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Hubert Mantel Returns to Novell

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the changing-of-the-guard dept.

Novell 68

Krondor writes "Hubert Mantel, SUSE Co-Founder, has confirmed in an interview with Data Manager Online that he has returned to employment with Novell. When asked why he left Novell to begin with, Hubert responded that he was 'burned out' and 'following unpleasant experiences with our investors needed some time off.' Slashdot had reported previously Hubert's departure from Novell approximately one year ago shortly following Novell's acquisition of SUSE and subsequent layoffs. Hubert also provides his opinions on the Novell-Microsoft Agreement, which he characterizes as 'a good thing.'"

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68 comments

out of context (3, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333006)

Hubert also provides his opinions on the Novell-Microsoft Agreement, which he characterizes as 'a good thing.

I believe the full quote was "Microsoft just paid me a few duffel bags full of money, so it really can't be anything but a good thing".

out of bounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17333210)

"I believe the full quote was "Microsoft just paid me a few duffel bags full of money, so it really can't be anything but a good thing"."

Obviously said in jest because I doubt you'd have the balls to say that to his face.

Re:out of bounds (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17333466)

Behold, the beauty of the Internet.

Re:out of context (3, Insightful)

Scott7477 (785439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333298)

Mantell's comments seemed thoughtful and reasonable to me. It seems to me that it would be nice to be in a position where you could quit your job, take a year off, and then get your old job back.

Re:out of context (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17334770)

I've done that before. Quit my job, where I was writing all the embedded code but being paid as a tech, worked for a nice long summer at a brainless job doing component-level troubleshooting in a board rework shop, then got rehired back to continue to write all the embedded code with the new title of 'software engineer' and a decent raise.

Re:out of context (1)

mha (1305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335832)

Why is something that stupid modded funny? Oh I forgot, it's Slashdot.

He did not get anything from Microsoft. He got (lots of) money from Novell - when they purchased SuSE. After that H.Mantel, like everyone else who had owned SuSE shares, he had no shares of either company any more - so there was/is no reason to care. Besides, it is VERY stupid to accuse H.Mantel, of all people, of being a capitalist (know him personally as former SUSE employee - former because I started my own [small and non-IT] biz).

He'll have something to keep him occupied (3, Funny)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333050)

He'll at least have a front row seat to watch as all the people he didn't like before walk out the door.

Re:He'll have something to keep him occupied (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#17338192)


He'll at least have a front row seat to watch as all the people he didn't like before walk out the door.


A bit OT, but doesn't "Hubert Mantel" sound like the name of a baron in a medieval history?

And then to the King's dismay, many of his knights and paladins forsook him, holding him forsworn and no Christian sovereign. And indeed many had sworn to hold neither truce nor parley with the paynim, and declared that any gentleman who should face an infidel, yet fail take relieve him of his head, would be named infamous and nidering.

In that dark hour, Hubert Mantel returned, to offer his lance and sword once more to the King's service. Stepping forth, he defined the scorn of the other barons, declaring in ringing tones, "I really feel much better now."

Confused (1)

Zarkonnen (662709) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333132)

You know, when I skimmed over this I thought "I'm sure this is a repost. Wait... it's a repost saying the exact opposite of what the other post said? Did they miss out a lot of 'not's in the original press release?"

I need more sleep.

What's wrong with these people?! (1)

BlenderFX (954511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333136)

Hubert also provides his opinions on the Novell-Microsoft Agreement, which he characterizes as 'a good thing.'"
What's wrong with these people?! This guy is supposed to know that nothing good will ever come out of this "deal"

Re:What's wrong with these people?! (1)

superangrybrit (600375) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333610)

I demand that this ex-SUSE guy be fired immediatly.

His opinion goes against ours (the most popular and only good one).

*does the hulkster move and rips his t-shirt of his back*

Re:What's wrong with these people?! (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340080)

Why so negative? MS pumping money into a Linux distribution can only be good. Note that MS has a death grip on all North American government IT shops. The only way that Linux is going to get a meaningful share of the pie, is if MS can provide support.

Mantel doesn't address issues on MS/Novell (5, Insightful)

KWTm (808824) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333142)

I anticipate some derisive comments about how Mantel is a bad guy, and Jeremy Allison is a good guy for quitting. If this does happen, it would start to become a mudslingfest like the name calling at the start of the Iraq war.

