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Microsoft/Novell Deal Could Create Two-Tier Linux Market

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the now-which-hat-will-they-wear dept.

375

Rob writes writes to mention a Computer Business Review article about the recent Microsoft/Novell Linux deal. Article author Matthew Aslet warns that while some may see the announcement as a step forward, it may ultimately be very divisive for the Linux community. From the article: "Microsoft made it clear that only SUSE users and developers, as well as unsalaried Linux developers, are protected. 'Let me be clear about one thing, we don't license our intellectual property to Linux because of the way Linux licensing GPL framework works, that's not really a possibility,' said Microsoft chief executive, Steve Ballmer. 'Novell is actually just a proxy for its customers, and it's only for its customers,' he added. 'This does not apply to any forms of Linux other than Novell's SUSE Linux. And if people want to have peace and interoperability, they'll look at Novell's SUSE Linux. If they make other choices, they have all of the compliance and intellectual property issues that are associated with that.'"

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Not kidding (2)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751879)

So Linux has not been fragmented until MS came it to play... Wow, incredible...!

Re:Not kidding (3, Insightful)

ibbo (241948) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752487)

Its simple bring all distro's under Europe wing and see if MS can be a bully then. We all know how Europe is chomping at the bit already, so lets remove the bit and let them chomp M$.

Patent Infringements I ask you they certainly know how to play their own game thats for sure.

Re:Not kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752529)

I really don't want to hear about your open sores.

What the fuck ever. (0, Troll)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751887)

MS will open stuff up, and I will take and run with what I can get away with.

Bill + Steve (5, Funny)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751891)

Bill: I'm worried, Steve. We're losing more ground to Linux. It's on the verge of becoming a non-nerd OS.

Steve: I've got an idea. Let's buy another version of Linux.

Bill: Are you crazy? The SCO gambit didn't fool anybody.

Steve: No, not like that. Instead of trying to fool a judge, we'll try to fool our customers.

Bill: So? That's already company policy.

Steve: Yes, but we'll release our own version. We tell the public that we're joining the Linux bandwagon, and with our marketing clout, it will soon become the dominant version on the market. Then when the public is convinced that MSLinux IS Linux, we make gradual changes to turn it into an unusable bloated wreck. Linux will be finished!

Bill: No way! Remember, Steve, I used to write software. No self-respecting programmer would deliberately wreck an OS. Where are we going to get a bunch of programmers to do that?

Steve: We have all the guys who wrote Vista. I think they could do it.

Re:Bill + Steve (-1, Troll)

MECC (8478) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751969)

Bill: No way! Remember, Steve, I used to write software

Total myth. bg knows what lines of code look like on a piece of paper, and that's pretty much it. He hasn't ever coded anything to functional completion.

This is just another lame, half-thought, and half-assed attempt at divide and 'conquer'. If users really want peace, they'll quit having anything to do with a vendor that screws them as a matter of policy.

Plus: what if they want war? (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752049)

Red Hat seems to be making an honorable stand. They likely don't have the resources to take on MS solo, but IBM does and I could just about see them joining the fray. Note, IBM didn't have to spend 3 years demolishing SCO.

Someone go get me some popcorn.

Re:Plus: what if they want war? (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752583)

IBM also has one of the largest patent portfolios ever assembled. Right now, somewhere in Redmond, a Microsoft programmer is infringing on IBM patents. If MS wants to play rough, IBM will play rough. Here's a couple articles on IBM, open source, and patents:

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/191 01.wss [ibm.com]
http://news.com.com/IBM+offers+500+patents+for+ope n-source+use/2100-7344_3-5524680.html [com.com]

Re:Bill + Steve (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752271)

>Total myth. bg knows what lines of code look like on a piece of paper, and that's pretty much it. He hasn't ever coded anything to functional completion.

Don't lie [wikipedia.org] ! It didn't look good. It wasn't fun. But it did get finished.

Bill's coding (2, Interesting)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752505)

He hasn't ever coded anything to functional completion.

Umm, just untrue. When Microsoft was a brand new company, he wrote their first products, one of which was a version of BASIC that ran on the Altair. Not a small accomplishment. Also remember that Windows became popular because of the programming tools for it made developer's lives much easier than developing for other platforms.

Re:Bill + Steve (-1, Redundant)

crgrace (220738) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752547)

Total myth. bg knows what lines of code look like on a piece of paper, and that's pretty much it. He hasn't ever coded anything to functional completion.

Not true. BG wrote a BASIC interpreter for the Altair, and some other stuff too. He is a very smart man, and knows computers. Don't underestimate him or the technical prowess of the engineers at Microsoft.

Re:Bill + Steve (3, Informative)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752563)


Bill: No way! Remember, Steve, I used to write software

Total myth. bg knows what lines of code look like on a piece of paper, and that's pretty much it. He hasn't ever coded anything to functional completion.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_BASIC [wikipedia.org]

Re:Bill + Steve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752343)

You forgot

Bill Gates & Steve Balmer toghether : Or better yet, we could go find a cliff or a bridge somewhere, then take our entire fucktarded familes. Then we could have them all jump off to their deaths, and after that we'll jump to ours as we are just too stupid to even exist let alone use a computer. Then there will be less fucktards in the gene pool.

