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Novell Injects MS Lawsuit Exploit Into Open Office

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the danger-will-robinson dept.

251

F.M. Petain writes, "It looks like Microsoft's first move in the 'Linux owes us' game is to move a Pawn. A few days ago, a Novell programmer, Noel Power, submitted patches to add VBA compatibility to Open Office's spreadsheet module. This is great for people trying to convert the business desktop from closed source to open source, but is this gift really a ticking time bomb? What happens when Microsoft declares that the VBA code was stolen?" The patches may have been submitted only a few days ago, but the code must be considerably older; the article claims that nine distros in adition to SUSE already support the VBA extensions in their versions of Open Office. (Linux.com and Slashdot are both part of OSTG.)

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251 comments

Poison pill (4, Insightful)

scsirob (246572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898178)

Microsoft is trying to slip poison pills into projects that endanger their cash cows... Be very, very careful!

I'm truely amazed that Novell is co-operating to let them do this. How can they benefit from Linux being threatened when their entire business is revolving around Linux these days??

Re:Poison pill (1)

jt2377 (933506) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898204)

isn't the whole point of Opensource is everyone can look at the source and get rid of questionable code? so...what's the deal?

Re:Poison pill (2, Informative)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898268)

isn't the whole point of Opensource is everyone can look at the source and get rid of questionable code? so...what's the deal?


Simple. While the logic of the situation is obvious to anyone who knows anything about computers, The Ballmer knows he only needs to convince a judge who believes that the internet is a series of tubes through which he may attach a penis pump [thesmokinggun.com]that Micro$oft's IP has been stolen. Although, I am somewhat curious as to what the relation is between Donald D. Thompson and Jack Thompson, apart from the rather obvious meeting of the minds, as it were.

Re:Poison pill (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898550)

1. Novell owns the LAN server market. Is too fricking stupid to keep developing and eventually is crushed by NT and Linux for servers.

2. Novell envies Microsoft so buys WordPerfect. WP for Windows is initially a pathetic joke and MS Word takes over the number 1 spot. Novell continues to piss around, WordPerfect continues to lose market share, and eventually, after WordPerfect is way, way behind, Novell sells WP to Corel (another loser company) for peanuts compared to what they originally paid.

3. Novell buys SuSE and then Ximian. Immediately moves to change SuSE default desktop to Gnome, alienating many of SuSE long time customers. SuSE continues to lose market share and the Germans wish they'd been taken over by a company that (a) isn't a building full of pussies, and (b) has a fricking clue.

4. Novell is STILL trying to sell fricking Netware. Doesn't seem to notice that nobody fricking gives two turds about Netware anymore.

5. Novell is "indemnified" by Microsoft for any IP that might be included in SuSE (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!) in return for a cash infusion to delay the inevitable. Novell is instantly ostracized (a la SCO, another Microsoft shell company) by the entire Linux community, which ironically HASTENS its inevitable demise.

Novell: One very lucky company... one time, twenty fricking years ago, when they somehow managed to produce an outstanding product called Netware... for it's time. The responsible developers apparently left shortly thereafter because it's been an embarassment to themselves and to those stupid enough to let themselves be acquired by Novell ever since.

What a bunch of maroons.

Re:Poison pill (4, Interesting)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898918)

FWIW, I run SuSE (retail) for most of my office machines and for my home machine. I also run CentOS and Ubuntu. Most of the machines are going to be upgraded to SuSE 10.2. Say what you will, but not everyone is going to dump SuSE until there is a good reason to. We might go OpenSUSE this time around rather than pay for the distribution, depending on what is tainted in SuSE Retail. Given the timing, I doubt SuSE 10.2 is tainted with anything from Microsoft at this point. That might change in SuSE 10.3 or SuSE 11. Given how slowly Microsoft tends to move, it's possible that even next autumn's release won't be tainted at all with their crud.

If you're running SuSE already (10.1 or earlier) there is little reason to dump what you have, but keep your options open and reevaluate the larger distributions periodically. Given the refinement of KDE in SuSE, I'm reluctant to dump it even for kubuntu.

Re:Poison pill (4, Insightful)

ray-auch (454705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899362)

4. Novell is STILL trying to sell fricking Netware. Doesn't seem to notice that nobody fricking gives two turds about Netware anymore.

Sadly in the big corporate world that just isn't true, I wish it was (would make life a lot simpler). I get asked for Netware / eDirectory / Groupwise (you missed that one) integration all the time. The people asking aren't asking for nostalgia - they are running networks with 10k+ desktops on those products right now.

Re:Poison pill (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898230)

Well, If you think about it:

1) Novell enters deal with MS to make sure lawsuits don't happen

2) Novell works with MS to get all other linux distros sued out of existance (or crippled to the point that nobody wants to use them for anything other than high-end servers that Win2k3 can't handle)

3) Novell has a monopoly (or duopoly with SCO) on linux

4) There is no ??? stage here, just profit with their buddies Microsoft.

Doesn't sound like too bad of a plan IMHO.

Re:Poison pill (4, Insightful)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898272)

How could SCO benefit by declaring "better to use windows than linux?" :) SCO did not benefit. Their managers probably did.

Re:Poison pill (2, Interesting)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898296)

This is definitely an "embrace, extend, extinguish" maneuver.

FTFA (italics are mine): (quoting Noel Power) "I also got the impression that they (Sun -- with respect to Sun's proprietary VBA support implementation) deemphasizing support for their solution. We hope to increase the pace of our upstreaming efforts and aim to have the initial effort completed in the next couple of months."

If the goal of OOo is to encourage people to migrate away from MS and towards FOSS then deemphasizing VBA support is in the best interest of the end users in order to encourage them to write their macros in a language and environment free of MS encumberance. Noel's effort seems more to turn OOo into a MS Office clone which can then be made ready for the patent and intellectual property lawsuits that MS has been threatening for the last year. Once Noel has the VBA support to his liking in OOo then he'll have job security in continuing to maintain it and will be playing right into MS' hands and opening OOo up to the same types of arguments that MS has recently been making about Samba.

