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13 Reasons To Celebrate the New MS-Novell Pact

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the well-maybe-good-reasons dept.

Linux Business 40

An anonymous reader writes "The recently announced agreement between Microsoft Corporation and Novell, Inc. has resulted in much concern that it could be harmful for Linux and other free software. However, the agreement itself, as well as its timing and comments made by Microsoft executives about it, may actually be a very good thing — and perhaps even worthy of celebration!"

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40 comments

Needs More FUD (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000184)

Whoever wrote this article lives in a fantasy land full of gum drop trees and puppy dog kisses.

Not only are these points weak, they're a stretch. And number four is laughable,
(4) The agreement and accompanying threats are serving as additional bad publicity in the free software community for an increasingly troubled Microsoft, and the effect will be to further motivate developers and users of free software. People do not like to be threatened or bullied, and they can react strongly to it.
That's right, folks, this agreement will make developers so angry that they'll triumph in the face of Microsoft telling them they're all patent infringers. Yep, sound argument to me. Let's see here ... SAMBA developers very happy [slashdot.org] & OpenSUSE devs happy [slashdot.org]. In case you couldn't tell, I was being sarcastic.

And also, some of the footnotes are pure comedic genius,
Benefitting Microsoft could be a good thing, even in the eyes of many advocates of free software, if it helps that company to reallocate its massive resources to emphasize developing truly innovative and quality products instead of attempting (increasingly in vain) to protect a doomed monopoly. These resources include its large number of very talented employees, some of whom are our friends and neighbors.
It's so funny because the way I see it, this was the perfect way to hobble Linux & threaten all the application development on it so that the competition for Windows dwindles & therefore they can produce pure crap and we'll have to use it. Please explain yourself, Linux Information Project.

Re:Needs More FUD (2, Interesting)

Ajehals (947354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000300)

This line made me think of something I hadn't thought to consider before (excuse my rather twisted mental process... and appologies for potentially adding to any MS generated FFUD - it is not intended.)
  Anyway - the line:

That's right, folks, this agreement will make developers so angry that they'll triumph in the face of Microsoft telling them they're all patent infringers.

My thought:

Setting aside for a moment the fact that software patents are not applicable everywhere, and some other points such as the wide geographic spread of OSS developers..

Is it possible that MS or any other patent holder would go after the individual developers responsible for the creation of OSS software?

I don't mean just the large companies or business that use OSS (i.e. groups that could actually pay any compensation) , but the individuals who produce the applications, fixes and add ons that OSS is built up of. The worry here would be that it would place a burden on potential developers and potentially reduce the amount of people willing to contribute...

Moreover with the US seemingly having a much larger international grasp, (not a partisan political comment but there have been a number of cases where US domestic law appears to have been used against individuals with either only tenuous links to the US or no links at all, but where poor exradition agreements exist...) would that potentially threaten international development efforts that are occurring outside the scope of the US patent law?

I hate to say i but when I see a deal like this one I am unable to see any of the good points that must be there and tend to see them more as potential threats to OSS, especially since it seems that OSS is starting (with ODF and others) to impact in markets that have traditionally been associated with Microsoft (either as a Microsoft Dominated area, or as a Microsoft Monopoly.)

Anyway - As I said - this comment is not intended as FFUD or to start/further any myths - just a though

Re:Needs More FUD (1)

Neolith1982 (942696) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006496)

Hmmm... After all I am not so sure anymore, that it is about M$'s patents, but about the ones held by Novell. Maybe M$ is trying to bypass the GPL. Sounds strange, right? See it this way: Novell agreed not to sue Microsoft for Patent violation (this is about Ideas, not source code), so if Microsoft wants to include patents held by Linux corporations, now they can use the ones held by Novell, and they have a reference implementation inside GPL'ed Software. They may not simply cut'n'paste it, but they can reimplement them, without any Danger. sounds even more disturbing the beeing sued because of violating IP, isn't it?

Re:Needs More FUD (1)

grommit (97148) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000470)

I'm missing something here, what does OpenSUSE devs being annoyed at Mark Shuttleworth of Ubuntu have to do with your argument?

At any rate, the article has some merit. In a previous Slashdot linked story, at least one CIO was quoted as saying that this agreement has caused them to not consider Microsoft for a new project that their company is working on.

First in a series... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000240)

  1. Reasons to celibrate Microsoft and Novell pact
  2. Reasons to celibrate torture
  3. Reasons to celibrate anal rape
  4. Profit?

