Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 2nd Nov 2006 22:05 UTC, submitted by anonymous
Novell and Ximian At a press conference in San Francisco, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is expected to announce a new partnership between Microsoft and Novell. The unprecedented deal will have Microsoft offering a degree of sales support for Novell's SUSE Linux while both companies work towards better interoperability between their respective operating systems. As part of the agreement, Microsoft also promises not to wield its patent portfolio against SUSE Linux. More here. You can follow the live webcast announcement, by Steve Ballmer, here. Update: Novell has put up a detailed FAQ about this deal.
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Linux Armageddon has Arrived
by garymax on Fri 3rd Nov 2006 07:23 UTC
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From what I have read I believe that the day of reckoning has arrived for Linux and the GPL.

Here's why.

First, Novell approached Microsoft--they were the initiator of the talks. By entering into an agreement with Microsoft concerning patents and IP Novell was tacitly agreeing that parts of Linux may infringe on Microsoft IP. With the cross-patent licensing deal and an agreement not to sue each other, it appears to be a match made in heaven.

But it isn't.

According to a leading FLOSS lawyer who represents FLOSS interests, by entering into an agreement concerning IP and in turn offering to pay royalties on subscriptions, Novell might place themselves crosswise with the GPL.

So, here is what I see happening in the days ahead.

Novell and Microsoft cement the deal. Meanwhile, the FSF or some legal arm of FLOSS finds that Novell has forfeited the right to distribute Linux. Novell and Microsoft challenge this notion (after all, both stand to benefit from this deal).

Finally, Microsoft will be forced to reveal what parts of the Linux kernel or userland apps have violated its patents. Then, the fun begins.

Remember, an official at Microsoft said this deal is only between Novell and Microsoft but not between Microsoft and any other Linux developer/distributor.

For Novell to enter an agreement such as this means that they thought that Microsoft had a compelling case as to their IP in Linux or they were hopelessly inept in making this deal. I think a little of both.

I look for mass defections to take place from the Suse distribution.

So to sum up:

1) Novell and Microsoft cement the deal

2) Novell is found to be in violation of the GPL and is ordered to stop distributing Linux at once

3) Microsoft's hand is forced and comes to the aid of Novell by rattling is IP portfolio sabre.

4) Microsoft will then start legal maneuvering aimed at all Linux distros and developers other than Suse.

And then, Linux will either stand or fall in the face of the legal morass generated by Microsoft and their IP, patents and what not.

Somehow though, I look for Linux to survive.

Edited 2006-11-03 07:25

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