Aside: When did FOSS become FLOSS? After reading the wikipedia.org entry on FLOSS I'm suspicious that it was written by a partial fanboi who wants to astroturf some 'net jargon.

Re:Poison pill (1)

Darkinspiration (901976) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898900)

But what about europe. software patent are not valid there. what is going to happen if microsoft sue open office for patent infrigment? Would the europen commission force microsoft to pay up again? And what about all that talk with ibm and there big patent portfolio. Will they simply sit back and watch ?

Microsoft is not operating in a vacum. Open source project like open office are a lot more difficult to attack then a big compagny creating an infringing product simply because they are develloped world wide and supported by a lot of different compagny.

Could they use the RIAA tactic of suing the little guy and hoping that they don't fight back?

Re:Poison pill (1)

weeb0 (741451) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898820)

It's not the first time the cooperate with microsoft.

In the good time of the Novel server, they were using a NDS tree Here a link to know what is NDS [linktionary.com] a very good working tool to administrate the different servers and users. Some of the engineer of Novel helped Microsoft to build their active directory server...

I can't believe Novell are begining to destroy Open Office with VBA ... There is a lot of memory leak and security holes in vba how can you add those feature ?!!!!

*all* patches from Novell must be rejected (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898186)

All patches from Novell must be rejected, as of now. As well as a statement of our standpoint wrt/ their actions, it can only be assumed that they will include a poison pill that makes Microsoft's case.

Oh, and for Saturday night relief - even the mighty can be seduced by MS charm: farewell, Napoleon! [ifilm.com]

Proof or STFU (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898322)

Q4. With this agreement, will Novell include Microsoft patented code in its contributions to the open source community?

No. Novell will not change its development practices as a result of this agreement. It has always been our policy in all development, open source and proprietary, to stay away from code that infringes another's patents, and we will continue to develop software using these standard practices. If any of our code is found to infringe someone else's patents, we will try to find prior technology to invalidate the patents, rework the code to design around the infringement, or as a last resort remove the functionality.

Novell is committed to protecting, preserving and promoting freedom for free and open source software.

http://www.novell.com/linux/microsoft/faq_opensour ce.html [novell.com]

Re:*all* patches from Novell must be rejected (1)

CodeMasterPhilzar (978639) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898328)

Much as I like the slick interface and install of Suse 10.0... Given Novell's recent actions I'm thinking of going back to Red Hat... Got this Fedora Core DVD here...

Re:*all* patches from Novell must be rejected (2, Interesting)

IgnorantGuru (1026450) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899344)

I switched to Kubuntu and am very happy with it. I appreciate what SUSE contributed but I simply don't trust them at this point - mainly because I know better than to trust MS. Who are you sleeping with? Answer that and I can tell a bit about you.

Re:*all* patches from Novell must be rejected (1)

M1FCJ (586251) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899442)

I agree... Although I strongly dislike FC and Gnome, I already use it for my Planet CCRMA setup and when CCRMA gears to FC6, I might ditch the two SuSE machines and install either Kubuntu or FC with KDE. I can't accept an other Utah company screwing us Linux users. This is deja-vu, all over again.

Re:*all* patches from Novell must be rejected (2, Interesting)

Crayon Kid (700279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898522)

Try as they might, they won't be able to poison all the packages in your regular Linux distro. It makes sense that they're going to concentrate on the high profile ones. And by high profile I mean those that pose the biggest threat to Microsoft. Open Office is one. Mono, Samba are other prime targets. Perhaps Apache as well, Firefox, and so on. Perhaps they'll even go for the kernel, GCC or core parts of GNU.

These aren't knee-jerk reactions. I fear it is a long and carefully planned strategy.

*all* posts from "/." must be rejected (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898842)

"These aren't knee-jerk reactions. I fear it is a long and carefully planned strategy."

Uh, huh. Is this the same company who can't code an OS to save their life? Or are you talking about a different Micro-soft? Does the schizm hurt much?

Re:*all* posts from "/." must be rejected (4, Funny)

RealSurreal (620564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899008)

Dear sir,

I am intrigued by your non-sequiturs and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:*all* posts from "/." must be rejected (3, Insightful)

Crayon Kid (700279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899364)

If there's one thing that Microsoft does well, it's business. Their technical skills may be poorly managed, but they do killer business. How else do you think they kept their position if their software is so bad?

Re:*all* patches from Novell must be rejected (3, Insightful)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898560)

All patches from Novell must be rejected, as of now. As well as a statement of our standpoint wrt/ their actions, it can only be assumed that they will include a poison pill that makes Microsoft's case

If MS/Novell releases open source code is because they want to make it opensource. That means that Microsoft/Novell would *agree* on releasing it as opensource code.

If Microsoft wanted to sue Linux companies for patent usage, he could do it without injecting any "poison pill". The patent system is so broken (even MS admits it) that Linux is very probably infringing thousand of Microsoft patents.

Re:*all* patches from Novell must be rejected (4, Insightful)

symbolic (11752) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898674)

The patent system is so broken (even MS admits it) that Linux is very probably infringing thousand of Microsoft patents.

Thousands of Microsoft patents, or thousands of valid Microsoft patents?

Re:*all* patches from Novell must be rejected (2, Insightful)

wfberg (24378) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898880)

The patent system is so broken (even MS admits it) that Linux is very probably infringing thousand of Microsoft patents.

Thousands of Microsoft patents, or thousands of valid Microsoft patents?


The patent system is so broken.. it doesn't matter. Patents are considered valid until proven - at great expense - otherwise.

Why MS prefer patent FUD to patent WAR (4, Insightful)

replicant108 (690832) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899374)

If Microsoft wanted to sue Linux companies for patent usage, he could do it without injecting any "poison pill".

The point is that Microsoft doesn't want to sue at this time.

