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Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting - Updated
Monday, January 22 2007 @ 06:49 PM EST

Dan Bricklin is hosting a meeting on Monday from 9AM to noon sponsored by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council on the Novell-Microsoft deal. I know. Blech. But both Microsoft and Novell are sending representatives to speak, and what Dan is asking for is this: what should he ask them? If you would like to attend and ask questions yourself, here's the info.

Microsoft provided the content for the blurb on the MTLC Events page, not MTLC, and this part should send the blood straight to your face:

Patent Agreement: The IP incentive system and software patents in particular, are essential for fostering innovation and collaboration activities. This agreement is the foundation of a new model for how open source and proprietary software companies can work together to meet the needs of their customers. It recognizes that patents are a valuable form of property for both business models, and the agreement puts a framework in place for the companies to share patents on commercially reasonable terms, enabling both companies to recognize commercial value from their respective patent portfolios. The companies have established a creative, simple, and reasonable mechanism to gain access to each other's patent portfolio and provide their customers with greater certainty and peace of mind with respect to the IP in the products they are deploying.

So, what would you like him to ask? Polite questions only, please. Include followup questions in case the first question is a canned response. Bricklin has been deep in a coding frenzy, so he would appreciate your input to get him up to speed. Also, there will be an attorney there to answer any legal questions, Harvard's Berkman Center's John Palfrey.

Update: I've had time to think about some questions, and here are the two three I'd like asked:

1. Both Nat Friedman and Miguel de Icaza are reported to have visited Microsoft to say that the patent agreement as written isn't acceptable, and Microsoft said itself publicly that a change was needed. Where is the rewrite? When might we expect it? What will the changes be?

2. For Mr. Palfrey: If Linus or Groklaw or any FOSS developer sent a registered letter or published an Open Letter to Steve Ballmer, asking for a specific list of Microsoft patents that he believes support his claim that Microsoft has "IP" in Linux or FOSS, if Microsoft failed to provide the list, would the defense of waiver later be available? What other strategy might be successful, since no one in the FOSS community is interested in violating Microsoft patents, if any actually existed, but no one can ameliorate without specificity? How can such a specific list be forced out of them?

3. For Novell: You promised the community that you would use your patent portfolio to protect Linux. Now you ally with this Microsoft statement, that the deal is "enabling both companies to recognize commercial value from their respective patent portfolios." Why did you break that promise? Do you care that the majority of the FOSS community is opposed to software patents? How do you reconcile the clear intent of GPLv2 that no restrictions, such as a patent license, can be added to the GPL and what you signed?




  


Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting - Updated | 380 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
"What were you thinking?!" [n/t]
Authored by: DMF on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 07:07 PM EST
[n/t]

[ Reply to This | # ]

GPL v3
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 07:07 PM EST
Given that one of the goals of the GPL v3 is to forbid any agreements like this
in the future, does that mean that you'll get stuck maintaining GPL v2 versions
of all supported applications?

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT Here, please
Authored by: overshoot on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 07:09 PM EST
Instructions for posting clicky (previewed, please?) HTML at bottom.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 07:11 PM EST
For any programmers that work on enhancing Linux to work with Microsoft that
have had access to MS sourcecode, will they be able to legally continue working
on Linux when the deal is over? Will they have been "contaminated" by
direct experience with MS IP?

[ Reply to This | # ]

What happened to ...
Authored by: overshoot on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 07:12 PM EST
Novell's pledge to use its patent portfolio in defense of software libre? It appears that the main target of that "mutual defense" pledge has now gotten a free pass.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What exactly does Microsoft claim Linux infringes?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 07:13 PM EST
Ballmer made a big deal about this. If there's one thing the SCO case taught
us, it's to be wary of big-sounding public statements with no specifics.

What are the specifics of Microsoft's claim that Linux users need a patent deal
with Microsoft?

MSS2

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 07:14 PM EST
How does this arrangement benefit to someone whose paycheque is not signed by
Microsoft or Novell, but who enjoys tinkering with software?

How does this arrangement restrict what such a garage-tinkerer can and cannot do
in the future?

Under what circumstances will Microsoft remove patents from the arrangement?
Same question to Novell?

[ Reply to This | # ]

What is the scope of questions?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 07:20 PM EST
Are questions limited to the 'topic' as defined in the announcement?

In which case its very difficult to construct a meaningful query given that the
announcement is clearly framed to tilt discussion in favor of terminology that
works to the advantage of the announcer.

A couple that come to mind:
1) What evidence is there that supports that "software patents in
particular" foster innovation, and how does it square with numerous studies
that indicate exactly the opposite?

2) Given that "peace of mind" is a stated goal, will the "IP in
products deployed" be clearly identified so that potential infringement
issues can be identified/nullified, or will it remain a nebulous threat (FUD)
for purposes of leveraging the agreement?

[ Reply to This | # ]

I, as a software developer
Authored by: overshoot on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 07:23 PM EST
... and as a law-abiding citizen of the United States, don't want to infringe
any of Microsoft's intellectual property.

How can I find out (short of being sued by Microsoft) what rights they have to
Linux and other software that I might be working on so that I can continue to
obey the law and respect their rights?

[ Reply to This | # ]

questions: what patents? where?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 07:27 PM EST
question to microsoft:

Is the patent agrement according to MS also for GPL software?

Do they think that if MS knows of patents in GPL code then due diligence they
should say what and where to Novell?

Does MS understand that Novell cannot distibute GPL code that contains patents
that are not "free-for-all"?

If MS still claims there are patents in novel GPL distro then what code is
involved; prove it, show it.

Does MS still believe that anyone believes MS without prove?

to both:

How can Novell say "not for GPL" and MS say "also for GPL"
(or did we misunderstand)

Is the deal only for five years because of patents expire?
(or why five years?)

Along that line I would like to see some answers.
Thank you for asking!

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • term - Authored by: Wardo on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 09:51 AM EST
    • easy one - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 12:51 PM EST
Who's liable for GPL violations
Authored by: jpgraves on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 07:31 PM EST
What I want to know is pretty simple:
    Who's liable for the GPL violations when Novell includes software that includes Microsoft's patented technology?
That's all I want to know. Who is going to accept the responsibility for the willful violation of the GPL?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: snakebitehurts on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 07:36 PM EST
The GPL requires any changes made to the software are passed onto others under
the same terms. How will Novell insure that they will meet this requirement
without the possibility of non GPL code being inadvertently placed into GPL'd
code?

This is asked specifically relating to any any changes made to make Microsoft
and Linux products work better together. Will such code be available to -ALL-
under the GPL?

MikeD

[ Reply to This | # ]

I want to know why "interoperability" doesn't appear to be a priority
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 07:37 PM EST
I would think with all the money spent on "interoperability" that they
could at least get some simple things done that shouldn't cost hardly anything
at all. I don't believe interoperability is a genuine concern. For instance,
Ximian went to Novell and there was much fanfare about the Evolution Exchange
connector when it was opened up under the GPL a couple of years back. The
connector provided a certain amount of interoperability with Exchange to the
Evolution mail application via the MS Outlook Web Access (OWL).

Since the Microsoft Novell deal has come about Exchange 2007 has come out and
the Evolution Exchange connector does not currently work with Exchange 2007.
Why? My guess is that there are some trivial changes that could be made to make
it work with OWL 2007 and it's not being touched. If they really wanted to
improve interoperability you would have thought that this would be something
they could have had working before Exchange 2007 was even released.

I understand when they say Interoperability they are really talking about
virtualization but come on. It's the Exchanges, the Sambas, the broken Kerberos,
etc where Interoperability is really needed. When can you show me that you are
genuine about interoperability?

-Void

[ Reply to This | # ]

Can you tell us when you will stop lying, posturing and deceiving and tell the truth?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 07:47 PM EST
Ok, this question will not get answered for even asked, but fellow Groklawyers
(and all who love freedom), why even waste you time attending anything Microsoft
is involved with?

I mean, Microsoft is a lying, deceiving, convicted, unrepentent criminal that is
driven by greed and operates by duplicity.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Question for Dan Bricklin to ask: Examples of Valuable Patents
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 07:52 PM EST
Here is a question to ask:

Please name some examples, maybe ten, of valuable ideas that Microsoft has
patented. Ideas that are so brilliant that not one in a million clever software
engineers would have produced them by themselves, given a particular customer
problem.

What are "the Redmond Light Bulbs"?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Accusations
Authored by: SilverWave on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 07:52 PM EST
Can Novell explain the difference between SCO's Accusations against Linux and
Steve Ballmers?


