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[2]: Why so hard on Novell?
by Jody on Wed 8th Nov 2006 13:14 UTC 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

2fargone Member since:
2006-02-20

The biggest problem is Novell uses the community's software but acted in a very negative way towards the community.

"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" "

You answered your own question. The spirit of the GPL is sharing. How does this work with that spirit? If I take a copy of OpenSUSE and gut it, rebrand it as my distro, where's my protection? And as a patent violation, I can't even legally posess that software let alone use or distribute it. But not if I'm a Novell customer (because Novell has a short term no sue covenant with Microsoft (and what does Novell think is going to happen at the end of that SHORT TERM?! )) which may or may not be a violation* of Clause 7 of the GPL, a license Novell accepted to use the community's software.

That's what's wrong.

*If it is a violation, then Novell is screwed. If not, then MS can't use this FUD in the future because if they do, it'll prove this was a GPL violation and MS would be open to Novell suing them (cause you can bet Novell will never admit this was a patent license).

All in all, it's a community and Novell did something that was very anti-community. They shouldn't be too surprised the community in general is upset.

Reply Parent Score: 4

Bit_Rapist Member since:
2005-11-13

The spirit of the GPL is sharing. How does this work with that spirit? If I take a copy of OpenSUSE and gut it, rebrand it as my distro, where's my protection?

You don't get any protection. The GPL grants you rights to the source code, which you've got.

The GPL dosen't grant you rights to any agreements between companies.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Why so hard on Novell?
by twenex on Wed 8th Nov 2006 14:11 in reply to "RE[2]: Why so hard on Novell?"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

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.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: Why so hard on Novell?
by Vargol on Wed 8th Nov 2006 15:21 in reply to "RE[3]: Why so hard on Novell?"
Vargol Member since:
2006-02-28

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)

Strange, I've heard of 27...

http://news.com.com/Group+Linux+potentially+infringes+283+patents/2...


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

Novell has loads of code that is not GPL'd, some of it is in SLED. If Novell want to add software tainted with MS patents to their distro, they can, they just use a licence without a Section 7 equivalent, or even a propriety licence. If they already have software that is not GPL'd and is MS patent tainted then they are protected against MS suing them and their customers.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Why so hard on Novell?
by Mitarai on Wed 8th Nov 2006 15:27 in reply to "RE[3]: Why so hard on Novell?"
Mitarai Member since:
2005-07-28

"Linux violates (some vague, unspecified, possibly not even valid)

If to you Linux is not violating any patent then why are you all so pissed and afraid? oh, because surprise surprise you are not sure.

Reply Parent Score: -1