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Novell Goes Public with Microsoft Linux Deal

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the makes-for-fascinating-reading dept.

Novell 133

InfoWorldMike writes "On the back of defending the agreement this week, Novell did as promised and published details of its landmark November 2006 Linux partnership agreements with Microsoft. Linux advocates are expected to scour the documents for signs of how the agreement may affect Linux and whether anything in it will put Microsoft or Novell in potential violation of the upcoming version 3 of the GNU General Public license (GPL). The GPL is used in licensing many components of the Linux operating system. Open-source advocate Bruce Perens said he would be looking to see exactly what Novell was given through the deal and whether there is any requirement for the Linux vendor to defend Microsoft's patent claims. 'What I'm actually looking for is, to what extent was there a violation of faith?' he said."

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133 comments

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19281749)

fp

Re:fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19287165)

You fail it.

Ok....... (-1, Redundant)

HoosierPeschke (887362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19281821)

I tried to scour the links on the crappy linked article for some lengthy, contract looking page for more details. The closest was this: http://weblog.infoworld.com/openresource/archives/ 2007/05/novell_microsof_1.html [infoworld.com]

On top of that, the links on that page that go to a SEC page are broke. WTF? I did just roll out of bed but are there good links?

Re:Ok....... (0)

HoosierPeschke (887362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19281829)

Poop, kripkenstein found the link so if mods could be so kind as to mod my parent comment down so that the useful stuff can float to the top, thanks!

Actual Patent Agreement (5, Informative)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#19281823)

Link to actual agreement [sec.gov]

I am no lawyer (but I do read contracts from time to time, as a 'hobby'), but this is really an odd 'covenant'. The agreement appears to not state what products are actually covered by the patent covenant, in bizarre ways. For example, "Clone Products" are not covered, "Clone Products" being presumably things like Mono and OpenOffice (as they duplicate Microsoft APIs and products); yet all such products already designed at time of signing are exempt, i.e., they are covered. Yet, the following projects are not subject to the exemption: "Wine, OpenXchange, StarOffice and OpenOffice", i.e., they are not covered. So OpenOffice appears to not be covered.

Likewise Samba would presumably be a "Clone Product", and not covered as well, except by the exemption due to its existing at time of signing. Yet this might not cover additional functionality added later. It just isn't clear.

No actual products are named aside from the quote above, and even they are not stated as being covered or not (just not exempted by a particular subsection). So, reading this, I can't tell whether Novell customers are in fact covered or not, in any way. The assumption was always that the agreement did protect them from patent lawsuits. But that assumption may have been wrong.

Is the contract specifically designed to not mention any products, effectively letting it be ambiguous and perhaps of no legal use - that is, only effective for PR purposes?

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (5, Interesting)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 7 years ago | (#19281861)

I suppose they expect to be able to warp the language later as need arises. "Clone Products" doesn't say anything. Linux itself could be declared clone, as it implements (clones) an existing concept. (posix/unix/os).

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (4, Interesting)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#19281887)

That's true, but note that "Clone Products" in this contract are only with respect to the other party. So Linux implementing *NIX isn't an issue since *NIX isn't a Microsoft product.

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (3, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#19281919)

So Linux implementing *NIX isn't an issue since *NIX isn't a Microsoft product.
Yet ... ;-)

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19281979)

Did you forget about Microsoft Xenix? All UNIXes pay or paid royalties to Microsoft...at least for about 20 years.

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (5, Informative)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 7 years ago | (#19282067)

Really? Care to give a citation for that claim? Some features of Xenix were merged into SVR4 around 1990, but that's hardly 20 years ago, and I don't recall any mention of royalties being paid to Microsoft for using SVR4 source code. Anyway, Xenix would have required Microsoft to strike some sort of licensing deal with AT&T in the first place, as they owned the source code that Xenix was based on. I'm not sure what point SCO (old-SCO that is) ended their relationship with MicroSoft, but that may have predated the merging of Xenix features into AT&T's codebase anyway.

SCO did have to pay Microsoft (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19284159)

SCO shipped Xenix compatibility crap with OpenServer, as required by the contract that transferred Xenix to SCO. SCO didn't actually want to ship this crap, as least for the price being paid. BTW, Microsoft also had shares of SCO from that deal.

SCO got their freedom in a lawsuit a few years back. As I recall, there was a settlement. Microsoft sold/lost the shares and SCO stopped shipping the Xenix crap.

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (2, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#19282071)

Not now it isn't, but did Microsoft retain any rights to Xenix [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19282175)

If Novell beats SCO Unix is theirs, does that make Microsoft's Windows Services for UNIX a clone product?

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (0, Redundant)

NyteGeek (1085779) | more than 7 years ago | (#19285523)

Don't forget about Xenix.

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (1)

pegr (46683) | more than 7 years ago | (#19285819)

That's true, but note that "Clone Products" in this contract are only with respect to the other party. So Linux implementing *NIX isn't an issue since *NIX isn't a Microsoft product.
 
I guess you never heard of Xenix [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (3, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19281895)

Cloned Products are more considered products which copy the full functionality of the origional app and all development is for improving compatibility or upgrading to match the current version. SMB is a good example of this. It is designed to be compatible with windows networking and that is about it, features added are used to improve compatibility or internal management of the compatibility of the software.

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19282063)

Well, they explicitly exempted OpenOffice and StarOffice, which I presume means that otherwise they would have been covered. If OpenOffice is a "clone" of MS Office, then I think you can cover just about anything competing in the same market.

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (1)

Gibbs-Duhem (1058152) | more than 7 years ago | (#19283697)

You seem to be making the mistake of applying logic to legal documents.

Don't do that. Implying things means nothing, and making it so people presume something is true without it being true is the name of the game.

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (2, Informative)

Frodo420024 (557006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19284855)

Might it cover GNumeric as well? It has copied every feature from Excel - I even remember the announcement when the implementation was complete.

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19286623)

Well, the Samba project began as a means to share files/printers with Windows systems, and that is still a main goal. But the software and the protocol has also been extended in ways not supported by Windows. For example, UNIX extensions were added to improve interoperability between UNIX-like systems talking SMB. This makes managing file permissions a lot easier when you only have two Samba hosts talking to each other.

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (4, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 7 years ago | (#19281907)

Samba is an interesting issue. Jeremy Allison resigned from Novell as fast as feasible: as one of the core developers of Samba, I have to assume that Jeremy's work was a big factor in the Microsoft/Novell deal. And with all the little network applicance and storage tools currently on the market, and with almost all of them being Samba based, Microsoft had clear reason to limit the usability of Jeremy's work to direct Novell customers.

Remember also that Novell's Netware tools are still supported: network storage is a big market. And this deal left Microsoft and Novell with a big patent club to be able to use against mutual competitors, without either being restrained by the other company.

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19282041)

Without having RTFA, couldn't Linux be argued as a clone product? Or is it explicitly included in the coverage?

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (2, Informative)

StringBlade (557322) | more than 7 years ago | (#19282307)

Following the links from the article I ended up here [infoworld.com] which does explicitly state that Microsoft and Novell will collaborate to improve interoperability between Microsoft Office and OpenOffice, also between Microsoft Active Directory and Novell eDirectory.

Unfortunately all the links in that article to the SEC filings are 404s.

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19283071)

How does this agreement even benefit Novell? They could have had an upper hand on Microsoft if they told them to go fuck themselves.

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (1)

FST777 (913657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19284069)

$ 108,000,000.00

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (2, Insightful)

WGR (32993) | more than 7 years ago | (#19285069)

Microsoft has become one of the biggest sellers of Linux and Linux support by this deal. Microsoft saw that many customers were going to use Linux based servers for specific applications anyway(an internal blog based on LAMP, for example).so Microsoft retains the customer while contracting out the support to Novell.

      Novell gains revenue with the support contract OEM from Microsoft, Microsoft retains customer loyalty (and a cut of the support contract) and is able to sell "total solutions". Microsoft sees future revenue in customer support.

The patent stuff is more of a red herring in this deal. It is basically there to ease the deal. The main idea is that Microsoft gets to sell more stuff to customers and Novell gets more revenue. It is a win/win deal for both of them.

Re:Actual Patent Agreement (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 7 years ago | (#19285341)

The patent stuff is more of a red herring in this deal. It is basically there to ease the deal. The main idea is that Microsoft gets to sell more stuff to customers and Novell gets more revenue. It is a win/win deal for both of them.
You are wrong. The patent stratagem is the prime purpose of the pact, as witness Steve Ballmer using the word "patent" more than a dozen times in the associated press release.

Mono is not Visual Studio (5, Interesting)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 7 years ago | (#19284047)

If it was it would have had a much better IDE and GUI that resembles Visual Studio.

Did you know that C#, Visual BASIC.Net, etc Microsoft gave the EMCA the rights to allow the standards for those languages to be given out to open source software?

Not only is there Mono, but also DotGNU that does a version of those languages.

They are not clones, but they are trying to make the languages available for multiple platforms. They also make Dotnet available for multiple platforms, because C# and Visual BASIC.net use Dotnet as part of their standard framework.

The reasons why they aren't clones is because you cannot take Visual Studio code and compile it on Mono and DotGNU unless you modify the code and tweak it. That is because Mono and DotGNU are written from scratch and not actual ports of Visual Studio.

OpenOffice.Org is not a clone of MS-Office either. It was written from scratch. The only thing it has in common with MS-Office is the MS-Office format files it can save as and read, and possible some primitive VBA support.

Mono and DotGNU are open source "alternatives" to Visual Studio, not clones.

OpenOffice.Org is an open source "alternative" to MS-Office.

Linux is an open source "alternative" to MS-Windows.

Tux is an open source "alternative" to Mickey Mouse.

Linus Torvalds is an open source "alternative" to Bill Gates

None of them are clones of the other.

Re:Mono is not Visual Studio (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 7 years ago | (#19285433)

They are not clones, but they are trying to make the languages available for multiple platforms. They also make Dotnet available for multiple platforms, because C# and Visual BASIC.net use Dotnet as part of their standard framework.

The reasons why they aren't clones is because you cannot take Visual Studio code and compile it on Mono and DotGNU unless you modify the code and tweak it. That is because Mono and DotGNU are written from scratch and not actual ports of Visual Studio.

Momo does not just implement the ECMA standard, it also implements WinForms, [mono-project.com] which is outside the standard and a purely MS/Windows thing.

From the linked page:
"And that's the whole point of Winforms: to allow existing .Net SWF apps to run on Mono."

Faith? Get the fuck out. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19281853)

Am I the only one skeptical of all this religious mystical hocus pocus shit abound in computing?

Re:Faith? Get the fuck out. (0, Flamebait)

linguizic (806996) | more than 7 years ago | (#19281881)

No your not the only whose skeptical about religion here. But "faith" as it is used here is a legal term [law.com] .

Re:Faith? Get the fuck out. (3, Interesting)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19281893)

Am I the only one on slashdot with such a limited vocabulary?
There, fixed that for you.
Sadly, the answer is probably no.

The damage is done. (1, Insightful)

spazmonkey (920425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19281857)

Whether people like it or not, whether the deal goes on as planned or not, or whether this in any way violates GPL, the damage is unfortunately already done - and not necessarily because of any effects that may come out of the agreement. The real damage is that the very thought this agreement will cause Stallman to pretty much COMPLETELY lose it, in the flying-blind-in-the-land-of-batshit kind of way. I can't imagine his behavior will get more reasonable anyway, and with his credibility already stretched and the tensions already rife within the community, it doesn't bode well. Open infighting amongst the FOSS community is just what we need right now......

Re:The damage is done. (5, Interesting)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 7 years ago | (#19281901)

I for one welcome our Zealot Overlord ... oh wait, he has been that way since before I was born?

The damage is done alright, but it is Novell that has taken a hit to their credibility. Everyone already knew RMS was a bit of a zealot, for better or worse, this won't change that. It has however ruffled the feathers of quite a few in the FLOSS community, and it could very well cause Novell to lose supporters in favor of Redhat, IBM or even Canonical. Whatever criticism you have about RMS it is hard to deny that helping Microsoft spread their FUD and trying to get a competitive advantage by splitting the OSS community is far worse than anything Stallman has ever done.

Re:The damage is done. (2, Insightful)

spazmonkey (920425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19281941)

"it is hard to deny that helping Microsoft spread their FUD and trying to get a competitive advantage by splitting the OSS community is far worse than anything Stallman has ever done."

  Unless, of course, what he does is to split the OSS community.

  You rightly called this deal FUD. It will go away with time. RMS won't, so it would be far better for us all if we could keep him just to THIS side of insanely divisive, and this deal isn't going to help that any.

Re:The damage is done. (5, Insightful)

Brainix (748988) | more than 7 years ago | (#19282251)

The Free Software / Open Source "community" is and has always been split. That's its greatest strength. Some people (like RMS) are into Free Software for idealistic reasons. Other people (like Linus) are into Open Source for practical reasons. People disagree about everything on every level - from the topmost philosophical level all the way down to the implementation details of the code. There's enough room for everyone and, frankly, the discussions and flamewars are healthy.

Re:The damage is done. (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19283843)

I don't see how it could be any other way, and it's great that everyone can try out "their thing", but sometimes having a standard is more important than its merits. For example I'm sure you can find lots of reasons why we should drive on the left or the right side of the road - but it sure as hell is easier when everyone drives on the same side of the road.

For example: No matter what program I run, I'd like the "Open file" dialog to look the same. No matter what I'm trying to print, I'd like the "Print" dialog to be the same. When I'm trying to find out why my video doesn't play, it'd be great to have one video backend. It finally looks like everything is starting to standardize on ALSA for sound. Linux is the epitome of "The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from!". It's getting better, but still could use a lot of work.

Re:The damage is done. (1)

defaultXIX (106977) | more than 7 years ago | (#19284055)

"There's enough room for everyone and, frankly, the discussions and flamewars are healthy."


No they're not.

Re:The damage is done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19284253)

The Universe has awarded you one Deep Zen point...

Re:The damage is done. (1, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#19285937)

The Free Software / Open Source "community" is and has always been split.

This might be true, but the effectiveness of Stallman's fearmongering, coupled with the perception that Microsoft's recent behaviour reinforces it, and aided as always by the aggressive suppression of dissent engaged in by Stallman's followers, means that currently anyway, the cultic half of the abovementioned alliance is predominating.

We can hope that the pendulum eventually swings back, and things resume some vague semblance of genuine balance, however the prognosis for this is currently not good. As far as the open source side of the equation is concerned, Eric Raymond seems to have largely fallen out of sight, and the zealots are also apparently gradually succeeding at pulling Linus into line; at least to the point where he no longer is willing to express definitive resistance to their goals. Even if he still doesn't agree with the FSF internally, he will thus become controllable.