---
Ubuntu is like a breath of fresh air after the smog.
Free yourself
Y1 Use foss apps as replacements ff tb ooo
Y2 Ubuntu dual boot
Ubuntu user as of 181206

[ Reply to This | # ]

Anybody else?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 07:57 PM EST

What other deals are in the works? Does MS have any other big
outfits on the short list for a similar arrangement? Will 300-400M
with reciprocal long term payback be roughly the going rate for such
an agreement with any company that has an interoperability suite
roughly equivalent to MONO? How much penetration into the
virtualization market as a "host" operating system does MS project?
What are the numbers now? How is Novell involved? (What impact will
hardware VM have?).

Just for starters.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Two questions
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 07:58 PM EST
1) History has shown that Microsoft "partners" generally end up being
ex-companies, so what makes this partnership any different ?

2) The contract with Novell only lasts for five years, and Microsoft can
terminate it any time before that. What happens to Novell's customers after
those five years if Microsoft decides not to renew the contract ? What happens
to them if Microsoft decides to terminate the contract early ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is it Ethical?
Authored by: SilverWave on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 08:09 PM EST
To Novell: Would you describe MS as an ethical company, someone who the Linux
community can trust?

---
Ubuntu is like a breath of fresh air after the smog.
Free yourself
Y1 Use foss apps as replacements ff tb ooo
Y2 Ubuntu dual boot
Ubuntu user as of 181206

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: Jude on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 08:13 PM EST
Why hasn't Microsoft identified the patents that Steve Ballmer says are
infringed by Linux?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Terms of discussion
Authored by: DebianUser on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 08:21 PM EST
Given that the actual terms of the Microsoft/Novell agreement are known only to
the management of the companies directly involved, how is it possible for any
meaningful and informative public discussion to take place?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: Steve Martin on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 08:26 PM EST

But both Microsoft and Novell are sending representatives to speak, and what Dan is asking for is this: what should he ask them?

How about this?

"Exactly what "Microsoft IP" does Linux infringe? Specifically?"

(I'm not holding my breath for an answer, though.)

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

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 08:35 PM EST
"enabling both companies to recognize commercial value from their
respective patent portfolios"

What technology is implimented within Linux for which Novell holds patents
rights (("included in their (Novells')patent portfolio"))that are
covered by this aggreement?

R.A.G. Groklurker.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Who, if anybody, is protected?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 08:40 PM EST

"The companies have established a creative, simple, and reasonable mechanism to gain access to each other's patent portfolio and provide their customers with greater certainty and peace of mind with respect to the IP in the products they are deploying."

Patent infringement suits are filed against the offending distributor, not the final customer. So why are Novell and Microsoft agreeing not to sue each others customers instead of agreeing to not sue each other? Does the agreement in fact protect anybody against a patent infringement lawsuit who would otherwise be potentially vulnerable to a patent infringement lawsuit?

--------------
Steve Stites

[ Reply to This | # ]

Working together by Microsoft?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 08:44 PM EST
Background: You have stated that "This agreement is the foundation of a new
model for how open source and proprietary software companies can work together
to meet the needs of their customers".

Question: Given that the needs of customers in this respect centre around
cross-platform interoperability, where is the effort from Microsoft to provide
full ISO 26300 (OpenDocument as the default format if chosen) compliance for its
Office suite for Windows. In the same vein, when will Microsoft announce a
version of Office 2007 for Linux?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why pay Novell for software development?
Authored by: stites on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 08:44 PM EST
Why is Microsoft paying Novell to develop Open Source software to be donated to
Open Source in Novell's name? Why doesn't Microsoft develop the software itself
and release it as Open Source under their own name?

---------------
Steve Stites

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: Crayola on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 08:45 PM EST
enabling both companies to recognize commercial value from their respective patent portfolios
Can some examples be cited on how Microsoft plans to realize commerical value from its patents as they may apply to open source software?
The companies have established a creative, simple, and reasonable mechanism to gain access to each other's patent portfolio and provide their customers with greater certainty and peace of mind with respect to the IP in the products they are deploying.
The suggestion that a patent cross-licensing deal is required for greater peace of mind implies that those without such a deal have something to worry about. Will any disclosures be forthcoming? Does Microsoft or Novell have any specific knowledge?

As a followup, licensing is not the only way to deal with patent or other IP issues. Re-writes can sometimes avoid such problems, but only with disclosures of potential infringements. Will Novell or Microsoft provide any pointers to people who want to respect their IP without having to acquire licenses?

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS Innovation
Authored by: hardmath on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 08:47 PM EST

The Vista EULA is innovative for incorporating in its terms a requirement that before a user publishes anything describing the performance of Vista, they must comply with the terms and conditions that MS will post (and change) on their website in the future as they wish.

My question is for Novell, do they appreciate the bold leadership Microsoft is showing by developing such creative business methods, and will they be allowed to incorporate these into their own "best practices" under the recent patent cross-licensing arrangement?

regards, hm

---
So, if you're at a party, and the question comes up, "Is there a UFD that is neither Noetherian nor Artinian?", you can say yes.
-- Karl Dahlko

[ Reply to This | # ]

New model attack?
Authored by: stites on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 08:51 PM EST

"This agreement is the foundation of a new model for how open source and proprietary software companies can work together to meet the needs of their customers."

How can Microsoft reconcile that statement with Steve Ballmer's statements about using the agreement to attack Red Hat?

---------------------
Steve Stites

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why does Microsoft continue to sleep on its patent rights?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 08:52 PM EST

If Linux potentially infringes on Microsoft patents, why hasn't Microsoft
brought any enforcement actions?

Microsoft knows what's in Linux and knows what its patents are. Why wouldn't
Microsoft's patents be invalidated by laches? Why does Microsoft continue to
sleep on its rights, regardless of prior art?


[ Reply to This | # ]

Why should we trust a confidential agreement?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 08:58 PM EST
If this agreement is really all that it is claimed to be, then there should be
no harm in making it public. Why should we not assume that the agreement is
other than what it is claimed to be?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 09:20 PM EST
When will microsoft incorporate the ability to save
documents as Open Document Format - the approved ISO open
standard in their office products.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: sjlilley on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 09:22 PM EST
From the Event Detail page, Technical Collaboration:

"Microsoft and Novell will work together to improve interoperability
between commercial and open source software in three areas of vital importance
to customers virtualization, Web Services management, and document format
compatibility."

When will Microsoft fully support ODF in it's Office suite? This would
instantly solve any document format compatibility issues between different
suites and different operating systems. There is no need to reinvent the
wheel.

On Patent Agreement:
(I disagree with much of this paragraph; I assume that "open source...
companies" is Novell in this instance.)

The principle of open source software is that the programs and ideas are shared,
often under the GPL. Suppose that the "open source company" includes
patented ideas from the "proprietary company" in an application in
order to achieve interoperability. Will the agreement between Microsoft and
Novell allow the release of such applications under the GPL?

Thanks

---
Steven J Lilley

[ Reply to This | # ]

Did Vista infringe on Novell / SCO IP - or why else did Microsoft pay so much?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 09:29 PM EST
Some speculation on the Microsoft/SCO deals and the large Microsoft/Novell deal is that perhaps Vista infringed on Linux/Unix IP. Many points, including
  • the timing of the SCO deal (just before Vista was supposed to launch),
  • the timing of the Novell deal (just before Vista really launched)
  • and the fact that in the SCO suit it appears some of what SCO thought they owned was in fact all owned by Novell
  • and the fact that each time larger payments went away from Microsoft instead of towards them
suggest that it was a Microsoft product, probably Vista doing most of the infringing.

Novell: do you have any ideas what infringes - and if not, do you have any idea what they heck they gave you a quarter billion dollars for?

[ Reply to This | # ]

How much did Executive Compensation play in this deal?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 09:32 PM EST
It seems Ron H, the new Novell CEO got some nice bonuses recently (were on
Groklaw newspicks).

Did either company study the executive compensation packages and see if the
goals of management and the goals of the company itself were (mis?)aligned?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: daWabbit on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 09:33 PM EST
As MS has stated that the agreement was carefully crafted to get around GPL
"restrictions" (HAH!) why should I not feel slimy or dirtied by using
products covered by the agreement? In the past, I even PAID to get SuSE's
distribution and even did so once after Novell acquired SuSE. Never again. I do
not care to use things I associate with poor ethics. Same reasons why I don't
buy Nike stuff; their policies on manufacturing labor are abhorrent to me.

That is how I have felt since the agreement was announced. And I, too, would
surely like to look at complete texts of the agreement, though pigs will likely
fly sooner. Doing so would at least let me know how dirtied I need to feel.

So, my question is where are the agreements? Why can we not see them?

Jack

---
"There ain't no reason I should work this hard when I can live off the chickens
in my neighbor's yard" -Bruno Wolfe

[ Reply to This | # ]

Technical question
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 09:58 PM EST
Will Novell fully support all the new binary formats introduced in Office 2007
(as pointed out by Rob Weir)?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: Tyro on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 10:23 PM EST
What happens after 5 years?

