Re: Faustian Pact between Novell and Microsoft

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On Nov 08, 2006, at 00:11:05, Avuton Olrich wrote:
On 11/7/06, David Schwartz <[email protected]> wrote:
How can they do that if licensing the work requires licensing patents that Novell has no right to license?
rtfa: http://www.novell.com/linux/microsoft/faq_opensource.html

May not be correct, but it's an answer nonetheless :)
I'm not a lawyer, but from my understanding of the GPL and that page:

Our agreement with Microsoft is focused on our customers, and does not include a patent license or covenant not to sue from Microsoft to Novell (or, for that matter, from Novell to Microsoft).
So the agreement says nothing about Novell <=> Microsoft patent  
issues or lawsuits.
Novell's customers receive a covenant not to sue directly from Microsoft.
[...]
Novell's end user customers receive a covenant not to sue directly from Microsoft for their use of Novell products and services, but these activities are outside the scope of the GPL.
But it does say that Microsoft agrees not to sue Novell's customers  
over patent issues in the GPL software that Novell distributes to its  
customers.  What this means is that Novell's customers effectively  
have patent licenses from Microsoft permitting them to use any GPL  
software distributed by Novell involving Microsoft's patents.
The real question is how this affects Novell's customers.  Can they  
distribute GPL'd software that "infringes" on a Microsoft patent?   
They have the rights to use that software but anyone who received  
that software from them would not, therefore according to the GPL  
they may not distribute at all, right?  In my opinion the only way  
that Novell's customers could legally distribute such "infringing"  
software would be by waiving the protection offered them by Microsoft  
through Novell.
Of course, this also means that it would be illegal for Microsoft to  
distribute such software; but I doubt that's likely to be an issue.
Cheers,
Kyle Moffett
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