Re:The damage is done. (2, Insightful)

mw13068 (834804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19282817)

grandparent: "far worse than anything RMS has done..."

You guys are nuts. I ask you, what evil has RMS done to the Free Software community?! Starting it in the first place? Seeing into the future of the software industry and writing the GPL to protect the community (1991) or doing it again in 2006-07? Ever ask yourself *why* he does what he does? I'll give you a hint. It's to keep Free Software Free.

parent: "Unless, of course, what he does is to split the OSS community"

RMS didn't split the OSS community, the "open-sourcers" split the Free Software community. So if you've got separation anxiety, blame Torvalds, Perens, and that whacko Raymond who may write good software, but don't have the desire or the ability to protect it. Name one OSI license that will help protect Free or "open-source" software as well as the GPL against the enemies of Free Software.

If it weren't for RMS, Moglen, the FSF, and now the Software Freedom Law Center, all you "open-source" folks would be working for Microsoft or some other proprietary software developer.

Open Source is dead, because it doesn't mean anything. Even Microsoft can make open source software.

Re:The damage is done. (0, Flamebait)

nagora (177841) | more than 7 years ago | (#19282927)

You guys are nuts. I ask you, what evil has RMS done to the Free Software community?!

Talk.

Every time he talks he makes us all look like moronic little children. He has absolutely no ability to express his ideas in human languages, probably because - like Gates - he has never had to work a day in his life if he didn't feel like it. He is very good at all the things you listed but I cringe every time he appears somewhere and starts throwing his toys out of the pram because someone said "Linux" instead of "GNU/Linux".

As a programmer and a visonary he is up there with the best of them; as a person, he's a pathetic embarrassment. He should stay in his ivory tower and stick to what he's good at.

TWW

Re:The damage is done. (5, Interesting)

Freed (2178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19283113)

How could he have done so much excellent writing (e.g., his many manuals and a book of essays) and continue to be invited to speak all over the world if he had no ability to communicate? The basis of your entire post is nonsense. Even if you had a point, it is hardly _evil_ to sincerely express your beliefs. I'd say it's the opposite.

He's got foibles like anyone else. Your idiotic claim about him and Gates just shows you are talking out of your ass.

Re:The damage is done. (2, Insightful)

Ravnen (823845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19283799)

RMS didn't split the OSS community, the "open-sourcers" split the Free Software community.
Open source software, including examples such as BSD, was around before Free Software, but without any ideological opposition to its use in proprietary software. Whether or not Stallman's ideological stance is more productive than the one taken by open source developers before him, and those who didn't join the Free Software movement, is an open question, and depends on the goals.

If the goal is the best software, then the GPL is largely irrelevant. If the goal is the best open source (or Free) software, then the need for something like the GPL ultimately depends on whether or not the open source development model is more effective than the closed model. If it is, there isn't much of a need for preventing proprietary additions, because any temporary advantage from closed development will be negated over time, by parallel open development. If closed source is actually a more efficient development model, then something like the GPL becomes much more important. I don't know which is the case.

I'm not ideological, so I'm glad to be able to benefit from the incorporation of BSD sockets into proprietary software. If Windows 3.x/9x, SunOS, Mac OS and others hadn't been able to take advantage of BSD sockets code, it almost certainly would have prevented BSD sockets becoming a de facto standard. I don't know which networking API most of us would be using, but my guess would be something designed by Microsoft. Thanks to BSD sockets, all of these systems can interoperate well, and open source systems like Linux are actually useful as network servers, serving mostly Windows and Mac OS clients.

proprietary code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19284875)

>If it weren't for RMS, Moglen, the FSF, and now the Software Freedom Law Center, all you "open-source" folks would be working for Microsoft or some other proprietary software developer.

There are plenty of evil proprietary software companies inserting evil code into open source projects.

Its going to freak us all out eventually until our brains explode like in 'the scanners'.

http://lwn.net/Articles/222773/ [lwn.net]

Top lines changed by employer
(Unknown) 66154 19.0%
Red Hat 44527 12.8%
(None) 38099 11.0%
IBM 25244 7.3%
Astaro 15306 4.4%
Linux Foundation 13638 3.9%
Qumranet 12108 3.5%
Novell 11930 3.4%
Intel 11652 3.4%
SANPeople 9888 2.8%
NetXen 9607 2.8%
Sony 8497 2.4%
Broadcom 8349 2.4%
Tensilica 8195 2.4%
Nokia 5581 1.6%
MontaVista 4394 1.3%
University of Aberdeen 4324 1.2%
LWN.net 3975 1.1%
Secretlab 3370 1.0%
HP 3211 0.9%

Re:The damage is done. (1)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19283563)

Unless, of course, what he does is to split the OSS community.

There's nothing to split. FOSS is just a marketplace of different products and licenses, just like any commercial marketplace. RMS has no control over what licenses people use. If FOSS developers don't like the GPLv3, they won't be adopting it. I predict, however, that the GPLv3 will be a big success because many FOSS developers will want its requirements applied to their code.

RMS won't, so it would be far better for us all if we could keep him just to THIS side of insanely divisive, and this deal isn't going to help that any.

What would be better for FOSS is to recognize people like you for what they are: either, you're a Microsoft shill who's trying to use this as an excuse to throw mud at proven open source contributors, or you're just some anti-GPL zealot who is disappointed that the GPL is so widely used.

Either way, if you want to help open source, as you claim you do, there's a simple thing you can do: stop groundlessly insulting people who have done far more for open source than you ever will.

Re:The damage is done. (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#19285821)

RMS has no control over what licenses people use.

Same as how Cardinal Ratzinger has absolutely no control over what anybody does or believes...Right?

Re:The damage is done. (1, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#19286269)

What would be better for FOSS is to recognize people like you for what they are: either, you're a Microsoft shill who's trying to use this as an excuse to throw mud at proven open source contributors, or you're just some anti-GPL zealot who is disappointed that the GPL is so widely used.

Do us a favour; come up with something new. For one thing, the shill argument is getting extremely old, and for another, the people who use it would be lucky if 1% of the time that it had been used, it had actually been accurate. It's a term Linux people use dismissively for anybody who says anything that they don't want to hear. Dissent from the groupthink? You're a shill.

Expressing critical or dissenting opinions about Richard Stallman is not a groundless activity, and I can assure you that it is not one which you or any of member of his cult will ever dissuade me from engaging in. If you want me or the rest of us to stop, here's how you can make it happen. Create a scenario where the FSF literally ceases to exist, and where Richard Stallman is dissuaded from engaging in any form of public work or appearance ever again. This scenario is what I want, and I'm not going to stop praying for it to happen or from creating any kind of opposition to him or his followers that I possibly can. I'm also going to offer any support I can to others on this site who engage in this activity. Richard Stallman is the proverbial scorpion on Linux's back. His formal organisation and the informal collective of his followers together are a scourge, and I honestly cannot adequately verbalise the extent of the loathing which I feel towards them.

I'm not merely a shill. From your perspective, I'm something considerably worse.

Re:The damage is done. (1)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19287139)

Do us a favour; come up with something new.

Come on, use your head. The accusation of "shill" doesn't mean that I seriously believe you are one, it is simply shorthand for expressing that you are behaving as if you were one: it's people like you who hurt open source, not people like Stallman.

Expressing critical or dissenting opinions about Richard Stallman

You're not "expressing critical or dissenting opinions", you're throwing mud at someone who has done more for open source than you will in your entire lifetime.