Is all of the software that has been written depending upon this agreement still
useable?
Will MS make a legally binding commitment to allow such software to continue to
be used?
Will Novell make a legally binding commitment to defend people who write such
software against claims from MS if someone should continue to use the software
that they wrote?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Might there be something wrong with your premises?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 10:38 PM EST
You say in part


software patents in particular, are essential


Is that assertion open for discussion, or is everyone here supposed to just
unquestioningly accept it?

[ Reply to This | # ]

THE Dan Bricklin
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 10:40 PM EST
For those of you who are not familiar with Dan Bricklin's career, he's the
inventor of one of the truly revolutionary items of computer software.

He wrote the first spreadsheet app.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Here's my question
Authored by: pooky on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 11:18 PM EST
Considering that many in the open source world view the agreement between MS and
Novell as something that should not be allowed, and this attitude may help speed
adoption of the GPLv3 which will make this type of agreement impossible, how
does Novell plan to continue supporting the Linux kernel should the kernel start
using the GPLv3 license? And what does this mean for your customers, will it be
a choice between keeping current and risking lawsuits by Microsoft?

---
Many Bothans died to bring us this information.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The simple question with what should be an interesting answer...
Authored by: veatnik on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 11:19 PM EST
The simple question (to Novell) with what should be an interesting answer is,
"In the event that Microsoft were to win a court case against any arbitrary
user of Linux for Microsoft IP being in Linux then what would Novell do to be
abe to continue distributing Linux after that event?"

Follow on questions might be.
Did you realize that you cannot be compliant with the GPL and continue
distributing Linux in this situation?

For Microsoft,
Did Microsoft realize that Novell could not continue distributing Linux under
the GPL if Microsoft intelectual property were proven to be infringed by Linux?


The unfortunate fact is that the Microsoft-Novell agreement has no bearing or
power over the GPL in this situation. It seems to be the blind spot in the
agreement.

I realize that Novell believes that Linux is 100% free of infringing material.
(I believe the same thing. But the agreement seems to leave them in a bad
position if Microsoft were to sucessfully litigate with a third party.

I'll leave anything else up to you. This may seem a bit harsh, but it is the
most cogent question that I can think of as it gets to the heart of the matter.
Which would include the question of if Novell management and legal people really
did any significant due diligence before signing. But that particular question
would probably be rude.

In any case I would love ot hear what the legal and business people at both
companies have to say about that.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 11:32 PM EST
To Mucho$often: Did you really think that Linux users would "trust"
you because of this deal? Especially when you turn around and use it to say
"Stick 'em up and give us your money!"

To Novell: Yeah! What WERE you thinking?

[ Reply to This | # ]

When and how will patent pledges be changed?
Authored by: leopardi on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 11:32 PM EST

In particular, what was the idea behind the peculiar wording in Microsoft's Patent Pledge for Individual Contributors to openSUSE.org and when and how will it be changed?

See also some of my objections to the patent pledge.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 11:34 PM EST
to Microsoft:

How long has Linux contained Microsoft IP?

Why have you not sued Linux users so far? Under what circumstances would you do
so?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 11:35 PM EST
Ask how NOVELL can sleep at night now that they are formally dirty by dealing the way they did, and getting paid for it (the only thing missing is the RED LIGHT above the door to the Novell headquarters now).

Bring this up:

Microsoft Standards Dirty Tricks


MS standards tricks Authored by: Winter on Tuesday, December 12 2006 @ 10:00 AM EST

See: Microsof t's Standards History

And the GL discussion from 2005 12 10 (also at MS standards Dir ty Tricks) which I copied to GrokDoc


and this up as well...

Searching for Openness in Microsoft's OOXML and Finding Contradictions,
http://www.grok law.net/article.php?story=2007011720521698

Novell thinks nothing of getting dirty with Microsoft and it's dirty and monoplistic formats (designed as defense shields and certainly are not truely open formats)!   Microsoft's and any Novell attempts to claim otherwise are a joke and show a total lack of integrety on their parts.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: electron on Monday, January 22 2007 @ 11:35 PM EST
Question 1/
What specific technology, provably owned by Microsoft, is being allegedly
infringed by the Linux kernel.

Please identify the infringement with specificity, by version, file, and line.


Question 2/
If there is any infringement of MS technology that MS is aware of, why hasn't
Microsoft advised the allegedly infringing party of the specifics of the alleged
infringement?


Question 3/
Given the complete lack of advise from Microsoft as to what MS technology,
specifically, is being infringed by the Linux kernel, is this because there is
no actual infringement? If there is an actual infringement, then why has not MS
notified the infringing party what precisely is causing the infringement?

Question 4/
If, after being asked to identify specifically what is being infringed in the
Linux kernel, and if MS continues to refuse to identify the exact nature of the
infringement with specificity, what makes MS think it will will any court action
to do with any alleged copyright or patent infringement to do with the Linux
kernel?


---
Electron

"A life? Sounds great! Do you know where I could download one?"

[ Reply to This | # ]

Software Development measured in months not years
Authored by: WatchfulEye on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 12:26 AM EST
If a pharmaceutical company spends years developing a new drug at great expense
to cure some disease, they would want to recoup their expenses. A patent may be
the best way to do this. I can understand that.

Two companies can create garbage cans. Both covered by patents. Both make
profits. Neither sues the other. This is how it should be.

Software patents are different.

I can almost be convinced that software patents are acceptable in certain areas
as long as they are narrowly defined and allow others to expand on their ideas.
For example, cellular telephones use compression algorithms that probably took a
long time to perfect. Should they be patentable? Maybe.

But if someone can code an idea in their basement in a couple of weeks or
months, it should not be patentable.

Do Microsoft patents pass the "coding in the basement" test?

Right-click context menu: FAIL
(I can't think of any others)

Software patents should be for short periods of time. Software changes quickly
and if you can't make money with an idea in three years, you should move on to
another idea.

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Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 12:36 AM EST
Why did Novell see a need to pay Microsoft royalties for interoperability information when the EC ruling was forcing them to disclose it? Why has Novell instead validated Microsoft's claims that their interop protocols are indeed original, and deserving of licensing and paying royalties.

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How do you stop Linux progress?
Authored by: WatchfulEye on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 12:47 AM EST
Linux isn't a corporation. Novell is a corporation.

How can you infer the Microsoft/Novell agreement "recognizes that patents
are a valuable form of property for both business models" based solely on
the fact that Novell signed the agreement? Did Red Hat sign a similar
agreement?

Linux isn't a business model. Selling Linux services is a business model.

If you sued Red Hat would Linux development stop? (Are rhetorical questions
allowed?)

What innovations has Microsoft created that wouldn't have been possible without
patents?

Does the average software developer agree that software patents are a good
idea?

Do you think most Linux developers care if they violate software patents?

Should Linux developers stop developing software because acquiring software
patents are prohibitively expensive?

Should a company with deep pockets be able to patent ideas that have already
been developed by OSS developers? (The "first-to-patent" system.)

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Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 01:17 AM EST
MS's perks seem to last in perpetuity, but the patent guarantees for Samba,
OpenOffice and Mono run out after 5 years. Not that I'm a big fan of Mono, but
nevertheless: What happens at that point? Will you recommend to your corporate
customers that they migrate to MS Office and Windows? Or are you counting on MS
being in the mood to grant such pledges repeatedly. Do you have a plan beyond 5
years? If so, what is it?

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Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: ausage on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 02:10 AM EST

Microsoft has history, proven in court, of embracing current and possible future competitors, co-operating with them, while at the same time cutting off distribution of the competitor's products, developing hidden and efficient API's while at the same time insisting that their competitors use buggy and slow "public" API, literally stealing the competitors technology and using their considerable power to halt or limit support for the competitors products from third parties... All the time smiling and telling the competitor, the courts and the world what a nice, open and supportive company Microsoft is...

MY QUESTIONS:

1) How can Novell believe that this deal will benefit Novell in any way, knowing that Microsoft will never permit the distribution of system's by OEM's with anything other than Windows installed as the primary and only operating system....

2) How can Novell believe that this deal will benefit Novell when only the most expensive of all Microsoft licenses will permit Windows software to be run under any kind of virtual machine.

I don't believe that Novell or any of the people working there are stupid, but somehow I am at a complete loss at figure out how this deal could possibly help Novell, unless Novell wants to create a "closed" Linux system, encumbered by patents and other restrictions, and even then I do not see how that could possibly help anyone other than Microsoft.

I like Suse Linux. As a result of my own trials I believe it is one of the best Linux distributions available, however, in the months since the Microsoft announcement, I have replaced Suse Linux with another distribution on five server installations. My reason for this is that I believe that within the next 12 months, Suse will be having serious trouble maintaining support from the open source community, that it may very well have to cease distributing some components of the system and that other component may be "frozen in time" without support or enhancement.

