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Microsoft Excludes GPLv3 From Linspire Deal 342

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the v3-is-a-hard-sell dept.
rs232 writes to tell us that Microsoft is excluding any software licensed under the new GPLv3 from their recent patent protection deal with Linspire. "Microsoft has since been treating GPLv3 software as though it were radioactive. 'Microsoft isn't a party to the GPLv3 license and none of its actions are to be misinterpreted as accepting status as a contracting party of GPLv3 or assuming any legal obligations under such license,' the company said in a statement released shortly after GPLv3 was published on June 29. In addition to excluding GPLv3 software from the Linspire deal, Microsoft recently said that it wouldn't distribute any GPLv3 software under its SUSE Linux alliance with Novell, even as it maintains in public statements that the antilawsuit provisions in the license have no legal weight. "
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Microsoft Excludes GPLv3 From Linspire Deal

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  • The GPLv3 works (Score:3, Interesting)

    by A beautiful mind (821714) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @12:40PM (#19903861)

    Microsoft has since been treating GPLv3 software as though it were radioactive.
    Great news!
  • Stallman (Score:3, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @12:41PM (#19903879)
    he must be doing something right if Microsoft is shunning it.
  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @12:41PM (#19903881)
    Look, Microsoft is not an "Open Source" software company. Neither they, nor anyone else (including "Open Source" software companies), are obligated to distribute software under GPLv3. Indeed, contrary to popular beliefs, GPL is not the only real "Open Source" license.
    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RiffRafff (234408) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @12:46PM (#19903969) Homepage
      True, but it would seem to me to undercut much of the Novell deal if a large percentage of the software in the distribution went to GPL3.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      GPL 3 is going to be "radioactive" to a lot of companies. Hell, even the main Linux Kernel guys consider it malignant. Developers that want to see their code adopted and used by the mainstream, whether they are in it for profit or not, might want to avoid GPL 3, especially if their software has runs on specialized or proprietary hardware. GPL 3 creates what in essence is a walled garden. If you GPL 3 your code, you're putting it into that garden. It might be a very beautiful garden, but your code will never
      • Re:So what? (Score:5, Informative)

        by BlueParrot (965239) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @01:19PM (#19904469)

        GPL 3 creates what in essence is a walled garden. If you GPL 3 your code, you're putting it into that garden.
        That is exactly the point. If you don't like it you can always use a license like the X11 license and permit anyone to do whatever they want with your code. The GPL is all about protecting the rights of the user by limiting the restrictions a developer may impose. This includes copyright, DRM, patents etc... The restrictions apply only if you choose to accept the license, which you only have to do if you want to modify or redistribute the program. In fact, the license explicitly gives you the permission to use the program without recognising the license.

        9. Acceptance Not Required for Having Copies. You are not required to accept this License in order to receive or run a copy of the Program. Ancillary propagation of a covered work occurring solely as a consequence of using peer-to-peer transmission to receive a copy likewise does not require acceptance. However, nothing other than this License grants you permission to propagate or modify any covered work. These actions infringe copyright if you do not accept this License. Therefore, by modifying or propagating a covered work, you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so.
        The bottom line is that if you want other developers to be able to prevent users from doing this or that with the program, the GPL is not for you. The GPL is NOT about giving developers the greatest freedom possible ( that would be public domain or BSD-style licensing ) the GPL is about defending the USER. In particular it is about defending his/her right to run, study, modify and redistribute the program. Patents and DRM-style lockdowns are attacks against these rights, which is why they are dissalowed.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I think you're mixing up GPL 2 and GPL 3 there. Admit it, they are two very different licenses. GPL 2 is a quid pro quo license. You get, but you have to give back (if distributing binaries; if a user wants to modify the code for private use, there is nothing protecting other users from this "stinginess").

          GPL 3 reaches past this (some would say overreaches), and controls attempts to control the hardware designs of the user. The GPL 3 is much more focused on the rights of certain users, shifting those rights
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Burpmaster (598437)

            The GPL 3 is much more focused on the rights of certain users, shifting those rights away from other users and developers.
            Huh? What 'other users'? A user is the person using the software/device. GPL3 protects the rights of owners. The manufacturer is not a owner once they sell it, and they certainly aren't the user.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by RobBebop (947356)

            GPL 3 reaches past this (some would say overreaches), and controls attempts to control the hardware designs of the user.

