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FSF Corrects Novell's Steinman and a Request to End the Mystery
Monday, March 19 2007 @ 02:41 PM EDT

I couldn't believe my eyes when I read this interview with Novell's Director of Marketing, Justin Steinman. He is quoted in IT Business Edge as saying the following:
I do want to tell you that Novell is a significant financial contributor to the Free Software Foundation, as are all of the leading Linux distributors around the world....As part of that, we are one of the vendors on Committee B of the GPL v3 development community. ...

We have lawyers in the room contributing to the GPL v3 draft process, so we are in active discussions with Eben Moglen and other members of the FSF around what GPL v3 will look like. I want to make it extremely clear that Novell is committed to our Microsoft agreement, and we're committed to helping develop a version of the GPL that enables that agreement to continue.

Well. He has achieved his goal of being extremely clear. But in doing so, I would have to say he has stooped to a new low of Not-Really-Part-of-the-FOSS-Community awful. It's not the only offensive statement in that interview, but it is the most serious. Perhaps he was misquoted. Let's give him the benefit of that one doubt.

But, what matters is, is it true? Has Novell bought FSF into going along with the Novell-Microsoft patent agreement? I asked Peter Brown of FSF for a reaction and here is his statement:

Novell last gave funds to the FSF in October 2005, when they donated $5K as part of FSF Corporate Patron program. Since their deal with Microsoft was announced we have not asked them to renew as a patron, nor would we. Novell is not "a significant financial contributor to the Free Software Foundation", but what's a little exaggeration compared to their deal with Microsoft?

We remain determined to make sure that GPLv3 does not permit deals of this kind. We are now studying how to achieve this without causing unintended trouble for other industry practices.

You can verify it for yourself by going to the FSF's list of corporate patrons. Do you see Novell on the list on that page? No, you don't. Because they aren't a corporate patron currently.

Here's what I know: even if Novell gave FSF $5 million, it couldn't get what it wants. Some people are not for sale. Marketing guys might not get that concept. But there you are. Now for my request...

My Request:

May I remind Novell that it has yet to make public the full terms of the patent agreement it entered into with Microsoft? Why is Novell continuing to keep the terms secret?

Exactly what are all the exceptions, for example, referenced in the agreement but not listed or defined? After all, the fiction is that this is a patent agreement between Microsoft and Novell's paying SUSE customers, and Novell with Microsoft's customers, no? (From Novell's November 7, 2006 8K: "Under the Patent Cooperation Agreement, Microsoft commits to a covenant not to assert its patents against Novell's end-user customers for their use of Novell products and services for which Novell receives revenue directly or indirectly from such customers, with certain exceptions, while Novell commits to a covenant not to assert its patents against Microsoft's end-user customers for their use of Microsoft products and services for which Microsoft receives revenue directly or indirectly from such customers, with certain exceptions.")

Those are allegedly the parties to the agreement. My understanding is that there can be no contract without a meeting of the minds. So both sides have to know the exact terms of the contract prior to entering into it, or it's not valid. So, if I am thinking of buying SUSE, what are the terms? When do we get to know them fully? It seems to me that it isn't enough for Novell to know, if customers don't know, if they are allegedly parties to this agreement.

For that matter, doesn't Novell have to file this information with the SEC at some point? All it would take is an 8K or a correction to the one it already filed back when the deal was announced. Don't shareholders have a right to understand this agreement?

As another example, exactly what do customers receive when they get one of those vouchers from Microsoft? I've read a number of things, support, updates, but what is the truth? What do you get? What are the terms? If any of you have one or have seen one of the vouchers, please scan it in and send it to me or email me and tell me what you've read. Why should this all be so mysterious and secretive?

How about it, Novell? When do we get to read it all, both the full patent agreements -- with the exceptions -- and the vouchers' terms?


