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Novell Responds To Microsoft's IP Claims

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the just-can't-help-themselves dept.

317

Azul writes "Ron Hovsepian, Novell's CEO, has posted an open letter to the Community, where he explicitly states Novell's disagreement with Steve Ballmer's claims of Linux infringing on Microsoft's intellectual property. From the letter: 'We disagree with the recent statements made by Microsoft on the topic of Linux and patents. Importantly, our agreement with Microsoft is in no way an acknowledgment that Linux infringes upon any Microsoft intellectual property. When we entered the patent cooperation agreement with Microsoft, Novell did not agree or admit that Linux or any other Novell offering violates Microsoft patents.'"

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trouble ahead?, trouble behind. (3, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#16924876)

Driving that train, high on cocaine.
Casey Jones is ready, watch your speed.
Trouble ahead, trouble behind
And you know that notion just crossed my mind.

With a beginning like this, who knows? They got the O.J. special and book release canceled!

Goodness, if the heads of the two "agreement" corporations are on pages so far apart for this deal, how can this possibly work? Reminds me of the IBM/Microsoft marriage for work on OS/2, which Microsoft continued to claim was blissful right up until the time they got enough ideas for their own Windows replacement and unceremoniously dumped IBM. Too bad, too... OS/2 (while not my fave) was a pretty decent system for its time.

Re:trouble ahead?, trouble behind. (1)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16924926)

Hehe ... wouldn't that be funny if Microsoft folks were viewing this as another OS/2, where they'd steal enough technology to create their own Linux-like server product? Unlike with Windows, I doubt Microsoft could pull it off though ... the Linux advocates are too anti-Redmond to adopt a M$ linux clone.

Re:trouble ahead?, trouble behind. (5, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925068)


Unlike with Windows, I doubt Microsoft could pull it off though ... the Linux advocates are too anti-Redmond to adopt a M$ linux clone.

The advocates (zealots?) wouldn't be the target market. MS would market it to the MCSEs and other who are MS-centric as 'Linux Done Right', offer full MS support, ease of installation and a sole-source supplier (MS themselves).

It would make MS billions of dollars.

Re:trouble ahead?, trouble behind. (0, Redundant)

dch24 (904899) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925320)

It would make MS billions of dollars.

Almost as much as Office?

P.S. Tag this article haha pwned

They already did: it's called Bee Esss Deee (3, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925292)

Although I'll give them credit for a lot of code, good old BSD is the well from whence many operating systems drink.

Given re-invention of code, or code I can 'steal', I'll look at good code and glean the best from it any time. So did Microsoft. So did IBM. So did Novell. It's the sincerest form of flattery, after all.

Rule of thumb... (5, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925192)

A rule of thumb when dealing with Microsoft.

Microsoft ALWAYS shafts their partners.

I've watched it happen repeatedly with big-name and little-guy companies here in the valley, and seen news of it elsewhere.

Cutting a deal with Microsoft is an invitation to big trouble and I fail to see how companies keep falling for it. (Perhaps there IS something to the PHB stereotype.)

Cutting a deal with Microsoft for (limited) licensing of their patents is an invitation to accusations of IP infringement - and the first shoe has just dropped.

But (like reading Microsoft source code) it's also an invitation to accidentally contaminating the open-source code base with actual Microsoft IP.

I expect THAT to be the second shoe - with Microsoft first FUDding up the customers, then going after Linux ala SCO, but with their ducks correctly aligned before filing the first suit.

Re:Rule of thumb... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16925294)

It's reasons like this why Debian is so anal about the definition of "free". This is why I stick with Debian.

Re:trouble ahead?, trouble behind. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16925222)

Casey Jones is ready, watch your speed.

Is this a commonly misheard lyric or something? It's "Casey Jones you better watch your speed.".

The lyric as you wrote it doesn't even make sense.

Re:trouble ahead?, trouble behind. (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925360)

Some of us think OS/2 is still pretty decent, at least given its age. :-) Given the functionality of the OS/2 desktop, one wonders exactly how XP and Vista manage to use all of those resources...

(Posted using Firefox 1.5.0.8 under Warp 4 FP 15)

Woot! Woot! Clue Train in the distance (5, Insightful)

stox (131684) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925422)

Dear Novell Executives:

How many company's have entered into collaborations, with Microsoft, that did not end up with a rectal aperture far exceeding that of goatse? How many did? So, do you actually fell that lucky? Talk about a long shot. Well, I'm sure you are all busy packing your golden parachutes, and will be long gone before the fecal matter hits the rotary device.

french fucking toast! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16924886)

spain sucks!
www.stopg20.org

Flist Prost... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16924888)

Neh

Novell might actually be fueling MS's case ... (5, Insightful)

Josh Lindenmuth (1029922) | more than 7 years ago | (#16924890)

Isn't the following statement in effect confirming Ballmer's ascertation that Linux users are violating Microsoft's patents?

"In this agreement, Novell and Microsoft each promise not to sue the other's customers for patent infringement. The intended effect of this agreement was to give our joint customers peace of mind that they have the full support of the other company for their IT activities."

If Novell did not believe that Linux users were accountable to Microsoft for using these technologies, why would they look to protect these users? Sure, it's great to offer this indemnification clause for the largest of corporate clients (who have at least some reason to be cognizant of the risk of MS litigation), but by doing so he seems validate Ballmer's views.

I can see it now ... The next big legal battle will be Microsoft vs. the world.

Re:Novell might actually be fueling MS's case ... (2, Insightful)

rodgster (671476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16924966)

Why has there been now news of Balmer's delusions until now?????

If was posted @ http://www.wservernews.com/ [wservernews.com] back on Friday?????

Here we go again. SCO part II only this time it a direct attack. Not a proxy attack.

Novell is a pawn in the action.

Re:Novell might actually be fueling MS's case ... (2, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16924994)

It's really a no-win situation for the Open-Source crowd. If there are patent violations, and no doubt there are some areas of code that bear more than a slight resemblance to patented software design, then Linux users are the ones that will be held accountable. Yeah, users. Funny how that works, but it's the way it goes.

If Novell tells customers that "we'll indemnify you against patent claims", then that brings up the distinct possibility that there may be patent-violating code in the source. It doesn't prove it, of course, and someone would have to go through the source with a fine-toothed comb and a handy patent registry (an O(n^2) operation). But it does raise the spectre of some clever code containing patented algorithms.

So if Ballmer says that Linux users may be in trouble, he's absolutely right. He's also blowing a lot of hot air, but hot, right air.

The best move would be for users to ditch distributions that do not provide patent indemnification or to seek out third-party indemnification. If anything, Novell ought to be cheering Ballmer for steering more people in their direction.

