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Novell Could Loose Access To New Linux Versions

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Make a deal with a big closed source company and the FSF (Free Software Foundation) may pull your access rights to Linux Distro’s. At least that is what Novell is facing this week.

The Geek.com reports:

The Free Software Foundation may ban Novell from selling new versions of the Linux operating system due to concerns over the close partnership with Microsoft, since its Windows product is a direct competitor. The Free Software Foundation controls access to all of the latest versions of Open Source code. Without it, Novell would have to do its own research and development to upgrade its version of the Linux operating system.

General Counsel for the foundation, Eben Moglen, says the board has yet to make a decision on whether to ban Novell from access to new versions of Linux beginning in March. Moglen added he expected an announcement regarding a decision in the next two weeks.

This would be a bad thing for the FSF to strip Novell of its Linux distro, bad for business, bad for Novell, and bad for any remediation actions between the open and closed source communities. The open source community had a moral high ground in their competition with closed source companies. The current FSF position puts that moral high ground into question.

Open source showed the way to make money off of volunteer work, open intellectual property, and the ability to develop a grass roots programming group that basically extended, enhanced and improved Linux to the point where Red Hat and Novell can make money off of it. Open Source turned “free” into a workable business model, the only real one that can be used as an example for other open source projects.

To strip Novell of its ability to get new Linux distro’s removes the moral high ground right out from underneath the entire open source movement.

In general, it’s a bad idea, its bad for business, bad for everyone involved.

Bryan Richard from Linux Magazine states clearly:

What the Reuters article and the FSF’s comments illustrate is just how fearful the Linux community is of the Microsoft-Novell agreement. In general, the concern is that Microsoft or Novell will attempt to introduce patent-infringing code into Linux or other some other large Open Source project, thus opening a large audience of developers and companies to legal assault.

Touches deeply on the issue, if the Linux community allows fear, or even the GPL V3.0 which has been panned a lot as being too restrictive is used against Novell, every other Linux distro has to stop and ask the question “when am I next depending on who I make an agreement with?”.

This doesn’t drive people towards Linux, it drives them away from a fairly decent operating system, with a lot of commercial product support.

Its time for the FSF to stop and think about what it is doing before it deals a blow to Linux, and a excellent marketing opportunity for anyone who makes closed source software.

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Dan Morrill has been in the information security field for 18 years, both
civilian and military, and is currently working on his Doctor of Management.
Dan shares his insights on the important security issues of today through
his blog, Managing
Intellectual Property & IT Security
, and is an active participant in the
ITtoolbox blogging community.

Novell Could Loose Access To New Linux Versions
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About Dan Morrill
Dan Morrill runs Techwag, a site all about his views on social media, education, technology, and some of the more interesting things that happen on the internet. He works at CityU of Seattle as the Program Director for the Computer Science, Information Systems and Information Security educational programs. WebProNews Writer


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