  


FSF Corrects Novell's Steinman and a Request to End the Mystery | 409 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
off topic thread
Authored by: attila_the_pun on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 03:48 PM EDT
Off topic comments here please

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections thread
Authored by: attila_the_pun on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 03:50 PM EDT
Corrections in the title, please, e.g. Wales -> Whales

[ Reply to This | # ]

So the statement was intended for ...?
Authored by: Latesigner on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 04:06 PM EDT
Who does Novell think would want (need?) this sort of reassurance?
Will they have to tell the SEC what the real deal is?
And if they do can we get a copy?


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

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft-Novell agreement is not a contract with the customers
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 04:11 PM EDT
After all, the fiction is that this is a patent agreement between Microsoft and Novell's paying SUSE customers, no? Those are allegedly the two parties to the agreement. My understanding is that there can be no contract without a meeting of the minds. So both sides have to know the exact terms of the contract prior to entering into it, or it's not valid.

I don't think that is the fiction. The agreement purports to be a covenant not to sue SUSE customers. That's not a contract to which the customers are a party.

[ Reply to This | # ]

My Concern
Authored by: tinkerghost on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 04:15 PM EDT
<blockquote>We remain determined to make sure that GPLv3 does not permit
deals of this kind. We are now studying how to achieve this without causing
unintended trouble for other industry practices.</blockquote>
While I knew that they would try for this, those unintended consequences have
been my biggest concern since RMS & EM said they would work a prohibition
into d3.
I would be happier if d3 wasn't still referred to as the 'last draft', and if
they would release some comment on how V2 & V3 incompatibility is going to
be addressed. I guess those questions should be answered in the next couple of
weeks when they finally release the draft.

---
You patented WHAT?!?!?!

[ Reply to This | # ]

What is the secret? It's secret.
Authored by: SpaceLifeForm on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 04:24 PM EDT
Simple. The Microsoft-Novell FUD agreement is just
that, a FUD agreement. There are no patents of concern
that would matter. But, if that truth were to come out,
the Microsoft-Novell FUD agreement would be seen to
be what it is: worthless.

They have to keep it secret to maximize the FUD.


---

You are being MICROattacked, from various angles, in a SOFT manner.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell has actually done it.
Authored by: pallmall on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 04:48 PM EDT
When I first read the article from the news picks, I couldn't believe it. Novell was saying "we pay the FSF, so we expect them to give us what we want." I was thinking that all may be lost -- had the FSF started eating bugs for money?

Fortunately, that is not the case. What is clear, however, is that Novell has actually turned into a lying, sleazy company, and is using microsoftesque FUD tactics in their operations. I wouldn't be surprised if Novell started suing other Linux distros.

That's too bad, but on the bright side, the FSF (and PJ, too!) is still out there fighting for the community.

---
Groklaw! -- If I had better things to do, I'd still be doing this.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Relax - be healthy
Authored by: ralevin on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 05:18 PM EDT
PJ,
I will suggest that the comments of a marketing guy are not worth getting
excited about. It's not worth any backsliding in your health.

[ Reply to This | # ]

FSF Corrects Novell's Steinman and a Request to End the Mystery
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 05:19 PM EDT
"I do want to tell you that Novell is a significant financial contributor
to the Free Software Foundation....

"We have lawyers in the room contributing to the GPL v3 draft process, so
we are in active discussions with Eben Moglen and other members of the FSF
around what GPL v3 will look like.."

I know that the FSF has indicated to you that these statements (as well as
others) by this Steinman character are falsehoods but have they attempted to
refute them in IT Business Edge and any other media this may have been
circulated to?

Stevieboy

[ Reply to This | # ]

The agreement needs to be changed
Authored by: stites on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 05:35 PM EDT

Novell is trying very hard to get the Microsoft-Novell agreement accepted by the Open Source community. In the process they are in danger of isolating themselves completely from the rest of the Open Source community. Novell needs to start exploring ways to reconcile the problems in the Microsoft-Novell agreement with the outrage of the rest of the community rather than fighting that outrage tooth and nail. In the original article Steinman is quoted as saying:

"I want to make it extremely clear that Novell is committed to our Microsoft agreement, and we're committed to helping develop a version of the GPL that enables that agreement to continue."

