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Why the Novell / MS Deal Is Very Bad

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the laying-it-out dept.

Novell 367

jamienk writes "PJ from Groklaw has taken the time to really explain the big picture of the Novell/MS deal and how it all fits into the SCO case and the strategy some have employed to attack Free Software. If you thought PJ was becoming too shrill before, or if you haven't understood what the big deal is with Novell's agreement, it's really worth a read." From the article: "This is Groklaw's 2,838th article. We now have 10,545 members, who have worked very hard to disprove SCO's scurrilous claims, and we did. We succeeded, beyond my hopes when we started. But here's the sad part. As victory is in sight, Novell signs a patent agreement with Microsoft..."

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367 comments

WTF: Novell moves to waive SCO's case? (3, Interesting)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124604)

I just popped over to google finance and saw that this had come in today, not mentioned in TFA: http://www.cbronline.com/article_news.asp?guid=2BF 9274C-A4EF-4A3F-8E14-ABFBA2178EF8 [cbronline.com] Can somebody who has been following this a bit closer explain this? It's getting quite hard to tell who is friend or foe any more... And in any case, why bother... their stock is toast, so couldn't IBM just buy a controlling interest for $11.2M and wind it down?

Re:WTF: Novell moves to waive SCO's case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17124718)

... their stock is toast, so couldn't IBM just buy a controlling interest for $11.2M and wind it down?

I don't think that's the way IBM wants to handle these things. They could have bought SCO from the beginning if they wanted to, but IBM prefers to crush 'em like a bug they are.

Re:WTF: Novell moves to waive SCO's case? (0, Offtopic)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124774)

Well Novell's total current assets are around $1,625,564,000.00 (call it 1 1/2 billion). Their total assets are around $2,422,600,000.00 (well over 2 billion). After liabilities their Net Tangible Assets are about $669,085,000.00 (call it 1/2 billion). If you can pick them up for 11.2M, I'd like to know how.

Re:WTF: Novell moves to waive SCO's case? (5, Interesting)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124814)


And in any case, why bother... their stock is toast, so couldn't IBM just buy a controlling interest for $11.2M and wind it down?


The short answer, no.

The SCO Group has dug themselves into a rather large litigation hole that surpasses what it would cost to purchase the entire company. They owe something like $20 million to Novell in royalties, Red Hat has a lawsuit which TSCOG will likely lose now that its become obvious to the court that they had been lying all along, and there is the potential of investor lawsuits due to the run up in the stock price to over $20 dollars a share and the eventual collapse as everyone realized they were lying about their evidence.

So you see it would be foolish for IBM to purchase TSCOG at this point because of the huge financial risk now hanging over them.

Re:WTF: Novell moves to waive SCO's case? (3, Interesting)

JPriest (547211) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125114)

Quite simply, the debt and liabilities are worth more then the company. The only asset they have left is their ownership of the UNIX license, and with Novell's clause it looks like they might not really even own that.

IBM doesn't want to invite suit-as-exit-strategy (5, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124818)

... why bother... their stock is toast, so couldn't IBM just buy a controlling interest for $11.2M and wind it down?

Doing so would invite thousands of nuisance suits from people who want to be bought off by being bought out. Suing IBM would become both a neat way to make a few million bucks and an exit strategy for every failing company that could make a vuagely-plausible argument that IBM had something to do with their fall.

So instead IBM has chosen to counter-attack, sucking all the blood out of SCO and leaving a dessicated corpse hanging on a spike for all to see.

It's an object lesson on the pitfalls of trying extortion on Big Blue.

They have had this policy for a while. SCO is just the biggest band of fools-or-crooks to come along in a long time, trying something new with ramifications in one of the biggest-bucks fights in a long time: the war between Microsoft and Open Source. So SCO gets the biggest spotlight.

Re:WTF: Novell moves to waive SCO's case? (5, Informative)

rm69990 (885744) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125248)

Novell didn't really sell Unix to SCO. SCO became a Unix licensing agent for Novell, but technically SCO does own the title to the Unix contracts. SCO collects money on these contracts, remits 100% to Novell, and then Novell pays SCO a pittance for its duties (5%). In order to protect its interests, Novell retained the right, "at its sole discretion and direction, to require SCO to amend, supplement, modify or waive any rights under, or assign any rights to, any SVRX licensee". If SCO failed to abide by this direction, Novell retained the right "to take any such action on behalf of SCO". Novell exercized this right in June 2003, August 2003 and Feb 2004, and is now asking the court for Summary Judgment to force SCO to recognize these 2+ year old waivers. Read the motion, it goes into great detail. Hope that helps enough that you don't have to though, that's the general gist of it.

Re:WTF: Novell moves to waive SCO's case? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17125412)

As I understand it:

In the early days of the SCO-IBM (and other SCO litigation), Novell invoked a clause in the APA that said that if SCO did something Novell decided was inappropriate with regards to licensing of SVRX, Novell could stop SCO from doing what they were doing.

When SCO opened the case with IBM and threatened to pull IBM's license to distribute Unix, Novell said "no, you can't do that". SCO refused to follow Novell's instructions, and Novell said "if you won't do it, then under this part of the agreement, we'll do it for you" and did. SCO continued to litigate. Novell now appears to be asserting that SCO is in violation of that section of the APA because Novell invoked part of the agreement and SCO refused to comply, which puts them in breach of contract.

It seems that Novell is now asking the court to enforce their rights under the APA. Something they should have done a long time ago, but probably was held up because the mediation clause of the United Linux agreement was invoked.

second post... (-1, Offtopic)

Grog6 (85859) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124638)

Now I can say all the mean, irresponsible things that PJ won't let me say on GL!

$%#^$#%^$%&$&@#$!@#$^*&*&!!!

Now I feel Better...

The true battle... (0, Offtopic)

alphamugwump (918799) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124650)

... is against yourself.

Seriously though, I bet Suse loves all the good PR they're getting right now.

Okay I just don't get it (4, Interesting)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124656)

Could someone explain to me, in simple terms, how this effects anything I have anything to do with?

I use Ubuntu, why should this matter to me? If the Ubuntu folks don't like what Novell is doing can't they just ignore whatever Novell is doing?

Everyone is acting like this is the end of Linux as we know it. Honestly could someone explain why this is?

Re:Okay I just don't get it (5, Informative)

astrashe (7452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124728)

Ubuntu isn't made soley by volunteers, although volunteers play a big role in it. A lot of companies pay people to work on linux, and they do it because it fits into their business plan.

MS is probably never going to come after you for license money. But they might go after big companies that support linux -- IBM, RedHat, etc. And they might scare large enterprise customers away from linux.

If these things happen, your free ubuntu starts to wither and die. All of a sudden there aren't the hardware drivers you need, the fancy new desktop software, etc.

Linux is an ecosystem, and all of the parts need to be healthy in order for it to continue. While this situation doesn't threaten you personally, it does effect other vital members of our ecosystem, and if they go down, we're all going to be a lot worse off over the long run,

All of a sudden there aren't the hardware drivers (4, Funny)

WhatDoIKnow (962719) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124966)

Geez, I don't have the hardware drivers NOW.

:wq

Re:All of a sudden there aren't the hardware drive (5, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125164)

Linux supports more devices "out of the box" than any other operating system ever has. [kroah.com] Yes, even FreeBSD.

The other key highlight of this talk was:

Closed source Linux kernel modules are illegal.
Closed source Linux kernel modules are unworkable.
Closed source Linux kernel modules are unethical.

So who the hell is this guy? He's Greg Kroah-Hartman. Who the hell is that? He's a kernel developer. His name appears 149 times in my kernel sources (Ubuntu patched, 2.6.15). And, perhaps more tellingly it appears at the top of the files:

    drivers/pci/pci-sysfs.c and
    drivers/pci/search.c

both of which contain many functions which are called from functions in this file:

    NVIDIA-Linux-x86-1.0-8776-pkg1/usr/src/nv/os-inter face.c

What's that? It's wrapper for the closed source NVIDIA kernel module. What license is that under? The NVIDIA Software License [nvidia.com] . It's basically a proprietary EULA with a redistribution (without modification) exception for distros. It sure aint the GPL, or "as free" as the GPL (which is techically what the GPL requires for derived works).

So Greg.. why don't you sue them? You've made your position clear, fight them. If you havn't got the money, contact the FSF, assign your copyright to them, get them to fight. Given the choice between opening their source code or not being able to distribute their software at all, NVIDIA will choose to open their source code. How can I be so sure? Cause people buy their chipsets to integrate into things like set top boxes and other devices that run Linux. They need that embedded market, that's why they released the drivers in the first place. The problem is that no-one is making them choose.

Re:All of a sudden there aren't the hardware drive (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125438)

I'm convinced he's the guy who got the Kororra live cd shut down [kororaa.org] ...

We received an email from a kernel developer insisting that we cease distributing the livecd with these drivers as he claimed they were a violation of the Linux kernel GPL license.

Re:All of a sudden there aren't the hardware drive (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125526)

Tis very interesting that. Once again mentions Greg Koah-Hartman's talk. I just think it's a shame he didn't post the email.

Re:All of a sudden there aren't the hardware drive (4, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125552)

Unfortunately, it wouldn't be a simple case to prosecute.

You see, Nvidia distributes two works they present as separate. A binary blob, and a 'shim' under the GPL, whose only purpose is to load their blob and link it into the kernel.

Also, Nvidia doesn't distribute the kernel.

So, while it's clearly illegal to distribute a working system using this two-part driver as part of the linux kernel, it's not quite clearly illegal to distribute just those two parts without the kernel, which is what Nvidia does.

They're exploiting a loophole in the GPL, and unfortunately, while I believe a court would probably rule against them in the end, once the entire situation was clearly explained, this would be an incredibly expensive proposition.

Suing distro makers that bundle the kernel, shim, and blob together in a usable form would be much easier, but you know what? No one really wants to sue a distro maker for trying to make their customers lives easier. That's a last resort, only if and when it becomes clear that simply talking to them won't do the trick. And that's how it should be. We're a community, and we don't and shouldn't jump to sue each other unless and until everything else has been tried and failed.

Re:Okay I just don't get it (2, Insightful)

Sam Ritchie (842532) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125112)

If these things happen, your free ubuntu starts to wither and die.

In my opinion, this attitude is a perversion of the ideals behind the creation of the GPL. The purpose of the license, as I understand it, wasn't to ensure that an army of paid developers were incessently toiling away to provide you with free software, it was to ensure that when said army disappeared, you had the source code and weren't left with unmaintainable binaries. There appears to be this persistent assumption that GPL == evil multinationals being forced to spend their ill-gotten gains providing free stuff to hobbyists. But maybe I'm wrong and that's exactly what the GPL's meant to do these days.

Re:Okay I just don't get it (2, Insightful)

strider44 (650833) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125120)

So tell me, why would companies care about this deal? Is Red Hat going to stop supporting Linux because Novell and Microsoft promised not to sue eachother? I frankly don't see much FUD from Novell, only the critics of this deal. I usually hold PJ up to a relatively high regard, but this article is mostly FUD not antiFUD as it seems to want to be. I don't know where those quotes come from? What does the proceeding article have to do with Novell?

Noone has given me a single reason why this deal is bad for Linux. They say that it pretends that there is patent troubles with Linux, something with Novell denies. The article claims it made Suse Linux more expensive, which seems hard to believe seeing how Novell made several million dollars out of this deal.

So put away the "this is what will happen" argument and try going for "this is what will happen, and this is why" because I just don't see any why.

Re:Okay I just don't get it (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17125386)

Noone has given me a single reason why this deal is bad for Linux.


Twelve o'clock has given you a single reason why this deal is bad for Linux?

Re:Okay I just don't get it (4, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124730)

Nah, this deal affects all of us. It basically says Microsoft is going to start suing users of Linux (except Novell's customers). Not that they are, but it makes people who care about this stuff nervous. As for Ubuntu, well, they could be in for some new and different pain soon. They're putting proprietary video card drivers into the default install of the distro. That's clearly illegal. Kernel developers could sue them. Not that they will either, cause they're pussies. You shouldn't want to run that stuff anyways. If you wanna run proprietary software, go run Windows, or buy a Mac.

Re:Okay I just don't get it (2, Insightful)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124810)

If they are saying they aren't going to start suing Novell with this deal, doesn't that imply that they could sue everyone anyway? And if so then what is the harm of them saying they won't sue Novell. After all if they can sue Linux vendors anyway what does one agreement with one company change?

Re:Okay I just don't get it (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124866)

No, they havn't promised not to sue Novell, they have promised not to sue Novell's customers. That said, yes, before the deal they could have sued anyone, and after the deal they can't sue certain people but can sue everyone else.. so what? Nothing has changed? Well yeah, except that no-one actually believed Microsoft could sue anyone but now a couple of million dollars on the table says Novell's lawyers think they can (otherwise it's just a bit circlejerk, and hey, that's likely too).

Re:Okay I just don't get it (2, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125022)

now a couple of million dollars on the table says Novell's lawyers think they can (otherwise it's just a bit circlejerk, and hey, that's likely too).

Or maybe Novell just wanted a couple hundred million George Washingtons.

Because one of four things I can think of is going on:

1. Novell just thought that the partnership would be good (remember, something like $300 mil) completely unrelated to IP issues
2. Novell's lawyers think there ARE IP issues with Linux, and they plan on dropping distribution of Linux when it hits the fan
3. Novell's lawyers think there are IP issues with Linux, and they are wagering that either the GPL will be held to be unenforcible, that they won't be exposed to large judgments, or that the Linux developers will be too poor/busy/not care enough to sue
4. Novell's lawyers can't read

Because if it turns out that there ARE IP issues with Linux, Novell can't distribute it either. Which means that they must cease or face a possible lawsuit from everyone who has code in the kernel.