            If you consider the company that makes Tivo to be a "user", and not the people who are actually watching their digitally recorded television programs, then you would be correct in stating that the controls are over-reaching.

            I prefer to view somebody who is using the device a user, though. The company making money off of it is simply a vendor.

            And GPLv3 doesn't say "You cannot make money from selling your product" to the Tivo people. They say, "Play fair and share the innovative features that you adde

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FinchWorld (845331)
      True, but it was my understanding (which may be wrong), that small, yet important parts of say the Linux Kernel will be emerging under GPLv3, which isn't going to play nice with the likes of Novell or certain proprietry software, which shafts them when it comes to upgrading.
      • Re:So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @01:06PM (#19904285) Journal
        Unless there's been a radical change in the last week, the Linux Kernel developers are eschewing GPL 3, saying it's a much worse license than GPL 2, which they consider to be a pretty good license. Most of their objections are due to the GPL 3's attempt to control hardware design and usage. The FSF has sent some squads to the LKML (Linux Kernel Mail List) to argue why the kernel developers "misunderstand", but so far I don't think they've convinced anyone, made any solid arguments, or overcome the kernel developers objections.

        All the FSF can do is take the GNU/ userland GPL 3, but all the GNU/ tools up to that point are still GPL 2 and can be forked. On top of that, the BSD userland can be adapted to the Linux kernel. So I really don't see Linux going GPL 3, in whole or in part.
        • by petrus4 (213815)
          So I really don't see Linux going GPL 3, in whole or in part.

          Give it time. Alan Cox has been chipping away at Linus about it more or less ever since the GPL 3 was first thought of, and the FSF sends its' minions to apply pressure on a fairly regular basis, as well.
        • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @01:15PM (#19904405)
          The GNU/ tools up to that point are still GPL 2 and can be forked.

          At enormous cost. Linux itself is just a kernel. The GNU toolchain outweighs it by a huge factor in terms of what actually makes a linux distro a linux distro, and the BSD userland is laughably inadequate compared to it.

          I personally hope that as much as possible of the average linux distro goes GPLv3 as soon as possible. The mere fact microsoft is reacting so vehemently to it is an indication the GPLv3 gets something right.

           
        • So I take it that you are not using Samba?
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by jZnat (793348) *
            Or GNOME or KDE for that matter. Hell, he probably doesn't even use any open source systems because you still need some GPL-licensed program (GCC) to make it work, even with systems like OpenBSD.
        • Re:So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Znork (31774) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @01:44PM (#19904817)
          "On top of that, the BSD userland can be adapted to the Linux kernel."

          Did you know, the BSD userland actually has a BSD kernel too (a whole bunch of them, in fact)?

          I think we can safely conclude that anyone who wanted the BSD userland and BSD licensed kernel would, in fact, already be using BSD. And looking at the history of the unix wars we can draw some further conclusions about how the anything-goes approach plays out. The only ones who'd be interested in a repeat of that would be Microsoft or some aspireing semi-proprietary vendors who arent familiar with the pile of proprietary unices that fell at the roadside.

          The fact is, the bigger participants in that round have been staunch supporters of the FSF's approach on GPLv3; both Sun and IBM appear to have learned the lessons of fractured markets and IP warfare. It creates many more losers than winners, and it damages the market as a whole - better then to live with an enforced level playing field where you compete on being the best, as opposed to being the best backstabber, where you compete on being the quickest, not the quickest to lauch lawsuits.

          In the end, even tho the ability to deny others freedom can lead to short term benefits for one or a few players, in the long term the enforced market freedom creates a bigger pie for all players.
          • both Sun and IBM appear to have learned the lessons of fractured markets and IP warfare.

            True, but I see GPL v3 as a treat to more fracturing.

            It creates many more losers than winners, and it damages the market as a whole

            Yeap, GPL v3 certainly does that. Remember the GPL is meant for the freedom of the user not the freedom of the developer. And with Linux having literally thousands of contributors each one of them would have to approve the move to v3. I seriously doubt that will happen, so either L


            • Remember the GPL is meant for the freedom of the user not the freedom of the developer.

