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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Why so hard on Novell?
by Jody on Wed 8th Nov 2006 11:53 UTC
Jody
Member since:
2005-06-30

People are saying that this deal is Novell giving legitimate reason to question Linux IP, but I don't think Novell was losing sleep over it anyway, I think for them it had more to do with ensuring MS would not go after them later on for their development role in Mono.

I think it was probably MS that went to Novell and not the other way around.

MS is looking to protect themselves as well as offer SuSE for their virtualization solutions. MS is going to be giving away coupons for SuSE/Novell Linux support as part of the deal.

Also, the $210 million Novell paid to acquire SuSE in the first place should put the $308 million MS threw into this deal into perspective.

Legal immunity from MS, a distribution deal, and $308 mil bonus, like if you owned Novell you wouldn't take that deal?

This would only violate GPL if Novell included proprietary software, I don't think there is any clause against "lets agree not to take each other to court over IP patents".

I was a little surprised to see some usually logical people like Parens and Havoc take such strong stances against Novell over this (although Havoc is employed by RH)

PS. CNET has some details on the deal here: http://news.com.com/Microsoft+paying+Novell+308+million+for+Linux+p...

Edited 2006-11-08 12:05

Reply Score: 5

RE: Why so hard on Novell?
by jakesdad on Wed 8th Nov 2006 12:41 in reply to "Why so hard on Novell?"
jakesdad Member since:
2005-12-28

the FSF people think its all about them.. They dont realize when they start dictating the rules they are no better than the Proprietary companies... No matter who they are.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Why so hard on Novell?
by Redeeman on Wed 8th Nov 2006 14:32 in reply to "RE: Why so hard on Novell?"
Redeeman Member since:
2006-03-23

and whom, from the FSF have dictated anything? please enlighten me

Reply Parent Score: 5

Ford Prefect Member since:
2006-01-16

Are you joking?

How could the FSF do things like Vendor Lock-in, one of the main concepts of many proprietary companies? Just by setting up their rules they hope other people apply, too? Sure not.

The FSF is important as it has a critical watch on this stuff. Nothing less and nothing more - it can't prevent Novell from doing this deals or someone from _not_ using their new GPL version.


All the FSF does, wether you call it rules or not, are in fact nothing more worth than suggestions. And that's because the FSF gave away most of their rights (on the GNU software, that is) in the first place!

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Why so hard on Novell?
by andrewg on Wed 8th Nov 2006 12:49 in reply to "Why so hard on Novell?"
andrewg Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't think his blog was harsh at all. From his blog

"In Novell's world, if I write something and GPL it, Novell will try to convince customers to buy support from Novell instead of from me (the original author) because of some nebulous, unspecified, almost-certainly-bullshit "IP issues" hinted at by Microsoft and legitimized by Novell for the price of $348 million."

Sounds right on the money to me.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: Why so hard on Novell?
by 2fargone on Wed 8th Nov 2006 12:57 in reply to "Why so hard on Novell?"
2fargone Member since:
2006-02-20

Because what they are doing it trying to make GPL software friendly for Novell customers and unfriendly to the community.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Why so hard on Novell?
by Jody on Wed 8th Nov 2006 13:14 in reply to "RE: Why so hard on Novell?"
Jody Member since:
2005-06-30

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?

Are people walking around saying: "Well if MS isn't planning to sue Novell then I am going to quit using GPL"

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.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Why so hard on Novell?
by manmist on Wed 8th Nov 2006 12:58 in reply to "Why so hard on Novell?"
manmist Member since:
2005-12-18

I think it was probably MS that went to Novell and not the other way around.

Except that Novell clearly admitted that it went to MS first.


This would only violate GPL if Novell included proprietary software, I don't think there is any clause against "lets agree not to take each other to court over IP patents".


Except for GPL clause 7 that prevents patent cross licensing which is what a promise not to sue actually is.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Why so hard on Novell?
by Marcellus on Wed 8th Nov 2006 13:38 in reply to "RE: Why so hard on Novell?"
Marcellus Member since:
2005-08-26

Except for GPL clause 7 that prevents patent cross licensing which is what a promise not to sue actually is.

The promise not to sue does not cover Novell itself from being sued by MS, or MS from being sued by Novell.
Only Novell customers from being sued by MS, and MS customers from being sued by Novell.
No cross-licensing of patents there.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Why so hard on Novell?
by Jody on Wed 8th Nov 2006 13:50 in reply to "RE: Why so hard on Novell?"
Jody Member since:
2005-06-30

"Except that Novell clearly admitted that it went to MS first."

Please provide a source.

"Except for GPL clause 7 that prevents patent cross licensing which is what a promise not to sue actually is."

I found this here:
http://www.novell.com/linux/microsoft/faq_opensource.html


Q1. How is this agreement compatible with Novell's obligations under Section 7 of the GPL?

Our agreement with Microsoft is focused on our customers, and does not include a patent license or covenant not to sue from Microsoft to Novell (or, for that matter, from Novell to Microsoft). Novell's customers receive a covenant not to sue directly from Microsoft. We have not agreed with Microsoft to any condition that would contradict the conditions of the GPL and we are in full compliance.


PS GPLv2 can be located here if you are interested in reading that section: http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/info/GPLv2.html

Edited 2006-11-08 14:03

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Why so hard on Novell?
by dylansmrjones on Wed 8th Nov 2006 15:44 in reply to "Why so hard on Novell?"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

The patent protection is void of meaning. All Microsoft has to do to stop Novell is to sue somebody else, and then Novell cannot distribute anything without violating the GPL.

Novell is paying $200 million for nothing.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Why so hard on Novell?
by Mitarai on Wed 8th Nov 2006 15:49 in reply to "RE: Why so hard on Novell?"
Mitarai Member since:
2005-07-28

Then this won't affect the other distros like most of you are bitching, case closed.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Why so hard on Novell?
by Rehdon on Wed 8th Nov 2006 16:54 in reply to "Why so hard on Novell?"
Rehdon Member since:
2005-07-06

Have you read Havoc's blog thoroughly? He makes very good points. I agree that Novell has a) provided ammunition to Microsoft's FUD machine (just read Ballmer's interview to see how they'd like everyone to believe that there's MS IP in Linux and every Linux business should pay them to receive "protection") and b) has secured an unfair advantage for themselves ("look, we're the only one protecting you against MS").

So yes, shame on Novell on both counts.

rehdon

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Why so hard on Novell?
by milles21 on Wed 8th Nov 2006 17:05 in reply to "RE: Why so hard on Novell?"
milles21 Member since:
2006-11-08

unfair advantage if there is no threat there is no advantage. If there is not any infrindging IP then there is nothing to worry about. That is grade school attitude unfair advantage when you own such a small piece of the Linux Market.

There is no ammunition This deal is the same as health insurance proividers protecting the customers or doctors in that case. Unfavorable business decision yes unfair no!

Reply Parent Score: 2