BSD folks position on GPL, Novell, IBM, SCO, and MS...

Jan Husar jan.husar at
Tue Nov 28 12:23:00 PST 2006

On 11/28/06, Mike Hauber <mchauber at> wrote:
> On Tuesday 28 November 2006 07:08, Jan Husar proclaimed:
> > On 11/28/06, Dag-Erling Smørgrav <des at> wrote:
> > > Mike Hauber <mchauber at> writes:
> > > > I was just wondering what the general consensus was on the GPL, Linux
> > > > in general, SCOs lawsuit, Sun's open sourcing, IBMs contributions to
> > > > Linux, Novell's contributions, Novell's deal with MS and how this
> > > > really affects SuSe (there's a lot of hype on that and I literally
> > > > don't know what to believe at this point).
> > >
> > > Why should we care?
> > >
> > > The SCO lawsuits are doubly irrelevant: firstly because SCO is not
> > > going to win, secondly because BSD is immune by virtue of the 1994
> > > settlement with USL.
> I don't think the USL settlement matters to SCO.  After all, Linux is immune
> by virtue of the GPL (in addition to SCOs claims being fraudulent), but that
> didn't stop SCO from making fools of themselves.  It's not Darl and company
> specifically that I'm worried about.  It's other companies that can come
> along and pull the same stunts.  How long would it take before prospective
> customers get weary of the idea of open source as a whole if litigation
> claims (fraudulent as they may be) continue?

Well, GPL v2 isn't the security as it was before, when you counts
software patents.
That's why there is this "extremic" proposal for gpl version3, or
better say some people found it extremic. If you look at US there is
lot of extremic stuff going around, e.g.
new companies (patent trolls) which have only reason to exist to
create patents and sue everybody.

> > >
> > > As for the Novell-MS deal, I don't see how it affects BSD at all.
> >
> > You are right, there is no direct affect on BSD however software
> > patents is in issue no matter if it's GPL or BSD mostly in United
> > States, in EU we are still fighting the patent problematics.
> >
> > Today is voting in ITRE (Information, Technology, Research and Energy)
> > committee within European Parliament about IPRED (Intelectual Property
> > Rights Enforcment Directive) which basicly means, criminalization of
> > abusing of patents, trademarks and copyright (e.g. sentece to jail,
> > freeze of accounts and so on)
> This was pretty much my concern as far as OSS goes.  If SCO actually succeeded
> with their claims (which I know they won't), or if other SCOs come along, I
> don't think the only target would be the GPL.  I see patent issues becoming a
> real problem not just for the GPL side of things but the BSDs as well (my
> stance, of course, is that it shouldn't because patents lately have been
> blindly awarded and seemingly requested for the purpose of fraudulent
> lawsuits).  If companies are scrambling for patents in order to bring
> litigation or to protect themselves from litigation via counter-suits, I
> doubt that when the fingers start pointing, the GPLd or BSDd code would be
> excluded...  In fact, I tend to think they would be a preferred target just
> because it's open source, and we are by far the biggest threat that
> proprietary companies have.

Patents is problem for propietary, non-propietary, freeware or
opensource e.g. all the software out there.

> I see this basically as a threat to everyone, not just the few it's starting
> out with.  That's why I asked, and I hadn't really heard much at all from the
> BSD side of the aisle.

Yes, the BSD community is kinda quiet also in Europe, I found that
really negative.

> What if Sun pulls a SCO with their Java?  If IBM pulls a SCO with their
> contributions?  If Novell pulls a SCO with their contributions?  I would like
> to think that their intentions are honest, but after SCO, and then MSs very
> weird deal with Novell, who knows?  (and by the way, is IBM working with the
> BSD community as well?  I hadn't read anything on that, and would be
> interested to know more if they are).

This is just a speculation and really lame one ;/

> Although my preference is the BSD license, I'm very much a fan of OSS, whether
> it be licensed under the BSD or GPL, and I'm just concerned about whether or
> not this could escalate into a trend against OS code in general.
> Appreciate your inputs.  Thanks,
> Mike

Current situation of the patents in EU or better say in Europe.

2005 - European Parliament rejected computer impemented invetitions
directive (which means for 4 years the same or similliar directive
can't come to vote)
2006 - European Parliament adopted a new directive EPLA (European
Patent Litigation Agreement), which basicly means EPO (European Patent
Office, which is outisde the democratic control of EU) will have their
own courts and judges for the patent problematics and nobody can't
tell them what to do, even if the EP (European Parliament) rejected
CII (Computer Implemented Invetitions)
2006 - IPRED2, criminalization of patent, trademark and copyright abuse
2007 - Community Patent, backdoor for software patents and other nasty
stuff (such as dna, nano, drug, research patents and so on)

As you can see there are lot of problems around adopting patent
"protection", right now the situation is bad, but can be worse. EPO is
granting software patents even if they aren't  aplicable in Europe,
after EPLA will come to it's function or Community Patent based on
London/Munich patent agreement we will have really similliar situation
like the United States have now.

Hows the patent problematics and law is in United states I have just
conclusion and information from news paper. Is there someone dealing
with it in US?


|      Jan Husar
|      Chairman
| GnuPG 1024D/DDB1C1AE

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