              This is not true. Users are free to use GPL code in any way they want (except distribute). The GPL is ALL ABOUT the developers! It prevents authors of code from being ripped off. Anyway, the "freedom" you talk about really refers to the code; i.e., the code cannot be "enslaved" (excuse the extreme choice of word).
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @01:46PM (#19904839)
          The only serious objection Linus has is over TiVo-ization. He thinks it should be OK.
          He says he is angry that FSF is claiming to protect freedom while taking away a certain freedom [iu.edu] from companies like TiVo.

          But the freedom that FSF is taking away is the freedom to take away freedom from users of the software. Thanks you Linus, great protector of ... wha??

          But keep in mind the politics that Linus has to deal with. There are many developers who would have to sign off on GPLv3. One of the biggies is Greg Kroah Hartmann of Novel, who owns the USB subsystem. Novel no doubt takes GPLv3 personally. Greg has actively tried to discourage [gmane.org] even the "or any later version" clause from being included in kernel patches.

          On top of that, even if everyone wanted to go GPLv3, they would have to track down hundreds of developers. So it's just easier for Linus to say no to GPLv3 in any case.
          • But the freedom that FSF is taking away is the freedom to take away freedom from users of the software. Thanks you Linus, great protector of ... wha??

            That's a very common mischaracterization of the objections to the hardware over reach of the GPL 3. If you want to really understand the kernel developers objections (and it's not just Linus), you need to read the relevant portions of the LKML [iu.edu].

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by maxwell demon (590494)
        Since GPLv2 and GPLv3 are incompatible, and parts of the kernel are GPLv2 only, it's not possible to have just a few parts of the kernel to be GPLv3. The resulting kernel would not be distributable at all.
        IANAL however.
        • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
          No that's true.

          Kernel is GPL2 only.
          GPL3 license states GPLv3 or late.

          They're incompatible licenses - a wholesale change to GPL3 is about as likely (and as feasable) as a change to BSD... in fact BSD would be easier as you could do it piecemeal.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by alph0ns3 (547254)
      Hi Mr. Microsoft Employee!
    • Look, Microsoft is not an "Open Source" software company. Neither they, nor anyone else (including "Open Source" software companies), are obligated to distribute software under GPLv3.

      True but software currently under GPLv2 vary well may be moved to v3. As Linus had said he doesn't like v3 he may keep Linux licensed under v2. If so then MS could still distrbute Linux itself.

      Falcon
    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by NickFortune (613926) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @01:52PM (#19904915) Homepage Journal

      Look, Microsoft is not an "Open Source" software company. Neither they, nor anyone else ... are obligated to distribute software under GPLv3

      Which is true as far as it goes. The missing detail is the vouchers MS have been selling for SUSE Linux which have no expiry date. This means that, in principle, if anyone redeems such a voucher for a copy of SLES, and if that collection contains any code licenced under GPLv3 at the time they redeem the voucher, then there's a chance MS may be held to account under the terms of GPLv3.

      Now whether that will stand up in a court of law or not is another matter. Eben Moglen and RMS seem to think so, since they wrote the new licence to allow the MS-Novell pact specifically for this reason. But like I say, we won't know for sure until it's tested in court.

      On the other hand it seems reasonably certain that Microsoft sees some legal exposure there, or they wouldn't be making such a fuss. Because for all they talk as if the licence poses no threat to them, they are nevertheless backing away from it at every opportunity.

      The thing is that if the GPLv3 does apply, then anyone they sue for patent violation hereafter is going to be able to claim that Microsoft licenced the patent for their use - else they had no right to distribute in the first place. That too will need to be tested in court, but again it seems that Microsoft are taking the threat seriously.

      So that's "so what". It's not Microsoft don't use GPLv3 and we think they should.

      It's more a case of MS may already be using GPLv3 which makes them a lot less scary.

      Hope that helps, have a nice day.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by DRJlaw (946416)
        "Which is true as far as it goes. The missing detail is the vouchers MS have been selling for SUSE Linux which have no expiry date. This means that, in principle, if anyone redeems such a voucher for a copy of SLES, and if that collection contains any code licenced under GPLv3 at the time they redeem the voucher, then there's a chance MS may be held to account under the terms of GPLv3."