Re:Bill + Steve - Reality Television (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752377)

Burring. Burring... Burring...
.
.
.
Steve: We have all the guys who wrote Vista. I think they could do it.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Both of them fall out of their chairs in the Diary Room.

The writing is on the wall! (3, Insightful)

csoto (220540) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751917)

Novell just bent over and let Stevie "embrace and extend." Rather than usurp Red Hat, this is going to make Microsoft-connected SuSE Linux software coda non grata in the OSS community.

Wait, I think I've seen this one already. (5, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752031)

From T.F. summary: "If they make other choices, they have all of the compliance and intellectual property issues that are associated with that."

Rarely have I ever seen such perfect examples of FUD. This has it all; it's an unspoken threat, dropped only in order to create feelings of uncertainty in the marketplace.

I had thought for a while that Microsoft was just ignoring Linux, but now it seems they're opening up a new front, one where they're going to engage in overt psychological warfare in order to discourage adoption of competing products.

In a sick way, you have to appreciate watching Microsoft work. It's not as though this hasn't happened a dozen times before, just in the IT market, and yet it still always seems to do the trick. At a certain point, you either have to laugh or cry. I haven't decided which way to go yet.

Yeah, it was called SCOSource (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752211)

Remember that? "We're not saying we actually have any code or other "intellectual property" in Linux, 'cause if we said that we'd have to .. y'know, identify where it is and that sort of thing. At which time it would be wiped the #$^# out of Linux within hours. We're just saying that in case we do have any you should pay us some money and then we won't sue you. We really don't want to go through the hassle of a big trial, partly because we're such nice guys and partly because there isn't a shred of evidence for our claims. So how 'bout just a little money?

Re:Wait, I think I've seen this one already. (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752535)

I had thought for a while that Microsoft was just ignoring Linux, but now it seems they're opening up a new front, one where they're going to engage in overt psychological warfare in order to discourage adoption of competing products.
My thought was just the opposite - this is a blast from the past. Two or three years ago Microsoft was really trumping this FUD about Linux being legally risky. With the utter failure of the Microsoft-backed SCO lawsuit, I've heard much less of this issue in the past couple years. I guess Ballmer is "staying the course."

Re:The writing is on the wall! (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752069)

Exactly!

I'm a SuSE guy, and when I heard this, I thought to myslef (and now you can read my thoughts), "I'm going to have to find a new distro"!

That being said, I am not sure what M$ thinks that they can bring to the Linux front that is not already there, except more of the same. Are they going to bring "Office"? I doubt it. Are they going to bring AD? Maybe, but who cares. Are they going to bring M$ SQL?

Oh, I think I just got it. Oracle/Redhat .... M$/SuSE-Novell.

Once you think about it, it makes perfect sense. M$ is a "me too" kinda company without real innovation of anything new. They should change its name to MeToo.

Seriously, its time to drop SuSE. I am truly sad.

Re:The writing is on the wall! (4, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752181)

Novell just bent over and let Stevie "embrace and extend." Rather than usurp Red Hat, this is going to make Microsoft-connected SuSE Linux software coda non grata in the OSS community.

They're not worried about the OSS community. Not even a little.

This is about making the perception among customers that the only way to have a Linux which is free from being sued by Microsoft for IP violations is to go with Novell/Suse. They hope to make the rest of the Linux offerings 'poisoned' for businesses to use with the veiled threat that all other versions of Linux are potentially tainted.

Really, who didn't see this coming on the day they announced it?

Cheers

Bad move by Novell (4, Interesting)

ISoldMyLowIdOnEbay (802697) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751921)

Agreeing to licence "IP" from Microsoft just gives legitimacy to any claims they are going to pursue against other Linux vendors/developers. It sets a bad precedent, even if those claims are likely to be bogus. It is obvious MS are thinking this way, otherwise why would they pay Novell rather than the other way round?

Not sure what Novell are thinking of here. Surprised IBM hasn't had something to say...

Re:Bad move by Novell (3, Funny)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751975)

Not sure what Novell are thinking of here. Surprised IBM hasn't had something to say...

give them time, they're busy reviving a fresh batch of lawyers from cold storage, then they've got to work out precisely who to let them loose on, Novell and/or Microsoft

Re:Bad move by Novell (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752177)

No, all that's going to happen is MS is going to pay knowledgeable people to look over every line of code, and make sure that it's all clear (something which the other companies should have done long age). It's going to be a HUGE benefit for large companies that are worried about liability. If I were you, I'd relax...breathe... and take off the tin foil hat. The other Linuxes will still exist, but SUSE will just become the new corporate standard.

