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Thread: Microsoft vouchers undercut patent claims

  1. #1
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    Microsoft vouchers undercut patent claims

    I hope this has not been posted yet.

    Novell's deal with Microsoft (on behalf of its customers, of course) could end up benefiting everyone in the open source community after all, thanks to a missing expiration date and a nifty little clause in GPLv3.

    Microsoft announced last week that it holds exactly 235 patents which are infringed by Linux source code. It wasn't letting out much in the way of specifics, but the announcement prompted speculation that the software firm was about to start enforcing these patents, or using the threat of enforcement to bring OS distributors to heel as it did with Novell.
    Click here to find out more!

    But thanks to the deal it did last year with Novell, these plans may now come to naught.

    Free Software Foundation lawyer Eben Moglen points out that the "vouchers" Novell bought to indemnify its customers have no expiration date. This is fine and dandy, except that Microsoft becomes subject to GPLv3 as soon as the new license comes into effect. Then the indemnity Microsoft was so keen to extend to Novell's customers is extended to everyone else as well.
    Continue:
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/05...pl3_indemnity/
    Recommended Resources: Ubuntu Linux Resources

  2. #2
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    Re: Microsoft vouchers undercut patent claims

    Sweet post
    A computer allows you to make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history - with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.

  3. #3
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    Re: Microsoft vouchers undercut patent claims

    Complete and udder ownage. At least the Novell guys know what they're doing...

  4. #4
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    Re: Microsoft vouchers undercut patent claims

    1. This is a few weeks old.

    2. Brunellus is a patent-lawyer-in-training, and this is the convo we had about it (he's "Ouij" which is "short" for Luigi)

    Ouij: he's making a big assumption
    (12:05:58 AM) Ouij: 1) Linus licenses the kernel under GPL3
    (12:06:13 AM) macoafi@gmail.com/Home: but the GNU tools will all be GPL3
    (12:06:47 AM) Ouij: oh wait.
    (12:06:48 AM) Ouij: h'mm.
    (12:06:56 AM) macoafi@gmail.com/Home: so even if the kernel's not, they're still stuck with trying to fork the GPL2 GNU tools and then keep up with how they change
    (12:07:13 AM) Ouij: the not-distributing Linux contention is actually a good one
    (12:07:22 AM) macoafi@gmail.com/Home: ms's thing?
    (12:07:45 AM) macoafi@gmail.com/Home: "a coupon is not the software itself" basically is what they're saying, right?
    (12:07:49 AM) Ouij: yeah. the threshold issue is whether the cupon equals distributing the software
    (12:07:52 AM) Ouij: yes.
    (12:08:02 AM) Ouij: I can already see MSFT's affirmative defenses
    (12:08:23 AM) Ouij: 1) Microsoft never redistributed Linux.
    (12:09:04 AM) macoafi@gmail.com/Home: groklaw's looking at it too
    (12:09:10 AM) macoafi@gmail.com/Home: those guys are nuts O_o
    (12:09:19 AM) Ouij: 2) The coupons are for SLED, which is Novell
    (12:09:46 AM) Ouij: so 2(a): Any relationship that the end-user has is with Novell, NOT Microsoft
    (12:10:17 AM) Ouij: Moglen and the FSF are out on a limb
    (12:11:44 AM) Ouij: wait
    (12:11:55 AM) Ouij: is SLED an all free software distro now?
    (12:12:10 AM) macoafi@gmail.com/Home: hasn't it always been?
    (12:12:13 AM) Ouij: no.
    (12:12:23 AM) Ouij: SuSE always had some proprietary parts.
    (12:12:39 AM) macoafi@gmail.com/Home: I didn't know that
    (12:12:44 AM) macoafi@gmail.com/Home: unless you mean like, mp3 codecs
    (12:12:48 AM) Ouij: Initially, it was Qt (before it was opened), SaX and SaX2 (their X setup utilities), and the installer
    (12:12:54 AM) Ouij: no, I mean core stuff.
    (12:13:09 AM) macoafi@gmail.com/Home: I don't know
    (12:13:23 AM) macoafi@gmail.com/Home: there's a guy at tux.org that could be asked if I remembered which tux.org guy he was
    (12:13:29 AM) Ouij: no, that's an irrelevant question
    (12:13:49 AM) Ouij: the real question here is--are the coupons the *only* way a consumer could legally have access to SLED?
    (12:13:57 AM) macoafi@gmail.com/Home: no
    (12:14:03 AM) Ouij: if yes, then MSFT is effecitvely distributing
    (12:14:03 AM) macoafi@gmail.com/Home: because you can still get it from novell themselves
    (12:14:09 AM) Ouij: if not, then moglen's off.
    (12:14:16 AM) Ouij: no, what I mean is
    (12:14:25 AM) Ouij: can you only get sled IF you have a coupon
    (12:14:33 AM) Ouij: (doesn't matter if you got it from Novell or MSFT)
    (12:14:40 AM) macoafi@gmail.com/Home: don't think so
    (12:14:46 AM) macoafi@gmail.com/Home: pretty sure you can still hand novell a check
    (12:14:54 AM) Ouij: yeah, then coupon = ! distribution
    (12:14:59 AM) Ouij: (I hope I got my syntax right)
    (he meant !=, but he's not a coder, so let it slide)

    short version: MS can give out all the coupons they want. Coupons are not software, MS is not distributing GPL'd software, and the Linux kernel is unlikely to ever be GPL3 even if they GNU tools are (they can be mixed), so the kernel is unaffected by the fact that...well, nothing will be affected.

    LinuxChix | Linux User #432169 | Ubuntu User #8495 | IRC: maco @ irc.linuxchix.org or irc.freenode.net

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