I'm not merely a shill. From your perspective, I'm something considerably worse.

Actually, individually, I think you are completely insignificant. But you illustrate the kind of uninformed whiners that do, collectively, hurt open source somewhat. Mind you, I don't think you have much of an impact even as a group, but your kind of drivel occasionally does get picked up by the media.

His formal organisation and the informal collective of his followers together are a scourge, and I honestly cannot adequately verbalise the extent of the loathing which I feel towards them.

Well, then I suggest you stop using their software. You can start by canceling your Slashdot and Blogspot accounts and stop using Google and Firefox, because all of them have been built with FSF software and code that Stallman wrote. You see, Stallman has put his time and his money where his mouth is.

If you want to help open source, write software under whatever open source license you want and stop whining and badmouthing others who do.

Stallman isn't the problem, you are.

Re:The damage is done. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19282323)

Interesting post from Groklaw

Win, Win, Win
Authored by: givemelibertyor on Saturday, May 26 2007 @ 09:23 AM EDT
-----There are, I have absolutely no doubt, several other advantageous
reasons for this deal that I don't come close to. But looking at all this, you
can't help feel that Bill and Steve are still laughing their socks off.-----

Another might be to try to poison NOVL as an acquisition target for IBM or
Google. NOVL has some networking assets that would be quite valuable tactically
and strategically for an acquirer, and the SUSE component would have been an
interesting fit as well. MSFT, as a convicted monopolist, would have a tough
time buying NOVL, but a 5 year contractual cuckolding of NOVL screws it up for
others, and protects MSFT.

Also, if with MSFT's permission the agreement is allowed to run for its term,
after 5 years of "partnering with no obvious adverse effects on competition
in the networking market, and with obvious shared IP", it would be easier
for MSFT to shill the government regarding taking over the scarred shell of a
NOVL that they helped kill. Perfect for Bill and Steve.

I remember a quote from Peter Drucker, i.e. "Management is doing things
right, leadership is doing the right things". If the ridiculous terms of
this agreement are purely an issue of competency within Novell leadership (not a
secret nefarious sellout), then this is a professional embarrassment for Novell
senior management, posted for all the world to see.

givemelibertyor

Re:The damage is done. (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 7 years ago | (#19284691)

That Novell has ever *been* a member of the FOSS community is debatable. SuSE has been, but a corporation buying you doesn't automatically make that corporation a part of the community.

I used to like Novell, and considered them ethical. That was from around 1980 to a few months ago. Since then I've been in "don't commit" status. Now, actually seeing the agreement, and reading people's interpretations of various pieces (did you know that several of the terms are defined in a web page on a domain that doesn't resolve?), most of the respect that I had for Novell has evaporated. And it was Novell that killed it, not Stallman or anyone else. Novell.

I trust that the GPL3 will be released *SOON*!!, and I hope that they either eliminate the grandfather clause, or give it some reasonable date...like Apr. 1, 20001. I realize that this won't affect any already extant software, but it will make the updates more useful.

P.S.: The deal appears to give developers just as little protection as I had heard, i.e., none. This is Novell attempting to sell us down the river, and if the backlash bankrupts them, it's less than what they deserve. If it were to bankrupt not only the company, but also the corporate officers, it would still be less than they deserve. (I'm a bit unhappy with them.)

Re:The damage is done. (5, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 7 years ago | (#19281927)

Stallman has enough handlers to help keep him out of the realm of shrieking in your face. He's actually matured, and gotten better at convincing strangers that he has some real answers for their concerns.

Richard has been prophetic about this: his concerns at the Novell/Microsoft deal, and about software patents in general, were exposed as completely correct when Microsoft started its recent claims of hundreds of patent violations without naming a single patent.

Re:The damage is done. (1)

Freed (2178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19283505)

Richard has been prophetic about this: his concerns at the Novell/Microsoft deal, and about software patents in general, were exposed as completely correct when Microsoft started its recent claims of hundreds of patent violations without naming a single patent.

The problem is that most people do not want to face the fact that the powerful forever keep trying to buy laws that undermine democracy such as the DMCA. Thus, most people are in no position to understand RMS's warnings.

Re:The damage is done. (2, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#19285789)

Stallman has enough handlers to help keep him out of the realm of shrieking in your face. He's actually matured, and gotten better at convincing strangers that he has some real answers for their concerns.

Yep. The problem with him dealing with people directly is that he's never had any real ability himself to hide what he is. The tremendous value inherent in the mouthpiece strategy is that said mouthpieces can be people who know how to sound infinitely more diplomatic, sane, and reasonable than Stallman himself, so he gets more supporters, (who because they don't know better, foolishly assume that Stallman himself is as sane as his representatives sound) and his genuine megalomania also stays safely hidden away from people who would otherwise have serious ethical problems with following him if they knew about it.

Stallman needs to communicate with people via third parties for exactly the same reason that Darth Vader ended up needing to wear the black suit; the outer appearance needs to be made at least vaguely palatable, because the genuine, internal reality is in fact truly monstrous.

Re:The damage is done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19281997)

Am I the only one who thinks Microsofts aspirations aren't to get blood from a stone, but to get an army of formitable companies (lots of them love linux) who then become party to any legal attacks Microsoft faces Eolas style? Essentially cowing a judge by bringing what amounts to the whole of the market into the courtroom. Microsoft can't stop people from using linux, they can't stop or really even retard the development of linux. That can't be their aim, because it's obviously impossible. But they can force people to license their IP, and they probably can't expect significant revenue from it (compared to their cash on hand). I can't see any advantage to this for Microsoft except as described above. An honestly, aren't companies like Eolas the really obnoxious entities that are most hated anyway? Wouldn't Novell getting paid to make that business plan less practical be a double win?

Re:The damage is done. (1)

GovCheese (1062648) | more than 7 years ago | (#19282353)

Novell has agreed to pay Microsoft a percentage of revenue from open-source products Although its not entirely unexpected that two corporations seek mutuality in the market, I never expected to see MS get money from open-source products. How MS continues to seek a piece of the FOSS market will be the developing story over the next years. How the FOSS community maintains its ideals in the face of similar commercial opportunities will certainly preoccupy the community.

damage to who? (3, Interesting)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19283473)

The real damage is that the very thought this agreement will cause Stallman to pretty much COMPLETELY lose it, in the flying-blind-in-the-land-of-batshit kind of way. I can't imagine his behavior will get more reasonable anyway,

Actually, this agreement shows that Stallman's behavior is completely reasonable. It's you who is "batshit" because you still just don't get the kinds of dirty tricks companies like Microsoft are trying.

with his credibility already stretched and the tensions already rife within the community, it doesn't bode well. Open infighting amongst the FOSS community is just what we need right now......

There is no "infighting", and fairly little disagreement in the FOSS communities. Mostly, it's just laissez faire. Compare that to the kind of cut-throat competition and dirty tricks going on in the commercial world, where companies not only screw each other but also screw the customer.

Even if you look at individuals, Stallman and Linux may be abrasive, but they are far more sensible, rational, and smart individuals than Ballmer or other commercial industry leaders.

The damage is done

The only "damage" from this is to Microsoft's reputation: Ballmer has shown that he is impotent: he can't stop open source. He can't name any patents, and he can't even get Novell to license their patents without paying Novell hundreds of millions of dollars. And their attempts at getting agreements through FUD are being undermined by license changes within a few months.

The last few months have shown only one thing: Microsoft's technology is worse than open source, their patents are worthless, and their dirty tricks aren't working either. Yes, there's big damage, and it's to Microsoft's reputation.

