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Microsoft Patent Deal Could Leave Novell Behind

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the wave-bye-bye dept.

246

robbyyy writes to mention a Computer Business Review Online article about commentary from Bruce Perens to Novell, about their recent deal with Microsoft. He argues that the company should quickly turn its back on the deal, because Novell risks being left behind by open source progress. From the article: "While Linux creator Linus Torvalds has previously stated that the Linux kernel will remain on the GPL v2 license, much of the code that makes up a complete Linux distribution is owned by the FSF, which intends to re-license all its code to GPL v3 as soon as it is completed in early 2007. 'In the face of these changes, Novell will probably be stuck with old versions of the software, under old licenses, with Novell sustaining the entire cost and burden of maintaining that software,' Perens wrote, adding that Novell faces a choice of sticking with Microsoft and being left behind, or turning its back on the patent deal."

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Scam. It's a scam. (5, Insightful)

robyannetta (820243) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974320)

(IMHO) From what I've seen, it looks like Novell got sucked into this Microsoft deal without knowing the real purpose of this deal: to discredit Linux.

Look at the time line:

* Novell and Microsoft shake hands on an exclusive agreement to create better cross-compatibility between their software.
* After the agreement is signed, Microsoft does a 180 and publicly states that the crux of the deal was really Novell admitting Linux violates Microsoft's IP and this was a license agreement.
* Novell is saying 'WTF? Where did this come from? You scammed us!!1!!'
* Microsoft looks like a hero to the DOJ for saying 'We're not evil, see? Novell admits Linux violates our IP and they now license it from us. Here's the contract!'

I'm sure Microsoft will somehow defend the contract by connecting to their Xenix OS they sold through Tandy in the early 1980's.

The agreement was nothing more than the most expensive anti-Linux PR campaign ever conceived. Novell and Bruce Perens aren't the bad guys here, they just got scammed (Please, for the sake of the future of Novell, please don't forward Bruce any emails that state the Prince of Nigeria needs some cash to escape the country).

This may also give Microsoft legal footing to attempt to go after Red Hat if they really want to. All they have to do is bring up the Novell deal in court to make themselves look like angels.

This is just my $0.02, take with a grain of salt, your mileage may vary...

Re:Scam. It's a scam. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16974496)

much of the code that makes up a complete Linux distribution is owned by the FSF

Yeah, right. Sure, FSF, own my code.

Re:Scam. It's a scam. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16974672)

Not your code unless you assigned the copyright to the FSF, but they do own the copyrights on all the stuff that's been developed by their own members and others who have assigned copyrights.

Little things like gcc/g++, glibc, all the unix user space tools, ...

Without the FSF stuff Linux would not exist - there's just be a kernel with nothing to run on top of it. It'd be easier to ditch Linus's kernel and replace it with something else (BSD, HURD, etc) than to replace the rest of it.

Re:Scam. It's a scam. (3, Insightful)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974864)

all the unix user space tools
All? Even though many User space tools are indeed GNU, many others come from the BSD world, or are licensed under specific licenses (Perl, Sendmail, etc.).


Even though GNU deserves large parts of the credit, they don't deserve all the credit.

Re:Scam. It's a scam. (4, Insightful)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975302)

The FSF has reimplemented quite a bit of the BSD userspace tools. Most Linux distributions use the GNU versions instead of the BSD ones. Combine that with the fact that the FSF has been very savvy about getting developers to sign papers turning over their copyrights and the FSF is far and away the largest copyright holder in any given Linux distribution. Novell can pretend that the FSF's opinion doesn't matter, but it does.

Add in the fact that the Samba developers are very upset with Novell and Novell is in serious trouble.

Re:Scam. It's a scam. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16974926)

What great improvements to gcc/g++, glibc and the unix user space tools have been done in the last 5 years? Besides, it's not as if compilers and little unix utilities are exactly rocket science.

I think replacing the GNU stuff with something else would be a great idea. Then RMS could stop bitching about GNU not being part of the Linux name.

Re:Scam. It's a scam. (3, Insightful)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975390)

What great improvements to gcc/g++, glibc and the unix user space tools have been done in the last 5 years?

Go read the changelogs. You will be surprised.

Besides, it's not as if compilers and little unix utilities are exactly rocket science.

While writing a compiler and a little unix utility might not be rocket science, writing a good compiler and reliable, solid, standard compliant little unix itilities is a bit more difficult than what you seem to think.

Re:Scam. It's a scam. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16975442)

HAHA.. you're killing me, man...

HAHA..

Re:Scam. It's a scam. (4, Informative)

TortiusMaximus (719234) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974594)

>>Novell and Bruce Perens aren't the bad guys here, they just got scammed (Please, for the sake of the future of Novell, please don't forward Bruce any emails that state the Prince of Nigeria needs some cash to escape the country). I don't understand why you think that Bruce Perens got scammed... he's the one sounding the alarm!

Re:Scam. It's a scam. (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974658)

Well, if that happens, I guess Novell's lawyers will be the first ones out of job...

On a darker note, this is the thing we've all been predicting. And so far, none of us have been proven wrong.

On the other hand, I don't see what kind of an idiot - except the ones sitting in my country's courtrooms[1] - would accept such a contract as proof of any kind of license or IP violation. The only proof is code; this kind of contract can only mean "if any possible violation existed, we've agreed not to make a fuss about it". Note the if.

