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MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Friday, November 03 2006 @ 08:12 PM EST

Now the gloves come off. Ballmer is, according to this article in eWeek "Ballmer Invites Patent Talks with Competing Linux Vendors," offering the same terms to the rest of the Linux vendors, if they'd like to shoot themselves in the foot too:
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said his company is open to talking to other Linux distributors about reaching mutual patent coverage deals similar to the agreement signed Nov. 2 with Novell.

Such talks would be a good idea, Ballmer suggested, since now only Novell's SUSE Linux customers are the only Linux vendors that have any assurance that Microsoft won't sue for patent infringement....

The distributors of other versions of Linux cannot assure their customers that Microsoft won't sue for patent infringement. "If a customer says, 'Look, do we have liability for the use of your patented work?' Essentially, If you're using non-SUSE Linux, then I'd say the answer is yes," Ballmer said.

"I suspect that [customers] will take that issue up with their distributor," Ballmer said. Or if customers are considering doing a direct download of a non-SUSE Linux version, "they'll think twice about that," he said.

"A good idea", as in it would be a shame if anything were to happen to your company? Man, this is just like when SCO was making the same type of bully offer in 2003, only with copyrights. Microsoft must think that project failed because SCO bungled the job. I guess it goes to show that when you want a job done right, you have to do it yourself. That's not what happened, although they bungled it. What happened is this: when you attack Linux, people despise you and don't want to do business with you any more.

Microsoft is claiming it has rights to Linux, that some vaguely defined IP rights are being infringed. So did SCO. That doesn't make it true.

On that research facility, they're looking for a spot now somewhere equidistant between Washington and Utah, where they can set up to create a Born-to-Fail XML/ODF translator:

One of the key goals of the collaboration effort is to build file format conversion technology that will provide greater interoperability between the OpenDocument and Open XML file formats. Novell and Microsoft are not trying to develop a file format that is optimized to work only with a particular version of Open Office, Ballmer said.

Nor will the collaboration team attempt to build file converters that can make files 100 percent compatible between the two file formats, he said. But it will achieve the level of interoperability that customers can work with, he said.

By no means! Who'd want a file converter that works 100% compatibly with Microsoft? Not Microsoft, obviously. Is this transparent or what? The research facility will be ODF's tombstone, or at least that's how it looks to me. Novell, I hear, hired the guy who wrote the ODF converter that already exists, that I heard already does the job beautifully, so if anyone knows how to write one that won't work just exactly right, he'd be your man.

So, then. No more surrogate lawsuits. It's full steam ahead, straight up FUD, and I think that means SCO has no more hope of any behind-the-scenes indirect plausibly-deniable financial support.

Now about that offer, perhaps Microsoft would care to be specific about what patents it wishes to claim are being infringed? No? You mean we have to just wonder if they are legitimate or fantasies like SCO's copyright claims turned out to be? Do we feel lucky? Would one call that type of vague threat FUD, perchance?

Here's Red Hat's response on its website:


If you click on the arrow, you find their clear and refreshing answer:

We believe...

It was inevitable. The best technology has been acknowledged.

The relentless march of open source is shaking up the industry by freeing customers from proprietary lock-in and lack of choice.

We believe in the community.
We believe in collaboration.
We believe in choice.
We believe interoperability is created by open standards.

Just as they have for Apache, BIND, DNS, Eclipse, Fedora, Firefox, Hibernate, JBoss, Kerberos, LDAP, MySQL, Perl, PHP, Python, PostgreSQL, Sendmail, Tomcat. The list goes on. Where would customers be without these technologies?

We will not compromise. ...

Q: What do these announcements mean for Red Hat?

A: It means Linux has won. The world's largest software companies are saying what customers have known for years: Open source innovation delivers better software and better value.

Q: Did Red Hat consider a similar patent deal with Microsoft?

A: An innovation tax is unthinkable. Free and open source software provide the necessary environment for true innovation. Innovation without fear or threat. Activities that isolate communities or limit upstream adoption will inevitably stifle innovation.

We believe so strongly in this that we made a critical promise to our customers five years ago:

"To the extent any party exercises a Patent Right with respect to Open Source/Free Software which reads on any claim of any patent held by Red Hat, Red Hat agrees to refrain from enforcing the infringed patent against such party for such exercise ('Our Promise')."

Anything less would not be genuine. 200,000+ customers trust our Promise. 80+% of commercial Linux customers choose us every day. That's leadership--which respects the needs of the community and delivers the promise of open source to our customers.

So there you have it. An innovation tax is unthinkable. Red Hat will not compromise. The lines are clearly drawn. Update: Stephen Shankland noticed on the FAQ page that Red Hat now indemnifies also, and he got this additional info from Mark Webbink:

"As with any indemnification provision, if (a customer) were to get sued for intellectual-property infringement over code they got from us, the provision of the indemnification language kicks in. At that point, we step into their shoes" to handle the legal attack, said Mark Webbink, Red Hat's deputy general counsel....

"We still think the earlier version of the Open Source Assurance was the far more critical thing, and we'll continue to stand behind that," Webbink said. But the company decided adding indemnification was worthwhile. "Our management and board looked at it and said, 'Look, this isn't worth a hill of beans, but if saying it will make people feel better, we'll say it.' We've added it to the program," Webbink said.

I'm very sad about Novell. Whatever they thought they were doing, they are now Microsoft's FUD puppy, and contractually they will be having to repeat Microsoft's FUD with every deal, I think. Every time they tell a prospect that they have a patent peace with Microsoft, they are implying that one needs one, and the damage to Linux's good name is obvious right there. How could Novell not see that? Is it too late to nix this devilish deal? The eWeek article says the pact was signed minutes before the announcement. Could Ron say Ballmer threatened to throw a chair at him if he didn't sign? Joke. Joke.

If it's not too late, please think about it. You might find it instructive to read this interview from 2000 with Rene Schmidt, then executive VP of Corel's Linux product group, on how great the newly announced partnership with Microsoft was going to be for Corel Linux:

And the agreement, or partnership, or alliance, whatever you want to call it, with Microsoft is not anti-Linux or anything. It is really about .Net. It is really about the Web.... [Linux is] not really any different than any other platform, whether it is a Macintosh platform or a Windows platform that provides services through the application. So from our point of view it is not something that hampers what we are doing on Linux. In fact, it provides new opportunities in Linux.

Say, it's just six years later. Where might I go to get Corel Linux? Oh, it was put to sleep? Hint. Hint. Catch my drift?

I have my doubts that any monopoly is allowed to muscle its competition even with legitimate patents, if such even exist. In any case, if you've ever dealt with a bully, you know the last thing that works is trying to placate him by giving in. At least publish what patents are allegedly infringed in SUSE, so the rest of the Linux world can evaluate and pull out anything like Mono or whatever it is that was threatened or research and disprove any allegation. Not everyone even includes Mono, because of worries about Microsoft and patents, so if that's what this is about, please just say so. I think Novell owes that much to the community. They are selling the community's code, after all.

There is a full transcript up on Microsoft's site now of the joint announcement from yesterday, so you can read every gruesome word for yourself. Then hold it up next to Red Hat's statement, and then ask yourself, who would *you* rather do business with?

Hey, even the Mob prefers doing business with men they know they can trust.


MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available | 561 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 09:40 PM EST
"At least publish what patents are allegedly infringed in SUSE, so the rest
of the Linux world can evaluate and pull out anything like Mono or whatever it
is that was threatened or research and disprove any allegation. I think Novell
owes that much to the community."

Amen to that.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: deList on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 09:44 PM EST
Remember to make links clickable.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 09:48 PM EST
I'm gonna get me a reddish fedora... Muahahahahaha...

Red Hat is sittin' awfully purdy tonight.

Unthinkable. I love it!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections Here
Authored by: sappha58 on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 09:55 PM EST
Sos PJ can find 'em.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell's statments could come back to haunt them
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 09:56 PM EST
1) They are saying things which should like they are admitting that their
software infringes MS's patents
2) They distribute that software to other people under the GPL
3) The didn't buy the rights to grant patent coverage to all people receving or
using their software

So, under the GPL, doesn't that mean they have to stop distributing it?

I don't see any way out for them... if they hadn't said anything about
infringement, or if they had made the deal cover all users, it would be ok.

Am I missing something?

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Authored by: rkrishnam_can01 on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 09:56 PM EST
I had downloaded SLED 10 for a trial and burned into a CD. Now that CD is going
thru the shredder. I think I will stick with Fedora and RedHat.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell = EV1
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 09:59 PM EST
EV1 used to be SCO's poster child with respect to alleged copyrights. On a bigger scale Novell bent its knees to MS's alleged patent claims. And it didn't take a single day until they were handed around as the "poor sinners" who finally "acknowledged intellectual property issues" in FOSS, at least according to Andreas Hartl (MS Germany). See: here (German).

It's really what many expected: Sooner or later Novell ruins each and every product it touches.

m_si_m (lost my pw)

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 10:01 PM EST
No more visits from the PIPE fairy for SCO after today. And someone please ask
Microsoft to open the hood of Windows and see if there is any open source/GPL
code in there... Ye who is without sin cast the first stone...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Did MS just threaten other company's customers?
Authored by: deList on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 10:03 PM EST
"If a customer says, 'Look, do we have liability for the use of your
patented work?' Essentially, If you're using non-SUSE Linux, then I'd say the
answer is yes,"

If they don't prove it now and Linux companies suffer as a result, then multiple
Linux based companies could take them to court over it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 10:08 PM EST
I wonder what IBM is thinking. Especially since they had thrown a fair support
behind SUSE in the past.

[ Reply to This | # ]

I love SuSE, but...
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 10:10 PM EST
For six or so years I have used SuSE because I hate fiddling around configuring.
I love the idea of installing 6.5 GiB of pre-configured programs just so I would
have a program, any program, just in case I ever needed it. So, I paid my $70
every six months or so to get the next edition of SuSE. (Call it my guilty

I also must say that sometimes I can see merit on both sides of the proprietary
- FOSS issues and sometimes I do not agree with the absolute feelings expressed
here (e.g., Linspire).

And it's my guess that the folks at SuSE had extremely little or nothing to do
with this Novel/MS covenant, but...
But this is really too much to take.

I cannot in good faith purchase another copy of SuSE.

This is really depressing, it feels like 2003 all over again. Let's hope
Groklaw will continue to prevail.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Fighting fire with fire
Authored by: hardmath on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 10:17 PM EST

Clearly the Open Source community needs to file a patent on a business method called FUD.

Worst case is that Microsoft, SCO, and various other hooligans will come forward and attest to their prior art.

Best case is we stop these guys in the tracks, using their own weapon.

regards, hm

Please be honest with us as trust is our watchword in this transaction. (a Senior Credit Officer, sharing vast sums of money owed to a deceased client)

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • FUD - Authored by: DaveJakeman on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 01:07 PM EST
Novell fell for this..., why?
Authored by: Latesigner on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 10:25 PM EST
OK, I don't believe this and Novell shouldn't have either.
So what went down ( the question is rhetorical ) ?