MS (like most of the big patent-pushers) does not want a Big Patent War before they get software patents passed in Europe - because the chances of getting software patents passed after a Big Patent War are slim-to-none.

European Patent Wars Heat up Again [technocrat.net]

Re:*all* patches from Novell must be rejected (2)

A Holstenson (971167) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898606)

No, what has to be done is enforce a policy where the contributor takes full responsibility of their commited code. That the contributor basically says:

1) that it has the copyright for all code it commits
2) that a license for the code is granted
3) that usage of all patents covering the code is granted

There is probably some other legal stuff that I have no clue about that also has to be put in such an agreement. Certain projects already require such an agreement before allowing contributions, yes it makes things harder to contribute, but it also makes things safer for all of us.

Its not a solution for everything but it might be a step towards the real solution.

// Andreas

Re:*all* patches from Novell must be rejected (1)

paroneayea (642895) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899196)

1) that it has the copyright for all code it commits
2) that a license for the code is granted
3) that usage of all patents covering the code is granted

Well, the GPL technically does number three. See:

Finally, any free program is threatened constantly by software patents. We wish to avoid the danger that redistributors of a free program will individually obtain patent licenses, in effect making the program proprietary. To prevent this, we have made it clear that any patent must be licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at all.
There's more legal details to it later, but that's the gist of it.

Ads (3, Funny)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898214)

I found it vaguely amusing/disturbing that the ad I saw below the article was a Novell advertisement for "The Linux you've always wanted."

I'll pass on MS-controlled Linux, thanks...

Re:Ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16899074)

Actually, Ballmer may be counting on everyone's avoiding SuSE because of its covenant with Microsoft; because by not buying SuSE, Novell will be bleeding money big time, and where SuSE is one of the big distributions, it may not be long before SuSE goes away. By doing this Microsoft can then turn on RedHat and canonical, then those distributions will be gone, and given the miniscule support levels the other distributions enjoy, it won't be long before Linux flounders and leaves Microsoft Windows as the only practical alternative.

Now we're screwed... (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898232)

"Unfortunately, there's no easy way of identifying whether your distro supports the VBA interoperability apart from trying some VBA code."

Great, now I don't don't know if I'm vulnerable until it's too late. How do I disable it? Is now the time for a Linux anti-virus?

Re:Now we're screwed... (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898314)

> Is now the time for a Linux anti-virus? hehe I wonder if vrms will get more popular: it could be useful if it incorporates checks for potential problems with patented stuff. Lets' hear from packages.debian.org: Package: vrms (1.12) virtual Richard M. Stallman The vrms program will analyze the set of currently-installed packages on a Debian-based system, and report all of the packages from the non-free tree which are currently installed. Note that vrms is not limited to Debian systems only (which means that it also works with Debian-derived distributions such as Ubuntu). It is also not limited to Linux-based systems. Future versions of vrms will include an option to also display text from the public writings of RMS and others that explain why use of each of the installed non-free packages might cause moral issues for some in the Free Software community. This functionality is not yet included.

Re:Now we're screwed... (2, Funny)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898556)

Virtual RMS? For fucks sake, we already have one real one, and that's bad enough!

Stolen posts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898238)

"A few days ago, a Novell programmer, Noel Power, submitted patches to add VBA compatibility to Open Office's spreadsheet [CC] [MD] [GC] module. This is great for people trying to convert the business desktop from closed source to open source, but is this gift really a ticking time bomb? What happens when Microsoft declares that the VBA code was stolen?""

Do you people really think before posting? How exactly is a MS "stolen" claim doing to stand up? Especially with the Novell/MS agreement? Think damn it, think.

Re:Stolen posts. (1)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898414)

"...nine distros in adition to SUSE already support the VBS extensions in their versions of Open Office."

Do people really think before posting? Any OO distributed by anyone other than Novell may be violating IP. Think damn it, think.

Stolen brains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898492)

Apparently you dont. The MS/Novell deal takes care of any "stolen" issue as far as Novell's concerned, or didn't you read the summary? And as far as anyone else? Well you all had that issue BEFORE the deal was ever arranged. So do you have anything else smart to say?

Re:Stolen posts. (4, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898696)

Wrong. If Novell can distribute it, then everyone else can. If everyone else can't, then neither can Novell, though for different reasons. (If everyone else can't distribute it because of patent issues, then Novell can't distribute it because the GPL doesn't grant distribution rights if you can't or don't license the patents too.) This means that if MS sues another distro over patent issues, and the offending code is traced to Novell, then everyone ELSE who has code in the kernel can then sue Novell for brach of contract/copyright violation, especially if they continue to distribute the code themselves. (Depending on the outcome of the case mentioned a couple days ago.)

Re:Stolen posts. (1)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898424)

Erm, the Novell/MS agreement is garbage. It doesn't protect people who redistribute code they receive from Microsoft, and only applies to commmercial free software producers (i.e. Sun) insofar as that code ends up in OpenSuSE. If the same "infringing" code ends up in RedHat then Redhat (and the people who supplied RedHat with the code)can be sued.

Novell can implement all sorts of Microsoft-patented ideas, hand it to and if that project is distributed by a commercial distro, then the distro can be sued by Microsoft for patent violations. Novell is in the clear due to the agreement, people who redistribute their code aren't.

Novell might get clobbered by section 7 of the GPL (or, in this case, the equivalent LGPL section), but only if it tries distributing the same code itself.

I don't know if this scenario is likely - but Microsoft are certainly hyping it up as a possibility. Did you catch Monkeyboy's proclamation the other day about how Linux infringed its patents, and Linux users owe them money?

Stolen ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898626)

"I don't know if this scenario is likely - but Microsoft are certainly hyping it up as a possibility. Did you catch Monkeyboy's proclamation the other day about how Linux infringed its patents, and Linux users owe them money?"

Yes I heard "Monkey Boy's" post yesterday and as far as I'm concerned he's blowing smoke, and as I pointed out to another poster software patents are already an issue even BEFORE the community started getting their knickers in a knot over Novell.

