Novell has maintained that there is nothing in the third draft of the GNU GPLv3 license that would prevent it from distributing GPLv3 code in its SUSE Linux Enterprise distribution, despite attempts to outlaw its patent deal with Microsoft.
Nothing in this new draft of GPL3 inhibits Novell’s ability to include GPL3 technologies in SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE, and other Novell open source offerings, now and in the future, said Novell spokesperson Bruce Lowry in a statement. He also said that should the completed GNU GPLv3 include provisions that do impact its Linux business, the company will rethink its partnership with Microsoft.
Draft three of the GNU GPLv3 was released by the Free Software Foundation earlier this week after a delay to ensure that licensees would be unable to repeat Novell and Microsoft’s controversial patent covenant.
The deal saw Microsoft promise patent protection for Novell’s Linux users and developers, but make veiled and not-so-veiled patent infringement threats against other open source users and developers.
In order to prevent such discrimination, draft three includes a paragraph designed to ensure that Microsoft’s promise not to sue Novell SUSE Linux users is extended to any users of any of the open source packages that make up that distribution.
A second paragraph outlawed such deals entirely, but only if they are made after March 28, prompting Novell’s claim that it will not be prevented from distributing GPLv3 code. That date clause could change before the GNU GPL is finalized, however, meaning that Novell would be prevented from distributing GPLv3 code. If that happens, Lowry said Novell will work with Microsoft to reassess their partnership.
We are firmly committed to continuing the partnership with Microsoft and, as we always have, fully complying with the terms of the licenses for the software that we ship, including software licensed under GPL3, he said. If the final version of the GPL3 does potentially impact the agreement we have with Microsoft, we’ll address that with Microsoft.