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Novell to Samba: We're Not Terminating MS Agreement
Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 04:30 PM EST

According to this statement from Novell, in Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier's article in, they are not repudiating their Microsoft deal, despite the Samba Team's request:
Justin Steinman, director of marketing for Novell, has provided a statement that indicates Novell is not willing to ditch the patent agreement with Microsoft.

"Novell has the utmost respect for the Samba community and their contributions to open source. We are currently working on a public response to the Samba team that addresses their concerns. I can confirm that Novell will not be terminating our agreement with Microsoft, which was the primary request from the Samba team. We'd ask for your patience to give us another couple days to pull together the rest of our response."

We also learn that Eben Moglen has finished the audit and is in discussions with Novell, and he says this:

"They have showed us what we need to see, they have answered our questions, we had complete and unfettered access to senior executives at Novell.... We are now working by peaceable negotiations to protect our client's legal interest, and we see no likelihood that we're going to adopt steps that involve the use of legal compulsion. If we are unable to work the situation out peacefully, that may change."

That tells you he sees GPL issues in the agreement that need resolving. What is the danger? Moglen sees that Microsoft is dividing the commercial and noncommercial sectors of the FOSS community, and then after they do that, "Microsoft then will be able to use its patents to sue to block the development of software in the non-commercial sector without the fear of suing its own customers, which is the force that now constrains them from misbehavior with their patent portfolio."

So that's the game. You can see confirmation in this interview with Microsoft's Bob Muglia in this article by Peter Galli in eWeek:

But one of the things I think is very important is that as time has gone on we have separated in our mind some attributes of open source. There are two things: the open source development model, which is the community-based development model of which there are multiple ways of doing licensing, such as GPL-style licensing and BSD-style licensing, and then there's commercial licensing. We are clearly in the latter camp....

There is a substantive effort in open source to bring such an implementation of .Net to market, known as Mono and being driven by Novell, and one of the attributes of the agreement we made with Novell is that the intellectual property associated with that is available to Novell customers. But we certainly have no intention of releasing the source code to .Net to the community, but the community is free to go with Mono and enhance that and build solutions for customers.

The community is not going to "go with Mono". That much I can guarantee, as things now stand. And may I publicly say thank you to Sun for putting Java under the GPL? As for Microsoft and how they view agreements, let's look at the Zune story. James Coates of the LA Times tells the story:

But let me turn to some reasons why Zune's early sales appear anemic and its short-term prospects aren't much to write home about. It's got a lot to do with image.

While aping Apple may be a good business strategy, there is an unpleasant whiff about how the Zune underscores Microsoft's reputation as a ruthlessly competitive behemoth focused on bucks and still more bucks.

Start with how Microsoft spent more than a year suckering potential Zune competitors in the Windows world into a program called Plays For Sure designed to make all mobile music players work instantly with Windows computers....

The companies lured into Plays for Sure ranged from the makers of the Creative Zen, the Sony Walkman, the Arcos players, the ATO brands and others. Likewise joining were most of the online music stores like Rhapsody by Real, Yahoo Music and Napster. So after all these folks banded together to play nice with Windows using Microsoft's Media Player software, Zune came along like--dare I say--a thief in the night.

I know that this isn't thievery in the legal sense, but Microsoft set up the Zune device so it will not play music downloaded from online stores other than Microsoft's Zune Marketplace that is designed to copy Apple's one player/one music store business model. Zunes will not play any of the downloaded copyright-protected music, movies and other content from outfits like, Cinema Now, Starz and the already mentioned Real Rhapsody and Yahoo. Then to give the knife an added twist, Microsoft set up Zune to have its own distinct software rather than running on the Windows Media Player that all competing players must use.

Novell. How naive are you? If Microsoft plays out its strategy as Moglen projects, and the noncommercial programmers are no longer able to write code for the community, will you benefit? Will anyone? Or will you be like the dupes who signed on to Plays For Sure on Microsoft's Media Player?

I remember when Novell knew what Microsoft was all about. Remember their webpage, Unbending the Truth: Things Microsoft Hopes You Won't Notice, answering Microsoft's Get the Facts campaign? Try going there now. Poof. Redirects you to some pablum about Novell's SUSE being better than all other Linux distributions:

Why Choose SUSE Linux from Novell?

Linux* is about more than an operating system. It's about applications and databases that run on Linux. It's about technical support. It's about consulting expertise. It's about training. And most importantly, it's about you. How will Linux help you run your business better? Not all Linux distributions are created equally. With SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server 9 from Novell®, you get the best-engineered Linux from a vendor that can deliver a global ecosystem to surround it.

I can confirm that SUSE Linux is unique in Linux distros in one respect -- it's the only one the FOSS community has now utterly repudiated, and that won't change unless Novell hits reverse. If you think that won't impact SUSE quality as we go forward, you probably are new to these parts. (You might find this thread of interest.) No, only Wayback will show you what Novell used to know:

Recently Microsoft has been challenging the suitability of Linux for the enterprise, bending the truth quite a bit to make it fit their view of the world. This site is dedicated to unbending the truth and setting the record straight. Take the time to explore the facts, and you'll understand why Microsoft is challenging Linux, and why Linux is often a better choice than Windows for satisfying the business needs of enterprises.

They even had a page to answer Microsoft's patent threats:

CLAIM: Customers who deploy Linux are at risk for patent violation and copyright issues.


* Novell has no intention of asserting its patent portfolio against the Linux kernel or other open source programs included in Novell offerings.

* Novell will use its patent portfolio to protect open source products against potential third-party patent challenges, meaning that Novell is prepared to asserts its patents against such third parties. Novell is continuing to actively grow its patent portfolio, which currently corresponds to Novell's pioneering products in areas such as networking, directories, resource management, and identity management.

* Get more information on Novell and patents.

* Novell believes that customers and the marketplace are best served when technology investment decisions are driven by vendor innovation and competition. As with all purchasing considerations, customers should keep software patents in perspective. In reality, open source software poses no greater risk of patent infringement than does closed source software. And, while some software vendors may attempt to counter the competitive threat to Linux by making arguments about patent risks, they would assert patents against customers at their own peril. They would also do so against competitors (such as Novell) at the certainty of provoking a response. We urge customers to remind vendors that all are best served by using innovation and competition to drive purchasing decisions.

* Intellectual property rights systems vary throughout the world, and where patent protection is available for software, Novell has and will continue to use patents as a legitimate means of protecting software offerings. We believe that the current system in the European Union has served the industry, the individual member states and Novell well, and that it generally promotes innovation and competition in the industry. Accordingly, Novell does not see the need for the proposed changes to the current system.

