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The Free Software Foundation acts as the benevolent force guiding the computer industry. It protects the users of software from the baddies, the list of which very often includes the names Microsoft, Apple, and TiVo.
But what happens when the benevolent force transforms into something of a hypocrit?
When Novell signed the now-famous agreement with Microsoft, I must admit that I was quite puzzled. For a company making most of its business by selling free and open source software, this seemed unreal; maybe there was a good reason for that, after all. But when I read the part on the patents and the indemnification of customers, I really found out that it was quite odd and contradicting anything I ever read about the GPL.
I have however refrained from giving in the Novell-bashing fashion for several reasons.
The Free Software community is without a doubt today an important part of the overall IT business ecosystem. This community counts everyone from individuals to large corporations and is gathered around the common good that is Free Software, licensed under Free Software licenses such as BSD and GPL which also shields this common pool from outside exploitation. Corporations should already be realizing that they have to count with this community and its stance towards them. It is always good to cooperate with this community.
In a recent article on LinuxJournal, its Editor in Chief Nicholas Petreley wrote that we should be abandoning all code related to Novell and SuSE because it may become tainted with Microsoft's "Intellectual Property". He quoted a note with which he signed Bruce Perens' Open Letter where he says the following: