decoration decoration
Stories

GROKLAW
When you want to know more...
decoration
For layout only
Home
Archives
Site Map
Search
About Groklaw
Awards
Legal Research
Timelines
ApplevSamsung
ApplevSamsung p.2
ArchiveExplorer
Autozone
Bilski
Cases
Cast: Lawyers
Comes v. MS
Contracts/Documents
Courts
DRM
Gordon v MS
GPL
Grokdoc
HTML How To
IPI v RH
IV v. Google
Legal Docs
Lodsys
MS Litigations
MSvB&N
News Picks
Novell v. MS
Novell-MS Deal
ODF/OOXML
OOXML Appeals
OraclevGoogle
Patents
ProjectMonterey
Psystar
Quote Database
Red Hat v SCO
Salus Book
SCEA v Hotz
SCO Appeals
SCO Bankruptcy
SCO Financials
SCO Overview
SCO v IBM
SCO v Novell
SCO:Soup2Nuts
SCOsource
Sean Daly
Software Patents
Switch to Linux
Transcripts
Unix Books
Your contributions keep Groklaw going.
To donate to Groklaw 2.0:

Groklaw Gear

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


Contact PJ

Click here to email PJ. You won't find me on Facebook Donate Paypal


User Functions

Username:

Password:

Don't have an account yet? Sign up as a New User

No Legal Advice

The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

Here's Groklaw's comments policy.


What's New

STORIES
No new stories

COMMENTS last 48 hrs
No new comments


Sponsors

Hosting:
hosted by ibiblio

On servers donated to ibiblio by AMD.

Webmaster
Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell? - Updated 2Xs
Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 07:53 AM EDT

Linux-Watch had the news first:
According to sources, Dell will be selling SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server) certificates, which it will obtain from Microsoft. As part of the Novell/Microsoft deal, Microsoft received 75,000 SLES licenses.

[Emphasis added by me.]

From Microsoft? The Direct2Dell blog confirms that indeed Dell will buy the certificates from Microsoft, not from Novell. Why? Why not directly from Novell?

First, Novell and Microsoft told us that they did the deal because customers were demanding it. Remember that? At the joint press announcement on November 2nd, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer told us, "The impetus from this event really comes from our customers." Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian said the same thing. Dell is saying the same thing. It's all about customer demand.

Yet Microsoft, after six months, still has so many certificates in hand with no takers that it will be Dell's supplier? What might that indicate, that Dell has to find customers for those certificates? The comments on that blog are 100% negative so far.

If you'd like to hear them tell you again how it's all about the customers, there is now a Novell-Microsoft "Interoperability Webinar" you can sign up for. Or, if you prefer to read about how they are being driven by customer demand, here's a summary [PDF] of the 2007 Open Source Think Tank conference held in March, where Novell's Justin Steinman and Microsoft's Sam Ramji defended the deal. You'll find the conference described in more detail on Business Review Online's Open Source Weblog, which is where I found it.

[ Update: Check out the partial video from the Think Tank conference. Ramji, asked whether Microsoft has IP in Linux, answers by mentioning all forms of the usual IP, but then he mentions "cloning" issues.]

Both men mention those clamoring customers who have not yet bought up all of Microsoft certificates but who are allegedly driving this deal.

Steinman says something else, that Novell found it necessary to sign the patent peace because Novell required "sanctioned access to Microsoft's code in order to develop open source interoperability without violating MSFT's IP." Yoohoo, EU Commission, are you listening?

By the way, precisely what IP would that be? Could someone tell us what Microsoft patents are allegedly involved? It seems Novell must know if Steinman makes such a statement. It can't just be some vague "maybe there might be some someday" kind of thing. You can't sell vague notions, can you? If Microsoft really has a leg to stand on, why not tell us like a man?

Oh, and are the Microsoft patents affected by the recent US Supreme Court ruling on obviousness? You don't know? Then why are you signing? Maybe that's why mostly folks are not interested in Microsoft's certificates.

Might there be an additional possible explanation for why Dell will be getting certificates from Microsoft instead of from Novell? Consider this: Recently FSF's Brett Smith said this on Groklaw about Microsoft and those certificates in answer to a reader question:

The deal between Microsoft and Novell also includes some marketing cooperation. Microsoft provides coupons for SUSE to companies, who then go to Novell to redeem the coupons and get their copy of the software. Those coupons procure the conveyance of lots of free software.