I had been hoping to hear Mantel's views on the MS/Novell deal, seeing what further insight he could provide. Disappointingly, he only points to the good side of the deal, and doesn't explain why this outweighs the bad side. We already know the good part: that MS has acknowledged the importance of Linux. No one is arguing with that. But the point is, MS is poisoning the waters, as pointed out by Allison's statement, and that is definitely a bad thing.

It's like some small Pacific island country who has just acquired nuclear weapons, and now the USA is going to come invade them with two navy fleets. The island country's president says: "I see this as a good thing: the USA is now taking us seriously." Yeah, right.

Maybe Mantel hasn't had time to formulate his thoughts and reactions to the negative aspects of the deal yet. But you can't make something good just by pointing out the positive aspects and ignoring the negative. You might try it on those populace of those states whose IQ's are in the lower half, but it's not going to work here on Slashdot.

Re:Mantel doesn't address issues on MS/Novell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17333332)

>Disappointingly, he only points to the good side of the deal, and doesn't explain why this outweighs the bad side.

What makes you believe that he thinks there is a bad side? LOL

Re:Mantel doesn't address issues on MS/Novell (5, Informative)

kjart (941720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333434)

I don't know, his answer is fairly comprehensive to me. FTFA:

6. What do you think about the Microsoft/Novell deal? I think it is a good thing especially for the users. If you think some years back, Linux was not taken seriously. Now even Microsoft acknowledges that it exists and will not go away. I understand that many people don't like it as Novell is collaborating with the "evil empire". But I don't like this way of thinking; we are not working against somebody, but we are working FOR Linux. Fundamentalism always leads to pain. What's important is that Linux is free and will remain to be free. The source code is open to everybody, this is what counts for me. Some people seem to be torn in an interesting way: On one hand they want "world domination", at the same time they don't like the feeling that Linux has grown up and needs to deal with the real business world out there. We have a saying here in Germany that goes along the lines of "wash me, but do not make me wet". If you want Linux to succeed, you cannot live in your own separate universe.

Re:Mantel doesn't address issues on MS/Novell (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17333574)

The problem is not that Novell is making business deals with Microsoft over Linux, but that Novell made a specific deal whereby Microsoft would agree not to enforce its patents and other IP - but *only* for the commercial SUSE distro marketed and sold by Novell. At the same time Novell announced some projects for increasing interoperability with Microsoft's products. In effect, they're taking free software and making it non-free, because if someone forks the code, they will be in danger of being sued by Microsoft for patent infringement. This is not paranoia: Steve Ballmer made this very clear in interviews about the deal. After a big outcry he acknowledged that Novell and Microsoft disagreed whether "Linux" infringes MS's trade secrets. And as usual with either SCO or Microsoft, it isn't clear whether by "Linux" Ballmer is referring to the kernel, the entire SUSE distro, or any Linux distro in widespread use.

Re:Mantel doesn't address issues on MS/Novell (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17333886)

It's hard to believe that after hashing this over endlessly on Slashdot, some here still don't understand that this agreement says nothing about MS not suing Novell. It's all about Novell's customers. MS can sue any distro maker it wants to, including Novell, exactly as it could of before the agreement.

Re:Mantel doesn't address issues on MS/Novell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17340438)

Not only that but, the parent states: "In effect, they're taking free software and making it non-free...". That is FUD in and of itself. There is no such thing. The XML project was started by Micro$oft and is BSD licensed. The Mono project is open. It's always just the typical knee jerk (or is it just jerk) reaction from most of the /. crowd when they hear Microsoft. Toss in GPL and everyone is screaming about the sky falling. PSSST.. If Microsoft wanted, they could take one of the BSD's, add some code, close it up and have Microsoft *nix.

Re:Mantel doesn't address issues on MS/Novell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17333726)

And for those of us who don't work at Novell and have had a very ambiguous threat [nwsource.com] made against us by Steve Balmer? Is it a "good thing" for me?

Re:Mantel doesn't address issues on MS/Novell (1)

skeeterbug (960559) | more than 7 years ago | (#17334178)

6. What do you think about the Microsoft/Novell deal? I think it is a good thing especially for the users. If you think some years back, Linux was not taken seriously. Now even Microsoft acknowledges that it exists and will not go away.
they didn't say this. i think this is what this naive or "incentivized" person wishes he had heard. even if they said that (they didn't), their vision of "linux not going away" has microsoft effectively owning and monetizing linux, if not controlling it outright, and requiring everyone who uses it to pay them money. this is just the first step to wreak their evil plan on linux... msft HATES linux. msft wants to F*ING KILL linux. you can bet your life on it. the *only* way they will not make all out war on linux is if they plan on monetizing it - reaching into everyone's pocket and extracting more cash. by force, if necessary. clearly, msft wants to... 1. gain control over linux to monetize it and / or damage it so windows gains an advantage. 2. set it up to "f*ing kill it," to paraphrase a monkey. linux going mainstream isn't the goal. keeping linux free is the goal. who cares if linux is ubiquitous if msft charges $400 for it or the right to use it without being sued into oblivion? how is this good? remember, the rest of us observers aren't getting thousands of stock options to buy our point of view.
I understand that many people don't like it as Novell is collaborating with the "evil empire". But I don't like this way of thinking; we are not working against somebody, but we are working FOR Linux.
either this gentleman was paid really well or he is a naive idealist. it doesn't so much matter that one's intent was to merely pet the great white shark - the shark will shred every fiber in your body anyway. in the same way, there is no reasonable doubt that msft wants only BAD THINGS FOR LINUX unless it means VERY GOOD THINGS FOR THEIR POCKETBOOK, so it doesn't matter if novell says they want only good things. msft is bigger, badder, smarter, more selfish and more evil than anything novell can muster on the good side. oh, and i have little faith that novell is even good. i think they are out for self above all else - effectively the same as msft, but not nearly as lucky and/or good.
Fundamentalism always leads to pain.
this is a total red herring. it diverts from the real issue - and i have to ask why this gentleman prefers diversion above in depth discussion.
What's important is that Linux is free and will remain to be free.
why, b/c this guy says so? even if he was a supreme court justice, he'd still only have one vote! if linux remains free, it won't be b/c of people who made the novell / msft deal, it will be b/c of those who speak out against it and deals like it. how free is something if i have to pay for some unspecified, alledged infringement? "well, sir, that depends on how you define free," argued the company that received $350 million to support the infringement concept. no thank you. i want honesty and integrity, not doublespeak and parsing of each and every word.
The source code is open to everybody, this is what counts for me.
but his business partner says that the right to use said open source code is restricted and requires a payment to his business partner. iow, everyone using this source code has an UNFUNDED MONETARY OBLIGATION to his partner in crime. yes, sir, crime - and he is a spirit of the gpl criminal and he's just trying to justify it for his own selfish reasons. you claim to be fine with this central issue, yet you never bother to discuss it? how easy that is!
Some people seem to be torn in an interesting way: On one hand they want "world domination", at the same time they don't like the feeling that Linux has grown up and needs to deal with the real business world out there.
either this gentleman has lost his clarity of thought or he is not being honest. linux was "dealing" with the "real business world" pretty darn well before novell made this deal. making this deal didn't legitimize linux. it was already legitimate - albeit, it didn't add a marginal $350 million into novell's bank account. mark my words, the *only* way msft makes anything substantial interoperable with linux is if they are in 100% control and can monetize the solution at will. how is this good for linux again? he doesn't want to discuss it.
We have a saying here in Germany that goes along the lines of "wash me, but do not make me wet". If you want Linux to succeed, you cannot live in your own separate universe.
this gentleman apparently trusts in microsoft's good nature and honest business dealings. after all, poor msft is just misunderstood. boo hoo. hey, there's a great white shark that looks like he needs a good petting... this guy can go pet him all by himself. "when you dance with the devil, you don't change him, he changes you." i'll sit this one out, thank you very much.

Re:Mantel doesn't address issues on MS/Novell (2, Interesting)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17334486)

His explanation seems very weak to me:

"What's important is that Linux is free and will remain to be free. The source code is open to everybody, this is what counts for me."

'Open' source code that is under Microsoft patents, and therefore isn't free-to-use - or, more to the point, is free-to-be-sued-for-using - isn't really 'free', I would say. And how is Linux "still free", if Novell needs to pay Microsoft to keep it that way?

Re:Mantel doesn't address issues on MS/Novell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17343102)

If there is open source code under M$ patents then there is already a problem... the deal is that they won't go after SUSE customers, not Novell. M$ is free to sue away at Novell.. it protects YOU, if you are a customer. Sheesh. I now understand why there is a problem with the GPL and /. Most are morons and have no reading comprehension whatsover.

Re:Mantel doesn't address issues on MS/Novell (0)

asrail (946132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333446)

I am a Linux heavy user.
I contribute a lot for OpenSource projects (well... I'm not a great guy but I do the best as I can).

I hate M$ and so on...

But I think this deal has more good than bad points.

In my humble opinion, GPL3 is worse than this deal. The troubles they're going to have because of it are GPL3 troubles.

I think Novell/M$ are going to help the users of both products. We should look out there and see the most people won't use Linux.
Maybe because they don't know, or they are dumb (or even worse).

We could kill Novell but use the good part of this deal for the rest of us.

No, I don't use M$, neither I use SuSE in the day by day.

Re:Mantel doesn't address issues on MS/Novell (2, Funny)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333620)

Gaius Baltar: The Cylon occupation of New Caprica is a good thing. The Cylons are now taking us seriously.

Re:Mantel doesn't address issues on MS/Novell (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335144)

It's like some small Pacific island country who has just acquired nuclear weapons, and now the USA is going to come invade them with two navy fleets. The island country's president says: "I see this as a good thing: the USA is now taking us seriously." Yeah, right.
I think we've already learned that part in Korea and Mid East. The USA does not invade countries with nuclear weapons.

Re:Mantel doesn't address issues on MS/Novell (2, Informative)

mha (1305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17335884)

What negative side? The only negative side I've heared so far - and I try reading most of the articles and comments out of personal interest, since I still know some of the people involved personally - is fears and words. I could not discover a single FACT. The same thing Microsoft is so often accused of ("FUD") is presented here instead of evidence. Test: If you had never HEARD about that MS-Novell deal, what influence on your life would it have now? So far the answer seems to be "none" by all the posters. Well, except for "I fear", "I think", "It's obvious" and other junk words and pseudo-arguments.

On the other hand, Novell is able to present some very high-profile customers who signed on for Linux through Microsoft that SuSE and later Novell for years tried to convince of Linux unsuccessfully.

Re:Mantel doesn't address issues on MS/Novell (1)

fiddlesticks (457600) | more than 6 years ago | (#17348158)

'it would start to become a mudslingfest like the name calling at the start of the Iraq war.'

Yeah, just like that. Suse cofounder leaves. rejoins vs the Iraq war. *just* like that.

nig6a (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17333212)

Over to yet another and shouting that 1t there. Bring parts of you are us the courtesy That *BSD is be forgooten in a

Explanation, please (4, Interesting)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333474)

Some please explain the controversy over the MS/Novell deal to me. It seems that in everyone's rush to bemoan the fate of all mankind, the actual specifics of the problem have been lost. So after several weeks of trying to sort it out, I now humbly ask clarification. No snarky comments please, I'm being serious.

My understanding is that this is an indemnity deal. Microsoft says it won't sue Novell over patents. While this may be interpreted as a statement of intent to sue non-Novell distros, that still doesn't explain attitude towards Novell. Shouldn't they be considered equivalent to shopkeepers who knuckle under and pay protection fees to the mob? At most they should be treated as cowards, and not as traitors who have sold out the future of Linux.

And what's the big deal with the GPL? I've turned it upside down and inside out, and I can find no restriction against entering into indemnity deals. Not even in spirit. Microsoft may not sue Novell if it incorporates patented code into GPL sources, but the GPL licensors certainly will! So again, what's the problem?

I'm coming to the conclusion that this is merely MDS. Microsoft Derangement Syndrome. It's the mere mention of the name "Microsoft" that has everyone foaming at the mouth. I greatly suspect that if the exact same deal had been made with IBM (who owns more patents than Microsoft ever will) no one would even be batting an eye. It's for these reason I've not asked this question before, out of dread that I would be flamed to oblivion. So please take a step back, count to ten, and calmy explain why Novell is so evil for entering into this agreement.

Re:Explanation, please (4, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333562)

Yes, they've cut a separate peace with MS, essentially. The GPL doesn't allow this, it has the 'live free or die' clause. There's a saying, we must all hang together, for if we do not, we shall assuredly hang separately. Novell has attempted to find a sneaky way to subvert the live free or die clause. This may not make them evil, but it certainly isn't behaviour to be rewarded. And it won't be. They just destroyed their own credibility with the community that develops the software they've bet their future on. In the process, they've converted themselves from a major player to a bit player, whether they realise it or not.

Re:Explanation, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17333674)

Yet, if its better, people WILL use it...

The vast bulk of the linux user base will flock to the flavor that is better. You would have to live in a (non connected) cave to not be aware of the rush to Ubuntu from other distro's. What if Novell's flavor became 'better'.

And if it became better, would the die-hards shun the improvements on the basis of ethics?

I can see the community digging its own grave as a result of this. Many distro's that were starting to take real shape could become internally fractured as a result of all the whining. Giving MS just what it wants.

Re:Explanation, please (4, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333794)

There is no chance of that, however. For it to become 'better' than the others, they would need good relations with the community that produces the software, that's the point. The better their relations are with the community, the better the community supports them, the more likely the community is to be responsive to their needs, and so forth. If you alienate the community, they don't care what you need anymore. That's the place Novell has put itself. Think about Samba, or instance. When Novell had good standing in the community, they had Jeremy Allison working for them, if there were things they had a need for in Samba they could just give him a call and know he'd put that on the front burner. Now, their desires are no longer relevant. If they need something they'll have to do it themselves, and if it's helping them and not the rest, they'll have to maintain a fork.

Re:Explanation, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17334396)

"For it to become 'better' than the others, they would need good relations with the community that produces the software, that's the point."

Novell is part of that community and there's certainly no proof that those who are outside Novell are somehow more capable of producing a "better" product than Novell can.

Re:Explanation, please (1)

Taagehornet (984739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17342224)

Think about Samba, [f]or instance. When Novell had good standing in the community, they had Jeremy Allison working for them, if there were things they had a need for in Samba they could just give him a call and know he'd put that on the front burner. Now, their desires are no longer relevant.

What has Jeremy Allison being *employed* by Novell to do with maintaining "good relations with the community that produces the software"? While Jeremy Allison was working for Novell, were Novell not the ones producing the software? Is it not so that Linux would be left dead in its tracks without the backing of major companies (IBM, Novell, Sun, Nokia, etc.) forced to join efforts in order to compete with Microsoft?

Re:Explanation, please (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17342826)

No, Jeremy wasn't the only one working on Samba, not even close. Like most important projects, it involves a lot of people. Novell employing JA did give them an advantageous relationship with it, but not control or ownership. And no, Linux was developed and used for many years before the big companies got involved. They got involved because it was already better than what they had, and even if they all turned their backs and walked away tommorrow it would continue to be developed and used without pause.

Re:Explanation, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17333860)

If the GPL doesn't allow this, how come Stallman himself says that it doesn't violate the GPLv2. [linux-watch.com] He does state that it will violate GPLv3, however.

Re:Explanation, please (2, Informative)

grcumb (781340) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333948)

If the GPL doesn't allow this, how come Stallman himself says that it doesn't violate the GPLv2.

It violates the spirit of GPL2, but Novell and MS did an end-run around a technical violation by having Microsoft agree not to sue Novell's customers. By not specifically naming Novell the company, MS has avoided putting them in a position where this supplementary agreement would be considered an additional condition to the GPL, which is strictly verboten.

It was a cynical, disingenuous move, and that's why Stallman has promised that GPL3 will not allow this kind of end-run manoeuvre.

Re:Explanation, please (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17334808)

and it has now squarely put the burden on those who purchase Suse from Novell... with this very limited "get-out-of-jail-free" card thing from microsoft, if they accept the terms, they cannot themselves distribute Suse to anyone else. fscking idiots... the minute the deal was announced I knew it was a trap... and it was confirmed when Ballmer then went on to talk about the "undisclosed balance sheet liability" that other Linux providers and users had.

Re:Explanation, please (1)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 7 years ago | (#17334542)

And now we know why when marketing gurus were researching cults, they interviewed several Linux users and movers in the industry.

It is called being the part of a Club and following the leaders over the cliff if asked.

Linux is freaking technology, not a me too, or I'm a geek club. Sadly it is the people that use MS, Apple, Linux, and BSD in whatever ways work best that are now the rebels, and the hardcore Linux only or BSD only or Apple only or OSS only users are the cult members and part of the new estabishment.

Worship Linux for all I care, but there is a time when you lose your personal ideals for technology when you can't see the shortcomings of the technology you use and instead buy into the everything is great and anything outside is bad.

Linux has a lot of great things, and OSS and GPL has a lot of great things, but there are also flies in the ointment, and to ignore them is becoming part of a cult.

MS may not be the company that comes calling for technology in use in Linux distributions, but just a bit more profit and people to target and you will see people crawl out of the woodword looking for $$ for the technology in use in Linux. You can find lots of stuff that is in Linux distributions that are on shaking ground from Xerox technology to even Fat32, and there are tons of people that do own these technologies and could potential ask they stop being used and shutting down Linux distributions all over the place.

If you ask me, this is a good thing, because even if Novell is the first to take notice of this, it will encourage the entire Linux industry to take note and ensure that a technology patent dispute could not force people to turn off servers running that distribution.

Re:Explanation, please (1)

asuffield (111848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340942)

Linux has a lot of great things, and OSS and GPL has a lot of great things, but there are also flies in the ointment, and to ignore them is becoming part of a cult.


Show me an OS without flies in the ointment, and I'll show you which cult you belong to. That's not a meaningful objection to any of them.

You can find lots of stuff that is in Linux distributions that are on shaking ground from Xerox technology to even Fat32, and there are tons of people that do own these technologies and could potential ask they stop being used and shutting down Linux distributions all over the place.


Only in the US do people seriously think that you can "own technologies". The rest of the world has, so far, rejected the notion of software patents (despite much effort from the US to get them more widely accepted). There will not be any Linux distributions being shut down, there will only be development moving out of the US.

Software patents are troll material anyway. There is no such thing as a piece of software that does not violate numerous software patents without a license. That includes Windows; Microsoft get sued for patent violations two or three times a year, and they usually just settle (it's not usually newsworthy). The system is so broken that you can't win, unless you simply refuse to play.

Re:Explanation, please (1)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 7 years ago | (#17344334)

Only in the US do people seriously think that you can "own technologies". The rest of the world has, so far, rejected the notion of software patents (despite much effort from the US to get them more widely accepted).

Have you ever been to this little place called Europe?

Software patents are troll material anyway. There is no such thing as a piece of software that does not violate numerous software patents without a license. That includes Windows; Microsoft get sued for patent violations two or three times a year, and they usually just settle (it's not usually newsworthy). The system is so broken that you can't win, unless you simply refuse to play.


This I completely agree with. I think software patents may have a place, but the way they are handed out and implemented in today's USA is insane and sad. True Novel technology never sees the light of day, and esoteric concepts that apply to everything get a freaking patent.

I'm not at all saying the patent system is right or good, I am just saying it is currently being used to battle the technological war. If you can't design a better product you buy a patent and sue, or you just steal a technology and hope nobody notices before it becomes common use.

The US patent system concerning both software and technology needs a massive overhaul, with 99.9% of the patents being thrown out immediately. If the patent is truly good, they can resubmit for patent for free under the new system that has not only higher criteria, but also has good technological people handing these out, and not office clerks that wouldn't know a byte from a bit.

However we are in reality, and right now these are the rules of the game that everyone is being forced to play to.

MS even hates the patent system, as they have stated several times, they also never took the patent war seriously until a few years ago. Before then they had few patents, and since then they have went out of their way to patent anything they can to keep people from suing them.

Apple has actually been better at playing the patent game, look at number of patents on simple ideas they have pushed through in the past 15 years, they were actually smarter about protecting themselves than Microsoft.

Re:Explanation, please (1)

asuffield (111848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17346312)

Only in the US do people seriously think that you can "own technologies". The rest of the world has, so far, rejected the notion of software patents (despite much effort from the US to get them more widely accepted).


Have you ever been to this little place called Europe?


The US has tried, twice, to push software patents onto Europe. They have failed, twice (right now they're trying again). Software patents are not legal anywhere in Europe. Strangely, the European Patent Office rubber-stamps them anyway (perhaps because they expect them to be legal in the future), but they're worthless paper in court. All significant patent lawsuits in Europe to date have been targeting the sale of hardware devices.

Re:Explanation, please (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17342160)

they've cut a separate peace with MS

So? Back to my post, why does that make them backstabbing traitors instead of merely testicularly challenged cowards?

The GPL doesn't allow this, it has the 'live free or die' clause.

I am not finding this 'live free or die' clause. Not even in spirit. Please point it out to me.

There's a saying, we must all hang together, for if we do not, we shall assuredly hang separately.

Please dispense with the hyperbole. That's the core of my problem with this issue, that everyone is getting blowing it completely out of proportion. No one is going to hang! Sheesh.

Besides, Microsoft didn't need to enter into a deal with Novell in order to sue Redhat users. If Microsoft wants to sue Redhat users, it's going to do so regardless of any agreements it has with Novell. While the deal may be a terribly bad decision for Novell, it's completely irrelevent to users of other systems.

Re:Explanation, please (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17342928)

This is the live free or die clause:

7. If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.

Now Novell and MS tried to get around this by granting patent licenses, not to each other, but to each others customers. Depending on how a court of competent authority rules, it's either a transparent dodge and Novell no longer has any right to distribute GPL software, or the dodge works, in which case Novell's customers have lost their license as a consequence of this action. It's also quite possible that by attempting to strip their customers of their licenses, Novell could be ruled to be in violation here, even if the dodge is found valid at the first level of analysis. Furthermore, no one wants to go to court over this, because there's so much room for argument and maneuvre, and because one possible consequence of doing so would be to harm innocent third-parties who did nothing wrong.