Re:Bad move by Novell (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752231)

Oh, and on SUSE, MS will make sure that Samba and all other pieces that handle interoperability will actually *work*. It'll be a very good thing for everybody (SUSE, MS, Linux users, etc.). Only Red Hat will get squeezed, here. And I'm predicting that Red Hat will be marginalized to a great extent, too, now that Oracle is trying to break free and offer their own support, and of course, anybody with a mixed environment will be using SUSE.

Re:Bad move by Novell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752299)

Don't be too certain about that. I and I'm sure lots of other people in positions of power to make decisions on software purchases/direction wont touch this with a 10 foot pole.

Re:Bad move by Novell (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752415)

If I were you, I'd relax...breathe... and take off the tin foil hat.

Yes, you would.
</attitude>

They say, however, that Bill Gates is an experienced Go player, and it does show in his business strategy; I'll keep my tinfoil hat on firmly.
I won't say I know what exactly is wrong here, except for the obvious part that it doesn't look right. Which is enough for me, at least.

Anyway, I'm not worried about Linux as such: the other distros will still be there. I'm only worried about Red Hat: they are the ones with much to lose. This doesn't touch Gentoo one way or the other, at least as far as I can see.

Re:Bad move by Novell (1)

Sassinak (150422) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752437)

My response to that, is:

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

MS a history of doing exactly that. Get in close, learn the business, get recognized as a player. And then, use their clout and money to wipe out the rest.

Granted, it MAY not be their intention, but would you want to willingly put your hand in the allegator's mouth that has a history of snapping other people's off?

Not me.

Re:Bad move by Novell (1)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752443)

Agreeing to licence "IP" from Microsoft just gives legitimacy to any claims they are going to pursue against other Linux vendors/developers.

I may well be wrong, but I don't remember there being any "licensing" in this deal. MS has specifically said many times that it won't/cannot license any of its IP to ANY Linux distro because of issues with GPL. They are just promising not to sue Novell or its customers for any of its IP found in Linux. Same end result for Novell basically, but very different from a legal/licensing perspective.

Re:Bad move by Novell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752699)

That means that a possible fight-back strategy that would work would be pointing out that

Microsoft gives no guarantee

Dang. (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751971)

I really liked OpenSuse. Oh well I guess Ubuntu isn't a bad choice.

Re:Dang. (1)

Lord Jester (88423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752085)

Indeed.

I have been investigating *Ubuntu as a solution for friends and family for a little bit. I have, since this announcement, decided to go there myself.

We were right (1)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 7 years ago | (#16751979)

It was a trap.

Therefore only SUSE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16751981)

I used to use SUSE until I switched to OSX. It was the best at the time (8.x)

We are a small startup that uses linux on our embedded systems. I guess now it will be SUSE or switch to BSD (maybe even WinCE). I do not want a lawsuit on our hands. This the kind of fear that lots of companies have.

What about the IP in BSD ? Can microsoft go after the BSD communities ?

Please don't bash my comments or fears!!

Re:Therefore only SUSE (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752023)

Owner of software patents can go after everyone, BSD included.

Sorry, there is no way out from this.

Re:Therefore only SUSE (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752193)

There is: live in a country without software patents :)

Re:Therefore only SUSE (1)

MECC (8478) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752249)

Maybe we should start patenting jokes.

Here's my application:

A series of words, phrases, and sentences assembled in a manner such that communication to a participant listener in any form causes a humorous response from a said participant listener.

'A fly approaches an attractive woman in a bar and says, "Nice Stool".'

I bet the morloks at the USPTO grant it a patent.

Re:Therefore only SUSE (2, Informative)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752197)

It's a tricky business, as the other reply stated, other companies can go after BSD if they find their software in ther, or software that violates their IP.

That being said, the three main BSDs (Free/Open/Net), unlike many Linux distros, will not include closed source or commercial packages in their distros (although it does not actually violate their license, unlike Linux's)

I would say SUSE would probably be your lowest risk, but I doubt the BSD risk would be much higher, as the core isn't really taken much from Linux. I can't say as much about the packages though.

If all the at-risk stuff is closed source, than BSD is pretty safe, BSD will not auto-retrieve any closed source packages, at all. You will be warned by it asking you to manually download parts of the package yourself.

SUSE (0, Troll)

lpcustom (579886) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752007)

I'm just glad MS is partnering with a distro I never use anyway. Thanks MS for not currupting a good distro.

e4 (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752221)

Thanks MS for not currupting a good distro.

1. Embrace
2. Extend
3. Extinguish

This is only Step 1. Don't think they're just going after SuSE. Once they've made all the other distros illegal by virtue of copyright/IP-infringement claims, you won't have a whole lot of choice in the matter.

Divide and Defeat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752021)

If you cannot defeat your enemy outright, then infiltrate the enemy and divide them. This is going to end up worse than anything SCO has done because Microsoft has done it before. They already drew the dividing line - if you use any non-Suse Linux, you're open to the "consequences". This isn't a pro-Suse remark - Microsoft never does anything except to profit Microsoft. They'll use this to tie up Redhat and other distros in court, bring down the ones with a small budget altogether and destroy the larger ones with brute legal force then when they're done, they'll dump Suse like the whore they think she is. The future looks bleak - only Novell's waking up and terminating the relationship will kill this snake-in-the-grass.