This is a course in business ethics (2, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19283651)

In the new dawn emerging from the FOSS revolution we are finally getting what we really need to move technology forward: light. These back room deals for contingent permission to use intangible ideas and leverage market share will not stand the light of day. All deals are eventually exposed. This leads to some business ethics lessons that should have been the standard all along:

  • Don't do business with someone who can't cut a straight deal.
  • Muggers can't be partners. If you make a deal to squeeze out a third party, your partner is already negotiating with the fourth party for your demise.
  • Don't partner with someone who has a history of feasting on the corpses of their former partners.
  • The more desperately you need a deal, the less likely it is to work out well for you.
  • Don't borrow. If you must borrow, choose your lender with exceeding care -- they may be your friend today but they are as subject to the whims of fate and usages of power as you. Lenders can be leveraged too.

Now let us set out to innovate good products and sell them on their merits, m'k?

Re:This is a course in business ethics (2, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#19285703)

In the new dawn emerging from the FOSS revolution we are finally getting what we really need to move technology forward: light.

No; what we've really been getting is cultic bullying and intimidation, and the sorts of methods of social reform customarily employed by the Amish.

Microsoft on the one hand make legally questionable back room deals. On the other, Perens gets on a soap box and threatens Novell with the dire things that will happen to them if they don't get back with the Stallmanite program. We also see rank and file Linux users engaging in their usual, continual gutter tactics of slandering and threatening anyone in the IT trade press who prints anything contrary to the opinions they want universally held.

The beloved "community" has NO moral superiority whatsoever. The approach might be different in some respects, but the goal is more or less the same; control over how people think, and the software they use. In fact, the single reason why I've always believed that the FSF/its' cheerleading squad are actually considerably morally worse than Microsoft is because of the degree of dishonesty inherent in their claim to have more morally desirable intentions. Stallman is an aspiring cult leader, the same as Hubbard or any of the rest of them who have existed throughout history. There's nothing elevated or enlightened about it at all.

There's a fifth column in Linux (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19281877)

All I know is

 

(Novell == Mono) && (Mono == GNOME)


Mono-infested GNOME is a cancer on the Linux community. I recommend removing this tumor and installing KDE. Who wants a smelly foot on their desktop anyway?

Re:There's a fifth column in Linux (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19282143)

Gnome - KDE

MS - Linux

Its time to put an end to these childish rivalries and Machiavellian plots. I think a good start would be for Dice-K to go over and personally meet each of the Yankees TODAY, and tell them how much he appreciates their skills and looks forward to seeing them in June at Fenway.

Re:There's a fifth column in Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19282765)

Sure hope none of them catch that stomach flu that he has.

Re:There's a fifth column in Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19286169)

When Roger Clemens joins the Yankees, I fully expect he will show some of the Red Sox how much he respects the rivalry between the two teams and how he appreciates some of his old mates.

That appreciation will be expressed from a distance of 60 feet, 6 inches.

No protection what-so-ever (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19281969)

1.9 "Other Excluded Products" means (a) office productivity applications (word processing, spreadsheets, presentation software, etc.) of the Parties that are hosted by or running on a computer acting as a server for a connected client device, and (b) new features and functions in the following categories of products of the Parties, but not to the extent the products embody operating system software or other enabling technologies: (i) video game consoles (e.g., Xbox video game consoles), console games, video game applications designed to run on a computer, and on-line video gaming services (e.g., Xbox live); (ii) business applications designed, marketed and used to meet the data processing requirements of particular business functions, such as accounting, payroll, human resources, project management, personnel performance management, sales management, financial forecasting, financial reporting, customer relationship management, and supply chain management; (iii) mail transfer agents (aka email servers); and (iv) unified communications.
Looking at the list of excluded items, doesn't this mean that anyone that buys SuSE and thinks that they're protected from suit are just being fooled. I know that OOo comes as part of the distro as do other excluded things. So what does Novel think that they have to offer (besides FUD that is) to their customers? This deal also seems to leave MS open to cancel this deal at anytime. So, there is no protection. It seems to just be the illusion of protection and nothing more.

Pay the Danegeld, never be rid of the Dane (4, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19283433)

I wrote here at the time that the point of a secret covenant was for the companies to be able to sell the same peace more than once.

PHBs need to understand they can't buy peace -- Not ever. They have to take it by choosing to be Free and Open.

Novell's contributions to the OIN need to be reassessed now because the value of the patents they contributed may have been wiped out by this agreement. How many other OIN partners have worked a deal like this or outright licensed away their patents? Is the Open Invention Network a complete sham?

Novell took money from Microsoft. Microsoft always gets something valuable in return. I continue to believe the "something of value" was a pledge for Novell programmers to leverage MS IP in their products so that when this deal expired their customers would be hooked into paying MS licensing fees for products that run in Linux. It's the only way Microsoft encouraging deployment of Linux makes sense from a Microsoft point of view.

It certainly will be easier to do with Novell offshoring most of their development. High profile evacuations in their onshore development teams show an important trend. The FOSS developers who create great work because they have both skill and a passion for the "free as in liberty" aspect of open source software have fled. Offshore they can hire coders who are interested in personal liberty from the oppressed economic conditions of their community and are less concerned with the Freedom of others who fare better than them at a minimum. It's not a formula for good code. Passion adds considerable quality to the output - perhaps quality that cannot be had any other way. A software system is not a microwave oven.

Novell desperately needed that money from Microsoft because delays in their financial reporting caused by an audit of options grants allowed their major creditor to call loans that would have seriously impacted their operation. Somebody needs to have a close look at how this squeeze play was engineered. Its timing is suspicious in the extreme. It would not surprise me if both the investigation that triggered the audits and the creditor were both suspiciously motivated. All FOSS companies need to have a close look at their exposure to being leveraged in this way.

It is my hope and belief that Novell regrets their dance with the devil and they're trying to escape his fee. We will see if they can do it. In any case it should be more clear to all that dancing with the devil is a dangerous game.

Re:Pay the Danegeld, never be rid of the Dane (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#19285583)

PHBs need to understand they can't buy peace -- Not ever. They have to take it by choosing to be Free and Open.

If you really think that peace exists within the FOSS development community, maybe you should spend some time reading about the recent internal conflicts that have been plaguing both the Debian and Gentoo projects.

What you're not seeing is that whether free or proprietary, in *any* human social environment there will always be authoritarian megalomaniacs who crave power over others, and who also crave the ability to delude themselves that this power has a morally desirable basis. In the case of Microsoft, said megalomaniacs are Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. In the case of FOSS, it's Richard Stallman and Bruce Perens.

That is what is unavoidable. In any collective, in any "community," you are always going to have the tyrants. They are completely inevitable. I want nothing more than to see Stallman simply disappear completely as far as Linux is concerned, but I know that lamentably, it will never happen. The cult is here, it's here to stay, and it's completely irremovable.

Re:Pay the Danegeld, never be rid of the Dane (2, Insightful)

HiThere (15173) | more than 7 years ago | (#19286141)

Tyrants may be unavoidable, but you can reduce their scope and their power. If a project can be forked at need, then "absolute control over the code base" means until people get so upset that a group forms to fork the code. This can take lots of provocation, but X Window experienced just such an event a year or two ago.

OpenSuSE may mean that Novell is already facing a quiet insurrection. It also may not. (I'm not a SUSE user, so I haven't been following them. But even if it doesn't mean that now, it could change to mean that at any time.)

