Linux Today: Linux News On Internet Time.
Search Linux Today
Linux News Sections:  Developer -  High Performance -  Infrastructure -  IT Management -  Security -  Storage -
Linux Today Navigation
LT Home
Contribute
Contribute
Link to Us
Linux Jobs

Top White Papers

More on LinuxToday


An Escape Clause for Novell in GPL3 Draft?

| | Comments (3)

I am going to make this a short entry, because basically I am just trying to get a question answered that's been sticking with me all day.

When I first read the new draft of the GPL v3 license this morning, I thought it would be a good idea to post the whole thing up on LT so people could comment on it directly if they wanted.

In posting it, I read the license from end-to-end, and I saw this particular paragraph in Section 11 "Patents":

"You may not convey a covered work if you are a party to an arrangement with a third party that is in the business of distributing software, under which you make payment to the third party based on the extent of your activity of conveying the work, and under which the third party grants, to any of the parties who would receive the covered work from you, a patent license (a) in connection with copies of the covered work conveyed by you, and/or copies made from those, or (b) primarily for and in connection with specific products or compilations that contain the covered work, which license does not cover, prohibits the exercise of, or is conditioned on the non-exercise of any of the rights that are specifically granted to recipients of the covered work under this License[, unless you entered into that arrangement, or that patent license was granted, prior to March 28, 2007]..."

My question is this: does that last clause in the last sentence mean that for all the hooting and hollering, the Novell-Microsoft deal will be unaffected by GPL v3 if it is ratified as this draft is written? Because to me, that looks like a grandfather clause.

It makes sense, at least to my layman's viewpoint. After all, Microsoft and Novell could have easily cried harassment by the FSF if they had promoted a license that specifically attacked a deal that is legal under the current GPL v2. Maybe this is an escape clause that lets all parties off the hook.

It could also be that that date only applies to that particular paragraph, which essentially breaks down into "don't even think about trying a patent arrangement with GPL3'd software in the future" and not the rest of the Patent section, which reads as "if you do have a patent agreement, it applies to all of the users of your software, not just a certain subset."

I am honestly not sure. Legal clarification is certainly welcome.


Comment and Contribute



    (Maximum characters: 4000). You have 4000 characters left.