Re:Novell might actually be fueling MS's case ... (5, Insightful)

ldj (726828) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925070)

The best move would be for users to ditch distributions that do not provide patent indemnification or to seek out third-party indemnification. If anything, Novell ought to be cheering Ballmer for steering more people in their direction.
I think the best move would be for people to revolt against the silly software patent insanity and refuse to play that game. The sooner we bring the software patent stew to a boil, the sooner we can move towards a balanced and healthy legal system in which to grow new technologies.

Re:Novell might actually be fueling MS's case ... (1, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925096)

Just like people should ditch the copyright system since it is so easy to copy that there's no way to police the infringement, right?

What you think "the best move" is and what a workable "best move" solution is are so different that it would take a thousand years for light reflecting off of you to reach the earth.

Re:Novell might actually be fueling MS's case ... (2, Insightful)

ldj (726828) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925226)

Nice try to paint me as some sort of IP anarchist, but wrong. There is a vast difference between copyrights and patents, and, in my opinion (and that of many others), patents have no place in software. Most knowledgable people agree that currently there is practically no way to write software without infringing on someone's patent, either knowingly or unknowingly. That should be a red flag that the current system is screwed up in a major way.

Unfortunately, I don't know that things will change for the better until we have enough ongoing lawsuits over mostly trivial software patents to bring software advancements and competition to a crawl. After all, it seems relatively clear that software patents are more about milking and/or killing the competition than about spurring competition. And personally, I'd prefer to see the technologists win rather than the lawyers. Sounds like maybe you prefer the opposite?

Re:Novell might actually be fueling MS's case ... (1, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925280)

Let's say you started a company that builds televisions. Do you think you could build a television without encroaching on a patent held by any of the other television makers?

Patents are pervasive. There are very few original ideas and what original ideas there are are already in the queue to have themselves patented.

The only reason you think that software patents shouldn't be given the same amount of respect as any other patent is because you work with software every day. It is easy to write compared to, say, building a television. But ease of doing something doesn't mean that it shouldn't be subject to the same protection as something more difficult to do. Arguably, it should have more protection since the difficult things are already protected by the high barrier to entry.

Re:Novell might actually be fueling MS's case ... (1)

jbohumil (517473) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925470)

"There is a vast difference between copyrights and patents, and, in my opinion (and that of many others), patents have no place in software. Most knowledgable people agree that currently there is practically no way to write software without infringing on someone's patent, either knowingly or unknowingly. That should be a red flag that the current system is screwed up in a major way."

Heck, just open Visual Studio and start a new, whatever they call it, windows project based on some template and hit the run button. You have a fully functional program that probably infringes any number of patents.

Re:Novell might actually be fueling MS's case ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16925266)

Just like people should ditch the copyright system since it is so easy to copy that there's no way to police the infringement, right?
I could not have said it better myself!

Re:Novell might actually be fueling MS's case ... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925140)

Nah. If Microsoft were to actually sue someone (which they won't) the first order of business would be for them to say *exactly* which patents are being infringed and where.. you then have a period of time to come into compliance.. i.e., to code around the patent. Coding around a patent is almost always, pretty easy.

Re:Novell might actually be fueling MS's case ... (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925168)

Which is why I said Ballmer is blowing hot air. He knows that it's not worth it to start litigating over this, but it's always worth it to bring up the topic when all eyes are on him.

Whether or not the code is infringing, the meme that it could be is out there haunting the dreams of CIOs everywhere. Novell, by offering indemnification and by entering into this agreement with Microsoft just bolsters that meme. No matter what the Novell guys say, the possibility of infringing code is non-zero, and the ones who will suffer if infringing code is found are the users.

But as it stands, no one is suing anyone over this. It's a lot of hot air and the spread of FUD (in the correct sense) about the legitimacy of Linux and the safety of Linux users.

Re:Novell might actually be fueling MS's case ... (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925474)

I agree with you, but I say the probability of infringing code is almost certainly very close to 1. You can't write anything that is non-trivial without stepping on a patent claim these days, and Microsoft likely owns at least one of them. The problem is that this meme competes with another meme, which I like to think of as the "irrational other player" meme. Everyone loves to think of Microsoft (and lawyers in general) as being insane. So rather than say "what would Microsoft have to gain by suing me?" and basing rational decisions on that, they say "I don't want Microsoft to be able to sue me" which, if you're writing or using software these days, is an impossible task.

Re:Novell might actually be fueling MS's case ... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925288)

I'm not sure how a user could be in held acountable for using a legal product they obtained thru normal distribution methods without knowing something was wrong with the product untill someone makes a claim on it. If I buy a CD player for my car and the company that produces it violated sony's pattent somehow, They cannot come back on me, they would have to go after the person(s)who made and distributed the product instead. Why would Linux be any different?

Novel has been making products before microsoft has thought about filing pattents. I still have a couple of Netware servers running here. They make an exchange like groupware and several other product besides adding on to linux. It could be verry well that the Netware files systems or somthing encroach som microsoft pattent on node sotrage or something and this deal was done with the whole Novel in mind not just SuSe Linux.

For all we know, Balmer may "actualy" think the GPLv2 is viral (as he has stated before) and because Novel puchased a Linux distibution that all thier novel stuff is GPLed and included with linux now too. Playing dumb like this would get the most scare effectivness as well as allow him to tell a lie almost impuned from litigation.

But what I find more interesting is that microsoft has publicly claimed thier pattent portfolio was just a "defensive" one and they wouldn't sue anyone violating it unless a suite against them was brought fisrt. This tells me they might be wanting to take Some GPLed code or maybe found some GPLed code in thier new operating systems and are either trying to cover thier asses and stop and claims against them before it happens or they are just doing nothing othe then bolstering sales for thier late again operating platform "vista". It is close to the release for vista after all.

Many people are claiming that the increased hardware requirments and the new convoluted priceing schemes are going to drive people to linux (especialy as they start dropping 200 and XP support). This is likely Microsofts way of saying "don't jump ship because we are going to gouge you one way or another" and "get rid of those linux boxens and give us more money".

Re:Novell might actually be fueling MS's case ... (2, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925184)

"If Novell did not believe that Linux users were accountable to Microsoft for using these technologies, why would they look to protect these users?"

Oh, I can think of at least 348 million reasons why...

Re:Novell might actually be fueling MS's case ... (5, Insightful)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925362)

And for a company that broke even last year on an operating income of $100M and has a total market cap of about $2B dollars, that payment was not at all a trivial matter. Hovsepian would have been remiss to his shareholders to not sign it. Patent cross-licensing agreements are pretty damned commonplace.

