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Novell could be banned from Linux sales after dirty M$ dealings

Paul Miller, @futurepaul
February 6, 2007
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Novell and Microsoft might be oh-so-proud of their unholy union, with Novell reaping reams of cash and a newfound notoriety from the deal, and Microsoft gaining some control of its Linux competition -- along with a bit more cred to its patent claims. It's that last part that has Linux types a bit wary of the deal: "The community of people wants to do anything they can to interfere with this deal and all deals like it. They have every reason to be deeply concerned that this is the beginning of a significant patent aggression by Microsoft," said Eben Moglen, of the Free Software Foundation. The Foundation has put Novell's right to sell new versions of Linux up for review, and expects a ruling within two weeks. Were the ban to be approved, Novell would have to commit serious resources to developing its own soon-to-be-outdated branch of the OS which accounts for 5 percent of its revenue. While the fear of cross-licensing IP with Microsoft does indeed sound like something that could warrant such a ban, it does seem a tad bit hypocritical for the FSF to punish Novell just for trying to make some cash while making it easier for users to use Windows and Linux side-by-side. Novell didn't want to comment on the ongoing decision, but we suppose we'll be checking back in a few weeks to see how this one turns out.

[Thanks, Nathan M.]

Update: This story was mis-reported all over the interwebs, and it looks like we got duped too. Under the GPL, the FSF has no power over Novell's distribution of Linux. The FSF is working on GPLv3, which would ban such deals, but thanks to the GPLv3's anti-DRM stance and other restrictions, Linux being moved to that license is quite unlikely. GPLv3 is also in its early infancy at the moment, so such Novell-impacting conjectures were especially irresponsible. Thanks Adam for the heads up.





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