[discuss] Reuters: Novell could be banned from selling Linux:
evan at telly.org
Mon Feb 5 12:18:50 EST 2007
Russell McOrmond wrote:
> I'm wondering if anyone knows the source of the following Reuters
What a horrible piece of reporting, especially in ignoring that the FSF
is extremely restricted in what it can do. While they no doubt would
like to punish Novell, the FSF has limited ability to do this. If Novell
cannot be proven to be violating the (letter of the) GPLv2, then any
attempt by the FSF to prohibit Novell's distribution would leave the FSF
open to some fairly serious restraint-of-trade lawsuits.
In any case, it will not go much further than words, for one simple
reason. The proportion of a typical Linux distribution that is
produced/controlled by the FSF is small and continuing to shrink, as new
non-FSF tools and applications get added. Actually bringing this fact
out into the open -- as a real attempt to block Novell would do -- would
broadly expose the FSF's loss of influence and make the whole
"GNU/Linux" thing even more of a joke than it now is.
Is there wording in the GPLv3 that would restrain Novell in ways the
GPLv2 could not? Probably unlikely unless it was specifically targeting
Novell, and Microsoft has yet to make any specific IP claims. In
addition, we already know that significant parts of Linux -- such as the
kernel -- will be sticking with GPLv2 even after v3 is released.
Almost everything to do with Novell-Microsoft is based on speculation of
what MS would/could do next; unfortunately it will be difficult to
defend its actions until we actually know what they are. Unlike SCO, MS
seems for the moment content with the FUD being caused by the deal and
you can't tailor a software license to guard against FUD.
The reporter blew the story big time, because of his inability to
distingish between "distributing Linux" and "distributing the bits of a
Linux distribution that are controlled by the FSF". The report's
complete ignorance on this issue indicates that the FSF did nothing of
its own to note this distinction.
Moreover, in-context or not, Moglen's comment that "The community of
people wants to do anything they can to interfere with this deal and all
deals like it" seems accoringly over-reaching. The FSF hardly speaks on
behalf of the Linux community, indeed its comments are at odds with
Linux core developers.
We know that the FSF is vocally against the Novell-MS deal. So is the
Samba team. The problem is, they need to live by the same rules of
freedom that they defend. Just as freedom of speech is most needed to
protect profanity, software freedom must be extended to those who fight
More information about the discuss