Occam's razor, in my mind, is pretty clear that #1 seems the most probable.

They didn't make that promise, either (2, Interesting)

l2718 (514756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125180)

What they did promise is not to sue their own customers:
Microsoft reserves the right to update (including discontinue) the foregoing covenant pursuant to the terms of the Patent Cooperation Agreement between Novell and Microsoft that was publicly announced on November 2, 2006; however, the covenant will continue as to specific copies of Covered Products distributed by Microsoft for Revenue before the end of the Term.
As you can plainly see, at any time it wishes Microsoft is free to "discontinue" the convenant and then sue Novell's customsers, as well Novell and anyone else who contributed code to SuSE and might have thought the convenant protected them. The only exception is for Microsoft's paying customers, and event their covenant is only guaranteed to last for the 5-year term of the convenant, at the end of which they can be sued too.

Re:Okay I just don't get it (5, Insightful)

fabioaquotte (902367) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125002)

The problem is that Novell's agreement can be seen as legitimizing Microsoft's claims, which can create fear among companies thinking about adopting GNU/Linux.

Not because they are pussies (4, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125100)

They don't sue Ubuntu because those guys are clearly NOT trying to circumvent the spirit of the license. It's Nvidia and their ilk that are doing that. And as long as they aren't actually distributing code, they can get away with it. Suing Ubuntu wouldn't hurt them directly, and would hurt some good people that are trying to do the right thing, so don't expect to see that happen.

What I do expect will happen, at some point, is someone with standing to sue will initiate a dialogue with them, and they'll remove the drivers. I don't think anyone is in a huge hurry about that, however, for the reasons outlined above.

Re:Not because they are pussies (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125308)

They don't sue Ubuntu because those guys are clearly NOT trying to circumvent the spirit of the license.

Excuse me? They're taking stuff that the relevant kernel developers have clearly said is illegal, unworkable and unethical and they're distributing it. They should be shunning these drivers, not proping them up.

And as long as they aren't actually distributing code, they can get away with it.

The only reason they're getting away with it is because the relevant kernel developers are not suing them.

What I do expect will happen, at some point, is someone with standing to sue will initiate a dialogue with them, and they'll remove the drivers.

I dont think that's going to happen. I think we're going to learn to live with it. Then the next time some hardware company sees an advantage in making a closed source driver for Linux, they'll point at the NVIDIA drivers and say "well, they're ok, so we'll be ok." And ya know what? They will be. Then everything will fall apart.

If you don't care about your freedom, you'll lose it.

I'd love to do something about this. I have some ideas about what I could do about this. Maybe some people would like to help me [mailto] , but the people who are in the best position to do something about this are Greg Kroah-Hartman, Martin Mares, avid Mosberger-Tang, Frederic Potter and Drew Eckhardt. They wrote the code that NVIDIA is illegally linking to. They put that code under the GPL. Was there a point to that?

Re:Not because they are pussies (2, Informative)

Arker (91948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125510)

And as long as they aren't actually distributing code, they can get away with it.

The only reason they're getting away with it is because the relevant kernel developers are not suing them.

You misinterpreted the word they in that sentence, and I confess I should have written that more clearly and I inadvertently encouraged your confusion. The they above is Nvidia and co, not Ubuntu.

Look, here's how I see it, and I suspect how the kernel devs may well see it. Nvidia has found a loophole to exploit. Nvidia doesn't distribute the kernel. They do distribute a shim, which is clearly a derived work of the kernel, but they obey their obligations on the shim. The binary blob, in and of itself, is NOT clearly a derived work of the kernel, it's Nvidia's own property.

Now this doesn't solve the problem, but it shifts the act of infringement. Nvidia is not directly infringing. Anyone that ships the three parts, the kernel, the shim, and the blob, together in a useful form, IS infringing - but Nvidia has enough wiggle room to argue in court.

A distro shipping their shim+blob driver, on the other hand, is technically infringing. But they aren't doing it with malice - they're just trying to do the right thing for their customers, who really don't want to deal with all this. It's Nvidias fault, not theirs. Hence it makes sense to deal with the distros gently - even though they are the ones that are technically in violation, they aren't the ones from whom the intent to violate is coming. And free software has always been fairly gentle with compliance issues, seeking compliance rather than to punish. How much more gentle then, when dealing with a distro maker, a member of the community, that genuinely believes (though in error) that they are doing the right thing?

Is that more clear?

Re:Okay I just don't get it (1)

Nitewing98 (308560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125106)

Quantum G wrote:

You shouldn't want to run that stuff anyways. If you wanna run proprietary software, go run Windows, or buy a Mac.

I run both a Mac and an Ubuntu box. For me it's a "unix is better than Windows" issue, not a "proprietary vs. free software issue"

That said, I agree that the linux community is under threat, and that this latest blunder by Novell is going to wind up being something they (and we) regret.

However, since we're all pretty sure that there isn't any infringement, I'm not all that worried. Even (worst case) if there IS some code cross-over, the OSF community will remove the offending code and re-code it. While I understand what Microsoft and SCO are trying to do, I believe that linux (and FreeBSD etc.) have way too much momentum behind them at this point to be stopped.

Re:Okay I just don't get it (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125196)

since we're all pretty sure that there isn't any infringement there it is again. Bruce! we need you again. [slashdot.org] As for not a "proprietary vs. free software issue", way to miss the point. I wish you, Linus Torvalds and Wernher von Braun could go have a beer together.

Re:Okay I just don't get it (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125276)

I know that this is hard to understand, but sometimes in life people won't share your opinions. This doesn't make them wrong, or stupid. It just means they don't have the same beliefs as you.

Re:Okay I just don't get it (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125346)

He has the right to be apolitical, and I have the right tell him he's a fool. How's that saying go again? The problem with ignoring politics is that you end up being ruled by such idiots?

Re:Okay I just don't get it (1)

thebdj (768618) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125398)

since we're all pretty sure that there isn't any infringement there it is again. Bruce! we need you again.

Actually, his statement is not entirely wrong here. In the legal since, they may not be violating a copyright because they can be invalidated in court. It is not like copyright where it is relatively cut and dry, until fair-use comes into play. Patents are currently an icky mess, and I think a big reason you do not see these lawsuits against Linux with all these patents is because they know their house of cards will come tumbling down. OH, and because IBM could put Microsoft into patent litigation until we are all dead with their patent portfolio. They received an estimated 5,000 patents in two years alone. Note who isn't on this list [uspto.gov] .

