Novell deal could bite MS in the ass

OK it’s not the most eloquent blog title I’ve ever thought up I admit but I think it conveys the sentiment nicely 🙂 I came across this story by Todd Bishop earlier today.

After a week of enthusiastic patent “saber-rattling” from everyones favorite software publishing monopoly Microsoft, Eben Moglen has made an interesting reply. He’s the legal council for the Free Software Foundation and oversees many things for them, such as the drawing up of the new GNU Public License (version 3) under which most open source software is published.

Moglen said this latest episode illustrated the importance of protecting against Microsoft’s attempts “to disrupt free software production through the inculcation of a large inventory of most-likely invalid patents”.

It seems that the GPLv3 might be able to finally put these arguments to bed once and for all. Thanks in no small part to the deal Microsoft itself made with Novell late last year. Under the terms of the deal Microsoft agreed to purchase a large amount of licenses for Novell’s SUSE Enterprise Linux which it would then pass on to customers who wanted them, effectively making SUSE Microsoft’s preferred Linux partner. Under the new GPL this situation would make Microsoft a Linux distributor and subject to the new license like any other. They would then be legally prevented from pursuing any Linux users for patent violations, not just Novell customers. Which will show their frequent patent threats to the Linux community for exactly what they are ……hot air!!!

Now I’m no legal expert and I don’t know how water-tight all this is but I do know one thing. Microsoft my very well have thrown their own spuds in the bonfire on this one ….ouch 😀

I will be very interested to see how this develops in the coming months.

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