I think the Novell guys probably realized there was some bad PR potential, but didn't see anything particularly bad in the agreement and saw lots and lots of greenbacks, plus the opportunity to use MS as a distribution channel. This seemed like a sweet deal when they looked at it. I just don't think they realized quite how negative the reaction would be.

and soweth they march.... (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925212)

I can see it now ... The next big legal battle will be Microsoft vs. the world.


And soweth the fabled Microsoft Lawyers marched from their barracks in Redmond, Wa, headlong into the world's courtrooms to wage the biggest legal war of their lives. But, they know they are brave, strong willed, money filled and are large in numbers. They march with patent documents in their briefcases, and they sing their fabled Microsoft Lawyer Battle Cry:

"We are protectors of IP, saviors of the MS pocket books".

Re:Novell might actually be fueling MS's case ... (1)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925250)

"The intended effect of this agreement was to give our joint customers peace of mind ...."(emphasis mine)

The purpose wasn't to provide indemnity as much as to remove fears of being sued. It is, after all, the case that the fear of being sued is enough to keep some corporations from using software. Novell's intention was merely to mitigate fear to increase sales. The fact that it has the added bonus of potentially protecting their customers in the future if they happen to violate some patent Microsoft holds doesn't mean they're violating such now. While I might not agree with Novell's actions, I can understand their attempt to get their foot in the door by removing fears of Microsoft suddenly turning sue-friendly.

Linux's marketshare is growing faster than MS's. (2, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925352)

It is, after all, the case that the fear of being sued is enough to keep some corporations from using software. Novell's intention was merely to mitigate fear to increase sales.

That MIGHT be reasonable ... if Linux's marketshare was flat or declining.

But Linux has been seeing double digit growth for years now. Linux server sales are growing faster than Microsoft's server sales. Sure, Microsoft has a larger share of the market right now so it doesn't take as much for Linux to grow faster ... but that doesn't matter.

Why would Novell want to "mitigate fear" that would hamper sales when sales are growing at a double digit rate?

The fact that it has the added bonus of potentially protecting their customers in the future if they happen to violate some patent Microsoft holds doesn't mean they're violating such now.

SCO is the last company that tried that argument. And I'll ask you the same thing I asked back then.

What company was the last company (not SCO) that sued end users for patent violations instead of or in addition to suing the company distributing the infringing product?

Go ahead, dig as much as you can. You won't find anything. It does not happen. There was not threat. There is no "fear".

While I might not agree with Novell's actions, I can understand their attempt to get their foot in the door by removing fears of Microsoft suddenly turning sue-friendly.

Again, Linux sales are growing at double digit rates. There doesn't seem to be much "fear" out there.

Re:Novell might actually be fueling MS's case ... (4, Insightful)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925278)

"Isn't the following statement in effect confirming Ballmer's ascertation that Linux users are violating Microsoft's patents?"

Consider the symmetry of the contract:

Novell and Microsoft each promise not to sue the other's customers for patent infringement

Therefore, using your assertion, it must be equally true that Microsoft is admitting that stollen Novell code is in Microsoft's codebase.

;-)

Deal Novell Out (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16924906)

Novell is feeling the backlash of their decision to cozy up to Microsoft, but this is just spin, it means nothing. The business arrangements that Novell made with Microsoft are what counts, and they still stand. It's time to deal Novell out of the Open Source pie, we must not allow them to taint Linux with "Microsoft IP".

Re:Deal Novell Out (1)

Josh Lindenmuth (1029922) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925026)

Maybe, but corporate clients need interoperability, and this relationship will eventually provide them with a greater degree of Windows/Linux interop than they have today (while providing them with some of the legal protections they desire). I'm also hopeful that better interoperability will eventually lead to greater adoption of Linux, as it's much easier to transition to a new platform if you're already using it.

That's bullshit. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925122)

Maybe, but corporate clients need interoperability, and this relationship will eventually provide them with a greater degree of Windows/Linux interop than they have today (while providing them with some of the legal protections they desire).

Microsoft has 100% access to the source code for Windows AND for Linux. If Microsoft wanted "interoperability" then Microsoft is in the best possible position to just do it.

And Microsoft can release any specs at any time so Linux could implement "interoperability" improvements.

The fact that Microsoft does not do either should tell you all you need to know about the "interoperability" bullshit.

Re:That's bullshit. (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925354)

Exactly. Pure bullshit.

And guess what, interoperability with Microsoft products
is a complete non-issue, once you kick the Microsoft addiction.

And Microsoft knows that for a fact.

The Microsoft-Novell FUD agreement is nothing but that. FUD.
That's what Microsoft is selling these days.

Re:That's bullshit. (1, Interesting)

Daltorak (122403) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925364)

And Microsoft can release any specs at any time so Linux could implement "interoperability" improvements.

The fact that Microsoft does not do either should tell you all you need to know about the "interoperability" bullshit.


You got a +5 for this. Nice work!

The problem is, you're wrong.

Here's the real truth:

Microsoft recently put out a set of almost 40 specifications under a new thing they've got called the "Open Specification Promise":

http://www.microsoft.com/interop/osp/default.mspx [microsoft.com]

Most of the standards revolve around XML-based web communications (SOAP, WSDL, WS-*), but there's also their Virtual Hard Disk format (VHD) that's used in their virtualization software, Sender ID related stuff (remember all the issues a couple years ago that this "standard" wouldn't fly because it wasn't free enough for open source use? no longer), and Office XML formats (2003 and 2007).

The people who cameup with this stuff can be seen in a Channel 9 interview explaining it in more detail:

http://channel9.msdn.com/showpost.aspx?postid=2590 77 [msdn.com]

They're very explicit in stating that open-source developers working on Linux can implement these specifications that Microsoft devised without having to enter a license agreement, pay royalties, or worry about being sued for patent infringement or whatever. Jean Paoli is one of the people interviewed... he's one of the creators of XML, by the way, so you can probably imagine the scope of his personal interest in seeing XML-based standards being as widely adopted as possible. And if that's not enough to convince you, even Lawrencse Rosen (google him if you don't know the name) approves of Microsoft's OSP initiative.

Now, granted, these are not the keys to the Windows kingdom, but it's a step in the right direction, and Microsoft should be encouraged to get as many specs out into the Open as possible, as soon as possible.

Let me get this straight. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925456)

The problem is, you're wrong.

So Microsoft has released the specs to allow Linux to interoperate with Windows? Tell me more ...

Now, granted, these are not the keys to the Windows kingdom, but it's a step in the right direction, and Microsoft should be encouraged to get as many specs out into the Open as possible, as soon as possible.

