Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 18:16 UTC, submitted by anonymous
Novell and Ximian Novell and Microsoft recently entered into an agreement regarding software patents (really?) that betrays the rest of the Free Software community, including the very people who wrote Novell's own system, for Novell's sole financial beneift, according to Bruce Perens. Join Perens in signing an open letter to Novell's CEO Ron Hovsepian. "As the agreement stands today, it betrays the authors of the software you re-market and their users worldwide for Novell's sole commercial benefit."
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Bruce Perens ...
by tomcat on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 18:42 UTC
tomcat
Member since:
2006-01-06

... is either blithely ignorant of the true nature of free software -- or he's deliberately twisting things for his own perceived benefit. Perens likes to talk about how wonderful it is to have a community that shares the benefits of free software. But he apparently doesn't want to accept the reality that a community is comprised of many different voices, some of which are ideologically driven (Perens), some of which are profit-driven (Novell, IBM, etc), and many others in the middle of the divide who are neither (us). Novell is protecting its own interests. This may be anathema to Perens, but Novell has a responsibility to its shareholders and, if Perens were honest with himself, he'd see that the potential IP minefield wasn't created by Novell but, rather, by the community, itself. And now, Perens seems genuinely offended that Novell has the audacity to try to make a profit from free software. This viewpoint represents the huge schism in the free software community today and, if people such as Perens truly want people to use free software without any consideration for profit, then Perens et al need need only promote GPLv3 and see where the chips fall. My bet, though, is that commercial interests will prevail over ideology.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Bruce Perens ...
by b3timmons on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 18:59 UTC in reply to "Bruce Perens ..."
b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

"And now, Perens seems genuinely offended that Novell has the audacity to try to make a profit from free software. "

Red flag! Where did Perens ever bitch about Red Hat, MySQL, IBM, Google, etc.? I guess they have not profited from free software according to you.

Clearly he is not alone in being upset about this and an open letter with Novell is better than no dialog at all.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Bruce Perens ...
by jakesdad on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 19:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Bruce Perens ..."
jakesdad Member since:
2005-12-28

It has more to do with who they are making money with me thinks... It's an anything but Microsoft kinda attitude.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Bruce Perens ...
by walterbyrd on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 14:37 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Bruce Perens ..."
walterbyrd Member since:
2005-12-31

>>It has more to do with who they are making money with me thinks... It's an anything but Microsoft kinda attitude.<<

Not in the least. Read the letter. Perens thinks this particular deal is a scam. And all evidence seems to indicate that Perens is right.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Bruce Perens ...
by linux_yogi on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 19:02 UTC in reply to "Bruce Perens ..."
linux_yogi Member since:
2006-03-21

i think People like Bruce Perens has taken a responsibility of protecting free software form abuse. if you just want to write free software then feel free to join the project and write your code. the question here is not just about writing the code. the community cannot accept that fact that the time and effort spend to develop all the software has been actually abused by the very company that tried to kill the community.

i feel like the philosophy of OSS is in jeopardy rather then few software programs. the most surprising fact is that OSS need a protection form Microsoft.

this pact has also put company like Red Hat is a really bad expositions. accept the devils proposal or we will go open telling the world that anyone who used Linux we will sue your ass. just this bad rap about suing company by Microsoft might cause some serious problem and give Novell an advantage.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Bruce Perens ...
by tomcat on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 05:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Bruce Perens ..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

i think People like Bruce Perens has taken a responsibility of protecting free software form abuse.

The OSS community created the recipe for what's happening right now. It had to know that competing interests would emerge. Complaining about it is a little late -- and a little futile.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Bruce Perens ...
by linux_yogi on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 19:07 UTC in reply to "Bruce Perens ..."
linux_yogi Member since:
2006-03-21

i feel like tomcat is a true Novell employee who has been paid to post positive feeds about Novell and Microsoft

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Bruce Perens ...
by jakesdad on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 20:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Bruce Perens ..."
jakesdad Member since:
2005-12-28

so you take the exact opposite? Thats part of the problem. The free software groups dont want a middle ground..