The only way to have an "ownership" society is to make slaves of the rest of us.

[ Reply to This | # ]

I feel sorry for the staff at SUSE
Authored by: The Mad Hatter r on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 10:27 PM EST

They didn't ask for this, and they didn't deserve having it happen to them.

As to the management at Novell - someone blew it big time. I don't know what
they were thinking, or why exactly they did this (we can ignore what was
announced, it's never the strict truth), but they've damaged their reputation,
and reputation is 90% of any business. Without a good reputation you are

I suspect that the management at Novell was trying to do the right thing, and
that they are sitting there right now wondering how they could have gotten it so
wrong, just like the management at EV1. EV1 has survived, and even gotten back
some of their reputation (thanks to a court filing). Wonder if Novell will
manage it?

And don't think that Novell doesn't monitor the tech blogs. They know that they
have dug themselves a deep hole.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Getting Sick
Authored by: Observer on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 10:28 PM EST
> "they'll think twice about that," he said.

OK... I've got a pretty strong stomach, but I have to admit I just about lost my dinner when I read that line.

I've been using OpenSUSE for a little while now (after many years on RH and Fedora). I don't even know if that's considered "safe", since it's not the official Novell version. I was just getting used to their slightly different way of doing things. (I actually like the XGL "wobbles", but don't like the forked X11 server.) I'll have to see how the OpenSUSE people are taking this, but I have a feeling I may be wiping the disk and moving over to FC6 again.


The Observer

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 10:29 PM EST
I have never used Suse. As such I have no idea whether it is a good distro or a
bad one.

Until today.

Should I be asked -- 'what about Suse? My answer would be -- trash it and go
with Debian or gnewsense.


[ Reply to This | # ]

What are the patents in question?
Authored by: arthurpaliden on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 10:35 PM EST
I think that every time a Microsoft/Novell representative be it sales or public
relations person gives a presentation they should be asked:

Exactly what patents that Microsoft claims ownership of can be found in Linux?
Please give file names and line numbers.

Then again why don't we all just contact Microsoft and politly ask them.

Have you payed your legal tax today?

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 10:50 PM EST
What would happen to Linux if MS buys Novell? Can MS kill linux if they buy

[ Reply to This | # ]

One of yesterday's stories said it was over Mono
Authored by: kawabago on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 10:50 PM EST
Mono is an open source implementation of the .Net framework, which Microsoft is
abandoning anyway.(what's the point of building a single vendor framework if
another vendor weasles in?) The rest of linux doesn't really have anything to
worry about I don't think. Especially once the supreme court definitively
states the standard for obviousness on patents.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: rm6990 on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 10:51 PM EST
A company acting to better its bottom line? Acting in its own interests to the
detriment of third parties? Making their competitors' customers feel insecure?
Who'd a thunk it!?!?!

You all are naive. None of these "open source" companies care about
the "freeness" of Linux. They will do whatever furthers their bottom
line, period. A company's allegiance ends with its shareholders. Get over it.
Stick with Debian if you can't handle a fact that a publicly owned company will
*GASP* act in the interests of its shareholders.

This deal was not giving into Microsoft, because Novell has its own hefty Patent
Portfolio and would surely wield it against Microsoft should they be sued. It
was simply to get a leg up over Red Hat, plain and simple.

I'm sorry PJ, but the Business world isn't flowers and little cute puppies and
kitties and everyone sitting together laughing and getting along, with the
occasionally "villain" like Microsoft. EVERYONE is a villain in
business. In business, the second a company sees a reason to, it will turn
around and stick a knife directly in your back. You're incredibly daft if you
think otherwise. Do you honestly thing Red Hat wouldn't do the same if it made
sense to do so? Their shareholders would not be pleased if they didn't, and the
shareholders own the company.

[ Reply to This | # ]

GPL Violation for Novell
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 11:12 PM EST
This IS a GPL violation and together we an all make Novell pay - this will be
fun! Novell let us see the agreement you signed you stinky weasel words left a
trail :)

Watch the press conference video and you will see how nervous they are about the
"IP Bridge".

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft Innovation
Authored by: Bill R on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 11:18 PM EST
Microsoft has always sought to protect their "intelectual property"
but have never had the same respect for the work of others. Claiming many times
that they must be able to "innovate", meaning incorperate features
from some competing product in their own. The intellectual property in these
products belongs to someone but it is pushed off as simple competition. The same
goes with Microsoft's arguements against the GPL, which is meant to keep
developers work from being gobbled up by companies like Microsoft. Microsoft
does not like the GPL because they cannot "innovate" the software
protected by the GPL.

Why is it that Microsoft feels they must protect their intellectual property at
all costs but have the right to walk over everyone else?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Note to PJ :)
Authored by: Sunny Penguin on Friday, November 03 2006 @ 11:51 PM EST
You need a Red Hat to wear with the Red Dress :)

This message sent from a laptop running Fedora core 6 with Intel wireless
Everything works....

[ Reply to This | # ]

Patents are irrelevant. MS wants blobs.
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 12:52 AM EST
I'll just repeat what I said previously:

I don't think this is really about patents. There are some shrewd people at
Microsoft (unlike SCO, perhaps), and I doubt they really want to get into
litigating their patents on a large scale. They'll go after "low hanging
perhaps, and they defend themselves against others, but I'd bet that they
recognize the weakness of the junk patent system. If they litigate, they could
lose. It's better for them to keep it as a vague threat. That's where they get
FUD milage.
What I think this deal is really about, from Microsoft's perspective, is a way
deploy MS "technology" into the Linux space, without having to open
it. I
think they want a distro that will include MS blobs. The words are there:
"interoperability" is the goal. MS probably isn't so worried about the
side, so these would probably be free-as-in-beer. They want to shore up
their server side. So, I'd expect to see blobs that allow Linux apps to transact

with .Net servers, without disclosing details.

It's harder to figure what's in it for Novell. I guess they're betting that the

Linux that plays best with MS tech will be attractive in the corporate world.
Which might well be true. But it is kinda wierd, given Novell's history with
Microsoft. Unless there's a "smoking gun" patent violation somewhere
Linux, which I doubt.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Hey monkeyboy: You're right. I thought about it twice!
Authored by: charlie Turner on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 01:23 AM EST
And I'm going to download Fedora twice, and Kubuntu twice, and
Mandriva twice, and Debian twice, and CentOS twice, and Knoppix twice, etc, etc.
Thanks for the idea!!!! I really appreciate your help!!!! Please keep up the

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 01:36 AM EST
Try Debian or --> Centos. Gnewsense is not quite ready yet for prime time.
I run Debian.

I do not use either Gnome or KDE. As such my system runs GTK/GTK2. It is much
faster and does everything I need it to do.

My windows manager is Icewm. And my main apps are abiword, emelfm, xmms, xine,
bluefish, ftp, frostwire, inkscape, gimp, firefox (soon to be iceweasel), gpg
and sylpheed-claws.

Good luck to ya.


[ Reply to This | # ]

MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 01:37 AM EST
I am most certanily not a lawyer but I wonder if this is possible.

Could a "Linux Benefactor" (With deep pockets) actually bring an
action against one or both of Novell or Microsoft with words like
"xxxx is anxious NOT to infringe any patents owned by yyyy. xxxx
respectfully asks the court to force yyyy to inform it of any patents it thinks
it might be infringing.
xxxx would like the opportunity to remove any offending software at the earliest
opportuninty to avoid any furthe litigation" etc etc etc

IMHO This would let the OSS Community go on the offensive and force these new
pals to let on to the world what patents OSS is supposedly infringing.

Just my 2c worth.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 02:12 AM EST
I think you're missing an important point. It is impossible to write any piece
of non-trivial software that doesn't infringe on several patents out of the
thousands held by IBM and/or Microsoft or any number of other companies. Most
companies use this reality as a deterrent to prevent patent lawsuits. "OK,
sure, I infringe on your patent X but you infringe on my patents Y1, Y2, Y3 ....
Do you REALLY want to play litigation lottery?" Rumor has it that this is
the scenario that played out this week with Novell and MSFT.

Where's the FUD? Of course Linux (and everything else) infringes numerous MSFT
patents, and Windows (and everything else) infringes numerous IBM patents, and
they both infringe numerous HP patents ... ad nauseum.

There's no point in focusing all this angst at Novell. They joined the
cross-licensing club with the rest of the big dogs. This announcement is about
MSFT's problems with Oracle and Novell's problems with RHAT, not some global war
on FOSS. Focus righteous anger on the horribly dysfunctional patent system that
forces everyone successful enough to be worth suing to build up a doomsday
patent portfolio whether they want to or not.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Uggh! I see their plan and it is evil!
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 02:32 AM EST

The M$ plan here in a nutshell: kill off the upstream and the distributors will dry up and blow away.

Or if customers are considering doing a direct download of a non-SUSE Linux version, "they'll think twice about that," he said.

Does this sound like, say, will get this protection?

Of course it won't.

(And I find the earlier bit about termination to be the giveaway here--M$ keeps benefits but can end the agreement at any time.)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is Novell Masochistic?
Authored by: cmc on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 02:55 AM EST
Here's what I don't get. Novell has had multiple problems with Microsoft in the
past (DrDos, WordPerfect, antitrust, etc), spawning multiple lawsuits. So why
on earth would Novell voluntarily get into bed with Microsoft now?

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Authored by: hardcode57 on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 03:04 AM EST
I've use SuSE since 8.0. Now I have to switch: I'm thinking kubuntu (because I
like kde). I'm not looking forward to learning how to configure a different
flavour of Linux though.

Anyone got any suggestions: are there any distros that adopted Yast when they
open sourced it?

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 03:05 AM EST
Since MS is agreeing to allow Novell free use of these alleged patents to
distribute under the GPL - doesn't that mean MS couldn't enforce those alleged
patents against ANY GPL licensed program?

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 03:12 AM EST

I don't know if the rest of the agreement is just dressing up the patent deal.
But also I can't understand why they need an agreement with microsoft with the

Suse doesn't 'own' OpenOffice or Samba,so how can they make such a agreement.
An agreement they should know people wouldn't like. Most of the projects are
outside suse and novell, so what's I don't understand what they try to gain with

This agreement can only be used for fud, wich doesn't serve the community verry

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell was extremely stupid
Authored by: mobrien_12 on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 03:15 AM EST
MS has already shown how trustworthy it is when it comes to patent covenants.
Who here remembers what they did to the OpenGL consortium years back?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Unthinkable !!!
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 03:35 AM EST
We believe...
It was inevitable. The best technology has been acknowledged.

The relentless march of open source is shaking up the industry by freeing
customers from proprietary lock-in and lack of choice.