So by "interoperate" you mean ... "not interoperate"

And by "you're wrong" you mean ... I'm actually correct.

Come back when Microsoft opens up NTFS or Active Directory, okay? Or even when Microsoft has 100% support for ODF, as a default option, out of the box.

Like I said, Microsoft has access to all of the Linux code AND all of the Microsoft code.

Microsoft can open any spec it wants, whenever it wants.

Any other talk about "interoperability" is pure bullshit.

Is there a legally binding agreement not to sue if (2, Insightful)

HiThere (15173) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925492)

Is there a legally binding agreement not to sue if you use them? Then it's worthless.

Having a patented spec be visible doesn't make it open, and is SURE doesn't make it free.

Re:That's bullshit. (1)

twoblink (201439) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925494)

Dude, are you calling Microsoft a LIER?? FREEDOM TO INNOVATE!!!

Just kidding, MS is a pile of cow dung..

The sad part is, I can't even get Windoze to crash consistently, so consistency isn't even a strong point..

Re:Deal Novell Out (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16925038)

"It's time to deal Novell out of the Open Source pie, we must not allow them to taint Linux with "Microsoft IP"."

Given the nature of Open Source, this is of course, impossible. Novell will have the same access to improvements as everyone else. Those that don't like that fact shouldn't be involved in Open Source.

Re:Deal Novell Out (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925128)

Remember nMap and SCO? SCOcrap doesn't come with nMap anymore.

Re:Deal Novell Out (4, Insightful)

strider44 (650833) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925116)

On the contrary. I think this is a great tactic of dealing with Microsoft: Take a few hundred million dollars from them and at all the parties say "I'm not with him!" Lets face it, Novell's been paid a few hundred million dollars to give the impression that there are patent problems with Linux, yet they've spun around and said "We don't think there are patent problems in Linux" and started talking about how Microsoft got the better of the deal by licensing Novell's patents!

For some reason this really tickles my funny bone.

Novell sleep with dogs, and picks up fleas (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925156)

What did novell expect? Time to boycott Novell, and GPLv3 should be re-written to forbid these sorts of deals.

Re:Deal Novell Out (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925328)

Microsoft did not suceed with SCO to hurt/eliminate Linux.

Since that fell flat, they went fishing again. Now they have another fish on the hook: Novell.
No matter what is written or said. The facts are clear. Microsoft is trying to destroy Linux!

They have to, or they are lost. The only remedy against their monopoly, clout and billions of money is free software - on equal grounds, within the capitalistic money system, it's impossible to compete.

There has been something going on between Microsoft and Novell to make this deal. It went on hidden and under the table. Remember SCO - the 56 Million $ (or similar) investment coming from somewhere - _not_ from Microsoft... sure!

Do you trust Ballmer? Just look at him - a madman throwing chairs in anger.

Open Source developers should withdraw their copyrights from Novell because they are breaking the Open Source agreement. Individually, one by one.

This is the second attack. SCO was averted. This one is tougher. Maybe there is no IBM to pick up the tab. We'll see....

Re:Deal Novell Out (1)

james b (31361) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925468)

Is there any strong evidence that Microsoft was actually behind the SCO incident?

Hmm... (1)

cultrhetor (961872) | more than 7 years ago | (#16924908)

Who notices a typical CYA mentality here? Have the cake and eat it, too?

Give Novell a Break (2, Insightful)

roberthudock (1023421) | more than 7 years ago | (#16924920)

It does no one any good to alienate Novell. Seeing the open source community and MSFT working together is a step in the right direction.

Re:Give Novell a Break (3, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925002)

If some highly infectious disease infects your leg, I'm pretty sure the doctors will advise you to amputate it.

Re:Give Novell a Break (2, Interesting)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925172)

At the same time, if the doctor says "there's nothing we can find wrong with your leg at the moment, but there's a chance that it will become infected later", I'll wait for it to become infected to amputate...

Re:Give Novell a Break (3, Funny)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925302)

No, its really more like kissing a whore on the mouth that you already knew had multiple STDs, and then wondering why no one will go out with you when you brag about it. MS antitrust issues (past and present) as well as their history of screwing "partners" makes this a much better analogy.

Re:Give Novell a Break (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925450)

I believe I'd check out another vendor.

Re:Give Novell a Break (5, Insightful)

cryptoluddite (658517) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925054)

Alienating Novell sends a signal that Microsoft's patent extortion will not be tolerated by the community. It says that, should Microsoft press patent claims, that companies and people using Linux will retaliate -- with countersuits, civil disobedience, lobbying, bad PR, and whatever else.

You can bet that Novell is only coming out with this "open letter" because of the pressure they are feeling. Contracts being canceled or not renewed, bile and bad PR everywhere, FSF lawyers looking into filing suits, etc. They are probably getting the most pressure from SuSE developers, who can't be at all happy about being periahs.

The best step for the OSS community would be for Microsoft to document their protocols and formats. For instance if we had documentation on how NTFS lays out the filesystem we'd have a safe r/w driver in under a month. This Novell-MS deal is bunk. The European trustbusters have already done more than this deal ever will.

Re:Give Novell a Break (2, Informative)

ivan kk (917820) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925404)

if we had documentation on how NTFS lays out the filesystem we'd have a safe r/w driver in under a month.

Such as say, http://www.ntfs-3g.org/ [ntfs-3g.org] ?

What "right direction" is that? (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925056)

Microsoft licenses proprietary code.

Linux is under the GPL.

Is the "right direction" for Linux to become a little bit proprietary?

If not, Microsoft has 100% access to the source code. Microsoft can be as "interoperable" with Linux as they want to be. Any time they want to be.

Microsoft can release whatever specs it wants, whenever it wants.

Now, why don't you go listen to Ballmer talking about how Linux users owe Microsoft money before you start talking about the "right direction" and "working together"?

Nope, you are 100% wrong (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16925076)

No, it's not. MS is a buncha lying crooked morons. They have been proven so, over and over and over again, even in court, over and over and over again. Lying weasels, no scratch that, that's an insult to weasels.. Not sure what computer-sphere you inhabit, but I think most people have noticed this little factoid. They have had more than ample opportunity, decades now, to change their views and complete sleazoid business practices, and they *still suck*. Novell stepped in deep shit and took their silver, they decided teh fast big buck was more valuable and are now reacting to the comunity near universal disgust. Too frikken bad. Barf, who needs 'em. If anything, we need to move farther away from MS and now Novell, and people who get it with open source will quit, move away, work someplace else-do whatever it takes to make those corporate greedoids rethink being chronic serial assholes.