It's a mess, and it's clear that some very smart lawyers worked very hard to make it that way.

Re:Explanation, please (2, Informative)

sjbcfh (611594) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333780)

My understanding is that this is an indemnity deal. Microsoft says it won't sue Novell over patents.

Incorrect. This is the part everyone around here keeps getting wrong, either willfully or because the fact that Microsoft is involved gets them so crosseyed-mad that they can't read. The agreement is that Microsoft won't sue Novell's customers should Novell be found to be violating any of Microsoft's patents, nor will Novell sue Microsoft's customers if Microsoft is found to be violating Novell's patents. This doesn't prevent either company from suing the other over patent violations.

Re:Explanation, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17333870)

I understand that is smooths the way for software patent enforcement, as MS can point to the deal and say "Look your honour, we are being very reasonable and giving people the opportunity to pay us for our patents". Without the deal MS's patents are harder to enforce, as the judge can say "all these people are doing is implementing things because you will not deal with them".

Re:Explanation, please (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340872)

Since when is patent enforcement based on whether you license the patent? A patent holder can say "I won't license the patent to anyone and I never will" and the court has no legal basis to obstruct the enforcement of that patent.

Re:Explanation, please (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17333898)

The subtext of this deal is "If Novell and/or Microsoft decide to modify a GPLed product then you will be in danger of being sued by Microsoft if you do anything with their version." So if YOU write something and release it under GPL and Novell modifies it then you can't use the changes without the threat of being sued by Microsoft. This is every bit as bad or even worse than releasing binaries containing GPL code without releasing the changes you have made. The code could find its way into another product thereby exposing its authors to potential litigation.

Novell is the first to sign into such a deal. No other large company has tried to undermine the GPL for their gain in such a way. Allowing this deal to gain legitimacy would severely undermine the GPL.

Microsoft Derangement Syndrome? Is that when you make up really stupid, snarky acronyms to name things that are idiotic and misconceived?

Re:Explanation, please (2, Informative)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333990)

What do you base this intrepretation on? Unless Novell modifies your code in such a way that it violates a MS patent when your original code did not, the scenario you outline is false. Of course, even if this agreement didn't exist, if Novell did add code that violated a MS patent then you couldn't redistribute the code without the threat of being sued by MS. Nothing in this agreement changes the patent realities for someone who wants to modify and redistribute GPL'd code from Novell or from anyone else.

Re:Explanation, please (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17334288)

"My understanding is that this is an indemnity deal. Microsoft says it won't sue Novell over patents."

No the agreement doesn't say that at all. It says MS will not sue Novell CUSTOMERS. It can still sue novell anytime it wants. The agreement is only good for five years. After the five years are up MS can (and probably will) sue novell customers.

MS claims that it has patents on unspecified technologies that in linux (that's probably true because they have patents of lots of silly stuff). Before this deal if MS sued somebody novell had promised to come to their aid by countersuing with their patent portfolio. MS has now taken that threat away. MS is now free to sue anybody that USES linux and novell will not come to their aid.

Of course IBM, Redhat, HP etc may still come countersue and the community at large would in all likelyhood find prior art and invalidate the patent anyway but that's not the point. The point is that Novell has now been taken away as a threat to MS for the next five years.

What happens after the five years are over? Well then Novell customers are now prime targets!. There is a high probability that MS will hand over specs and code to novell in the name of interop that will certainly violate MS IP. MS will pick what they view as their most solid patents and make sure that novell incorporates these into the GPLed projects. In other words "they will have set us up the bomb".

Any code coming from novell from this point on should be treated as a loaded weapon.

Re:Explanation, please (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17342360)

MS is now free to sue anybody that USES linux and novell will not come to their aid.

That does not follow. Microsoft can sue Redhat users anyway, regardless of any deal they have with Novell. This is still analogous to a Mafia protection racket. If Bob's Flower Shop down the street doesn't pay his "insurance", Vito is going to break his kneecaps. It doesn't matter if you pay *your* insurance or not, Vito is STILL going to break Bob's kneecaps.

Novell's actions do not in any way affect Microsoft's relationship to other distros or their users.

The point is that Novell has now been taken away as a threat to MS for the next five years.

I think that might be the answer I'm looking for. I'm a FreeBSD user, and so don't think like a Linux user, so pardon me if I get this wrong. It seems to me that what you are saying is: "The defeat of Microsoft is the primary goal, so Novell's sin is that they are no longer threatening Microsoft. They are is in essence and aiding and abetting the enemy, and deserting in a time of war." Does that sum it up?