"Novell can implement all sorts of Microsoft-patented ideas, hand it to and if that project is distributed by a commercial distro, then the distro can be sued by Microsoft for patent violations."

Monkey Boy isn't a court of law and I'm more concerned how a court of law will reason through the issue. MS well knows what license their patented ideas are going under and so does a court of law. Assuming it gets past the GPL barracade first though.

Re:Stolen posts. (1)

jabberwock (10206) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898430)

Thank you ... everyone above the line had their knee jerking spasmodically. I have mod points, but neither "flamebait" nor "troll" is lethal enough.

This story is idiotic (5, Insightful)

CYwo1f (166549) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898250)

Besides the presumptuous headline, can we please try to distinguish between VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) and VBS (VBScript, I assume). Next, it appears that the Novell programmer is simply integrating a patch into the mainline product which the other distros have been applying during their packaging procedure for some time now. Is there any evidence that the VBA code was lifted from Microsoft (ie. they're setting people up for a copyright liability), or that some aspect of the VBA implementation is patented? No? I didn't think so.

Re:This story is idiotic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898274)

For some reason the OSS fanatics have their panties in a twist about the Novell-Microsoft deal. That's why they're posting paranoid crap like this.

Re:This story is idiotic (2, Insightful)

public transport (864195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898474)

Microsoft has two projects which are important for their lockin, .NET and MS Office, and two projects Mono and OpenOffice.org which they wish never existed. They have recently made a deal with Novell on both. There is smoke, we just don't know if its an innocent campfire or two houses being torched. Microsoft's has been quite innovative in their quest to eliminate their competitors in the past. There is good reason to keep an eye at Novell and Microsoft at the moment.

This enemy loving is idiotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898728)

"Microsoft has two projects which are important for their lockin, .NET and MS Office, and two projects Mono and OpenOffice.org which they wish never existed. "

Well I don't think Miguel agrees with you but that situation existed long before he came to Novell. OpenOffice is more a competitor to the lite versions of Office and as already mentioned VB has been available for some time before this deal. So I can only conclude that all this noise has nothing to do with patents. But simply fratenizing with the enemy and GPLers are notorious for not getting along with others hence GPLv3.

Re:This enemy loving is idiotic (1)

public transport (864195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899518)

Well I don't think Miguel agrees with you but that situation existed long before he came to Novell.

Miguel's work is important, but I'll continue to worry about Mono entering the core Linux desktop until Microsoft issues a non-revocable public license for their CIL and .NET patents.

OpenOffice is more a competitor to the lite versions of Office and as already mentioned VB has been available for some time before this deal. So I can only conclude that all this noise has nothing to do with patents.

Most (all?) office documents I've seen are simple enough that they could have been written in just about any word processor. I frankly don't know how OO.org compares an advanced features, but considering "competition" I'd look at the broad part of the population, and in that respect I think familiarity and brand name is the biggest challenge for OO.org.

If patents, copyrights or trade secrets are not an issue here, then the only noise I'd make is an applaud for OO.org. I'm simply lacking the assurance.

But simply fratenizing with the enemy and GPLers are notorious for not getting along with others hence GPLv3.

GPLers is a broad generatization. Not all GPL users are Free Software proponents in RMS' sense, though I'd probably include myself. The GPL is designed to avoid software from being lifted into propreitary products. It's no stricter than common propreitary licenses, except if it is used for libraries, in which case LGPL or dual licensing are options.

Re:This story is idiotic (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898368)

> can we please try to distinguish between VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) and VBS (VBScript, I assume).

Well but for potential patent problems affecting FOSS I bet there's no difference whatsoever between the two.

The problem is (1)

Epeeist (2682) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898534)

This one may be harmless. But how about the next one? Or the one that Novell sneaked in before the deal was announced?

MS has only got to show that its code was introduced into a FOSS application once to discredit much of the effort that the community has put together over the years. If they can show that one piece of their code was used then they can start asking how many more pieces?

The word is "caution". (0)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898576)

Besides the presumptuous headline, can we please try to distinguish between VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) and VBS (VBScript, I assume).

Why bother? Patent violations can exist in either. Even copyright violations can exist in either.

Next, it appears that the Novell programmer is simply integrating a patch into the mainline product which the other distros have been applying during their packaging procedure for some time now.

The question is the origin of the patch. Since a Novell employee is involved, this action is suspect.

That means that we should exercise above normal levels of caution before it is accepted.

Is there any evidence that the VBA code was lifted from Microsoft (ie. they're setting people up for a copyright liability), or that some aspect of the VBA implementation is patented? No? I didn't think so.

WTF? How would you see the "evidence" that it was patented?

Patents don't make your code show up in a different font or colour.

And copyrighted? Why do you suppose that the people running OpenOffice.org have access to Microsoft's source code for comparison?

Or are you basing your position on the fact that no one could possibly have gone through the patch and deleted all the "this code written by Microsoft employee # 1234567 and is protected by copyrights and patents"?

Given the recent events, a higher level of caution would be advisable. Whether you agree or not.

Re:The word is "caution". (2, Interesting)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898952)

The question is the origin of the patch. Since a Novell employee is involved, this action is suspect.

That's the key, a Novell employee making the patch. If MS were to go after anyone they'd have to go after Novell for releasing the patch not to a third party who uses the patch. But of course MS can't, er won't as they gave Novell a guaranty not to sue Novell.

And copyrighted? Why do you suppose that the people running OpenOffice.org have access to Microsoft's source code for comparison?

Or are you basing your position on the fact that no one could possibly have gone through the patch and deleted all the "this code written by Microsoft employee # 1234567 and is protected by copyrights and patents"?

Patent not copyright may be applicable in this case, however in both copyrights and patents, there is a record that can be looked up to see if there is an infringment. Both the Copyright and patent offices have databases of them which anyone can lookup. The problem with this is knowing how to search the records.

