Bonum Certa Men Certa

Even GPLv3 Skeptics Have Begun to Realise It Has Value and Appreciate Its Effect

First, Microsoft ignored the GNU GPLv3. The lawyers did not foresee its impact.

Then, Microsoft started to ridicule the licence and spread disinformation. It even had its lobbyists do some of the 'legwork'.

Then, Microsoft fought the GPL. In an interview, Microsoft admitted that GPLv3 was the last straw which led it to making threats in the middle of May. This is where we stand at moment, awaiting the fourth and final stage.

Microsoft's fear of the GPL is explained in a very recent article. They would rather run away from the license than actually face its consequences.

Microsoft is extremely keen to avoid "legal debate" over whether its recent partnerships with Linux firms such as Novell, Xandros, and Linspire, mean Redmond must assume any of the new licenses' legal obligations.


There are some blog reactions of interest as well.

This is Thursday's IT Blogwatch: in which Microsoft squirms out of GPLv3's clutches, perhaps.


There are some decent interpretations in this digest. The more interesting short article, however, has just come from the Managing Editor of LinuxToday. Brian used to criticise GPLv3, but no longer does he appear to feel the same way. Here's why:

So, by threatening everything and promising nothing (because would Microsoft really sue anyone for patents, knowing how many competitors in the Linux community have patents of their own?), Microsoft has skillfully managed to get open source players to endorse Open XML. A variant of the classic Badger Game if I ever heard one.

Faced with cons like this, I am beginning to realize that having something like the GPLv3 around is a very good idea. Even though the new GPL could not have prevented this scam, it may help in the future.


As we pointed out yesterday, GPLv3 may have already played a role in the 'deal' with Turbolinux, which ended up as more of a technical partnership.

Chalk up the name of another Linux watcher who was a GPLv3 skeptic and now offers a little bit of support. He learned to stop worrying and love... errr... the licence, not the bomb. Linus Torvalds gradually softens as well, but some publications apparently hide it.

Be aware that some publications appear to be muddying the waters. Over time, InformationWeek has been caught with several articles that appear to be anti-Linux and/or anti-Free software. Taking the words of Torvalds out of context was probably part of the plot to add unnecessary drama. Yesterday, Groklaw decided to sniff around InformationWeek, challenge them, and set them straight.

What is going on at InformationWeek? Let me guess. Nah. You are sophisticated enough to figure it out. But I think it's clear there is afoot an attempt to create the impression of some schism in the FOSS world.


From my personal point of view, InformationWeek has been publishing a lot of Linux material recently. Rarely does it offer any encouragement. Some of it defends Microsoft's side. From what I could gather, InformationWeek tells us that you can't install Linux on laptops, that Linux users are a cult, that GPLv3 is evil, that Microsoft has legitimate IP claims against Linux, that OpenOffice.org is 'dangerous', and that Linus Torvalds calls people at FSF "hyprocrites". Keep InformationWeek on your mental FUDlist from now on. This suspicion seems justifiable.

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