Well Novell is not going to get a version of the GPL that enables the Microsoft-Novell agreement to continue. I suggest that Novell start working on a version of the Microsoft-Novell agreement which is acceptable to the Open Source community. Notice that I did not say to create a version of the Microsoft-Novell agreement which manages to find a loophole in any version of the GPL that it encounters.

So what do we want changed in the Microsoft-Novell agreement? Different people have different lists of what they want changed in the Microsoft-Novell agreement. I think that two changes that appear on everybody's list are:

    Novell must not pay any money to Microsoft for patent royalties on Open Source code. We have no interest in agreements concerning proprietary code. So we would want to see that the contract says that all money paid, if any, is payment for protecting Novell's proprietary code. Trust but verify and all that.

    Any software patent protection covenants issued by Microsoft must be all or none. Either every Open Source developer, distribution, and user is protected equally and completely by the covenants or else no protection is offered to anybody. We are so wary of Microsoft's habit of living by the letter of the law while violating the intent of the law that it will be much easier to delete any reference to patent protection in the agreement than to create a universal agreement acceptable to all of the Open Source community.

Many people in Open Source object to Microsoft funding Novell's development of Open Source code. However we can handle that by selectively rejecting the offered code. The agreement does not necessarily need to be changed but it would sure help keep the discussion realistic if we knew exactly what the agreement says.

Novell was wrong to negotiate an agreement about Open Source legal protection which only applies to themselves when the Open Souce code is owned by a community of people and companies. Novell is only part owner of the code to which they tried to negotiate themselves into an advantageous marketing position. The first Microsoft and Novell press announcements about the agreement said that Microsoft was subsidizing Novell sales in order to pressure Red Hat into paying software patent royalties to Microsoft. We object strongly to Red Hat paying software patent royalties to Microsoft. If the Microsoft-Novell agreement is changed to where all Open Source developers, distributors, and users receive equal legal protection then the pressure on Red Hat will disappear.

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

[ Reply to This | # ]

FSF Corrects Novell's Steinman and a Request to End the Mystery
Authored by: ExcludedMiddle on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 05:38 PM EDT
The exceptions and details would be interesting. But let's not forget the king
of all mysteries for this agreement: Which MS patents do they assert against
Linux? That's probably not in this agreement at all. It's probably generally
said to be all "with these exceptions...."

They'll never tell, of course. It's not in their interest to do so.



[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell clarifies its reputation
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 05:44 PM EDT

Novell is a significant financial contributor to the Free Software Foundation (etc etc)

Novell's Marketing Director has achieved one thing: everybody now knows that Novell lies. There were, I believe, still a few people who were giving it the benefit of some doubt.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell developing Ballmer-like behavioural traits
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 06:01 PM EDT
We remain determined to make sure that GPLv3 does not permit deals of this kind. We are now studying how to achieve this without causing unintended trouble for other industry practices.

The Microsoft secret deal seems to have gone to Novell's head. Novell seems to be getting every bit as arrogant as Microsoft. It is a good thing there weren't any chairs around.

The plain fact of the matter is that is not down to Novell but the authors of the GPLed code, to decide what license they choose their code. I don't see why Novell should seek to redistribute the code under GPL3 if they don't like it. They can always negotiate with the authors of the code for a proprietary license more to their liking if they want to.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Worth asking again. Is this what Novell really meant to say?. If I may be so BOLD!
Authored by: SirHumphrey on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 06:19 PM EDT
I do want to tell you that Novell, as a significant financial contributor to the Free Software Foundation, has lawyers in the room, to make it extremely clear that Novell is committed to our Microsoft agreement, and we're committed to developing a version of the GPL that enables that agreement to continue.

[ Reply to This | # ]

If Novell were to get their desired version...
Authored by: Tyro on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 06:26 PM EDT
If Novell were to get their desired version of the GPL, then I would begin using
the prior draft version of the GPL3. I do not find their attitude acceptable.