Falcon

Nope. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899044)

That's the key, a Novell employee making the patch. If MS were to go after anyone they'd have to go after Novell for releasing the patch not to a third party who uses the patch. But of course MS can't, er won't as they gave Novell a guaranty not to sue Novell.

Nope. Microsoft could go after anyone distributing/selling their property. Not just Novell. Not just the one employee at Novell.

It doesn't matter how it originally got in there, as long as it was not Microsoft who directly put it in there.

Patent not copyright may be applicable in this case, however in both copyrights and patents, there is a record that can be looked up to see if there is an infringment. Both the Copyright and patent offices have databases of them which anyone can lookup. The problem with this is knowing how to search the records.


Not exactly. There is no central authority that has all the Microsoft source code available for searching to determine if a code block was illegally copied from them. And with Microsoft's "Shared Source" program, it is possible to "accidentally" copy code from them.

And the patent database is useless for looking up specific concepts. Particularly with "submarine patents" which can change until they're officially granted.

The safest way is to dump any and all functionality additions from Novell.

Novell coders can still submit bug fixes for code that non-Novell employees have submitted, but no new features should be accepted from anyone associated with Novell.

Re:The word is "caution". (4, Informative)

CYwo1f (166549) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899304)

Why bother? Patent violations can exist in either. Even copyright violations can exist in either.

Of course, but how is it more likely to occur in this case than in any other open source project? Because Novell and MS are both involved (although only Novell directly)? I'm just not ready to take that as proof of poison.

Given the recent events, a higher level of caution would be advisable. Whether you agree or not.

A higher level of caution does not justify the baseless accusations present in the slashdot summary.

This module was first documented a year ago from what I can tell. See the history on this wiki page: http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/VBA [openoffice.org]

While it seems that Novell does maintain and develop the code now, I'm sure somebody familiar with the ooo-build repository can track down the original author(s).

I'll Wait. (1)

MBC1977 (978793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898260)

Even though I dislike OpenOffice, I would suggest taking a wait-and-see approach, rather than just throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Cut the crap (5, Insightful)

paniq (833972) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898290)

Cut the crap, this is pure paranoia. Since when exactly does every little action by Novell employees deserve an article at Slashdot?

And tommorow, we'll see.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898518)

Novell Employee caught picking his nose!

Re:Cut the crap (2, Informative)

loconet (415875) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898878)

"Since when exactly does every little action by Novell employees deserve an article at Slashdot?"

Exactly? I'd say 03:37 PM -- Thursday November 02 2006 [slashdot.org]. The moment we learned Novell was about to sell its soul and add the community as desert.

Re:Cut the crap (1)

paniq (833972) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899002)

Ok, I do understand that Novell is close to becoming a Microsoft whore, but you need to be able to separate individual actions from company policy. There are quite a few programmers being paid by Novell who work on quite exciting open source stuff (Evolution, XGL). I care a tapdancing horsecrap that their employers also chose to bond with Microsoft - that doesn't taint the entire operation, just a fraction of it.

And we've got yet to see if this really hurts the community - so far I can only see that it unites them in their hatred, and perhaps that is exactly the plan of Microsoft: to taint Novell in a way that makes it inacceptable to its fans.

Your allegations, gentlemen, are built on sandy ground.

Re:Cut the crap (1)

Zonk (troll) (1026140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899510)

Ever since they made the deal with Microsoft. Anything contributed from Novell from that point forward should be considered a trojan horse.

Require a Developer's Certificate of Origin (3, Interesting)

belmolis (702863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898302)

Presumably the best defense against claims of stolen code is to do what the Linux kernel folks are doing and require contributors to certify that they have the right to provide the code. Here are the current rules [lwn.net] for submitting code for the kernel, and here is the Developer's Certificate of Origin [osdl.org]. Significant contributions should also be well publicized so that anyone claiming infringment is forced to bring it up soon, before people come to rely on it. In this case, it would then be Novell's problem, not the community's, if Microsoft claims that the code is theirs.

Re:Require a Developer's Certificate of Origin (1)

ppc_digger (961188) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899128)

here is the Developer's Certificate of Origin
Was it written by a certified prior?

Non-Article (1)

the.metric (988575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898324)

Seriously people, this article is simply an install and usage guide, without much of a comment on the timeline etc. Since most distros ship this stuff already (e.g. Debian), and have been for a while, it would seem to me that this code was written from scratch, unless MS was handing off code to Novell before the agreement.

So therefore we have not a copyright issue at all, but a software patent issue. Let the patent discussion begin!

VBA? Feh.... (0)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898338)

Who cares about VBA in OOo when you can write OOo macros in Java, Python, Perl, Beanshell, and Javascript; and probably COBOL, Prolog, Lisp and Oberon as well...

Re:VBA? Feh.... (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898408)

Not to feed the trolls, but ... obviously, the idea is to allow current Microsoft Office users who already use macros written in VB to take those macros with them when they switch to OOo.

Re:VBA? Feh.... (1)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898472)

Not to feed the trolls, but ... obviously, the idea is to allow current Microsoft Office users who already use macros written in VB to take those macros with them when they switch to OOo.

There's no troll... I'm just saying "who cares?"

Yeah, there are a few people out there who need to move Microsoft -> OOo who
might care about this; but I think it's more important that OOo support more open solutions and encourage new users to develop
their macros / scripts in something other than VBA. Sure, this might be good for short-term gratification in terms of
encouraging OOo adoption by MS users; but it seems like a step backwards in the long-term.

Re:VBA? Feh.... (1)

kenb215 (984963) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898490)

Somebody who wrote a large number of VBA macros for themself would. If they have gotten used to using those macros, they might not switch to OOo if it doesn't support them, as this would mean they would need to write all of their code again.

VBA has been available for licensing for ages (1)

protected_static (949443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898340)

Microsoft has offered an SDK for ISVs since, oh, the mid- to late-90's that allowed them to extend their own products with a VBA environment. I don't see how this is so different.

