Novell, Microsoft deal and GPL
Oh, cool. Novell's PR department needed only a week to produce FAQ that'd actually answer frequently asked questions. Press releases full of quotes, long words and other strange stuff are simple, but a plain and clear explanation of what's going on apparently takes time for some unknown reason. And, since pretty much everybody has already tried to interpret various aspects of the deal, including here on Planet KDE, why couldn't I as well? I'm no lawyer, I don't understand it that much and I don't know anything more than what's written in the FAQ and the announcements, but after all that didn't stop many others either.
Say, the part about the GPL "problem". The FAQ, among other things, says:
So, let's see:
The funny thing is that the last point doesn't seem to make sense, strictly technically speaking. There's no patent infringment and Microsoft won't most probably sue anybody anyway. So why bother? Is just the sleep of Novell's customers worth it?
Apparently Novell thinks it is. There seem to be customers who are still afraid of Microsoft, despite not doing anything bad and having already all kinds of guarantees from Novell, so Novell makes a deal with Microsoft to have a guarantee from Microsoft that it will not have any silly lawsuits against Novell's customers. It's funny, it's absurd, c'est la vie.
For the other Linux users nothing changes, they also still don't do anything bad (and even their sleep doesn't change). Microsoft can still try to sue those, just like it could have done until now. In fact, Microsoft can still sue Novell. If you look at it in a way, this part of deal basically says "Listen, Microsoft, if you have a problem with Novell, sort it out with Novell, don't bother the customers". I.e. Novell redirects any possible threats from its customers to itself and Novell customers get better sleep. That's how I basically see it.
And, as for violating the GPL, I'm no lawyer, so could somebody please enlighten me: Linux does not infringe on any patents. There's no patent licensing, at least as far as GPL-ed code is concerned. There are no plans to add anything patented to GPL-ed code. Novell does not put any additional restrictions on GPL-ed code it ships that'd contradict the GPL. So how exactly is the GPL being violated? There's only a promise from Microsoft that it won't try any silly lawsuits against Novell's customers, a promise not to sue somebody who doesn't do anything bad anyway. If that's against the GPL, even against its spirit I'd say, I must have missed that part. And, while the FSF sometimes goes to quite some extremes, I hope it won't go as far as twisting GPLv3 this way (because, if nothing else, then Microsoft can simply make a public vague promise it won't sue anybody and we're all suddenly violating the GPL).
I don't feel like commenting on anything else regarding the deal or even whether I like it or not. I'm getting tired of all this anyway.
(A disclaimer is probably in order, just in case: This is just a personal opinion, more or less based on reading of the relevant announcements and FAQ, followed by resisting the urge to spread the first silly reaction that came to mind [that's a good thing to do, by the way, so this is recommended in general]. I have no idea what my employer (=Novell, just in case somebody doesn't know) will think about this (if anything at all), especially given that I may be wrong, just like everybody else. No animals were harmed during making of this blog entry and no signing of anything with one's own blood was involved either. Blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda.)
Look at it as you will -- it looks very strange....
...to pay money from one company to the other, so that their *customers* can get "peace of mind" for not being sued due to patent violations that the vendor of their product is responsible for.
Duh, I did see your blog entry only after I committed my new one (which could as well have been a comment to yours....
It is here: http://www.kdedevelopers.org/node/2528
Thinking one step further might be a good idea, and not just believing what your employer tells you. Afterall, if someone tells you he's innocent and all the facts point in the other direction, would you believe him?
Novell promises not to sue Microsoft's customers for using Microsoft software. Microsoft promises not to sue Novell SUSE paid customers for using Novell SUSE. They each pay each other millions. But it's not a patent cross license. No sirree.
I don't buy it. If its not about patents then I'm Santa.
This makes your blog loose its footing.
Furthermore, your argument that this protects Novell customers is false. Its a contract that Novell made the customers of Novell enter into. And its not disclosing all the details.
In effect (and I quote)
Novell here is stepping outside the line of fire and agreeing with Microsoft that *end users* are the ones that you must go after in any patent infringement dispute.
As is usual with Microsoft, a dirty game is being played. I'm just feeling a bit depressed over Novell being a major player.
I think this one actually
I think this one actually sums it up nicely, with so few words. And, as for facts, I'd like to point out that the FSF line is not limited only to FSF.
Not that I'm going to waste any more of my time on this, I have better things to do.