Guido may have the title "Benevolent Dictator For Life", but if enough people got unhappy with his decisions, a new language would fork off of Python. (It doesn't even require that someone be unhappy. Greg Ewing could decide to develop Pyrex into a full language rather than leaving it to be an intermediate between Python and C, and that would do it in and of itself.)

So there are lots of "Petty tyrants", both benevolent and otherwise. In the FOSS community their power over each person is generally quite limited.

I think you don't understand peace. (1)

Joseph_Daniel_Zukige (807773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19286531)

Peace is not about whether people argue or not.

Peace is about whether you can go about your business without expecting to have to accept being raped (pillaged or murdered) _and_ _like_ _it_.

It's the last part that is the deadliest to the human spirit, that the aggressor demands that you must _enjoy_ his (or her) attentions. (It's bad enough not being allowed to fight back, but then they insist that you _must_ be enjoying it.)

Or, if you insist that peace is the lack of argument, I will qote The Revelation about being "oppressed by peace".

joudanzuki

Your comment + a way out for Novell (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19286595)

If you really think that peace exists within the FOSS development community, maybe you should spend some time reading about the recent internal conflicts that have been plaguing both the Debian and Gentoo projects.

Passion can be scary -- anyone who's stood at an altar to be married can tell you that. Passion is a powerful motivator for a lot of things, including innovative problem solving. Yes, passionate people who care about their work can engage in strident discussion. Should it rise to the necessary level, alliances will form and there will be yet another fork. Customers, especially business customers, need not be afraid of this process - X.org teaches us that often a fork brings clarity and cohesion to a passionate team and outstanding results are almost immediately forthcoming.

Disagreements in the secret back room deals process, however, are something businessmen need to fear. They can lead to warring law firms, legal liabilities, and injunctions against almost any non-open technology that a company has leveraged to compete effectively. This can bring multinational firms to a halt, prevent essential communications for emergency personnel, or completely break a supply chain overnight. These are not minor risk at all. These are bet-the-company risks. Every business school teaches the same mantra: "risk is essential to good business. Embrace risk. But do not bet the company."

To bring this back on topic, there is a course of action Novell can pursue that will eventually bring them absolution. Microsoft demonstrated this technique in their deal [theregister.com] with Sendo. Basically their deal involved providing the OS for the Sendo phone. If the product failed to launch by a set date for any reason, including Microsoft's inability to deliver the OS, the terms of the deal resulted in Microsoft ownership of all of Sendo's phone related IP. Unsurprisingly, Sendo [sendo.com] is no more. Also unsurprisingly, other phone vendors are reluctant to reap the benefits of partnering with the PC software market leader.

Novell can deliver the goods - developing C# and Mono, Visual Basic for Open Office for the Linux platform. They can leverage the economics of overseas labor markets to hire an army of paralegals to document in the source code specifically by number (or more subtly with easily searchable keywords) which patents are violated. They can identify leaky workers and assign them to positions of responsibility, identifying them anonymously to L'inq [theinquirer.net] . They can make the project their organizational strategy lab and send a new manager (or better yet, a failed engineer) to reorganize it every 90 days. They can hire Scott Adams [unitedmedia.com] as a motivational speaker. Site security can be overseen by the cousin of the accountant that does the inventory, who is the Aunt of the payroll accountant who is the cousin of the head of HR who seems not to notice that the majority of employees exist only in the payroll. This is the customary practice in Banaglore anyway - everybody is related to everybody else and if you can't indulge in a little nepotism how important could you be? Since failure is not only the expected, but the desired outcome, the place can be a plush corporate retreat where junkets by excecutives can be organized for minimal oversight and maximum recreation where it is understood that inspection tours will only be a strictly scheduled and carefully guided interlude between morning golf and discussion with open bar. They can dogfood the heck out of the thing, insisting that pre-alpha tools be used for management, production and accounting. When their committed investment is gone, they can appeal for more cash (bleed the beast!) or just shrug and say it's not their fault - offshoring wasn't guaranteed and it just didn't work - but see what strides our truly open, passionately motivated homegrown worforce has made! This is a dirty trick to play, but I see it as the only way for them to pay off their Faustian bargain and not lose their soul.

GPL less enforcable than the DMCA or W3C standards (-1, Flamebait)

HellYeahAutomaton (815542) | more than 7 years ago | (#19282083)

MS and Novell have a set of agreements to protect each other from each other.
Sure. That's what legal documents are for.

Linux advocates scouring legal documents for violations is less useful than me trying to scour my bathroom.
Leave the legal docs to the lawyers, and let Linux advocates resume geeking as usual while speaking high Klingon
and dressing up as furries.

wow... (2, Funny)

muszek (882567) | more than 7 years ago | (#19282177)

The GPL is used in licensing many components of the Linux operating system.

Finally a summary that contains a very much needed and comprehensive definition of the GPL. That's something every geek's been dreaming about since Slashdot was born!

Fair is Fair (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19282191)

You know, companies are mostly free to make deals with other companies provided no laws are broken.
Microsoft is free to use GPL'd code, provided they follow those (GPL, LGPL) agreements.

OTOH, if **any** company doesn't follow the agreement - GET THEM!
Too many of them - http://gpl-violations.org/ [gpl-violations.org]
Linksys being the most famous: http://lwn.net/Articles/51570/ [lwn.net]

Personally, I'd love to see Microsoft found guilty of violating the GPL/LGPL, but I know how hard they work to ensure that doesn't happen - at least a few years ago they worked really hard.

OTOH, OSS developers should also respect when a company decides they don't wish to be part of any OSS-based licensing. Personally, I avoid doing business with those companies, unless absolutely necessary and I keep the amount of business to the minimum possible.

Re:Fair is Fair (1)

Akaihiryuu (786040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19283105)

Nitpicking here, but you can't be convicted of "violating the GPL". The GPL works totally different from EULA's. EULA's are an attempt to enforce "restrictions" in addition to standard copyright (whether these are even legal is beyond the scope of this argument). On the contrary, the GPL is merely a license to modify and redistribute (things copyright doesn't normally allow). The GPL is the only thing that gives you the right to do this...if you violate the agreement, the GPL no longer applies, and regular copyright applies. Thus, if you violate the terms of the GPL and are convicted, you aren't convicted of "violating the GPL", but copyright infringement (since you redistributed without a license). I wish more people would understand the difference, but too many people make it sound like the GPL is an EULA.

Re:Fair is Fair (4, Informative)

Akaihiryuu (786040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19283145)

Straight from the text of the GPL: "You are not required to accept this License, since you have not signed it. However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or distribute the Program or its derivative works. These actions are prohibited by law if you do not accept this License. Therefore, by modifying or distributing the Program (or any work based on the Program), you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so, and all its terms and conditions for copying, distributing or modifying the Program or works based on it."

Microsoft product names listed in the agreement (3, Insightful)

StringBlade (557322) | more than 7 years ago | (#19282287)

Under the business collaboration agreement it lists the Novell and Microsoft products under agreement

...Novell and Microsoft agree to provide a combined offering consisting of SLES and a subscription for SLES support with Microsoft Windows Server, Microsoft Virtual Server and Microsoft Viridian.
It looks like Microsoft has given up and just started naming their products appropriately.