Paranoid Slashdotters Strike! Film at 11! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898344)

First off, this code has been around since SLED shipped, if not before. Anyone who recalls Nat Friedman showing his Spirograph under OOocalc, well, this is what they're talking about.

Secondly, the Slashdot post seems to be confirming that the open source community has no way of validating code, and blindly accepts any code offered, assuming that there's no patent infringing code in it.

Good job, FSF. You've managed to do what Darl couldn't-- Completely shatter the open source community, and turn them against themselves. Bravo!

Re:Paranoid Slashdotters Strike! Film at 11! (0, Flamebait)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898468)

the open source community has no way of validating code, and blindly accepts any code offered, assuming that there's no patent infringing code in it.

Of course it hasn't. Are you willing to pay the lawyers? Patents are stupid and most of OSS developers just ignore it, because if we cared about respecting patents we would need to shut down most of the OSS software.

Your Honor, exhibit A (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898580)

>>the open source community has no way of
>>validating code, and blindly accepts any
>>code offered, assuming that there's no
>>patent infringing code in it.
>>
>Of course it hasn't. Are you willing to
>pay the lawyers? Patents are stupid and
>most of OSS developers just ignore it,
>because if we cared about respecting
>patents we would need to shut down most
>of the OSS software.

        That's not much of an argument.

        Brtt

Re:Paranoid Slashdotters Strike! Film at 11! (1)

steveg (55825) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898906)

...and most closed source software as well.

Pretty much *any* software of even medium complexity violates numerous patents. That's the crux of the whole software patent debate -- most software patent claims tend to be very broad, covering very basic issues, and software is so complex it pretty much *has* to overlap these claims in multiple directions.

It is time (0)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898352)

to banish Novell/Suse to the Linux Leper Colony.

Do it now while there's still time. Reject any code coming out of Novell.
They could have been poisoning the well for months and months before this deal was made public.

Re:It is time (1)

Espectr0 (577637) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898872)

to banish Novell/Suse to the Linux Leper Colony.

The problem is that novell's involvement with linux software is just too big now. Novell has Mono, GTK, OO.org, GNOME developers and lots others.

Boycotting novell would mean boycotting gnome, gtk, openoffice and virtually every distro out there.

Microsoft is like the dragon. (5, Funny)

Fonce (635723) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898366)

Meddle not in the affairs of Microsoft, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.

What happens? (2, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898390)

All hell breaks loose for Novell, not OpenOffice. Presumably this is being done officially by them and so the blame would fall on Novell.

Not surprising (4, Insightful)

bssteph (967858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898402)

The author's reaction, that is. A lot of the above comments are saying the article is garbage and FUD and paranoia and etc., and maybe it is, but keep in mind that for a lot of people (and probably, a lot of projects), this kind of paranoia is going to be the first thing that crosses their mind with they see patches from Novell.

"How will this possibly screw us later?"

Get used to these responses, it's the new Novell.

So... (1, Troll)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898406)

Now I can run pretty much any visual basic program (one of the most used languages in the Real World) under linux and hence switch many people to linux, but people prefers to title it as "novell may be doing some dirty things"

It's amazing how one of the most wonderful news I've heard in months can become FUD. Wake up: Patents already existed before the novell-MS pact. Microsoft has been able to sue companies for years. Getting VBA compatibility is a Good Thing. I only can thank Novell for this code.

A working solution for the problem (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898426)

A working solution for the problem:
boycott Novell.

Make them understand that we do not accept the deal they've made,
regardless of whether it complies or not with GPLv2.

For upstream people:
reject their patches, regardless of the content.
Reject their feature requests.
Create new bug report state in trackers:
"WAITING for submitter to cancel cancerous deal with Microsoft".

For Novell management:
cancel the deal with Microsoft and tell us how much you are sorry.

For Novell engineers:
protest with management, and if you are left unheard eventually start
looking for alternatives.

For users:
if you are using Suse, move away. Try other distributions, there are
better ones btw.
Let Novell know that you do not want to use Suse anymore because of their deal.

Novell has put all other distributions in danger, let us not let them get away with it.

Anonymous Coward.

Please Microsoft, not THAT obious !!! (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898436)

Man. come on. One needs to be subtle when pulling a trick.

2 days earlier novell gig, then 'linux owes us' 1 days ago, and now, this.

Its TOO obvious to fool anyone, even supreme court judges who are totally inaware of i.t. technology.

Re:Please Microsoft, not THAT obious !!! (2, Informative)

tannhaus (152710) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898604)

Read the article. This functionality has been available in Debian, Fedora Core, and Ubuntu already. SuSE is just finally adding it...a little behind the others. So, tell me again how this is Microsoft playing a trick...by distracting SuSE from patching so they're the last one to implement what may be an important feature to businesses?

Re:Please Microsoft, not THAT obious !!! (2, Funny)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898710)

come on.

just yesterday ms (balmer ?) was able to say something like "linux owes us" just out of the blue,without any solid stuff around. so this wont be anything that will be exploitable by ms lawyers you say ?

Re:Please Microsoft, not THAT obious !!! (1)

tannhaus (152710) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898894)

If it is, then you should blame Redhat, Debian, Ubuntu, etc. for adding these patches first...way before SuSE.

While you're at it, blame Gnome and Michael Icaza for Mono....surely THAT is worse than these patches..AND he had an agreement with Microsoft to develop it!

Re:Please Microsoft, not THAT obious !!! (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899294)

just yesterday ms (balmer ?) was able to say something like "linux owes us" just out of the blue,without any solid stuff around. so this wont be anything that will be exploitable by ms lawyers you say ?