* In the event the European Union were to allow broader patentability of software, Novell would nonetheless be able to freely market its software offerings, whether closed or open source, in Europe and other jurisdictions that presently favor software patents.

* To highlight how difficult patent protection can be, the United States Patent and Trademark Office recently rejected all of the claims of Microsoft's patent on the FAT file system, which Microsoft describes as "the ubiquitous format used for interchange of media between computers, and, since the advent of inexpensive, removable flash memory, also between digital devices."

* Novell has previously offered customers protection against similar threats to open source software by using its unique contractual and intellectual property rights from its position in the historical ownership chain of UNIX and UnixWare.

* Novell offers an indemnification program for copyright infringement claims made by third parties against registered Novell customers who obtain SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 (or later) and who after January 12, 2004, obtain upgrade protection and a qualifying technical support contract from Novell or a participating Novell or SUSE LINUX channel partner.

* Novell holds unique contractual and intellectual property rights because of its position in the historical ownership chain of UNIX and UnixWare. These rights include:

* The rights to license UNIX technology pursuant to a Technology License Agreement between SCO and Novell, including the right to authorize Novell customers to use that UNIX technology in their internal business operations

* The rights to take action on behalf of SCO under legacy UNIX SVRX licenses pursuant to the Asset Purchase Agreement between SCO and Novell

* As Novell previously confirmed, copyright registrations on UNIX SVRX releases, consistent with its position that it retained ownership of these copyrights.

So, here's the question I have for Novell: what happened to that promise to protect FOSS with its patent portfolio? Novell did say it. We relied upon it, and OIN is totally separate from the above promise. I mention that because some Novell guys have been saying that Novell never made any such promise or that the OIN patents fulfill the promise. Read the promise again. Novell clearly promised to use its patent portfolio, not OIN's, and Novell appears to have just bargained that patent portfolio away, giving Microsoft a clear path to now bring patent infringement claims against everyone else. Novell's character and honor is on the line. And we await your statement with interest.


Novell to Samba: We're Not Terminating MS Agreement | 617 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
OT here
Authored by: brian on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 04:45 PM EST
Make links clickable and don't forget to use the preview!

#ifndef IANAL
#define IANAL

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections here
Authored by: brian on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 04:46 PM EST
If any...

#ifndef IANAL
#define IANAL

[ Reply to This | # ]

Samba's position
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 04:55 PM EST

Here is a link to an article that explains Samba's position on the Microsoft-Novell deal:

Open Source News

Steve Stites

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: brian on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 04:58 PM EST
"What is the danger? Moglen sees that Microsoft is
dividing the commercial and noncommercial sectors of the
FOSS community, and then after they do that, "Microsoft
then will be able to use its patents to sue to block the
development of software in the non-commercial sector
without the fear of suing its own customers, which is the
force that now constrains them from misbehavior with their
patent portfolio.""

Personally, I could care less if a corporation is using
FOSS or not. Unlike many Linux advocates, Linux saturation
into the market doesn't mean a hill of beans to me.

Professionally though, the more FUD spread by Microsoft,
the angrier I get. Why do they always have to resort to
dirty tricks to achieve dominance at any cost? What amazes
me is that nobody in the anti-trust settlement watch group
is doing anything about it.


#ifndef IANAL
#define IANAL

[ Reply to This | # ]

I'm dumping Mono
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 05:01 PM EST
I've been looking at using Mono for a year or so and had just recently gotten
serious about using it. Then came the Novell "deal". My small
software development company (for profit) can't afford the legal risk to using
Mono so I'm dumping Mono as an option going forward. It looks like Java/SWT is
my future.

My bet is that Novell will see a lot of people doing the same. I think they
have killed Mono ... and Suse too. I've been watching Suse's numbers on and they look to me like they've started to be affected by this
deal. We will know for sure in a month or so.

Very stupid move Novell.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Mono vs. .NET
Authored by: aha on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 05:10 PM EST
The community is not going to "go with Mono". That much I can guarantee.

I work in an environment where scripting is common. VBA and .Net are gaining popularity. This generates a problem in having a persistent environment where changes in the platform will not make the applications obsolete. Mono is actually seen as a plus in this realm, because one can maintain the environment even after the basic platform (windows) has moved on.

Your biased view of mono may not be as prevalent as you may think.

You get what you focus on.

[ Reply to This | # ]

I would imagine that this will hurt .NET too.
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 05:15 PM EST
Between this "deal" and Java being open sourced, I don't think .NET
stands a chance.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell to Samba: We're Not Terminating MS Agreement
Authored by: treyghyui on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 05:37 PM EST
I think that eventualy there will be legal proceeding to establish that Novell
is not in compliance with GPL2 due to the reality that it is their license, all
monkey business aside, and that they are not allowing redistributing of its

The alternative is legal proceedings to force a declaration that the only way
Novell is in compliance with GPL2 is if microsoft did intend to allow the
licensed rights to be redistibuted as per the GPL2 terms or that there are no
microsoft claims that need to be licensed and novell paid for anything but that.
This would take into effect Microsoft and Novells intentions, surely there was
no such intention to cause Novell to be infringing the copyright on GPL2

The argument that microsoft and novell shook hands, signed a contract and
exchanged money and after all that the licensed rights arent Novell's is
specious and impossible to support.

Neither novell nor microsoft have the right to affect contractual relationships
on the purported receivers of the licensed rights.

The only possiblity is that novell received (partial) license as an assurance
that their customers wont be sued. Its impossible to say "I wont sue your
customers" for infringment while not granting license. Thats what license
is. Since its Novell who paid for that statement and executed the contract for
said statement, its Novell's license.

As a proof in point, presumably it would have to be Novell who would sue
microsoft for being in breach if they did go ahead and sue a novell customer for
claims that were supposed to be covered by this agreement. Thus, the license is
NOVELLs property and as such must be propogated with all redistribution of GPL2
covered work if novell wishes to remain in compliance.

Since its Novells license, if there is any actual claim that microsoft could
make, then either the license that novell has conforms to GPL2 and all are safe
from Microsoft claims or it is not and Novell is in breach of GPLv2 and liable
to infringement claims from all copyright holders in their distribution

The third possiblity is that this is a proclamation from microsoft that they
have no claims since there is no way that novell would enter into agreement
exposing them to such liability, all pot induced legal theories on the side.

