Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 6th Nov 2006 18:26 UTC
Novell and Ximian "Someone just asked me whether, now that Novell's become buddies with Microsoft, I'll be turning away from Novell/SUSE as one of my favorite Linux distributions. My answer is no. I'm sticking with SUSE Linux on both my desktops and servers. Here's why."
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RE[2]: GPL
by Don T. Bothers on Tue 7th Nov 2006 00:40 UTC in reply to "RE: GPL"
Don T. Bothers
Member since:
2006-03-15

"Illogical. It's been doing that, anyway. This deal doesn't legitimize claims of patent infringement."

Except now Microsoft can call Novell, the second largest commercial Linux vendor, to be a witness for them when suing anyone. Microsoft never had that capability before. Now try protecting yourself legally against Microsoft when some other major player in the market, selling the same product you are, has basically admitted that there are patent violations in the product. And what would happen with Linux if RedHat signs a contract with Microsoft or if RedHat loses a legal battle against Microsoft? As I said in an earlier post, a dead Novell is a good Novell.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: GPL
by somebody on Tue 7th Nov 2006 01:44 in reply to "RE[2]: GPL"
somebody Member since:
2005-07-07

Except now Microsoft can call Novell, the second largest commercial Linux vendor, to be a witness for them when suing anyone.

No,that is not a problem. Novell saying "yes, we break IP" would mean flying dick in court, MS would have to present what IP you are breaking and show the evidence.

In this case you're just where you were before the deal.

Microsoft never had that capability before. Now try protecting yourself legally against Microsoft when some other major player in the market, selling the same product you are, has basically admitted that there are patent violations in the product.

Trouble is with Novell-Only products like mono. Mono get its "yes, it is free of fear" because Novell entered in OIN.

Now that Novell is both: in voluntary OIN and legal "no sue" agreement, this creates two completely opposite bindings. So in case MS would sue someone, guess which way would Novell turn?

/*IANAL*/
Although I doubt it would serve any purpose. Patents are ownership of OIN members and as far as I studied, any member can assert any OIN patent against possible suing party, Which would mean RH could use Novell patents too. But I guess MS bought right to use them already so it would be pointless. MS could buy rights for those anyway.

But, let's say we believe deIzaza when he said mono will never contain IP troubles and mono is a community project. Let's give this guy some faith. It is not that situation changed from yesterday.

You can only be unsure using Novell products, other,... cleared of IP problems you can still use.

Beside the point "RH offered indemnification with RHEL".

And what would happen with Linux if RedHat signs a contract with Microsoft or if RedHat loses a legal battle against Microsoft? As I said in an earlier post, a dead Novell is a good Novell.

Not really, Novell is just as it was before agreement. Except that, unless they clarify this really good and lose the FUD stickers, they just lost their reputation as OSS contributor.

BUT HERE IS WHERE NOVELL SCREWED US ALL.

They started putting their OSS products with FUD stickers (as in "You can only use it legally with Novell Linux" or "Novell Linux is only Linux that is legal"). Those stickers are the worst part of agreement if you ask me. It is shameful enough to say you're OSS company, and provide FUD stickers for your projects. But using FUD stickers on the work of others is gas chamber execution worth. Basically, Novel just killed spirit of OSS.

And no, you won't see lawsuits. But you will see mountain of FUD. And this FUD attack will be solely based on legal uncertainty.

Probably the only result people will notice is:
Pushing non-Novell linux will be harder if two FUD machines are at work, than now when only one was working. And if they don't like pushing Novell linux, less linux will go into the wild.

Well, Novell will only lose in the long track. Instead of gaining customers it will lose. And so it should, but not for entering the agreement with MS. It should go down as a clean example of companies who would like to screw OSS community. But in the long track MS will be the only one to gain from this deal.

Edited 2006-11-07 01:59

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: GPL
by tomcat on Tue 7th Nov 2006 19:06 in reply to "RE[3]: GPL"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

They started putting their OSS products with FUD stickers (as in "You can only use it legally with Novell Linux" or "Novell Linux is only Linux that is legal"). Those stickers are the worst part of agreement if you ask me. It is shameful enough to say you're OSS company, and provide FUD stickers for your projects. But using FUD stickers on the work of others is gas chamber execution worth. Basically, Novel just killed spirit of OSS.