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Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: dodger on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 02:11 AM EST
How does promising each other's customers not to sue promote innovation and
invention? Haven't we just learned over the last three years with SCO that the
litigation model of business benefits only the lawyers? What does Microsoft have
to show as a benefit of this deal other, than it got Novell off its back in the
european anti-trust hearings? What has Microsoft have to show as a benefit for
the Sun deal, other than it got Sun off its back in the european anti-trust
hearings? What damaging information did Novell gather in the SCO case that would
have damaged Microsoft's chances of being compliant in europe? Why were patents
brought into this business deal at all? And speaking of innovation and
invention, why do I get the feeling that the X-BOX exists because of the Sony
Playstation, Zune exists because of iTunes, Windows Media Player exists because
of Real Player, the Internet Explorer exists because of Netscape, Money exists
because of Quicken? Is the new brand of innovation and invention not a computer
technology, but a legal trick designed to improve business practices by buying
off the critics, using the monopoly power to kill the competition?

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Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: bdog on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 02:45 AM EST
Dan,

Please ask the following question of MicroSoft:

Given that the US federal courts have found that you have a monopoly in the
operating systems business, how would you classify the risk of Microsoft sueing
a competitor (in the operating systems business) of patent infringement? Any
fear that such a lawsuit would be viewed as a violation of anti-trust laws?

Second question of Microsoft:
If you WERE aware of a clear violation of a Microsoft patent within a Linux
distribution, whom would you sue for the infringement? The author? The project
lead? The distributor? What timeline would you expect for the process, from
first awareness to first court filing.

Third question of Microsoft:
As of today have you looked, or are you actively looking, for patent violations
within any Linux distribution? If not, why not?

Fourth question:
When may we expect "Microsoft Office, Linux edition?" What seems to
be the problem? If it is a matter of customer demand, how many customers or
licenses would be required to overcome the "not enough customer
demand" threshold?

---

-b

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Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: Alban Uk on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 03:41 AM EST
what linux ip has novell found in microsoft products

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Crossing the Atlantic
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 03:42 AM EST
You have software patents in the US; we do not have patents on computer programs in the UK.

I won't try to change your laws. Please do not try to change mine.

End of message.

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Novell IP Secrets
Authored by: stomfi on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 03:48 AM EST
No one is asking what MS paid Novell for.
What were the patents Novell got paid for?

They must have been worth quite a bit for them to place the Linux application
developers in such jeopardy.

My other question is what is the hidden agenda?

It seems that this deal is not what it seems as we have had little evidence and
lots of double speak about what the deal covered, so I extrapolate it was
engineered to cover something completely different. Like MS' need to show US and
EU litigators it was doing Open interoperability and sharing its APIs. or
something else that nobody has thought of yet, that only the powers that be at
Novell and MS know.

It's the secretiveness that shows both parties are against the aims of the Open
Source/Standards communtity.

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Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:02 AM EST
I hope there will be a followup with the answers.

I went through the comments so far but found only a few intelligent questions. I
do not expect mine will be intelligent however :-)

1. To both: What do you think is the real benefit to Linux developers and users
(regardles of distribution) after the contract expires ?

2. To MS representative: Interoperability is the new MS buzzword. (Partly to
shake of EU antitrust investigation I guess.) What are the plans to make MS
products realy interoperable? Main areas are Office prodctivity, directory and
file sharing services. Example could be full adoption of ODF ISO standard for
office documents in MS products? Cooperation with the Samba team ?

3. To Novell representative: The deal generated a lot of bad blood in the OSS
community. What are your plans to "straighten" the relationship? After
all the Suse distribution depends on OSS developers.

4. To both: What are your plans when OSS software starts changing licensing to
GPLv3 ? This would f.e. restrict Novell to GPLv2 software/versions only.

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Non-software company
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:14 AM EST
As a developer in a company that does not sell software. However, we may want to
make additions or modifications to FOSS software and then give copies to our
suppliers and/or customers which would require open sourcing the changes.

Is Microsoft going to sue us? Even if we use a Novell distribution?

The agreement between MS and Novell seems to have been drawn up to stifle
innovation and protect the proprietary development model.

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GNU Software & GPL v 3
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:25 AM EST
A large chunk of Novell distribution is GNU software developed by FSF.

As the FSF is not a party to the deal between Microsoft and Novell, would Novell
like to explain how they plan to replace all the GNU software when it is
licensed under GPL v 3

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The blurb requires a comment, not a question
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 04:53 AM EST

"The IP incentive system and software patents in particular, are essential for fostering innovation and collaboration activities. This agreement is the foundation of a new model for how open source and proprietary software companies can work together to meet the needs of their customers. It recognizes that patents are a valuable form of property for both business models"

There is one thing that the Free Software community is unanimous about: software patents are harmful to software innovation. It is impossible for Microsoft not to know this. What then is Microsoft's purpose in publishing a statement which it knows to be false?

Follow-up question after Microsoft gives a waffling non-answer in its response: Will Microsoft please answer the question?

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Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting - Updated
Authored by: Ian Al on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 05:08 AM EST
Will the free and open sourced interoperability work resulting from the
collaboration be available for any use and safe from intellectual property legal
challenge to everyone after the end of the five-year period?

If not, how will the community know which part is safe and which part is not?

---
Regards
Ian Al

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Vista license and virtualisation.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 05:13 AM EST
What is the benefit for me as a customer in being restricted in the
virtualisation system I can use?

Why must I change what works for my business simply because Microsoft says so?

Does Microsoft's insistence in using it's EULA as a competitive lever reduce the
respect individuals and companies have for EULA's in general?

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Ballmer's Darlisms, GPL works as disclosure method, and IT Responsibilities
Authored by: Wesley_Parish on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 06:00 AM EST

Firstly, when The SCO Group's CEO Darl McBride started issuing vague statements about Linux's violation of The SCO Group's Unix Intellectual Property Rights, people took it quite correctly as proof that The SCO Group was in very, very serious financial strife.

Now that Microsoft's very own CEO Steve Ballmer has begun making exactly the same sort of statement about Linux's violations of Microsoft Corp's Windows' Intellectual Property Rights, are we to take it as read that he is also expressing his doubts about the future financial viability of Microsoft as a software company and is intending to make it over into a litigation company?

Secondly, I've actually attempted to ask Bill Gates this question myself using the askbill@microsoft.com, but he has declined to answer me - the patent system is a method of divulging a stated advance in the state of the art in some technical field. It has certain beneficial features which have made it attractive to retain - among them the requirement that all useful features of the advance, are published, thus preventing the guild-based trade secrets system that hampered technical advances during the later Middle Ages. The GNU Project's General Public License also makes similar requirements on those advancing the state of the art using various software projects' source code, published in such a way that prevents a similar trade secrets system to that of the later Middle Ages guilds.

Thus the GPL operates in the manner the patent system was originally intended to act. Why then should we need the uncertainties, complications and trade barriers that the software patent system establishes? When we have a very efficient system already operating?

Thirdly, we are hearing a lot about "Intellectual Property Rights". We are not hearing anything about "Intellectual Property Duties" or "Responsibilities".

Now considering that Information and Communication Technology is becoming the linchpin of world-wide trade, the Internet then becomes the modern equivalent of the roads of the sea. Internet trade law is currently at the state of North Sea trade during the period of the Hanseatic League. But even then, certain things were already in place - amongst them the bases of maritime salvage law. Microsoft has through its well-known monopolistic practices, operated as the enabling technology for malware and spambots and similar trade-wrecking practices - true software piracy, of the sort that leaves the gullible victims of 419 scams dead in South Africa or Nigeria.

It would seem that Microsoft owes a major software salvage lien, to the value of its entire cash holdings, to the technicians who have made serious efforts to stem the malware flood. When are we going to see some return of the sort maritime salvage operators take for granted? Or does Microsoft not believe in Intellectual Property Rights?

---
finagement: The Vampire's veins and Pacific torturers stretching back through his own season. Well, cutting like a child on one of these states of view, I duck

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The Cynic Within
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 06:03 AM EST
As there is an "outside" audience, there are likely to be typical
media reporters who do not have a clue about the issues or the story so far, but
hog the Q&A. This is how the Q&A session will go :-

Q: We are all excited about the future of home entertainment but concerned that
piracy will undermine its commercial viability. Tell us about the measures you
are taking to ensure the users' peace of mind.

A: [MS/Novell hype]

Q: "How do MS/Novell see your alliance benefiting the end user and
delivering them peace of mind?"

A: [MS/Novell hype]

Q: The malware problem - tell us how you are working with chip makers to ensure,
for our peace of mind, that no software will ever run on any PC again, unless
certificated by MS/Novell.

A: [MS/Novell hype]

Q: Will this alliance help document exchange and network interoperability in the
future?

A: [MS/Novell hype]

Q: We are all envious of what we hear of MS software automating things in the
Gate's family home. When can we expect this futuristic vision to become
available in our own homes?