MS can claim all they want but to make it stick they have to prove it first. Then IBM et alia can demand they show what lines infringe on MS IP. Even if it didn't end up like SCO, there may be a good possibility MS is violating the GPL or other OS licenses by having incorporated OS into MS products. That's a two way street, if MS were to after some others could go after MS. Just yesterday I read where MS is having to fight several patent claims wherein MS was infringing on others' IP. MS may be able to defend a couple different suits at the same tyme but their warchest could be quickly drained if a bunch of claims were broght against them.

Falcon

One thing they missed (1)

aliabadi (1018798) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898484)

Next thing you know, some brilliant chum over at M$ is going to claim that he invented the personal computer and every manufactureer owes him a royalty back-payments for patent infringement...

Novell Injects MS Lawsuit Exploit lmao (0, Troll)

Randall311 (866824) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898548)

Pure paranoia is the only way to describe this. Linux is not a threat to Microsoft's empire in the least. I can't believe you all get so paranoid when new functionality emerges that supports some (ancient) Microsoft-supported format. I guarantee you Microsoft doesn't give a fuck who uses their shitty old no longer supported format. Why else do you think they opened it up?

If you can drink wine, OOo this is fud (4, Insightful)

cyberjessy (444290) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898578)

After reading all the scathing criticism lately about Mono and OOo being tainted by MS patents, it leaves me to wonder why WINE never had so many skeptics (though it did have a few). With the same line of reasoning, WINE should be at a greater risk.

Anyway not that I think any of these will face any problems,
1. Anti-Trust - It will be difficult for MS to pull of anything close to killing a small competitor out of business using patents.
2. Massive attrition at Microsoft - All things being equal, people tend to work for saner, lesser-evil companies. There is a certain pride in it, and I don't fancy a lot of people saying - Yeah I work for SCO! (I just dug this interesting article from Paul Graham about MS Patents [paulgraham.com])
3. MS has benefited from interoperability, and cross-technology support for years (Remember how Word had Word perfect emulation modes and shortcuts). I don't think patents cover those APIs too.
4. And piss off the large clients??
5. Total loss of good-will and PR disaster.
6. Can OIN (Open Innovation Network) patents be used against Microsoft?
7. Only a tiny fraction of Mono and OOo will ever fall under the patenttotine, and those will no doubt be re-written and re-implemented the same weekend.

Odd behavior from MSFT is the norm (5, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898616)

If MSFT is going to try and litigate Linux they're going to try it with or without Novell. OpenOffice is compatible with a lot of file formats, including PDF export. If this was some attempt to poison an open source code base it's both clumsy and ineffective.

Unless Ballmer is completely stupid...and I wouldn't necessarily rule that out...then you have to believe the SCO litigation-by-proxy is seen internally as a huge, embarrassing mistake. If anything the whole fiaSCO actually highlighted how strong Linux is from an IP standpoint. SCO demonstrated that attacking Linux is bad business, and the reaction of the open source to community to an attack from MSFT could be even more extreme.

In my opinion Ballmer is bluffing. It would be stupid for MSFT to launch a direct attack against Linux. More likely this is their own clumsy way of trying to cut a deal, handicapped by naturally poor corporate execution and their ego driven CEO. You don't have to look any farther than Zune to see another glaring example of ego inspired faltering execution. Ballmer wanted to grab a piece of the iPod market because he doesn't like Jobs and had they been anyone but MSFT they might have succeeded. This same group isn't going to be any more effective or execute any better against Linux. So don't give them the satisfaction of going off the handle and every bit of drool that comes out of Ballmer's mouth.

Novell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898670)

Novell developers frequently contribute to many open source projects, like GNOME, xorg, OpenOffice, etc. If you truly want to run a Linux desktop that is untouched by Novell you will have to run KDE with DirectFB.. which is impossible. So honestly either STFU or go back to Windows.

No need to fear -- and what M$ is really up to (2, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16898720)

Certainly Novells actions are bogus and not designed for the good of the OS community at all but we don't need to fear their code any more then code from any place else; Microsoft wants Linux out of the picture and is a fearce competitor in any market it participates in; especially is core markets like PC and micro server operating systems.

Microsoft business is good sales are up but that is because the market is growing, others like Apple and Linux are takeing a part of the share M$ is used to haveing about 98% the writing on the wall says it won't stay that way unless something is done. Think about it we are rapidly approching the point where everyone has a PC or many and business have about as many as they know what to do with. Thats not to say people and orgainzations won't be always buying computer they will but it will be mostly a retire replace thing rather then a 1 + 1 = 2 like it has been the last 2 decades. Microsoft wants to keep 98% share. They know how to deal with traditional competitors. They can't deal with everyone and their brother producing different but mostly compatable platforms and more then the business modle IBM had around the PC could deal with the clone market. They sure can deal with RH and SUSE though. They are trying to play a patent game and ensure a finite number of traitional large corporate competition so they can do what they have always done; give away enough of their crack to get people hooked and at the same time starve the competition for revenue.

If M$ can kill the Linux market outside of Novell watch for windows to be suddenly free(as in beer) and come with free as in beer support. M$ can give windows away; after all they have other products to sell for you to run on top of it. Most people will then see windows as cheak as suse not understadning that with suse they'd be getting all the other stuff like web,sql,office apps, to and pick windows because its familiar. That is what M$ wants; they want to be able to kill linux they way they killed Netscape, Netware and countless others. They can't manage that right now because with all sorts of basically not for profit distros, debian and small commecial distros that are selected by very specific people for specific reasons like slackware. There is no clear revenue stream to attack. The mass of people useing and developing the software remains big enough that it continues to improve and inovate to the point where it becomes dangerous to them and they cant stop it.

Think about GNU/Linux is not quite but almost good enough to push replace windows in just about every desktop and server space it owns save a few without much pain. It does not need to be as good as windows just good enough and cheaper. Now even when those conditions are reached its still not going to be a big Linux title wave; in fact nothing at all will happen because people generally like the status quo. Ahh but what if a KILL APP was found something that you just can't do with windows but you could do easily with GNU/Linux. I don't know what that would be but at that point the war would be won over night. Windows would be a legacy platform like netware. That is what they fear.

