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Microsoft Gets Novell Docs Before OSS Community

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the spirit-of-the-law dept.

Novell 77

flydpnkrtn sends in an InformationWeek article arising out of Novell's SEC filing yesterday, asking: "Is this just more Novell-bashing material? Or is this no big deal? And of course this type of thing runs contrary to the 'spirit of the GPL'..." "Under its controversial alliance with Novell, Microsoft is entitled to receive key technical documentation from the Linux distributor even if that documentation is not generally available to open source software developers, according to a Novell document."

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I have no choice (-1, Troll)

Stephen Tennant (936097) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366367)

I have to get all worked up now.

Their documentation (3, Insightful)

allthingscode (642676) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366379)

If the documentation belongs to Novell, they can burn it for all I care.

Re:Their documentation (3, Funny)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366713)

Maybe Microsoft is the only one that wanted it.

Re:Their documentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19373355)

Yeah, fire up those shredders! The time is now!!

Re:Their documentation (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 7 years ago | (#19380127)

Novell's stuff is also a large part of GNOME lately. I used to prefer GNOME, but with the almost-forced move to mono and all, I'm glad KDE has better tech (and GPL compliance) these days.

I don't see any problem with this. (5, Insightful)

ikekrull (59661) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366393)

Novell and MS are perfectly entitled to collaborate in any fashion they like as long as it doesn't violate the licenses of products that are not their own intellectual property e.g. GPL-licensed software they are distributing as part of their product offerings.

If Novell wants to share documentation athat they themselves have written or compiled with MS in preference to others, then I can't see any reason for outrage or controversy. Please, theres plenty of reasons (mostly, the patent-related reasons), to condemn Novell's actions, but I can't see this is any basis for negative feeling towards Novell at all.

If youre talking about community-contributed documentation, then wouldn't it already be out there?

If youre really worried, slap a 'all rights reserved by the copyright holder. Permission is granted to read or redistribute this work except to the companies Novell or Microsoft' disclaimer on everything you publish.

 

Re:I don't see any problem with this. (2, Insightful)

ajanp (1083247) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366501)

Well, apparently it isn't so much if Novell wants to share the documentation with Microsoft, they apparently have to share it with them (regardless of whether or not they decide to share it with the rest of the open source community).

A copy of Novell's technical collaboration agreement with Microsoft attached to the filing shows that Novell must provide Microsoft with certain documentation related to running SUSE Linux virtually -- on an exclusive basis if necessary. "If any such Novell Management Information is not publicly available, it is provided for Microsoft's internal reference use only," the agreement states.

Under the deal, Novell must provide to Microsoft documentation relating to the tools used to manage Novell's SUSE Linux operating system on virtual servers "whether or not Novell Management Interface Information is available publicly in the open source community," the document states.
Seems more like Novell got the short end of the stick on that one considering Microsoft has complete access to all documentation relating to SUSE's virtual servers and the rest of the open source community can get the scraps of whatever Novell decides to give them.

Re:I don't see any problem with this. (2)

caspper69 (548511) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366837)

Well, apparently it isn't so much if Novell wants to share the documentation with Microsoft, they apparently have to share it with them (regardless of whether or not they decide to share it with the rest of the open source community).

Well, uh, those are the terms of the contract. It's not like Bill G held a gun to Novell's head and forced them to sign a contract. These are the terms of the deal, which I assume was negotiated in (mostly) good faith, and each side got something they wanted. It's called business. Deal with it.

The Simpsons did it! (1)

ragefan (267937) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367831)

Well, uh, those are the terms of the contract. It's not like Bill G held a gun to Novell's head and forced them to sign a contract. These are the terms of the deal, which I assume was negotiated in (mostly) good faith, and each side got something they wanted. It's called business. Deal with it.
Homer: "I reluctantly accept your proposal!"

Gates: "Well everyone always does. Buy 'em out, boys!"

Homer: "Hey, what the hell's going on!"

Gates: "Oh, I didn't get rich by writing a lot of checks!"

No gun to their head? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19368005)

You haven't been paying attention. There was a squeeze play involving a major creditor and Novell at the exact moment that Chairman Bill showed up with his suspiciously precisely correctly sized truckload of cash. Had Novell declined they may have been insolvent.

Was Bill holding the gun? After the Baystar thing who can tell?

Re:No gun to their head? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19368493)

If that's really the case (tin foil hat donned for the sake of argument) why didn't they just appeal to FOSS hero IBM for a bailout? Isn't the idea that IBM is going to swoop in and save everyone from MS the default argument these days?

You are being disingenuous. Why? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19368765)

I'll rephrase your question and you can answer it yourself: "Why would it be bad for IBM to be seen handing a truckload of cash to Novell right now?"

Now to my subject line: what's your motive?

