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Free Software Foundation Attorney Says Microsoft-Novell Deal Won't Last

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The controversy over Novell's partnership with Redmond is nowhere near over, but the Free Software Foundation's general counsel, Eben Moglen, says the patent provision of the companies' agreements will be "dead" before April.

 

As reported on CNNMoney.com this morning, Moglen told a Legal Pad blogger that the Free Software Foundation is working to change version 3 of the GNU General Public License (GPL v3) so that patent pacts like the one in question will violate the license. When the new version becomes effective mid-March of next year, the legal effect will be to render the patent provisions between Novell and Microsoft useless, the piece indicates.

 

In response, Novell says it "remains committed" to the agreements and that the patent provision was drafted to comply with the current version of the GPL. According to the company's statement -- which is reproduced in full in the blog piece -- GPL v3 should not take a new direction or include additional provisions specifically to "undo" one agreement.

 

We agree with that last statement, at least. If the FSF uses the license to get "revenge" -- against Microsoft, or any other company -- what does that accomplish except to increase the risk for those who want to use proprietary and open source software together?

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