Subject: [Fwd: Re: Restriction on distribution by Novell?]
From: Matthew Flaschen <>
Date: Sun, 01 Oct 2006 05:38:59 -0400
Sun, 01 Oct 2006 05:38:59 -0400

Subject: Re: Restriction on distribution by Novell?
From: Justin Clift <>
Date: Sun, 01 Oct 2006 19:10:56 +1000

Hi all,

Just a FYI, this is the FSF's take on this.

Regards and best wishes,

Justin Clift

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [ #309297] Restriction on distribution by Novell?
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2006 10:52:18 -0400
From: Brett Smith via RT <>

On Tue, Sep 26, 2006 at 07:43:58PM -0400, Justin Clift via RT wrote:
 > Just came across something interesting.  Although Novell's SuSE Linux
 > Enterprise Software (SLES) product allows for unlimited use once 
 >    "You may make and use unlimited copies of the Software for Your
 > distribution and use within Your Organization."
 > They have been clever with their terms for receiving updates (Upgrade
 > Protection).  They appear to restrict the number of servers to which the
 > updates can be applied:
 > Have I missed something here, or is Novell doing the wrong thing?

Dear Justin,

As far as I can tell, there's nothing wrong with this agreement.  Section 3
explicitly says:

   Most of the components of the SUSE Linux product are open source
   packages, developed independently, and accompanied by separate license
   terms. Your license rights with respect to individual components
   accompanied by separate license terms are defined by those terms; nothing
   in this Agreement or the EULA shall restrict, limit, or otherwise affect
   any rights or obligations You may have, or conditions to which You may be
   subject, under such license terms.To the extent of any conflict between
   the terms and conditions of this Agreement and any open source license
   governing the product in question, the terms and conditions of the open
   source license will prevail.

And section 4 says:

   Any unauthorized use of Upgrade Protection will be treated as a material
   breach of this Agreement.

I read all this to mean, in short: you're free to exercise your rights
under the GNU GPL, but if you do, you'll lose your support from Novell.
The GPL can't stop you from voluntarily giving up your rights, if you
choose to do that for whatever reason.

If you have further questions, feel free to contact me.  Please note that
this is not legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please consult a

Best regards,

Brett Smith
Licensing Compliance Engineer, Free Software Foundation

The Flame Project - Open Source GUI for animated SVG & Flash

 Sun, 01 Oct 2006 19:10:56 +1000