Reply Score: 1

v RE[3]: Bruce Perens ...
by ma_d on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 21:08 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Bruce Perens ..."
RE[3]: Bruce Perens ...
by tomcat on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 05:13 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Bruce Perens ..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

I'm not a Novell employee. I'm simply a Linux user and, like you, an observer of what's happening. Neither Perens nor Novell represent me. I think Perens has a too narrow view of what's "acceptable" -- and what's not. Quite frankly, I think that many people in the OSS community have taken the view that the only intellectual property worth preserving is the IP which was produced by the OSS community -- but not that owned by other competing interests (ie. Microsoft, etc). Worse, they tend to assume that the only redress necessary for stealing other people's IP is "just point out the offending code and we'll change it". As if financial harm wasn't a consideration. I've read countless posts here that scoff at and deride people who point out such rank hypocrisy, and I'm getting sick of it. It stinks. Novell isn't pure by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't fault them for trying to profit from the work of the OSS community. Because that's the system that the OSS community created. No sense crying over it now.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Bruce Perens ...
by rajj on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 19:25 UTC in reply to "Bruce Perens ..."
rajj Member since:
2005-07-06

If ideology is a collection of ideas, then to not be driven by ideology would mean that one is not driven by ideas. What exactly is the alternative? To be idealess? I'm not sure that is something you want to admit to.

You imply, by your statement, that profit motives are somehow non-ideological. I regret to inform you that the pursuit of wealth above all else _is_ an ideology, and your statement is nothing more than a superficial con to present Free Software in a bad light by manipulating semantics.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Bruce Perens ...
by tomcat on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 05:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Bruce Perens ..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

If ideology is a collection of ideas, then to not be driven by ideology would mean that one is not driven by ideas. What exactly is the alternative? To be idealess? I'm not sure that is something you want to admit to.

The problem isn't ideology, per se. It's narrow-minded ideology, that won't consider the viewpoint of others. I think that few people would consider Perens to be anything other than a zealot. He doesn't like companies like Microsoft (and he was fired from HP for his stridency) and, consequently, he has allowed his opposition to cloud the legitimate interests of another member of the OSS community.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Bruce Perens ...
by ma_d on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 21:07 UTC in reply to "Bruce Perens ..."
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Decisions benefiting the individual at the cost of the community aren't anathema to Perens, they're anathema to free software. I'm not sure how to explain it, but I think a read through the GPL might help. Notice how rarely it talks about the importance of developer's rights and how often it talks about the importance of user's rights.

Making agreements which may harm those whose work your business is founded on is not the only method of profit seeking. It seems that everytime a business makes any decision which is legal rather than productive and is criticized people run to the defense of the business shouting "making a buck." Capitalism is about capital, not law. You're supposed to produce wealth, not legally destroy it and then take what loot is left.

Profit isn't theft via lawyer, it's making money. Please stop confusing the two, one may imply the other but it is not a two way implication.

Also, paragraphs are your friend.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Bruce Perens ...
by tomcat on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 05:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Bruce Perens ..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Decisions benefiting the individual at the cost of the community aren't anathema to Perens, they're anathema to free software.

Novell hasn't harmed anyone. That nagging feeling that you feel in the pit of your stomach is the sense of reality setting in. You and many others have grown too complacent with the notion that free software won't be challenged for theft of IP. I predict that we will see a lot more litigation (not less) in the years ahead, as competition stirs the pot.

Reply Score: 1

Very interesting
by linux_yogi on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 18:42 UTC
linux_yogi
Member since:
2006-03-21

This is a very interesting topic. i do feel like Novell has betrayed the Open Source community. i can see some of the ripple effects of this Novell-Microsoft Path
I think RMS will have easier time convincing people about GPL3. this drama could not happen on any better time.
IBM must be very happy because one of its biggest rival has shot itself on the foot.

Edited 2006-11-22 18:43

Reply Score: 2

RE: Very interesting
by Marcellus on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 18:49 UTC in reply to "Very interesting "
Marcellus Member since:
2005-08-26

IBM must be very happy because one of its biggest rival has shot itself on the foot.