No right to distribute (5, Interesting)

itsjpr (16533) | more than 7 years ago | (#19282451)

From Exhibit D

Non-Assertion of Patents Pledge

Microsoft hereby covenants not to assert Microsoft Patents against each Non-Compensated Individual Hobbyist Developer (also referred to as "You") for Your personal creation of an originally authored work ("Original Work") and personal use of Your Original Work. This pledge is personal to You and does not apply to the use of Your Original Work by others or to the distribution of Your Original Work by You or others. A "Non-Compensated Individual Hobbyist Developer" is an individual software developer (i.e., a person and not any corporation, partnership or other legal entity), including a developer of open source software, who receives no monetary payment or any other forms of consideration that can be valued monetarily for their creation of their Original Works. The fact that You may be employed as a software developer by, and receive a salary from, a corporation, partnership or other legal entity, does not disqualify You from treatment as a "Non-Compensated Individual Hobbyist Developer" under this pledge, provided Your activities related to the creation of Your Original Work are performed during Your free time and outside the scope of Your employment. The Microsoft Patents subject to this pledge are all patents issued world-wide to the extent they are owned or controlled by Microsoft or its majority owned subsidiaries. For additional information on obtaining rights under Microsoft patents to contribute Your Original Work to an open source project, please see Microsoft's Patent Pledge for Hobbyist Contributors.
WTF is that? This is meaningless drivel. The whole point of free software is freedom to work on it community. If all I do is mod code at home and use it at home it ain't open and I'm not free. This also puts a big cloud over free software use commercially, ie. when i participate in and/or lead free software projects are part of my day job...which is a big component of this. Free software is a treasure trove of problem solutions. They are effectively saying you can work on or use that software without paying M$.

I like Suse. I've used it for years. I use OpenSuse and hope it will keep itself clear of that but I'm looking for alternatives. Ubuntu has a chance but anything that puts GNOME first is crap. I don't like Mono or the rest of Miguel's M$ fan-boyism. I don't want M$ crap in my life and haven't had it there for years.

Re:No right to distribute (3, Informative)

cronius (813431) | more than 7 years ago | (#19282651)

I like Suse. I've used it for years. I use OpenSuse and hope it will keep itself clear of that but I'm looking for alternatives. Ubuntu has a chance but anything that puts GNOME first is crap. I don't like Mono or the rest of Miguel's M$ fan-boyism. I don't want M$ crap in my life and haven't had it there for years.
You don't need to use GNOME to use ubuntu, just use Kubuntu [kubuntu.org] instead. You get all the goodness of ubuntu plus KDE.

Re:No right to distribute (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 7 years ago | (#19282693)

Nobody said anybody has to agree to the covenant in Exhibit D. It simply states the asphyxiating conditions under which MS promises not to sue individuals for patent infringement---conditions which may be unconditionally changed by MS. But clearly, MS has now promised not to sue individuals. ;)

Re:No right to distribute (1)

master0ne (655374) | more than 7 years ago | (#19283233)

Court is now in session for the case of Microsoft vs Anonymous Coward(s).... for the Microsoft would like to call ALL of the F/OSS company... err.. community to the stand for cross examination....

Re:No right to distribute (1)

urbanradar (1001140) | more than 7 years ago | (#19283111)

I like Suse. I've used it for years. I use OpenSuse and hope it will keep itself clear of that but I'm looking for alternatives. Ubuntu has a chance but anything that puts GNOME first is crap. I don't like Mono or the rest of Miguel's M$ fan-boyism. I don't want M$ crap in my life and haven't had it there for years.
Perhaps PCLinuxOS [pclinuxos.com] might be to your liking, it's KDE-centric and generally receives very good reviews. I use it as my main OS myself, and I've always been very happy with it. It's definitely the best distro I've used.

(For the record: I am not involved with the PCLinuxOS project, just a happy user spreading the good news... :) )

May I suggest Debian? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19283287)

I like Suse. I've used it for years. I use OpenSuse and hope it will keep itself clear of that but I'm looking for alternatives. Ubuntu has a chance but anything that puts GNOME first is crap. I don't like Mono or the rest of Miguel's M$ fan-boyism. I don't want M$ crap in my life and haven't had it there for years.

Once you set it Debian, it's awesome. It doesn't do everything for you so you will also have the opportunity to learn. Yeh!

Re:No right to distribute (2, Insightful)

Sesostris III (730910) | more than 7 years ago | (#19283675)

I don't like Mono or the rest of Miguel's M$ fan-boyism. I don't want M$ crap in my life and haven't had it there for years.

Bully for you! You manage to lead a pure and Justified existence, unsullied by any contamination of anything from Microsoft.

Unfortunately, if you hadn't noted from your Edenic paradise of FLOSS perfection, a large of PCs (whether work or home, Server or Desktop) run Windows.

This begs a question - how to encourage people and companies to migrate from Windows to GNU/Linux? This just doesn't mean providing desktop environments (Gnome/KDE) but also a way to migrate applications (a big concern for business).

Java is not a problem, but the Microsoft languages (C#.NET and VB.NET) are.

I know what! What is required is someone to help provide an environment where these applications can run in (say) Linux and not just Windows! That way, the path to paradise is not blocked for all those people and companies using stuff developed with Microsoft technologies. Is there such a person? Is there such a Project? Why, goodness me, there is; Mono, with Miguel as main developer.

Of course, you may not want Gnu/Linux to become mainstream. If so, may I humbly disagree.

(Oh, and a query, How will you avoid all the stuff that the Suse folk put into the kernel? They're still at it as well, by the way, looking at the latest change logs. Maybe you should use Hurd instead. I've heard it's very pure and unsullied!)

Sesostris III

(PS, I currently dual boot with Ubuntu, having always used KDE before, and I must admit I like it. As mentioned by someone else, there is Kubuntu if you prefer KDE. Xubuntu if you prefer neither!)

Re:No right to distribute (1)

itsjpr (16533) | more than 7 years ago | (#19284947)

Unfortunately, if you hadn't noted from your Edenic paradise of FLOSS perfection, a large of PCs (whether work or home, Server or Desktop) run Windows.
You can't be free from M$ if you use their stuff. It's not Windows the OS, it's M$ the organization. There are many other organizations which I can work to empower. I don't feel like undermining my own liberties by empowering the organizations that will take them away.

This begs a question - how to encourage people and companies to migrate from Windows to GNU/Linux? This just doesn't mean providing desktop environments (Gnome/KDE) but also a way to migrate applications (a big concern for business).

Java is not a problem, but the Microsoft languages (C#.NET and VB.NET) are.
Have you heard of porting? There is nothing in the .NET world that can't be solved by other (free) technologies (especially with the GPLing of Java). It's not about running stuff on Linux, it's about not being beholden to an oligarch.

Re:No right to distribute (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#19283889)

I like Suse. I've used it for years. I use OpenSuse and hope it will keep itself clear of that but I'm looking for alternatives. Ubuntu has a chance but anything that puts GNOME first is crap.


One should always be looking at alternatives, whether one's current choice is $foo Linux, OS X, Windows, OS/2, Solaris, or any other operating system out there. What provides the best solution for you today may not be what provides the best solution for your organization a year from now. I just compared the latest Zimbra to the latest Scalix, and for our needs, the best solution is still Scalix.

gnewsense (1)

ssintercept (843305) | more than 7 years ago | (#19284109)

gnewsense is based on ubuntu and uses no non-free software and sports KDE. great platform for those who dont want to feed the machine. you would make stallman proud.

Microsoft will buy Novell (1)

McNihil (612243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19282511)

Its just a matter of time... but this is hardly news at this point.