Re:You are being disingenuous. Why? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373365)

I think you're confused about the time-line. The idea would be that IBM would provide the cash before Novell had done anything that FOSS supporters hate it for. Of course, I don't believe that the "devil" (MS) made them do it, nor do I believe that IBM is going to be the hero of any scenario. I wasn't disingenuous, but I was mocking the fan-boy line about IBM.

So you really don't get it. (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19375431)

IBM cannot be seen to be paying huge sums to Novell at the moment because it would be seen as a payoff for cooperation in certain ongoing litigation.

Your distrust of the IBM fanbois is misplaced. IBM is the real deal. The are not FOSS's only hero, but they are the biggest and they are committed.

Re:So you really don't get it. (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19377371)

"IBM cannot be seen to be paying huge sums to Novell at the moment because it would be seen as a payoff for cooperation in certain ongoing litigation."

So money can't be exchanged between Novell and IBM on a matter unrelated to the SCO case? Get real.

"IBM is the real deal. The are not FOSS's only hero, but they are the biggest and they are committed."

As I've stated here before, not only does IBM continue to profit from proprietary software, but they've killed off at least one software product acquired from another company because it competes with IBM's higher-priced alternatives. You can't even buy a license for the last version. Certainly if IBM was really committed to FOSS, they'd license the legacy product under the GPL or some other FOSS license. They don't because FOSS is just a low cost PR tool to convince the gullible that IBM is on their side.

Re:So you really don't get it. (1)

Ximogen (1033274) | more than 7 years ago | (#19423099)

a. IBM have given plenty of handouts to Novell over the years
b. anyone who thinks IBM do anything for the benefit of anyone other than IBM haven't read their history books, IBM were shafting customers and competitors before Microsoft existed

Re:No gun to their head? (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 7 years ago | (#19371683)

Because Novell isn't stupid enough to believe that tripe.

Repeat after me Slashdot:

IBM is a publicly traded company; IBM is not nice or friendly or generous or willing to stick its neck out for others unless there is an extremely good reason, and "because someone needs their help" is an extremely poor reason; the Nazgul are bad people, and only a fool expects bad people to do anything to them that isn't bad; IBM would just as soon sell me and the rest of the F/OSS community down the river if doing so would help their bottom line.

Keep repeating that until it sinks in. IBM is a company, right now they're doing some good stuff, but they aren't some sort of savior for Linux. There was a time when IBM was just as bad as Microsoft, and if they could get there again they would.

Re:No gun to their head? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19373273)

I agree with you, I was just repeating the wishful thinking line. I agree that Novell is neither stupid enough to see IBM saving them nor is it stupid enough to follow MS's advice and put patent violations in their code (and it would require MS to be very stupid also).

Re:I don't see any problem with this. (1, Interesting)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366539)

From the article:

Under its controversial alliance with Novell, Microsoft is entitled to receive key technical documentation from the Linux distributor even if that documentation is not generally available to open source software developers
The problem here IS that Microsoft appears to be collaborating with Novel ... against us. One might infer that Microsoft wants to be involved with Novel's design and development efforts so that Novel will unwittingly infringe upon as many Microsoft patents as possible. They could do this, say, in the name of bolstering open source compatibility with Microsoft products.

But who really knows what objective Microsoft insidiously pursues. Perhaps this situation bizarre but benign. Well, scratch that. They've already abused the relationship to demand protection money from Linux users.

Re:I don't see any problem with this. (-1, Troll)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366649)

Do you have difficulty with english much? If you read that sentence again, perhaps you will see that it says that unreleased documentation will be released to microsoft. Not that it will only be released to microsoft. There's no collaboration going on. Previously they wouldn't give the documentation to anyone, now they have to give it to, at least, microsoft.

Gosh. I guess it's just a matter of seeing what's there as opposed to what you want to be there.

Re:I don't see any problem with this. (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366915)

While everything you say is true, I wonder why Novell is offering key unreleased technical documentation to Microsoft. Could it have something to due with their SCO-style slander and nebulous IP violation accusations?

Re:I don't see any problem with this. (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 7 years ago | (#19368337)

You make an assumption that this documentation is "key". It may not be. But most likely it has something do with with hundreds of millions of dollars that Microsoft paid to Novell. And nothing to do with smoky rooms, trench coats, dark alleys, or secret decoder rings.

Re:I don't see any problem with this. (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 7 years ago | (#19368457)

That's not my assumption - or even necessarily one at all. To quote the article, once more & yet again:

Under its controversial alliance with Novell, Microsoft is entitled to receive key technical documentation from the Linux distributor even if that documentation is not generally available to open source software developers, according to a Novell document.

Under its controversial alliance with Novell, Microsoft is entitled to receive ___K___E___Y___ technical documentation from the Linux distributor even if that documentation is not generally available to open source software developers, according to a Novell document.