I suppose you missed this post that was below the Open Letter post.

http://osnews.com/story.php/16540/IBM-Sees-NovellMS-Deal-Benefiting...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Very interesting
by aGNUstic on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 19:57 UTC in reply to "RE: Very interesting "
aGNUstic Member since:
2005-07-28

`IBM must be very happy because one of its biggest rival has shot itself on the foot.`

More like the head. It partner, McSoft, shot itself in the Ballmers.

Nothing like watching McSoft pull a 1970s corporate manuver in 2006 and have it backfire in their faces. Keep grinding McSoft, it's nice to see McSoft on the slow path to oblivion like its monkey SCO.

Reply Score: 2

v No wonder!
by NotParker on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 18:47 UTC
RE: No wonder!
by stestagg on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 19:08 UTC in reply to "No wonder!"
stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

This community member lives in Europe. And one good thing about this 'covenant' is that the EU parliament will be made aware of how bad software patents are.

Reply Score: 1

RE: No wonder!
by Moochman on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 22:13 UTC in reply to "No wonder!"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

So I suppose you, as an ostensible non-member of this "cult", love the fact that innovation in software is being stifled and has the potential to be completely smothered thanks to the incredibly broken U.S. patent system?

Reply Score: 4

Almindor Member since:
2006-01-16

This is not particularly true.

I like to make money but I wouldn't like to be rich. Call me what you will but that's how I feel.

All I want in life is enough free time, enough money for a living (and that's really not much, in particular I'm happy with my current situation) and most importantly peace of mind. I don't want to be bothered just to make some additional cash. If someone came to me "you can make big bucks but you'll have to be ready to jump any time any day" I'd say "suck my balls!" and go listen to some nice soothing music.

Reply Score: 1

Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

You're absolutely right. However, the point in this case is who I would rather have get the money. And the answer is: I would rather have a company like Red Hat or Sun make money thanks to their contributions of open-source software and their cooperation with other companies and the community, than have Microsoft and their closed-source tactics win. Why? Because **I** like money, too. Even though I may never be rich, at least I know that if open-source software wins, then I'll never have to pay to upgrade every two years just to be able to read my old documents or listen to my old music. Not something I can say about Microsoft's products.

Now, Novell is using tactics that share quite a resemblance to MS's--they're supporting patents and are pushing a paradigm they call "mixed-source". This tactic is rather similar to MS's embrace, extend, extinguish, except in this case it's even more insulting because Novell is locking other Linux companies out of the interoperability technology they're building--despite the fact that their distro is based off of those other companies' investments. On top of that, the fact that they're supporting software patents at all is counter to the entire philosophy and proper function of free software, dealing another blow to every other Linux vendor (excluding themselves). The fact is, OSS can't work like that--it can be a money-maker, but only if it prevents companies from duplicating effort. In this case, Novell is doing just the opposite.

Edited 2006-11-22 22:24

Reply Score: 1

Bandwagon ahoy!
by moleskine on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 18:49 UTC
moleskine
Member since:
2005-11-05

Whatever the arguments on either side - and there have been millions of words, probably, about them by now at tedious length, often - this is all beginning to smack of publicity-seeking. In this case publicity-seeking by a well-known F/OSS publicity hound. No thanks. Microsoft and Novell should be assessed by what they now do go to do, not by what they or others say.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Bandwagon ahoy!
by b3timmons on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 19:08 UTC in reply to "Bandwagon ahoy!"
b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

"Whatever the arguments on either side - and there have been millions of words, probably, about them by now at tedious length, often - this is all beginning to smack of publicity-seeking. In this case publicity-seeking by a well-known F/OSS publicity hound. No thanks. Microsoft and Novell should be assessed by what they now do go to do, not by what they or others say."

Publicity whoredom is bad, but it does not necessarily negate the value of this. Have you read the letter?

I thought it was reasonable and among the many "signatures" have business relationships with Novell. Attached to some of these are details from people who are or have been close to Novell.