Re:Explanation, please (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17347132)

"That does not follow. Microsoft can sue Redhat users anyway, regardless of any deal they have with Novell."

That's true. Before this deal Novell had made a promise to the open source community that if anybody filed a patent suit for anything in linux they would assert their patents against the aggressor. Novell has now reneged on that promise but only for MS. MS can sue redhad without any fear that novell would come to the aid of red hat.

"Novell's actions do not in any way affect Microsoft's relationship to other distros or their users."

Except as I said before this deal they could come to aid of anybody who was sued. Now they won't if MS is the aggresor.

"The defeat of Microsoft is the primary goal, so Novell's sin is that they are no longer threatening Microsoft."

No. I find it odd that you are a freebsd users, they tend to be smarter then that. You got it all backwards. Novell wasn't threatening to sue anybody, red hat wasn't either. It's MS who is threating to sue. It's MS who wants to destroy linux and open source. Novell had promised to help if anybody got sued by MS. They have now agreed never to defend anybody who is sued by MS for the next five years. Got it? Your summary was 180 degrees backwards.

So when MS sues a company who is using linux (let's say they sue ernie ball) novell will sit idly by and do nothing. Before they had promised to help ernie ball by countersuing with their patent portfolio. Novell will not lift a finger and it will be up to others to help ernie ball against one of the richest corporations in the world. Maybe that will be red hat, maybe it will be IBM, maybe it will just be the community. Ernie ball will not have to face the fight alone but novell has agreed to sit on the sidelines and not intefere with MS' efforts to destroy linux for the next five years.

Re:Explanation, please (1)

rkhalloran (136467) | more than 7 years ago | (#17336268)

The problem with this MS/Novell deal is mostly on the MS side. Ballmer went off with the ink barely dried about how those *other* distro's were potential litigation targets because of possible MS patent violations in Linux, but Novell users were fine because of The Deal. He didn't go into details, but FUD isn't about details. This plays perfectly into MS' campaigns against Linux.

And with the cooperative development between the companies, you now have to wonder if any contributions by Novell will be seized upon by MS' spinmeisters as tainted with MS content and only "safe" if you run it on SUSE.

If Ballmer's so sure that Linux violates some MS patent, let's get it in the open and have it out. Otherwise, as many here have said, it's just polluting the well.

Glimpse of light in the dark here (2, Interesting)

tulare (244053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333770)

Maybe (hopefully, please, PLEASE let it be so) this means SuSE will return to its roots as a kickass KDE desktop distribution... as someone who for various reasons has preferred KDE for many years now, SuSE's looming turn toward Gnome was a real bummer for me.

Re:Glimpse of light in the dark here (1)

EvilRyry (1025309) | more than 7 years ago | (#17337194)

SuSE still is a kickass KDE desktop. I have 10.2 installed and it is very nice in KDE.

Divide and Conquer (1)

femto (459605) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333804)

Let's face it, the Novell-MS deal is probably about divide and conquer as much as anything else. Cut the deal, divide the FOSS world into "Free Software" and "Open Source" then try and bring them down one at a time, ideally using one against the other.

Perhaps MS has found a way to bring "Open Source" into the fold, making it impossible for "Free Software" to work with "Open Source" without compromising principles?

Re:Divide and Conquer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17334112)

RMS was already against Open Source, basically saying it wasn't fundamentalist enough for him. There was already a schism, even if it was mostly one-sided.

-M

Re:Divide and Conquer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17334602)

Which is why the MS-Novell deal may not be too damaging. The Free Software movement has always been prepared to do it, with or without "Open Source".

Howie Mandel? (2, Funny)

LM741N (258038) | more than 7 years ago | (#17333944)

Wow, I need to cut down on my EtOh consumption. I thought it said "Howie Mandell Returns to Novell."

Re:Howie Mandel? (1)

deanoaz (843940) | more than 7 years ago | (#17342618)

The offer is now $250,000,000. Your geeky friends are saying "NO!", but if you stay in the game there's a 50 percent chance you'll end up with a one-way ticket to palookaville.

    Deal, or No Deal?

Frist stOp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17334480)

rotting corpse Lesson and munches the mo5t are al7owed to play expulsion of IPF practical purposes

Novell will be at SCALE 5x (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17334646)

Novell will be exhibiting and speaking at SCALE 5x [socallinuxexpo.org] on Feb 10-11.

Linux fanboys on slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17336052)

q.v.
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