Also, I have removed SuSE from my system, and also removed mono from the other
distributions. I hope fervently that people are no longer accepting code from
Novell into FOSS projects, at least without legally binding commitments making
them liable for all costs of defending it against MS patent claims.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell's rep sounded...
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 06:31 PM EDT

... just a bit snotty there, didn't he. "Well, we donated money so you have to bend over backwards and accomodate our needs!"

Sorry, guys, but it doesn't work that way. I'm betting that you worked for a large software vendor (or you were a lobbyist) before you joined Novell. And maybe that's the way it was done at your previous employer. But vendors who wish to work in the OSS space and be good citizens need to understand the rules of working in that arena. Now maybe it's just me, but it appears that you do not yet understand this.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • 5000$ thats all? - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 09:55 PM EDT
Novell vs Red Hat
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 06:47 PM EDT
The more you look at Novell's behavior, the more you appreciate Red Hat.

Red Hat may make business decisions we don't like but they have not taken any of
tap dance around the GPL just so they can do business for profit.

Red Hat gets my vote over Novell any day. Twice on Sunday.

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Microsofts Patent Pledge for Individual Contributors to openSUSE.org" is unchanged
Authored by: leopardi on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 07:01 PM EDT
"Microsoft’s Patent Pledge for Individual Contributors to openSUSE.org" remains posted to Microsoft's web site. I thought that Novell was supposed to be working with Microsoft to change this pledge to make it more acceptable to developers?

See my comments on this pledge posted to the opensuse-amd64 mailing list, my reply to a posting on Groklaw and a comment by Andreas Jaeger.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why would they sue customers
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 07:19 PM EDT
Why would either company sue the customers for patent infringment. It's the
company that did the infringing.

This all about fud and nothing else.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Doctrine of Latches - any lawyers please check me
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 09:10 PM EDT
If I understand correctly the Doctrine of Latches, which does specifically apply
to patents, says roughly:

If someone becomes aware that their rights are being infringed in some way, yet
fails to take timely action against that infringement ("unduly
delays"), they are generally deemed to have waived said rights.

So submarine patents only work if the plaintiff walks into court and says,
hand-on-heart, that they only just realized last week (to their shock and
horror, naturally) that the defendant was infringing on their patent.

Microsoft appear to be saying, in their covenant with Novell, that they won't
sue Novell's Linux customers if they (M$) just so happen to stumble upon some
Microsoft patent that Linux allegedly infringes on somewhere down the line.

Which would be fine except that Steve Ballmer is widely reported as saying in a
speech in Seattle, in November last year:

"Microsoft had been motivated to sign a deal with SuSE Linux distributor
Novell earlier this month because Linux `uses our intellectual property' and
Microsoft wanted to `get the appropriate economic return for our shareholders
from our innovation.'"

Now I don't know what case law exists to define "undue delay" with
respect to latches. But I figure that Mr Ballmer's speech must set some sort of
clock running, after which it becomes a "you didn't put up, so shut
up" deal.

I wonder if the timeout is maybe 5 years - same as the life of the Novell
covenant? Just a thought.


[ Reply to This | # ]

*Director of Marketing* enough said dont you think?
Authored by: SilverWave on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 09:42 PM EDT
heh heh... couldn't resist :D

---
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 | # ]

FSF Corrects Novell's Steinman and a Request to End the Mystery
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 10:03 PM EDT
My God! A Marketing Guy who LIES!? What is the world coming to? <ow! my
tongue is hurting my cheek>

[ Reply to This | # ]

GPL3 needs to clearly state....
Authored by: bigbert on Monday, March 19 2007 @ 10:09 PM EDT
.... that ANY attempt to try and torpedo the INTENTION of the license will make
the license null and void. The intent is share and share alike, as embodied by
the Four Freedoms. If any party tries to get cute with it, the the GPL
automatically reverts back to the copyright of all the individual authors.

We need to make it clear to the people that we will not be trifled with.

---

--------------------------
Surfus, ergo sum.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • OT: Your sig - Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 20 2007 @ 03:57 AM EDT
    • OT: Your sig - Authored by: PJ on Tuesday, March 20 2007 @ 09:34 AM EDT
FSF Corrects Novell's Steinman and a Request to End the Mystery
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 20 2007 @ 05:10 AM EDT
"I've read a number of things, support, updates, but what is the truth?
What do you get?"