Re:First in a series... (3, Funny)

mqduck (232646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000298)

3. Reasons to celibrate anal rape


Well, at least they didn't get pregnant! *celebrates*

In FUD times we live (2, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000252)

Long gone are the days when developing or using a system was such a simply thing like pressing the power button and enjoying the ride. Unfortunatly people these days are more involved in the political side of the things than in the same process of joy. So for many peoples these days their holy words are "no politics, no joy". MS and Novel have a pact? So what? This will tbe the end of MS? No freaking way! The end of Linux? of course not! So is this whole FUD wave a way to satisfy the politian than most people (men) have inside?

A Test Of The Maturity Of The Open Source World (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000256)

The reaction the open source community finally arrives at as a whole will be an indication of wether or not it has matured to the point where it can function as a legitimate entity in the business world.

There are three distinct reactions to Microsoft's blatant and utterly un-subtle attack on Linux:

1) Swift and decisive public action sending a clear message to the computing and business worlds that this aggression will not stand, man. Novell software and patent minefields like mono are purged from all open source distros and entities.

2) Wallowing in ignorant self-delusion that maybe it will all go away.

3) Self-defeating and inane +5 Insightful masturbatory posts letting everyone know just what a open minded and reasonable person you are for trying to look on the bright side of this frontal assault on Linux. "Hey, Microsoft can't be ALWAYS evil...maybe they just want to be friends!"

Read groklaw.net, get informed. If you aren't scared to hell about the long term implications of this attack on Linux through patents, you haven't read enough about it.

The time for sticking your head in the sand is over. Microsoft is in open war with Linux. And no matter what you think of their products, Microsoft execs live to destroy. And they have you directly in their sights. Are you going to stand there and be slaughtered like a dumb animal or wake up and get informed and take decisive action?

Re:A Test Of The Maturity Of The Open Source World (1)

MrResistor (120588) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000666)

What sort of "decisive action" do you suggest I take?

Re:A Test Of The Maturity Of The Open Source World (1)

j35ter (895427) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001498)

Uninstall Windows!

Re:A Test Of The Maturity Of The Open Source World (1)

MrResistor (120588) | more than 7 years ago | (#17012288)

Done. 4 years ago, in fact. Never looked back. But I don't see how that's particularly helpful in this situation.

Re:A Test Of The Maturity Of The Open Source World (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001058)

The reaction the open source community finally arrives at as a whole will be an indication of wether or not it has matured to the point where it can function as a legitimate entity in the business world.

Fortunately for a lot of us, open source is not linux and linux is not open source. And what one company does to "fight" my righ of givinvg away for free my code (not that I do it, I like being payed for what I program).

I have always thought that, whatever happens with specific companies that are using open source technology can not affect "the open source community", what is the open source community? it is in some way similar to the P2P community. I just can not be shut of, sure, some companies will stop using open source, but so what? no company used open source 10 years ago, and some companies started using it.

As we say in Mexico, do not drawn in a glass of water, if Novell wants to get bought by Microsoft and all that, let them do it. If there are companies that are happy following them GREAT!, at the end, it is about choice and every one of us have maid our choice.

What can they *do*? (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#17003266)

What can Microsoft do? Sue Torvalds? Sue some particular programmer with little income that violated their patents? Sue one of the commercial Linux vendors? Who can Microsoft sue or buy to stop Linux? No-one.
All MS can do is spread FUD. Linux isn't dBase, Linux isn't DOS, Linux isn't FoxPro. It can't just be acquired.

Microsoft Corp. vs the one thing they can't buy and actually have to compete with? I fail to see the threat.

Re:What can they *do*? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17012436)

The threat is that MS destroys good software AND good companies, in effect killing its competition. I fear for Novell, as well as SuSE. It was a dark, sad day when I read that Novell (whom I think should know better by now) has made a deal with MS, "the devil". As I read their newspost, it only got worse. I am concerned that Novell is much too naive, possibly blinded by the money MS is throwing at this "project", and will wake up to the dangers much too late to save their company. Novell and MS have LONG been competitors, and MS has a LONG history of conquering and destroying their competition. I pray this will not happen to Novell, or SuSE. Just my 2 cents' worth...

Software patents are dead! (2, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007724)

If you aren't scared to hell about the long term implications of this attack on Linux through patents, you haven't read enough about it


In the 1800s they had a law in England that forced every self-propelled vehicle on the road to have a horseman precede it waving a red flag. Many historians argue that this law had a strong effect in delaying the invention of automobiles. I don't think so. The automobile was invented as soon as a suitable engine was developed. The boilers and steam engines of the mid-1800s were practical only for locomotives, they were too heavy to use without steel rails. As soon as lightweight engines were available, the red-flag law was rescinded.