Reply Score: 3

Clue Stick
by 2fargone on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 18:54 UTC
2fargone
Member since:
2006-02-20

There are those that support Novell's pack with MS.

There are those that are ambivalant about it.

There are those who could care less, one way or another.

But there are MANY who are upset at Novell's move. And those MANY are the ones Novell needs for support else Novell will be having to support a whole lot of forks once major projects stop supporting SUSE.

Wake up Novell. This isn't going to go away. And if this in any way turns bad for the community, Novell can better believe not only will the community stop supporting SUSE, but start to actively work against Novell.

Not everything is about money. Do the right thing. Support the whole community, not just your little corner.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Clue Stick
by Marcellus on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 19:03 UTC in reply to "Clue Stick"
Marcellus Member since:
2005-08-26

But there are MANY who are upset at Novell's move. And those MANY are the ones Novell needs for support else Novell will be having to support a whole lot of forks once major projects stop supporting SUSE.

And how many are MANY?
0.1% of the market? 0.2%?
Out of current and future potential customers, I'll bet the absolute majority are not upset at it.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Clue Stick
by fsckit on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 20:57 UTC in reply to "RE: Clue Stick"
fsckit Member since:
2006-09-24

You're obviously not getting it. Customers don't build SUSE Linux. Developers do. And it is precisely those who have been pissed off by this deal. Your percentages don't come into this at any point.

Reply Score: 3

v RE[3]: Clue Stick
by Marcellus on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 21:26 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Clue Stick"
RE[3]: Clue Stick
by phoenix on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 04:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Clue Stick"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

So all the non-Novell employed Linux developers are going to re-release all their software under a modified GPL license that includes a "can't be used by Novell or as a part of OpenSUSE" clause?

As long as there are developers employed at Novell, and as long as their are customers buying Novell products, what anybody else things doesn't matter.

AFAICT, no one has broken any part of the GPL, so Novell can continue to use the bits that others put out there.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Clue Stick
by tomcat on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 05:29 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Clue Stick"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Hear, hear. People are so clueless about the implications of this situation. The fact is that Novell (like anybody else using the GPL) will continue to operate freely and without limitations.

Reply Score: 0

RE[5]: Clue Stick
by 2fargone on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 10:44 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Clue Stick"
2fargone Member since:
2006-02-20

You're forgetting the fact that while Novell and IBM employ developers who contribute to OSS, they are not the sum of OSS, not by a long shot. Will Novell and IBM operate freely when major portions of GPL'ed software is unavailable to them via v3? Will they operate freely if developers turn on them, the very developers who are making the software Novell and IBM are using?

It's a community. If they don't understand that and start abiding by it, they'll soon find themselves on the outside looking in. So they might continue, but certainly, there will be some sort of limitations.

Here's to hoping they clue-in. Personally, I would rather have Novell and IBM as part of the community. But I don't want them around if all they're going to do is try to circumvent the purpose of the GPL with shady legal tactics.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Clue Stick
by Marcellus on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 11:50 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Clue Stick"
Marcellus Member since:
2005-08-26

Will Novell and IBM operate freely when major portions of GPL'ed software is unavailable to them via v3?

You're making the assumption that GPLv3 will prevent Novell from distributing GPLv3 stuff.
The clause that Moglen mentioned:
"Suppose GPL3 says something like, 'if you distribute (or procure the distribution), of a program (or parts of a program) - and if you make patent promises partially to some subset of the distributees of the program - then under this license you have given the same promise or license at no cost in royalties or other obligations to all persons to whom the program is distributed'."

How does this affect MS when MS is not distributing the GPLv3 covered stuff?
The clause barks very loudly, but appears to be completely toothless.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Clue Stick
by elsewhere on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 22:50 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Clue Stick"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

Will they operate freely if developers turn on them, the very developers who are making the software Novell and IBM are using?