Now, why shouldn't we want to run proprietary drivers? The grandparent's point is valid: if you want to use proprietary software in a "free" environment, then why can't you? He is arguing that he doesn't care about proprietary or free; he like many people truly believe that Unix-based and Unix-like systems are superior to Windows. One of the system's he uses is proprietary to some level, Mac, the other is free. If the X group can make drives that actually run 3D well, particularly OpenGL apps, then let me know. I have never been able to get games working in Linux without those drivers. I do not mind spending a bit of time to get them working in Linux, and I do not want to waste the time on rebooting for a dual boot. Also, there are plenty of native games that need that extra support: UT2004 and NWN being the big two I own.

Like the other child post stated, you have to accept we do not all agree with you all the time. There are plenty of problems with both proprietary software and open-source or free software, whichever phrase you tend to lean towards. Your "friend", Bruce, and the OSI tend to prefer open-source to the RMS/FSF definition of free software. Anyone who claims there is nothing wrong with their method is trying to sell something. I have seen this from both sides, and it is truly pathetic to watch some zealots push Linux, OpenOffice, Firefox, or some other free alternative...if Microsoft made a truly superior product, which I would love to see them try, with no bugs and excellent performance, while using perfectly open document standards...people would still complain because it is proprietary and they cannot see the code...we will use our buggy, broke system instead. Zealotry is not very becoming.

Re:Okay I just don't get it (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125470)

Actually, Bruce is very much on the side of Free Software over Open Source and, he says, always has been. To him, Open Source was just a good "Introduction to Free Software for Business Majors" philosophy. Once they know the basics, you move em on to talking about freedom.

In regards to proprietary graphics drivers. They are proprietary because we tolerate them. If the day NVIDIA had released those drivers the kernel developers had asked the FSF to send a cease and desist to NVIDIA, we probably would have full open source 3d accelerated drivers the very next day. If the FSF had copyright in the kernel (and I can only imagine they don't because of Linus) this would have happened. Instead, we have kernel contributors who place their code under the GPL and then don't enforce it. Might as well just make it BSD licensed.

As for patents. There is no question. No-one even looks at Microsoft's patents before they make these wild claims that GNU/Linux doesn't infringe on any of them. Write more than a couple of thousand lines of code and you're almost certainly violating someone's patent, why not Microsoft's?

As for this: you have to accept we do not all agree with you all the time. No I don't. I can try to convince you. Or you can try to convince me. And in agreement we might find something even better: truth.

Re:Okay I just don't get it (1)

b1ufox (987621) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125530)

They're putting proprietary video card drivers into the default install of the distro. That's clearly illegal. Kernel developers could sue them.

Under which section of GPL can they sue them for using a proprietary drivers?

. You shouldn't want to run that stuff anyways. If you wanna run proprietary software, go run Windows, or buy a Mac.

Correction, not if you want to run proprietary software but if you want to run good graphics drivers it seems.Many proprietary softwares run great on Linux, may be user space applications though.Let me put this as a normal user forgetting my Unix roots, users want a software which runs almost flawlessly with minimum fuss. They don't care if its under GPL, under LGPL or any STFU license.What Ubuntu is doing is in the best interests of the consumers.People want someone to do it for them, and they are doing it.Agreed drivers are not under GPL, it does affect community but we should give users some choice too.Pressing it on normal users is nothing different than forcing them to use some xyx software. Let the freedom of choice be with the users not us.

its really pity on the part of likes of Nvidia and ATI as well as kernel developers like us ,that we are not able to come to some common terms in the best interest of users.

The sordid state of commercial Games on Linux is thing everybody would like to improve on.DirectX may be some cool tool but without a killer graphics driver OpenGL enthusiasts can't do as much as DirectX.Wine may be the answer but till when?

Re:Okay I just don't get it (1)

DeKO (671377) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124740)

In short, Novell can "protect" SCO from being crushed by IBM; [GNU]/Linux will lose the opportunity to be shown to be "legitim" (contrary to some of SCO's claims), thus closing the possibility for a precedent (that would free it from the risk of future attacks).

Re:Okay I just don't get it (3, Informative)

DigitalGrandpa (1027420) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124772)

Well, for one thing, Novell owns a company (now a division) called Ximian. The people behind Ximian are the people who originally developed GNOME. I believe that they are still active in the Gnome project. If I were you, I'd think about switching to Kubuntu.

Re:Okay I just don't get it (2, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124872)

Hmm... MSOffice 2007 running natively only on Suse. DRM locked content made available... only on Suse.

"Linux sucks, but Suse rocks" - Joe Sixpack.

Re:Okay I just don't get it (4, Insightful)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124878)


Could someone explain to me, in simple terms, how this effects anything I have anything to do with?

I use Ubuntu, why should this matter to me? If the Ubuntu folks don't like what Novell is doing can't they just ignore whatever Novell is doing?

Everyone is acting like this is the end of Linux as we know it. Honestly could someone explain why this is?


The worst case scenario would be Microsoft using their patent portfolio in an attempt to shutdown any open source projects which infringe their IP. Your Ubuntu is based off many many open source projects and the loss of many of those projects could be detrimental to the capability of your favorite distro.

Now obviously its much more complicated than that but you asked for some simple terms and how they would effect you so there ya go.

Poisoning the Water Hole (3, Insightful)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124906)

essentially what the agreement does is allow Novell programmers to KNOWINGLY put patented stuff for Microsoft compatibility into their products, even the OSS ones and know M$ won't DMCA them. The trouble is that those patches essentially "poison the water hole"... i.e. will be destroying a public resource, even if it's on "private" land... (like out west where cattle herd are allowed to range over many individual's property but are still owned by 1 person) Novell will be allowed to release "open source" that's really not open. NOW EVERYTHING that comes out of there is suspect and they are the keepers of the SAMBA team. It's funny that MS also released documentation to the EU, rather quietly, right after securing this deal... essentially M$ just claimed all the Samba teams, legitimately reverse engineered work right out from under them... while "complying" with the EU Ruling.

That's why Shuttleworth was trying to poach developers. SuSe was funding key projects...many related to Microsoft compatibility... this agreement means that all those projects are now suspect for added code that shouldn't be there. The Samba team in particular was very proud of their implementation being very clean legally... the very soul of the team was sold right out from under them!!!

Re:Poisoning the Water Hole (3, Interesting)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125492)

"what the agreement does is allow Novell programmers to KNOWINGLY put patented stuff for Microsoft compatibility into their products, even the OSS ones and know M$ won't DMCA them. "

It does nothing of the sort. Novell programmers can't legally do this, have no reason to do this, and have absolutely no obligation to do this under the agreement. As I've said before, compatibility can either be achieved without violating patents or it can't. This agreement doesn't change the patent facts (whatever they are). It merely states that the two companies won't sue each other's customers for patent violation, that's all.