What the fuck? (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16924928)

Our interest in signing this agreement was to secure interoperability and joint sales agreements, but Microsoft asked that we cooperate on patents as well, and so a patent cooperation agreement was included as a part of the deal. In this agreement, Novell and Microsoft each promise not to sue the other's customers for patent infringement. .....
When we entered the patent cooperation agreement with Microsoft, Novell did not agree or admit that Linux or any other Novell offering violates Microsoft patents.

So you signed a deal with Microsoft ... over patents ... that you claim do not exist?

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

Here's a free clue, you idiot. That last company that talked about "protecting" end users from being sued was ... SCO.

You might want to look at how beloved they are at the moment.

Re:What the fuck? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925356)

Linux isn't the only product Novel produces. What if thier deal was to cover something from there?

Wouldn't it be even more ironic if Novel droped some of that into GPL territory and claimed that thier deal with microsoft allowed and potected thier abilities to do so, then Novel the liability and mocrosoft cannot do anything due to the deal they made.

Looks like a win-win there. But my guess is that they deal was about the other products they sell that have rode on top of microsoft operating systems for longer then they have been in the linux business. A quick look at an old product inventory we used to run shows at leat 20 different items that ran soly on microsoft OSes. I'm sure that has doubled or more since 1998. Not to mention that Novel took how many years to convert over to linux after microsoft borked them on dos and XP? I would bet a good majority of the products they sell now can run on multiple plaforms as well.

So in other words... (4, Funny)

strider44 (650833) | more than 7 years ago | (#16924938)

Microsoft just wasted a few hundred million dollars? Congrats to Novell...

fine print and silver (4, Insightful)

phrostie (121428) | more than 7 years ago | (#16924978)

even giving them the benefit of the doubt, they should have read the fine print.

they've sold the community for 30 pices of silver.

Re:fine print and silver (4, Interesting)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925200)

they've sold the community for 30 pices of silver.

Except that in the case of Judas the 30 pieces of silver were a legal requirement; had he refused the money then his evidence would have been inadmisible under the Law.

The idea was that in order to prove that the evidence was given in good faith, the witness had to accept payment.

In Novells case, I don't think this holds...

Suse no more (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16924980)

I run a large academic server with Suse Linux.
We will not re-new the license. We will not
accept any updates from Novell/Suse as they
are, in our opinion, contaminated with M$ code
and are trojans for the Gate's monopoly.
The squirming note from their CEO: come-on guys
trust us! doesn't pass the sniff test. They
knew what they were doing, why they were
doing it and had a long time to decide whether
to do it. They took the M$ loot and sold the farm.

Agree and Disagree? (3, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#16924984)

Novel seems to be essentially saying that they agree and disagree at the same time on a topic which was part of their formal agreement. This may make sense to a lawyer or CEO, but seems highly illogical to me. Furthermore, it seems safe to say that any business agreement with Microsoft ultimately benefits only Microsoft, the people over are great at that. I may dislike many aspect of the Microsoft Corp. but they are darn skillful business men. I'm just happy that I don't use Suse.

Empty words (3, Insightful)

Augusto (12068) | more than 7 years ago | (#16924996)

What matters is what Novell agreed with Microsoft, and that says it all.

Novell can say all it wants, but you can't fool everybody all the time. This makes this company look either totally naive and stupid, or blatant liars.

Re:Empty words (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925484)

Or both. Neither Microsoft nor Novell has really said *anything*
about the various agreements with any specificity.
And that would be by design to generate the maximum amount of FUD.

Said while sucking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16925008)

Which Ron Hovsepian, Novell's CEO, said while sucking on Balmer's big one.

Why has nobody screamed "SCO" yet?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16925022)

Doesn't this just stink of the SCO suits? It's like Microsoft has decided to start down the same road.

Personally I think this will only hurt Microsoft's position, in fact it makes me accellerate my schedule to eliminate Microsoft products from our offices. So far I've got it down to just one MS server, the other 4 servers are all Linux. Two of the workstations are Linux. If I can just replace our vertical market app it'll be all.

And I've got my in-house coding team working on replacing that.

Encouraged... (5, Insightful)

TropicalCoder (898500) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925050)

I for one feel at least encouraged by the fact that obviously Novel is very sensitive to criticism over this. I would like to even believe that they are reading Slashdot. If nothing else, that would be a very positive development. If major players and decision makers begin reading Slashdot and become sensitive to it, that would be a very positive thing for us all. Though the first few comments to this latest news show considerable skepticism, many others in previous discussions had come to the conclusion that there is really nothing to worry about.

Re:Encouraged... (1)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925114)

"If major players and decision makers begin reading Slashdot and become sensitive to it, that would be a very positive thing for us all." - actually, they have an even more pressing sensitivity - their responsibility to their corporate shardholers. This deal has turned SUSE developers into pariahs, and I'm sure a great many people are pissed off enough to avoid doing buisness with Novell. Both of these are enough to have a significant impact on Novell's bottom line (or at the very least, I hope to hell they do). This will cause the shareholders to become upset, and hopefully that will cause whatever moron cooked this up to lose his job.

Re:Encouraged... (1)

carpeweb (949895) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925342)

cause whatever moron cooked this up to lose his job

Have you ever worked for a large corporation? Those morons usually get promoted, not fired ...

Microsoft Bites Back - MS PR response to this (5, Informative)

samrolken (246301) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925060)

They've agreed to disagree, or so they say.
We at Microsoft respect Novell's point of view on the patent issue, even while we respectfully take a different view. Novell is absolutely right in stating that it did not admit or acknowledge any patent problems as part of entering into the patent collaboration agreement. At Microsoft we undertook our own analysis of our patent portfolio and concluded that it was necessary and important to create a patent covenant for customers of these products. We are gratified that such a solution is now in place.
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2006/nov0 6/11-20Statement.mspx [microsoft.com]

Groklaw's reaction ... (5, Informative)

Augusto (12068) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925062)

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=200611202 03431766 [groklaw.net]

In that case, with all due respect, you should not have signed an agreement called a patent cooperation agreement that gives Microsoft the opportunity to say the things Mr. Ballmer has been saying. I believe that is obvious now. And you should have considered the GPL, its importance to the community, and considered what paying royalties means in that context. And we hope you will fix this.

And MS ...

Microsoft and Novell have agreed to disagree on whether certain open source offerings infringe Microsoft patents and whether certain Microsoft offerings infringe Novell patents....

We at Microsoft respect Novell's point of view on the patent issue, even while we respectfully take a different view. Novell is absolutely right in stating that it did not admit or acknowledge any patent problems as part of entering into the patent collaboration agreement. At Microsoft we undertook our own analysis of our patent portfolio and concluded that it was necessary and important to create a patent covenant for customers of these products. We are gratified that such a solution is now in place.

