Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 21st Dec 2006 22:29 UTC, submitted by John Mills
Novell and Ximian Jeremy Allison (of Samba fame) has resigned from Novell in protest over the Microsoft-Novell patent agreement, which he calls 'a mistake' which will be 'damaging to Novell's success in the future'. His main issue with the deal, though, is "that even if it does not violate the letter of the licence, it violates the intent of the GPL licence the Samba code is released under, which is to treat all recipients of the code equally." He leaves the company at the end of this month.
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A deal with the devil?
by mcmv200i on Fri 22nd Dec 2006 02:07 UTC
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I am absolutely not sure, what to think about this --- and, again again again, this MS/Novell thing in general. Is it really such a bad thing?

I mean, okay, I am absolutely no fan of software patents. But this is not the main part of the deal. The main part is about interoperability and paying money from him to him and so on. And these kind of deals are what companies simply do. IBM, HP, google, ... do have software patents, too. And they have patent deals (maybe not with Microsoft), too. IBM is the manufactor of the MS XBOX, Sony Playstation, Nintendo microprocessors...

So what is *so* evil about that? Is Microsoft the devil? Of course, they are no FLOSS company and, I guess, will never be. Of course, they do have a monopoly and abuse it. But a lot of the FLOSS companies (Red Hat, IBM, HP, google, Sun, ...) do earn money with proprietary software, too. How would you have reacted, if the deal was between Novell and, let's say, Apple? Apple is widely accepted in the FLOSS community. From a "moral point of view", are they better than MS?

To me, only two points count.

1.) Neither Novell nor MS, nor anybody else (except some lawyers introducing software patents) can do *anything* about the freedom of FLOSS-licensed software; simply because that is the idea behind FLOSS and therefore these licenses are constructed to guarantee this (especially copylefted licenses like the GPL when it comes to derative works). So what counts, is the license and the quality of the software.

2.) Although I like FLOSS and GNU/Linux, I am aware that Microsoft, Apple, ... are very important and they won't disappear too soon. So, if we want FLOSS and Linux to be successful, why do we need this "either you are a FLOSS or a Microsoft guy" decision? There are so many people out there wanting a good interoperability between Windows and Linux --- so why can't we accept that it is given to them? I think, everything which is good for the user, is good for us. They way I see it, both Linux and Windows will only benefit from a better interoperability between each other. There is no such thing as the Anti-MS-war, at least not a war with guns ;)

At the end of this posting, I would like to quote Hubert Mantel from his recently posted interview "I'm back at Novell" (

6. What do you think about the Microsoft/Novell deal?
I think it is a good thing especially for the users. If you think some years back, Linux was not taken seriously. Now even Microsoft acknowledges that it exists and will not go away. I understand that many people don't like it as Novell is collaborating with the "evil empire". But I don't like this way of thinking; we are not working against somebody, but we are working FOR Linux. Fundamentalism always leads to pain. What's important is that Linux is free and will remain to be free. The source code is open to everybody, this is what counts for me. Some people seem to be torn in an interesting way: On one hand they want "world domination", at the same time they don't like the feeling that Linux has grown up and needs to deal with the real business world out there. We have a saying here in Germany that goes along the lines of "wash me, but do not make me wet". If you want Linux to succeed, you cannot live in your own separate universe.

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