Feeds

Think again, FSF tells Microsoft on GPL3

Between the lines

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) appears to be polishing up its legal sabers over possible violations of the General Public License (GPL) by Microsoft.

In a statement released today the FSF told Microsoft it's prepared to use its "resources" directly or indirectly to protect Linux copyrights and to ensure continued compliance with the GPL.

"We will ensure - and to that extent of our resources, assist other GPL3 licensors in ensuring - that Microsoft respects our copyrights and complies with our licenses," the FSF said.

It was a curiously worded, and round-about statement, released nearly two months after Microsoft effectively refused to recognize GPL3 or to be bound by the license's terms and conditions under its distribution and support deal with Novell.

Microsoft said in July: "We do not believe that Microsoft needs a license under GPL to carry out any aspects of its collaboration with Novell, including its distribution of support certificates, even if Novell chooses to distribute GPL3 code in the future. Furthermore, Microsoft does not grant any implied or express patent rights under or as a result of GPL3, and GPL3 licensors have no authority to represent or bind Microsoft in any way."

The FSF deliberately designed GPL3 to scupper Microsoft's Novell deal, by extending its support for Novell's Linux under GPL3 to all Linux users.

Today, the FSF argued Microsoft cannot exempt itself from GPL3. "Microsoft cannot by any act of anticipatory repudiation divest itself of its obligation to respect others' copyright. If Microsoft distributes our works licensed under GPL3, or pays others to distribute them on its behalf, it is bound to do so under the terms of that license," the FSF said.

Unless Microsoft changes its stance, legal action is the only possible end point for this latest chapter in the story of Microsoft versus open source. There is no legal precedent – to our knowledge – that has been used to enforce GPL or that could compel Microsoft to adhere.

GPL has - effectively - been something users have adhered to from a sense of goodwill. Clearly, Microsoft subscribes neither to a sense of goodwill or the FSF's Paddington Bear hard stares.

Microsoft was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.