Yes its clear that this is an attempt from microsoft to divide and conquer to
the point where they can bring patent/copyright lawsuits guns to bear on the
unprotected segments of the community.

However this is never going to happen on a large scale.

While they have in the past, and presumably continue to do so, harass small
individual projects such as the asf thing, the protection that the community
enjoys, such as it is, is not from the fact that big business uses linux and
doesnt want to be sued by MS.

Its from the fact that big business uses GNU/Linux and lots of other free
software and they dont want the people providing it to be sued by MS. All deals
with big commercial distributors aside, this is still all the people that
microsoft is trying to marginalize.

Never mind that it would be a PR nightmare relative to the popularity of the
project no matter who they sued.

Toss in anti-trust regulation and litigation is still not the healthiest and
risk free course for microsoft to take, all deals to the side.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Thread on "patent pledge" at opensuse-project archive
Authored by: leopardi on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 05:41 PM EST

My comments on "Microsoft's Patent Pledge for Individual Contributors to" have spawned a thread on the opensuse-project mailing list.

There does seem to be a little confusion and misinformation going on in that list, as well as a serious attempt to sort all this stuff out, judging from some of the other posts this month. I wonder if Eben Moglen has had anything to say on the matter.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell to Samba: We're Not Terminating MS Agreement
Authored by: Steve Martin on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 05:42 PM EST
I had actually begun reading some .NET literature, thinking I might want to find
out what all the talk was about, and that I might check out Mono. Now, I'm
dusting off my old O'Reilly Qt programming book (a side note of thanks to
Trolltech for GPL'ing Qt) and forgetting about Mono.

"When I say something, I put my name next to it." -- Isaac Jaffee, "Sports

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell to Samba: We're Not Terminating MS Agreement
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 06:02 PM EST
They will be taking their place on the trophy wall of MS. I feel like I'm
shouting at a movie trying to warn the hero about the bad-guy standing behind

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell to Samba: We're Not Terminating MS Agreement
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 06:10 PM EST
I think it's interesting to watch Novell follow the path of other former
Microsoft partners, long since out of business, where they defend their deal and
their new "partner" until they pull the knife out of their back with a
surprised look on their face as their business model, or worse, the entire
business nosedives into the ground.

The other interesting thing is that Novell, like so many now defunct Microsoft
'partners', thinks Microsoft won't do them the same it did all those companies
before it.

I wonder how long before we see the surprised expression on Novell's collective
faces as they pull a knife out of their back too...

not logged in

[ Reply to This | # ]

Has anyone *ever* handed $500 million back to someone?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 06:13 PM EST
Will *anyone* ever?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Mono and projects based on Mono
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 06:14 PM EST
I am concerned about Mono. I am concerned that one of my favorite open distros (Fedora) ships packages based on mono. One such project is Beagle. Should I be concerned about projects like this? Personally, I removed this package because I don't want to become dependent on technology that I feel is encumbered by Microsoft technologies.

[ Reply to This | # ]

They don't get it, and watch the Trolls come out
Authored by: The Mad Hatter r on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 06:47 PM EST

Novell doesn't get it. They don't understand why people are upset at them. After
all, free code is free code, and they think they should be able to use it as
they want. Of course they can't, but like many companies before they will try,
and then they'll look hurt when it boomerangs on them.

Oh, and watch the Trolls come out of - whenever PJ posts something like this
they come out in droves. I don't think that Trolls appreciate the concept of


[ Reply to This | # ]

Dishonorable Men
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 07:32 PM EST
Gates and Ballmer are dishonorable men.

To beat them, you cannot act as they do. The FOSS community and all if it's
supporters need to remember that if you continue doing what you are doing, you
will eventually beat Microsoft.

Microsoft is nothing more than a bully. Cowardly men without honor.

It's true... all who live by the sword shall die by the sword.

Continue the FOSS method and path to better the lives of all those that use this
technology and we will win!

At the end of the day...

FOSS = Good
Microsoft = Bad

FOSS just needs to keep doing what it's doing, because it's working.

da truth

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft's patent war now under way
Authored by: bbaston on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 07:51 PM EST
Though stating the obvious, Microsoft has now begun its patent war against FOSS/Linux. We had long anticipated this assault. Now it is here.

Microsoft bought Novell's executive's loyalties with a quarter billion dollars, give or take a hundred million. Novell was perfectly positioned as the target, having the goods on tSCOg and having acquired an important Linux distribution.

So, PJ, as predicted, the next major undertaking of Groklaw - presenting the Truth relating to Microsoft's patent offensive against Linux - has begun.

What amazes me more than anything is the silence of the court system - particularly that part charged with monitoring Microsoft as a convicted monopolist. Are there no constraints left from that little episode in the court battles of Microsoft? Or will all the coming legal battles be based on GPL compliance?

If nothing else, we have come to realize that nothing is slower than the US court system's justice - not Christmas, not even the roll-out of Vista.

imaybewrong, iamnotalawyertoo, inmyhumbleopinion, iamveryold

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell rewrites commitments
Authored by: grouch on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 07:53 PM EST

What it used to be, as quoted by PJ from The Wayback Machine:

Novell will use its patent portfolio to protect open source products against potential third-party patent challenges, meaning that Novell is prepared to asserts its patents against such third parties. Novell is continuing to actively grow its patent portfolio, which currently corresponds to Novell's pioneering products in areas such as networking, directories, resource management, and identity management.

What it is now:

As appropriate, Novell is prepared to use our patents, which are highly relevant in today's marketplace, to defend against those who might assert patents against open source products marketed, sold or supported by Novell. Some software vendors will attempt to counter the competitive threat of Linux by making arguments about the risk of violating patents. Vendors that assert patents against customers and competitors such as Novell do so at their own peril and with the certainty of provoking a response. We urge customers to remind vendors that all are best served by using innovation and competition to drive purchasing decisions, rather than the threat of litigation.

Novell has previously used its ownership of UNIX copyrights and patents to protect customers against similar threats to open source software made by others.

-- Novell Statement on Patents and Open Source Software

Novell's "Patent Policy" is considerably weaker in its support of "open source" than Novell's previous statements.

My memory told me that Novell had taken a strong defensive stand in the past, but, upon reading their patent policy page when the MS-Novell agreement was announced, I thought that I had simply overlooked the qualifier regarding "products marketed, sold or supported by Novell". I attributed to wishful thinking the mismatch between my memory of strong support and that final, noncommittal item on the patent policy page.

Thanks, PJ, for showing Novell's previous statements of commitment. It looks like policies are even more ephemeral than memory; they can change as quickly as web pages.