Re:Groklaw's reaction ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16925434)

Groklaw is spot on, as usual. In the grand slashdot tradition of fictional dialogs, here is the monolog for this story:

Ron: Shit ... I really didn't think this through ...

Re:Groklaw's reaction ... to Microsoft's reaction (1)

toby (759) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925438)

And read on, for PJ's wonderfully to-the-point response to Microsoft's spin malarkey:

I hope everyone will please think about what software patents are doing to the industry. Microsoft didn't have to deal with them when it was building its business, but now it has them in hand to try to bully Linux, the better mousetrap that endangers its monopoly, to death. Yes. To death. Think about whether that is the patent policy you really want, and if it isn't, you need to change it. Because the community will not let go of the GPL as its license of choice, and the GPL and software patents simply don't mix. So, if the world wants GNU/Linux to survive -- and the development model that made it happen, and by that I mean unpaid volunteers, because that is who wrote Linux -- it will have to make some changes to the US patent system, some fundamental changes, or all you'll have is things like Vista and Zune. Read their EULAs, then read the GPL, and then think it over. What kind of world do you really want?

(emph. mine)

...Waiting for the other shoe to drop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16925080)

There have been two stories today related to the Novell deal.

First, they insist they won't be backing out of the deal, in spite of Samba's objections. The money's already been sent to creditors, BTW.

Second, Novell assure's us that they didn't need to pay the "protection money" because they're pretty sure that Microsoft would have never really burned down Novell's headquarters if they didn't sign.

I waiting for the final announcement from the Samba team for Novell to pull Samba from Suse.

Novell's fucked.

Corporate Mentality (4, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925092)

The bigger the corporation, the more lawyers work for it. Novell, while just a shadow of what they once were, still thinks like a big corporation. Threat or not, they knew that many of their corporate customers -- you know, the paying ones -- had their own lawyers whispering in their ear. It was worth a certain amount of money to them to not have to put the effort into figuring out if they were violating patents or not. The perception was there and that money now gives the perception of safety.

What the suits didn't understand is that while Linux is moving more and more into the corporate space, at its core it is still a community driven project. They drastically underestimated that community's dislike and distrust of Microsoft.

Good luck to them trying to serve both masters.

question about the threat (4, Informative)

astrashe (7452) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925100)

My gut reaction to this deal is very negative.

I really like a lot of what Novell has done on the desktop, and some of the mono desktop apps are pretty terrific. But I sort of feel like I ought to be moving toward KDE now, and distancing myself from anything mono.

The question I have, though, is about the patents. Either MS has patents that can be used to attack linux or they're pulling another SCO on us.

So much of the argument against Novell hinges on the fact that they're enabling MS with this deal. As I understand the argument, it says that corporate customers will buy Novell, to be safe from potential lawsuits. If MS can pick off a critical mass of commercial users who are willing to pay, they can start to sue other people without damaging relationships with their large corporate customers. Even non-novell customers will have a way out -- they can buy Novell.

If MS has these patents, do we really believe that fear of alienating their customers is enough for them to refrain from suing people? Couldn't they sue IT companies -- linux companies, IBM, etc., without damaging their relationships with large corporate customers? And aren't those large customers so locked in that they really don't have anywhere to go if they're alienated, anyway?

To me, this really isn't about Novell. I don't pay them, and I don't code for any projects, so I understand that they don't really care about me. It would be irrational for them if they did. But this sort of burns the bridge to Novell and mono as far as I'm concerned. That's done.

But how big is this threat? Is this the beginning of legal threat spanning years and years. with fronts opening up in legislatures, in anti-trust enforcement agencies around the world, etc.?

Is this real, or is this a bunch of baseless stuff that's going to dog us for years?

If a free OS that's built from scratch by volunteers can't be allowed to exist in the current intellectual property law environment, what then? Does this mean we either have to give up and finally take on the intellectual property framework at some really fundamental level?

Re:question about the threat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16925366)

you've nailed the point. the question is why are governments around the world pandering to microsoft's request ? the USA might be happy to receive all the foreign exchange; but in the long term, its happiness is also screwed. the open source thinking is right in line with self service and helping people. we are happy as long as everyone is happy. microsoft now wants to donate proceeds of their profit to a lot of third world people. but, somewhere down the line they forgot that they've been cheating, fleecing, extorting people for bill gates to look magnanimous. its all a load of yak dung.

governments, corporates, people around the world, should throw their weight behind open source. there is a key difference between hardware and software. either software should be sold as a service (for key support) since you need people for support or small improvements/ or you should make the software cheaper as the years go by (since, the cost to the company after the initial investment of time and labor is zilch in replicating copies). software is not like hardware where there is a definitive input cost, but the cost of the labor (this is debatable, but for the argument, i put it this way). even hardware becomes cheaper over a period of time, by the same logic, MS should reduce the cost of the OS, which they aren't doing. we need to break their monopoly for this reason alone! for the US of A its a matter of easy Foreign exchange yes, but in the long run its killed competitiveness. more than anything else, since USA has been the most computerized nation - i feel that it has borne the brunt of all stupidity of microsoft (weak security, spam, shoddy OS - more than anyone else) the cost of all this probably nullifies the Foreign exchange gained by the nation.

so to cut the crap: break microsoft, make markets more competitive.

Somebody who is doing something about it... (4, Informative)

Freed (2178) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925130)

Read the interview Moglen: How we'll kill the Microsoft Novell deal [theregister.co.uk] .

Alright that's the legal piece. There's also www,boycottnovell.com [boycottnovell.com] and the Samba disapproval. Other links and ideas welcome.

Re:Somebody who is doing something about it... (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925332)

I read that Register article.

Interesting points, especially


The tool chain required to build so much free software, including the Linux kernel, will almost certainly adopt GPL 3. While the Linux kernel is licensed under GPL 2, and Linus Torvalds has indicated his personal intention to stay with the older version, it's difficult to envisage a licensee such as Novell being able to distribute a product it can't build in binary form.


I'm wondering if Novell could do a clean-room reimplementation of the toolchain required to compile the kernel etc? True it would be expensive and difficult, but is there anything in the GPLv2 to say that, eg, the kernel *must* be compiled with a GPL toolchain? I doubt it.

It seems conceivable that Novelosoft could produce a 'Linux' distribution with only a GPLv2 or even a proprietary toolchain.

Re:Somebody who is doing something about it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16925376)

They still have the GPL 2 tool chain. Last time I looked it still worked.