I think software patents are just trying to delay the inevitable, the old-style software business is dead. Free software is what Clayton Christensen called a "disruptive innovation". It will kill the old business model because the old model is stuck in a corner from which it cannot evolve. The most they can do to delay the inevitable end is to outsource development to some less-developed countries where programmers get lower wages, but that is a self-limiting process.


In the end, free source will prevail because it uses the power of the internet, where people from the whole world can participate in a project. Intellectual property is a two-edged sword: it allows companies to derive higher profits by charging royalties from every user, but at the same time every user must pay again for a development that has already been paid for. In the end, a free market will always favor the one who has lower costs.

Re:Software patents are dead! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17041326)

Hi,

From what I can tell, the FSF itself is currently the worst enemy of the OSS, not Microsoft or Novell.

We don't need GPL v3, we need FSF 2.0 - a less zealous, more practical FSF focused on free software ( or perhaps just "insanely cheap" software ) and less on making legal, moral, and intellectual arguments. The FSF's argument that it is in the best interest of humanity for developers to give source away... OK I can buy that part. The problem is that which is more efficient? Do I want to pay a drug company a $1B to sell me an AIDS drug that works -or- let 2000 chemists work for free out of their basements on 25 different drugs, none of which work all that well? The proof is in the pudding: after 10+ years of GNU, I still have a marginally aceptable replacement for the average home user. If Compaq could sell their low end crap-top for 25% cheaper by leaving out Microsoft, they would. The reality is that, on an inflation adjusted basis, computer are vastly less expensive than they once were. The fallacy of the FSF is that people are getting nearly free software and they are OK with that. Not everyone wants to build their own car from parts, even an if they were an auto mechanic, and even if the parts were totally free.

When I install "M$ stuff" on my 5 year old laptop it just works. When I install Linux, it barfs and requires me to obtain myriads other pieces to make it work, and generally is less stable in terms of the GUI stuff than Windows. Sure I don't have Windows, but not soemthing that grandma could do. Its not "better" software, its just "free." Are you telling me that this is the vision of the FSF come true? Tha the software is free, but nobody can or wants to use it? Or that chances are, as an OSS developer, your code will end up on the sidewalk with 20 other similar projects. Microsoft gets to write their product one, the OSS community gets to write 10 times as much code to finally arrive at the same place, with 90% of that effor being discarded.

That is not the greater good promised by the FSF. The FSF has failed to deliver - and we need to admit this, move on, kick the bastards out, and recast it as an organization that can deliver on the promises it made: free software, that works, for the masses. And that cannot happen when you have 200 teams independantly working on stupid things like 200 different XML parsers or 10 desktop environments. FSF 2.0 needs to focus on EFFICIENT use of all this good will, and co-opting corporate development by making it EASY for corporations to use or open source stuff. GPLv3 is just going too be to radical, anti-IP, and frankly impractical. LT knows this, hopefully others will too. And I certainly think he's a vastly smarter guy than most of us.

So far, because of the impractical standpoint of the FSF, Open Source has yet to be a disruptive influence: 99% of the computers on the planet run closed source software and operating sytems, and even many Linux servers and some desktops run apps which are closed source to perform their primary function. So perhaps its time to point the finger at the people who have failed us: the FSF itself. Its time to get over Kant - he was a twit.

-- Bob ( Anonymouse Coward #29423i2 )

Re:A Test Of The Maturity Of The Open Source World (1)

strikethree (811449) | more than 7 years ago | (#17013606)

The reaction the open source community finally arrives at as a whole will be an indication of wether or not it has matured to the point where it can function as a legitimate entity in the business world.

Your comment does not parse. Groups are not individuals. The "open source community" will never be able to "function as a legitimate entity in the business world." because as far as I can tell, the "open source community" does not particularly care about the business world. If they did, they would not be writing open source software.

If the business world sees a way to integrate open source software/practices/whatever into their business plans, great. If they don't, again, great.

I just feel dirty speaking of all of the varied interests, business and open source, as entities with goals that are common to all of the individuals that are grouped within them.

strike

1 reason. (1)

Square Snow Man (985909) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000262)

There is just one single reason why you should not comment or give this link to other people, the more traffic this gets the more of these "news" posts we get on slashdot. I for one do not welcome our FUD overlords.

Re:1 reason. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17000402)

So, where exactly is the Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt in this very optimistic article?