Bye Bye Novell (4, Funny)

BeBoxer (14448) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752025)

I think experience shows us what happens to companies foolish enough to partner with Microsoft. Oh well. It's been nice knowing you Novell.

Re:Bye Bye Novell (1)

PinkPanther (42194) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752149)

Uh...I think that Novell has been here a few times before...and they are still around.

I'm sure that Novell has a bit of a clue as to what they are doing. I'm sure they recognize the flame with which they play...

I'm not implying that they can't get burned, but I suspect they realize that they can get burned. They obviously see potential benefit here that (they believe) justifies the risks.

You're completely wrong! (0)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752391)

How is this going to hurt Novell in any way, shape or form. If anything, Novell SUSE will be the big winner, because in mixed environments, who are you gonna choose? Some random distribution that may or may not interoperate with your Windows machines, or one that MS has worked with to make sure it works?

I own a business that is 100% MS right now. Everything is working well, but if we ever need a Linux server in the future, I know what distro I'm choosing (hint: it isn't Red Had or Ubuntu).

ditto (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752473)

I wouldn't use "Red Had" Linux either.

Re:You're completely wrong! (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752497)

who are you gonna choose? Some random distribution that may or may not interoperate with your Windows machines, or one that MS has worked with to make sure it works?

Knowing Microsoft... I'd go with a random distro.

Re:You're completely wrong! (1)

saur2004 (801688) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752607)

Ya, that is until the thousands of Linux contributors (who ARE copywrite holders) tell Novel that they are in violation of the GPL and not allowed to use their code anymore. Dont think that that cant happen. In my opinion it should happen.

The Linux Party (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752027)

This [blogspot.com] is what will happen.

Damn! So now I have to uninstall SuSE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752035)

Argh! I run SuSE everywhere - and now I have to dump it in order to avoid dancing with the devil? Crap!

No need to worry about Microsoft (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752047)

If you're a big company with a big patent portfolio then you have no need to worry about being sued by Microsoft for Linux patent infringements, because you can simply sue them back for all your patents that Windows and SQL Server infringe.

The real worry, is being sued by a company with no remaining important products, and with nothing to lose. They can tie you up in the courts for years, cost you a fortune in discovery costs, and spread muck about your company all over the press. And you'll never recover a penny, because even if you eventually win in court, they will simply be bankrupt and unable to pay.

So the solution:

Don't pay Microsoft.

Do buy a license from the no-product company. If you give them enough money for the license, instead of being a pain to you, they can tie your competitors up in the courts for years (worst case), or damage perhaps even cripple your competitors' Linux business.

Limitations... *sigh* (3, Funny)

rcw-work (30090) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752051)

If they make other choices, they have all of the compliance and intellectual property issues that are associated with that.

Dear Microsoft,

How will my baby mulching machine [wikiquote.org] be able to legally interoperate with your software?

This is very important to me and my colleagues, and I would appreciate it if you would address our concerns.

Re:Limitations... *sigh* (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752331)

It does feel a tad like M$ is going
"Nice distro... shame if something were to happen to it!"

They are obviously just being pretty petty over this, and I suppose that this could be harmful if they used it as a way of avoiding anti-trust rules, other than that I'm happy with my distro (fedora core 6) as it is without having to compromise with MS over my freedom - even, as with OpenBSD, I want to use it in a baby mulching machine (although that might be illegal for other reasons...)

why (1)

thejrwr (1024073) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752059)

I still dont understand why microsoft would be helping novell

Re:why (1)

katz (36161) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752205)

You see, I bought the Red Car so I could dismantle it...

- Roey

They're Not (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752229)

Microsoft only helps Microsoft. History is a resounding proof of that. Mark my words - they'll use Novell to gain leverage and then the hammer will drop.

Re:They're Not (1)

thejrwr (1024073) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752399)

if all else fails, use c4

I have a question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752091)

Will it run under Linux?

Yeah, whatever (1)

pjf(at)gna.org (807061) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752095)

Microsoft? Who'll need them in 2 years, anyway?

Not Your Grampa's Xenix (5, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752103)

Microsoft has all kinds of SW patents in its portfolio. MS will sue all the other distros than Novell's for patent infringement, driving everyone to SuSE. Then it will pull the plug on Novell, exactly the way it did on NetWare, when MS folded all NetWare's features into Windows NT.

The only defense is RedHat and IBM, and possibly other corps with money to fight MS attacking their Linux distros their future OS strategies all depend upon. Maybe Oracle is bought in to Linux enough that it too will defend a Linux version. RedHat is new and bubbly enough that I'm not surprised they're vulnerable to this attack, and maybe Oracle could tell that, too. But IBM should have known that its defense from SCO, which was a defense against Microsoft's proxy, was too close an alliance with Novell. I'm surprised IBM didn't protect themselves from this Microsoft attack through Novell. But then, MS has always made all its biggest victories by attacking IBM's blind spots.

