said,

    May 28, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    Gravatar

    And, it does impact Novell as written – they will be bound by S11 P4, which will make them have to extend their patent agreement to all downstream entities, something MS worked pretty hard to get around to make the deal in the first place and I doubt will be pleased about.

    Why do you think it says they may be restricted in (their) ability to include GPLv3 code in their products?

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