Re:I don't see any problem with this. (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366925)

The problem here IS that Microsoft appears to be collaborating with Novel
Since the quote directly mentioned virtualisation, I would imagine that this related to the work Novell are doing to create a compatibility layer between the Vista hypervisor and Xen, allowing guests from one to run on the other.

Re:I don't see any problem with this. (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19368523)

"One might infer that Microsoft wants to be involved with Novel's design and development efforts so that Novel will unwittingly infringe upon as many Microsoft patents as possible."

If you really think that Novell is that dumb, than why do you care what they do? Actually MS would have to be incredibly dumb to do this as well. All it would take is one whistle blower to create another round of anti-trust hell for MS; probably on a criminal rather than civil basis this time.

Re:I don't see any problem with this. (1)

trianglman (1024223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19369055)

After reading the article, this arrangement makes perfect logical sense to me, and it should to anyone who has seen MS operate in the past:
1) MS is having issues coming up with the next big thing, or getting their version of the next big thing working.
2) Competitor X is working on the same idea and is making progress.
3) MS offers to collaborate with (cajoles/forces/steals from) Competitor X on the idea to MS's benifit.
4) MS forces the competition out of the market, or at the least marginalizes them for a significant period of time.
5) And, strangely enough with no question marks, profit.

Re:I don't see any problem with this. (4, Insightful)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366599)

"Novell and MS are perfectly entitled to collaborate in any fashion they like"

We are also free to use whatever products we like. We are free to choose against a product only that we don't like the chairman (or should I say "chair man") of the company, or if we don't like what companies they make deals with. I personally don't like Microsoft so much, therefore I won't use Suse and any product that come from Novell as long as they make deals with Microsoft.

Re:I don't see any problem with this. (1)

zoid.com (311775) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366847)

I agree and even better is the fact that Novell is a non factor in the Linux world now.

Don't Think This is Relevant (3, Informative)

segedunum (883035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366395)

I don't think this is quite as it looks. The documentation this refers to is probably for Novells proprietary products, such as Zenworks, their virtualisation management stuff etc. That's really what Microsoft is most interested in Novell giving them a leg up on - whereupon Microsoft will spit Novell out and start eating even more of their customers.

It won't affect the open source community one jot, but it's just further evidence as to how tight a grip Microsoft (Novell's number one competitor who wants to put them out of business remember) has on Novell's very small and inconsequential nads. Novell never ceases to amaze me with their incompetence unfortunately, and if they want to flush themselves down the toilet then that's entirely up to them.

Re:Don't Think This is Relevant (2, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366451)

I agree, because even if Novell gives them documentation on open source software, well it's also available elsewhere to everybody else. The only point I wonder is this: if Novell took a GPLed software and wrote documentation for it, should the documentation be under the GPL?


Anyhow, the only sad thing about all this Novell affair is that they abducted what was an excellent Linux distribution. Suse saved my day a few times because it was one of the best distros from the POV of hardware compatibility.

Re:Don't Think This is Relevant (1)

fenderized (976906) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366839)

if Novell took a GPLed software and wrote documentation for it, should the documentation be under the GPL?
If that were the case then O'Reilly would be public enemy number one. In other words, no.

Re:Don't Think This is Relevant (4, Informative)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366855)

if Novell took a GPLed software and wrote documentation for it, should the documentation be under the GPL?

Well, I don't think all the books that have been written about Linux are GPL, are they? It is still illegal to redistribute these... I would consider these books to be documentation.

Ian

Re:Don't Think This is Relevant (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#19368019)

The only point I wonder is this: if Novell took a GPLed software and wrote documentation for it, should the documentation be under the GPL?

It's an interesting point. I've been using a laptop running SLED 10 for a few months now (Disclaimer: I won it in a Novell promotion), and I'm still impressed with it as a very clean, professional Linux distro - anyone wanting to introduce Linux to corporate desktops could use it as a drop-in replacement for XP/Office easily. One of the great things about it though, is the set of tutorials that comes with it. They're accessed from one of only three icons on the default SLED 10 desktop, and include enough for a beginner to get comfortable with the OS.

The training is produced by a company called BrainStorm, and on checking the package info, http://www.novell.com/products/linuxpackages/deskt op10/i386/sled-gnome-cbt_en.html [novell.com] , it looks like they're commercially licensed. Training like that could be a big differentiator between open and proprietary versions (such as OpenSuse).

Re:Don't Think This is Relevant (0, Offtopic)

Miguel de Icaza (660439) | more than 7 years ago | (#19368497)

slightly OT but a few years ago there was an article where a high level microsoftie posibly Gates or Ballmer gave a quote something like (paraphrasing from distant memory):

"we didn't know how to fight linux, its like some strange alien thing to us, then novell bought suse, and we smiled - because beating novell is something we have done before, they are suckers, its gonna be easy"

A while back I decided this would make a great sig and googled high and low, but to no avail. Perhaps it was on an MS friendly news-site and has subsequently been purged. Does this ring any bells? Does anyone have a link to an article with a quote vaguely similar? It would be much appreciated thank you please.