We believe in the community.
We believe in collaboration.
We believe in choice.
We believe interoperability is created by open standards.

Just as they have for Apache, BIND, DNS, Eclipse, Fedora, Firefox, Hibernate,
JBoss, Kerberos, LDAP, MySQL, Perl, PHP, Python, PostgreSQL, Sendmail, Tomcat,
UNIX. The list goes on. Where would customers be without these technologies?

We will not compromise.

Despite opposition, truth happens.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What is IBM's response?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 04:05 AM EST
IBM has a huge patent portfolio, and so are in the best position to respond to a
MS threat.

However IBM seems to have been leaning towards SUSE rather than RedHat in their
support offerings.

Will this change move affect IBM's direction in any way?

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Authored by: Specced on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 04:05 AM EST
No surprise at all here, of course. That's what results from bartering away first born's right for a mess of pottage.

Dejection is around.

#include <disclaimer.h>

Sad greetings from Albrecht Dürer's town.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Do a deal or be left out of Vista perhaps? n/t
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 04:08 AM EST

[ Reply to This | # ]

What about independent distros?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 04:54 AM EST
This situation is very bad for non-corporate users and for smaller
distributions. What if Microsoft decides to threat desktop linux home users like

I dont want neither need to use any boxed corporate linux edition. For me Linux
is all about freedom, not about money or
technical superiority. I have used Debian, Slackware and, of late, Kubuntu at
home. SuSE (they were a german company) and RedHAT were fine back in their time,
but now they became too much greedy, Linux was forked between pay-for and free
editions (Fedora OpenSUSE) and for me that time was bye-bye to these companies.

I dont want any Linux duopoly nor being to be forced to choose between
Microsoft-SuSE indemnification and RedHAT indemnification! For God&#347;
sake, this is the biggest move to legally "privatise" linux I have
ever seen! This is just plain greed.

Where does that leave the true community that are not corporate clients of the
Linux behemoths? I have read this same questions in the OpenSUSE forums... the
guys there are utmost upset with all the issue.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 05:08 AM EST
Ballmer is apparently suggesting that he would like to suppress scientific progress; to which the appropriate answer is 'Steve, please make some scientific progress'. The world is short of scientists, and Steve has the money to pay some.

I wonder what profitable businesses he would like to run, now that we have a public Internet.

Locking down the distribution channel, which is what made him so much money over the Windows thing, is not going go work.

It might faze IBM; but then IBM is not distributing Linux anyway. All the little kids are.

The cat is out of the bag, and will not go back in.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Re: Where might I go to get Corel Linux?
Authored by: troll on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 05:24 AM EST
Don't PJ.
I am very, very serious.
And if you really insist trying, find a hard disk you are willing to throw away
afterwards. And it is not because I think the disk might become
"tainted" in some way.

I have tried many dozens of Linux distributions. For some of them the
installation went without a hitch, others were problematic and quite a few
crashed spectaculary during the various stages of installation. But Corel Linux
requires its own category, way beyond the "crashed in smoke" category.
After an attempt to install Corel Linux I had to salvage the data from the hard
disk using forensic tools and I had to format the drive using low-level format.
I have googled (and "altavistaed" ;) a bit afterwards and I discovered
that I was not alone with such an experience.

I wanted to describe what Corel Linux did to my HD using an adjective, but I
failed to find an adjective that wouldn't be an unacceptable swearword by
Groklaw standards.


Yours truly ...

[ Reply to This | # ]

The exodus begins
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 05:31 AM EST
As someone responsible for the implementation of large multi server installation
that was going to be SUSE, I can tell you that I will not consider any Novell
prooducts for this implementation.

Novell's treacherous betrayal of the Linux and open source community will cost
it dearly. Red Hat will gain customers big time.

Let's hope those Linux developers, including the SUSE founder, who have left
Novell/SUSE in the last 3 years and those that will follow,can form a new Linux
company to provide real competition and innovation.

This sounds like 2003 all over again. Who would have thought that Caldera, once
a Linux company, that became The SCO Group, would attack the very operating
system and movement that allowed their company to even exist in the first place.

Novell has now become the New SCO. RIP.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 05:36 AM EST
One angle I haven't seen mentioned is the EU case against Microsoft.

The EU wants Microsoft to help competitors interact with Windows. Helping Novell
make Open Office compatible with Microsoft Office, and possibly even helping
make Samba work better (at least on SUSE Linux) are two examples of compliance
with this.

Or at least that is probably what Microsoft will tell the EU.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Maybe Microsoft's the patsy
Authored by: atheist on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 05:37 AM EST
Like IBM Novell have numerous operating systems, device drivers, applications,
middleware, and interoperability with Windows, apple, IBM, etc

What they can do now is, with due diligence, GPL3 chunks of this into SUSE.


Their customers can plonk in SUSE servers and clients that can provide and use
windows infrastructure with no additional client software on the doze boxes as
Novell impliment full AD integration ignoring patent issues

We may find ourselves in 2012 with each of our organisations using a Suse (or
Novell's successor) box providing confederated login and crossworking with ms
propriatary xml schemas

Our projects will run across organisations as the SUSE box will host groupwise
where I can receive a sick note emailed or scanned from my GP, share part of
that with HR, part with the local hospital, part with the employment agency and
part with payroll, part with the health insurance company, each running
different systems but each connection secure (as encryption a doddle for fast
processors), digitally signed (non-refutable), and some using DRM

One of the ways Microsoft intend to get lockin is for hardware not to work
unless the driver and/or firmware has been digitally signed by Microsoft so you
can't take your webcam and get it working on Linux

I'd be much amused if Novell appear to march in lock step with Microsoft as
vista fails and Microsoft scramble to get WinCE hardware the new platform.
Microsoft hope that authenticating to the business AD gives them control, and
when they try to drop the link with Novell, Novell GPL3 everything that's needed
and provide commercial polished products unlocking the lockin in authentication,
the middle tier, applications, device drivers, media management, banking, mobile
comms etc.

And then when MS try to slam on patent claims have a poisoned chalace of Novell
patents, for example record locking or from NDS used in LDAP / AD in a Caldera
like company whos sole purpose is suing Microsoft with the possible Microsoft
imposed freeze in Suse development unimportant by sharing the knowhow through
providing consultancy and support

Lets keep adding functionality to Linux and upload the contribution to OpenSUSE?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The other shoe drops... (nt)
Authored by: SilverWave on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 05:47 AM EST

GPLv3: Eben Moglen explalined this well the new DRM clause just says that you
can't use technology to add restrictions that the licence doesn't allow.

[ Reply to This | # ]

I assume that Microsoft will not be suing somebody like IBM
Authored by: billyskank on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 05:51 AM EST
i.e. somebody with the wherewithall to vigorously defend themself. I think that
was one of SCO's biggest mistakes - if you're going to launch a baseless
lawsuit, better launch it against someone who can't afford to fight you and show
that your claims are baseless.

It's not the software that's free; it's you.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Some winners and losers
Authored by: Frank Daley on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 06:05 AM EST
Let's see here - some winners and losers?

Some Winners
Ron Hovsepian - President and CEO of Novell
He'll see a business uptick over the next couple of years thanks to the joint marketing program with Microsoft. Wall Street will like that and Mr Hovsepian's stocks will do well. Too bad about the impact on the community. But then again, his BIO on the Novell website does say he has "a proven track record of achieving revenue goals and profit growth in the IT solutions business." Too bad about Novell's longer-term sustainability and the community however.

Microsoft | it's wonderful
* A new and powerful FUD opportunity around Intellectual Property;
* Novell's former FOSS heroes such as Miguel de Icaza and Nat Friedman (to name but two), have disgraced themselves with the FOSS community. I believe divide and conquer is the appropriate expression, and one in which Microsoft is well versed;
* An opportunity to create FUD around OpenDocument Format;
* Yet another opportunity to attack the Linux vendor it fears the most - Red Hat.

Yes, by an order of magnitude, Microsoft fears Red Hat more than it has ever feared Oracle. Why? Because of Red Hat's passionate commitment to the GPL. Ultimately, Oracle is just another proprietary competitor, and Microsoft knows how to compete against those.

And let's not underestimate Microsoft's fear of the impact of the One Laptop Per Child either. OLPC stands as a potential inflection point for the future of the massive PC markets in Asia, South America, Africa and Eastern Europe. You bet. Microsoft is scared scared scared of what OLPC might do to its grasp on the future of client computing. OLPC is coming on strongly, and it is causing sleepless nights for some at Microsoft.

Red Hat and Ubuntu will gain from the decline of Novell. Those truly committed to the community will now turn to Red Hat and Ubuntu for solutions.

Some Losers
* Novell. When your air supply is controlled by Microsoft, don't expect to survive too long.
* The many employees at Novell who truly support FOSS and the GPL, unless they jump soon.
* Oracle. At least in the short-term, Microsoft's support of Novell will help it win some opportunities away from Oracle. However once Novell has been strangled, Oracle stands to pick up some of the pieces.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Five Reasons Why Microsoft Will Not Sue Linux
Authored by: dobbo on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 06:24 AM EST
1). Suing your customers is bad.

We've see this in SCO v IBM, we've seen this with the RIAA. Any large users of Linux are likely to also be a large user of Windows too. So Microsoft can't sue a very large portion of the Linux community because they also happen to be customers of Microsoft.

2). Too many eye balls looking for prior art.

If Microsoft was to sue some one in the Linux community then they would have to expose their patients to the scrutiny of millions of eyeballs looking for prior art. How long do you think Microsoft's patients would stand up to that? We have a benchmark: three days! That's how long it took the community to debunk SCO's infringing code.

3). Patient trolls would be circling.

Anyone, not just the trolls, would be be checking their own portfolios to see if any of their patents would trump any of Microsoft's. IANAL, but as I understand it, if you don't defend your patient you run the risk of losing it in the future.

4). Counter patient claims could be crippling.

Because of the way software patients are written Microsoft does hold patients that Linux infringes, but the reverse is also true. Microsoft's Windows infringes patients held by Sun for Solaria, IBM for AIX/Dynix, WindRiver for VxWorks.

If Microsoft lost a significant under of these claims then it could find itself paying out more in license fees to third parties then it made on each Window's sale, and the settlement over past Windows sales would probably stay in the Guinness Book of World Records for all time.

I kinda like the idea of Microsoft having to pay for that copy of Windows that came "free" with my laptop and I never used.

5). A Microsoft win would adversely effect the US economy.

If using Linux in the USA incurs a new tax then this will only make US companies less competitive to their international counterparts. So ask yourself these questions:

  1. How many of the web servers on the Internet that run Linux are located in the USA?
  2. How many of these could be re-located off-short (to the EU or India)?
  3. How many of the Fortune 500 companies would find it cheaper to lobby Congress to repeal the current US Software Patient laws and replaces them with something more suitable to their business?