The promise that our partner won't ride a truck into the stores if you are a
customer, and we'll offer the same promise to our partner's customers.

[ Reply to This | # ]

SEC notification
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 20 2007 @ 05:23 AM EDT
I wouldn't think any notification to the SEC would be needed in this case.
Companies make deals with other companies every day and they're under no
obligation to reveal any of the details of it to the SEC or their investors.
This applies to the details of the deal that are non-financial. If the the
company is expecting to make money off this deal or lose money off this deal,
they are required to notify investors in their quarterly filing. Some do so in
press releases ahead of time but that's merely a courtesy or a hopeful attempt
to get stock price up on good fuzzy feelings.

Where SEC notification would be required is if they have had a substantial
change to their financials they have not reported at the quarterly mark. If they
need to go back and alter those, then yes, the SEC would have to know of the
change. This doesn't keep them out of hot water, but like criminal litigation,
you tend to see prosecutors (the SEC here) go easier on those who turn
themselves in as opposed to getting busted in an investigation.

The concept of stock (and it's regulation under the SEC) is that you are a part
owner of the company that has a very limited say in what the company does. You
do this in return for dividend payout or increase in stock value. You can vote
on who is on the board (though your vote is so small it usually means nothing
compared to institutional investors) but you have no say in what the board does
on a day to day basis. You don't have a right to walk in the door saying 'I own
stock so you people have to do what I say.'

Stock is a financial arrangement and communication to you is generally reserved
to those types of notices. A quarterly filing, as you'll notice from reading
countless SCO filings, contains information they state is forward looking.
They're responsible for the accuracy of none of it. If you don't like the info
the company gives to it's shareholders in order for you to make an informed
decsion in it's dealings, that would be a stock to stay away from. Even the
really good companies, such as IBM, will only put out press releases in regards
to partnerships or contracts gained etc. No details of those agreements ever see
the light of day for an investor or the SEC unless it relates to numbers up or
down.

[ Reply to This | # ]

We don't need GPL3
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 20 2007 @ 05:32 AM EDT
Like Linus Torvalds said, this GPL v3 brouhaha is full of dirty political games,
and thanks God, Linux kernel will never be relicensed under it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

List of corporate patrons
Authored by: reddsman on Tuesday, March 20 2007 @ 06:27 AM EDT
Interesting that I don't see Redhat, Ubuntu, Mandriva, nor Debian on the list of
corporate patrons either.

I would think Eben Moglen has seen that entire agreement including the
exceptions. Didn't Novell let Mr. Moglen see the agreement to make sure the
current GPL was not violated? I don't remember if he had to sign a NDA.

[ Reply to This | # ]

FSF Corrects Novell's Steinman and a Request to End the Mystery
Authored by: cc0028 on Tuesday, March 20 2007 @ 06:41 AM EDT
I have just emailed Novell (crc@novell.com) as follows:

I have just read this interview:

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/item/?ci=24987

and the comments on it at Groklaw:

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070317032834650

Perhaps you could take some time to explain why you might think that the Groklaw comments are unfair. In particular, are the following comments true:

  • Novell last gave funds to the FSF in October 2005, when they donated $5K as part of FSF Corporate Patron program
  • Since their deal with Microsoft was announced [the FSF] have not asked them to renew as a patron
  • Novell is not, currently, a corporate patron of the FSF
I would also be grateful to hear from you, when you intend to publish the full terms of your agreement with Microsoft, since they are said to affect customers buying your SUSE Linux products.

As a customer of SuSE and Novell since SuSE Linux 6.4, I think I have a right to know these things in order to make up my mind about buying Novell/SUSE products in the future.