Re:Don't Think This is Relevant (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 7 years ago | (#19369343)

The documentation this refers to is probably for Novells proprietary products, such as Zenworks, their virtualisation management stuff etc. That's really what Microsoft is most interested in

Yeah...probably.

Re:Don't Think This is Relevant (1)

segedunum (883035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19370283)

Yeah...probably.
Well, if you'd read TFA then you'd have read that this refers to Novell's virtualisation software and VMs. So yer, probably, and more likely than anything else. The article is not specific and is just flying off the handle.

And the point is? (4, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366427)

And the point is? Sorry to disappoint some people, but noone really owes you anything just because you're waving an OSS banner.

Seriously, have a look through the GPL sometime, or read RMS's rhethoric about freedom of speech and such. The idea was that noone can steal _your_ code and put it in a closed source program. Ok, so the GPL 1 and 2 went a bit further and demanded the source and rights to whatever code _they_ contributed to that program too, but I figure it's a fair trade. I show you mine, if I you show me yours. GPL 3 is already treading on grounds some of us consider borderline, but still, ok. But none of them says you have a right to everything _else_ someone wrote or touched.

If Novell wants to sell some of its own documentation to MS, in exchange for whatever they wish, that's that. It's their docs, they can give it to whoever they want, or to noone whatsoever. Just because Novell also has a linux distro, doesn't mean you suddenly have a sacred right to everything else they have.

Re:And the point is? (1)

MooUK (905450) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367617)

Nothing forcing them, maybe.

Nothing forcing me to like what they do, either. If I, or you, or anyone else dislikes a company's conduct, ENTIRELY REGARDLESS of legality or not, we can express that dislike. It isn't difficult to understand, people. Legality is irrelevant here - if you do something I don't like I can complain about it.

Re:And the point is? (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 7 years ago | (#19369483)

I don't think anybody said it is illegal.
I read two types of notes:
1. it is Novell's folly, they will kill themselves by acting silly.
2. wow, this will be good for BSD and/or Microsoft

As you can see, the FOSS responses are not as much excited about it and no one said it will be good for Novell.

Re:And the point is? (1)

wrook (134116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19370855)

You're right on with this one. In fact, even if the documentation was under GPL it doesn't matter at all who receives it first (this should be a no-brainer guys...). The only thing the GPL says is that once it is distributed you can't put restrictions on the receiver distributing it further.

Which leads me to my point. Your characterization of this is a bit unclear. You say, "The idea was that noone can steal _your_ code and put it in a closed source program. Ok, so the GPL 1 and 2 went a bit further and demanded the source and rights to whatever code _they_ contributed to that program too, but I figure it's a fair trade." This isn't exactly right.

The point of the GPL is to ensure that the person receiving the software has certain freedoms.

        * The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
        * The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
        * The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
        * The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

(This came from the GNU website: www.gnu.org)

For this discussion, the last two are relevant. The idea is not to prevent people from "stealing" you code (a license could never do that). The idea is to ensure that the receiver be able to redistribute it with or without modifications. *And* (this is the important part), that all downstream recipients also have that freedom.

That's it. There's no requirement to *ever* directly give source back to the original author. There's no requirement *ever* to assign ownership of the copyright to anyone. So if I make a change and never distribute it, then nobody will ever see it. If I make a change and give it to my friend Joe, but Joe doesn't distribute it, then only Joe and I will ever see it. That's OK (and encouraged in the GPL). The only thing I can't do is give a copy to Joe with the proviso that he not give it to someone else. That would remove one of the freedoms that the GPL is designed to protect.

Parts of GPLV3 which some people don't like are geared towards ensuring that freedom 0 (the freedom to run the software) is maintained for downstream recipients. So if I write some GPL software, someone can't take it and modify it so that only their customers can run it. If they distribute it to their customers, then their customers must be able distribute a runnable copy to someone else. Furthermore, the customer must be able to modify their copy and still run it. Personally, this seems straight forward and I don't understand why some people don't like it. But to each their own.

Re:And the point is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19375749)

For gods sake man, it's "NO ONE"... not "NOONE" AKKKKKKKK!!!!!

SCO / MS / Novell / IBM etc. (2, Funny)

fishthegeek (943099) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366469)

The only company that hasn't barfed all over my sugar coated Linux puffs is fscking Dairy Queen. I'm beginning to think it's us - the guys with Tux toys on our desks ... err I heard... WE are the people that just seem to like to find fault and complain. Who cares if Novell shares documentation or toilet paper with Microsoft. I just want to enjoy compiling drivers again for X because of the eleventh kernel update this week. Why do I have to be bombarded with yet another theoretical bad news story about my beloved OS? I'm going to stick my head in the sand now and not worry if Microsoft understands how to run Suse virtually or whatever, hell I hope they learn something about how to run virtual hardware because Virtual PC sucks.

