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From the day Novell announced its patent swap deal with M$, people like me were howling.  For some of us, SuSE was our introduction to Linux and we loved the experience.  But with M$ using the deal to "prove" there were patent questions about Linux, and Novell insisting they were still following the letter of the GPL (but clearly not the experience), SuSE has become a pariah, and deservedly so.  The community distro of OpenSuSE has been ignored by us.  It has it's fans, but we refuse to support Novell, which since then has helped try to shove Mono and Moonlight down our throats and continues to be a blight on the FOSS community.

When the patent swap deal happened, a website sprung up called "Boycott Novell".  Someone really doesn't like it.  People like me love it.  We don't hang out there as often as we do Groklaw, but we do turn up, especially when things get heated, and they were at the front of their own protests from time to time.

Now, there's a new kid in town.  Mass raiding didn't work, so they've set up a site called "Boycott Boycott-Novell."  The name tells you how amateurish these people are.  Need more proof?  They accidentally put up a sort of "enemies list" before hastily taking it down.  But not until a crafty netizen screencapped it.  Among the names are obvious targets like SJVN and humble bloggers like The Mad Hatter.  Somehow, PJ did not make the list.  Once again, amateurish.

"We are seeing people making a pretense of involvement in FLOSS and in our community, people who we don't actually know, people who never join us at conferences, don't work in projects, and only participate in mailing lists to instigate flame wars. We are seeing people who seem to be making a sort of religion out of "free software" and issuing their demands to the rest of us to do things their way. These are people who will excoriate you as something less than a "true GNU/Linux user" if you should touch a Macintosh or (heaven forbid!) a Windows box. These are folks who will berate you for buying a piece of software or owning an iPod. These are people who will classify you as a "freedom hater" if you express reservations about the GPL v3."

They provide no examples of their persecution, and insist that they are doing nothing wrong.  Their "philosophy" gives way to the basis of their beliefs -- if it's truly free software, they should be free to do whatever they want with it, regardless of the GPL.  The GPL gives you freedom, but you have to give back.  It's the difference between the BSD license and the GPL license.  BSD is nearly public domain.  The GPL demands payment in code and ethical behavior.  But the real advances in software development happen under the GPL, where people are restricted from grabbing things for themselves that are rightfully theirs.  So, if you want to jump start, you need the mature code and some way to get around the GPL.

Interesting that this has happened about the same time M$ announced the Codeplex project to try to get FOSS developers to work under Windows instead.  Nice timing there.

It is possible to disagree with elements of the GPL.  And it is possible to survive without it -- the BSD license, public domain, there are alternatives if you don't like the terms.  Boycott Boycott-Novell is a snark site without the snark.  And with no philosophical leg to stand on, they won't have any affect on those who haven't drunk the M$ Kool-Aid.

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