Feeds

Critics swarm new GPL draft

How free is free under GPLv3?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has been accused of working to prevent co-operation between the free and proprietary software sectors, thanks to new terms in the latest draft version of the GNU GPL.

Unsurprisingly, the speediest criticism came from Microsoft, whose deal with Novell prompted the inclusion of the controversial clauses in the first place.

Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft's vice president of intellectual property and licensing, told eWeek: "We note that the draft of the GPLv3 does not tear down the bridge Microsoft and Novell have built for their customers. It is unfortunate, however, that the FSF is attempting to use the GPLv3 to prevent future collaboration among industry leaders to benefit customers."

Microsoft holds that Linux infringes several of its patents and late last year signed a deal with Novell, under which Novell's customers were indemnified against legal action by Microsoft. Novell was roundly criticised at the time: the Open Source sector felt that the deal was a tacit admission that Linux does infringe Redmond's IP, something Novell has strenuously denied.

Many also felt the deal ran counter to the spirit of the GPL, even if it was technically compliant. Jeremy Allison, now ex-head of Novell's Samba team, resigned in protest. He said in a memo: "We can pledge patents all we wish, we can talk to the press and 'community leaders', we can do all the right things w.r.t. all our other interactions, but we will still be known as GPL violators and that's the end of it."

Novell maintains that the agreement did comply with the terms of the GPL, specifically the requirement that all recipients of the code should be treated equally, since there was no agreement between Novell and Microsoft, just between Microsoft and Novell's customers.

The new draft specifically prohibits deals like the one done by Microsoft and Novell from now on.

Morgan Reed, executive director of The Association for Competitive Technology said the new terms mean the GPL "no longer just defines freedom; it is designed to punish companies and business models that Richard Stallman just doesn't like".

The FSF's Richard Stallman believes the foundation had to do something. He argues that there are four "defining freedoms" to free software: the freedom to run the program as you see fit, study and adapt it for your own purposes, redistribute copies to help your neighbour, and release your improvements to the public.

"The recent patent agreement between Microsoft and Novell aims to undermine these freedoms. In this draft, we have worked hard to prevent such deals from making a mockery of free software," he said.

The second draft of GPLv.3 is just that, a draft. There is a 60 day period during which suggestions can be submitted. You can comment on the draft here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?