Let's keep things in perspective. The linux kernel and the gnu toolchain are subsidized by companies like IBM, in terms of code contribution, development, funding and yes, royalty-free patent licenses. Certainly community developers play an important part, but these aren't grassroots development projects anymore. These are the cornerstones for a multi-billion dollar industry that many contributing companies have invested heavily in.

If v3 somehow prevents companies like IBM from distributing GPL v3 software, those companies will have a much easier time maintaining and further developing v2-derived forks than the GNU community will have progressing without them. I certainly want to give the community credit for what has been accomplished, but it seems hypocritical to wave v3 as a cure-all for the packages that relied on corporate largesse and patent grants to develop in the first place and seems too willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

IBM has yet to formally comment on v3, but their recent statement supporting the MS - Novell deal combined with the fact that they don't see the need for patent indemnity in linux, also combined with the fact that IBM is one of the largest patent holding companies in the world, are indirect comments in themselves and should not be taken lightly. The FSF's vow to add a clause to prevent MS-Novell deals will further alienate the IBMs.

It's easy for the community to say, fine, IBM and Novell can't distribute v3 software and that's their own problem. But it's not. IBM is probably the single largest contributor to OSS. Period. Many key OSS projects could simply not have achieved their current level of success without vital contributions from IBM. IBM is commmited to linux. If IBM says no to v3 and elects to stay v2, then it's a safe bet that the rest of the commercial industry will follow. Or aside from IBM, peruse some of the core documentation and packages in an average distro, you'll find many developers with hp.com email addresses. If v3 turns away the corporates, there will be a clearly delineated split between the FSF and the OSS sides of the linux camp.

Maybe that's for the best. But the FSF side should really think about that for a minute. There seems to be this pervasive thought from many in this and other forums that v3 will just be accepted naturally, I mean, the FSF controls the GPL so everybody will have to follow, right? And they're making the false assumption that a lack of critical comment from the parties involved (except for HP who has spoken up) implies consent and agreement. They also like to imply that the IBM's are "taking code from the community" and using it in a non-reciprocal manner, when the fact is the reverse is true. The companies collectively contribute far more than the independent non-paid developers do to many of these projects.

v3 could very well cause far more problems than it solves, if it truly solves any, but that "concern" seems to be too easily dismissed by many. The community should just be careful about what they wish for.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Clue Stick
by tomcat on Sat 25th Nov 2006 06:00 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Clue Stick"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

GPLv3 is dead on arrival because GPL'd code is dependent on the patronage of large companies such as IBM that have significant patent holdings. Stallman et al have essentially created a license that few will adopt. I hope that they're happy with that.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Clue Stick
by tomcat on Sat 25th Nov 2006 05:58 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Clue Stick"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Who cares. The vast amount of code is released under GPLv1/v2.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Clue Stick
by tomcat on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 05:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Clue Stick"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Yet those same developers -- pissed off or not -- won't have the option of withholding the Linux kernel from Novell, because they created the bed that they're lying in...

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Clue Stick
by 2fargone on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 10:56 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Clue Stick"
2fargone Member since:
2006-02-20

While you maybe right at this moment, those very developers you're talking about are the ones Novell needs in the future to develope the software they're using. I would think it would be prudent to take care of those who you rely on for the product you're selling, because what happens when major chunks of the toolchain you need becomes unfriendly and you have to support several forks?

There is consquenses for backstabbing the community. Novell may think this is going to go away, but I have a feeling this is only the beginning of Novell's self-made headache.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Clue Stick
by tomcat on Sat 25th Nov 2006 05:57 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Clue Stick"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Nah. Unless the GPL is rewritten to exclude Novell, devs will be working for Novell, whether they like it or not.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Clue Stick
by happycamper on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 22:20 UTC in reply to "Clue Stick"
happycamper Member since:
2006-01-01

/*Not everything is about money.*/

In the corporate world everything is about money.

Edited 2006-11-22 22:25

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Clue Stick
by g2devi on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 23:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Clue Stick"
g2devi Member since:
2005-07-09

> In the corporate world everything is about money.

Not really, unless you work at Enron.