-- grouch

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Mono?
Authored by: jamienk on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 08:09 PM EST
PJ, Why pick on Mono? Doesn't it potentially violate as many (or as few) patents
as Wine or Open Office Samba or Firefox, etc? MS has patents on lots and lots of
stuff, and they could at any moment claim that any given piece of software
violates one or another.

Even if Novel owns the copyrights to the Mono code (do they?), it is still
released under the GPL and other Free licenses, so that means it can be forked
if Novel ever adds a "GPL but with extra restrictions" license. It
seems they take measures to not steal or obtain in a bad way any proprietary
code -- see "Special Note" .

It may be that we're mad at some Mono developers and at Novel. But that doesn't
argue for Mono being a more vulnerable target of MS's.

Or, PJ, are you not arguing that Mono is tainted in terms of patent violations
or in terms of license restrictions? Are you saying that we shouldn't use Mono
because it is a bad way to reach our goal of being free from MS's lock-in?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Getting rid of Mono
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 08:19 PM EST
Yes, can't wait. The name is too close to monopoly anyway...

I've been surprised to see the few Mono apps being baked into most distros. How
did they get such acceptance??? To me they are slow, buggy, nasty and e.g.
beagle gives me a crawling feeling of blue screen of death. I can't wait to see
them all dumped.

And on another note. I do use evolution but would like to switch. I'd be
interested in hearing about what people think about all the alternatives?
Pros&cons, I'd appreciate it.

Keep up the good work PJ! Thanks.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Port Beagle to Java
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 08:23 PM EST
It shouldn't be too hard to port to Java, given the search engine they use
(Lucene) was originally in Java, there are GTK/GNOME Java bindings, and .NET is
99% Java anyway. It's way too cool an app to leave for dead. Once Sun's GPLed
JDK hits Debian sometime next year, it'll likely be a race to see who ports
Beagle first.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Random thoughts while waiting.
Authored by: Brian S. on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 08:45 PM EST

The "EU" as an "entity" and it's "political members" have been "hosed" three times in the last three years.

Once by it's electorate over it's carefully constructed "Constitution" which took years to draw up and just a few days to be thrown in the bin.

Once by Open Source over the issue of software and business patents. Don't forget about the efforts of the FFII and European of the year, Florian Mueller.

And once by outside events.

It won't have escaped their notice because of the co-incidence in timing, that the people involved in the patent protests, the fishy ministry exposure and took an interest in the outside events in all probability constituted most of the people they were relying on to vote "yes" in any referendum.

They will also be aware that the whole population under the age of 30 is intimate with the problems caused by the clumsy attempts of M$ and the media companies to impose their own brand of DRM without mind for the consumer.

This same age group is also intimately versed in the ways of software and content piracy. They also jeered Gordon Brown(next UK PM, if he's popular?) at an entertainments awards event the other day.

The EU has had nearly three years of education on Microsoft's behaviour and the "facts" of it's past since their 2004 anti-trust ruling.

Governments "more than any other" institution recognise the control Microsoft has over their infrastructure and networks. They are aware of the costs of the extortionate licensing and they were really turned over by the millenium.

They will have instantly recognised the Microvell network landgrab for what it is.

I'm sure that had no little impact on Neelie's "tone". It's not escaped my notice that she gave them until "Thanksgiving". (don't forget about EU humour)

Because of outside world events the EU is currently in a very strong position and Microsoft's patents seem as well hidden as WMDs.

Does the EU want to be hosed again or does it want to please it's electorate?

It's become very important that some kind of worldwide agreement be reached on many different kinds of IP.

Microsoft and the media companies are causing both political and technological problems.

I accept that some form of DRM will exist. The movie industry for example, does have a problem because of production costs. But:

I think Microsoft and the RIAA will become the sacrificial lambs of various negotiations which are taking place around the world.

Unless of course, Neelie is scared of Bill Hilf.

Gates and Ballmers absence has been noted. Has the Empire sent an ambassador in an attempt to negotiate with a very powerfull foreign power?

Events do look different from this side of the water.

Brian S.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Where is that pesky IP
Authored by: stomfi on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 08:54 PM EST
Consider where the MS IP could be:
Linux which is an OS kernel, is based on the functionality of UNIX, but does not
contain any UNIX code.
DOS 2.2 was also based on UNIX, and could contain UNIX IP as a derivitive work.
Windows was based on Apple code, which was based on Xerox code.
The GNU tools are also based on UNIX functionality, but not the code.

There arn't any IP derived from Windows which could have got into Linux in this
chain of events.

That leaves the area of interoperability between Linux and MS file formats.

Linux does a driver for reading and writing to FAT file systems, a patent
recently upheld, but still being contested.

Any other issues that I can discover are in 3rd party applications for reading,
and writing MS office formats, or in SAMBA for intercommunication, or WINE for
running MS applications, or Mono, but are not actually in Linux, just add on
apps in various distros, which could easily be dropped or converted away from
any discovered patents.

Is FAT all they've got?
A pretty thin case by the looks of things, as this is an add on driver which is
not really part of the Linux kernel.

Can anyone else add to this?

[ Reply to This | # ]

New CEO at Novell - Remember SCO
Authored by: SilverWave on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 08:58 PM EST
Hovsepian like all CEO's is judged by short term results - Novell was having its
own problems dealing with the post-dated stock options issue.
"Novell feeling the pinch from Nasdaq"

Hovsepian probably thought this deal was a lifeline but instead it's turning
into a noose.

No one will forgive them for what they have done...

If you're in a hole...
The fist step in getting out of the hole:
Stop digging.

GPLv3 *OR LATER* has been vindicated
The "OR LATER" is vital
A GPL set in stone will be eroded over time. -SilverWave

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell to Samba: We're Not Terminating MS Agreement
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 09:21 PM EST
"what happened to that promise to protect FOSS with its patent portfolio?
Novell did say it. We relied upon it,"

that's your mistake. novell is accountable to their shareholders, not the open
source community.

that's why if you ask a grizzled old, bearded Gnu, he'll tell you that you can't
work with them, because public corporations--particularly certain american
ones--are driven by their shareholder's desire for profit growth, not the
developer's desire to share. the goals are often mutually exclusive, in the
current market, with a developer making money indirectly via donations or a
benevolent employer. when commercial and public development goals line up, it
can seem to spur a lot of progress, but the public world may find itself back to
square one if commercial interests change.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Call Microsoft's Bluff
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 10:11 PM EST
I really doubt that Linux is violating any of Microsoft's IP. That is because if
it was, then Microsoft would have sued back in 2000 when Linux began to stop
NT/W2K from taking over market share from unix. This is just the SCO scam done
over again.

