Will Free Software Foundation Impact Novell VARs?
For better or for worse, these are interesting times for Novell SuSE Linux VARs. Even as some VARs strive to profit from the Novell-Microsoft partnership, that high-profile relationship continues to draw concerns from The Free Software Foundation (FSF).
In fact, the FSF today released the third discussion draft for version 3 of the most widely used free software license, the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL). Wow. That last sentence reads like greek — or geek — jargon. So here’s a rough translation from The VAR Guy: The new draft license would prevent distributors (example: Novell) from colluding with patent holders to provide discriminatory protection from patents (example: Microsoft).
So what’s the upshot? Some VARs worry Novell’s partnership with Microsoft could violate the revised GNU GPL software license (which is still in draft form), putting Novell’s open source business at risk.
Still, there’s no need for solutions providers to panic. “The new terms addressing arrangements like the Microsoft-Novell patent deal should not affect any VARs directly (unless, of course, they enter similar agreements themselves),” says Brett Smith, a licensing compliance engineer at FSF. “They will only be affected indirectly by the effects on Novell, which are still under consideration in the drafting process.”
In other words: Stay tuned. We won’t have clear answers until the new GNU GPL license is finalized. You can read more details about the draft here.