Spirit of the GPL? (2, Funny)

nmoog (701216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366503)

It goes against the "spirit of the GPL" like the TestDriven.NET guy went against the "Ethos of Microsoft's EULA". The software development world sure likes it's intangibles!

Re:Spirit of the GPL? (4, Insightful)

One Louder (595430) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366549)

Whenever somebody invokes the "spirit of the GPL", that's usually because the GPL doesn't actually say what somebody wants it to say, typically over the use of the word "free".

Re:Spirit of the GPL? (5, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366937)

Whenever somebody invokes the "spirit of the GPL", that's usually because the GPL doesn't actually say what somebody wants it to say, typically over the use of the word "free".

And you've missed the meaning of the word 'spirit'.

The GPL is not an end in itself. It is the mainstay of an attempt to protect the Four Freedoms [fsf.org] :

"Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software."

(Emphasis mine.)

Collectively, they represent what many people call the spirit of the GPL. Admittedly, that's a bit of a back-asswards expression, but it'll do.

Novell and Microsoft undoubtedly have undermined the Four Freedoms through their patent indemnification tapdance. Likewise, the agreement to share information preferentially undermines the Four Freedoms as well. The patent agreement subverts the freedom to copy and distribute software, and preferential distribution of documentation subverts the freedom to study the software, which is a necessary precursor to the other three.

Re:Spirit of the GPL? (0)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#19368095)

Er, I would have to say that GNU Emacs is one of the "flagships" of the whole GNU philosophy, and yet, the core team has been quite insular and private about code until a new public release. Some people whine about how this "undermines" the openness while others point out that "free" doesn't always equate to "open." When they are ready with a release, they release it under the GPL and every user gets the mystical rights. Until the release is readied, they collaborate internally.

I see little difference here.

Re:Spirit of the GPL? (1)

weicco (645927) | more than 7 years ago | (#19368521)

That page was updated 2007-05-28, when was it written in the first place? Before or after current GPL version was written? FSF can't change the meaning of GPL on-the-fly with FAQs and such. If I decide to run, copy, distribute, study, change or improve some GPL software, I comply with the GPL license text which comes with the software, not with some FAQ or article in some website. I mean if I read the license, see it's OK to me and follow it, how the heck I'm supposed to know that there's also some mysterious page in FSF's (or any other's) web site that talks something about "four freedoms" which I'm also supposed to follow (maybe not legally bound to it but in some strange moral way)?

Re:Spirit of the GPL? (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19372713)

FSF can't change the meaning of GPL on-the-fly with FAQs and such

Well, they can can't change the terms and conditions of the licence, certainly. Nor are they trying to do so. On the other hand that's not what's being discussed here.

This particular sub-thread is debating the "spirit" of the GPL, as opposed to the legal obligations the GPL imposes. As such, it seems reasonable enough to refer to the web site of the GPL's governing body.

Re:Spirit of the GPL? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#19368579)

Then it would be more appropriate to say the "spirit of GNU" or the "spirit of free software".

I suspect that the reason that the phrase "spirit of the GPL" is used is to try to suggest that by agreeing to the terms of the license you somehow have an obligation to follow other non-GPL rules that the GPL "framers" would prefer you to follow. I find a "bait and switch" quality to this argument.

I also think that "marketing" concerns have driven the terms of the GPL to not fully embrace the "spirit of free software". The fact that source code for modifications doesn't have to be made available unless the software is distributed seems to be inconsistent with the "software wants to be free" concept.

Re:Spirit of the GPL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19368865)

Run, copy, distribute, study, change, and improve? Doesn't that add up to six, not four?! It REALLY worries me that the Free Software Foundation cannot count!

Re:Spirit of the GPL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19371451)

Tsk. You should have wrapped that in a spanish inquisition joke in order to get modded anywhere.

Re:Spirit of the GPL? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19366571)

It goes against the "spirit of the GPL" like the TestDriven.NET guy went against the "Ethos of Microsoft's EULA".
No. It's more like the way "the dickcheese of cowboyneal's cock" goes against the "packed fudge of cmdr taco's colon"

Someone tell me why..... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366597)

... do people suspect wrong doings of such corporate things? And why do such Corporations continue to commit wrong doings of such things?

Re:Someone tell me why..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19366997)

Your second question answered your first. The answer to the second is that, frankly, people suck.