The other defense is anarchy. Tens of thousands of Linux developers, and tens of millions of users, all across the world, just ignoring MS patent attacks on their distros. If that works, it could also undermine the very patent weapon Microsoft and others wield to destroy SW progress. If they bit off more than they can chew, MS could very well be doing us all a big favor, by destroying itself and patent regime in which it makes its crooked living.

oh pleeze (2, Informative)

xoyoboxoyobo (945657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752105)

this is exactly the kind of thing that makes people call it micro$oft. just like during the DNC our startup company was frozen out of a contract because microsoft came in and "donated" hardware with the stipulation that only companies that were m$ certified and did not use linux technology could get contracts. i am sure that the open source community sees it for the load of crap it is - i only hope that the corporate world does as well.

FUD (4, Informative)

Stalyn (662) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752113)

As much as I like to bash Microsoft, this whole "Microsoft is the next SCO" is bullshit. The only possible patent infringement going on is in the Microsoft compatibility stack of Mono. This is seperate from the Mono CLI and compiler which is under the Ecma. And also different than the Linux stack which includes Gtk#.

Microsoft is basically saying "If you want to run your ASP.NET app with open source software then Novell is your only choice". Microsoft is not saying "Novell Linux is the only safe Linux distro from Microsoft lawsuits" because Linux is inherently safe as long as you don't run Microsoft's crappy .NET software on it.

Re:FUD (2, Insightful)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752327)

"Microsoft is not saying "Novell Linux is the only safe Linux distro from Microsoft lawsuits"

Hey ass-wipe, that's EXACTLY what Microsoft is saying! Read the freaking press releases. Microsoft is stating if you want to be safe from patent infringement use Suse. They did not single out mono. In fact several .NET books use Mono as an example of .NET's cross-platform compatiblity.

Moron.

Re:FUD (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752371)

FUD, it may be. But its source isn't Slashdot. Mr. Ballmer, it seems to me, is doing a reasonable Don Corleone impression here. In effect he's saying, "Nice little operating system you got here; it would be a shame if anything happened to it."

Re:FUD (3, Interesting)

Stalyn (662) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752707)

Mr. Ballmer is talking specifically to shareholders who think this Novell deal is going to lead to Microsoft releasing portions of their intellectual property to OSS. Which means to the average MS shareholder, "Oh I better sell my stocks".

Of course to the average Slashdotter, who doesn't RTFA or does any research, this means Microsoft is going to start suing other Linux companies that aren't blessed by Microsoft. But again how can Microsoft sue over patents when they don't own any in regards to the Linux kernel or Linux development stack. Even Wine is safe from Microsoft. It's just some portions of Mono which deal with .NET and Windows.Forms. Perhaps some other technologies as well that have to do with Microsoft Office.

And honestly trusting press releases for good information is a waste of time. Doesn't Bush send out PR every day saying how good things are going in Iraq?
 

An interesting quote (5, Interesting)

lucychili (987345) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752127)

[A]n indiscriminate creation of exclusive privileges tends rather to obstruct
than to stimulate invention. It creates a class of speculative schemers who
make it their business to watch the advancing wave of improvement, and
gather its foam in the form of patented monopolies, which enable them to
lay a heavy tax upon the industry of the country, without contributing
anything to the real advancement of the arts. It embarrasses the honest
pursuit of business with fears and apprehensions of concealed liens and
unknown liabilities to lawsuits and vexatious accountings for profits made
in good faith. Atlantic Works v. Brady, 107 U.S. 192, 200 (1882) (Bradley, J.).

Here's the obligatory (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752129)

"I have a bad feeling about this!"

Re:Here's the obligatory (1)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752355)

I sense a disturbance in the source

MS Office for Linux! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752141)

I can't wait! No, really, I'm not joking.

I can my Linux box and MS Office. Let's face it, if you're doing thta type of stuff, MS Office makes life so much easier!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Open Office.

Ballmer is a control freak (1)

quiberon2 (986274) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752151)

Ballmer is a control freak.

However, he does not control all the developers in the world; business software existed before Microsoft was incorporated; and businesses have a legitimate requirement to go about their business with or without him.

If he won't interoperate, we'll move along without him.

Violating GPL (5, Informative)

pavera (320634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752163)

This statement clearly violates paragraph 7 of the GPL. Novell is no longer able to legally distribute linux because they cannot give royalty free copies to everyone.

Re:Violating GPL (1)

AceJohnny (253840) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752613)

You're trying to out-lawyer Microsoft? C'mon! They're the guys who weaseled their way out of every anti-trust lawsuit they've been in!

No, I guess they aren't foolish enough to try and take the GPL head-on (anymore).