Another Unintelligible EULA (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19282935)

From reading the comments and the snippets in the comments it sounds like it's another damned unintelligible EULA. One of the main reasons I prefer GNU/Linux is their EULA (it may have the GPL and others but in those I can find sites that fully explain it in a common language as well as gives me some tangible rights as well as restrictions.)

Re:Another Unintelligible EULA (1)

jopsen (885607) | more than 7 years ago | (#19283067)

Off topic, but GPL i not an EULA.... The GPL only restricts your redistribution of GPL'ed software or software deriviated from GPL'ed software (ei modifications of GPL software)... As long as you don't redistribute an application the GPL doesn't give you anything but rights...

No acknolwedgement of Infringement (5, Insightful)

apokryphos (869208) | more than 7 years ago | (#19283119)

It's worth noting 3.4:

  3.4 No Acknowledgement of Infringement. Nothing in this Agreement shall imply, or be construed as an admission or acknowledgement by a Party, that any Patents of the other Party are infringed, valid or enforceable.

Which will hopefully finally put an end to all the nonsense conspiracy theories [boycottnovell.com] that "Novell admitted that Linux infringes patents" etc., even though Novell have constantly re-iterated [novell.com] that such a claim was ridiculous. As I've said several times before, blaming Novell for Microsoft's recent claims is just completely unfounded, and in fact there's nothing new or particularly recent about it; Microsoft have always been flooding the market with falsities about Linux's infringement on their patents.
 
Hopefully the published results will provide the community with a general better understanding [opensuse.org] of the deal, so that at least if they disagree/hate it, they do it for real reasons (which seems to be rare).

A real reason for shunning Novell (0)

Freed (2178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19284251)

Hopefully the published results will provide the community with a general better understanding of the deal, so that at least if they disagree/hate it, they do it for real reasons (which seems to be rare).

Why not acknowledge a real reason then, namely, that the patent agreement "innovated" a way to turn free software into effectively nonfree software? Moreover, it tries to do this by subverting the most widespread free software license. So serious is this problem that it forced the GPL3 to be delayed just in order to have language to ban this practice. No amount of excuses from Novell or FAQs can fix this problem.

If that is not enough reason for any free software person to shun Novell, then I don't know what is.

Re:A real reason for shunning Novell (1)

apokryphos (869208) | more than 7 years ago | (#19284405)

> "innovated" a way to turn free software into effectively nonfree software?

This is completely baseless. I'm interesting in hearing the way in which you think this is a valid statement though.
 
> Moreover, it tries to do this by subverting the most widespread free software license
 
We can argue for eons on what the "spirit" or what the "meaning" of an unspoken licence's rule is, but this is completely pointless; if you want to play the legal game, then you have to play by the rules: only what's written down is what the licence pertains to.
 
>So serious is this problem that it forced the GPL3 to be delayed just in order to have language to ban this practice. The publication of a licence was delayed..
 
I'm sorry but this is simply emotive language that unfortunately doesn't demonstrate anything.
 
>If that is not enough reason for any free software person to shun Novell, then I don't know what is.
 
While you're shunning Novell I think I'll go on praising them for the huge commitment they are (and always have been) making to open source by paying open source developers to work on the software I use every single day (the Linux kernel, GNOME, KDE, OpenOffice.org, etc etc), ensuring (like others) that this free software is maintained and constantly improving, and for being part of great efforts like the OIN and teaming up with the EFF to battle against threats towards Linux.

Re:A real reason for shunning Novell (1)

Freed (2178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19284871)

>This is completely baseless. I'm interesting in hearing the way in which you think this is a valid statement though.

The basis is that Microsoft gives Novell's customers a patent license which is conditional on their not exercising many of the rights that the GPL gives them. This is unacceptable.

>>So serious is this problem that it forced the GPL3 to be delayed just in order to have language to ban this practice. The publication of a licence was delayed..

>I'm sorry but this is simply emotive language that unfortunately doesn't demonstrate anything.

Do you agree that the new language in the GPL3 banning such deals is necessary for protecting the four freedoms, or not?

I assume you disagree, but if you cannot show why the language is unnecessary, then I can only conclude that you are in denial about how it is wrong to help Microsoft extort free software users and degrade freedoms; whatever you may support, it would not be free software.

Yes, Novell contributes to free software, but what good is 10x the contribution if software freedom is threatened and watered down by the sponsor of such contributors?

Re:A real reason for shunning Novell (1)

apokryphos (869208) | more than 7 years ago | (#19286851)

> The basis is that Microsoft gives Novell's customers a patent license which is conditional on their not exercising many of the rights that the GPL gives them. This is unacceptable.

Which freedoms cannot be exercised? Could you expand a little more?

>Yes, Novell contributes to free software, but what good is 10x the contribution if software freedom is threatened and watered down by the sponsor of such contributors?

Statements like this often make me cringe I'm afraid. The last time it was mentioned was when Beryl forked Compiz, and how wonderfully that turned out. I agree software freedom is vitally important, but fighting for it when it's not under threat or when the wrong person is seen as the enemy is far too appealing to many people it seems. Still, I'll wait on to hear what you have to say, for sure.

Conspiracy Theory? (1)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 7 years ago | (#19284619)

> Which will hopefully finally put an end to all the nonsense conspiracy theories that "Novell admitted that Linux infringes patents" etc., even though Novell have constantly re-iterated that such a claim was ridiculous.

I wouldn't call that a "conspiracy theory" because it was Microsoft who perpetuated that claim. Yes, they went to the media and used it to whip up all this FUD, like the 235 patents bit. And with the rest of us unable to read the agreement...

Anyhow, I figured that was just Microsoft stabbing their "partners" in the back. Hopefully, that will teach Novell not to deal with them again, it's been nothing but trouble for them and I don't think they intended anything bad--they probably just wanted to protect their customers--but they chose a really bad way to do that.

Re:Conspiracy Theory? (3, Insightful)

apokryphos (869208) | more than 7 years ago | (#19286785)

No, the conspiracy theory going around was that Novell agreed to those claims as well even though they've continuously denied it. That this deal hasn't been good for Novell is another myth a lot of people apparently like believing, curiously enough. While in actual fact Novell's stocks have gone up, they've got quite a few more Linux engineers than before, and SLE adoption is greatly increasing. Not exactly doing badly, are they?

Considering Softare Patents are acts fo fraud .... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 7 years ago | (#19284447)

...all this is really a distraction from dealing with the core issue of the fraudulent perspective of the patenting software.

See: http://threeseas.net/abstraction_physics.html [threeseas.net] re: what is universally considered NOT patentable.

Landmark? (0, Troll)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 7 years ago | (#19285217)

Novell did as promised and published details of its landmark November 2006 Linux partnership agreements with Microsoft
Landmark? Eyesore, more like it.

Partnership? Toady, more like it.

Did as promised? Spin doctoring, more like it.

Partnership agreements? Pact, more like it.

What Perens Is Looking For (1)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 7 years ago | (#19285515)

Another conspiracy theory he can use to attack Novell since the "Novell is trying to be bought out by Microsoft" one was so ridiculous it just made him look like an idiot.

Naturally in any legal document you can spin the thing any way you want - despite or perhaps because of the supposedly rigorous legal language - so I'm sure he'll come up with something to let him get more play in /. and Linux Today.

...for which Novell receives revenue. (1)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19286419)

"not to assert Microsoft's patents against those customers for the customers use of products and services of Novell for which Novell receives revenue. "

So where does free software fall in this statement. Does Novell receive revenue for all the FLOSS it distributes? Sounds like BOHICA time to me.

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