Spirit of GPL... (1)

slashthedot (991354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366605)

is getting hackneyed. Anyway, what a for-profit corporation does with its partners can't destroy the 'spirit of GPL.'

that's quite common (3, Informative)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366635)

It's quite common for people developing FOSS to share documentation and code non-publicly before a public release. There is nothing wrong with that, and it's an important part of FOSS. If the software falls under the (L)GPL, the recipient can, of course, redistribute it, but can choose not to. Under Apache or BSD, the developer can impose additional restrictions and prevent the recipient from redistributing the code.

Possible Scenario (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19366665)

Novell: Here is the documentation for that new enhancement to Evolution we are putting out.

MS: Hey, this "Added Compatibility with Exchange" thing here probably violates one of our IPs, take that stuff out before you release it.

Novell: But You won't sue us. We have a deal.

MS: (holds up contract) Evolution is a 'Clone Product'. Not covered from indemnification, take it out.

Novell: %#$%@!

Re:Possible Scenario (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366693)

s/possible/probable/g

Need an explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19366871)

What would you suggest to a developer if he/she wanted to distribute OSS software in a way that prevents it from being included on any Novell Linux (suse, etc) platform where a deal with closed source companies is in existence?

My point is that, assuming Novell is evil or can be used against us by Microsoft (which could be wrong of course, but for now let's assume is not) could any OSS developer restrict a software from being included in anything from Novell?

Ok, I know the GPL is about removing only the freedom of imposing restrictions. That's why I'm asking here.

Thanks

Maybe Microsoft can really use this documentation (3, Insightful)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 7 years ago | (#19366979)

Maybe Microsoft can use this documentation as a road map on how to write docs... God knows Microsoft has been "unable" to provide useful docs to the EU despite being told that they must.

I know, my karma will burn for that one...

Seriously though if they want to share the documentation that they paid to create with Microsoft and not the Open source community that's their right. They must realize, however, that everything they do or don't do impacts the perception that the Open Source community has of them.

Personally I hope that Novell comes back to the community. Right now they're playing with the Devil. Microsoft has a reputation for back stabbing their partners. From talking to Novell representatives I can honestly say that they don't appear to realize the seriousness of the Microsoft/Novell deal. Their hoping it will give them a sales advantage over Redhat. That's too bad too. I think Novell was positioning itself to be the dominant Linux provider but they just blew it with the Microsoft deal.

What they don't seem to get is that one of the things that is so attractive about doing business with Open Source companies is their perceived ethics. They don't try to find reasons to sue you. Well unless their name is SCO and we all see where that pig is headed. This deal seems to send the message "Buy from us or my buddy here will punch you." Not what I would call ethical.

Oh well wait and see I guess.

Sometimes the EU is useful (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 7 years ago | (#19368017)

As an American, I tend to view EU action against American companies with deep suspicion, and Microsoft is an American company.

But....

There has to be some interoperability imposed, because, the whole point of capitalism is competition to provide better products, and, no one can compete with Microsoft. Total dominance can be a cancer in its own right, and even General Motors in its heyday was not as powerful as Microsoft is now, and unlike General Motors, Microsoft actually is investing substantial sums of money into improving its products instead of sitting on their laurels. Microsoft is starting to pull away from everyone else with .NET developer tools, and Vista is a step ahead of Linux in many ways. It's already impossible for another company to compete with Microsoft across the board, from tools, to operating systems, to applications, and even now Microsoft is moving to reclaim a beachhead in consumer electronics long thought lost to the Japanese and Dutch. Microsoft's new coffee table is rather remarkable, and one has to wonder, how long will it be before we see Microsoft televisions?

Re:Sometimes the EU is useful (1)

pasamio (737659) | more than 7 years ago | (#19370071)

Yes but isn't that amazing. The only thing that could compete with the monopoly is a project primarily run by people who derive no direct profit from it and don't have the resources to throw millions of dollars in what should be in theory a unified effort. Microsoft doesn't have to deal with the fragmentation that is the Linux community: GNOME has its own release schedule, the Kernel has its own release schedule, various other applications have their own release schedule, but yet some how distributions are able to put this all together to get a pretty stable mix (see Debian). I often sit back and wonder "hey, thats really cool" because nothing else has really so effective in our history. And on the subject of Microsoft TV, it came around '98 with WebTV and died. Now Apple are trying and seem to have had some measure of success. Where Microsoft doesn't have a monopoly they're not doing as well as they'd like you to believe and I feel they're starting to fight on too many different battlefronts (e.g. Sony for PS3, Google on Search, Apple on OS/iTunes/AppleTV/iPod and Linux on servers). We already have Linux powering TV solutions with what I'd almost suggest is more market share than Windows Media Centre (they had to put it into Vista nobody was buying it). And if they keep doing things like Vista and Office 2007, more and more people are bound to get wary of them. The wave has already started, but I wonder what the future will hold.

