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Should FSF sue Novell?

A recent article by LinuxJournal's Nicholas Petreley, named "A five year deal with Microsoft to dump Novell/SUSE", points to the contradiction in statements of the two companies in regard to the patent infringement issue and calls for two things, for customers and users to essentially boycott Novell SuSE ("first front") and FSF to take a stand and actually sue Novell ("second front"). The latter is obvious from a statement which also reflects an apparent disagreement with GPLv3 as means of combating DRM, quoting:

"The Free Software Foundation lawyers should stop wasting its time trying to eradicate DRM through licenses that won't get adopted or work, and spend their time enforcing the license that is already in widespread use. Take Novell to court over its violation of section 7 of the GPL. Force Novell to explain why it is paying Microsoft royalties to guarantee that Microsoft won't sue its customers over patent infringements that do not exist."

According to him, a lawsuit against Novell over an existing GPLv2 license may be a time better spent than on designing GPLv3. Maybe FSF could do both. Feel free to post your opinions below.


not worth it


It'd be easier, cheaper, and probably attract less negative attention to just ignore them and let them fade away.

I agree with a thing. In

I agree with a thing. In addition we know that MS and Novell both have rooms full of lawyers that would have made the deal technically legal - the spirit of section 7 might be breached, but I doubt that the letter has been.

You're probably right.

You're probably right. Anyway, it seems Novell is eager to make sure that the deal is established as legal, as can be seen in this story.

Let's see what comes out of it.


Unfortunately, if the FSF sued M$ they would just paint themselves as victims. M$ would go on the "defensive" and tell everyone who could hear that they singed a deal with Novell in "good faith" and now are being picked on.

I know at face value it sounds like bulls**t but trust me, they have the money and the people to paint themselves any color they want too.

You're probably right about

You're probably right about that. The strategy should be smarter than just outright coming out with a lawsuit. One thing that we can hope for (if we believe the deal is a bad thing in general) is that GPLv3 will make the deal impossible to come through to its end in 2012.

If crucial parts of the OS are copyrighted by FSF (most of the GNU system) and these projects change licenses to GPLv3 which may be forbidding the kind of deal that Novell made, then Novell will either have to keep using old GPLv2 versions (practically unacceptable), fork (too costly) or take a drastic measure of breaking up either from the community (by abandoning GNU/Linux completely) or from MS (abandoning the deal).

I think the most logical choice to make in that situation is to abandon the deal with MS. Considering MSs history with partners, GPLv3 might as well end up being the saviour of Novell too.

But I'm entering speculation now. Smiling

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