Our lawyers have seen the terms of the deal under NDA—unfortunately, they're still secret—but they're confident that Microsoft is already conveying GPLed software under this agreement. The coupons are the most direct proof; there is some other evidence to support that idea as well.

So, is it possible Microsoft just wants to get out of the SLES certificates business quick, most specifically before GPLv3 is final?

Update 2: Matthew Aslett at BusinessWire Online has followed up with Mr. Steinman at Novell, asking for confirmation that the quotation about needing sanctioned access to Microsoft's code is accurate. He reports a lengthy confirmatory response from Steinman, including this segment:

“Since we announced the Novell-Microsoft agreement in November, we've always said that the intellectual property agreement provided a foundation for the interoperability between Windows and SUSE Linux Enterprise. This foundation falls into two primary categories: 1) the "covenant not to sue," which provides customers with peace of mind when they deploy SUSE Linux Enterprise; and 2) the IP access necessary for the technical collaboration to deliver interoperability between Windows and Linux. For better or worse, the community and press at-large have focused on #1, although Novell has talked about both categories since we signed the agreement....

But in order to deliver the interoperability between Novell eDirectory and Microsoft Active Directory, as well as the bidirectional virtualization between Windows and SUSE Linux Enterprise, Novell required sanctioned access to Microsoft's code in order to develop open source interoperability without violating Microsoft's intellectual property.

I don't remember them saying that. Does that sound like the Microsoft patents involve Linux in any way? Or is he saying that they needed to have a "legal" way to look at and work with Microsoft's code? If that doesn't scare you away from Novell code, incidentally, knowing that they are looking at Microsoft's proprietary code, I can't help you. But notice in the video that Microsoft's guy spoke about laws regarding cloning, as well as copyright law and trade secret law. Think about some of the allegations in the SCO litigation, and extrapolate.

Aslett notices that the current story doesn't seem to match the earlier announcements about what the patent agreement was for. He is unable to find any earlier reference to the patent agreement having anything to do with access to Microsoft code. They told us, as I remember it, that there was no agreement between Microsoft and Novell, did they not? That this patent agreement was between Microsoft and SUSE paying end users directly. The interoperability, I thought, was something else. Now it seems there is some confusion. As Aslett points out, in the Novell FAQ, it stated:

“The patent agreement does not cover the development activities of Novell or Microsoft, and Novell has no plans to changes it development policies relating to patents.”

So which is true? Is this a patent license between the companies or not? You can find links to all the press releases and documents involved in this agreement on Groklaw's permanent Novell-Microsoft Deal page. Perhaps if enough eyeballs look through everything, we can find out if there were any earlier hints that the patent deal in any way had to do with interoperability work and/or was some kind of agreement between the two companies, as opposed to each company and the other's end users.

Further, a reader wrote to Novell and asked why Dell is buying vouchers from Microsoft and not Novell. Here is their answer, from Kevan Barney in the PR department:

There are several reasons Dell is buying the coupons from Microsoft. First, like all the certificates, these certificates are going to be used in mixed Windows-Linux environments and as incentives to get customers to buy more Windows by offering Linux as part of the package. So Microsoft sees value in providing Dell the SUSE Linux Enterprise certificates to promote more adoption of Windows. Second, Microsoft and Novell both felt it was important to get validation of this agreement by an independent systems vendor, and the best way for Dell to show support was to actually purchase certificates. The certificates are a unique offering that Novell created specifically for the Microsoft agreement, and thus it was important for Dell to consume the certificates as a symbol of their support for our agreement.

We learn some things from this. First, that the vouchers are not for SUSE Linux alone. They are for the two operating systems together. They are promoting a mixed environment, offering Linux as an inducement for folks to buy more Microsoft. What is Novell thinking? Second, I see no reason why Dell couldn't endorse the agreement by getting vouchers from Novell just as Microsoft did, so both could be involved in pushing them. Third, Dell is a "consumer" of the vouchers, he says. In what sense? They seem more a conduit to me. I thought about that a while before I realized what this might mean. I will follow up, but I guess they are consuming because of who is left holding the bag if no one wants to buy any vouchers. If Dell can sell them to others, fine and dandy for them, but Microsoft got paid, I guess, by Dell. I'll try to find out if Microsoft sold all its vouchers or if it will be selling any more in the future. But it sort of sounds like Dell has taken on the original Microsoft role. If there are no further consumers of these vouchers, they belong to Dell.