[1] In Croatia, pushing a finger in someone's anus is not considered as an even remotely possible case of rape. It is considered much more like a handshake instead. (Check the Wikipedia archives for Handshake, you'll see that this piece of information has been deleted a few dozen times or so.) I don't want to call that judge an idiot for, frankly, it would be an insult not only to idiots, but to every semi-intelligent life form as well.

Re:Scam. It's a scam. (3, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974910)

[1] In Croatia, pushing a finger in someone's anus is not considered as an even remotely possible case of rape. It is considered much more like a handshake instead. (Check the Wikipedia archives for Handshake, you'll see that this piece of information has been deleted a few dozen times or so.)
Hmmm, interesting information. There are a couple of Croats working here, I shall ask one of them... ;-)

... gives a whole new meaning to "you should wash your hands after shaking hands with strangers".

Re:Scam. It's a scam. (1)

10scjed (695280) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974750)

It;s about the EC ruling, Novell is helping MS undermine the ruling; What about the EC Ruling [boycottnovell.com]

Re:Scam. It's a scam. (1)

johansalk (818687) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974960)

It is a scam indeed. I knew it the moment I read that Microsoft bought soooo many Suse licenses for its customers. Yeah, right! Like Microsoft is going to market and sell Suse to its customers.

Microsoft did a really shitty thing. If there'd never been a reason to be suspicious of them before this is it.

Re:Scam. It's a scam. (2, Interesting)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975058)

(IMHO) From what I've seen, it looks like Novell got sucked into this Microsoft deal without knowing the real purpose of this deal: to discredit Linux.

* Novell is saying 'WTF? Where did this come from? You scammed us!!1!!'

You may well be right, but, erm, isn't it Novell management's job to have worked out all the angles on this? It's not like this is some newbie company that knows nothing about Microsoft. Novell have tangled [eweek.com] directly with Microsoft [wikipedia.org] and indirectly with their proxies [wikipedia.org] before on many many occasions. They are veterans of the server computing industry. If they had no idea that Microsoft would scam them, it shows an extraordinary corporate structure in disarray.

Rich.

Re:Scam. It's a scam. (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975092)

Unless no one at Novell reads Groklaw, it is fair to say they knew exactly what they were doing when they chose to sleep with the enemy.

SCO is almost gone, long live SCOvell.

The Damage is Done (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974330)

Novell is left behind.

Now the question is who's leaving them behind. Let's take, for instance, the SAMBA team that urged Novell to reconsider [slashdot.org] . Why was it the SAMBA team? Well, probably because people on both sides saw this deal as an tacit acknowledgement that several open source projects infringe on Microsoft intellectual property. SAMBA would be a pretty easy target for Microsoft, in my opinion and that's why they voiced their concerns so quickly--I'm sure more will follow once the realization hits the entire community when the precise details of the deal are released. I've seen figures anywhere from $100-450 million USD to be accepted by Novell from Microsoft. Why? Hopefully we'll find out.

Interestingly enough, the finest details I can find on this deal come from Novell's Website [novell.com] with the thought provoking title, "NOVELL & MICROSOFT COLLABORATE--CUSTOMERS WIN." Once these details surface, after the FSF's lawyer is done picking them over with a fine toothed comb, then I think we'll know who's still with Novell and who's 'left them behind.'

I'm going to say right now that--pending the GPLv2 allowing this deal--projects feel genuinely threatened by Microsoft lawsuits will alter their licenses to exclude potential deals regarding their software like the one Novell made. If this deal goes through, what we'll most likely see is SuSE being pretty much the basic Linux kernel and not a whole lot more except (as the summary states) the frozen old releases of software. Ironically, the eventual evolution of the Linux kernel will probably render these releases unusable which will mean at some point Novell will have to stick with an old edition of Linux or make the upgrades and patches itself to the rest of the software. I would bet that Open Office and a lot of the Windows-y environments (like KDE & Gnome) might adjust to this and move away from SuSE just to be safe. After all, these agreements that give you protection against Microsoft litigation based on intellectual property is the first step in Microsoft's eventual licensing of the software you've written.

If this deal hasn't been signed in blood, then I would urge every project that would jump ship to publicly notify Novell they will (the only one I know of is SAMBA--there must be more). But if the ink has dried on the contract and they're checking it against the GPLv2, I fear the damage is already done. Look to the future and hope the GPLv3 that's eventually ratified stops things like this from happening.

Even if this fails under the GPLv2 and the deal never goes down, will you ever be able to look at Novell the same way again? I'm not sure I will.

Re:The Damage is Done (0, Offtopic)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974382)

"Novell is left behind. " Will Kirk Cameron play the CEO of Novell?

Suse is dying -- netcraft confirms it (1)

martijnd (148684) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974542)

--Quote--
Suse
LiVES no longer supports Suse, since Novell signed a deal with a certain well known company.
If you are using Suse, please consider moving to another distribution.
--EndQuote--

Just downloaded Lives as I wanted to play with video editing and noticed the above. Pretty fast update.

Pretty silly... (2, Informative)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974800)

since you can still download the source and compile it. If you don't feel like compiling, there are rpms that are easily found on sites such as rpm.pbone.net. They'll probably always be easy to find as long as the source is available.

Re:Suse is dying -- netcraft confirms it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16974952)

Yet before you even get to this announcement, they tell you how you can run their software on windows *and* the xbox. Seems a bit inconsistent to support Microsoft outright but not to support a Linux company that signed a contract with them.

