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"Microsoft made a few mistakes in the Novell-Microsoft deal, and GPLv3 is designed to turn them against Microsoft, extending that limited patent protection to the whole community," explains GPLv3 co-author Richard M. Stallman.
On July 5, Microsoft quietly released a "Covenant to Customers" to clear up how it is handling its patent deal with Linux distributor Linspire. Instead, it did little but puzzle and annoy members of the Linux community.
In version 3 of the GNU General Public License (GPLv3), the term "the Program" means one particular work that is licensed under GPLv3 and is received by a particular licensee from an upstream licensor or distributor. The Program is the particular work of software that you received in a given instance of GPLv3 licensing, as you received it.
"The Program" cannot mean "all the works ever licensed under GPLv3"; that interpretation makes no sense, because "the Program" is singular: those many different programs do not constitute one program.
In particular, this applies to the clause in section 10, paragraph 3 of GPLv3 which states
When Linspire 6.0 is released next month, it will include the fruits of the recently announced marriage between Linspire and Microsoft. Linspire CEO Kevin Carmony says he has been in talks with Microsoft for about a year and a half before reaching an agreement.
Novell, Xandros and Linspire have signed well publicized agreements with Microsoft. Rumors on the Web have hinted that Mandriva might be next on the list. Mandriva believes in interoperability, which must be based on open standards, like ODF. They also believe that software patent threats are just FUD. So no deal with Microsoft from Mandriva.
LINUX DISTRIBUTOR Linspire has shown what it is costing it to sign a deal with Microsoft over patents.
This morning a press release winged its way from Linspire which said the outfit was "joining the current efforts to improve the ability of OpenOffice.org users to work with the Office Open XML format by increasing the interoperability between ODF and Open XML".