Instead, I can clearly see them doing something like "hey, buy this perfect SUSE-exclusive CIFS suite, why use that broken Samba thing when you can have this? Oh, besides, we're suing Samba for {patent,IP} infrigement, you don't want to be on the List, do you?"

Rinse and repeat for every Microsoft-compatible open-source Linux product.

Re:Violating GPL (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752621)

This statement clearly violates paragraph 7 of the GPL. Novell is no longer able to legally distribute linux because they cannot give royalty free copies to everyone.

Well, technically, no.

Oddly enough, Novell is NOT paying Microsoft royalties. Novell accepted money from Microsoft so that they would accept indemnity from Microsoft for they and their customers.

Basically, it's protection money in reverse. "We will pay you, so that you accept a get-out-of-litigation free card." This has the result of saying anyone else who hasn't been bribed my Microsoft is likely to be infringing on MS's IP, and therefore likely to be sued.

Novell, by accepting this, has become Microsoft's justification to say everyone else is running unlicenced code (ie code which infringes), but that they couldn't possibly license their IP to Linux due to the GPL. So, Novell is now the poster company for how everyone else is breaking the law. Microsoft essentially bought themselves a precedent/basis for a case.

Scary, isn't it?

Cheers

MS Linux (1)

alunharford (810146) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752169)

I've thought for a long time that Microsoft's best way to kill Linux is to create MS Linux (free), add a load of features that would make it attractive over other distros (good support for DirectX, .NET, etc.), take over 90% of the Linux market (wait for Red Hat etc to die), make the Open Source community rely on Microsoft's code base, and then slowly make MS Linux so bad that people had to migrate from it to another distro (and the commercial ones would be dead, so good luck getting large companies to do that!) or 'Normal' Windows.

Re:MS Linux (1)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752517)

That wouldn't work. The GPL includes freedom to fork. Any improvements added to Linux would be available to everyone else. There'd still be 100s of distros out there and Microsoft would never get a chance to kill anything GPL with bloat.

Microsoft could add a proprietary application stack on top of Linux and then hope people started using it. To do that they'd need to offer Office/Exchange etc on Linux (if they stayed close source they could be set to only run on MS Linux). To get significant marketshare it would need to take people away from Windows at least as fast as it takes people within Linux.

Re:MS Linux (1)

srobert (4099) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752655)

The GPL includes freedom to fork.

They'll never take my forking freedom!

LOL! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752179)

I am laughing at every Linux fanboy here.

The Easy Way (2, Interesting)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752187)

All of the conspiracy and divide and conquer is all very fun, but seriously, Microsoft doesn't need to work that hard to make more money. The Novell deal is probably just what it looks like, a way for Microsoft to make some money from the Linux market. They don't need to destroy it or any such nonsense. Windows isn't going away any time soon, and sorry Linux isn't taking over either. But Microsoft does have to be careful of running afoul of the GPL in any case, so making deals with companies like Novell, may be a way to get a piece of the market without GPL or antitrust entanglements.

Re:The Easy Way (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752575)

Microsoft doesn't need to work that hard to make more money.

This is not about the money. It's about domination.

Licensing (4, Insightful)

jamienk (62492) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752199)

So what, exactly is Novell licensing from MS? If Novel declares that they only have the right to distribute certain GPL'ed code because of a license that they've bought, then, under the terms of the GPL, they cannot distribute that code at all.

MS and Novel know this, and that's why they don't call what they've done "licensing." Instead, as they've said, they have carefully taken the GPL into account when they made this deal (in order to work around it), and called their deal a "promise not to sue" or some such.

If MS DOES successfully sue another distributor or coder over GPL'ed code, then Novell's deal with MS would not give them any EXTRA ability to continue to distribute that code.

So what have MS and Novell done? They have created the illusion that Novell has licensed MS patents and that other Linux distributions do not have this license. The truth is:

* No court has ruled that MS holds patents on any GPL'ed code

* MS has not claimed that any specific GPL'ed code violates MS's patents

* If MS DID bring a patent suit against a prominent Free software project or it's proxy, it would be resolved:

      - Many big projects would fight in court (Red Hat, FSF, IBM), and MS would lose

      - MS would come under attack by other companies that have interest in GPL'ed software and that have large patent portfolios -- MS would back down

      - If MS did win a suit (or if the legal battle was too much), the code would be replaced quickly

Question: how does the BSD'ed code (or Apache licensed, etc) fare in the above context?

Here's the thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752683)

Microsoft and Novell are saying that they've tiptoed around the GPL but that isn't true. A patent license is a promise not to sue, the only difference is that a license usually covers specifics rather than some vague SCO-like FUD. Still it appears that Microsoft are "in effect" licensing their patent portfolio to Novell (who inked their own death warrant with this deal). The GPL makes it clear that patents must be licensed for everyone (ie: sub-licensible) or not at all. One way or another, we're going to have to see this agreement.