Re:Suse is dying -- netcraft confirms it (2, Interesting)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975510)

If you have a problem and need support with LiVES, there are several ways to request it. Firstly, you can log a bug or a feature request on the sourceforge project page for LiVES.


That's from the LiVES website. They ask for donations. Last I checked Suse was still a version of linux, so anyone that's donated to LiVES and uses Suse should still get support. It's fair. I have the choice to use whatever version of Linux I want and if I donated money, I should get support any way.

Re:The Damage is Done (4, Interesting)

14CharUsername (972311) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974892)

Yeah I think Samba might be a target here. If Novell contributes code to Samba, and Novell says that the code they conrtibuted was licensed from MS, then Samba can only be used by companies that are indemnified by MS. Remember that part of this deal is about interoperability, and Samba is a big part of that.

Another target id Mono. It's probably a good idea to avoid that platform altogether, since its likely only MS approved linux distros will be allowed to run apps developed for Mono. Of course its just as likely mono will remain free. But the worst case scenario is going to scare a lot of developers, making mono a dead platform.

I think Perens is right. As long as this deal is in effect, everything Novell does will be tainted. No Open Source project should accept any code from Novell until they cancel this deal. It's good to see that the Samba team gets it. Though I think it's likely this will kill Mono.

Re:The Damage is Done (1)

fho6 (1026774) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975324)

I agree. Samba (and others like it) is probably the most to hurt from here. If Samba could be dead from this deal, what could be used in its place? Surely not web services - that would take a big step back from interoperability.

Personally, I don't see why anyone would want to use Mono. It will always be behind in the .NET maturity level. MS will make sure of that. As they did with Borland, when they didn't divulge the mobility API soon enough for Borland to integrate it into its own IDE's. That really left Borland's .NET IDE behind. Developers ended jumping to VS.NET to start mobility development. In any case Mono will probably only thrive on Suse from this point on.

It's too bad, really... now that Novell has the stigma of MS hanging around, their customers may as well be using Windows and other MS products. If anything Novell will lose their customers, since they chose to be Novell (only) customers to begin with, not a "Novell not sure if I will be sued by MS" customer.

Life is good (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16974338)

offtopic but I don't care. I just realised how lucky I am. I live in a country at peace, with a good income, and a high standard of living. I'm listening to some great music and I'm really comfortable. Also, I just discovered that my penis is above average size according to wikipedia.

Re:Life is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16974398)

You know you can't trust wikipedia..

Re:Life is good (1)

crankshot999 (975406) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974432)

yes you can, it depends on what you areresearching i guess

Re:Life is good (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16974470)

But it said the length of his penis has tripled in the last six months!

Re:Life is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16974538)

Six months also happens to be time it takes to stream a porn xvid over a 9600 baud modem.

of course (0, Troll)

crankshot999 (975406) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974350)

Microsoft is scared that if they are too close to novell fo too long, they'll catch it's free disease!

Revenge? (0, Troll)

MECC (8478) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974352)

Maybe MS already thought about this, and this was just the sneakiest way to stick it to Novell - get them to purchase their own demise from an old enemy.

FSF owns what? (-1, Troll)

tronicum (617382) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974362)

[...] much of the code that makes up a complete Linux distribution is owned by the FSF, which intends to re-license all its code to GPL v3 as soon as it is completed in early 2007 [...]

WTF? I know its GNU/Linux...but it does not mean that FSF "owns" it. And I dont believe that the GPLv2 to GPLv3 transition will leed to a gap between GPLv2 and GPLv3 userlands.

But yes, Novell (and the SuSE distro they bought) will have to life with the stigma having a deal with MS.

Re:FSF owns what? (5, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974468)

A lot. Apparently you have never paid attention to the software copyright that you use. That's okay that's why the GPL is good you don't have to.

All the GNU tools bash, cp, mv, rm, etc have copyrights owned by the FSF. if you donate code to those projects you are "encouraged" to donate the copyrights to the FSF. Samba, Linux kernel, and other tools have their copyrights assigned to various other people.

the FSF is the single largest copyright holder of GPL software. IBM is working on doing the same thing with their software donations, and if Sun GPL's Java and Open Solaris then they will jump in the pool as well.

Re:FSF owns what? (1)

tronicum (617382) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974630)

Ok. They own the copyright. I was not clear about the term "ownership".

What I wanted to line out is, even if they "own" it, after being GPLv2 licensed, anybody can use it under GPLv2 terms. And only if all that tools get GPLv3 licensed AND contributions are done, Novell gets into trouble.

But I am not sure if all projects will do so.

Re:FSF owns what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16974924)

The copyright license applies anew to every fresh release!

Copyrights apply to publications, and, as each new version of $BLAH is a new publication, being different code and all, it, or at very least the changes, have got a new copyright on them to which the license that accompanies that release applies.... So, the OLD VERSION of $BLAH remains under the GPLv2.

But that root exploit in GNU package $BLAH ? Novell can't use the upstream fixed version, it's under the GPLv3... Novell have the full maintenance burden of repatching (WITHOUT violating copyright...) their old GPLv2 fork of $BLAH

Only partial maintenance burden (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975054)

Of course, Novell would be free to look at the GNU notices for the exploit fix, examine the code to determine the solution and write different code that does the same thing all without violating copyright. That's a lot less than "the full maintenance burden" you predict.