Re:Sometimes the EU is useful (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 7 years ago | (#19371241)

Just imagine if Microsoft bought Apple.

The Internet is world transformative (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 7 years ago | (#19371585)

I have a Windows shareware site, and I have Linux site, and my Linux site gets 500 times as many hits a month as my Windows site does, and, from all over the world. So, at least my Linux content is more compelling.. but, I have put way more work into my Windows site than my Linux site, and I think I'm going to see what happens with my Linux site if I throw everything I have into it.

It's funny, figuring to cash in on being a rebel, I used to have a huge pro-Bush site, but I took it down when, after watching my hits, that a quarter of my traffic on my Linux site is coming from the EU. So, even though I am a bit disappointed that the EU doesn't appreciate the Wilsonian genius of George Bush :-), it reminds me that suddenly what was once local politics is now world wide. It's common in America to joke about blowing up the world, because, we are a fatalistic, self critical people. But, without that cultural context, the rest of the world doesn't understand that humor at all, and worse, takes it seriously.

And its not just me.

Local French newspaper clippings and interviews with French leaders, which have always had a paternalistic view of the USA, are suddenly available worldwide. So while US major media would never cover Chirac taking a few shots at the USA in a speech obviously meant for local French consumption, it still found its way to every conservative blog in the USA, and every conservative joke about Europe, such as Rumsfeld's "Old Europe" observation, really, as much as part of local American political canon as France's paternalistic view of the world. People look at all of this and might think transatlantic attitudes have changed, but, they haven't. We just know a lot more about our gossip about each other, and hopefully, the cooler heads of the world will rise to the occasion, and recognize that we are being shaped by the communications frankenstein that we have invented, back off from the ledge, and learn to speak in more measured phrases, knowing that, truly, the whole wide world is watching them.

Strategy becomes clearer (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19367047)

Most enterprise IT shops have mixed environments. As much as MS would like to push out the other vendors, it has been largely unsuccessful and has encountered pushback.

This latest revelation seems to paint the MS strategy as, "If you must have linux in your shop, then use SUSE and run it virtually on top of an MS solution. We promise to play nice with SUSE, but only them."

If customers buy into this approach and help SUSE become the dominant distro in the Enterprise, then MS might take some of that hoard of cash it is sitting on and buyout Novell.

While buying out every linux distro/support company is infeasible, trying to use MS's mass to prop up one and later purchase it does seem plausible. Especially, if it can assist that company in producing and addicting large customers to proprietary linux to MS (and vice-versa) solutions which it will later add to its IP Portfolio.

       

Re:Strategy becomes clearer (1)

lostlyre (774960) | more than 7 years ago | (#19371597)

Agreed. I think the subconcious goal is to NOT ever need interoperability between Windows and Linux - or rather, not need Microsoft at all! It's just like wanting political change. You can devote large amounts of time and energy to it, or you can do it in "baby steps". I think the latter is a cop out in the software world. It's not *that* hard for the whole planet to collectively write free software at least equal in quality. Plenty of evidence for that fact already.

What's funny is that Linux users secretly have a tricked-out Windows box for playing games because developers won't publish to Linux. Shucks, I wonder why! They buy Windows software! The problem is in short: we (especially businesses) are scared of life without Microsoft. Businesses don't want the risk and devotion of energy to new solutions based on idealism. That's where the consumer comes in. The consumers must, in a sense, be revolutionaries. How do you think Microsoft created an empire? With cooperation and interoperability? No.

I originally vowed never to use commercial Linux distributions like Suse precisely because I think it's outright hilarious to charge for something that's free because it comes with "support". That mentality is what forged the shackles tied to Microsoft's dungeon wall. No thanks.

Man, you people take things too far... (1)

plazman30 (531348) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367087)

Novell, markets and sells SuSE Linux.

Novell also markets and sells, Netware, GroupWise, ZENWorks, IDM, iChain and a laundry list of other products that are not and never will be open source. With the cross licensing deal, I would think MS has access to documentation on this, and Novell will probably NEVER release any of these documents to the open source community, since none of these products are open source.

Get over it people. Linux isn't what it used to be. It means big business to Novell and Redhat. If you want to run a feel good Linux, run Debian. If you want to run a Linux you might run into in a Fortune 500 company, run SLES 10 or RHEL.

your linux distro choice is your own choice! (1)

freaker_TuC (7632) | more than 7 years ago | (#19369363)

I will switch distro when they pry this Slackware from my dead cold hands!

Already using this distro since the beginning of its existance and never got bullied around like that;
Patrick sure does his work good there, no fuss, no bells and whistles...

Microsoft will come to your party... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19367275)

and serve fudge tunnel cake and squirt drm allover the place. Don't buy UNIX repackaged as NT 7!