And this all raises yet another question in my mind. If Dell is the consumer, it can't pass along a patent peace. At least that is what they earlier told us about end users, that the patent peace isn't something that can pass downstream. So are Dell customers actually covered by the patent peace? How do we know for sure? If the patent peace is between Microsoft and paying SUSE end users, but they can't pass along the peace treaty, how can Dell pass that peace to anybody if it is the paying end user that bought all the vouchers? And if they can, can any other consumer of a voucher do so too?

This whole thing is getting more and more peculiar.

PS: Then there is the issue of how much can one believe a company's PR department. I found this funny, Rupert Goodwin's Profile at ZDNet, where he gives some advice to PR people I thought you might enjoy:

Dear PR - The probability of a successful pitch can be calculated by the following handy formula applied to the details of your client's latest wheeze.

3NT x 4UP x 2BI x 5EAI
----------------------------- = P(copy)
3M^3 x 2ACE x 10L

Where NT = New Technology, UP = Unique Product, BI = Beer Involved, EAI = Engineers Available for Interview, M = Marketing Managers, EMEA or Mornings, ACE = Already Covered Elsewhere (ie, your American brethren have already spilled the beans) and L = the word Leading or Leader in the first para of the press release.


  


Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell? - Updated 2Xs | 574 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections here please, if any are needed
Authored by: tiger99 on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 08:07 AM EDT
To assist PJ

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 08:07 AM EDT
Microsoft's got their own Linux, though covertly it seems.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Well it was probably cheaper.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 08:08 AM EDT
Microsoft bought loads wholesale, now they are selling below the price SUSE
would sell to Dell at. From Dell's point of view they are buying a commodity
from the lowest bid supplier, a company they already have a trading relationship
with. Quite what they are buying is anyone's guess. I will buy a Dell with
Ubuntu when they come out, I won't touch a Microsoft tainted certificate of
anything.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off topic here please
Authored by: tiger99 on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 08:09 AM EDT
Interesting things not directly connected with the parent article should go
here. Please make clickable links where possible.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell?
Authored by: ITReporter on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 08:30 AM EDT
Well, MS wants to get rid of those certificates pronto naturally, not because of
GPLv3 coming, but because by now they have a serious case of dermatitis from
touching all those horrible free software thingies. The sooner they can put
that part of the deal behind them, the better they like it. It's the price they
knew they would have to pay for being able to spread all the FUD they now can,
apart from a few hundred million $ of course. Novell was just overcome with
greed when they closed this putrid deal as they thought it would give them an
edge over their competitors.<p>What is happening now? It appears that the
edge is part of a double-sided blade and in the long run they will have gained
nothing, and alienated the whole open source community in the process. And,
because Dell was going to sell Ubuntu, steveb probably threw all his toys out of
the pram and insisted Michael would buy some Linux from him as
well.<p>Interesting times...

---
---------
Only two things in life are infinite, the stupidity of mankind and the universe.
And I'm not certain about the latter.
Albert Einstein

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 08:33 AM EDT
The Dell/Microsoft deal has muddied the whole Linux on Dell program. When it
was first announced that Dell was going to install Linux (Ubuntu) on some of
their computers, I was ready to buy one just to support an OEM installing Linux
even though I have just recently purchased a new laptop which had Vista
installed (I immediately partioned off 25G and installed Ubuntu 6.06 LTS).
Dell's deal with Microsoft makes the whole thing suspect. Right now, I am
undecided.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell?
Authored by: philc on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 08:41 AM EDT
It really very simple. Ballmer said "Microsoft sells Windows. It doesn't
sell Linux". (I saw this in a news article but I can't find it now). He
needs to unload them.

Dell and Microsoft are having "relationship" problems over Dell's move
to Linux. This may be a way for Dell to placate Microsoft (and let Microsoft
make some money off Linux).

The Microsoft/Novell deal is a patent deal. Everything else is just noise.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell?
Authored by: mikes on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 08:44 AM EDT
Haven't hardware vendors historically complained that MS licenses prevent them
from giving any discount for a Windows delete? Microsoft's assumption has always
been that they own the world, so hardware vendors must license Windows for every
PC they sell. Maybe that's changed since their monopoly conviction.