I wish someone would call Microsoft's bluff. For instance, some company with an
interest in Linux, like Red Hat, IBM, or Oracle, could sue Microsoft, asking for
a court order that Microsoft make public its IP claims, so that they could be
examined, and so that, if any of them are valid, Linux could be re-written to
make it legal. The grounds of the suit would be that Microsoft is making
unsubstantiated claims that hurt the company.

Alternatively, one or more users could sue, big ones like Google or small ones
like local businesses and home users. The grounds would be that Microsoft is
trying to scare them into switching to Windows (or SUSe) without offering real
evidence they are doing anything wrong (again, rather like SCO). The demand
could be that Microsoft either make the IP claims public or offer a guarantee
not to sue.

IANAL, so let me ask the legal eagles out there if either of these plans seems
like a workable idea. The nice thing about the second one is that we don't have
to sit around complaining about what Microsoft is doing, but could take some
affirmative steps ourselves.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The FUD is already starting
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 10:16 PM EST
Lin k

Check out the bottom comment "Linux is not viable" by "technicalhitman".

[ Reply to This | # ]

Newspicks - The study was commissioned by IBM, Novell.....
Authored by: Brian S. on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 10:45 PM EST

and the Economic Development Office of the City of Stuttgart.

This study must have been carried out before the Microsoft announcement of it's deal with Novell.

In the Microvell world this would leave Stuttgart vulnerable to any actions of Microsoft or it's previous visitor to the EU anti-trusts courts, IBM.

Stuttgart could become a Microsoft/IBM serfdom with the Microsoft/Novell deal left in place.

If this study has been carried out whilst Novell knew about it's talks with Microsoft, Stuttgart has been doublecrossed.

The other question which the EU must ask is "How much did IBM know about the Microsoft/Novell deal at the time the study was carried out?.

Brian S.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Not a purist But
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 10:55 PM EST
I am not a Purist. Having used most OS's in 50 years.
Was present in Chicago March 1964 when IBM announced S/360 & unbundled OS.
Sold thousands of Systems world wide. H/200, Rsx, VMS, OS, Unix.
Beta tested Solaris & Intel Unix(thats right). Loved ISC.
Installed over 1000 Linux Systems in Taiwan alone.
I will not buy or recommend Suse. In fact someone mentioned
Centos, I won't use because of proprietary drivers.

Novell has a history of making bad business decisions.
Example: WordPerfect, Sco.
Caldera was an ungood Distribution.(or other term).
Novell built a building in Sandy, Utah for Unix them dumped it. And all the

I had hoped Novell (Suse) had turned the corner(not enough to buy yet).

I say just don't use Suse !!!!

P.S. I live in Utah (SLC).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novel patches are now poison...
Authored by: LegalIdiot on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 11:10 PM EST
No need to boycott Novell. Lets see how long SUSE can stay a viable Linux distribution as long as the all the free and OSS projects ignore all their request for patch updates to be integrated with the main line source code? Without accepting 'poisoned patches' the OSS system is at least as safe as it has always been and can make a statement against these kinds of infractions. If SUSE has to maintain all its own patches from *all* the projects it will soon become so burdensome that it eventually will have to give in and cry Uncle. Of course SUSE can pour all kinds of resources into maintaining a complete product, but at some point they will have to give in. If the Samba Team (and others) stick to their guns and prevents this gangrene from spreading the rest of the OSS projects this will get resolved sooner rather than later. There is more than one way to boycott a Corporation that has “lost the clue” that they once had. Corporate decisions that are counter to the OSS ideal need to be correctable through OSS project independent decisions.

This is from an employee who's employer supports SUSE and no other Linux distribution!

[ Reply to This | # ]

What Eben Moglen Said and Didn't Say
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 19 2006 @ 11:43 PM EST
Read Eben Moglen's quote carefully.

He did not jump on Novell. He said they are working out their differences. He
said Novell has cooperated fully; they gave him "complete and unfettered
access". And he said he currently sees "no likelihood" that the
FSF would take action against Novell.

So I would suggest that people take a deep breath and give some time for the
smoke and FUD to clear. And I don't think it is fair to say that the FOSS
community has already "utterly repudiated" SuSE. The jury is still
out on this one.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Samba to Novell: We ARE Terminating your SUSE Agreement
Authored by: Bill The Cat on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 01:00 AM EST
Could the Samba team declare that Suse is out of GPL compliance and that as a
result, Suse is no longer allowed to include Samba with their releases?

This would instantly make interaction between Suse Linux and Microsoft products
pretty much worthless and kill Suse as a viable enterprise Linux platform.

Samba may license their code to the GPL but, they still maintain the rights to
it and thus can set the terms of those rights. Thus, if suse is out of GPL
compliance, they can declare further use invalid until Suse is again in GPL

Am I missing something here?

Bill The Cat

[ Reply to This | # ]

GPLv2.1 proposal
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 03:12 AM EST
I personally think the MS-Novell deal does violate GPLv2,
but I can see how reasonable people could differ on that.
But in spirit at least, it is a violation. So my question
is, how about the possibility of a GPLv2.1 that simply
closes the 'loophole' and does ONLY that? Would it be
compatable with GPLv2? I don't see why not, since it
doesn't really add or take away anything from v2 that is
not already there.

If the FSF said this new version was completely compatable
with v2, then some kernel copyright holders could change
their code to v2.1. Then the kernel would be part v2.1 and
part v2, but since they are compatable that mixture would
be OK. Then Novell--and I like Novell and am sorry to see
it come to this--could not distribute the 2.1 parts as
long as the patent part of the deal with MS stands. They
would have to stick to v2 and take up the maintenace of
those parts themselves.

I could be wrong, but this doesn't seem very
controversial, and maybe the kernel developers would go
along. I don't know if the FSF would entertain the idea of
a version 2.1 since they are focused on getting v3 ready.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Okay, so we learned an important lesson.
Authored by: billyskank on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 04:25 AM EST
A promise from a corporation is worth nothing. Only a legally binding agreement
will do. Otherwise management can change, or even just the market conditions
can change, and what is there to hold management to a promise made previously?