You've really got to love... (1, Troll)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367447)

...all this talk about the "spirit" of the GPL. It's so deliciously subjective. It allows the cultic whackjobs who advocate using this type of language to make up just about any kind of arbitrary, unwritten rule that they might want, and then claim that adhering to said rule is necessary to adhere to the "spirit" of the GPL.

That's the point of such language; to try and claim that the terms specifically set on paper in the license aren't all parties to the license have to comply with, but that there are a whole heap of additional, unwritten stipulations which said parties have to agree to as well, one of which being the general worship of Richard Stallman as God.

I'm wondering why I still post here, actually...I haven't used Linux for weeks, now. As much as I used to love the operating system from a purely technical point of view, I've been completely repelled from using it thanks to the FSF and the army of mindless zealots that follow it. I wonder if that's happened to many other people, recently.

works both ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19367823)

People who truly understand open source and linux have no problems with condemning closed source mindless pig zealots, and not using their over priced buggy "offerings" full of spyware and who knows what else besides just bad code and most likely quite a bit of outright stolen code, that they seek to keep hidden. It took many years for a lot of people to get to that point of loathing, but the MS worshipping pigs forced it and made it quite easy by their completely swinish actions which have not changed one bit to this day. So, go ahead and "work with" convicted liars and industry strong arming and monopolizing criminals (by the book and law, convicted liars and criminals), but others choose a different path of honesty and open-ness. Birds of a feather and all, go roost with your fellow vultures.

Re:You've really got to love...Richard Stallman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19368049)

That's the point of such language; to try and claim that the terms specifically set on paper in the license aren't all parties to the license have to comply with, but that there are a whole heap of additional, unwritten stipulations which said parties have to agree to as well, one of which being the general worship of Richard Stallman as God.

There you go again. When do you _not_ mention Richard Stallman? Maybe you ought to just do a

#include "i_h8_rms"
in your posts?

>I'm wondering why I still post here, actually...

My theory is that you are really secretly in love with Richard Stallman and to supplement spanking the monkey over him, you vent on Slashdot. It seems he's straight, though, so you're out of the running. Maybe you just need to take some time off and play with some high explosives or something.

If this were ANY two other companies... (1)

crakrjaxx (974304) | more than 7 years ago | (#19367457)

This happens all the time and is only a big deal because so many FOSS people are p.o.'d at Novell right now. I'm not sure if Novell got duped or not; but, I do know that their strategy is appealing for managing our data centers. The interoperability and support that Novell can offer is appealing to our senior managers and has the potential to drive more linux adoption across our enterprise. We really NEED the MS/Linux operability promised by Novell - now if they can deliver. BTW, the same SEC filings from Novell show a paltry $19 Million in Linux related revenue. It's a very small piece of the revenue pie at the moment; but, the ongoing success for Novell hinges on the success of Linux too.

bizn4tcH (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19367533)

infinitesimally Tops responsibility teeth into when problem; a few revel in our gay and was taken over your spare time So 7hat you don't FreeBSD used to documents like a

As far as the deal between Novell and MS goes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19369085)

Personally, I believe Novell is screwed merely because they have angered their most vocal customers and advertisers. While Microsoft pissing off customers is par for the course, Microsoft is also the big dog of the Operating System, Office Suite, and Web Browser market. Meanwhile, there are hundreds of versions of Linux. Most of the OSS lovers use Debian GNU/Linux, but I don't even see LINSPIRE willingly making deals with the declared enemy of Linux, and the free software community hates them! RHEL, Slackware, Mandriva, Knoppix, Ubuntu... SUSE Linux is Microsoft Linux. What's the point of using Microsoft Linux when I can just use Microsoft Windows or a different version of Linux?

An example why Novel is bad and its business model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19369395)

There are 10 graphical mp3 players.
Linux Distribution Novel chooses to fund the player "wunamp" with $250K.
Novel will include in its CDs the wunamp player.
Now, a graphical mp3 player is not a big thing. Every feature the developers
  of the other players implement, can be very easilly included in wunamp
  very quickly by wunamp's paid developers.
Consequently, all the other 9 players will seeze to exists because they will
  never become mainstream and their developers will have to compete for free
  against wunamp's developers and Novel will never include their player
  anyway.
Novel tells to wunamp's developers to implement an optional feature "Honor DRM".
Novel will start to ship wunamp with the "Honor DRM" feature enabled by
  default in order to protect its clients who live in the US.
You'll have to be an expert in order to avoid DRM on your linux box.
RIAA funds Novel to promote open source software.

MS planning to steal more ideas from Linux? (1)

dcrockerjr (1107773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19378749)

Consider the first to file patten law changes MS is trying to pass. Add that MS patten attorneys get first crack at developments. Add that those developments may not be "publicly available" in time to establish prior art. I could be wrong, but this could cause some problems...
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