Re:Okay I just don't get it (2, Insightful)

molnarcs (675885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124950)

Well, did you read the FA? Which point you didn't get? Ubuntu is not an isolated venture. If a company works really hard to work around the GPL (that has been responsible for the health of the free software ecosystem in the past decades) - that's bad for everyone who distributes GPL-ed software. And that's what Novell did. Did they ask Eben Moglen or the FSF about the legality of the deal? No, they talk to their lawyers, and Microsoft's lawyers, and found a way not to breach the letter of the GPL, while breaking the spirit of the GPL, or at least one aspect of it: equal rights to the four freedoms for all recipients. Currently, the situation is this: Novell customers (recipients of free software) are different from Canonical customers (recipients of free software). They have a promise from MS not to sue for patent violations (which alone legitimizes claims about patent and IP "issues" in linux, or at least it has the same effect). Moreover, Novell began to build its marketing on this difference. As a side effect, they have also provided plenty of ammo for Ballmer to speak about IP issues in linux - in other words, spread FUD. Yes, being free software and all, linux is not going away, but please forget about the romantic notion of the anonymous developer working in a basement somewhere in Asia for make benefit glorious free software movement. A very large part of both the application stack as well as some important features of the linux kernel is developed by payed developers. Those developers are payed because there is a corporate interest in linux. If the viability of linux suffers because of bogus IP "issues" (which Novell helps to create) - linux can suffer on the long term.

But again, why not read the article first, and ask questions if something is not clear, or you disagree with the points raised by PJ?

Re:Okay I just don't get it (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17124976)

Could someone explain to me, in simple terms, how this effects anything I have anything to do with?


If your mother gets sued by Microsoft for using Linux, she may hvae to start charging you rent for staying in her basement.

In general, on Slashdot (0)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125068)

Humanity only wins when MS is killed off forever. Anything that helps MS in any way shape or form threatens our freedom and humanity.

-- Go ahead, burn this post. I was feeling a bit chilly anyways.

Re:Okay I just don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17125336)

Easy explanation: Groklaw feels that its existence is threatened and wants to keep this thing going.

FUD for who? (5, Interesting)

shirai (42309) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124754)

I don't know about anybody else but this hasn't induced any fear, uncertainty or doubt in me about Linux.

However, it has induced REAL fear, REAL uncertainty and REAL doubt in Novell SUSE. Up until this incident started, I had pretty much decided that SUSE would be the distribution we would base all our new web/db/mail servers on owing to its combination of corporate support and ease of use.

Now I'm back on the fence considering Red Hat or another distro.

Unfortunately, I think SUSE inadvertently screwed themselves. In this regard, I have to say that Red Hat is doing an awesome job. They have deliberately tried to meet the Linux "community standards" while still being commercial. If only they were more open with their non-Fedora distributions, we would have probably standardized on Red Hat from the start.

Re:FUD for who? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17125212)

wow - that seems like a great reason. I told our IT guy he'd better not buy any servers from Apple because the hard disk in my iPOD died.

Re:FUD for who? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17125224)

I used to run SuSe on my back end systems and Beowulf.

I 'voted with my feet'. New systems are being built on top of CentOS.

I hope the Samba team stays productive in this environment too.

S

Re:FUD for who? (1)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125244)

I had pretty much decided that SUSE would be the distribution we would base all our new web/db/mail servers on owing to its combination of corporate support and ease of use.....

Now I'm back on the fence considering Red Hat or another distro.


So how did the corporate support and ease of use change? If you don't feel any FUD, then SUSE should be just as viable as before. Or is this just FUD of a different color?

Re:FUD for who? (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125266)

They have deliberately tried to meet the Linux "community standards" while still being commercial. If only they were more open with their non-Fedora distributions, we would have probably standardized on Red Hat from the start.

Hold on there. Redhat has been nothing but open. In fact, nearly all distros can be traced back to redhat (of course, the floppies => yggdrasil => slackware, which all came before redhat).

Redhat has had only 2 issues that kept them from being the standard. The first and major is that they were and are the leader. You do not beat a leader by being them, unless you are MUCH bigger and can blow a lot of money (Oracle anyone). So nearly all major distros can trace back to taking a redhat and then modifiying it. And the second is that redhat did not want KDE on their distro. They were GNOME.

blah blah (2, Insightful)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124756)

Everything I've read by Novell in responce to the criticism from the OS community tells me that this article means nothing. Had this article came out when the deal first happened it would be different but now that Novell has communicated that they didnt' want the IP clauses in it and they actually want to make MS and Linux easier to work together I don't believe this article. It just fuels the fud factories. Novell wanted to get MS to actually allow the Visual Studios and Office on a Linux platform. Stuff like that. This deal is to form a bridge between 2 companies that really should work together instead of figthing. Imagine a world where MS and Linux worked even 25% together than they do now. Here is an open letter to the community by Novell [novell.com] . And other releases [novell.com] .

Re:blah blah (1)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124836)

Imagine a world where MS and Linux worked even 25% together than they do now Microsoft can imagine that and they know it would slash their margins. To Microsoft a Linux gain is a Microsoft loss - it is a zero sum game.

Re:blah blah (0, Redundant)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124984)

But the point was that everbody is focusing on the obvious possible IP discussions and one really cares, or knows, what the deal can really mean for Linux. It could possibly be a case of keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Re:blah blah (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124994)

Interesting you say that. Most people, this is how they see business. To get more market share you've gotta crush the other guy right? There's a fixed number of customers out there and they are only going to buy one company's product, so it better be ours! Thing is, not everyone thinks like that. Our friends over at Sun ("the biggest contributor to Free Software" - RMS) hold the opinion that the way to increase your market share is to grow the market. i.e., get more customers into that market by offering products and services that previously were not available in that market. I think it's an enlightened philosophy. When your competitors don't have to lose so that you may win, then the customer is the ultimate winner. Take notes Microsoft.

Re:blah blah (1)

chonet4444 (225110) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125086)

Take notes Microsoft

er, tell me again how much market share and market capitalization MS has vs. Sun? MS has to take notes on how to fail as a corporation? why would MS do that? or any corporation for that matter?

Sun may have grown market share for Java, but Sun hasn't made very much money off of it (i leave looking up the earnings reports for SUNW for the last 10 years as an exercise for the reader).

Re:blah blah (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125188)

I was actually hoping they'd take notes because it is what is best for the customer. Guess you missed that bit.

Re:blah blah (4, Informative)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124990)

There was some reassuring PR coming out of Novell, however, when Microsoft asked to include a patent deal the negociations should have ended right there. In one of those open letters it states "Novell will make ongoing payments of at least $40 million over five years to Microsoft, based on percentages of Novell's Open Platform Solutions and Open Enterprise Server revenues".

So basically anyone who purchases Novell's Open Platform Solutions is also paying a Microsoft tax, as Novell's new partner Steve Balmer noted, "because open-source Linux does not come from a company -- Linux comes from the community -- the fact that that product uses our patented intellectual property is a problem for our shareholders" and Steve expects to be paid.

No mitigation of infringement, no proof of infringement, no analysis of the patents to even verify if Microsoft actual has valid IP. Nope, but Novell does us all a favor and bypasses all that boring routine. Thanks but no thanks.