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

[ Reply to This | # ]

Let's hope Moglen doesn't get cute with the GPL
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 04:39 AM EST
First Novell didn't breach the letter of the GPLv2.
And a few days later Novell would be facing legal action???
Something is telling me that the agreement would have to change only after the
GPLv2 gets changed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft's FUD about IP rights - legal response?
Authored by: TiddlyPom on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 05:00 AM EST
PJ - Is there some way that Microsoft can be forced to put up or shut up about
the IP property rights.

IMHO it is a bit like the SCO case. Either they have a case or they don't.

If they don't then this FUD is a form of slander designed to hurt business
interests other than their own and should be punishable by law - or am I being
completely simplistic about all this?

"There is no spoon?"
"Then you will see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Eben Moglen and PJ miss an important point
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 05:42 AM EST

If Microsoft manages to split the Free Software community into a commercial and non-commercial side, they won't need to sue, Free Software will slowly be pushed aside by market mechanics. FSFE's president Georg Greve has written about this as early as 2002 in Brave GNU World #38, when FSFE apparently began planning for its rece ntly launched Freedom Task Force.

Once the cycle is broken and Free Software can no longer permeate the commercial and non-commercial world alike, there will be no need for lawsuits.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Trojan Horse is already on its way
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 06:26 AM EST
Many people celebrated the inclusion of VBA support in Novell's version of
OpenOffice. If you read between the lines, Novell is now putting what MS paid
for in retrospect! While I can not confirm it, I am positive that VBA is very
proprietary. MS might have loosened the conditions to allow Novell to add its
code in OpenOffice but this is a ticking time bomb.

Novell's Noel Power added this support and in so doing, actually smuggled a
"Trojan Horse" into the Open Office code. Ballmer is sitting
comfortably in that horse, ready to spring and claim that Open Source should pay
more to MS!

VBA support is already being supported by other Distros like Ubuntu, and Fedora.
But this support was not included by copying and pasting Microsoft code. These
guys had to find workarounds, writing their own code to support MS Excel
documents. However, Novell, as a show of appreciation to MS, have copied and
pasted Ballmer's code. Now, he has a reason to sue anyone not using SuSE.

It's now time for the Linux community to be worry of contributions from Novell.
These guys are definitely going to include MS code in their contributions. They
have already did with VBA support. Rather than perfect the VBA support that was
already there, Noel Power chose to copy and paste MS code.


[ Reply to This | # ]

.......What Ballmer is likely to write:
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 07:41 AM EST
If we don´t stop them NOW....

Dear Linux User

We have always known that you are abusing our intellectual property. We can
confirm that we hold a patent to almost every innovative idea, even those that
are still to be conceived!! Based on this fact, it is virtually impossible for
anybody, let alone doing it for free, to come up with a perfect and
state-of-the-art system like the linux kernel without violating our well crafted
and broad plethora of patents. We strongly believe that nobody can innovate
without being handsomely paid for it. That is why we are the industry leaders in
innovation, as evidenced by the thousands of patents that we hold.

While I am not in a position to list the actual violations, we are convinced
there are there, and plenty of them for that matter. As the saying goes,
forewarned is forearmed! We simply want to give you good advice to avoid
inconveniences in the near future.

Being good boys as we are, we do not intend to disrupt the Linux community,
which we can do if we like. We have entered into an agreement with the biggest
Linux company - Novell. This agreement will guarantee you freedom on one
condition - That you move over to SuSE platform. You see, Novell is destined to
become our mirror image in the Linux world - big, innovative, market leader, and
all the nice things that you have seen in us!

Every Linux customer basically has an undisclosed balance-sheet liability. We
are willing to write off this liability. Novell, being foresighted as they are,
have already paid for our intellectual property which is abundant in the Linux

We do not intend to let our legal bull dogs loose on you because we are too
gentle to do that, but if needs be, we may be left without option.

The choice is up to you really. Stay with your non-SuSE distro, and face the
legal consequences or migrate to SuSE and have a piece of mind. The first option
may cost you a fortune, as small as you are, while we do not even feel a pinch
in our cash floor. For the record, our chairman is already donating billions of
dollars. A small portion of that money is enough to screw you and your

I hope you will make a wise decision!

Yours Sincerely


[ Reply to This | # ]

  • My answer - Authored by: RPN on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 08:10 AM EST
    • My answer - Authored by: jiri on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 08:35 AM EST
      • My answer - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 08:55 AM EST
        • My answer - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 02:31 PM EST
  • Already indemnified myself, thanks. - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 01:43 PM EST
Just did that...
Authored by: schaste on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 07:44 AM EST dumping OpenSuSE 10.1 and moving to SimplyMepis 6, from a DVD I got with
Linux Magazine UK. I'm pretty impressed with it, considering I tried Ubuntu 5.04
last year and didn't like it one bit. If SimplyMepis turns out to be as stable
as it looks, I may just think of getting a subscription.

And no more RPM dependency problems. Synaptic rocks.

Steve Schaller

- Still working on a signature...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell/SUSE Treat Opensuse as a beta test for SLES anyway
Authored by: kitterma on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 07:55 AM EST
I'd already given up on Novell/SUSE for technical reasons. Opensuse 10.1 was a
disaster in the installer/updater area due to them deciding to completely change
things at the last minute.

I decided after that to only use distros that view the product that I'm using as
their released product.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell to Samba: We're Not Terminating MS Agreement
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 08:24 AM EST
The Samba team cannot simply refuse Novell permission to use the software as
they are compliant with GPL V2 under which they have received it - even if only
just so.

By switching to GPL V3 Samba and other projects could make it impossible for
Novell to keep up with developments however it's worth remembering that Novell
may well be able to do so to an extent while they continue to employ the
existing SuSE and other Free Software teams within the business.

The significant threat to Novell would be if those developers decided to quit in
response to the implications of the MS deal and I've not seen any announcements
on that front (yet).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Patent portfolio
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 08:29 AM EST
Helllo? Novell hasn't signed a treaty not to use its patent portfolio again
Microsoft; it has only agreed not to sue Microsoft's _customers_. That is a big

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sue it or lose it
Authored by: belzecue on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 08:42 AM EST
So Ballmer* stated explicitly that Linux violates MS's patents. Okay, fine.

"A patent owner’s failure to promptly enforce its rights once an infringement is discovered can limit his or her remedies or may even preclude enforcement against that party." - link

I hope the above is Law. If so, hurry up and sue somebody, Steve A., because the clock is ticking. And remember, you cannot selectively enforce, as you've done with Novell.