In other news... (5, Funny)

Chaffar (670874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17000270)

13 reasons to celebrate when people commit suicide:
  1. more food for us (unless the person was a fashion model).
  2. more jobs for us (unless the person was unemployed)
  3. more housing available to us (unless the person was a hobo)
  4. less mating opportunities available to the opposite sex (unless the person was just as much a loser as you)
  5. it gives cops and forensics experts a job
  6. it helps Hollywood plotlines
  7. helps the environment (less strain on resources, and the body will eventually be used as fertilizer)
  8. There's a 19.8% [infoplease.com] chance that he isn't white (unless you aren't white)
  9. Supermarket lines will potentially be shorter.
  10. There will probably be free food available at the funeral.
  11. Dressing up in black suits is always cool.
  12. You could take a hair comb, attach a LED to one end of it, and act as if you're from MIB.
  13. If there weren't any suicides, then this list wouldn't have existed.

Linfo.org Owned By Microsoft (2, Interesting)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002436)

Microsoft has ever so recently started creating it's own 'pro-windows' Linux websites and putting up propoganda. Linfo.org is one of those sites. It's registered to an email of ips@connectexpress.com who do promotions for companies. The registrant is from Bellevue, Washington where half of the Microsoft campus is (Redmond is LITERALLY across the street).

The phone number used for registering this site goes to an answering service. This is nothing more than a propoganda site sponsored by Microsoft

Re:Linfo.org Owned By Microsoft (2, Informative)

What'sInAName (115383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17003072)


Umm, complete bullshit. The site you mentioned was formed by the Bellevue Linux Users group (or at least hosted there.) See their site here:

http://www.bellevuelinux.org/index.html [bellevuelinux.org]

ConnectExpress.com is one of their sponsors.

Re:Linfo.org Owned By Microsoft (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17003192)

Excuse my skepticism. I've never heard of you guys; I live in Seattle and go to the Seattle Java Users Group, PHP Meetup and a few others and have NEVER heard of the Bellevue Linux Users group.

Not saying you don't exist, it's just that saying you are a Linux users group in the heart of Microsith-town is like saying you are the Iraqi Democracy Committe in the heart of Baghdad and saying how great the American invasion was for Iraq. A sensible person is going to have his doubts as to your credibility.

Just out of curiosity, what companies do your members come from? I happen to know most of the open source vendors and companies using and developing open source tools in that area.

Re:Linfo.org Owned By Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17005476)

Excuse my skepticism.

Skepticism? That wasn't skepticism. That was the nonsensical ravings of tinfoil-hat wearing nutter.

Not saying you don't exist, it's just that saying you are a Linux users group in the heart of Microsith-town is like saying you are the Iraqi Democracy Committe in the heart of Baghdad and saying how great the American invasion was for Iraq. A sensible person is going to have his doubts as to your credibility.

You are anything but a sensible person. And you still won't apologise; you're trying to find excuses for your half-baked accusations.

Re:Linfo.org Owned By Microsoft (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17005918)

Calling names really encourages people to apologize. However I understand your general anger over my false accusation. I retract my assertion and apologize for confusion that may have occurred. While all evidence seemed to add up, sometimes 1+1!=2

Re:Linfo.org Owned By Microsoft (2, Interesting)

N. P. Coward (953833) | more than 7 years ago | (#17005762)

Excuse my skepticism. I've never heard of you guys; I live in Seattle and go to the Seattle Java Users Group, PHP Meetup and a few others and have NEVER heard of the Bellevue Linux Users group.

You live there? What are you doing December 12th?

Barnes & Noble Downtown Bellevue 106th Ave. NE, Bellevue, WA (425) 451-8463

Go check 'em out. Report back to us what you find. (One darkly clothed guy with a win XP laptop surreptitiously uploading photos of anyone searching for the Bellevue LUG?)

See: http://www.bellevuelinux.org/meeting.html [bellevuelinux.org]

Re:Linfo.org Owned By Microsoft (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006002)

I'm more familiar with the greater Seattle Linux Users Group. In reading some of the members, one of the guys who shows up at these meetings started the PHP Users Group and when I showed up at one found a guy who only wanted to talk about how .NET rocked and PHP sucked ass. While being a LAMP developer in the process of converting to Tomcat, I wouldn't argue that PHP sucks (as all languages suck on some level) but to have a users group to talk about a competing product is very off putting ( I won't mention the PHP Meetup where the local Ruby Meetup sponsor came and did recruiting to get people to move to Ruby).

While my accusations appear to be unfounded (to which I sincerely apologize), it's unfortunate that anyone can start a users group and spout any kind of nonsense they want. It's a bit like the Slashdot forum (irony is deliberate).

Re:Linfo.org Owned By Microsoft (1)

What'sInAName (115383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006880)


Actually, I'm not part of their group. I just did a few minutes of research with google. It's probably not surprising if you haven't heard of them; the greater Seattle area is after all quite large.

BTW, was there some pro-MS, and/or anti-open source FUD on that website that raised your suspicions? I didn't see any, but I only took a quick look. Most of what I read sounded pretty pro-Linux to me.