Why would microsoft do this? (2, Informative)

op3r (940060) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925132)

I was kept wondering how on earth did steve balless say that linux is infringing microsoft's patent? Did he really know what the heck he is saying? Linux is the kernel not the whole system. I dont think novell even owns THE KERNEL! I am very very pissed. and yet I am still using windows :(

Re:Why would microsoft do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16925190)

Cause they can...

Siad the spider as he watched the scorpion leave the river bank...

EV1Servers? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925166)

What's next? EV1Servers announces a deal with Novell?

Dead Licence Sketch (5, Funny)

NZheretic (23872) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925196)

A customer enters a Novell Office.
Mr. Praline: 'Ello, I wish to register a complaint.
(Novell does not respond.)
Mr. Praline: 'Ello, Miss?
Novell: What do you mean "miss"?
Mr. Praline: I'm sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint!
Novell: We're closin' for lunch.
Mr. Praline: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this Linux Distro what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.
Novell: Oh yes, the, uh, the Novell OpenSuse Linux...What's,uh...What's wrong with it?
Mr. Praline: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. According to the terms of the GPL you can no longer distribute it, that's what's wrong with it!
Movell: No, no, it's uh,... part of the service agreement.
Mr. Praline: Look, matey, I know a violation of the GPL when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.
Novell: No no it not violated, it's , it's cirumvented'! Remarkable OS, the Suse Linux, idn'it, ay? Beautiful eye candy with GLX
Mr. Praline: The eye candy don't enter into it. your in violation of the GPL.
Novell: Nononono, no, no! it's just slightly cirumvented!
...

Balmer beat it and eat it, Al Gore invented IP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16925220)

Everyone knows Al Gore invented IP. Next thing you know M$ will claim it invented and owns rights to all dookie.

Re:Balmer beat it and eat it, Al Gore invented IP (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925406)

Next thing you know M$ will claim it invented and owns rights to all dookie.

I can see it now... in an Invader Zim-esque outburst:

"From this night on the name of Ballmer will forever be synonymous with dookie!!!! Bwaaaahahahahaahaaaa".

Boycott the Xbox 360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16925230)

Hit it where it hurts. Send a message that it's practices won't be tolerated. We already pay enough "Microsoft tax".

What this is really about... (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925232)

Microsoft has a handful of patents could apply to open source. They'll give you a patent for putting the OK button on the bottom right of the diagbox because the eye scans it first. There have to be some.

As big a gun as Microsoft is, it needs a few things in place in order to be able to leverage its IP. First, there are a couple big companies with massive patent portfolios that could be leveraged to counter-attack Microsoft software (since there are enough ridiculous patents that nobody with much software could avoid violating something). Second, they need to be sure they have a defense against anti-trust action (we weren't trying to eliminate competition your honor, you see, we even made an agreement to protect users of that system who were willing to join in a mutual respect of our rights as innovators: we didn't attack our competitor, only a group of vendors stealing our IP).

In one action they have made Novell a pawn. Novell may or may not see the fallout and simply have sold out. Perhaps Novell jumping at the opportunity to become the only Linux show in town and eliminate their biggest competitor. Perhaps they were only considering the additional clause an added bonus. Whether Novell was witting or simply misdirected the effect is the same, Microsoft has their glowing halo in case of anti-trust and one of the two big guns has been disarmed should Microsoft attack.

At least IBM is still out there.

subject line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16925246)

It seems to me that the agreement not to sue is meant for future developments that come from Microsoft and Novel working together. Microsoft is just trying to take things out of context. They're trying to use scare tactics for their own gain. Let's hope it doesn't work.

I personally use openSuSE on my personal computer and I don't plan on changing.

OT: Site WTF? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925262)

Hmm.. i just saw that the linux-topic-image [slashdot.org] is a gif. And a non-transparet too. What the... I mean it's no big deal, mut i thought slashdot is on the forefront of technology. So why is this so png with alpha-transparency.

Don't tell me about the IE6-"bug". (To me a bug has to be unintentionally, so it really isn't one.)
There is an easy and high-performant workaround with the directx-filter-css-extension usable for the ie stylesheet... if you really care to support IE on an it-experts site's subsection about linux. ;))

Re:OT: Site WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16925458)

it-experts site's

You must be new here.

Re:OT: Site WTF? - OMG you dint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16925480)

OMG, o no you dint. USER wtf?

With all the news and junk floating around, you're concerned with what file format is being used for the penguin?

1) Microsoft chose not to implement transparency (ergo, not a bug)
2) Lots of people use IE anyway
3) Yes it's news about linux, Windose users read about linux too

Here's my take on it. If an "it-experts site" resorts to using DX CSS extensions, I will put my SIZE 14 FOOT so far up its HAIRY, CRUSTY, HERPES-INFESTED ASS that I will need to untie my FUCKING SHOES via COLOSTOMY BAG you MORON

There's this great thing on the other side of the "door" (that's where the pizza dude shows up when you give him mom's money in exchange for food. Mom's money or a blowjob, that is). It's called a "city" or maybe a "world", and you can live what people call a "life" there. You can even communicate with other homo sapiens without having to type!!!! /twat

Unfortunately CEO cannot be trusted (5, Interesting)

mattr (78516) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925310)

I gave the man the benefit of the doubt, even though I am extremely angry at Novell, and read his letter. It is very well written and makes the reader think, "Oh, that's all right then". But it isn't. He is not acting in a vaccuum and this is not a textbook case study (yet). Why?
1. Novell obviously needed cash quite badly, enough to risk a PR backlash.
2. Microsoft was a key driver behind SCO and this is their next highly visible move against Linux.
3. Microsoft has linux people in-house. If they wanted linux they could make their own distro for free, plus hiring a team to add interoperability which presumably should be easy since they would be the only team on the planet with the inside knowledge of how to do that.
4. Of course, this expert knowledge would be copied by other distros if it was GPL, so they wouldn't want to do that.
5. And, they wouldn't be able to easily infect other distros a la SCO, which is another reason.
6. Finally, if they distribute GNU/Linux under GPL then they are finally saying everything is already under the GPL. (possibly including nonencumbrance by patents but IANAL).
7. Novell cannot leash the dragon once it begins to rampage. In fact, this patent agreement clearly removes potential weapons of OSS-friendly vendors like IBM against possible future SCO-like lititgation from Microsoft. It means that Novell may likely enter the role of indeminifying vendors and users against Microsoft litigation (if the patent agreement allows that).
8. Novell's CEO claims their actions prove they are honorably. I am sure he would like to think so. However if actions are louder than words, then surely this deal with Microsoft proves Novell is only in business for Novell, especially if it means all other OSS vendors get poisoned by their actions.
9. It also proves that Novell's CEO is intellectually and/or ethically unfit for his position due to his blithe ignorance of SCO and Microsoft's role in SCO, smoking gun and all.
10. The only reason imaginable is that Novell is really on the brink of bankruptcy and some threat from Microsoft would push them over the edge. Possibly Novell has some proof of OSS in Windows but who will ever know? Novell's actions cast a pall of smoke and brimstone over all OSS-related activities, projects, and products they have.
11. Unfortunately this makes me and lots of other people very scared of what may end up in Suse and strongly suggests that Novell will be Microsoft's key tool for attempting again to destroy Linux and the OSS world, no matter what Novell ever says.
12. That is why Novell cannot be trusted, and anything they ever contribute to OSS projects must be painstakingly analyzed and thrown in the garbage at the least worry. Even so, there is no way to be sure anything they offer will not be either a fragment of patentable data, or a fragment of a potential vulnerability to either access from microsoft or attack by a windows virus. It would be a much different story if Microsoft was going to provide all necessary documentation and experienced OSS programmers could plan how to interface with those APIs for best performance and security. Of course the same goes for anybody who ever thought of buying Novell or maybe making a contract with Novell. I don't see how anybody can ever trust Novell again.