Payback's a bitch and here's to Microsoft getting theirs :-)

Microsoft/Novel deal could two tier linux market, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752259)

> pretend I pasted the body of the article here

Only Suse users are safe? Gee. What do they plan to do with the GPL part of Linux? Make it proprietary? Nobody needs the MS patented part of it, after all.

Ballmer is really, really past his his "sell date". Maybe he could beat himself back into competitive form with an office chair?

I wonder... (5, Interesting)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752261)

Although I'm not an expert on RICO, I find myself wondering if Microsoft aren't tiptoeing within reach of potential racketeering charges, here.

If Microsoft are planning on threatening people with suits for using their IP, they're going to have to make damn sure that said people *are* using their IP first. If they threaten a company, the company calls their bluff, and it comes out in the courtroom that said company isn't actually infringing on their patents, an astute judge might then ask some rather awkward questions.

Methinks Ballmer needs to be very, very careful. An approach of, "Nice distribution you have there. Would be a shame to see anything happen to it," could seriously legally backfire.

Nah, nothing can touch Teh Microsoft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752603)

Oh, you mean like The SCO Group? That's been going on like five years now and they haven't been smacked down yet. On the contrary, the principals and the lawyers (who are now calling the shots) have been bleeding the company all but dry. There's a few pints to squeeeeze out before all chairholders have been completely defrauded. Oh, well.

TSG targeted Autozone in just the way you're talking about. Nothing bad happened to them from that. I think MS learned from this.

Ominous but empty threats (3, Interesting)

HighOrbit (631451) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752265)

"Let me be clear about one thing, we don't license our intellectual property to Linux because of the way Linux licensing GPL framework works, that's not really a possibility," said Microsoft chief executive, Steve Ballmer.
"Novell is actually just a proxy for its customers, and it's only for its customers," he added. "This does not apply to any forms of Linux other than Novell's SUSE Linux. And if people want to have peace and interoperability, they'll look at Novell's SUSE Linux. If they make other choices, they have all of the compliance and intellectual property issues that are associated with that."

IANAL, but I think these are empty threats and here is why:
  1. Mutually Assured Destruction, or rather, IBM and its relationship to Linux and Unix. IBM has a stake in Linux and will defend its own interests. Also, Linux mostly implements Unix. Almost any challange to Linux will also be a challange to Unix. IBM (and Sun for that matter) is not about to let that happen.
  2. Again, IANAL, but I would think this would be a case of "estoppel". Linux is a hodgepodge. It is a bunch of contributed "pieces-parts" from other people. Novell/MS can not benefit from contributed software and simutaneously oppose it for everyone else. Nor can Novell equitably get away with knowingly contributing to Open Source and then say "gotcha".

Looking for the silver-lining, I hope this will lead to an officially blessed MS smb/ad client that will reveal some of the inner workings that continously stump Samba.

Richard Stallman's most prescient writing... (3, Informative)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752273)

This is from a year ago, but it's even more relevant today:
Microsoft made it abundantly clear that they would use their patent portfolio to prevent the spread of GPL software. Section seven of the GPL (the implicit patent grant of the license) now looks like the most prescient writing Richard Stallman has ever done. If you're not familiar with it I'd suggest you read it and understand why using the GPL to protect your Free Software is so important.
http://samba.org/samba/news/articles/low_point/col umn11.html [samba.org]

Meal Time (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752281)

'Novell is actually just a proxy for its customers, and it's only for its customers,' he added. 'This does not apply to any forms of Linux other than Novell's SUSE Linux. And if people want to have peace and interoperability, they'll look at Novell's SUSE Linux. If they make other choices, they have all of the compliance and intellectual property issues that are associated with that.'

Microsoft should be made to eat those words, and sooner rather than later. It's a shot across the bow, claiming that they now own Linux as well as Windows. Is OSX next?

GNOME and Mono (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752313)

So, everyone still happy with GNOME making Mono part of its base desktop?

Yep. (2, Interesting)

Tony (765) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752695)

So, everyone still happy with GNOME making Mono part of its base desktop?

Sure. Not so much with Mono, but I'm *way* happy with Gtk+/GNOME. Although, I have been running e17 for a while as my own desktop, GNOME is nice, and I have more faith in its openness than Qt. And GNOME is *not* Ximian/Novell. It's an independent project that Novell works on.

I'm taking a "wait and see" approach to Mono, though. I never liked C#, so never saw a real reason to use Mono. And the whole .Net framework blows monkey chunks. You can't even call multicast delegates in a thread-safe manner. Who's bright idea was *that*?

Anyway, this isn't a rant against Mono/.Net. It's a defense of GNOME, which is a damned fine desktop environment, even though I prefer e17.

reminisant of SCO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752317)

As far as I can see there is nothing concrete in the below:

- 'work' on interopability
- 'promise' not to sue
- 'recommend' suse

This is PR reminisant of SCO and seems pretty clear from the timimg (see oracle linux) that it is just an empty association designed to try and damage redhat.