By going through MS for the Linux licenses, this may be a way for Dell to offer
lower costs, because it allows Microsoft to monitor the non-Windows sales. i.e.
Dell ships "x" computers and "x" equals Win licenses plus
Linux licenses.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 08:49 AM EDT
Dumb move by MS. As long as they kept the vouchers and never ever gave or sold
any of them, they were not distributing Linux. Now they have distributed it to
Dell once or 75.000 times and now MS is bound by GPL just like SCO is.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 08:49 AM EDT
Could it be that the "customers" about whom Steve was talking were
Dell et. al.?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell?
Authored by: hamstring on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 08:52 AM EDT
Has anyone seen one of these certificates or the EULA that is tagged along with
them? Microsoft never does anything without self serving reason, and I can not
see that this would be any different.

I do not like the over purchased theory, as Microsoft has been known to trash
assets in order to maintain monopoly. In the case of people moving away from
their monopoly with Linux, there would have to be a catch.

I have been buying Sun AMD systems with RedHat (we have moved roughly 400
systems from M$ or Solaris to Linux, and mostly the M$). I'm not saying that
either of those companies are perfect.. but I won't even entertain the idea of
purchasing Dell hardware with M$ tainted Linux. I'll stick with Sun/RedHat.

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

[ Reply to This | # ]

When will certificates be offered to protect M$ users from patent violations?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 08:54 AM EDT
It certainly seems a better business opportunity.
Wouldn't that be a wonderful unexpected consequence!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell?
Authored by: eskild on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 08:55 AM EDT
How many SLES certificates did M$ get from Novell?
How many server systems do Dell sell per year, sum of all O/S options?

Does those coupon provide anything of value to a Dell server costumer?

Will the coupons make a sales sequence Novell-M$-Dell-end_user a more attractive
to Dell than RHAT-Dell-end_user?

By doing this in public, M$ in my opinion concedes they won't have a comparable
server offering for quite som time...

---
Eskild
Denmark

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell?
Authored by: bstone on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 09:35 AM EDT
I'm surprised that the contract with Novell didn't prevent this sort of thing.
Dell is a current Novell customer as they were already selling SUSE on their
systems before this deal. Now M$ is undercutting Novell's prices to Dell with
this deal.

With the ability to undercut Novell prices to current customers, M$ is now in a
position to control at least some portion of Novell's balance sheet. I would
assume that gives M$ quite a bit of control over Novell's corporate board. By
adjusting when they undercut Novell in the market they can either tank some of
Novell's profits or "reward" them for favorable behavior.

[ Reply to This | # ]

.Net Patents in Mono?
Authored by: xvjau on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 09:47 AM EDT
If M$ really has a valid patent (i.e. non-obvious) that is being infringed in
SUSE would be its .Net patents in Mono.

I would really hope that everyone just dropped Mono simply because it is a
stupid idea (to implement something that is not open by any definition) and
either use Java (especially now that Sun went GPLv2) or start over from scratch.

---
---
Para o bom programador, meio WORD basta...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Buying Linux from Dell, My recommendation
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 09:49 AM EDT

I've seen a number of posts saying they would still purchase a Linux computer from Dell if it's not loaded with SUSE.

I'd suggest only doing that if the purchase price follows the following formula:

    Novel Service = NS Cost
    comp + SUSE = SC Cost
    comp + Ubuntu = UC Cost
UC Cost (less then or equal to) NS Cost + SC Cost
If the cost of the Ubuntu computer is not less then the cost of the Novell computer minus the servicing (which is what we've been told we're getting by receiving those certificates) then how can you be sure the MS tax that is now expected to exist on Novel Linux PCs is not hidden in the cost of a Dell pc?

RAS

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell?
Authored by: lordshipmayhem on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 10:00 AM EDT
My strong suspicion: Dell is buying peace from Microsoft. That will enable them
to do what they want w/r/t/ selling Ubuntu and XP-preloaded computers.

For myself, I intend to purchase one of those Ubuntu-preloaded laptops - but
from whomever is first into the Canadian market. If it's Dell, then it's Dell.
If one of their competitors come along before Dell can get to this market, like
either HP or Toshiba, then it will be that brand.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 10:19 AM EDT
Remember the bad old days when if you put OS/2 on your computers, MS would raise
the cost of your windows licenses? I suspect that it's because Dell has an
exclusive contract with Microsoft for the supply of OS's for their computers,
and that this is the only way they can meet the terms of that contract.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dell Buying off MS to avoid backlash over Linux desktops?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 10:23 AM EDT
Perhaps Dell is buying these from MS in order to "make nice" with MS
and prevent a backlash from them over the offering of a Linux desktop?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell?
Authored by: Steve Martin on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 11:12 AM EDT

Steinman says something else, that Novell found it necessary to sign the patent peace because Novell required "sanctioned access to Microsoft's code in order to develop open source interoperability without violating MSFT's IP." Yoohoo, EU Commission, are you listening?