In the general corporate world, "Good Will" is huge. It doesn't show up directly on the balance sheet, but if you have a lot of good will, customers order more from you and if a superior competitor comes along or if you mess up, customers don't just jump ship. They stick with you until you get back on your feet again.

Apple, for instance, is a company that has a lot of good will for both users and developers. It was only because of that good will that Apple was able to move from MacOS9 to OSX and change platforms from PowerPC to Intel. If Apple didn't have such strong good will, it would be dead now because those changes were by no means seemless nor cheap.

It's also a reason why companies invest in ROR (Return on Relationship). New customers are an order of magnitude more expensive to get than old customers, so it make a lot of financial sense to ensure that your old customers have a lot of good will towards you, even if you have to forgo trying to "milk these cash cows".

Edited 2006-11-22 23:58

Reply Score: 2

RE: Clue Stick
by happycamper on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 22:22 UTC in reply to "Clue Stick"
happycamper Member since:
2006-01-01

/*Novell needs for support else Novell will be having to support a whole lot of forks once major projects stop supporting SUSE. */


a worst scenario i can think this might lead into is once GPLv3 is out many OSS projects like samba will move to it, because of what ms and novell
did. novell and ms will be forced to fork those projects, so they can licensed them under the GPLv2 and continue their so-called interoperability and
collaboration deal. this might split linux into two seperate communities: a corporate run linux community sponsored by ms and novell, and the OSS communities, which ms and novell might try to push it into the shadows.

Edited 2006-11-22 22:27

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Clue Stick
by Mitarai on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 22:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Clue Stick"
Mitarai Member since:
2005-07-28

It won't be forked by Novell but by the community itself who doesn't stand the short vision GPLv3 and RMS have.

Edited 2006-11-22 22:26

Reply Score: 1

Interesting, indeed
by merkoth on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 19:06 UTC
merkoth
Member since:
2006-09-22

If Novell is to benefit from the Free Software community, Novell should be working to make it safe for everyone to write and use software.

That paragraph makes so much sense, doesn't it?

It's obvious that Novell will try to get as much profit from its products as possible. Its distribution, being one of those products, is as important as any other. The problem here is the same I see at Microsoft: It's allright to make as much money as you can, but watch how you make it. Want to get profit from FOSS? Fine! No one is trying to prevent that. No one.

But watch who you make deals with, damnit! It's Microsoft remember? Try not to kill the golden eggs chicken, Novell.

Reply Score: 1

b3timmons
Member since:
2006-08-26

BP and ESR have often been ridiculed in the past, but the letter is worth reading.

Indeed, they really should not be associated with each other; they are actually far apart in much of what they say and do.

Reply Score: 2

Why is Bruce Perens upset?
by TaterSalad on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 19:27 UTC
TaterSalad
Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm slightly confused by why a lot of people are upset over this deal. It offers protection by not getting sued saving companies time and money. Part of the GPL license states what you can and can't do with patents.

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

You chose the GPL, you read the license, you know what you are getting yourself into with patents. If your application violates the patent then you charge a royalty, if it doesn't then distribute away for free. If someone could explain to me why Novell shouldn't go for protection on the issue that would great. I'm just not understanding what the real problem is.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Why is Bruce Perens upset?
by DrillSgt on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 19:33 UTC in reply to "Why is Bruce Perens upset?"
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

"You chose the GPL, you read the license, you know what you are getting yourself into with patents. If your application violates the patent then you charge a royalty, if it doesn't then distribute away for free. If someone could explain to me why Novell shouldn't go for protection on the issue that would great. I'm just not understanding what the real problem is."

There are those in the "community" that believe anything to do with Microsoft is evil. If this agreement would have been made with any other entity they would not see a problem. Basically there is no real problem but the OSS pundits themselves.

Reply Score: 0

b3timmons
Member since:
2006-08-26

Here's the conclusion:

There is really only one path out of this corner for Novell. Go on with your technical collaboration, and keep the money. But Novell must now direct Microsoft to refrain from granting covenants to Novell's users unless they will apply to everyone equally. Hang together with the Free Software community by changing your software patent stance from one of monopoly rights for Novell to one of support for legislation that will make it safe for all of us to create, distribute, and use software.

