Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 8th Nov 2006 11:24 UTC
Novell and Ximian Microsoft will pay Novell USD 348 million up front, but Novell will return USD 200 million of that amount over five years. The specific numbers came in an a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission made by Novell late Tuesday. "The financial commitments Microsoft is making as part of this agreement are significant," company CEO Ron Hovsepian said in a statement. In related news, Microsoft has denied that its patent deal with Novell is in breach of the GPL or will automatically spread Microsoft's patent protection to other Linux distributions.
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RE[3]: Why so hard on Novell?
by twenex on Wed 8th Nov 2006 14:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why so hard on Novell?"
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Because what they are doing it trying to make GPL software friendly for Novell customers and unfriendly to the community.

That is pretty broad, could you give some kind of supporting logic for this opinion?

They are allowing Novell to violate (alleged) patents (we haven't actually heard of ONE yet that Linux may be violating, which is odd considering the descriptions of patents are in the public domain) using code distributed under the GPL - the distribution whereof therefore cannot be restricted - whilst threatening other Linux companies over the same patents.

That's a bit like saying Person A is allowed to violate law 1 but Person B isn't, isn't it?

Not only that, but I can point to at least one patent that MS are violating if they haven't paid Apple a licence to use it - the patent for zooming (maximizing and minimizing) a window. So they are in breach of patent law already, but want to sue others for the same?!

What I'd like to know is exactly how MS thinks it is not violating Section 7 or any other of the GPL - "No we aren't" is not an argument. MS is also being much more tight-lipped on specifics than Novell - which may well be an indication that they know they've screwed Novell and/or the wider Linux community over, and they aren't telling. Indeed, if they haven't and their intent is honest, then they gain nothing by hiding it and everything, including credibility in the FOSS community, from showing their hand. OTOH, if they remain tight-lipped, they throw the Linux community into consternation, which, again, is clearly something they want to do given that they are picking and choosing who is going to be "allowed" to create "open source" software. Note to Ballmer: If you get to pick and choose, it isn't open source.

At worst it could create a "grass is greener on the Novell side cause we are oh-so-afraid of MS suing us for using Linux" but if the sky rocket sales figures for SCO's Linux license are any indication I really don't think many companies are afraid using Linux would somehow become a legal liability.

As to the SCO case, there were three ways in which that situation differed from this:

1. SCO was pointing to code and saying this-or-that violates copyright (not at first, but they were forced to point to any in court);

2. Over the course of however many years it's been, SCO hasn't been able to demonstrate a single copyright that Linux violates - in fact it's pretty clear that the concepts it was claiming had been violated were actually either in the public domain, or not owned by them.

3. MS is in the enviable position of being sneakier than SCO and yet (somehow) having more credibility. They aren't saying "We're taking RH or Xandros or someone else to court for violating our patent on {fred,barney,wilma}" - they're saying "Linux violates (some vague, unspecified, possibly not even valid) patents and if you're not Novell, we're going to sue your asses for it." Yet even if all the patent-violating code they allege the existence of does exist, and even if none of it was created by Novell, Novell are still liable under the GPL because they have been distributing that code and, under the GPL, must cease and desist in distributing any GPL'ed code that anyone else cannot distribute because it inviolates patents.

This is exactly the same situation whereby the SCO case was dead in the water, because they had been claiming that there was code which violated their copyrights which other people had been distributing under the GPL (which, by the way, they were claiming was "unconstitutional"), and yet they had themselves been distributing said code under the so-called "unconstitutional" GPL.

This being the case, the only thing that could make Novell "not liable" is, surprise surprise, an army of lawyers from some big company.

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