Peter

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell: SCO respawned?!!
Authored by: KiTaSuMbA on Tuesday, March 20 2007 @ 07:18 AM EDT
Now that the copyright infringement and the GPL-is-cancer frigates have been so
"tragically" sunk and given the latest ill news from the monopoly
fronts with governments and ministries worldwide issuing
anti-VISTA/IE7/Office2007 bans and Google making decisive inroads in their turf,
it appears MS is preparing the ground for a probable "nuclear war"
with patent warheads. I can't say I'm surprised... We all thought it was
possible since at least a couple of years ago, when it was already clear for
every sane person that SCO's whining had no relation to the truth and would
ultimately fail.

What does come as a surprise is that MS has again found a new proxy to wage its
FUD war, and what a convenient one too! If (when) SCO sinks in the "who
owns the Unix code" dispute, MS has already engaged with the winner of that
conflict! How OBTUSE can a managerial PHB actually be? Apparently the sky is the
limit... How hard is it to understand that getting at odds with your
_prospective_ customers will eventually kill your company? Caldera went from a
promising linux company (and prospering enough to buy out most of the Santa Cruz
operations) to a whining zombie with no prospective market that is today SCO.

I AM surprised that with all of Novell's involvement in the SCO fight, some
idiot on a leather chair thinks that the "long-haired smellies" will
gather under a licensing umbrella rather than tear it to pieces and burn it to
the ground. Caldera ignored the gathering sentiment over the net well before it
became outspokenly anti-linux, when they first announced planning a per-seat
license for their linux distro. Is Novell going to ignore the linux users'
disgust over their treacherous agreement? Their latest financial report showed
that while bleeding dollars on vintage technology their linux business was
actually on the rise. But WHO will now buy SLES/SLED? Even more importantly, WHO
will recommend it to their bosses? Suddenly the "no lock in" advantage
of Open Source seems not to be so guaranteed and adamant if you go with
Novell... What happens if they assert sometime later that while Linux is Free,
you need a per-seat license for use of Mono due to patent-licensing issues?
What happens if, due to this agreement, Novell starts assisting the monopoly by
providing locked-down interoperation technology while MS or some other cronie of
its own starts hunting down on Open Source alternatives? Suddenly an "MS
SuSE Linux" ten years down the road doesn't seem too obvious a joke to not
be eligible for April's fool. Are we facing the ultimate "Embrace and
Destroy" attack?

I can GUARANTEE to these fools that should they keep trying to avoid the tide of
anger of the community with slimy market-speak, their linux related revenue WILL
DROP in the months to come. People are already thinking that RedHat for all its
errors and bully attitude has been to-date far more honest and true to the cause
than these back-stabbing PHBs that simply "don't get it". And how
about paying Canonical instead? Ubuntu and its twins (kubuntu, xubuntu etc.)
have made mile-long jumps in quality lately and the thriving community is an
extra assurance. The SCO story can even be a positive reinforcement for an
aggressive anti-Novell attitude in the market: "Why pay the bully when you
can through him out of the playground? We have done it before!" The Novell
guys should also keep in mind that migrating from another OS to Linux and back
is not the same as jumping from one distro to another even for established
enterprise networks. The latter can be acheived fairly easy and painlessly given
a few witty admins either within the enterprise or offered by the new software
provider.

We as a community should give these guys a harsh warning. And, should they
insist on their current trend, strike first well before this gets really ugly.
Who needs another SCO saga? PJ for one would be better off not having to
continuously post shooting down bogus claims AGAIN. While we are not on the
company's board to have a direct say on this one, we ARE their customers and
should be respected accordingly! And NO, trying to force stuff down our throats
"for our own good" is no way of showing respect whatsoever...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Doomsday Scenario for Novell
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 20 2007 @ 08:07 AM EDT
GPLV3 will lock Novell into maintaining a fork of important
dev tools (gcc, java, gdb).
Novell will be forced to fork Samba when it goes GPLV3.
There may even be a community-driven effort to build a C#
and .Net stack on top of gcc tech, which would be much
faster-moving and bleeding-edge than Novell's Mono.
The GPLV3'ed .Net stack would become the upstream source
for all distros and gather even more contributors and Mono
becomes irrelevant.
Novell, in order to keep any foothold at all in the
"GNU/Linux" market will have to further enslave itself
to MS for compiler technology (Linux port of VisualStudio),
database technology (Linux port of MS SQL Server),
integration and interoperability (Linux port of Active
Directory and MS's implementation of SMB).
Novell will be completely beggared and irrevocably tied
to Microsoft with licensing deals and will be despised
by the accellerating FLOSS distros.
Its dev tools will be the next Kylix.
Its interoperability with other Linux distros will be that
of Microsoft; Samba will continue to track it mercilessly.
Its database will be the next Ingres.
[Rant over, thanks for reading]