Reply Score: 1

v ...
by Mitarai on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 19:41 UTC
The reason people think Microsoft is evil...
by Shaman on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 21:18 UTC
Shaman
Member since:
2005-11-15

...is because they keep proving it over and over. You have to be completely blind to the history of the company not to understand that they are the biggest, hungriest fish in the water. And like all big fish, they don't like competition in what they see as their exclusive pond.

Luckily, the biggest fish aren't always the fastest or the smartest and they get pushed harder by the current than smaller fish.

The biggest problem we face is that Microsoft is a big fish that never seems to tire and never seems to be satiated. It just gets distracted sometimes.

Enough analogies for today, I think.

Edited 2006-11-22 21:23

Reply Score: 2

bravo for Perens
by JeffS on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 21:21 UTC
JeffS
Member since:
2005-07-12

This is an excellent letter from Bruce Perens.

Especially the part about patent trolls (companies that don't produce anything, but just file patents on common ideas, so they can extort money from true innovators), who have received MS money, who will no doubt launch an MS attack by proxy. The Novell/MS deal gave ammunition to the patent trolls.

And to those who are taking a "who cares?" stance about the Novell/MS deal, just read Steve Ballmer's comments from last week. Those comments make Microsoft's intentions crystal clear.

Also, bring on the GPL v3. I can't come fast enough. And it doesn't matter if Torvalds and the Linux kernel devs adopt it. The entire GNU tool chain will, and that is a huge chunk of any Linux distro (including Novell/SuSE). The GPL v3 will ensure that either the patent agreement is dropped entirely, or any relevant patents will apply to all distros/developers/companies/users, not just SuSE (as MS wants, for divide and conquer purposes).

Reply Score: 5

RE: bravo for Perens
by Shaman on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 21:34 UTC in reply to "bravo for Perens"
Shaman Member since:
2005-11-15

And to those who are taking a "who cares?" stance about the Novell/MS deal, just read Steve Ballmer's comments from last week. Those comments make Microsoft's intentions crystal clear.

I agree. And what's more, thank $Ghod for Steve Ballmer. He's such a short-dicked blowhard that he just couldn't keep himself from saying something. It all would have been much more insidious if Gates was still the one running the whole show.

Edited 2006-11-22 21:35

Reply Score: 2

My post to the letter
by Moochman on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 22:06 UTC
Moochman
Member since:
2005-07-06

I've copied my post here since I think it's relevant, and since I doubt that many people would have the patience to read it at the end of that long list...

I was a huge fan of Suse and then openSuse for years, but now I've decided not to support your company. With this agreement, you have turned your back on the rest of the Linux community by deciding to stop giving back to it. This is visible in the form of Mono, which now has more of a patent shadow over it then ever before, and so is unusable by the rest of the community, and in the form of the closed-source endeavors that you have chosen to pursue with Microsoft in the future, instead of attempting to build open-source interoperability solutions that would benefit the rest of the Linux community. It seems you are attempting to hijack products such as OpenOffice and Samba, which were mostly developed outside of your company, by creating closed-source extensions to them so that your versions will be the only viable ones in the future. This is quite simply counter to the entire spirit and point of free software, however legally you may be able to sneak around the GPL to do it. OSS is supposed to be about working as a team, and instead you have decided to turn your back on the very community that made your distribution possible. To top it off, as if your mixed-source (read: lock-in) fantasies weren't enough, you are helping Microsoft spread FUD about Linux's patent liabilities, you are supporting the innovation-stifling concept of software patents, and you are helping to propogate a potential MS patent trap--Mono (which this agreement has now proven to be unsafe). I used to be a true believer in and lover of the Suse/openSuse distro, and I am very disheartened to have to leave it behind. However, I cannot allow myself to support such unethical behavior as yours, which threatens to tear the Linux community apart (and in fact has already done so to a very large extent).