Imagine a world where MS and Linux worked even 25% together than they do now.

That is easy to imagine, linux would be where OS/2 is. That's how Microsoft cooperates.

I look at where linux is today and I don't think it needs anything from Microsoft.

Re:blah blah (1)

bblboy54 (926265) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125004)

....when the deal first happened it would be different but now that Novell has communicated that they didnt' want the IP clauses in it and they actually want to make MS and Linux easier to work together....

I dont know which would scare me more: Novell turned to the dark side or Novell failed to read and understand the agreement they were entering into.

Just wondering (possibly O/T) ... (2, Interesting)

debest (471937) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124800)

Has Linus been heard from lately on this whole schomzle? He has resisted changing the kernel from GPL2 to GPL3. RMS and others (like PJ) are saying that GPL3 solves the problem going forward. Does Linus concur? Has he made any statement anywhere (like kernel.org) about how he sees the Novell/MS deal possibly changing his mind?

Just wondering

Re:Just wondering (possibly O/T) ... (4, Informative)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124952)

Linux can't easily go to GPL3... it is expressly GPL2 without the upgrade clause. Some key developers are DEAD.. you'd have to track down an heir and get them to legally sign over the work to GPL3. Not that parts won't be rewritten, but even then somebody could always claim you "stole" their work by rewriting it under the new license... you'd have the same problems as abandonware apps do now. That's why the FSF sponsored projects require the source be signed over to them and placed on their servers... then they can relicense at will. You of course are free to maintain your own version of your work if you wish, but not the official version.

Re:Just wondering (possibly O/T) ... (4, Interesting)

Arker (91948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125150)

The kernel coders already replace a large portion of the kernel every year. If Linus wanted to go to GPLv3, he could relicense his own code (a quite small amount, at this point in time, as he's been more of a manager for years) and more importantly encourage everyone else to do the same, and announce that new contributions must be under a compatible license as well of course. After, say, 6 months, he could then identify the code that remains under GPL v2 only (likely a small amount, by this time - remember that much of the code is GPL v2 or later already, and much of what is not is from authors still working and very likely to go along with Linus' wishes) and schedule those parts to be rewritten. At the outside, it might take 2 years to complete the transition.

It would be somewhat of a pain to change, but if he wanted to do it he could definitely do it.

Re:Just wondering (possibly O/T) ... (1)

theLOUDroom (556455) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125200)

It wouldn't be easy, but this new deal makes a very compelling point that this effort could be justified.

I think you'd have to get everyone possible to sign over their code and the remainder would need to be a cleanroom reimplementation.

Sometimes (3, Insightful)

molnarcs (675885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124808)

PJ sometimes tends to get emotional - which is absolutely fine by me, but she did little to explain her latest comments about Novell forking openoffice. That was a bad article - and people immediately jumped the gun, and a began to talk about he PJ has changed, how Groklaw is no longer a reliable source of information. Because it is so obviously biased. That was the main reason. Which is kinda ironic, because it rests on the assumption that other sources are unbiased, which is naive to say the least. What's more important is this: does groklaw provide accurate information, and good arguments to support their claims? Usually, with PJ, you have lots of enthusiasm, and lots of good arguments. In almost all cases when people criticize her here on ./ it is because her style and "bias" - which usually fails to align with her critics' own bias. The last article (the ooo.o forking one) lacked on the argument side, and this was an error on PJ's side: she had good reason to be upset and even emotional (because she clearly cares about free software), but she failed to provide the argument part. She assumed that everyone knows what she knows, and therefore, everyone will see her point without the need of an explanation. This did a lot of damage, because those who criticize her on ./ and elsewhere, usually do so by completely avoiding to address any of her points by reducing her article to the "emotional" part. Too bad that in the openoffice case, they did have a point.

As I said, I don't have a problem with enthusiasm - others may feel different, because lots of peeps consider the display of emotions or enthusiasm as weakness, and they invest a lot of emotions in pretending to not care or feel something about these issues. But except for this last case, you will hardly find any criticism of groklaw and PJ that tries to address the issues she raises with logical arguments. I haven't followed the happening on groklaw in the past few years to closely, but since hell broke out about the Novell-MS deal, I have been regularly reading groklaw, and I have to say this: the oo.o fork article was not a trend, but an exception. PJ is still the same PJ I have come to know when the SCO case started: exceptionally thorough and logical in providing arguments to prove her point, but also a bit emotional and enthusiastic (which made some of her writings an easy target for those, who failing provide rational arguments concerning the points she made, dismissed her articles on the note of being "biased".)

Re:Sometimes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17125324)

PJ sometimes tends to get emotional

It's always easier to attack the person than the issues, eh? Why don't explain how this Microsoft-Novell deal is actually good for the Free Software community? Keep in mind that some details of the deal are secret and are not known to anyone other than Microsoft and Novell.

P.S. I can't believe you've been modded (+4, Insightful), that's way too generous.

Re:Sometimes (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125332)

Just to let you know, it's Slashdot, not Dotslash. You made that mistake each time you referenced the site in your post. Might wanna watch out for something like that. ;)

Re:Sometimes (1)

molnarcs (675885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125410)

Just to let you know, it's Slashdot, not Dotslash. You made that mistake each time you referenced the site in your post. Might wanna watch out for something like that. ;)

And it is full of grammatical errors too - a shame (even though english is not my native language)! But thanks for the heads-up, this one I haven't noticed. Dotslash comes more naturally when abbreviated, probably because of ./configuring ./running_scripts, etc. :))

Re:Sometimes (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17125522)

No problem. And can it be? I mistake corrected on Slashdot, and all that arose was friendly banter? Unpossible!

The deal (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17124816)

Ok here is the deal as I see it through the eyes of a developer, sysadmin and ultimate decision maker when it comes to our linux environment. I am also the developer of quite a bit of GPL licensed code spread across the globe(not kernel). Novell and MS broke the spirit of the GPL with their little agreement, I don't care if it was legal, bottom line it is not in the community spirit. I will not ever run, recommend others run, help with others issues with any novell distributed software.

Bottom line I work for pointy haired bosses but they will not under any circumstances question what distro I run in the enterprise...novell put that in your pipe and smoke it. EV1 learned a valuable lesson and Novell should have taken note of what happens when you try to bend the rules.

Re:The deal (1)

MassacrE (763) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125312)

As a developer, sysadmin and creator of a few GPL-licensed bits of code, I have absolutely no understanding of why people are upset with Novell over this. In no way does it change the 'spirit' or way the GPL works - all it says is that Microsoft and Novell won't attempt to sue each-other's _users_ over patent problems. The companies themselves can still have their asses handed to them on a platter, which was the more productive route as well. Microsoft still has the ability to 'halt' distribution of GPL code by waiving a patent around, same as before. I don't understand how this changes anything at all other than users knowing that they have less likelihood of being sued by one of many companies for one of many stupid reasons the US legal system allows.

So, enlighten me.