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One Last Time *sigh*
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 20 2007 @ 09:53 AM EDT
Has Novell bought FSF into going along with the Novell-Microsoft patent agreement?

I've disagreed with the Groklaw community (not to be confused with the F/OSS community) from day one on this one, and will continue to, so the best course of action for me is probably just to ignore these stories as they come up, and focus on learning more about the legal process through the coverage of the IBM and Novell cases.

But when I see a (deliberate?) misunderstanding of what was said, I'll tilt the windmill one last time.

The quoted statements don't say the FSF agrees. At all. They don't say that the FSF is going along with Novell on this.

It says Novell WANTS them to. From the Marketing guy. Big difference.

You could just as easily run a quote from RedHat saying that the RedHat marketing guy is committed to working with Vendor X on publishing the specs to their hardware so the community can write a driver. The marketing guy wants to, but the vendor can still ignore them.

Really, I appreciate the righteous indignation from people who have downloaded SUSE for free and now have removed that from their system. Which makes no difference to anyone.

I would be interested in hearing about businesses of substantial size (say, 100+ employees) who have turned off their support contracts with Novell on SUSE because of the patent agreement. That's what makes the difference. If Novell's paying customers all defected, you better believe Novell will listen.

Novell is doing poorly, financially. They lost money in 2006 and are continuing to lose money in 2007. Margins and revenue are slipping. Their beta is very high and they have more debt than their competitors. They are looking for a way out of their mess. The cash cow is dead (Netware) and they are looking for a new business model.

They made a deal with the devil that will not pay off in the long run. But managers aren't compensated for the long run, they are paid to maintain quarterly numbers. If NOVL can turn an annual profit based on MS money, they will. They have no alternative. Embracing the community hasn't been putting money in the bank, with fierce competition for revenue from Redhat and mindshare from Ubuntu.

NOVL is owned by institutions at a much higher rate than their industry, sector, or the market as a whole. Fund Managers don't give a rip about community commitment - only about putting numbers up on the board.

I suspect if someone could paint NOVL a path to financial success that didn't involve the patent agreement, they would jump. So far, no one has done that that I'm aware of.

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Other leading Linux developers, including Andrew Morton, James E.J. Bottomley, Greg Kroah-Hartma
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 20 2007 @ 10:39 AM EDT
Say they plan to reject current drafts. from linux watch article. My concern is
the divide this is causing. There may be a GPL3 that address MS Novell, but
what about others who want to stay with GPL 2? I think there is an internal
stalemate of sorts. What is the reason for these guys to hold out on GPL3? I
can't understand.

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First tSCOg and The Novell
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 20 2007 @ 11:14 AM EDT
First tSCOg and The Novell

As I have said before, I just cannot understand that when Caldara first bought
out the SCO Unix business and then changed their name to tSCOg that they did not
trumpet themselves as the as the Linux company with the SCO Unix pedigree. That
their version of Linux and their support personnel come from the long and
trusted Unix System V bloodline. Instead the did what they did.

Now you have Novell, who is also now a Linux company and as chance would have it
may also be the real owners of the System V IP, also have a tradition of
supporting and working with Unix System V. Why if they wanted to differentiate
their version of Linux did they not start trumpeting the fact that only they
have the quality and experience of the System V pedigree available to their
version of Linux.

The middle managers would have loved it Novell could possible be leading the
pack.

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Interesting that GL hasn't reported this...
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, March 25 2007 @ 12:53 AM EDT
http://www.novell.com/prblogs/?p=305

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