In the closed source world, the source for the fix would not be available so it would require significant reverse-engineering to figure out the changes (even if you were legally allowed to modify and redistribute the code). The open source model only protects against a simple "copy-and-paste" operation, it isn't designed to protect against more subtle "theft".

Re:Only partial maintenance burden (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975338)

It is a reality of software complexity that writing alternate code *WILL* break existing applications that use libraries and services, just because that won' be the code that the developers and testers are using. That will turn business and careful users away. Novell has alienated themselves from the mainstream of FOSS, and as time goes on things will get worse and worse for them trying to maintain a compatible environment.

Re:Only partial maintenance burden (3, Interesting)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975460)

Yes, and anyone who has ever had to maintain an incompatible fork with a Free Software project knows how difficult and time consuming that can be. In the end Novell will likely be forced to maintain their own fork of nearly all of the GNU tools, a considerable burden. Novell's competitors (ie Red Hat) won't be forced to accept this same burden. Novell already has the added burden of maintaining Netware and other pieces of commercial software. Maintaining versions of GNU software is going to add to its expenses.

More importantly, don't be surprised if Free Software projects start rejecting code from Novell engineers out of hand. After all, under its agreement Novell's customers are safe from infringing on Microsoft's patents, but everyone else's customers are potentially at risk. Anything that Novell engineers contribute has to be judged on that fact. Novell could easily inject software that is covered by Microsoft's patents into Free Software projects knowing that its customers are safe.

It boggles the mind that Novell's executives could take such a large step without talking to its partners in the Free Software community.

Re:Only partial maintenance burden (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16975502)

> Of course, Novell would be free to look at the GNU notices for the exploit fix, examine the code to determine the solution and write different code that does the same thing all without violating copyright. That's a lot less than "the full maintenance burden" you predict.

That is like saying that jumping from a 15 stories building is less deadly that jumping from a 70 stories one.

They could last a bit longer, but when there will be violent merges of new functionality, they will be left maintening their code alone. Hundred of millions of line of code, with no spec, no design and no access to the original developers.

And when code will start requiring GPL v3 compilers, it will get even better. They'll have to adapt the code to the compiler they ship or rewrite such functionality in their GPL v2 branch.

And as glibc will be GPL v3, they will have, hard time supporting new hardware, short of writing chunk of glibc code in GPL v2. And if they copy/paste large chunks of glibc GPL v3 (easy to see, as they have to give the code), they'll get sued immediately!

Hope they have a great marketing department and a great legal department, because they will need them badly :-)

Re:FSF owns what? (1)

Directrix1 (157787) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975040)

Anybody can use the code released under GPLv2 as GPLv2 code. But FSF can and will relicense their code to GPLv3, making any future code changes from the GPLv3 which may not be relicensed to GPLv2.

Re:FSF owns what? (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975062)

Yes but, are patch diffs from GPLv2 to GPLv3 code copyright infractions? Exercises of "Fair Use"? Something else?

Re:FSF owns what? (2, Informative)

Directrix1 (157787) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975480)

These patch diffs would still result in the same body of work being constructed and compiled as the GPLv3 code, and therefore relicensing would not be legal since it would be a copyright violation.

Re:FSF owns what? (4, Insightful)

MORB (793798) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974824)

All the GNU tools bash, cp, mv, rm, etc have copyrights owned by the FSF.

And more importantly, gcc, binutils and glibc. Good luck to Novell to maintain those all by themselves.

Re:FSF owns what? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975030)

Sun did already GPLed Java, so that is already the case.

Open Solaris is open source, and Sun also owns its copyrights. It just ins't GPL.

Re:FSF owns what? (4, Informative)

jonasj (538692) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974546)

You don't get it, let me explain:

WTF? I know its GNU/Linux...but it does not mean that FSF "owns" it.
Of course it does. FSF owns the copyright on the essential GNU software (coreutils, compiler, etc).

And I dont believe that the GPLv2 to GPLv3 transition will leed to a gap between GPLv2 and GPLv3 userlands.
GPLv3 forbids deals like this, so it is illegal for Novell to distribute any software under GPLv3. Therefore they will have to stick with the last versions released under GPLv2.

There are certain aspects of this story that ... (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974364)

...strike me as deja-vu all over again.

does anyone else get that ?

Re:There are certain aspects of this story that .. (1)

bs7rphb (924322) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975626)

Well, yes.

Act fast! (1, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974396)

Novell should act fast on this one. I also wonder whether Novell can ever get anything right. First, it was going Gnome on SUSE Linux, and now it's this seemingly non-starter agreement with Microsoft. What is going on over at Novell is anyone's guess.

Re:Act fast! (1)

NoseyNick (19946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974556)

Going gnome? Hasn't SUSE always offered both KDE and Gnome?

Re:Act fast! (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974622)

Going gnome? Hasn't SUSE always offered both KDE and Gnome?

Not by default. You will also agree that Gnome receives more "love" from Novell than KDE, though KDE is more functional than Gnome by default.

Re:Act fast! (2, Insightful)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975634)

KDE is more functional than Gnome by default.

"Has more functions" != "is more functional". Not for all classes of users.

Re:Act fast! (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975772)

OK I dont mind gnome, but as a non 'enterprise' user of Suse (before Novell bought it) Ive already got the torrents of fedora 6 and we have been taking a look and I like it configuration wise there a new files ive got move about. I'd have to say that damage has been done to Novell

The Google Connection (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16974440)

Hello, perhaps you remember Eric Schmidts involvement with both Google and Novell. I cannot imagine that this was done without his knowledge. If Google uses SUsE, Microsoft can't sue them on that basis. You first read it here. os10000.