Well, one thing is for sure (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124834)

At least Microsoft can't claim they're not involved in this anymore, like back when they were piping money through Baystar to fund this fiasco.

Eban Moglen is our general now (4, Insightful)

astrashe (7452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124840)

My inclination has always been to think of the freedom guys as a little strident, and a little too extreme. The things Linus says about licensing have always made the most sense to me intuitively, and the other guys have always come across as a little controlling, and a little crusading.

The one thing I've taken away from the Novell/MS deal, though, is that this stuff is really complicated, and it's really dangerous. I'll be honest -- I don't understand all of the implications of the deal, or why each of the two parties decided to do it. But I feel like something's going on -- like I'm playing 3 card monte on the street or something.

I don't think that non-specialists (ie., geeks who don't think much about law) are in a good position to know what's best.

Novell, and the guys that came to Novell when they bought Ximian and SUSE, have done an incredible amount of good for our community. We are, to a certain extent, depending on Novell's patents to protect us in this coming fight. I think they're good guys, doing what they feel they have to do in order to survive.

But even if this isn't nefarious, it's made us realize that we'd be open to something similar that was nefarious. Those crazy freedom guys weren't so crazy after all.

So I think we have to trust the people who understand these treacherous waters the best -- I think that's Eban Moglen. He says that GPL3 is necessary to counter this threat, and he says it will be effective, even if the kernel remains under GPL2. The toolchain will be enough to do what we need.

I don't want to demonize Novell, because they've given me a lot of great code, and because there are people there who are real heroes to our community. I think they're mistaken, and I think Linus is mistaken to stick with GPL2. It just ain't viral enough to keep us safe.

But instead of attacking people, or getting hysterical, I think the thing to do is to listen to our best legal minds, and back GPL3. So my feeling is that Linus's honor is beyond question, he's obviously a lot smarter than I am, and he might even be smarter than Eban Moglen. But when it comes to law, I'm going to listen to Moglen.

And I would say that the Ximian guys' honor is beyond question, and that they're a lot smarter than I am as well. But I'm still going to listen to Moglen about the law.

Again, my feeling is that we shouldn't let this break down cooperation, we shouldn't let it affect the civility of our community, and we shouldn't attribute bad motives to anyone. But we should play it safe, and innoculate with GPL3.

Re:Eban Moglen is our general now (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17124948)

Richard Stallman has proven time and again -for over 20 years now -- that he has long term vision and real brains.

He played this game for much longer than most of us.

Is he a wee bit extreme ? Yes.

But without that single-minded focus he couldn't have pulled it off for the first 10+ years when he was practically alone.

I would trust him with my life, nevermind GPLv3.

Re:Eban Moglen is our general now (5, Insightful)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125116)

It's funny- looking back, people always said Stallman was crazy and the stuff he talked about wouldn't happen- and time and again, it did. History continually repeats - only the proprietary people are getting more and more extreme in their demands. Stallman's been asking for the same thing for the past 20 years, the proprietary makers have been demanding more and more. I refuse to accept their bullshit- I'll use Free Software as much as possible- the only proprietary stuff I have on my computer is stuff that is absolutely necessary to run my hardware- and my next one will have no such need.

Re:Eban Moglen is our general now (4, Interesting)

Sargeant Slaughter (678631) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125354)

I don't think that non-specialists (ie., geeks who don't think much about law) are in a good position to know what's best.

I was a CS major. Now I'm finally graduating with a BA in history and applying to law school. I want to focus on IP law to help in the fight against the proprietary giants.

I began studying CS in '99 because I like computers and wanted to make a lotta $$. After working in the "industry" full time for a couple of years, and going to college for 6+ years, I've finally decided to do something that makes me feel good. Just thinking about using my talents to further a good cause gives me the chills, in a good way. Hopefully I will be reporting to guys like Moglen in a few years, J.D. in hand. Fuck the money.

Same old, same old (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17124874)

PJ from Groklaw has taken the time to really explain the big picture of the Novell/MS deal and how it all fits into the SCO case and the strategy some have employed to attack Free Software...

... and how it's all the work of reverse vampires from outer space, intent on destroying the meal we know as dinner.

She's a fruit loop.

Let me see if I have this straight... (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124882)

Novell and Microsoft got together and made a deal to make it safe for me to buy their products.

But I can't read the terms, because it's a secret. And they don't agree in public on what, exactly, the deal was.

Boy, am I relieved!

YUO FAIL IT!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17124914)

bi6 deal. death

Didnt IBM pretty much owned Novell? (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124940)

If such is the case we are really toast. A submarine-familymember-killer-spook is what we got here. I dont think there is any other way to get them but to pressure them into submission by a big PR move by the community NOW.

All enterprises making money off linux should say NOW if they support or not this kind of thing and Linus himself should make a statement (how about a special Novell cant use this clause for future releases of oo.o and the linux kernel? Yes, i dont care if debian rejects it or puts the friggin kernel in non-free).

In other news, Slashdot has linked to every single (0, Troll)

Browzer (17971) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125008)

one of "...Groklaw's 2,838[th] article[s]..."

Congratulations!

Butterfly effect... maybe/maybe not offtopic! (0, Offtopic)

Browzer (17971) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125040)

" ...
The phrase refers to the idea that a butterfly's wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that ultimately cause a tornado to appear (or, for that matter, prevent a tornado from appearing). The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale phenomena. Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different..."

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

But where's the explanation? (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125062)

He asserts at length that it's bad, but I have no idea from this article what's in the alleged patent agreement, or how it changes anything.

Imagine that I have a Slackware system. (I do, even.) How is this system affected by any deal Novell signs?

I don't see how this can be connected, and since TFA doesn't describe in any real detail what the Novell agreement says, or how it has any effect on anyone other than Novell or Microsoft, there's not much point in just asserting that it's bad.

Correction: This is Groklaw's 2,838th article... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17125064)

...on the Novell-MS deal. Seriously, PJ, give it a rest.
I wish I saw just as much criticism from you some time ago when the OSRM came out with that FUD on Linux infringing 283 patents. But noooo, not a peep from you at the time, since you were an OSRM employee.
I guess what Novell did wrong was not hiring you before signing the MS-Novell deal.

TFA is pointless and says nothing (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125126)

Well, OK, it says "The Novell deal was really bad, really really bad. It's good for Microsoft. What SCO is doing is good for Microsoft. The Novell deal is like the SCO deal because they are both good for Microsoft. The Novell deal is really stupid and Novell should know better."

And while I agree, nobody is going to be convinced by that. I would appreciate some deeper level of analysis and explanation. Perhaps something I could use when talking to people about it about why the deal is a bad idea.

Re:TFA is pointless and says nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17125404)

my view is that this deal is good for novell.