Reply Score: 1

v RE: My post to the letter
by Mitarai on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 22:08 UTC in reply to "My post to the letter"
RE[2]: My post to the letter
by fsckit on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 23:36 UTC in reply to "RE: My post to the letter"
fsckit Member since:
2006-09-24

Is it mandatory for you to continue trolling, or are you NotParker's alternate account?

Reply Score: 2

v RE[3]: My post to the letter
by Mitarai on Wed 22nd Nov 2006 23:51 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: My post to the letter"
I signed
by zizban on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 00:27 UTC
zizban
Member since:
2005-07-06

I signed because while I don't use Linux too often, I use a lot GNU and open source tools everyday: emacs, wget, mozilla. I found this pact to offensive in many ways but mostly because Novell, on its own, felt its customers wanted "indemnification". irregardless of how said customers and the open source programers who make the very tools they sell, feel.

Reply Score: 3

v RE: I signed
by tomcat on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 05:32 UTC in reply to "I signed"
RE[2]: I signed
by segedunum on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 14:05 UTC in reply to "RE: I signed"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

You think that you know Novell's customers better than Novell? Hilarious! Reality disconnect, anyone?

If you were actually a Novell customer, or knew people who were, you'd realise just how much Novell does not understand its customers or what they want. It is you who is disconnected from reality, or you simply don't live in it.

No Novell customer wants a piece of paper coming directly from Microsoft telling them that they won't be sued. The first thing I would ask Novell would be "What the hell is wrong?" It's just another nail in the coffin for Novell.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: I signed
by tomcat on Sat 25th Nov 2006 06:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I signed"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Given that you didn't cite any specific examples of how Novell is alienated from its customers, I can only assume that you're trolling.

Reply Score: 1

vote with your fingers
by theGrump on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 04:21 UTC
theGrump
Member since:
2005-11-11

i will be removing openoffice (ugliest app ever) as soon as i can. i will never touch mono, or any of the programs running on mono.

making novell irrelevant is the best revenge.

Browser: ELinks/0.11.1-1-debian (textmode; Linux 2.6.17-2-686 i686; 91x34-3)

Reply Score: 1

RE: vote with your fingers
by hal2k1 on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 04:58 UTC in reply to "vote with your fingers"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//i will be removing openoffice (ugliest app ever) as soon as i can. //

OpenOffice might be ugly, but it isn't from Novell. It is (primarily) from Sun.

Reply Score: 3

Patent legislation needs to be reformed
by Nycran on Thu 23rd Nov 2006 10:39 UTC
Nycran
Member since:
2006-02-06

Fundamentally the problem here isn't Novell, but the patent system. IMHO, one shouldn't be able to patent an idea that constitutes an obvious solution. Patents should only apply to ideas that require significant intellectual investment.

For example, I have no problems with most pharmaceutical patents because the products they protect require tremendous amounts of research and development, ie, Phd's spend years researching and testing ideas. Moreover, without patents the pharmaceutical industry wouldn't be tenable. The same however cannot be said about software. Software solutions can easily exist without patents and so too can the companies that create them.

Reply Score: 2

Check...
by starnix on Fri 24th Nov 2006 04:45 UTC
starnix
Member since:
2006-05-12

You gotta admit that Microsoft is playing its hand well. They have sucessfully fragmented the F/OSS community. Definately a damaging blow to open source.

Reply Score: 1

Muddying the waters
by th3rmite on Fri 24th Nov 2006 21:16 UTC
th3rmite
Member since:
2006-01-08

All of this bickering and infighting is going to cause Linux severe harm if we don't stop it now.

In order to ween the indivdual users away from Windows, we are going to have to target the corporations first.

All of this fighting is just going to stir the waters and make the future of Linux look unstable. The majority of Corporations, when looking for a computer platform, are going to look at Linux and have doubts about legal issues. They will all just go with the old standby Windows instead of using an alternative OS.

This is the time the OSS community needs to stand together and be strong, not tear ourselves apart from the inside out.

Reply Score: 1