Press continues to swirl around the Reuters piece out Friday whether Novell will suddenly be banned from shipping Linux by the Free Software Foundation. John Dragoon put up a blog post over the weekend on this issue. A number of subsequent stories, mostly in Linux-focused publications, suggest why such a ban isn't in the cards. (See Linux-Watch, Linux Magazine and ITWire). A few main issues to keep in mind:
- The Free Software Foundation has never threatened to try to ban Novell, or anyone else, from shipping Linux. The FSF has expressed that it doesn't much like the Novell-Microsoft agreement, and that the next version of the GPL3 may try to address some of the the issues raised by the agreement. But Richard Stallman of the FSF has publicly said there's no violation of the GPL2.
- SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 is a shipping product, and it includes pieces licensed under GPL2. We'll continue to be able to ship, maintain, secure, and patch those pieces of the product under the terms of GPL2. There is no reason for customers not to deploy SUSE Linux Enterprise 10.
- The GPL 3 process is ongoing. Novell continues to participate in discussions with the FSF and the other vendors involved in the process. We are not prepared to pronounce on possible outcomes to that process, and what they mean for SUSE Linux. That would be pure speculation at this stage, and would only serve to muddy the waters. When GPL3 is finalized and made public, we'll assess it and determine our actions at that point. Given the likelihood that a number of projects will continue to be licensed under GPL2, and not go to GPL3, most vendors involved in open source will be facing similar assessments.
We are, and will remain, big fans of Linux. Our agreement with Microsoft is designed to promote Linux adoption by new customers, not divide the Linux community.