Re:Linfo.org Owned By Microsoft (1)

splashbot01 (1032554) | more than 7 years ago | (#17006728)

Yes, this article is clearly pure FUD. It is apparently a creation of Bellevue Linux Users Group [bellevuelinux.org]. And it is an open secret here in the Seattle area that Bellevue Linux Users Group was started by Microsoft and that several of its members are Microsoft employees. Taking over SuSE, starting their own LUGs -- what will those clever folks in Redmond think of next? By the way, does anybody know if Microsoft is also doing this in other cities?

Re:Linfo.org Owned By Microsoft (3, Informative)

vojtech (565680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17007806)

I would seriously doubt that.

According to the linfo.org pages, linfo is a project of the Bellevue Linux Users Group [bellevuelinux.org].

Checking out whois isn't always the most reliable way to figure out who is behind a site.

Would you expect this [linfo.org] on a Microsoft-owned website?

(And yes, I do work for Novell. And I don't have much of a reason to defend the site, since most of the reasons listed don't expect Novell to survive, only to serve as a bad example.)

IBM and Novell are both doing what Microsoft wants (1)

gross one (1032464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17003202)

With the IBM and Novell news, unfortunately LINUX is in EXACTLY the same position UNIX was almost ten years ago. IBM, and Microsoft/Novell have effectively fragmented the LINUX industry, and potentially weakened Open Source in general. Following history, both Novell and Red Hat will continue to add value, and further distance their distributions from each other, and other distro's such as Ubuntu, Debian, etc ... Didn't we learn anything from the UNIX/Windows wars?

Re:IBM and Novell are both doing what Microsoft wa (1)

bensch128 (563853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17018360)

I hate to break it to you, but the linux community was fragmented A LONGGG time before Microsoft and/or IBM started paying attention to it. The different distros, each with their own little tweaks and changes ensure that Linux is always be fragmented. This is healthy (IMHO) because it reduces monoculture and encourages innovation. If you are not a power user and want to be able to use a stable distrobution, then go with Redhat or SuSe. As long as you keep your home partition separate from the root partition, then you can transition easily when/if your distro bellyflops and/or goes bankrupt.

Ultimately, this won't happen because of the power of opensource. Anyone can fork a distro and maintain it. Anyone can take diffs/code from another distro and apply it to their own. So your favorite distro will probably never die but live on in another name. This is an impossibility in a M$-centered world though. Innovation (except for theirs, and not even so much then...) is discouraged.

Cheers
Ben

Re:IBM and Novell are both doing what Microsoft wa (1)

gross one (1032464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17018734)

I agree for the most part. But there is still one very large question mark, what will the ISV's do? Like it or not, software availability drives the OS, not the other way around. Most large businesses are looking for prepackaged applications, either not having the resources, or the time to write from scratch. So the dilemma for ISV's is what distro do I write to?
For a while there was hope that controlling the LINUX kernel would reduce fragmentation. Instead now the market becomes even more fragmented, with some applications running only on SuSE, some only on RedHat.
Until LINUX solves this problem, we will be forever in the OS wars, even between LINUX and LINUX. Large businesses will stay away for the most part, and LINUX will be relegated to a much smaller portion OS than it deserves.

I oppose (1)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 7 years ago | (#17003260)

I oppose Novell's agreement with Microsoft and I will abandon the SUSE sphere soon. I am about to join the Ubuntu cosmos (without this meaning that I enjoyed their recent binary driver announcement, but that's another story). Note to Debian developers : I would install exclusively Debian on all of my machines and servers if it was officially 64bit and had more updated software.

Re:I oppose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17005916)

oh joy! he's gonna install debian on all his machines! quickly now, everybody get to work.

Re:I oppose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17008658)

> I would install exclusively Debian on all of my machines and servers if it was officially 64bit and had more updated software. So, in other words, you will install Debian on all your machines and servers?

Re:I oppose (1)

bensch128 (563853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17018452)

Hah, we install all of our servers with Debian testing and don't give a rats ass if it's "officially" 64bit or not. 99% of the linux applications are not written to take advantage of 64bit (unless the compiler is a hell of a lot more powerful then it really is) so whatever small performance increase 64bit could provide in terms of server application (mostly code compiling) doesn't really matter...

Cheers
Ben

Re:I oppose (1)

sbigbrain (1035376) | more than 7 years ago | (#17099146)

Ubuntu is good. Don't know about Suse though. I don't like the idea of Microsoft and Novell striking a deal at all. It's almost betraying open source. Besides, who using Linux would want to use Microsoft products anyway?
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