        No. The missing detail is that the vouchers do not specify the version of SUSE Linux that must be distributed, nor do they
    • The point is they will be using their bully pulpit to sodomize the Linux market by conveniently ignoring whatever rule of law applies in this situation.

      They will change tactics when ignoring the rule of law as they see fit is no longer tolerated.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @12:43PM (#19903909)
    Why isn't there a "noshit" tag? The whole idea behind GPL3 was to keep Microsoft from license-protecting customers from lawsuits. Microsoft's main contention is that GPL2 allows them to do what they're doing. Why not just save room by posting a story that says "some old story, different day"?
    • by kinglink (195330)
      I think there's none because half the stories published on here would be marked that.

      The submission quality has been meaningless hype piece (see E3 info for the last week in games), non-Slashdot Politic pieces to push the liberal agenda (there's some conservative pieces too but not that many, most of the political crap is edited by Kdawson, but he's hardly the only one), summary reading too far into the story (see the comcast/firefox article, comcast is lazy, go figure) and "DUH" articles, such as this one
  • by jkrise (535370) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @12:50PM (#19904043) Journal
    So many firms have merely pretended to be at war with Microsoft - only to cave in later and become partners - Novell and Linspire being recent cases. Have any significant no. of customers actually signed up with Linspire for patent protection? I don't think so.

    Microsoft's Covenant to Customers [microsoft.com] (Linspire's customers it would seem - not Microsoft's) hardly makes compelling business sense to consider Linspire for the business desktop. Few home users would consider themselves vulnerable to patent lawsuits by Microsoft, if they used Linux.

    So this announcement merely indicates that GPL3 has won, and Microsoft has been compelled to publicly qualify their pre-negotiated deals with business partners, and customers gain more from GPL3 than covenants from Microsoft.
  • by Will the Chill (78436) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @12:51PM (#19904059) Homepage
    bullet-dodging FUD-slinging bloatware overlords!!!

    -WtC
  • Success! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kebes (861706) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @12:51PM (#19904069) Journal
    Well, given that the GPLv3 was written specifically to make those "patent protection deals" untenable, this is a huge success for the GPLv3. Microsoft is essentially admitting that, legally, the GPLv3 does what it intends to do.

    So, anyone who was bothered by the MS/Novell deal (and its variants) can and should encourage usage of GPLv3. Coders who want to prevent MS from using patent threats to splinter the community should consider adopting the GPLv3.

    Since a certain number of important projects have already switched to GPLv3, this means that within a year or two the MS/Novell deal (and variants) will essentially disappear. As someone who was not happy with those deals in the first place, I say good riddance.
    • by plague3106 (71849)
      The deals may stop, but then MS may begin actively sueing companies that distribute gpl3 software. Do you think it'd be good if Redhat's legal now tookup 110% of revenue?
      • Re:Success! (Score:4, Informative)

        by trolltalk.com (1108067) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @01:40PM (#19904765) Homepage Journal

        Microsoft will never sue - they know that the only thing they can do is amke noises. Actually suing would be the equivalent of a first strike in a MAD - Mutually Assured Destruction - scenario, which they would ultimately lose.

        The resulting positive publicity for linux would further erode their already slipping grip on their customer base. Like it did with allthe SCO BS.

    • So, anyone who was bothered by the MS/Novell deal (and its variants) can and should encourage usage of GPLv3. Coders who want to prevent MS from using patent threats to splinter the community should consider adopting the GPLv3.

      I'm not so sure. One of the things I've heard is that GPLv3 will create hardware vender lockout. Because of clauses in v3 they won't move to v3. It's hard enough the get hardware venders to release drivers for Linux, with v3 they won't period.

      Falcon

      All I know is that I know

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thethibs (882667)

      Well, given that the GPLv3 was written specifically to make those "patent protection deals" untenable,...

      There's another way of seeing this if we can assume that the effect is proof of the motive: that GPLV3 was written specifically to encourage developers to build products that would not be indemnified by those "patent protection deals". Richard stuck a spear in the ground and assumed Microsoft would run into it. What's comical is the number of people surprised or upset that they went around it instead.