1. they get lots of cash. $300 million is *still* real money, ya know?
2. they now get to benefit from ballmer's fud. "linux is dangerous, you stupid phbs. it is an unfunded liability and the boogy man may come and get you. well, you could ditch red hat and go over to suse for some, well, protection."

novell got sick of losing deals to msft, so they now want to gfud deals away from redhat.

in the end, i do not think novell is a good community citizen. they are selfish and want to sign fud deals to hurt others so they can profit.

msft loves the fud. man, do they love the fud.

phbs just want to keep their job, and "nobody is ever fired for buying microsoft."

Poor Novell (2, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125152)

Novell does not cease to amaze me. I wonder whether they will ever do anything right.

First, they did not do much to improve Yast2 on speed, bugs and the way it handles dependencies. This alone, made me avoid its Linux products.

Now comes this Microsoft deal. With this deal, I will not even touch its Linux products even with a 10 foot long pole!

Sadly, those who predicted that Novell will do nothing good for SuSE after buying it, (just like Word Perfect), are being proven right.

Re:Poor Novell (1)

shredwheat (199954) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125504)

How about they open sources YAST2 and several other key components of Suse that were closed. That's pretty important in my book. Regardless if they are good or not, or whether anyone else works on them. They took what separated Suse and made it available for anyone. At minimum this has allowed the OpenSUSE distribution.

When all you have... (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125192)

When all you have is a conspiracy theory, everything starts looking like a conspiracy.

Conspiracists believe that all evil is attributable to one cause. Communist Insiders, The Elders of Zion, Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, Microsoft. But that's not reality. PJ needs to wake up and realize that SCO is able to be evil all on its own.

Re:When all you have... (2, Interesting)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125396)

Here's the facts:

1) At the outset of the lawsuit, Microsoft paid SCO $10 million in "license fees", that were, apparently, illegally kept by SCO rather than passed on to Novell. A few years back Santa Cruz actually had to pay Microsoft for the rights to distribute Unix, now Microsoft has somehow decided it needs to pay SCO for something Unixy.

2)Microsoft then convinced Baystar, an investment management firm, to invest another $50 million or so, by saying 'if you start to lose money, we'll cover your loss' (but when Baystar started to lose money, Microsoft stopped returning Baystar's calls, literally, so Baystar started dumping every piece of SCO stock they could, as fast as their contracts would let them).

3) Meanwhile, IBM has uncovered a huge pile of emails between Darl McBride, the SCO CEO, and Microsoft, which SCO was trying to hide from IBM.

All of this is on the record in court filings. Nothing controversial about any of it. read all about it on Groklaw.

So why did Microsoft feel the need to pump huge amounts of money into a dying pissant software company at exactly the same time as it's attacking Linux with bogus copyright claims? What did Darl Mcbride and Microsoft feel the need to send each other dozens of emails that IBM wasn't supposed to know about? What's the simplest, Occams-razorish answer?

To avoid the scary threat of being called a conspiracy theorist must i do a stretch and say shit like 'uuuuuh, Microsoft maybe wants to put out it's own version of Unix and surprise us all for Christmas 2008 and uhhhhh Microsoft was just doing a good deed by putting some random Investment Firm in touch with some random Tech company and uhhhh, Darl Mcbride and Bill Gates were maybe planning on going on a fishing trip in Oregon sometime, yeh that's it, a fishing trip'.

Come on, what's YOUR simpler and more compelling theory that explains the observed facts?

Re:When all you have... (3, Informative)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125538)

Here's the facts:

1) SCO is suing IBM because SCO believes SCO copyrighted code is in the Linux kernel.

2) Microsoft and Novell signed an indemnity agreement regarding patents.

3) There is no relation between the two. SCO isn't suing IBM over Microsoft patents, and Microsoft isn't indemnifying Novell's customers regarding SCO's copyrights. These are two seperate issues, and trying to conflate them is evidence only that your tinfoil hat is on too tight.

Like it or not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17125452)

Lawyers *are* a conspiracy. That's how they establish their credibility. They point to a mob of other unthinking lawyers and justify their claims that way. Just because you choose to ridicule and blindly insult someone without cause doesn't mean they have no cause.

Look at what PJ is saying again.

Novell is undermining the credibility of the GPL, and SCO is attacking the GPL in exactly the way you can foresee Microsoft possibly doing so. The difference is that SCO doesn't have a leg to stand on in their case. In a potential Microsoft case, they now have serious ammunition. Are you willing to risk everything that you're right and she's wrong?

All hail the great FUD Factory (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17125270)

More FUD from the Groklaw FUD Factory(tm). All hail the infalible PJ and her perfect prognostication, her total perfection, and her inability to fuck things up.

Thanks! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17125272)

For another fucking inane article on the deal we've all known about for 2 plus weeks!

Nothing is impossible (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17125292)

Nothing is impossible for the man that does not have to do it himself.

Reading TFA, this came to mind.

So Novell has four large sales opportunities lost because the Microsoft IP FUD is working.

Re-read that, and put yourself in the seat of the guys who have a bunch of employees (with families and mortgages and kids going through college) and answer the question: continue to watch the company waste away? Or do something?

Hey - here is an idea: get Microsoft to admit that Linux matters, that interoperability matters, that customers who run Linux matter.

It's not like Microsoft is going to be able to keep pretending forever. Someone is going broker a deal first.

Should it be Red Hat? or Novell?

And while you are brokering a deal, get it in writing: Microsoft does hereby promise that their FUD argument does not apply to SuSE Linux.

It seems to me, that the authors of TFA want to have kept the status quo: Microsoft FUD to remain in place; Novell to continue to lose sales in the Fortune 500 because of that FUD, Novell's investment in Linux (and support of Linux and programmers) to fritter away because.... (I don't know. My guess is it comes from some deep-seated anti-establishment attitude.)

Point is: Novell had to take a bull by the horns - because so far, it was 0-4 in favor of the bull.

And all I hear is all this whining: but Novell didn't slay the bull! Novell should have forfeited the future! Novell took action, and didn't ask us first!

Like I said: nothing is impossible for the man that does not have to do it himself.

GPLv3 (3, Insightful)

Dracos (107777) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125302)

Regardless of whether this article has any substance or is merely a frothing rant on PJ's part, I think (inadvertently?) she's overestimating the adoption rate of GPLv3.

Linus has clearly stated that he intends to keep the kernel under v2, and most of the larger projects have yet to make any meaningful statement about it.

Never mind the scores of smaller projects that don't have the resources or prowess to make an informed descision about which GPL version to use; most of them will stick with v2. I wouldn't be surprised if most projects simply followed Linus' example.

Amnti-microsoft FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17125338)

So why is it every time Microsoft makes an announcement it's FUD, but this is supposedly legitimate news? FUD is FUD regardless of whom it's being used against, and this article is clearly FUD.

Patenting code is like patenting music. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17125440)

The only reason programming gets any special consideration is because it makes pretty lights flash and calculations happen inside of black boxes.

Listen to PJ because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17125456)

Should we take advice from PJ because she's not a lawyer or because she's not a developer?
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