I put it to you, that this deal between Novell and Microsoft, has not increased the risk of Microsoft suing Linux one bit.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Did Microsoft try to get Red Hat to pay royalties in 2005?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 06:52 AM EST
In March 2005, Microsoft's Steve Baller initiated a meeting with Red Hat's
Matthew Szulik. Red Hat declined to comment on what the discussion that took
place, but Microsoft said the meeting was "to see what we have in common
and what we can do for customers together". This sounds very much like the
words Baller and Hovsepian were saying recently.

I suspect Microsoft told Szulik that unless Red Hat pay royalties on each Linux
sale, Microsoft will launch a patent assault against them. Szulik, of course,
rejected this "offer".

[ Reply to This | # ]

This is great News! and two questions
Authored by: Winter on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 06:59 AM EST
Sorry, but in a strategic sense, this is wonderful news.

MS is now trying to extort money from their only credible competitor using, yes,
Software PATENTS. Moreover, no specific patents are mentioned, just "some
of our patents".

Just as the EU is debating a new (software) patent directive which is claimed to
further competition and investment.

I think the FFII can use MS' press releases to good cause in Europe. As will the
commission's anti-trust brigade.

And, of course, RH, Debian, Mandriva, Ubuntu can differentiate themselves from
MS and Novel.

My remaining questions are:

1 I believe Novel got a lot of money out of this. My impression was that they
had something against MS. MS is now spinning it into their advantage as much as
they can. Novel already lost a lot of high profile SuSE developers. This move
will alienate them from most FOSS projects. Have Novel decided to dump SuSE?

1a Would there be people interested in forking OpenSuSE?

2 Does MS believe the software patent case in Europe is already lost? Else the
timing could hardly be worse.


Revenge, Justice, Security, and Revenge, chose any two.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Presure to commercialize LINUX?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 07:03 AM EST
The major issue that M$ has with LINUX is the broad base of developers, the
benefits of the open source model. As long as the community is colaborating on
such a broad base in the LINUX development Microsofts position in the market is
in danger.

This all would change when the linux development is limited to a few companies,
when the development basically operates on the same principles as it is done in
Redmond. Microsoft would then not compete anymore with a global, strong and
colaborating development community but only some few manufacturers (spawning
from the distributors). These entities would then be much easier to control and
keep in check than the current vibrant community development.

So in my humble opinion this is an attempt to fulyl comemrcialize LINUX.. It
would also make sense for Novell to try to place itself in the position of a
leading OS manufacturer. Maybe there is a hope to co-exist next to Microsoft,
linux a Novell product in the end. Microsoft and Novell both can only profit
sharing up the cake this way.

All just speculation of course..

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: mcinsand on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 07:12 AM EST
Expression above returns 1.

The naysayers that called PJ a FUDder have been proven to be the equivalents of
the appeasement advocates of WWII by Ballmers implicit threats against non-SUSE
Linuxen yesterday. Basically, Ballmer said the equivalent of 'now that France
and/or Poland have rolled over, you're next!'

The analogy is good, also, in that this is now war. It at least kicked me in
the pants to start seeing how I can volunteer with the Fedora project.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What about Oracle?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 07:17 AM EST
I think that this is all distracting from the news I am finding most concerning
- Oracle.

Microsoft want to cause problems for Red Hat, we knew that. Novell also want to
cause problems for Red Hat, they are competitors. It makes a lot of sense for
Novell and Microsoft to work together (a bit). That is life.

The threat of patents was *always* there. If anything, now Novell is licensing
them for all Linux users under the GPL. If Microsoft sues Red Hat, Red Hat can
say: "actually, we got that bit of code from Novell - here's our license
from Novell, the GPL"

Novell has contributed a lot to Linux (compiz, XGL, Ximian). Red Hat has, and
is, basically giving away millions of dollars of development effort each year.

What is Oracle doing? They aren't developing code. They are just taking Red
Hat code and cash. This could *force* Red Hat to add proprietary value to REL.

Forget Microsoft, they couldn't sue because of the anti-trust laws. The danger
of patents is no more or less than it ever was. Fear those who take, but don't

[ Reply to This | # ]

Funny thing from Novell's website:
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 07:48 AM EST
When I clicked the link to "Customer Care" on the Novell website, this
resulted in a web page which says "Object not found! Error 404". That
must mean that they don't care about customers. Quite fitting...

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS has now applied the "Damocles Defense"
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 07:56 AM EST
As in, every other distro now has a price to pay - regardless of how free it is.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Covenants not to sue developers
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 07:58 AM EST

These are given at Community Commitments - Microsoft & Novell Interoperability Collaboration. A topic worthy of a discussion all its own. I'm at a loss as how to even start on this now without starting an essay (speaking as a developer).

So just an anecdote for now. Earlier this year I produced some material to help a project in the humanities providing free and useful resources for scholars. Unpaid, my own time etc. Afterwards, some funding from a charitable foundation came through to help the work and the project leader was kind enough to make me a payment in recognition of the time I'd contributed. Thus my position as “Non-Compensated Individual Hobbyist Developer” was retrospectively changed into one of having received monetary compensation. Now, if I've impinged on any "Micosoft IP" (highly unlikely in this instance) I've dropped out of the covenant protection and could be sued. Academics contributing to the project receive salaries and do some work in employee time so would have never been protected by the covenant.

Perhaps this kind of covenant approach could be a way forward but as my experience shows, this draft from Microsoft is not helpful as stands for practical purposes.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: StormReaver on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 08:26 AM EST
I have an older version of Suse I bought a couple years
ago but never used. I was going to donate it to the local
library, but now I'm just going to throw it in the trash.

Fortunately, when I first introduced Linux to my bosses 4
years ago, it was via Mandrake and Red Hat. After
discussions (and a failed Mandrake install on an old
machine previously running NT 4), we decided on Red Hat.
Those machine have been running uninterrupted for 3
straight years, and will continue to run uninterrupted
until the hardware dies.

If I were running any Suse servers, I would immediately
rip them out and put Red Hat in their place. We have been
paying Red Hat customers the entire time, and we will
continue to be paying Red Hat customers.

Red Hat has officially replaced over half of our Windows
servers, and unofficially (meaning my bosses don't know)
replaced several more. It is also replacing our HPSUX
servers via attrition.

The performance and maintenance improvements in all cases
have been astounding.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: kberrien on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 08:47 AM EST
I'm glad now I had already had it, and made a decision regarding Novell/Suse.
Some years ago we went Suse at work because Red Hat (my more experienced distro)
wouldn't take a PO under a grand or so. (they do now).

So we ran SEL 9, but early this year I discovered, even though 9 is still within
its life cycle, they were not supporting, or providing anything beyond Mysql
4.0.x. After finding our support with Suse was useless, and basically getting
told by novell, buy Suse 10 if you want up to date mysql, we dumped in favor of

At no cost, we get an up to date distro, better support from the community than
we had with Suse, and a product that will be supported better even beyond its

I expressed all this to the Novell sales rep who called me soon after, and I got
a Novell hat for my complaints. Gee, thanks. While I appreciated the gesture
and enjoyed the hat, I havent' worn it in the past few days.

Time for a support group! EV1 meet Novell, Novell meet EV1.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft "Legitimizes" Suse Linux!
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 08:53 AM EST
This reminds me of the ways things were 30 years or so ago when the world was
dominated by mainframes and minicomputers. Hobbyists got together and started
building their own "personal computers", which were quickly adopted by
various companies that marketed their own versions running CP/M. Until one day
IBM released theirs. The headlines of every magazine at the time were singing at
the top of their voices "IBM legitimizes the personal computer!"

Now we have an operating system created primarily by users and hobbyists being
"legitimized" by Microsoft.

I can imagine in a few days, we will see headlines from all the Ziff-Davis
online sites saying how Microsoft has legitimized Suse Linux. A little later
when you log on to a Dell or HP web sites, as well as seeing "Dell
recommends Windows XP", you will also see "Dell recommends Suse Linux
(with Microsofts permission)".

All the sudden, Adobe ports Photoshop only to Suse Linux, Apple ports iTunes
only to Suse Linux. Suse Linux will be the only legitimate Linux distribution to

I was depressed when IBM came out with the PC, as I am now.

[ Reply to This | # ]

CNN's view
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 08:57 AM EST
Gorklaw's view is that Novel sold out.

The world has a very different view

Microsoft backs Novell's Linux platform

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: TheBlueSkyRanger on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 09:12 AM EST
Hey, everybody!

Like Todd Wolfhouse said in "Beerfest," "They want a war?!?
We'll give 'em a war they'll never forget!"

I am not so naive as to think everything will be all rainbows and flowers. But
when I look in my crystal ball, I see some interesting facts:

1) This coming election day and the next Presidential election will be the last
before the Digital Generation comes to the fore. When word of misdeeds can
spread like wildfire (in addition to the basic fact that those of us who are
tech savvy are far more likely to vote) and the third parties finally getting
some notice, the technocracy will no longer be something to be considered, but
something to be courted and/or fear.

2) Judges get re-elected. Decisions have to be made in the public interest,
and digital rights are moving front and center. Judges will have to weigh
corporate shmoozing against keeping their jobs.

3) Linus and crew brag, quite rightly, that they don't do anything that
infringes rights. Let's go nuts for a moment and say that, for example, the way
Linux passes data between programs for Cut And Paste infinges. Once it is
discovered how, every propeller head will be drinking Red Bull and eating
doughnuts until they come up with another way.

4) And anything that is baloney? Say M$ complains about the look and feel of
the GUI. The community will present so much evidence to the contrary that any
judge will have to rule against M$. See #2.

5) And the longer it takes for this to get to trial, the more the Digital
Generation grows, and the more power gets thrown against M$. M$ is just putting
its finger in the dyke, blithely hoping the water doesn't rise over the top
before things get fixed. Time is everyone's enemy, but M$ has far more to lose
from it.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: SCO was MicroSoft's lab rat,
testing to see if what M$ had in mind for lawsuits could possibly work without
seeming like they were directly involved. I mention this again because they are
taking the exact same tact. The only difference is the stance held by Novell is
arguably to give it more validity. If M$ attempts a lawsuit in the next, say,
three months, the community will rally behind the target with so much support
(and probably enough money to hire the Nazgul) that they won't stand a chance.

The reason for the three month mark on my calendar is this: M$ is itching for a
fight. Things are too recent to figure they won't do anything. But as time
goes on and they do nothing, it telegraphs that they know they don't have a
chance. If they don't do something relatively soon, they won't do anything at

The wheel is spinning, M$. Place your bet. We're ready.

Dobre utka,
The Blue Sky Ranger

[ Reply to This | # ]

DoJ vs MS Decree Date and this Mess
Authored by: kjhambrick on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 09:24 AM EST
Could there be a connection between the original date of the DoJ vs MS Decree (Nov 2, 2001) and the MS - Novell Agreement ?