A: [MS/Novell hype]

Q: Tell us the latest about the good work of the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation.

A: [MS hype]


ORGANISER : That is all ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for your informed
and challenging questions. I think you are the best audience I have ever had
the honour to be with.

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Where is the Novell Covenant Not to Sue?
Authored by: marbux on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 06:35 AM EST
When the deal was first announced the companies said that each would issue a
covenant not to the other's customers. The statement is also in the documents on
the Novell site. Flying low so don't have time to dig out a link right now. But
if the Novell Covenant Not to Sue has ever been released, it must have been into
a black hole. When will it be published? Where? What Microsoft products are
involved? Why has its release been delayed? Do you still beat your wife?

---
Retired lawyer

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How many questions?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 06:43 AM EST
... here are the two I'd like asked - the *three* I'd like asked - noooooobody
expects the Spanish Inquisition


Monty

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OT: Novell Hearing Today before Kimball
Authored by: Steve Martin on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 07:16 AM EST

According to the Novell Timeline page, Judge Kimball is hearing Novell's Motion for PSJ or Preliminary Injunction today. This is the motion where Novell is asking Kimball to grant PSJ on their counterclaims for constructive trust, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, and accounting, or in the alternative, for a preliminary injunction "ordering ordering an accounting and imposing a constructive trust over all monies wrongfully held by The SCO Group".

The Timeline doesn't indicate what time the hearing is nor which room, so I guess anyone attending (and hopefully someone will) should call the courthouse for particulars.

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

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Corrections Thread - Since I didn't see one
Authored by: PSaltyDS on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 07:17 AM EST
"...and here are the two I'd like asked:"

...which are numbered one through three...

:-)

---
"Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced." - Geek's Corollary to Clarke's Law

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 07:25 AM EST

"The IP incentive system and software patents in particular, are essential for fostering innovation and collaboration activities."

Economics may not be as hard a science as astronomy but I think Carl Sagan's dictum, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" still applies and from what I know of patent system economics and computing industry history, the above assertion appears implausible and counter-intuitive. Can Microsoft back up its extraordinary claim?

plh.

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What has been stopping msft from interoperating?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 07:45 AM EST
If msft wants to interoperate with Linux, what has ever stopped them? For years
msft has fought tooth and nail againt interoperating with Linux, or anything
non-msft. Msft will break laws, pay huge fines, obfuscate file formats, refuse
to reveal APIs, and so on. And now msft is saying they want to interoperate, how
does that make any sense at all? If msft wants to interoperate, all msft has to
do, is do so.

>>This agreement is the foundation of a new model for how open source and
proprietary software companies can work together to meet the needs of their
customers.<<

But why do we need this deal for that to happen? The Linux community would happy
to work together with msft, but msft has always fought such cooperation. How
does this, suspeciously secretive, deal change that?

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Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting - Updated
Authored by: The Mad Hatter r on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 07:50 AM EST


The Microsoft/Novell collaboration agreement is the result of Microsoft & Novell listening to its customers and the industry. Customers have asked us to reduce the potential risk as it relates to Intellectual Property and to reach out and improve technical interoperability with many operating environments including the Open Source model.


Please prove this - with specificity provide the names and correspondence proving that this deal was requested by customers and/or industry. This is especially important as no one else appears to know of any requests from customers and/or industry for reduction of IP risk factors involving Linux, and if there have been no requests than why does this deal exist?

---
Wayne

http://urbanterrorist.blogspot.com/

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Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 08:08 AM EST
Part of the Microsoft / Novell deal is a promise by Novell to implement OOXML
for Open Office.

Will this be a complete implementation of OOXML?
Will Microsoft provide the proprietary details of old document formats that
would be required for a complete implementation?
Will it be a FOSS implementation?
How many months and how many programmer hours does Novell expect to spend in
this effort?

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EULA - Shouldn't this be called the Extremely Unethical LOCK-IN Arrangement ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 08:24 AM EST
And why can't it be made available offline for people to read in it's entirety
outside of the restriction of some small text box?

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For Dan Bricklin, Linux Dilemna, MS Magic Show, The Ride for Independence and true Freedom!
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 08:47 AM EST
For Dan Bricklin, Linux Dilemna, MS Magic Show, The Ride for Independence

Re: Being brought up to speed (reading of interest):

The below Groklaw comments from a few days ago sum it up... it is all about APIs, protocols, Microsoft Standards Dirty Tricks (that Office 2007, Vista, and their DRM portfolio is all about,  and oh - it more about keeping their ISV's from defecting to LINUX or other OS... if they keep changing the Magic and the code as a quick enought pace, then the ISVs have to keep up with MS first, so this is a mararthon (or a looping treadmill) that they are on and they end up NOT HAVING THE RESOURCES to do LINUX compatible versions- the lockin continues... and so Novell by it's actions has shown an obvious interest in only serving itself (and in the process they forgot about the GPL and what it stands for)!

The Linux dilemna, and maybe why Novell wanted "interoperablitiy deal" so much. MS wins again. - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, January 21 2007 @ 08:51 AM EST  "  .NET is a big example of Microsoft's "embrace, extend, extinguish" philosophy. In principle, C# should be implementable on Linux. The .NET framework does so much bizarre Microsoft specific stuff, where Microsoft has patents, that I think .NET is really a Windows only platform.

This is a really big problem, because I am seeing lots and lots of activity in .NET, and if Linux can't run .NET then an entire class of applications is
blocked".       Does anyone know if .NET will even install under WINE? "IIRC, WINE does not support .net

Again - Ask them about this:

Microsoft Standards Dirty Tricks

MS standards tricks Authored by: Winter on Tuesday, December 12 2006 @ 10:00 AM EST

See: Microsof t's Standards History

And the GL discussion from 2005 12 10 (also at MS standards Dir ty Tricks) which I copied to GrokDoc


And yet Again- also ask them about this:

Searching for O penness in Microsoft's OOXML and Finding Contradictions,
http://www.grok law.net/article.php?story=2007011720521698

And for good measure - Where do you want to be today?

The battle is on... Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 18 2007 @ 09:53 AM EST

If it were the British North American Colonies during the 1700s who were being
forced to pay double taxes for tea and sugar, we would hear the cry...
The British are coming!
The British are coming!
How would we react today if we heard a certain horse and rider as they flew past
our houses warning us to act before it was too late?

Today, if we don't act we will all be forced to buy a version of MS Office 2007
(and all versions after that), just to be able to interact with others! If
that is not double taxing for no logical reason what is?

Businesses, schools, govenments, and individuals who don't act to alert folks of
MS OFFICE 2007 format monopoly move by Microsoft, will in the end, be forced to
buy such upgrades as well. Simply because Microsoft needs more money! Sadly,
this reason is NOT because we need another word processor!

At this point in time, everyone has to get on their horse and ride.

This new format battle, that is focused on what is truly an OPEN FORMAT, is the
key to winning the war... then we can return to living normal lives again
without ever having to think that we need JUST Microsoft software to exist in a
digital world.

As citizens who care, we must educate and spread the word. Someday, maybe with
our HONEST efforts folks will come to understand that a certain emperor has no
cloths on at all! And we all know who that is!

It is all about education... and relating to folks how freedom of software
equated directly to free speech.

As - If you have the right software then you can communicate in the right
digital circles with right others who also have the same right software too...!
If, there is a price to pay for the software (monetary or exclusionary), then
there is a percentage of the public who can't afford it, and who pay much more
then we understand (I know of folks who have a hard time putting food on the
table, and asking them to buy software in a certain format so that their kids
can hand in homework that is required in that format is expensive and impossible
to afford).

However...
IF, there is a standard FORMAT used where both expensive software and free (no
price) software are BOTH able to use the same file format... then, files can be
transferred between different people of different ideas who use different
computers, using different operating systems, and even using different word
processing and other applications! Children can hand in homework created on
different computers, operating systems, and applications where this homework
that can then be read then by teachers who are using even different computers,
different operating systems and different software aplications, meaning that
folks with different systems can FREELY interact. Meannig that in a digital
world where we share ideas in a digital format, that there is no social
inequality, no social injustice... and most important there is NO EXCLUSION that
happens to our children JUST because they don't have the "right
software"! In this digital world, we are all still the same as any child
who are still learning... as we all are learning still of how to best live in
this maturing digital world around us!

Freedom is... what freedom is... and the most basic freedom we have is speech.
Once speech goes digital in a proprietary format sense, then pure freedom of
speech is lost, because it is then no longer free.

Net Neutrality is next.  Not by a law, but via an amendment to the constitutions of the governments of the world = free speech!

Feel Free to use any of this post as it should be considered here as in the public domain - Fully Free to use and correct the spelling, change, modify, borrow from, and/or improve as you see fit, if you need to!

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Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting - Updated
Authored by: hamstring on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 08:56 AM EST
1. Will Microsoft and Novell open it's proprietary code for review so that we
can search for both patent and GPL violations?