* "Variously described as ebullient, focused, funny, passionate, sincere, hard-charging and dynamic, Ballmer has infused Microsoft with his own brand of energetic leadership, vision and spirit over the years." - Ballmer's PressPass page on (Serve up FUD long enough and you start to eat your own dog food, I guess)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell needs to reply to Ballmer not Samba
Authored by: tz on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 09:04 AM EST
I won't care about any response they make to the Samba team as long as they
aren't going to say anything about Ballmer's continuing statements that any
other Distro is legally dangerous to use.

If they endorse Ballmer's statements, then they are worse than they are being
portrayed even here.

If they repudiate Ballmer's statements, then what of their agreement since
Ballmer has a very different take and can spend more money on Lawyers to enforce
his view.

[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ - stop being such a reactionary
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 09:11 AM EST
Novell's recent agreement with Microsoft does not not hinder them from keeping
their promise to defend the FOSS community against attacks using its patent

The agreement is to "not sue Mocrosofts's customers". They did not
make any agreement to not sue Microsoft itself. How many ways does that have to
be said before it makes it past your brain's automated anti-MS defenses?

Most corporate customers do not purchase Linux to modify it or to contribute
code back to the community. They don't care about the subtleties of the GPL.
They buy Linux to run their business on, and they care about not being sued.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The coming battle
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 09:39 AM EST
Someone needs to get a handle on all of this.

Does anyone else think that MS is ROTFLTAO at the divisions within the FS

Those that like the Novell/MS deal vs. those that don't.
GPL 2 vs. GPL 3.
Torvalds vs. Stallman.

Embrace, extend, divide, conquer.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell to Samba: We're Not Terminating MS Agreement
Authored by: jsusanka on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 09:42 AM EST
I think we all need to drop mono period. we should start to use java - mono
should be declared dead

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dont underestimate the effects of FUD
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 09:59 AM EST
Maybe for any individual user the threats of Ballmer are no more than funny
stunts, but consider what he is looking for is not to scare individual
tech-savvy users.
The biggest Microsoft clients are governments and businesses.
We have begun seein many public intitutions around the world migrating to Linux
or at least planning for an way to escape Remond lock-in.
These migrations need political approval in most cases, now, if the politicians
perceive Linux as something that can bring nresolved legal issues, they might
put migration initiatives on "pause" and see what happens.
This will buy time to Microsoft to perfect their strategy agaisnt Linux and Free
Software and will allow them to commercialize their new products: Windows
Hasta-La-Vista and ClosedOffice 2007.
Think about companies planning migrating: They will be compelled to study
possible legal problems, and, if anyone decides go on and migrate there are 2
If the migration is not successful, it will serve as a model for Microsoft to
erode the open source presige.
On the other side, if it is successful, they will sue that company to spread
fear in other companies in the sector and avoid a domino effect.
So for Microsoft, it is now crucial to avoid migrations, and, if any, they must
be controlled migrations that use SuSE Linux, that will include technologies
under their control, such as .Net clones, or VBA for OpenOffice.
No doubt they will try to derail the advance and improvements of SuSE, and when
the distro fails, they will come up with "compatible" solutions for
the companies that bet for the failing distribution.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What is your stance (legally) on the term "Intellectual Property"?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 10:30 AM EST
I see this term IP (Intellectual Property) being used here frequently. I mentioned this earlier in the comments but didn't ask for opinions. Richard Stallman claims Intellectual Property doesn't exist: /not-ipr.xhtml

I am just curious what your opinions are on this since there are a lot of smart legal people here. Should we not use this term?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Red Hat?
Authored by: overshoot on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 10:46 AM EST
I'm contemplating the prospect of Red Hat (who have boatloads of ready cash) suing Microsoft and Novell jointly [1] for
  • Lanham Act,
  • Declaratory judgment wrt patents on Red Hat's products,
  • Copyright violation by Novell wrt Red Hat's copyrights

As best I can tell, that should lead to no end of fun between Novell and Microsoft, since the only way to beat the trade libel would be to show that Novell is in fact violating Red Hat's copyrights.

Of course, it would be even more amusing if they tried to add Microvell to the case in Judge Robinson's court. It'd be quite a stretch, but again many of the issues are common and Microsoft did fund SCOX' libel campaign.

[1] Too many facts in common to do it separately

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Red Hat? What MS funded. - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 10:57 AM EST
  • Red Hat? - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 12:42 PM EST
  • Red Hat? - Authored by: grouch on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 11:23 PM EST
The real problem...
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 10:52 AM EST
The real problem here is not Microsoft or Novell, but the US patent system in
general. As more companies assemble giant patent portfolios and use them to
prevent anyone else from doing anything at all, as Microsoft is doing, this will
eventually become an important political and economic issue.l

It's great that PJ and Groklaw are shining light on a few particular cases (SCO
v. the world, Microsoft v. Linux, etc.). We need to start to make more noise
about this, though. It can and should be an issue during the 2008 elections.

[ Reply to This | # ]

That dog again.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 11:07 AM EST
They have showed us what we need to see, they have answered our questions, we had complete and unfettered access to senior executives at Novell.... We are now working by peaceable negotiations to protect our client's legal interest, and we see no likelihood that we're going to adopt steps that involve the use of legal compulsion. If we are unable to work the situation out peacefully, that may change.

It sounds like that dog not barking in the night time again.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell to Samba: We're Not Terminating MS Agreement
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 11:23 AM EST
There are two things that need to be done.

1. Novell needs to publish the patents they have they received the right to
distribute from Microsoft, and document the products where these patents are
being used.

2. If any of these products are licensed under GPL then Novell needs to strip
the patented material from the products so they may distribute the products
under GPL.

This is what Novell needs to do to get back in the good graces of the open
source community.

Please note this is a private opinion, and I have no connection with open source
software other than my use of it. But it seems to me that if Novell can
document what MS is laying claim to, and can provide a product guaranteed to be
free of MS IP, and that is released for use by the public, they will be
providing a useful service.

[ Reply to This | # ]

All the details of the agreement must be made public.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 12:58 PM EST
All the details of the agreement must be made public, otherwise fear,
speculation and uncertainty among the community and Novell customers about what
the agreement actually entails will prevent them working with Novell, no matter
what statements Novell makes about their agreement complying with GPL or not
breaching anti-racketeering or anti-trust law.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Who is Eben Moglen working for?
Authored by: rsteinmetz70112 on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 02:13 PM EST
Is he acting as legal council for FSF and if so for what project?

Is he acting for the Software Freedom Law Center and if so what project is he
representing? (Samba is one of the projects they represent.)

