Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 17:13 UTC, submitted by davidiwharper
Novell and Ximian "The Free Software Foundation has published a third draft of the GPL3 license. The FSF had indicated leading up to this draft that it would be addressing some concerns it had with the Novell-Microsoft agreements in the draft. Here's Novell's position on the new draft."
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My comment for Novell
by JoeBuck on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 18:27 UTC
JoeBuck
Member since:
2006-01-11

I posted the following comment on the linked-to article, but it still says "waiting for moderation" so I will post it here as well.

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Bruce, I agree that you guys arenít SCO; Novell employees, particularly those coming from SUSE and Ximian, have made extensive contributions. A lot of good guys work for you.

Nevertheless, the ink wasnít dry on your agreement before Microsoft was crowing that you had acknowledged that this was a surrender, that you had acknowledged that all GNU and Linux users owe Microsoft money from their patents, and the only safe way to proceed was to abandon all independent open source development and get your Linux only from Novell. It seems that the least you can do is fight hard to counter Microsoftís rhetoric: if their assertions about your agreement are correct, then Richard Stallmanís efforts to rein you in with GPLv3 are simply a matter of survival.

Yes, Iím sure that you were thinking, in part, that this deal would make customers more comfortable with adopting Linux. But I fear that you were also thinking that this deal would frighten customers away from Red Hat and have them choose Novell instead. But the relationship between Red Hat and Novell doesnít resemble the cutthroat competition you see in other industries: you rely on code that they develop, and they rely on code that you develop, and the only payment that you make to each other is your code. If that code, from you, comes with strings, youíre reneging on the deal. If you succeed in frightening independent open source developers away, since they are not under your patent shield, your own R&D efforts will become much more expensive, because youíll have to pay everyone. This is not a game that you want to win.

Microsoft hopes to help you undermine Red Hat and make Linux look more like proprietary software, with one source of development and control, namely Novell. After that, they are confident that they can crush you. Thatís how they work.

Reply Score: 5

RE: My comment for Novell
by butters on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 20:26 in reply to "My comment for Novell"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

That's a very nice argument.

I had a long discussion with Miguel de Icaza where I raised many of these same points and some others. He's obviously pretty good at explaining his side of the story, but he didn't have a response for the following:

1) Red Hat stood by their products and guaranteed IP indemnification without making deals with IP holders. Why couldn't Novell have done the same?

2) If Novell is interested in protecting its customers, why are they only protecting them from Microsoft? Surely there are other patent holders that might make infringement claims.

According to Miguel, Novell believes that their Linux products do not infringe any patents, but it cannot convince its prospective customers of this, and it won't guarantee it.

Reply Parent Score: 5

binarycrusader Member since:
2005-07-06

1) Red Hat stood by their products and guaranteed IP indemnification without making deals with IP holders. Why couldn't Novell have done the same?


Why would any sane company indemnify their customers when they know that the product they ship (Linux) has a possibility of infringing on an extremely rich company's patents? Given the size of Microsoft's patent portfolio, I have no doubt that some part of the Linux kernel *does* infringe on Microsoft's patents. As screwed up and as silly as some of the patents that companies are granted, it should be no wonder. Now whether or not those patents it infringes on are *valid* or would stand up to a validation test is another story....

2) If Novell is interested in protecting its customers, why are they only protecting them from Microsoft? Surely there are other patent holders that might make infringement claims.

Maybe because they are the biggest threat?

According to Miguel, Novell believes that their Linux products do not infringe any patents, but it cannot convince its prospective customers of this, and it won't guarantee it.

I've never seen that said. I have seen those claims about Mono, but even then they are quick to say that there are certain parts that could be patented.

I'd like to see the source of this.

Reply Parent Score: 4