* Of cours we want to ensure that the pot is not calling the kettle names.


[ This refers to not only the TCP/IP stack which reports itself as BSD, but also
image handling, streams handling, and many other OS level functions that in the
last few years have had dramatic improvement in M$ Windows. I for one do not
believe that Microsoft was completely original in their coding of many things..
]

---
* Necessity is the mother of invention. Microsoft is
* result of greed

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting - Updated
Authored by: philc on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 09:20 AM EST
1) How do we know the extent to which software that comes out of this deal is
encumbered by patents? Is Microsoft and Novell willing to state in writing that
there is no patent problems with the code?

2) What happens to customers that have been relying on this deal when the deal
ends? If customers are using patent encumbered software that came out of this
deal, does Microsoft and/or Novell fell it is OK to sue them over patent
infringement?

3) Question for Novell, should we now consider Novell to be a proprietary
company and Microsoft partner? Should we treat Novell the same way we treat
Microsoft? If not, why not?

4) What are the legal risks to customers of using software that comes out of
this deal? Include risks while the deal is in effect and also when the deal
ends.

5) Will Novell release the code that is produced under this deal under GPL v2,
or GPL v3, or some other license, or keep it proprietary?

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Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 09:41 AM EST
The original concept of a patent was for the purpose of DISCLOSING information.
The protection process was provided as an encouragement to the inventor to
provide information which would eventually benefit the general public. Microsoft
has NEVER been in the DISCLOSURE business. They do their best to hide
information. Microsoft wants the protection of a patent on processes that they
cannot hide and is obvious to anyone who wants to design a similiar process, and
the protection of a trade secret for anything that they CAN hide (or at least
hide it long enough to give them a competitive advantage). The world wide base
of software, both open and proprietary, exists ONLY because ideas and concepts
were shared, instead of being guarded. Software patents only protect those who
are no longer interested in innovation, and wish only to take what others have
given to use for their benefit (and usually to the harm of the public).

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Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 10:00 AM EST
2. For Mr. Palfrey: If Linus or Groklaw or any FOSS developer sent a registered letter or published an Open Letter to Steve Ballmer, asking for a specific list of Microsoft patents that he believes support his claim that Microsoft has "IP" in Linux or FOSS, if Microsoft failed to provide the list, would the defense of waiver later be available? What other strategy might be successful, since no one in the FOSS community is interested in violating Microsoft patents, if any actually existed, but no one can ameliorate without specificity? How can such a specific list be forced out of them?
This Open Letter to Ballmer was posted 11/17 and also sent to iplg@microsoft.com, without response.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • No Reply Defense - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 11:48 AM EST
    • No Reply Defense - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 01:54 PM EST
Linus says GPLv3 is bad, and agrees with the MS/Novell Deal
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 10:29 AM EST
If you guys paid attention, instead of FUDding this to death, and maybe if you
actually understood the deal,

and maybe if you paid attention to the news (This was also on slashdot), you'd
see this.

Linus actually DISLIKES the GPLv3, he says its BAD, in fact, he hates it, and
says it will never fly! he doesn't want it!

So if Linus doesn't want it, why are you flogging a dead horse?

Also, Linus has stated the Microsoft/Novell deal was a GOOD thing! And it
protected Linux users, and was something he supported and approved.

Read the news, read slashdot, read Reuters, it's all there

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting - Updated
Authored by: DL on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 10:30 AM EST
IBM, and other companies, have licensed many of their patents for royalty-free
use under GPL.

*If* this agreement does violate the GPL, that patent license is breached, and
you will be infringing those patents. How will you protect yourself against
being sued for infringement of these patents?

[I'm sure this could be written better, but the toddler spent half the night
singing at the top of his lungs, so I'm a little short on sleep. Sure, he can
carry a tune, but TMBG gets stuck in your head, and I prefer sleep at 3am.]

---
DL

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting - Updated
Authored by: thasian on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 10:49 AM EST
1. If there are patent issues real enough to warrant such a large exchange of
money, why not a traditional patent license for the infringing patents? Surely
for the sake of your shareholders, you shouldn't make a deal involving actual
cash, without a clear definition the actual IP in question?

2. What gives Novell and Microsoft the right to make a deal on behalf of me (
their customer) without my consent?

3. Most people that know linux well, also appreciate the freedom it gives. Why
should we recommend a company that would want to make you feel unsafe and
insecure for using a non-novell distro, thereby inspiring vendor lock-in?


4. Does Novell truely believe that they can hijack a free piece of software and
turn it into a traditionally licensed product just like that? Or do they choose
to deny the obvious and continue anyway?

5. Is this the first step of Novell trying to take the same position as SCO, and
use their Unix patents/copyrights to take control of linux?

6. When SCO goes bankrupt, will Novell take their place as Linux
ownership-claimer?

7. Will they use Microsoft to scare linux users into becoming Novell customers?

8. When many of the main GPL projects adopt GPL3 will you use your or
microsoft's patents against them if they challenge your use of such licensed
software in the legal system?

9. Will you use the GPL2 against the GPL3 licensed software in future, claiming
that gpl3 licensed products contain code also licensed under gpl2, which by its
virulent nature turns the whole project into GPL2 licensed software?

10. If Novell and Microsoft tried to find a legal way around the restrictions of
the GPL, what made them think that the main supporters of the GPL (ie OSS
developers) would actually approve?

11. If Novell only meant to for their own software to be restricted in this way,
why mention Linux at all?

12. If most free software developers strive to develop software free of
proprietary/patent licenses, why should they now be thankful that Novell managed
to secure temporary patent relief when the goal was to avoid patent problems in
totality?

13. If Novell wanted to help the community, why not disclose the possible
infringements, and help the Free Sw developers work the code out of their
software?

14. How much of the Linux operating system is Novell claiming to be theirs? A
typical SuSe Distribution includes very little software unique to Novell. A
typical Red-Hat distribution contains even less software unique to Red-Hat. With
this said, does the agreement seek to affect all of the code in the Suse distro,
even if said software is not written or maintained in large by Novell at all?
If only Novell-owned software was the inspiration behind this
"non-license", why not specify the specific software to be covered?

15. If you say the non-license doesn't affect any code or any developers, but
only end-users, don't you think that most developers are also end-users, and
that the biggest corporates employ such developers, and as such your non-license
affects the developers, in turn affecting the code?

16. If the agreement is entirely sound and the community has nothing to worry
about, and in 5 years everyone will thank you for what you have done, why is
Microsoft so keen on this agreement, since the advancement of linux will take
revenue directly from Microsoft?

17. If the agreement is very neccesary and other Linux Vendors should join in,
why has there been no concrete proof of this by providing specifics about
particular patents in question?

18. If the community you so try to please regards freedom and
"Open"-ness important, why is the very non-license you setup secret,
hidden, and "Closed"?




[ Reply to This | # ]

When and why did software patents and IP become important?
Authored by: tz on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 10:50 AM EST
"The IP incentive system and software patents in particular, are essential
for fostering innovation and collaboration activities".

Don't mix things - You have copyrights and trademarks as part of the "IP
incentive system" which isn't a point of discussion here. Patents - on
algorithms particularly - are.

Software patents didn't really exist until a few years ago, yet Microsoft is
older than that (and what was your percentage growth before and after?), and
from the original ENIAC through the first few generations of PCs, there was no
shortage of innovation and collaboration.

The only thing a software patent can do is PREVENT me and thousands of others
from innovating or collaborating since instead of inventing or improving or
working with others to fix or extend something, I have to now worry about being
sued.

So a second question -

Wouldn't everyone INCLUDING Microsoft be better if Software was returned to the
same class as Mathematical Formulae - something which would be non-patentable
(remember Eolas?), invalidating or rendering unenforceable ALL patents covering
anything which is a pure software implementation? And would you support bills
in congress that would do just that?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Your Number 2
Authored by: rsteinmetz70112 on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 11:32 AM EST
I agree that the FOOS community should take steps to protect itself from
Microsoft's accusations.

Wouldn't it be more appropriate for a lawyer dedicated to protecting Linux
provide a studied analysis of the appropriate steps after considering the legal
situation?

Or to direct the question to Microsoft, as to what their response would be. I'm
pretty sure they would decline to answer.

---
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 | # ]

Question about GPLv3 conversion
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 11:44 AM EST
How many common applications found in Linux distributions today will change
licensing to GPLv3 when it has been finalized?

Keep in mind that only projects which own or have had assigned to them all
copyrights may unilaterally change a license when there have been multiple
contributors, and that only projects which included the phrase "or any
later version" in their GPL license statement may automatically upgrade to
GPLv3.

It might help to tally a few of the applications which don't seem to qualify.
There are those applications, such as apache, firefox, python, etc., which use
non-GPL licenses. There are those, such as the linux kernel and the KDE project,
which don't include the automatic upgrade language. So, other than software
whose copyrights have been assigned to the FSF, which applications will be
rolled over to GPLv3 when it's ready? Which won't?

