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GPL3 could block Novell/Microsoft plans

The next version of the GNU General Public License (GPL) may contain provisions aimed at curbing a controversial deal recently signed by Linux vendor Novell with arch-rival Microsoft. That deal -- inked last November -- will see the two software giants collaborate on interoperability of their separate technologies, as well as coming to terms on patent rights.
Written by Renai LeMay, Contributor

The next version of the GNU General Public License (GPL) may contain provisions aimed at curbing a controversial deal recently signed by Linux vendor Novell with arch-rival Microsoft.

That deal -- inked last November -- will see the two software giants collaborate on interoperability of their separate technologies, as well as coming to terms on patent rights. But the pact has come under fire from the wider open source community due to some of its specific details, which have been seen as side-stepping the spirit of open source software.

In an interview with Reuters last week, the Free Software Foundation's general counsel Eben Moglen reiterated his group's opposition to the deal, saying that animosity could influence the development of the next version of the GNU GPL.

Version 3 of the software licence is due out soon, replacing the previous version 2, which is extremely popular for open source projects such as the Linux kernel.

"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," Moglen told Reuters.

In a separate e-mail interview, Moglen later told Linux Watch that the FSF was opposed to the Novell/MS deal and "was thinking about what to do". "There will be a new [GPL3] draft soon," he added.

Reuters had initially quoted Moglen as saying Novell could be banned from selling Linux. However, Moglen later disputed this, telling Linux Watch: "This is a story being hyped by the Reuters guy who wrote it".

Novell declined to comment to either publication.

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