I have not read all this recently but there was a five-year expiration date ...

Hmmm ... DoJ vs MS ... Hmmm

-- kjh

[ Reply to This | # ]

IBM is the target, the community calls 'foul'.
Authored by: dodger on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 09:37 AM EST
If the IBM case is hanging on the Novell-SCO case, then it stands to reason that
the winner of Novell as partner could be MS and the loser IBM. With Novell
holding the UNIX intellectual property rights, this may not so much be about
Linux, but about UNIX and the enterprise market.

Business is a strange beast, particularly when it grows to Borgean magnitude.
The critics, Novell and Sun, are now partners, and the EU Antitrust movement is
losing supporters on the side of anti-monopoly. The Borg has assimilated and is
moving out.

I am a long time user of SuSE Linux. I have always appreciated that to buck the
monopoly and offer alternatives was the proper way to go to enable development
to push forward, unhindered by commercial and proprietary restraints. But time
only will tell what will become of SuSE. Oh yeah, and the city of Munich has
just installed tens of thousands of copies of linux and Microsoft lost out on
that deal. But perhaps they have found a new way to get paid their 'tax'.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Nevell's friends
Authored by: tz on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 09:43 AM EST
Would someone ask Nevell (as in Chaimberlain) the appeaser about their
bedfellow's strange statement:

"I suspect that [customers] will take that issue up with their
distributor," Ballmer said. "Or if customers are considering doing a
direct download of a non-SUSE Linux version, they'll think twice about
that," he said.

Does Nevell want me to think twice about downloading something for my Ubuntu
setup? Or Redhat? Their new SO does.

But Ballmer's statement tells me all I need to know now about Nevell, SUSE, and
their idea about openness, the freedom of software under the GPL, and the GPL

[ Reply to This | # ]

The "SCOvell" Survival Guide
Authored by: AJWinterer on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 09:54 AM EST
To survive the coming years of "SCOvell" with an intact
open source environment there are two things we need to


If you buy "open source" products coming from Novell/SUSE
you will effectively PAY MICROSOFT for work that was done
by other people! You better check with your conscience if
you really want to do such an unethical thing. Look for
alternatives your conscience can accept.

Developers/Project Leaders

REJECT any piece of source code that comes to you from
Novell/SUSE or persons/companies that work for
Novell/SUSE. This source code is a TIME BOMB! As such code
accumulates in many projects this will give Microsoft an
excellent tool to kill off either the projects or the
distributors that do not pay the "extortion money". Ask
Mr. Stallman how it feels if your own work is taken away
from you.

This is a question of life or death, no less. If you give
up a little freedom, you will lose it all. Forever.

Never trust a smiling cat.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Authored by: Kaemaril on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 09:56 AM EST
Has IBM responded to this yet?

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Authored by: seanlynch on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 10:11 AM EST
I have been a long time SuSE user, and have always purchased a retail copy to
show my support. I started with SuSE 4.3.

Even though I am currently using the Slackware derivative Zenwalk more than any
other distro, I still keep at least one or two SuSE installs to keep a sight on
a more commercial distro.

As a result of this deal with Microsoft, I don't think I'll be purchasing a copy
of SuSE ever again. This is a very short sighted action by Novell.

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 10:12 AM EST
I have had a terrible thought about all of this and hope it's not true. Novell
is claiming in the SCO case it owns UNIX still. What if the prove that they
still own it and colaborate with MS to be the next company to demand licensing
fees from Linux.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Google is going to have to pick a side
Authored by: arrg on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 11:04 AM EST
From what I know they built their system on linux. Would be nice to see them put
their money behind the red hat side...

Time is funny stuff, space has it's points too.... - Hap

[ Reply to This | # ]

Would a documented download of GPL SUSE be helpful?
Authored by: om1er on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 11:09 AM EST
If Novell is distributing SUSE Linux under the GPL today, would it not be
helpful for someone to do a download of the source code and binaries, complete
with screen shots showing the date and time?

That documentation may come in handy in any future court cases, much like IBM
downloaded SCO Linux after SCO claimed they had ceased distribution.

Of course, IANAL.

Are we there yet?

[ Reply to This | # ]

This could be extremely good.
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 11:12 AM EST
Microsoft has authorized it's angent to distrubute it's patented
"inventions" under the GPL. Does that not mean that Microsoft cannot
sue anyone using those "inventions".?

Imagine that Microsoft knows for a fact that Samba uses their
"inventions" (patents) and agrees that Novell can distriute it under
the GPL. Does that mean that Microsoft has cleared their patents for use in
Samba by way of their agent, or directly since they know the GPL and that Samba

This could be good.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • No only SuSE. - Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 01:09 PM EST
Contracts + Friend = Law Suit
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 11:20 AM EST
Microsoft will sue Novell, but when?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Who does Groklaw support now?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 11:40 AM EST
Now that Microsoft, Novell and IBM are all in support of this new agreement, who
is Groklaw supporting?

What happens to the SCO vs IBM coverage? Is it now over since IBM is supporting
Novell in their agreement with Microsoft?

What about the fact that IBM is in partnership with Novell, funding them, and
going to be moving more towards heavier deeper partnerships with Novell ?
Especially since Novell is now working with Microsoft and IBM supports that

Does Groklaw now just switch entirely to Red Hat (which may not be around for
very long) ?

Or has Groklaws usefulness just come to an end because of overzealous religious
nonsense and fanatacism over this news?

And no, it's not a "Troll" to disagree with PJ, though everyone seems
to think that way.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 11:50 AM EST
Well, PJ, it looks like you'll awhile longer. (Thank God our Joan of Arc is
flameproof. May your visions become their nightmares.) Your enemies will always
be outnumbered.


[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Purpose - Authored by: a_dreamer on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 11:51 AM EST
  • Purpose - Authored by: Wol on Monday, November 06 2006 @ 04:16 AM EST
Maybe SCO Misplaced license fee?
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 11:56 AM EST
If SCO were to be proven to owe the royalties that we all believe they owe to
Novell, and if SCO had no means to pay them, would Novell have had recourse to
go after either Sun or Microsoft for their cut? Does this licensing deal
provide a back-door way for Microsoft to satisfy that royalty payment without
publicly being brought into the fray? Under that logic, would Sun be announcing
a deal with Novell too?

Novell and Oracle have both postured to pretend to like open source software,
but it's telling that they both seem to view it as a tool that is an ends to
further proprietary software sales. Oracle's contributions to Linux were to
make their product run better there. It's only conincidental that they happend
to make Linux better but really for whom if you aren't running Oracle.

Finally, shame on IBM and HP for lacking any backbone. They are either in this
game or not, but they can't have it both ways. Their customers are smarter than
that. The world has changed. Deal with it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

    Start Spreading the FUD
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 12:46 PM EST
    Start spreading the FUD
    We're out of ideas
    We want to get some dough from it, Linux, Linux
    Those darned consumers
    Have started to stray
    And make a wild break for it
    Linux, Linux
    We want to wake in a world that never thinks
    To find our O-S is not tossed on a heap
    These little growth blues
    will be going away
    We'll make some brand new cash from it
    Through old Novell
    If we can convince them there
    Everyone will think our IP is everyhwere
    It's up to you Linux, Linux

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Net weight differential
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 12:58 PM EST

    "Now about that offer, perhaps Microsoft would care to be specific about what patents it wishes to claim are being infringed?"

    When corporations negotiate cross-licensing agreements in the patent wars I don't think that they spend much time looking at what specific patents apply to the other company. I think that each company weighs their files of granted software patents and company with the lighter files pays the company with the heavier files an amount based on the proportional net weight differential.

    Unfortunately for the companies which engage in the patent wars the weight of the Open Source software patent file screws up the calculation by introducing a zero divide error.

    Steve Stites

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    "a particular version of Open Office"
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 01:22 PM EST
    Hmm. Wonder what that means?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 01:36 PM EST
    When SCO attacked Linux copyright Open Source developers responded by refusing
    to accept SCO patches to Open Source code. The developers said that accepting
    code from SCO opened their projects to copyright problems.

    Now Novell has agreed to pay for Microsoft patents purported to apply to Open
    Source code. Novell has also agreed to develop certain Open Source
    applications. Now we are in the situation where Novell contributions to an Open
    Source project are a patent law minefield for anybody other than Novell. So any
    sensible developer will refuse any future Novell contributions to their

    In order to meet their contract obligations to Microsoft Novell will have to
    fork any project that they are working on and develop the entire project

    Steve Stites

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    • forks - Authored by: dht on Sunday, November 05 2006 @ 12:57 AM EST
    Software Patents and McDonalds
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 01:41 PM EST
    I had something of an awakening today.

    As a developer, I find myself in the difficult position of having to explain
    software patents more often than I would like. Sadly, the subject itself is so
    disturbing to me that I have difficulty discussing it without digressing and
    getting flustered.

    Then, this morning as I put my Schwan's breakfast sandwich in the Microwave - it
    dawned on me. How to explain software patents.

    Everyone knows what a Egg McMuffin from McDonald's is, even if you don't like
    them. Tasty bun, canadian bacon, egg, and cheese neatly stacked and too tasty
    for your own good.

    Now, you go to your local grocery store and you will find 3 or 4 different
    brands selling a sandwich that looks and tastes almost exactly like a McMuffin.

    That's part of our glorious economy built on competition.

    Well, with software patents you would not see ANY of those McMuffin wanna-be's
    at your grocery store.

    Something as stupid, and simple, as what you put on a sandwich is exactly the
    kind of garbage software patents are.

    Just wait, someday there will be patents to cover things like that - if the
    system keeps going the way it is. One morning you will wake up and find that you
    can ONLY purchase the name-brand product of the foods you like --- and guess
    what? The price just trippled because NO ONE can legally compete with their

    That's our patent system, working it's way to take away YOUR right to choose.

    Man, I sure feel like I'm in America now. Bah

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    The Price of Freedom
    Authored by: DaveJakeman on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 02:03 PM EST
    I've seen many posts along the lines of: I've been a happy SuSE user for X years
    and I'm wiping my systems right now and going with another distro and I'm all

    Well, I'm a happy Ubuntu user and I'm not wiping my systems right now, but I'm
    still all upset. This is not good. This is not good at all.

    But in the long run, do I think Microsoft can clobber Linux or intimidate the
    Open Source community? No. But I'm sure they'll try and get the best mileage
    out of this they can. Just like the SCO tapdance.

    I think Microsoft will be surprised at the effect this is going to have and it's
    not the effect they are looking for.

    One cannot rest. The price of freedom is...

    I would rather stand corrected than sit confused.
    Should one hear an accusation, try it on the accuser.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    The new Nevell terms
    Authored by: jwrl on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 02:05 PM EST
    On the 20th of last month I orderd a copy of Suse 10.1 DVD from the NOvell
    store. It has not yet shipped. With the news of the MS Novell agreement I
    canceled the order.