NovWinLux (4, Interesting)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974488)

Hrm. Here is a what if scenario. What if Microsoft decides to not go the legal route, and instead starts developing software that helps interoperate Linux to windows, but only through a mechnism that is Novel specific? For example: Novel sells SUSE v25, that is "Windows Enabled", aka comes with that "bonus cd" that contains a propietary software that makes its Linux boxes "just work" with windows systems? For example, whatif you can run some direct x applications almost natively on SUSE because of what Microsoft has done? Now lets say that MCSE also has a subcomponent for SUSE support? As a CIO or a semi-retarded Mid level manager, would you choose a linux that "works well with windows" or a linux that doesnt (not saying that Linux without M$ blessing doesnt work with Windows, I'm just using standard linear "yes or no" type thinking common with mamanagement types in the IT world).

Re:NovWinLux (3, Interesting)

HairyCanary (688865) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974636)

An interesting proposition. But given how long it takes Microsoft to build software, and their track record at building *good* software, I would not worry much about this happening. What you described would take a few years to put together, and by then Novell will be long forgotten and out of date.

Re:NovWinLux (1)

MicrosoftRepresentit (1002310) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975742)

How do you know Microsoft didn't begin work on something like this a long time ago? They could have been writing this compatibility layer alongside the development of Vista for all you know.

Re:NovWinLux (1)

ookaze (227977) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974876)

For example, whatif you can run some direct x applications almost natively on SUSE because of what Microsoft has done? Now lets say that MCSE also has a subcomponent for SUSE support? As a CIO or a semi-retarded Mid level manager, would you choose a linux that "works well with windows" or a linux that doesnt

Where exactly did you see a CIO or semi-retarded mid level manager that could say an OS "works well with Windows" because you can run Direct X applications (mostly entertainment apps) on it ?!
Even if it existed, there is absolutely NO incentive to buy a Linux distro to basically run Windows applications. Windows would be chosen in this case, not SUSE.

Re:NovWinLux (1)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975066)

I dont have any great examples of how this could happen, but if the adage is true "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer" then it could be a very good move for Microsoft to hand pick a flavor of Linux and "support it" in an attempt to draw an audiance of Linux users/enthusiasts into the realm where their IP reigns supreme. M$ has proven, even by "giving away" their software, they INCREASE their market share through simple exposure (does the anti-trust lawsuit ring a bell?). Bottom line, people are going to pick software because it works and how well it interoperates into their environment.

Re:NovWinLux (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975106)

That's not what the idea is.

IMO, the idea is to be able to pitch this as "Microsoft Approved Linux". That way, the paranoid CIO who doesn't want to go down the Linux route for fear of patent infringement or what have you will likely be prepared to sanction Linux - as long as it's SuSE.

Re:NovWinLux (1)

McNihil (612243) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975148)

You give FAR too much credit and benefit of doubt to Microsoft. You will eventually wake up from your illusions.

Re:NovWinLux (1)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975202)

Woah! Thank God you woke me up just in time! I almost hit a telephone pole. My hero. I have no doubt that there is little good that will come for Novel from their dealings with M$, I'm just talking the hypothetical.

Will Novel be the only one? (1)

kwark (512736) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974512)

But is Novell the only distro that will be stuck with the old GPL2 versions of relicensed GPL3 software?

http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/01/25/ 2135222 [slashdot.org] mentioned that there are possible incompatibilities between the DFSF and GPL3. Have they been resolved?

Re:Will Novel be the only one? (1)

ookaze (227977) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974916)

But is Novell the only distro that will be stuck with the old GPL2 versions of relicensed GPL3 software?

Yes

http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/01/25/ 2135222 [slashdot.org] mentioned that there are possible incompatibilities between the DFSF and GPL3. Have they been resolved?

Before asking if they are resolved, you should ask "do they exist ?". Seems to me it's the first step.
There's no point of asking if a non-existant incompatibility is resolved, is there ?

Re:Will Novel be the only one? (1)

kwark (512736) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975022)

You obviously didn't RTFA I linked to. There were incompatibilities with the draft GPL3, so there are possible incompatibilities between the DFSF and a final version of GPL3.

Re:Will Novel be the only one? (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975672)

That's because your link is broken. What's DFSF? Google doesn't know either.

Re:Will Novel be the only one? (1)

kbmccarty (575443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975126)

The latest in-depth discussion I could find on debian-legal is this one from July: link [google.com]

The gist of it is that most of the proposed GPL3 seems OK, there are only a few problematic clauses. This specific message by Francisco Poli has an in-depth analysis: link [google.com]

Fork (1)

janneH (720747) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974522)

This sounds like the beginnings of a fork. Could Microsoft decide to fund the future maintenance/development of SUSE?

Mircrosoft + Novell = ? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16974618)

If microsoft releases a binary fully supported Direct X for Novell Desktops only you can guess what I'll be installing and who will be left behind.

Re:Mircrosoft + Novell = ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16974698)

Then why wouldn't you just use windows?

0/10 troll points for you.

Re:Mircrosoft + Novell = ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16975434)

Think about it. If all your programs worked smoothly (No compatibility/performance issues) would you rather run Windows or would you pick Linux?

