GPL v3 Creates Rift in Microsoft-Novell Partnership?

Lora Bentley

There's trouble in Microsoft-Novell paradise. Or so it seems. Last week Redmond issued a statement that it would not be bound by GPL v3, and that the SuSE Linux coupons it distributes under the agreements with Novell will only apply to code released under GPL v2.


Novell, on the other hand, is fully behind GPL v3, and has no plans to avoid it -- notwithstanding Microsoft's position. According to iTWire, the Linux distributor indicates that Microsoft took its stand "unilaterally." A company statement says:

For those customers who will obtain their Linux via a certificate from Microsoft, Novell will provide them with a regular SUSE Linux Enterprise Server subscription, regardless of the terms of the certificate provided by Microsoft.... Novell will continue to put the needs of our customers first and ensure that they can take advantage of the latest version of SUSE Linux Enterprise to run their business.

Commenting on the situation, ZDNet blogger Mary Jo Foley wonders whether Microsoft's attorneys are really so clueless as to think that Novell wouldn't support the GPL v3 or to allow the coupons to go out without expiration dates. Foley asks:

Is Microsoft legal holding a trump card that no one knows about? Or is Microsoft really as inept in fighting off open source as it currently seems?

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