    I wonder if the reason it did not ship for over 14 days is a rewrite of the
    software agreement. Has any one else seen this?? It will be interesting to see
    what new stuff gets put into the agreement.


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 02:39 PM EST
    Issued the memo on Friday morning-

    Convert all Linux servers to RH within 60 days. Cancel Enterprise Desktop evals.
    (41 Servers, 325 desktops)

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    What Microsoft said and claimed
    Authored by: Chris Lingard on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 02:49 PM EST

    Here is a link to an article about the announcement that Microsoft and Novel made. BetaNews

    I have not added any opinions of my own, my opinions are mostly disgust at these quotes; but lets hear just what they think.

    Steve Balmer, after being asked for a 45 second summary:

    "Two things, I'll make it real simple: Number one, [Novell and Microsoft] are going to work together technically to help the Windows world and the Linux world interoperate. Number two, we've struck a deal under which we can provide patent agreements to Linux customers, in which Microsoft's intellectual property is respected, and we are appropriately compensated for the use of our intellectual property; and we've done both of those things in a way that we think still allows the open source development community to actively pursue what it has been doing on behalf of everybody for the last several years."

    Brad Smith Microsoft's general counsel and senior vice president,

    "We really had to think hard and work hard and be as creative as we could to figure out how we could build a bridge in intellectual property -- a patent bridge -- between open source and proprietary source software...I have to admit, there were times, especially when we started, where we wondered, how will we do this? And yet through an awful lot of great work, from some very bright people who figured out how to work together, we built that bridge, and that's one of the really historic things for our industry that we're able to talk about today."

    "To do that," Smith continued, "one of the things we fashioned was an approach that will ensure...that every customer who purchases a subscription, for example, for SUSE Enterprise Linux will get not only service and support from Novell, but will get as part of that, in effect, a patent covenant from Microsoft."

    "In a sense, I think of Novell as a proxy for the customers. Novell works with the open source community, so we needed to have a way to work with Novell that was respectful of the community. But nobody represents the community. On the other hand, our customers were saying, we want somebody to represent us in the use that we will make Linux. And customers weren't picky, they said, 'Find somebody who's in this game who really wants to get after it.'"

    "We dealt with the need for an up-front balancing payment that runs from Microsoft to Novell," Smith continued, "reflecting among other things the large relevant volume of the products that we have shipped. And you'll see, as well an economic commitment from Novell to Microsoft, that involves a running royalty, a percentage of revenue, on open-source software shipped under the agreement. So we've been able to sort out the economics, and in some ways, perhaps one of the most important things is, because we've been able to sort out the economics, Novell's customers don't have to."

    "Microsoft today is making two, I think, important commitments or promises to different groups of developers in the open source community. The first is a promise that we won't assert our patents against individual, non-commercial, open source developers. Who are these? These are individuals who are creating code, contributing code, they're not being paid for that code - they're often working in the evenings, or at home. They're not creating it as part of their job, but they're acting in an individual, non-commercial way."

    "The second thing we did in this area," Smith continued, "was add a promise that goes even to developers that are getting paid to create code to, code that Novell then takes and incorporates into its distribution, and that is then covered under the patent cooperation agreement between us. Because after all, Novell is ensuring that our patent rights are respected in an appropriate way, and that gives us the ability to address the needs and interests of those individuals."

    And Steve Balmer again

    "Microsoft is announcing that they are not going to assert patent infringement claims against individual open source developers," repeated Novell's CTO, Jeff Jaffe. "So that's really, really important for open source. Open source is, in many ways, the innovation engine of the entire IT industry, and now, this statement just makes that so much stronger and so much more important."

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    MS/Novell vs IBM/SCO
    Authored by: rp$eeley on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 02:53 PM EST
    I see this as 'handwriting on the wall'. Maybe even MS/Novell/IBM/SCO someday, who knows? With that much money (power) it could happen. Bets anyone?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Developer indemnification
    Authored by: pem on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 03:06 PM EST
    Why hasn't Microsoft sued any individual free software developers yet?

    Are they just worried about the bad press? I don't think so -- they seem to be able to feel (perhaps rightly) that they can sway the majority of public opinion to their way of thinking, so winning a lawsuit which could discourage people from developing free software would just be a GOOD THING from their perspective.

    I think they realize they can't win such a lawsuit, at least not in any meaningful fashion. That's why we have the FUD instead.

    The only cases where free software developers are being sued that I know of are very recent and have been filed by much smaller companies. Bruce Perens discusses this on his blog..

    I think good legal representation of the developers on cases like these is important, so they don't set bad precedents. I hope the EFF is all over this, because even if Microsoft wants to test the waters on this, they will start off by doing it through proxies until they develop enough precedents to be helpful to them. The reason is simple: an initial frontal assault on an individual developer by Microsoft would assure stellar legal representation for that developer.

    IANAL, and it would be interesting to hear from Webster and Marbux and the other resident lawyers on this, but I think it would be very difficult to win more than nominal damages against an individual developer (assuming the developer has decent legal representation). The reason is that "software patents" aren't really software patents. They are patents covering the process of a computer running a particular algorithm. The software is a necessary component in this process, but the direct infringer is the user who runs the program.

    So the developer is a direct infringer to the extent he runs the program himself. For this, you would think that he would be liable for, at most, "actual damages" for the cost of a legitimate single copy of a program which incorporates the patented material in a product with similar functionality.

    The developer may also be indirectly infringing, by inducing others to infringe the patent by running his program on their computers. Commercial software developers are susceptible to indirect infringement lawsuits for a couple of reasons. First, a lawsuit against the direct infringers would be a lawsuit against their customers. They may or may not be legally obligated to defend their customers, but a customer could probably turn around and sue them for at least the purchase price of the program. So it is more efficient for the patent holder and the software developer to work out an agreement which indemnifies the customer. Second, once the lawsuit is filed or the developer is put on notice of infringement some other way, any subsequent indirect infringement could be deemed to be willful, which greatly increases the damages if a court subsequently finds the patent valid.

    But a developer who gives away his software (who has not yet been given constructive notice of potential infringement) is probably not a good target for a lawsuit alleging indirect infringement, at least if he is smart enough to stop distribution and contact a lawyer once he has been put on notice of infringement.

    Mark A. Lemley of Stanford has written a paper on "Inducing patent infringement".

    While this paper does not appear to directly address free software developers, there are several statements (with references to back them up) in it that are relevant to the current discussion:

    "Publication of information about a patented product is not itself inducement"

    "Indirect infringement, by contrast, has always required some element of knowledge. This requirement probably derives from the common law origin of indirect infringement in accessory liability, which requires that the defendant know that the behavior she aids is wrongful."

    "The court reasoned that '[t]o hold that the sale of equipment which performs a patented process is itself a direct infringement would make that portion of section 271(c) relating to the sale of an apparatus for use in practicing a patented process meaningless.'"

    "Rather, section 271(c) requires that the defendant know that the combination to which it is contributing 'was both patented and infringing.'"

    Companies, like Red Hat and Suse and, yes, even especially Microsoft, who sell software, are obviously at risk from patent trolls and competitors with strong patents, but it appears to me that writing and giving away software is probably a reasonably safe thing to do (with the caveat that anything you do in public exposes you to lawsuits from all sorts of cranks).

    Writing software for your employer is probably safe, as well. I don't know this for a fact, but I have never heard of a non-officer employee being sued for patent infringement for a product distributed by the company, open source or not.

    If the Microsoft/Novell agreement purported to protect the rights of ANY FOSS developer to develop without fear from Microsoft, I would consider that as just Microsoft's recognition of legal realities.

    But this agreement is worded very narrowly, so as others have pointed out, it just adds to the FUD.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microsoft Linux
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 03:19 PM EST
    So I imagine now unofficially, Novell SUSE Linux is called Microsoft Linux?


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Two Major Concerns
    Authored by: mcinsand on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 04:38 PM EST
    As with a lot of the rest of us, I've thought about this Novell sellout a lot
    over the weekend. There are two issues right now at the forefront of my

    1) Could Novell be a first domino. The Linux community wasn't a concern when
    it was a very small market slice of difficult_to_install/maintain software... or
    as long as the reputation of being a 'challenge to the driver' held up. Now,
    there is more recognition of Linux as a reliable, configurable, intuitive, and
    performing system. In other words, Linux is everything Windows is not. Linux
    and Windows are now on part for ease of installation, but I'm waiting for
    Windows to fall behind there, too. Anyway, the point is that the community has
    grown including the commercial side that has decided that it cannot accept the
    fragile house of cards that is Windows in todays digital hurricanes. 5-10 years
    ago, the community was not worth bothering with. Now, it's a threat. If we
    stand together, MS doesn't stand a chance. If MS can carve out chunks that
    agree to roll over, such as Novell, then the threat diminishes.
    2) The other problem is that MS has just pulled the pin on an IP hand grenade
    and released the handle, if I understand our patent law correctly. With the
    Novell sock puppet publicly saying that Linux infringes MS's "IP,"
    there are legal implications if MS does not start pursuing 'infringers.'
    Patents are a lot like copyrights, in that the assignee cannot ignore violations
    without constructively issuing a waiver. In other words, if we have a granted
    (if not valid) patent, we have knowledge that pushes us to believe (or claim)
    that someone is infringing, and we do nothing, then we lose rights to the
    patented technology. This even works in real estate; you can take someone's
    land by openly using it for a number of years if the owner does nothing to
    protect his/her rights. The way I see it, these MS/Novell announcements
    effectively start a litigative clock ticking. Both parties claim that the other
    is infringing. To stand by and do nothing is to null out the owners' rights.

    We'd better be ready to offer support, whether it be monetary or in volunteer

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Just bought some RHAT
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 04:40 PM EST
    You're my new favorite company!

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 05:35 PM EST
    Instead of just downloading Linux distro's, please show
    your support by buying CD's and full packages.

    They don't cost that much and provides more support
    to the Linux venders.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Microft fell into a trap
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 05:54 PM EST
    SCO licensed to Microsoft IP that it did not own, MS (without doing due
    diligence and believing SCO) built it into Vista, it now looks like Novell went
    to MS and said - There appears to be some of our IP in Vista, what are you going
    to do about it? - Result is Novell gets to use MS IP so their stuff will
    interoperate with MS, giving them a leg up on their competition. MS does not
    have to stall launching Vista, giving them time to clean out the IP. Not getting
    Vista out the door would have been a tremendous blow to MS, having it tied up in
    the courts would have been a disaster. Novell played this well, all the press
    releases are bluster and FUD.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Between the Lines.
    Authored by: Artiken on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 05:58 PM EST
    WARNING! Have barf bag ready. When you see where this latest attack, on Linux
    from M$, is going your going to need it.