Re:Mircrosoft + Novell = ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16975650)

Yeah, because there's nothing on the GNU system (HA! I called it GNU system) that's capable of anything DirectX can do.

How can the GPL v3 change this (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974656)

I don't see how the GPL v3 can force a certain behaviour on MS.

Novell is not giving their customers any rights beyond those Novell or anybody else has. If there is a valid MS patent, suddenly nobody has the right to distribute or use the code.
THe only thing special is MS promised not to sue Novell cutomers.

Re:How can the GPL v3 change this (3, Informative)

ookaze (227977) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975028)

I don't see how the GPL v3 can force a certain behaviour on MS

That's because it can't.

Novell is not giving their customers any rights beyond those Novell or anybody else has. If there is a valid MS patent, suddenly nobody has the right to distribute or use the code.
THe only thing special is MS promised not to sue Novell cutomers


Mmmh no !
Nobody has the right to distribute or use the code IF MS says so.
The problem is that if most of the base OS becomes GPLv3, and Novell uses it, it will pass any patent related agreement (like "promise not to sue") to every FOSS users of the software that has the problem. This would break their contract, or prevent them from using the GPLv3 software.
As most of the code in a distro like Suse comes from outside, they're in for a rude awakening then.

Re:How can the GPL v3 change this (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975668)

Nobody would be able to use or distribute the MS patent encumbered code unless they have a license from MS. This is because nobody has a patent distribution license.

No patent license = no distribution.

Novell does not give the "promise not to sue" to their customers. That is the key issue wrt the GPL. Novell is unable to provide this promise to their customers, but so is every other GPL software distributer.

Really Novell is not doing anything with the GPL code that other distributers aren't.

Too late? (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974692)

"...that Novell faces a choice of sticking with Microsoft and being left behind, or turning its back on the patent deal."
If Novell has already signed a binding contract, they may not be able to turn back. In that case, they will have to stick with Microsoft for better or worse.
From the outside, we will probably not see if they are stuck or just stubborn ;-)

The end of the world is not nigh (0, Flamebait)

kegon (766647) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974708)

> The end of the world is not nigh
And it's not ni! either (OK. Monty Python reference over)

When are FUD-crazed /. readers going to realise...

1. Novell does not own Linux. They do some deal with Microsoft, so what ? They got some free lunches (probably).
2. If mono is more compatible with .net (I don't care but I'm sure someone will) then it's a good thing, right ?
3. Are Novell really p***ing off FSF ? Who are the FSF ? To me FSF is some nebulous movement, it's certainly not an organisation that's right now organising protests in the street.
4. Does anyone really care ? If Novell and FSF don't talk, how will they (FSF) stop Novell from using open source code ? They can't, as long as they respect the licencing.
5. If Novell keep pumping out a few decent bits and pieces of Linux software then can't we be happy with that ?
6. Microsoft haven't pulled a fast one. I'm ready to believe that MS needed compatibility with the rest of the world because OpenOffice.org etc are just getting to strong. They're not the monopoly they used to be. Look at Firefox if you need another example.

Was that a rant ? Sorry if it was.

Re:The end of the world is not nigh (2, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974802)

Do your homework.

The FSF is the Free Software Foundation [fsf.org] , and the owner of the majority of the copyrights on GNU software and the stuff in lots of Linux distributions. It isn't some nebulous movement.

Yes, Novell can do all they want with the OLD code as long as they respect the copyrights. Novell does not have the resources to maintain GPLv2 versions of everything that moves to v3. The point of GNU/Linux is that the community does a lot of the work, not just one company. Novell can't replace that and if they tried, would rapidly fall behind and into the dustbin.

Re:The end of the world is not nigh (1)

MORB (793798) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974886)

"4. Does anyone really care ? If Novell and FSF don't talk, how will they (FSF) stop Novell from using open source code ? They can't, as long as they respect the licencing."

FSF upgrade the license of its open source software to Gplv3 -> Novell can't use them (incompatible with MS agreement), so they are stuck with the last versions licensed with gplv2 -> They now have to maintain it themselves.

The software whose FSF holds the copyright includes gcc, binutils and glibc, so good luck to Novell with that.

Re:The end of the world is not nigh (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975194)

Of course this could cut both ways. If Linus decided to fork the FSF stuff to keep it GPLv2, what impact would that have on the FSF? If there were incompatibilities between the Linux tools and the FSF tools, would most developers prefer having HURD compatibility or Linux compatibility?

Re:The end of the world is not nigh (4, Insightful)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974914)

how will they (FSF) stop Novell from using open source code ? They can't, as long as they respect the licencing.

The FSF can't *retroactively* change the licencing, so Novell can continue to use current versions of GPL v.2 software, BUT, what the FSF can do, and is apparently planning to do, is to change the licence on all the software they own copyright to (presumably including gcc, glibc) from GPL v.2 to GPL v.3. Novell will then be forced to choose to continue using the old frozen GPL v.2 versions, or to keep up with the everyone else and use the newer GPL v.3 versions which would force them (or rather Microsoft) to back out of the Microsoft deal because of the patent implications forced by GPL v.3.

Owning glibc puts FSF in a pretty powerful position, since even if Linus is keeping the kernel under GPL v.2, the kernel is in of itself useless without glibc, and any kernel enhancements would be useless without userland (glibc) support. Of couse it's nt just glibc - the majority of Linux userland is GNU/FSF.