--bystander1313

[ Reply to This | # ]

Follow up to your question #2
Authored by: seanlynch on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 12:06 PM EST

Follow up to your question #2:

If Microsoft and CEO Steve Ballmer choose to not disclose the patents it owns that Microsoft
believes are infringed by Linux, is Microsoft prepared for the possible backlash from investors?

After all choosing not to sue to protect Microsoft owned patents could be interpreted
as allowing the patents continued use under the principles of estoppel and of latches.
Investors in Microsoft may become disgruntled by Microsoft's inaction over infringement
the CEO states is currently happening with his full knowledge.

Or was it Steve Ballmer's intention to allow the infringement to continue, with his full knowledge,
setting up a defense for any infringers uder the principles of estoppel and latches?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The big question: is there any protection from Microsoft at all?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 12:09 PM EST
The important question for me is:

"According to the announcement of the Patent Agreement on your web site,
'Microsoft reserves the right to update (including discontinue) the foregoing
covenant pursuant to the terms of the Patent Cooperation Agreement between
Novell and Microsoft that was publicly announced on November 2, 2006'. Those
terms are not publicly available, therefore developers must assume that the
terms are 'at any time, for any reason.'

"Given that this is equivalent to 'Microsoft does not actually covenant
anything', what protection, if any, does this agreement actually provide, and to
whom?"

Followup:
"Why are the actual terms of the Agreement, in particular, but not limited
to, the conditions under which Microsoft may discontinue the Agreement, not
public? Since it is Novell's customers that are ostensibly protected by this
Agreement, why are they not permitted to be fully informed of their rights and
dangers under the Agreement?"

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting - Updated
Authored by: phaoUNTOtom on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 12:29 PM EST
Because Novell agrees to disagree with Microsoft when Microsoft starts using it
patents against developers what will Novell be prepared and willing to do if
anything?

Does Novell believe a company can exist where it or their customers do not have
to pay for software patents in some way?

Did Novell realize the signing of the agreement would cut off Novell from the
developer's contributions under the spirit of GPL v2 and letter of GPL v3? What
are Novell's plans for retaining contributor's code after GPL v3 becomes
active?

If Novell has found that OpenSUSE developers have withdrawn from further
contributing to OpenSUSE as a result of the signing, then how has Novell's
attitude toward them and perception of them changed changed since after having
signed the agreement with Microsoft?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Questions for Novell
Authored by: rsmith on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 12:40 PM EST
Patent Agreement: The IP incentive system and software patents in particular, are essential for fostering innovation and collaboration activities.

The Open Source and Free Software communities have been collaborating and innovating for years without software patents.

(Q1) Do you realize that a large part of the Open Source community regards software patents as hindering innovation?

The community regards this deal as a bad thing. Novell's reputation and credibility as a member of the community have suffered immensely.

(Q2) Are you going to try and repair this damage? If so, how?

A lot of free software (including all the programs that are copyright FSF) will switch to the GPLv3 one it's finished. The GPLv3 will include language that will make it illegal for Novell (or other people trying patent tricks) to distribute GPLv3 code.

(Q3) How is Novell going to stay a credible player once it cannot distribute GPLv3 programs anymore?

---
Intellectual Property is an oxymoron.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Russian Roulette?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 12:59 PM EST
"2. For Mr. Palfrey: If Linus or Groklaw or any FOSS developer sent a registered letter or published an Open Letter to Steve Ballmer, asking for a specific list of Microsoft patents that he believes support his claim that Microsoft has "IP" in Linux or FOSS"

Why yes if Steve Ballmer didn't reply, then there should be a plausible defense should Microsoft initiate a lawsuit.

But what happens if Mr Ballmer does reply with a list of twenty or thirty patents? As soon as he gets that reply Linus would have to remove all code that is in the areas covered by the patents (or be liable for triple damages for willful infringement if he loses any of the potential ensuing cases). RedHat, Novell and the rest likewise must stop shipping until the cases are settled.

Probably most of the disputed areas of code could be re-written fairly quickly to avoid techniques that infringe the patents ... but this would definitely destabilize those areas while the new code was debugged ... plus it might cost some performance while new algorithms were tuned.

Perhaps a couple of the broader claims in the patents would not lend themselves to an easy non-infringing workaround. As we've seen from SCO vs. IBM the court system takes years to resolve an issue.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Russian Roulette? - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 03:23 PM EST
Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 01:44 PM EST
The last time I tried to give Dan Bricklin some advice, he ignored it and
decided to develop VisiCalc anyway. I hope this suggestion proves to be more
worthy.

The first question obviously must be about what happens after the five years,
but if Dan gets a chance to ask a second question, he should hammer on the point
that the MS-Novell agreement opens the way to poison FOSS programs with patented
code. Ask some form of:

"How will Novell guarantee that any code it contributes to a GPL licensed
program will not be encumbered by Microsoft patents?"

-Wang-Lo.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Mixed media players - are they OK now?
Authored by: tz on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 01:44 PM EST
To MS: Does the FOSS community now have your OK to implement all those patented
algorithms embedded in the various codecs used by your media files, encoders,
and players?

If not, which ones can or can't we used.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Vista DRM article
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 01:48 PM EST
Slightly -- but not too far -- OT: Good article on Vista DRM cost at http://www.c s.auckland.ac.nz/%7Epgut001/pubs/vista_cost.html

[ Reply to This | # ]

Comes vs Microsoft
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 02:10 PM EST
Iowa Monopolists Trial
http://www.iowaconsumercase.org/

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why are SW patents still valid?
Authored by: anomalyst on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 02:20 PM EST
"Harmonization" is the buzzword for Imaginary Property. Few countries other than the US recognize them.
Why does not Novell take a couple million of their MS windfall and bribe^W convince our congress-critters to close the back door through which they entered. There is no legislation establishing the validity of Software patents, they we enabled by fiat, sneaking in the backdoor because of a (wrong) judicial interpretation.
Novell, MS, IBM and other SW patent holders should be working feverishly and determinedly to remove them.

---
Mama told me there'd be .sigs like this.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Patents aren't a "property" - and several other questions
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 03:25 PM EST
The following are a few questions which I'd like to see answered. You might want
to choose a "softer" wording, but please ask questions regarding these
issues.

The text which was quoted by PJ states that "patents are a valuable form of
property". But patents are a monopoly right which is granted by the society
of a country for a limited period of time. In short, patents are a right, not a
"property" of any kind. So here's an obvious question for both MS and
Novell: "Why are you permanently lying to the public and your shareholders
by claiming that patents are some kind of property? Don't you think that such
fraud/lies are a criminal offense? What transforms a right into a property, in
your opinion? How many companies and individuals have already contacted you to
try to settle issues before they'll sue you regarding this deal?"

Another question concerns the lack of specificity: "Which patents exactly
are covered by your agreements? Which of these patents, in your opinion, are
violated by the Linux kernel or other open-source software? Why do you fail to
mitigate damages by not telling which patents are violated and by not allowing
the developers to rewrite the allegedly violating software parts? Your failure
to mitigate damages means that you will at most receive nominal damages in a
lawsuit - do you agree?" Question to Novell: "Your deal made it very
clear that you believe that Mono and Samba are encumbered by MS patents. Why
don't you say/do anything specific to help these two projects solve their
(alleged) problems?"

More generally: "How is an individual software developer supposed to find
out which software patents his work might violate? Patent claims are always
intentionally written in an obfuscating language so that not even patent system
experts can tell with specificity what a patent claim actually means or covers.
Do you agree that software patents are a means to avoid a level playing field,
and that many companies abuse the patent system to achieve this? Do you think
that this is ethical resp. that it actually 'fosters innovation'?"

To Novell: "The deal basically tries to work around the explicit purpose of
the GPL and the goals of the software developers. Do you think that's ethical?
What would Novell do if someone tried to work around *Novell*'s
licenses/contracts in a similar way - probably would sue?!"

The main purpose of the agreements is obviously to create a FUD cloud. Question:
"Do you believe that FUD like this will improve your business? Do you
believe it is ethical?" (It will certainly help MS, so this question is
mainly targeted at Novell.)

Further: "Thousands of people have signed the petition of Bruce Perens.
What do you think about the petition and the people who signed it?"

Regarding OOXML: "The OOXML specification is more than 6,000 pages long. Do
you really believe that someone will actually be able to implement such a thing?
(To Novell:) How far are you with your stated interoperability goal regarding
OOXML implementations? Will you be able to produce actual, 100%
interoperability, or will you only support a subset, so that the original MS
implementation is the only 'full-fidelity' implementation that will ever exist?
Do you agree that the specification is overly huge and has many technological
issues, including the 'leap-year 1900' problem? (To MS:) How did you manage to
produce this 6,000-page standard in such a short time, while you (seemingly)
have been unable to produce much smaller interoperability information in the
European lawsuit for many years? (To both:) What do you think of the ODF
standard, especially in comparison to OOXML?"