Novell, did you not see this coming? (1)

tuxtastic (859281) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925316)

...I sure did.

Follow the money (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925416)

MS agreed to pay Novell M$200 and in a face saving gesture, Novell agreed to give M$40 back.

Obviously MS is the one with the guilty conscience.

Question: Do you like Windows Update with your GNU (0, Troll)

mattr (78516) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925426)

Would you trust an automatic binary update mechanism from Novell?

I always trusted Redhat's to keep me protected from vulnerabilities, and drooled over Red Carpet.

How would you feel though if Novell introduced a service like Windows Update?

How about if they ran it just like Microsoft does, rolling into critical security updates crap like Genuine Advantage to snoop how many seats you have? It seems likely that it would include DRM, which would maybe talk to secure hardware, let you play secure Microsoft video streams, secured DVDs, etc. Maybe you will not be allowed to play your legally ripped mp3s anymore. Wouldn't you look at your router from time to time to see if any packets are being sent when they shouldn't? All these things seem to be likely to come from this Novell-MS partnership. They may become the only linux distro compatible with MS DRM, but they also will be a wedge. You will see machines with this virus on it. Would you mind if your favorite distro included binary code that originated at Microsoft?

Personally the idea that Windows Update would come to linux, or that a tool meant to increase security against crackers could be turned against the people who own the hardware, is anathema and that whole mindset is a major reason I hate using windows. I forgo DRM'd stuff and boycott DRM vendors. I would like to see Novell's CEO stand up and promise (not that I trust him as far as he could throw a chair) that the above scenario will never happen with their products.

Sad... (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925436)

...to see Ron just flapping in the wind... ...I wonder how many users he's lost already.

sigh.

Dear Novell (4, Interesting)

div_2n (525075) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925466)

As a member of the Linux community, I personally am disappointed by your maneuvers. While I can only speak for myself, I feel confident others share my sentiment.

Let's not beat around the bush on this. Your actions reek of the proprietary and closed mindset--not open source. It is clear this is a deal meant to benefit you first and foremost. While your customers may (or may not) benefit, the community at large seems to be left pissing in the wind. This is profoundly confusing since the vast majority of the Linux product you purport to protect has been written and continues to be written by that community and not your engineers.

While I'm not anyone famous, I am one of surely many decision makers looking for well supported open source solutions. I had been considering you for several projects and would have considered you in the future. Given that you push your idea of what is best for the community despite fairly blatant protests to the contrary from prominent community members, I cannot include your products in any projects until you correct your course of action.

Until that day comes, good luck making deals allegedly protecting a product with a company that has shown enormous contempt for and a desire to kill off that product. I find it overwhelmingly ironic that the market dominance you enjoyed long ago was taken by the very company with which you are now spooning. I guess you didn't learn your lesson the first time around.

Simple translation (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925482)

The simple translation for all this rhetoric is as follows:

MS: uhm, er, oh yes, there are IP issues to be cleared up, but we have _agreements_ to provide protections for our customer bases.

Novel: There are no IP issues, we simply wish to be paid fairly for surrendering to the borg^H^H^H^H constant unrelenting pressures of Redmond, and in an attempt to bail out our stock holders, we have to pretend that this pig's ear is a silk purse.... er, we have worked out a reasonable agreement with Redmond to protect our customers.

MS needs to listen, Ballmer needs to retire... (2, Insightful)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 7 years ago | (#16925496)

Watching MS over the years, they have had good moments, and bad moments, done good things and done things that make your skin crawl...

The sad part of this is the 'business' model that Ballmer and his crew use as an Ideal are at the heart of almost every failed and every skin crawling activity MS has done.

MS was a good company at various times after the past 30 years, but if you notice those fleeting moments, Ballmer and his 'ideals' were the recessive thought mechanism in the company at those times. The 'older' Gates ideals and people emulating him are a lot less likely to hae ever pulled a lot of the crap MS has done in the past 15 years.

This new Linux scare from Ballmer is just another mark in the 'oh crap he did not say that' box. I'm sure there are technologies in Linux that come from MS, even if you take distributions that read FAT32 drives, but on the same note, MS has also taken a lot from the *nix community and it would be so petty to drive the market into this type of war.

Ballmer's words remind me of Oracle's CEO (Ellison) a few years back, at every event or launch, instead of telling us how great their software was, he spent most of the time complaining about MS,and yet MS's products were slammin them in the market because they just worked better. If he or his people would have just spent more time making their products 'better' then could of actually been on stage showing us how much better they were, rather than only pitching how awful MS was.

Maybe ol' Steve is a nice guy, but he is just not helping MS. MS needs to put back in power 'idealists' that believe in 'consumers first' thought and not how they can squeeze the extra nickels out of their business models.

Even look at Vista, in a lot of ways it is a revolutionary OS if you look at the intelligence it implements and the architecture, yet marketing and the 'business' people don't get the genius from the development teams, and will have trouble selling it.

This is evident with the marketing and business people creating five freaking versions of Vista for consumers. It creates more confusion and is less profitable and could hurt the 'standard windows' base because of the differences. It would have been better for MS to have just added $20 to the cost and do only one version. In fact the Vista release like XP is in contradiction to the 'design' ideals of the NT group in having a shared code base to 'reduce confusion'. (Of course the code base is still shared, but the confusion is artificially added by the business and marketing people.)

My two cents for today...
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