    When a boxer wants to challenge a supperior opponent the boxer doesn't just
    issue a challenge and then get into the ring. That is a recipe for failure. The
    boxer researches their opponent. Finds the opponents weaknesses and strengths.
    Then if they think they have a chance they issue the challenge.

    In the SCO bout we are all just waiting for the final bell to ring. SCO is KOed,
    bleading badly, and they look like their heart has stoped. SCO is still
    breathing, but soon to die.

    What M$ learned from this bout is Linuxes weaknesses. Now M$ issues its

    What has M$ complained about the loudest in regards to Linux? What is the
    largest threat to M$? That has been Linuxes interoperability. There are other
    things but these are the most serious for M$ market share. They eliminate
    Lock-In, Lock-Out. Mono, ODF, Samba are real threats to M$. These three take
    away control from M$. With no Lock-in, there is no lock-out, no extinguish.

    What is the best way to kill these three technologies. Poison the well. M$
    offers Novell a patent exchange and the promise not to sue Suse Linux. (For a
    limited time. After 2012 the gloves come off.) Meanwhile M$ gives Novell M$
    patentened technology to incorporate into Mono, ODF, Samba. (Most likely a
    Novell fork of these.) Novell Linux (Suse) becomes the most compatible with
    Windows servers. There may not be any existing patents, but you can guarentee
    that M$ will patent any improvements to the Mono, Samba code made by the
    M$/Novell (M$N) developers.

    If Mono, Samba developers include the M$N changes into the core product it will
    become instant death. Only Novell has permission to distribute. A Cease and
    Desist will prevent any other Linux distro from distributing. Mono and Samba can
    always be taken out of the distros. But that will mean loosing ground with
    compatibility with Windows servers. Many years of effort lost.

    If Mono, Samba depvelopers continue on with their current development model and
    come close to compatibility, (Actually any improvement.) then M$ can claim (FUD)
    that it was because of an inapropriate leak or poison well develpment.

    How does M$N get around the GPL? That is easy. The same way Tivo did it. Follow
    the GPL for the GPL code. Release Binary Only for the M$N code. The BO code will
    be well documented on how to call it. (Yes Body Odor stinks. Pun intended.)
    Small private coders will be tempted to use it. Just like the 'accidentily'
    released XP/2000 code. I think that this was a 'test the waters' release. Any
    developers who are paid who use the BO code without a M$N lisence are immedietly
    in violation of the law. Their company will then have to pay the M$N tax.

    How do we prevent this? Tough question. The Mono and Samba will have to stop
    taking submissions from Novell or anyone associated with them. This means that
    Mono/Samba will have to screen it's code submissions much more rigourously. Even
    though it may apear I'm saying that the submission controls are lax and flawed.
    That is not what I'm trying to say. What I'm saying is, instead of begin able to
    trust preexisting partners/developers, now all partners must be suspect. In
    other words paranoia will be required. Even if it is not required, the FUD will
    make it required. This will definetly slow down production. This is truly sad.


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Show us the patents!!!!
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 06:03 PM EST
    Well, this is different from SCOG. Then we were yelling "show us the
    infringing code", now I must ask the inevitable question: "What
    patents does Linux infringe upon that Novell just bought protection for?"

    This just does not make sense. Once again, RedHat stands alone.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Red Hat Responds by...
    Authored by: sonicfrog on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 08:09 PM EST
    .. entering into partnership with IBM??? Hey, one can dream.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Here is a different take on this!
    Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 08:30 PM EST
    Ok, I thought about this too much! But here is my thoughts.

    But this can not be any worse than some of the arguments I've heard from SCO side so here goes.

    1) Microsoft and Novell enter into an agreement where Microsoft agrees not sue any Novell customer for 'MS patents'. (And Novell will not sue Ms customers either).
    2) Novell says they worked hard to make this GPL compatible.
    Novell's linux is distributed under GPL version 2.
    3) I run Novell's linux and some other version (take your pick. I'm thinking of two very particalar version. One which I've run in the past and one I plan on running in the future).

    I am protected (at the very least for any package I can compile under Novell's linux. (That is under the GPL) because is that not that what it means to be a customer of Novell and run Linux 'IS' to have that freedom).

    I do not have to worry about any 'MS patents' (Or Novell's patents) do I not?

    Because assuming everyone has been truthfull. (As I understand it) The following holds:

    If 'MS' (or Novell for that matter!) come up to me and says you are using tech that is a clam of our patents. I say I am a Novell customer. And Novell could not distribute Linux except under the GPL.
    The GPL says under section 7 in part
    "... For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program".

    So, if Novell distributes one copy of their distro of linux after this announcement it means I'm safe. (And in fact everyone is pretty safe as they buy one copy of Novell Linux and 'MS' (And of course Novell) should drop their claims.)

    If I understand this all correctly than thank you Novell and Microsoft! (Two less companies that will not sue me ever over software patents!).

    If the above is in error than one of the premises must be wrong. Which one is it? (Remember Microsoft did not have to enter into this agreement either did Novell to my understanding.)

    I really would like to know where I made an error in logic here. Something seems wrong with the above but at the same time something seems right about it too! Am I just fooling myself here?

    BTW: I think the above works for LGPL too because of section 11!

    So, I am safe from 'MS patents' (Or Novell patents)!

    The above assumes MS (or Novell) was going to sue someone sometime over patents. Maybe MS (Or Novell) never intents to sue over patents and so they do not care one bit about my reasoning above. It is all mute. No trouble over patents for anyone means no trouble at all.

    Lets all be fair and treat everyone the same. Is it possible to work from a common set of rules that are applied equally to everyone?

    Note: If the above is all true than I do not have to change my behavior at all. The world just got to be a little bit safer!

    a Florida resident.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
    Authored by: raindog on Saturday, November 04 2006 @ 09:40 PM EST

    Wow, I'd never seen that blog entry before. Eerily, scarily prescient (though it looks like things happened much more quickly than he imagined.)

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Is my tinfoil hat on too tight?
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 05 2006 @ 02:18 AM EST
    I have an ugly premonition about a quick SCO v Novell settlement.
    I also have another one about Active Directory quickly getting features from

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Novell has nothing
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 05 2006 @ 08:45 AM EST
    The mutual patent coverage deal isn't really mutual, only Microsoft wins.

    This because Novell can't use any MS patents in GPL (and some other licenses)
    software, as distributing those isn't allowed by the GPL. So practically Novell
    can't use any MS patents at all.

    The warm and fuzzy feeling they get by not being litigated will disappear when
    MS sues other companies for distributing software which infringes their patents.
    If they win, Novell can't distribute that software either if it's GPL or
    similarly licensed.

    So MS can use all Novell's patents, sue everyone it wants and still cripple
    Novell by it, with the secure knowledge that Novell's resources aren't used to
    defend against it.

    Is this incredibly stupid of Novell or what?


    [ Reply to This | # ]

    IBM and Vista
    Authored by: edumarest on Sunday, November 05 2006 @ 11:21 AM EST
    I would really laugh if IBM pulled this same stuff on Vista and inferred that
    Vista infringes on some of their patents.

    This would be a 3-chair tantrum by Ballmer, don't you think?

    A generation which ignores history has no past and no future.
    Robert Heinlein (1907 - 1988), The Notebooks of Lazurus Long

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 05 2006 @ 01:52 PM EST
    There seems to be a splitting, where you cannot make money from 'cheap software' any more.

    If you intend to make money, it has to be either 'expensive software with a guarantee' (like Windows Server 2003), or 'free software with a service contract' (like Novell SuSE Linux).

    Profitable cheap software nowadays is things like Age of Empires, or Star Wars DVD.

    I think Microsoft are waking up to the proposition that Windows is having to become more expensive (particularly if you include OneCare service), and that by way of segmenting the market they need to introduce a 'Free Windows' into their product range.

    And as for Microsoft Office, you can't legislate for people to use your private product. They will always have the alternative of pencil, paper, and fax machine. You ca noffer your product at whatever price you choose but you cannot force buyers to buy.

    And it is getting more expensive. Pricing itself out of the market.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    What Novell doesnt want you to know
    Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 05 2006 @ 03:26 PM EST
    Have a look at what Novell thought about Microsoft not long ago this page has just *incidentally* been removed:

    Seems like the orwellian ministry of truth is at work here...

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Customers DO care about OPEN source!
    Authored by: AJWinterer on Monday, November 06 2006 @ 02:50 AM EST
    First thing this monday morning was to call in and cancel
    my SUSE subscription. I had a short chat with the guy on
    the phone and he said that a lot of customers do the same.
    This is a good sign, as it proves that customers really DO
    care about real open source.

    It was a sad moment. After all I had been a SUSE customer
    from version 4.4 onward, which makes it a good TEN years I
    had been with SUSE.

    Never trust a smiling cat.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    MS reads and laughs
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 06 2006 @ 08:19 AM EST
    I have a very bad feeling that MS is reading all of this, and laughing,
    laughing, laughing.

    I have a very bad feeling that they, much better than Novell, know that a fair
    amount of Linux users were going to react like this, and dump Novell/SuSE in a
    second. And that might well have been their goal. To pay a one off, giving
    Novell belief the deal was a long haul one, to have SuSE crash out.

    All it hinges upon is the number of people who actually dump SuSE (or more to
    the point, who change their next purchase to Red Hat, or whatever).

    It all hinges on the number of such people, in contrast to the number of
    companies that might be swayed by the dancing lights of "protection",
    times the number of copies they buy.

    Who knows. I have no idea how those numbers tally.

    So, is MS' goal to shore up Novell against Red Hat, or to kill off Novell ? Mind
    you, both may actually be a win for MS, as they got to FUD yet again.

    Thinking of the Ghandi quote again. Hopefully we'll win before they manage to
    kill us off.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Hey, MS, which patents?
    Authored by: ExcludedMiddle on Monday, November 06 2006 @ 11:38 AM EST
    Hey, MS. If you're not a coward, what about telling us WHICH patents you are
    indemnifying against?

    You won't? Why is that, exactly? You don't want us using your "IP",
    and we'd hate to be infringing. So go ahead, just tell us. We're dead serious.
    We don't want to infringe, and in return, we'll be happy to immediately remove
    or rewrite all code so that we're not causing you any more distress. Or, we
    might just look at those patents and just make sure that all of the paperwork
    was done right, and that the due dilligence has been done related to prior art.
    You know, just to make sure that you have a solid patent. We'll do all this for
    free. Actually, you'll really appreciate this, because you can see the open
    source model at work in not only development, but also in the legal and patent

    Our door is always open. Just tell us. We don't want your "IP". What's
    yours is yours. We mean it!

    MS? Hello? Hello?

    Well, anytime you want to tell us, we'll be here waiting and trying not to

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Munich was lucky
    Authored by: AJWinterer on Monday, November 06 2006 @ 12:12 PM EST
    SUSE had tried to acquire the Linux migration project
    (LiMux), but was not successful. The project is currently
    underway with Debian (runs really well, I hear). Given the
    latest MS/SUSE/Novell development they really can say,
    they are lucky winners ...

