updated 07:00 am EDT, Thu April 21, 2011
DOJ ensures that Linux license remains unchanged
The Department of Justice has stepped in to regulate patent sales arising from the buy out of Novell. Novell agreed to be bought out by Attachmate, a group of private-equity firms for $2.2 billion in November. However, CPTN Holdings, a separate holding company owned by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and EMC, had sought to buy some of Novell's patents in a move that would have threatened the ability of the open source Linux operating system to continue to develop server, desktop and mobile operating systems. The revised arrangements mean that the critical patents CPTN had sought to purchase will now remain under the GNU General Public License.
Under the new deal, CPTN will sell back to Attachemate the Novell patents it intended to purchase in return for a license that will allow it to use those particular patents in its products. This short-circuits the ability for CPTN to restrict any patents that would otherwise be available under the Linux license.
Further, in securing the future of Linux, the DOJ has ensured that CPTN will not be able to put undue pressure on Attachmate to limit any of its newly acquired Novell patents from being available under a Linux Licence. [via Wall Street Journal, Image: Bloomberg]