Whatever. It's smart business on Novell's part. I don't blame them at all for leveraging their strengths.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: GPL
by hal2k1 on Tue 7th Nov 2006 03:21 in reply to "RE[2]: GPL"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

"Now try protecting yourself legally against Microsoft when some other major player in the market, selling the same product you are, has basically admitted that there are patent violations in the product."

I don't see that anywhere.

What was said in this deal, as I understand it, is that Microsoft & Novell would work together to give SuSe Linux interoperability with Windows in terms of development platform (via Mono), networking & domain logon (via Samba) & OOXML (via OpenOffice).

This does not say that these areas currently infringe on any patents. It does say that after they have had the "Windows interoperability treatment", that Microsoft then feels SuSe then needs to license some Microsoft patents.

For myself, I think this is rubbish. It should not be possible for Microsoft to deliberately obscure interoperability protocols, then charge another platform for interoperating.

But regardless, I see nothing yet which amounts to an admission (let alone even a solid claim) that current Linux in any way violates any Microsoft patents.

Edited 2006-11-07 03:25

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: GPL
by elsewhere on Tue 7th Nov 2006 06:06 in reply to "RE[3]: GPL"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

I don't see that anywhere.

What was said in this deal, as I understand it, is that Microsoft & Novell would work together to give SuSe Linux interoperability with Windows in terms of development platform (via Mono), networking & domain logon (via Samba) & OOXML (via OpenOffice).

This does not say that these areas currently infringe on any patents. It does say that after they have had the "Windows interoperability treatment", that Microsoft then feels SuSe then needs to license some Microsoft patents.

For myself, I think this is rubbish. It should not be possible for Microsoft to deliberately obscure interoperability protocols, then charge another platform for interoperating.

But regardless, I see nothing yet which amounts to an admission (let alone even a solid claim) that current Linux in any way violates any Microsoft patents.


Part of the agreement is that MS and Novell are providing patent coverage for each other's customers. That's an inference that there is concern about patent infringment, which while not a legal admission is fairly convincing.

The problem and reason for the FUD slinging is that nobody knows exactly what the hell Novell is paying those royalties for. Is it a blanket payment amounting to corporate extortion? Is it solely for the questionable patents involved in mono's windows stack? Is it for patents MS feels are infringed by GPL products or technologies Novell is shipping (which would constitute a GPL violation but is speculation without knowing that for sure) ? Nobody except Novell and MS know.

So rather than clearing anything up, they've basically created an ambiguous cloud now that creates a safety zone for Novell customers against real or imagined patent infringmenets.

The Windows-interoperability is smoke and mirrors. Novell would likely have ported OpenXML to OOo2 anyways, just as they developed the macro patches for SLED. The EU is already in the process of bitch slapping MS over protocol interoperability problems faced by projects like Samba or commercial competitors. That's all publicity, little more. If any of those mods for integration required patent licensing, they would violate the product licensing (Samba is GPL, OOo2 is LGPL with Sun owning copyright assignment for all code). So the payment has nothing to do with that.

Everything is still speculation until more details are made evident. But I can't help thinking that Novell has turned unsubstantiated FUD against the mono project into possibly substantiated FUD. Mono is hardly at an entrenchment point for it to be a decisive factor over Red Hat for the majority of organizations, and by effectively closing it off in favor of their own paid customers as a fully-fledged Windows-like development framework, Novell has shot themselves in the foot and neutered the project as far as other distributions will be concerned.

Be interesting to see more depending upon how much info each company has to provide for the SEC filings on this.

Personally, I'm quite happy with my mono-free openSuse and I'll stick with it for now. Heck, in Suse 10.2 they've eliminated the zmd-dependency for KDE users, giving them a much needed mono-free package management framework. Good stuff.

Reply Parent Score: 1