Re:The end of the world is not nigh (2, Informative)

caseih (160668) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975036)

4. Does anyone really care ? If Novell and FSF don't talk, how will they (FSF) stop Novell from using open source code ? They can't, as long as they respect the licencing.

As has been stated many times, Novell can indeed continue to distribute software under the GPLv2. But as the FSF (which owns the copyrights on a lot of software that is critical to any linux distribution, such as the compiler) moves their software to the GPLv3, this new license forbids Novell from distributing such software because of their patent agreement with Microsoft. The GPLv3 does not allow Novell to license a particular patent that is alleged to cover the GPLv3 software to some people but not others. In other words Novell cannot respect the GPLv3 terms because of the patent covenant with Microsoft and therefore can use but not distribute GPLv3 software (well at least such software that is supposedly covered by the patents they licensed).

No in this case paranoia is in fact justified on the rest of your points. The FSF is often portrayed as a bunch of strange, ideological extremists, but the truth of the matter is they are more like prophets. Who would have thought when the FSF started working on the GPLv3 (well they did, obviously) that something as bizarre as this Novell and Microsoft deal would emerge, necessitating the need for the GPLv3. Obviously the FSF saw this coming and in the coming years we will thank them for having the foresight. Now the GPLv3 still isn't settled yet, and there still are legitimate concerns by a lot of people over it. Perhaps this Novell/Microsoft stuff will influence people like Torvalds to really get involved in the process and get everything moved to an acceptable GPLv3 as soon as possible (I have my doubts there).

Re:The end of the world is not nigh (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975160)

Perhaps this Novell/Microsoft stuff will influence people like Torvalds to really get involved in the process and get everything moved to an acceptable GPLv3 as soon as possible

Not gonna happen. Unlike many OS projects, Linus doesn't demand that anyone working on the code assigns their copyright to him (or some other neutral organisation).

Therefore, the entire kernel is a mess of copyrights all over. And some of the things in there were written by people who have sinced passed away, other bits were written by people who definitely don't want to go GPL3 etc etc etc.....

abandoned property? (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975570)

How does that work in the software world? In meatspace there are certain set rules, such as posting notices in the official newspapers, etc. before something that has been abandoned can be auctioned or used or kept.

Perens is a lame-ass mobster --and communist. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16974796)

He's gone from trying to turn "public domain shareware" into dirty communism to now throwing mob-like threats around about whose going to succeed and whose going to fail if they don't get in line with his communist bullshit.

Fuck Bruce Perens. Fuck Free Software Foundation.

Oh, and my family has fought in every fucking war in the past 100 years so Americans like Bruce Perens and Richard Stallman can stand up and make dicks of themselves. That's my "free as in beer" speech for the day.

Re:Perens is a lame-ass mobster --and communist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16975284)

In the past ~100 years virtually every plank of the 1920s American Communist party has become law. Thanks a lot, fucker.

Don't stick a FORK in Novell yet (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974812)

FSF's plans for GPL3 have been pretty controversial in some says, and Novell might not be the only ones who end up saying they don't want it. Who says the GPL2 releases of userland tools will freeze? This is Free Software, people, and anyone can maintain it, including a multimillion dollar company and all the other people who don't like GPL3. All of FSF's software may be headed for a fork.

Re:Don't stick a FORK in Novell yet (3, Insightful)

ookaze (227977) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975180)

FSF's plans for GPL3 have been pretty controversial in some says, and Novell might not be the only ones who end up saying they don't want it

Not a problem, once every GNU software goes GPLv3, they won't need Novell to do the same, mark my word.

Who says the GPL2 releases of userland tools will freeze?

Every people that know about them and works with them. A fork on these would be a HUGE painful task.

This is Free Software, people, and anyone can maintain it, including a multimillion dollar company and all the other people who don't like GPL3. All of FSF's software may be headed for a fork

I think you don't have any idea of the task at hand. Anyway, a fork is not a bad thing.
But if you really believe that all the people out of the MS-Novell deal will contribute to software with a license (GPLv2) that will only help Novell, with risk of a lawsuit as a reward, you're again in for a very rude awakening. I bet all these GPLv2 sofware will go GPLv3 quick, so that it doesn't happen !

Since the day news of this deal broke... (1)

bealzabobs_youruncle (971430) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974842)

I keep asking why Novell would make any deal with MS? How many times have MS stuck it in them? MS managed to marginalize Sun (as they slowly killed themselves off internally as well) so I see why they took the money and ran, but Novell almost appeared on the rebound? A couple guys from Novell spoke at the 2005 Ohio LinuxFest about converting the whole company to Linux and seemed to be True Believers. Why make a deal with the devil when you are finally getting some stuff right?

Perens' Assumption (1, Interesting)

segedunum (883035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974956)

I too think Novell has been scammed into this, but Perens is assuming a lot if he believes that Novell will be left behind. For a start, it is by no means certain that GPL 3 stops this kind of deal (and it would have to be proven), and secondly, all the contributors to GCC and other software may just fork it and remain on GPL 2. The FSF may have copyright on the software, but that software is nothing without many contributors from IBM, Novell, Red Hat and other places.

Re:Perens' Assumption (1)

ookaze (227977) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975280)

For a start, it is by no means certain that GPL 3 stops this kind of deal (and it would have to be proven)

It will specifically address these kind of deals, by the FSF attorney's own mouth.
We're just waiting for it to be written.

and secondly, all the contributors to GCC and other software may just fork it and remain on GPL 2

You're living on denial now ? So you really believe all the contributors, most of them screwed by this deal, will stay GPLv2 to stay screwed ?
Wow, you really think FOSS community are some kind of idiots, don't you ?