Question for Novell: "MS recently screwed its partners of the Plays For
Sure initiative big time, and has a long history of screwing most or all of its
partners. Why do you believe that Novell won't be treated similarly? Especially
since MS may terminate the deal at any time before the five years have run out.
How can this create a 'peace of mind' for software developers or Novell's
customers, especially as you refuse to make the exact terms of your deal
public?"

Patent question for Novell: "As you certainly know, MS is barred from
asserting any patents against anyone, simply due to antitrust law. Why did you
believe that your deal was still necessary or useful then? You paid millions of
dollars for nothing. How do you explain this irresponsible waste of assets to
your shareholders?"

Further question for Novell: "Why don't you reply for several months to the
feedback which you received through the HTML form on your web page regarding the
deal?" (Yes, I sent them a longish feedback with detailed questions,
including criminal liability. No reaction so far, besides an automated
confirmation e-mail. They didn't reply to me and didn't update their FAQ
regarding any of my topics.)

And I'm permanently puzzled by the whole topic of software patents, so here's an
obvious question: "Software consists of pure mathematics. Literally all
people seem to agree that math shouldn't be patentable. So why do you think that
software should be patentable?" (I have decades of experience with software
development and even studied math and computer science at university, so I might
know something about these topics, but I'm still puzzled... Very few things in
this universe make nearly as little sense as software patents.)

So many further questions, some of which were already posted by other people...
I'll rather stop here, before I start using bad language. Many thanks in advance
for your effort!

[ Reply to This | # ]

How can we workaround the patent problem
Authored by: afruss on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 03:48 PM EST
Can I purchase a universal solar system license please (not a contract because I
don't have signing authority).

I have US$1, could I purchase a commercial group license for everyone now and in
the future to use OPENSUSE linux and software within.
Can I have that with a patent license too.

This should muddy the waters a bit with regard to patent infringement, I would
think. Even for the other distros.

If this is available as a shield against MS patent infringement claims almost
the entire the ethical quandary is rendered moot. Novell is back as a respected
actor in the FLOSS community.

Of course I hope that Novells lawyers allowed for this possibility in their deal
with Microsoft.

Andrew.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A question that is a little tangential to the agreement.
Authored by: veatnik on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 06:49 PM EST
A question that is a little tangential to the agreement. (but I try to tie it
in.)

(From the meeting announcement) "Technical Collaboration: Microsoft and
Novell will work together to improve interoperability between commercial and
open source software in three areas of vital importance to customers
virtualization, Web Services management, and document format
compatibility."

First question: Does work on document format compatibility include the intention
of developing compatible DRM capability?

(An answer to this could be a little interesting in seeing what the scope of
endeavor is meant to be.)

The tangential question (which is of interest to me but may not belong in this
meeting):
Considering that Copyright law is based on the concept of a quid pro quo
arrangement, that society grants protection for a time in return fo the work
moving into the public domain in the future? What effect do you think that DRM
will have upon copyright given that DRM removes the incentive given to society
to grant the protection?
Do you think that materials that have been protected using DRM as an alternative
to Copyright protection might be found by a court of law to be outside of the
Copyright grant and therefore unprotected under Copyright law?


(OK, I know it is a little complex but DRM does turn the basic copyright
agreement between society and the creator of a work upside down and distroys the
societies incentive to grant the protection. I have heard absolutely no
discussion in this area and it seems like it is time to start bringing this idea
to the table. In my opinion the creator/publisher can protect their work in any
way they wish. DRM is fine, copyright is fine. But do not ask society to grant
the copyright protection in return for nothing. If you choose to use DRM you can
forgo copyright. Conversely if you copyright you can forgo DRM (as you can seek
protection in the courts.))

What do you think? Does DRM break the quid pro quo arrangement upon which
copyright is based?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 23 2007 @ 09:26 PM EST
to Microsoft: you say you want other Linux companies to enter into no-sue
agreements like they one you now have with Novell.

But what about non-commercial distributions such as Debian? Would they have to
pay you $40 million like Novell did?

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • And? - Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 01:54 PM EST
Two more questions: ECMA 376 and MS Office, and Microsoft's intolerance of SA law
Authored by: Wesley_Parish on Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 05:31 AM EST

Firstly, again, I note that the ECMA 376 (Microsoft Office Open XML) specification makes substantial references to prior Microsoft Office products' behaviour, for example:

autoSpaceLikeWord95 (Emulate Word 95 Full Width Character Spacing) - pages 1378-1379

Now, since Microsoft has also in its EULAs, done its level best to outlaw reverse-engineering, I presume the only way that Microsoft can live up to its commitment to permit full implementation of ECMA 376 by independent ISVs, is for Microsoft to release the relevant source code sections of such products, under the template Microsoft Permissive License or the MIT X license, in order that such requirements can be fulfilled without Microsoft's customers breaking the EULAs in any way. (Customers get antsy when you attempt to get them in a double bind. Has anyone in Microsoft ever read how the Ulster hero Cuchullain met his death?)

And secondly, I have just been reading today on Multi-nationals ignore SA patent law, the interesting question:

"Does Microsoft intend to continue to break the law by filing software patents in South Africa?"
And as a citizen of Yet Another British Empire Relic Settler State, New Zealand to wit, I am extremely interested in the answer. Face it, Microsoft, people who gratuitously break the patent law in the interests of establishing a Non-Tariff Trade Barrier and a permanent Monopoly, should expect to be treated with exactly the same contempt they shower on their customers.

So, Microsoft, what is your answer? Are you happy to destroy the laws mentioned - these all-important Intellectual Property laws which protect your all-important Intellectual Property Rights you're so eager to protect?

---
finagement: The Vampire's veins and Pacific torturers stretching back through his own season. Well, cutting like a child on one of these states of view, I duck

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 03:00 PM EST
One I've already asked Novell multiple times without getting an answer:

Given that this deal covers Novell customers, which I am, how can we get a copy
of the relevant portions of the deal to see exactly what we're getting?

If we can't, what exactly is in there that you don't want to admit to?

I note that the language they've used in their press releases make it sound like
at least part of the deal is directly between Microsoft and me, regardless of my
not ever having been invited (or even allowed when I asked) to participate in
the process or see what the deal is.

So what makes Novell think they can sign a deal for me and not tell me exactly
what's in it?

And why should I continue to do business with a company that treats its
customers in such a fashion?

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Serfdom - Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 26 2007 @ 04:47 PM EST
Dan Bricklin Wants to Pick Your Brain re Novell-Microsoft Meeting - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 06:56 PM EST
To Novell

1) Whatever your compatibility with Windows, SuSE Linux will not be able to
maintain full compatibility with Linux in future due to the fact that you
won't be able to distribute GPL3 software and is not going to be able to
maintain the cutting edge. Isn't this going to be a major problem for a Linux
distribution, one that is far more serious than whatever incompatibility other
Linuxes might have with Windows?

2) You are keeping details of you agreement with Microsoft secret. Why? How can
your customer's lawyers ascertain that there are no hidden legal
landmines/liabilities within these secret agreements? For example how do they
ascertain that Novell is not violating clause 7 of GPL2 on the basis that Novell
has employed Microsoft as merely a royalty collector acting for and on behalf of
Novell and therefore acting as Novell through a series of secret agreements
involving exchange of money and rights as payment?

How are customers (and their lawyers) to check and ensure that there is no
criminal activity with regard to anti-trust law, interference with third party
business, or employment law in relation to your secret agreements?

Why aren't you making the details so that customers can judge the legality of
your products for themselves?

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.

3) If Novell Linux or other Linuxes are used in an office with Novell software
in it going to be subject to BSA/Microsoft audits on the grounds that Microsoft
has stated - that Linux violates it's IP? Will Novell be passing on any
customer information to Microsoft (whether under the terms of the secret
agreement with Microsoft or not, and whether it involves use of IP licensed by
Novell from Linux or not)?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Timing
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 11:41 AM EST
  1. Was the deal in any way sped up by the Oracle announcement?
  2. Was Microsoft's revised EC documentation for the interoperability protocols held up until they had a competitor agree that their proposed license terms are reasonable and non-discriminatory?
  3. Was the deal related to this 8-K filing, which indicates they owed a ton of cash that was due in 2024, but callable in the event they failed timely filing of reports with the SEC. Apparently that Microsoft money saved their bacon on that one, since immediately after the deal was done it was reported the money had already been paid out to debtors.
  4. How do you respond to allegations that the patent covenant imposes additional restrictions on redistribution by Novell customers and opensuse.org contributors, and therefore violates GPL version 2 section 6?

[ Reply to This | # ]

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