In the mean time though M$ played their cards wrong and so did Novel. Novel was thinking this little patent game with M$ could effectivly make them a Monopoly or part of a Oligopoly in the Linux market which while not huge would be better from their point of view then the current situation. Novel is wrong of couse because if it worked out that the developers would dry up. Nobody wants to write free code for Novel. They want to write code that the whole community can use. They do it because its fun to have your name on something that lots of people depend on. They do it because its a fun challenge and it produces a useful product for them and friends. They do it because they benifited from and OS project and feel they should give something back. They do it to show off their skills and make themsevels more marketable. They do it for all sorts of other reasons. None of which will exist if its all locked up at Novel.

Novel is also wrong because their scheme won't work. They have to feed their goodies back up stream or deal with makeing a fork of everthing in their distro which they have not got the man power to do. Their trickly little deal with M$ might get them around the section seven GPL issues giveing the software to their customers but it will prevent the upstream projects from giving the code to Novel in the first place once they swallow a poison pill. M$ most likely realizes this and imagines this as the perfect senerio. This would be the best case for them becase they would then be free of even having to deal with chokeing SUSE to death after the other distros were gone.

M$ is wrong though becuase the other players with patent portfolios out their would not sit back and let it happen. IBM or ORACLE and others really would go ahead and touch off that software patent nuclear war. It would be less risky to do so for them to allow M$ to have a total platform monopoly. There is after all very little to stop M$ from moveing into their spaces and leveraging *integration* now and nothing if they did not even have to worry about keeping up with others in their core markets. Those guys probably would rather risk being temporarily forced to stop selling in the US while the smoke clears from everyone sueing everone else. The resulting economic damage and visible insanity of the entire thing to the general public would endange the software patent and result in its reform to be more narrow and short term or eliminated; but that would still be better the letting M$ be a pure monopoly. If M$ did not need to worry about the micro market they could leave XP/vista to languish and attack the midrange and mainframe world. If M$ did not have to protect thier performance terf in the low end SQL world, the could spend all their time going after the Mega enterprise space and just leave the small shops to live with sql2k5 server.

M$ is makeing a reasonable gamble SUSE/Novel just ate the poison pill. Code from them however is as safe as ever because they can;t distubute it up stream without running a foul of section seven, only down stream to their customers iff their little loop hole really holds up. If it was discover that they sent anything tainted up stream projects would probably have an easy time going after Novel for infrigement of their GPL licensed code.

updated tags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898758)

May I just ask when will we see a Borg Chameleon or Borg N for Novell? Just idle wondering on my part...

Is this it? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16898838)

As I read through the Slashdot article I realized that if this is the mirror of the Linux, I'll pass it. Seriously people, first you bitch because there is no support for this and that, 100% compatibility with the stuff that comes from Redmond is currently little more than dream and when someone takes the first step needed to get that compatibility you crucify them? Wtf? I have the deepest appreciation for the people who actually *develop* Linux and the world around the kernel but I'm starting to really hate this so called community. To me you are nothing more than a bunch of fucking wankers who sit around and do little more than bitch all day.

Oh BTW, you all knowing FUD submitter, the reason the patches have not been applied to the OOo source before is because it's so massive it would delay the 2.0.4 release. But hey, then you'd bitch somewhere about OOo 2.0.4 getting delayed because of some patch that you, personally, don't need.

Some people proudly state here that their next computer won't run Vista, SUSE or whatever is the thing you happen to hate that day so here's a little something: my next computer probably won't run Linux either.

Again, if this is the future of the community "just say no, kids!"

VBA code from MS? (4, Insightful)

lpq (583377) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899174)

From the original article, it seems the code predates the Novell-MS agreement. That would suggest it didn't come from MS. So why is this a problem?

Can the other distros (which the article claims had previously added the code) add MS compatibility code and have no problem, but when Novell adds the same code, they'll be accused of adding MS-supplied code?

Hopefully Novell will clarify their standing with MS such that any code released by Novell under the GPL is truly free GPL code.

Another area is the restriction that Suse development is limited to hobbyist development only. Commercial developers get no protections when using GPL code from SuSE. Sounds like SuSE may have shot themselves in the foot.

-l

Microsoft steals a Linux copyright. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16899276)

Oh the irony.

As Daniel Robbins (who once worked for Microsoft and quit because he wouldn't help them destroy Linux.) posts on his blog http://www.funtoo.org/drobbins/blog/ [funtoo.org]

Today, I received a nifty little postcard in the mail encouraging me to join the Microsoft Alumni Network. Their logo and color scheme is strikingly similar to that of Ubuntu Linux. Your guess is as good as mine as to who copied whom.


What if MSFT stole Ubuntu's logo? How about we all dd /dev/zero out SuSE partitions. Install Ubuntu, then sue Microsoft in a class action lawsuit that their copyright infringement hurts the unique trademark of Ubuntu and the advertising and marketing of Linux.

basic programming needed? (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899358)

In this age of OOA/OOD, why can't the code in question be encapsulated in a delegate or interface wrapped and be done with it?

I mean it's a good compromise to allow the code to operate for those users who need it (providing the features to help F/OSS), and when/if the posion pill is used, just replace it with something more FOSS--as if the need is great someone will find an alternative to get things working [with another piece of code]--that's the beauty of FOSS: there's always a way out. This is interface programming 101. Just as long as it's not tightly coupled to the main baseline/tree, there's nothing to worry about unless some lawyer wants to twist the facts (death to all lawyers as someone said?)

Transition from closed source to open source isn't as simple as a 'throw the old stuff away' switch over scenario. If it is, then we've been watching too many hollywood movies.

fork Ooo from here on (2, Insightful)

kras (807696) | more than 7 years ago | (#16899508)

fork the further development of Ooo into a Novell (Microsoft) and a Debian fork. see how far the Microsoft influence goes, and see how far the FSF influence goes. THEN choose your pick.
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