The FSF may have copyright on the software, but that software is nothing without many contributors from IBM, Novell, Red Hat and other places

You got to be kidding !
Drop the narrow vision, and try the other way : the Linux distros from IBM, Novell, Red Hat and other places are nothing without the GNU software !
And rest assured at least RH contributors won't work for Novell for free, then to be screwed.
But I forgot : you think they are idiots !

Call me daft, but... (1)

andpigswillfly2 (1031568) | more than 7 years ago | (#16974968)

Why would Novell be left behind? If GPL3.0 states that you can't sue anyone for using the software, what's to stop Novell, Microsoft, big companies et all from just taking it and doing what they want? Nobody would be able to sue them!

Re:Call me daft, but... (1)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975538)

Wow. You crearly have no comprehension of what copyright is.

Daft.

Older versions ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16975102)

So the GPL3 does not include the "or an older version" option ?

Put it in layman's terms (1)

brouski (827510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975104)

Could someone explain in layman's terms why Novell would be barred from releasing GPLv3 licensed codeas a result of the MS deal? Is there a "Thou shalt not make deals with Microsoft" clause?

software patents vs Free Software (1)

iamstan (110049) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975576)

It's not anti Microsoft. It is the oxymoronic concept of software patents.

Software Libre and software patents do not mix. The 4 freedoms of the gplv2 implied this, gplv3 will make it explicit.

Linus' stupity is going to kill corporate Linux (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16975120)

This will undoubtedly get censored to hades by the fanbois, but Linus's stupidity about GPL3 is really screwing over the Linux community. The Novell deal is just the second shot in this battle with Microsoft (SCO being the first).

The next shot will be when Microsoft starts making contributions to the kernel, and creating their own FSF-free Linux distro, as the only distro which is blessed by Microsoft (and interoperates with it). This is the next logical step of embrace and extend. IMHO, it's a major screw-up by Microsoft not to be doing this already; it would truly hurt RedHat and other distros in the money-making space.

At that point, Linus's idiocy over GPL2 would mean that he'd either have to be Microsoft's bitch, or cut over to GPL3. If Microsoft played their cards right, by the time the latter thought dawned on Linus, it would be too late.

If only there were a real alternative.

microsoft has just done that already! (5, Interesting)

krayfx (694332) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975150)

i think novell missed the bus already! microsoft has in effect done precisely what they intended. drive a wedge find a weak link. greedy corporations/ half baked manager/ mgt teams are the precise target. they know it the game very well, novell played by their game, bought the tripe and is now stuck. if what perens has to say is true - staying with old software is too much of a hassle to handle, and the open source community will not touch the 'pariah' code. this in itself a major victory. duplication of efforts by novell and the mess would be grain in the gears.

open source is forging ahead in a lot of things. novell has 2 of the brigtest and hardworking team in them (suse and ximian), what better way to scuttle the open source army's healthy progress! imagine if kde 4 was already out in time for vista (no, they aren't in the same market). things would have looked good for a lot of enterprises to go for solid products like novell desktop with say all the gloss of kde 4. i don't know how this war is heading/ shaping, and also what microsoft's plans are - but one thing's for sure - they have won the battle number one. they've split the community. it upto us in the community to close the ranks, regroup and look for the best possible solution, i wouldnt want novell to go down and taking suse and ximian along with them!

grow up you idiods, /. is hurting linux. (-1, Flamebait)

eadint (156250) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975282)

This is the stupidest thing i have ever heard. i realise that from a philosophical point of view novell and msft are againts the principal of opensource, but it seems like everyone is missing the point. even if msft is evil, the techs who are posting here are compleat morons. these are the verry same techs who have bewailed their phb's because they only trust MS, and now they are attacking novel for what they have done. this is to the techs who are posting here. " you are compleat loosers and assholes and you should be fired and or drummed out of this industry". i dont care if novell made a deal with the devil this now gives me a solid meckanisim to sell linux to my higher ups. The first thing you idiots should have done is to submit a purchase order or to build a project involving novell SUSE to your higher ups, stating the stability of linux and the guaranteed compatibility of SUSE and Windows. pointing to this deal. this is how you can get linux in the office and get a foothold. a year down the line you can switch to what ever distro you like. this is why most industrys wont market or take linux seriosly. because when you get exactly what you want handed to you on a silver platter, you rail about how horrible it is. " grow up, wake up or get out of this buisiness" the posts on this board are doing more to harm linux than anything that MS can do

Re:grow up you idiods, /. is hurting linux. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16975798)

O RLY?

SUSE == Mandrake? (0)

alucinor (849600) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975552)

Mandrake was another distro that lost touch with its community (not to mention its original developers). Reminds me of another distro! I wonder if their fates will be similar.

This isn't a troll now, mind you ... just a concern. SUSE's a great distro technically, but it seems that the Linux OSS community is gravitating [netcraft.com] more and more around Fedora (+ Red Hat & CentOS) and Debian (+ Ubuntu) distros these days ....

Stallman saw this coming!!! (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16975778)

Perhaps he's the second coming of The Messiah! [vlsm.org]

...Or the first if you're jewish...

Oh come on, IT'S FUNNY!


 

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