Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Put Novell's 'GPL Grace' to the Test

ITWire publishes an article which explains what the Xandros deal ought to have taught us. Let's treat each of the points in turn.

One, that Microsoft has been emboldened by the fact that the last call draft of GPLv3 does not penalise Novell. A bit of compromise on Richard Stallman's part has been interpreted as weakness.

It is clear that the licence draft can still be amended. On the one hand, for Microsoft to operate under the assumption that the draft will remain unchanged is just rather silly. The only thing they might achieve is:

So, in principle, Microsoft says "if GPLv3 takes us down, we might as well take Novell down with us". It knows no mercy. In the process, Xandros will be (mis)used to promote another agenda and eliminated as a rival as well. Microsoft has a lot to gain here, so it spreads more destruction and takes it further. Any vendor which at this stage is willing to enter a partership with Microsoft is therefore committing suicide. The question remains, how much money will it take that vendor to take the dive willfully? This would be akin to paying your competition to exit the market, which is illegal.

Two, Redmond wants a test case to see whether Stallman's statement - that GPLv3 will ensure that any and all patent deals will backfire against Microsoft - will be tested sooner rather than later.

Let us hope that it gets tested, assuming the process will also force Microsoft to fold its cards. An answer is better than uncertainty.

And three, that Redmond still believes that the old policy of spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) will continue to keep the cash registers at Redmond ringing.

Bingo. That continues to be the main issue here. Companies must realise that everything is an illusion that is intensified by words, not action. To them, the longer uncertainty is looming over, the better. Why is SCO, whose stock dived to oblivion, still attending the courtroom at all? It's all about perpetuating a myth.

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