  • What amazes me is the fact that most pundits warned Linspire about Microsoft's actions while citing its past actions. They did not listen and even went ahead to defend their position. I wonder how they (Linspire folks) feel now.
  • On the other side - Theres atleast one thing both Linus Torvalds and MS agree on. They both disagree to GPLv3!!
  • Darth Gates (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sconeu (64226) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @01:04PM (#19904255) Homepage Journal
    I have altered the deal, pray I don't alter it any further.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The same could be said about GPLv3
      (see also: your own sig)
  • Since samba is going GPLv3, and the whole "point" of the MS/Novell deal was interoperability, and Samba is pretty much THE windows/linux integration point...

    Obviously Novell doesn't have to remove samba, but I would imagine that the "vouchers" that MS has are for standard Suse distros which include samba. So, does Novell now have to create a "special" distro just for MS so they don't distribute GPLv3 software?
  • by davek (18465) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @01:48PM (#19904873) Homepage Journal
    I still haven't made up my mind on GPLv3, but I was under the impression that it was designed to unite, not to fork.

    If most F/OSS goes GPLv3, and simultaneously Microsoft denies GPLv3 bug still has a vested interest in Novell Linux, won't that just mean that MS will fork every open source project at the point where it switches to GPLv3? They'll create their own faux-communities loyal to the regime and play them off as open source, and the public will eat it up since they don't know any better. Those who believe in F/OSS as a philosophy and accept GPLv3 will be branded pinkos and commies by "commercial friendly" open source, and die a slow death...?

    I sure hope I'm wrong.

    • by vertinox (846076) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @02:21PM (#19905335)
      I still haven't made up my mind on GPLv3, but I was under the impression that it was designed to unite, not to fork.

      It was never that intention. GPLv3 was created solely to close the loopholes that many of the companies that were taking advantage of the GPLv2 in order to prevent their customers from gaining access from modifying the source. (aka "tivo-ization") in which vendors would simply deny modification of the source they were to provide by using another developers code under GPLv2 by adding hardware DRM.

      Or in Microsoft's case by means of patents.

      From my understanding there is nothing that compels any developer to upgrade from GPLv2 to GPLv3 unless you desire to use someone else's code that is being upgraded to GPLv3 with code changes (you are still free to hold on to their GPLv2 code without updating)

      And the other main beef that people have is the "and later versions" clause in GPLv3, but you are free to remove that if you want as a developer of your own code (Not so much if you are using someone else's code! But no one is forcing to use other people's work instead of making you own!)
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by a.d.trick (894813)
        Actually, that was one of the intentions, and the GPL 3 is more compatible with other open source licenses. It's incompatibility with itself is an essential part of the license, otherwise it would be like a submarine with a screen door. That's why the FSF recommends you allow re-licensing of the work under later version of the GPL, then compatibility is not a problem.
    • I believe that is what Microsoft will try to do. But, they aren't going to spend a lot of time or money on it, because open-source and free software isn't important to Microsoft. I don't believe they even really care.

      It's all about marketing. Microsoft is successful only to the extent they can control the market. Market dominance and market control are one and the same to Microsoft.

      Controlling the market is two parts controlling the distribution chain, and one part controlling public opinion. Microsoft's Li
    • won't that just mean that MS will fork every open source project

      Microsoft may be very rich but they do not have enough income to hire enough developers to fork every open source project.

      Customers and stockholders would be very angry if MSFT diverted a large part of their current staff to forking open source projects. They can't just pull the open source work into their existing teams because of the possibility of contamination of their precious source code assets with some Open Source or - horror! GPLv

  • by strredwolf (532) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @02:40PM (#19905655) Homepage Journal
    Don't they know that coreutils and tar form a good chunk of any Linux distribution? And Samba's used to talk to MS Windows?

    Don't they know that those packages are GPL v3?

    In other words, Microsoft ether has to rewrite those packages themselves, break the distro into an unusuable state, or drop any Linux deals.

    Or give up on the patent saber rattling.
    • by Shados (741919)
      Or use outdated or forked versions of the last version of the software under GPL2, which in these cases, as of today, is probably 99.9% alike to the GPL3 version, hmm? Of course, that won't last though...

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