    I pull my hat, the responsible guys made the right

    Never trust a smiling cat.

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Wait a minute.
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 06 2006 @ 01:43 PM EST
    I don't get it. What is so wrong about this deal?
    Granted, making a deal with Microsoft is like selling your
    soul to the devil, but that's not the point. What if
    Novell is telling us the truth, and this is all about Mono
    and .NET? Microsoft holds the patents on this technology,
    and Novell holds the majority of liability. To me it
    doesn't seem like there was any other way for the project
    to continue. If they want a complete product, it would
    eventually infringe MS patents. There isn't any other
    reason for MS to have these patents.

    PJ says they should have trusted in the community. Out of
    curiosity, what could the community do to prevent a patent
    attack on Mono? Invalidate the patents? How likely is
    that to succeed? Any other ideas?

    Does Suse Linux include Mono as part of the distribution?
    That could be a reason for the royalties. Do other
    disributions include Mono, or are mono binaries provided
    by a third party? Perhaps Novell is simply trying to get
    the dirty work out of the way. After all, if they become
    the sole distributor for Mono (which technically, all
    copies come from Novell), then no other distributors need
    to bother with this. (I know, it's not good, but it might
    not be wrong.)

    ODF may simply be an innocent victim of a drive-by
    corporate cross-licensing agreement. It's fate is still
    unsure in the marketplace.

    It seems to me that Novell is trying to do the right
    thing, it's just possibly misunderstood. If that wasn't
    the right thing to do, could you offer up some
    suggestions. ('Never give in to Microsoft' is not a valid
    suggestion. It doesn't give an alternative to the patent

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    • other ideas - Authored by: qu1j0t3 on Monday, November 06 2006 @ 06:26 PM EST
    • Wait a minute. - Authored by: dht on Monday, November 06 2006 @ 09:36 PM EST
      • 100% - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 07 2006 @ 09:15 AM EST
    Why is anyone surprised by Novell's action?
    Authored by: noWizard on Monday, November 06 2006 @ 04:13 PM EST
    SuSE was *acquired* by Novell, and Novell made its bread 'n' butter from
    (proprietary) networking software that compensated for the shortcomings in
    Micro$oft's OS, enabling it to proliferate within the enterprise environment.

    Does anyone realistically think that just because Novell *purchased* a Linux
    distributor, its culture would transform into something less
    proprietary/profit-motivated -- or for that matter, less M$-friendly?

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
    Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 06 2006 @ 04:22 PM EST
    Pam, you write :
    "I'm very sad about Novell. Whatever they thought they were doing, they are
    now Microsoft's FUD puppy, and contractually they will be having to repeat
    Microsoft's FUD with every deal, I think. Every time they tell a prospect that
    they have a patent peace with Microsoft, they are implying that one needs one,
    and the damage to Linux's good name is obvious right there."

    Let us take that statement, replace Novell with Mono, and Linux with DOTGNU.
    If you reread the sentance, you will see this entire pattern has occured before.

    Then we add to the idea chain here :
    MS - ximina(mono) - Novel - Suse

    Bang, we see the strong connection between ximian and microsoft has taken place,
    and how the huge fight between the two occured. The industry backed mono with
    book contracts. You see how contractual agreements underline now what was before
    just a underlying disturbance in the force.

    How long has this disturbance in the force been there? I think for much longer.
    Something is deeply, darkly wrong at Novell and Microsoft. They are part of the
    SIC. The software industrial complex.

    Pam also continues to question the timing of this thought:
    "How could Novell not see that? Is it too late to nix this devilish

    The devilish idea could have very well happened much earlier, even before when
    the midnight commanders author decided to throw the gpl overboard on the mono
    projects classlibs and break away from working with the gnu dotgnu p/net

    It has been said ximian has very good relations with Microsoft for a long time.
    It has only been to their benefit, except for the disturbances in the free
    software community. Hurt feelings are not something that corporations need to
    care about really. People are hurt all the time, it is just business, nothing
    personal. What does Freedom matter anyway? Much better we just take it away from
    the user, so they cannot leave. that is what businesses need: stable, and
    non-free workers bound by all sorts of contracts, visible and invisible. I have
    worked inside the SIC for years, and can tell you that It loves microsoft

    Microsoft has been creating many good relations with developers, and turning
    them away from free software for years. But that is just business.
    I was also a microsoft junkie, until linus brought me GNU! It was not the FSF
    that got me GNU.

    Some of the reasearchs at microsoft all use Open Source, GNU and BSD tools,
    because they are the best, you can find references to that on the research pages
    at microsoft. Microsoft has also restributed perl for years and other tools. I
    remember even seeing xenix from microsoft at radio shack in the 80s.

    Intel is also trying to get into the linux software business after downturns on
    windows also affected thier sales. It is the nature of the market that they are
    all tied together in a massive web of interdependancies that define the
    technology market.

    Now what if Intel would finally find itself needing to develop its own version
    of linux that is optimized for its chip? What about a linux on the chip, burnt
    right in an optimized out. A linux chip.

    Think about what would happen if your chip contained the ability to compile new
    highly optimized programs, a compiler itself. Take the gcc and turn it into a

    Imagine to be able to create even new computer chips, or rewire them using nano
    robots. A fab chip that contains an entire IC FAB on a chip itself. with
    nanobots working on it to produce new chips inside it.

    All these new technolgies can be implemented open source tools. Of course to
    produce such chips you need to be the most advanced manufacturer on the planet,
    but you will still need software. Why not let the people own the software?

    Open Source software is Adaptive software.

    It has a high viability because it copies itself freely consuming all available
    space. It tends to consume software developers completely until they turn into
    memiods of a given software defending it to death. That is the true greatness of
    Free Software, it is the great minds that have been attracted to it. It is the
    ability to see them interact an watch how they think, how the software grows. Of
    course we see that at in the SIC as well. But you dont get to see the sources,
    or have time to understand things most of the time when you work inside the

    What if the rate of change in the software would reflect some type of metric, we
    would watch the rate of change of open source versus closed source.

    In companies, the rate of change in the source is defined by the contractual
    flow of money to the software engineering process that delivers to requirement.
    Things dont change for years and each line of software is so expensive that
    there better be a good reason to change it.

    In free software, the rate of change in the source is defined by the meme
    strength of the software to copy itself onto a developer, who then ebodies and
    carries it. See the Egotistical Meme from Dawkins for more about memes.

    Now we can apply some dawkins game theory here :

    We will see many creative people developing new creative ideas, so, there is a
    chance that the meme will mutate into something new and exciting. Lets call them
    the doves.

    Yet not all play for the gain of all. We look at predators. How many of them
    will turn against the meme and go against it. Someone like me, growing up as a
    Microsoft memiods turning into Free as in freedom GNU/linux memiods. Or someone
    who grew up in Freedom turning against it ie: Ximian.

    The population of the software development market is attacked by waves and waves
    of memes searching for hosts. Each one hopes to capture a developer working on
    it. Each one has some scheme.

    The closed system scheme is built around a soft landing. Microsoft software
    development tricks you with wizards that hold up the light for you to walk in
    the dark, but lead you down the path into complete dependancy. It is a warm and
    fuzzy place.

    The Free Software movement confronts you with someone who is not getting any
    good press. In fact the newspapers seem to go out of thier way to not talk about
    free as in freedom at all. I almost choked the other day when the FAZ was
    talking about creative commons and the wikipedia. The capitalistic press just
    cannot handle GNU.

    they find the idea of Free as in Freedom distasteful, I think. It must have
    something to do with the word Manifesto.

    Most industrial companies feel the need to control the freedom of thier workers.
    Maybe they have to do as well, and there is the real core of the problem.

    Lets view the world from that of an egotistical meme that has an army of
    memiods. Lets call this meme "SIC" (the software industrial complex)
    we can define it by a simple set of rules :
    1- Those who have must protect it from those who dont.
    2- Those who dont must have a problem, so we sure should not help them, they
    might multiply.
    3. What better way to protect your own, when you can just disable the
    competition with FUD.
    4. Capture the mind of the mentally weak, fill them with ideas, make they want
    to buy our bugs.
    5. The stronger ones we will give them real benefits to control the weaker with
    our FUD.
    6. Create a hierarchy of FUD that trickles down to the office level and floods
    the minds of the workers.

    Now, let me tell you the real cost of msoffice to the SIC, it is the cost of
    training slow neurons. No one wants to do it. They might start a riot.

    What is software all about for the SIC anyway? Its need OFFICE for the sheer
    cost of brainwashing and retraining all those neurons! And to think that the SIC
    has been investing in these software memetic brandings for a long time! It is
    alot of energy invested into, so it must have some purpose.

    Just look at the cost in calories it would take to retrain the nation to use
    open office!! What a waste of resources, we should let them have office.

    give the people the ability to learn linux. that goes against the entire idea of
    a empire of SIC.

    Seriously folks, lets spend those resources on something worthwhile, like giving
    internet connections and computing power to the third world. Let's teach the
    world to sing in perfect harmony! Lets set a sample for future generations and
    share with them what we know. Why not let them see how we developed software?
    Why not share with them something we have worked hard on?

    How many of us are willing and able to put work into becoming the perfect free
    software memiod? Who is willing to make that sacrifice of time and resources.

    Do we not need freedom to have freedom? If we dont have a computer, then we
    cannot enjoy GNU. If we never learn to read we cannot program GNU. GNU needs
    young minds to copy itself onto. Fresh neurons. We should invest more into the
    third world software development. but how can you invest without money? No
    money, no calories for neuron imprinting.

    Anyway, enough for tonight.

    mike <mdupont777 you know what y a h o o>

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    Lovely quote from Computer Business Review article
    Authored by: seantellis on Tuesday, November 07 2006 @ 12:07 PM EST

    Complete article here but here is the most telling bit, from Mr Ballmer himself:

    And if people want to have peace and interoperability, they'll look at Novell's SUSE Linux. If they make other choices, they have all of the compliance and intellectual property issues that are associated with that.

    Make of that what you will.

    Sean Ellis (

    [ Reply to This | # ]

    MS FUDs like SCO, Red Hat Responds. and MS/Novell Transcript Available
    Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, November 07 2006 @ 01:06 PM EST
    Could someone lookup the legal definition of "Extortion"... I believe
    that using
    *FUD* for fun and profit could fall under the definition.. Is not threating to
    sue someone in order modify their behaviour for personal gain not
    "extortion"? Here's what I found... Isn't claiming to have
    "patent rights" and
    then offering "Indementy" technically threating "under color of
    official right"?

    "the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by
    wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of

    official right." 18 U.S.C. S 1951(b)(2).

    [ Reply to This | # ]

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