Re:reminisant of SCO (1)

Sassinak (150422) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752725)

I can't say the timing isn't a little too conincidental. (first Orcale with their Linux-O and support, which takes a nibble out of Redhat and puts them on the defensive).. Then MicroShark teams up with Novell and basically promises everything (we'll see how they deliver) which further damages redhat.

And of course, Red Hat has been the "legitimate face" of linux in the corporate world.

Umm... Granted, I don't actually SEE the black helicopters, but you know.. if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck....

Ballmer Ballmer Ballmer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16752337)

Let me be clear about one thing, we don't license our intellectual property to Linux because of the way Linux licensing GPL framework works, that's not really a possibility. Novell is actually just a proxy for its customers, and it's only for its customers. This does not apply to any forms of Linux other than Novell's SUSE Linux. And if people want to have peace and interoperability, they'll look at Novell's SUSE Linux. If they make other choices, they have all of the compliance and intellectual property issues that are associated with that.

I'm now clear about one thing, Steve Ballmer doesn't understand the GPL.

He should stick to chair tossing.

Re:Ballmer Ballmer Ballmer (1)

Coeurderoy (717228) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752551)

He probably understand it very well, what this agreement will give him is an opportunity to try is out.

If nobody sues Novell for misusing the GPL they can pretend that it is not really a licence but just a kind of "opinion, goal, feel good thing" nothing serious.
If somebody sues Novell and looses, they win
If somebody sues Novell and wins, they can say to the GPL is anti business and very evil, it is making this fine American company (Novell) go banqrupt...

So they also win.

Well I just finished downloading kubuntu :-)

it may be divisive? (2, Interesting)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752365)

"it may ultimately be very divisive for the Linux community."

No shit?

This development signals a parting of ways for everyone I know with Suse Linux.
My phone has been ringing off the wall and everyone is asking me, "What should we switch to now?"
No one I know wants to have anything to do with this abomination.

This is nothing more than a ploy to poison the well.

Thanks Suse, it was great while it lasted, but now you've shot yourself in both feet and we don't trust you anymore.

I don't know about two-tiered... (1)

ursabear (818651) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752405)

But I do know what worries me... When a recent acquisition of a database project (one based on OSS ideas) occurred, suddenly lots of freebie tools that work with that database were silently and swiftly taken off-line. The developers of said tools usually posted something cryptic on their sites citing issues with the "new management" of the database project.

Will there be a similar chilling effect on many Linux-based tools that work with the Microsoft/Novell stuff?

MS approved extortion .. (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752461)

"the fine print means that the deal might not be good news for those not running Microsoft's approved version of Linux."

"Microsoft made it clear that only SUSE users and developers, as well as unsalaried Linux developers, are protected"

"Let me be clear about one thing, we don't license our intellectual property to Linux because of the way Linux licensing GPL framework works, that's not really a possibility," said Microsoft chief executive, Steve Ballmer.

"Novell is actually just a proxy for its customers, and it's only for its customers,"

:) With this agreement I now own Novells entire customer base ..

"if people want to have peace and interoperability, they'll look at Novell's SUSE Linux. If they make other choices, they have all of the compliance and intellectual property issues that are associated with that."

Ok Steve, put up or shut up. Sue a big corporation over using 'unlicensed' Microsoft Linux.

M$ (1)

treak007 (985345) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752493)

A deal with M$ is the kiss of death for any Linux distribution. Does Novell not realize that M$ is going to make a deal with them so M$ can destroy them?

What does it matter, and what do you call SUSE? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752523)

I suppose part of how you interpret this depends on what you consider SUSE linux. Some of the various SUSE-specific configuration methods, and configuration front-ends etc would be specific and I suppose could have their licenses go more commercial. The majority of the software though (from Firefox to Ekiga to Apache) is going to be primarily developed by third-parties, and will have to respect the individual licenses (GPL, Mozilla License, etc). I can't see a lot changing here, as I haven't seen a lot that SUSE can lay claim to in the overall linux realm.

Obligatory Ballmer (1)

ViaNRG (892147) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752589)

I wonder how Ballmer pronounces SuSE, something in between

"SOOSAY" and.. "OMG Schmidt! we have linux now! Die *chair toss* die"
 

I don't think MS and Novell get a choice (2, Interesting)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752633)

Section 7 of the GPL explicitly says it's not limited to any particular thing, so equivocation about "covenant" vs. "license" doesn't get either of them out of it. If Novell can't pass on to it's customers all rights needed for them to redistribute SuSE Linux, then the GPLv2 says it doesn't have a license to distribute Linux at all. If those rights come from a convenant not to sue rather than a patent license, they're still required for SuSE's customers to redistribute SuSE Linux. GPLv3 makes the point even clearer, but GPLv2 has enough language in it to make the argument. I think all Novell's managed to do here is shoot themselves in the foot, and MS won't gain any advantage from having one "blessed" distribution when that blessing calls that distribution's copyright license into question.

Am I to understand this as.. (1)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 7 years ago | (#16752643)

Novell just pulled an EV1/SCO type deal except being Novell/Microsoft?
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