I haven't seen anything which says, but I may have missed it.

As far as I know (which isn't much) he does not represent the Linux Kernel. I'm
not sure how that could even be arranged, of course he could represent Linus or
some of the other major developers.

It seems to me that if Novell gave him access he must have identified his client
to them.

Rsteinmetz - IANAL therefore my opinions are illegal.

"I could be wrong now, but I don't think so."
Randy Newman - The Title Theme from Monk

[ Reply to This | # ]

Well, Miguel...
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 02:59 PM EST
your problem is not with Groklaw & PJ and I clearly think you know it. I
would recommend you direct your concerns to your employer. Credibility is very
easy to destroy and oh so hard to rebuild. The first step of rebuilding would be
to acknowledge the Samba team request. When you make a mistake, admit it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

IRC meeting about Novell/Microsoft deal - 2006-11-23 18:00 CET (17:00 GMT)
Authored by: kitterma on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 03:40 PM EST
I got this announcemnt today. FYI:

[opensuse-announce] IRC meeting about Novell/Microsoft deal - 2006-11-23 18:00
CET (17:00 GMT)
Date: Mon Nov 20 08:24:48 2006
From: Martin Lasarsch <> (SUSE LINUX GmbH)
Reply to:


as promised in the last IRC meeting we will have a dedicated IRC meeting about
the Novell/Microsoft deal. We already had questions in the regular IRC
meeting last time, but there might be some questions which are not answered
because of the short time we had, or new questions came up ...

Nat Friedman, Holger Dyroff and AJ are happy to answer all your questions in
the chat this Thursday at 18:00 CET (17:00 GMT).

Please check out the information we have so far, many questions should be
answered there:

If you can't participate and have a question, please enter it on the meeting
page at:

btw: we will have a regular meeting as usual on Wednesday, announcement coming
with kind regards,
Martin Lasarsch, Core Services
SUSE LINUX GmbH, Maxfeldstr. 5 90409 Nuremberg
simply change to

[ Reply to This | # ]

if the plan was to be divisive....
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 04:38 PM EST
Microsoft has clearly succeeded. They set a trap, which Novell sprung. The OSS
community is clearly against Novell, and Microsoft has in essence crippled one
of the two major vendors of Linux. I do not like M$ very much, but you must
admire the efficiency of what they did in such short order. How could Novell be
so clueless about this?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Boycott SuSE Linux Campaign
Authored by: PJ on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 06:00 PM EST
You can do as you please, but this campaign is
not appropriate on Groklaw. Nor is it acceptable to
mask your IP address. Don't post here again, please,
and I will now remove your membership.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell to Samba: We're Not Terminating MS Agreement
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 06:53 PM EST
"So, here's the question I have for Novell: what happened to that promise
to protect FOSS with its patent portfolio?"

The GPL is certainly one reason that the covenant is to customers, not the two
companies but that also means Novell and Microsoft can still sue each other,
doesn't it?

If that is the case, Novell is still in a position to use its patent portfolio
to defend FOSS.

[ Reply to This | # ]

It's a non-issue
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 08:01 PM EST

I don't see any chance that Microsoft can trump RMS & FSF. The Linux kernel
*can't* be compiled w/ anything except gcc. Technically I think this is
terrible, but it's a choice Linus made.

So much of any Linux distribution depends on software controlled by others, that
the only possible outcome is that the Novell/Microsoft branch is isolated in an
evolutionary dead end. As the various Gnu utilities adopt GPL3, the resources
required to maintain forks based on the GPL2 versions will become staggeringly
expensive to support. The alternative is a Gnu/Linux distribution w/ an ever
diminishing set of tools.

And of course, this completely ignores that IBM has a large patent portfolio and
is prepared to spend *very* serious money defending Linux. Not because they're
nice guys, but because they have figured out how to make money from the

It just gets more interesting every day ;-)


[ Reply to This | # ]

  • It's a non-issue - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 08:43 PM EST
Microsoft implies Mono *does* contain their "IP"
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 08:04 PM EST

There is a substantive effort in open source to bring such an implementation of .Net to market, known as Mono and being driven by Novell, and one of the attributes of the agreement we made with Novell is that the intellectual property associated with that is available to Novell customers.


wa rner

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft to Linux Community: Pay Up!
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 08:30 PM EST
Ballmer says that Linux "uses our intellectual property" and Microsoft
wants to "get the appropriate economic return for our shareholders from our


[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell to Samba: We're Not Terminating MS Agreement
Authored by: fxbushman on Monday, November 20 2006 @ 10:56 PM EST
So Novell says they will not terminate the agreement. What Novell says today
means absolutely nothing. It is PR. Recall that a week before Bush fired
Rumsfeld he expressed full confidence in him and said that Rumsfeld would be in
charge of the Pentagon as long as Bush remained in office. Yet we now know that
the decision to fire Rumsfeld had already been made.
These people all operate the same way: govt speak and corporation speak are the
same, since they are the same people.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Samba to Novell...
Authored by: thombone on Tuesday, November 21 2006 @ 04:19 PM EST
We're terminating YOURS.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Clarification on "Unbending the Truth" website
Authored by: Justin Steinman on Tuesday, November 21 2006 @ 11:24 PM EST
I want to issue a point of clarification around the removal of the
"Unbending the Truth" website from

I made the decision to remove that web page back in May 2006. At that time,
when I was named Director of Marketing for SUSE Linux Enterprise, I decided that
I didn't want to define SUSE Linux Enterprise in terms of its relationship with
Windows nor did I want to dignify Microsoft's "Get the Facts" campaign
with a response. So I decided to remove the web page.

For the record, I was informed of the Microsoft negotiations with Novell in
September 2006 ... four months after I made the decision to remove the
"Unbending the Truth" pages from our website.

I'm sorry to disappoint all the conspiracy theorists out there...


Justin Steinman
Director of Marketing
Linux & Open Platform Solutions

[ Reply to This | # ]

PJ what gives you the right?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, November 23 2006 @ 06:44 PM EST
PJ You state publicly:

"The community is not going to "go with Mono". That much I can

Who gave you the right or authorization to speak for the community?

I'm a major developer, part of a huge open source (GPL) project, I gave you NO
such right to speak on my behalf, or our developers, or anyone else!

We certainly WILL be going with Mono, and supporting Novell all the way.

You continue to show that you have a complete misunderstanding of the Novell

Please show us publically agreements you have signed with ALL open source
development projects and developers giving you the right to speak on your
behalf, or remove your statement under penalty of law.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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