By the way, precisely what IP would that be? Could someone tell us what Microsoft patents are allegedly involved?

I think it's much worse. If Novell indeed admitted that they needed to look at Microsoft's source code in order to develop open-source code to interoperate, this seems to open the door wide to allegations of copyright infringment a la TSG. In this case, if what Steinman says is fact, the bar toward proving infringement just got lowered.

I have a very bad feeling about this.

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

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 11:30 AM EDT
It could all make sense. Dell wants to sell Linux
machines, and Dell customers want to buy Linux machines;
the customer demand is from Dell and its own individual
customers. But their agreements with Microsoft may limit
their ability to sell non-MS operating systems. So Novell
gives vouches to Microsoft, Microsoft passes them to Dell,
and Dell sells them to you, and everybody is happy. Sort
of. You might not be very happy, if that wasn't what you
had in mind when you said you wanted to buy a Linux
computer.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Because Dell has signed an "MS-only" agreement, that's why
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 11:31 AM EDT

Like most large suppliers of PCs, Dell signed an agreement with MS long ago that it would only load its PCs with MS software. Buying SLES certificates from MS allows them to distribute Linux now without violating that agreement, and still allows MS the ability to enforce its agreement later if it wants to have Dell drop Linux for some reason.

J

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell?
Authored by: kozmcrae on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 11:33 AM EDT
" So, is it possible Microsoft just wants to get out of the SLES
certificates business quick, most specifically before GPLv3 is final?"

Not exactly like Lucy in the chocolate factory, is it.

Richard

---
Darl, have you been lying to us? Yup.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Because Dell does what Microsoft tells it to do?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 11:56 AM EDT

Traditionally, Dell has done pretty much what Microsoft tells it to do.

In return, it gets Microsoft software for what looks like a good price.

Of course, Microsoft can well afford to give it to Dell at what looks like a good price, because the marginal cost of producing a CDROM full of software is about 20 cents.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell?
Authored by: kawabago on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 11:57 AM EDT
They do it so Microsoft won't attack them or reduce their marketing benefits.
"If Microsoft really has a leg to stand on, why tell us like a man?"
How many times have we heard of Microsoft executives having temper tantrums like
spoiled children? That's why.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft IP?
Authored by: cmc on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 12:41 PM EDT
"Novell found it necessary to sign the patent peace because Novell required
"sanctioned access to Microsoft's code in order to develop open source
interoperability without violating MSFT's IP."

Don't forget that IP is not just patents. IP also includes copyrights and
trademarks. Novell *could* have thought that they needed to sign this
(unrelated) patent agreement in order to get access to the Windows code so they
could avoid a copyright infringement lawsuit like the one IBM is currently
fighting.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Red Hat sales
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 01:16 PM EDT

"So, is it possible Microsoft just wants to get out of the SLES certificates business quick, most specifically before GPLv3 is final?"

In one of his early statements about the Microsoft-Novell deal Steve ballmer said that one of the purposes of the deal was to put pressure on Red Hat. Microsoft is trying to pressure Red Hat into a software patent cross-licensing deal. So I suggest that one of the factors as to when Microsoft gets out of the SLES certificates business is what effect, if any, the certificates have on Red Hat sales.

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

[ Reply to This | # ]

Guessing About Customer Demand
Authored by: Simon G Best on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 01:34 PM EDT

I'm just guessing about the alleged customer demand for interoperability, but I wouldn't be surprised if it goes something like this.

  1. Lots of customers are dissatisfied with lack of interoperability between Microsoft stuff and the rest of the world, with the rest of the world usually taking the form of Linux based stuff. This was really a matter of customer dissatisfaction with such things as closed, proprietary file formats, protocols, and the like, and the consequences of such things. In other words, it's customer dissatisfaction with vendor lock-in, and manifestations of it.

  2. Microsoft and/or Novell decided to take customer demand for proper interoperability as a business opportunity (though perhaps with different notions of what counts as "business"). They decided they could turn it into something to sell to those dissatisfied customers (rather than as a deficiency to be put right in their own (or rather Microsoft's) stuff). (It's, perhaps, a bit like taking customer dissatisfaction with insecurity, vunerability to malware, as an opportunity to sell antivirus stuff, and the like.)

  3. Stuff about patents gives them what they regard as marketing opportunities (FUD), and, perhaps, lock-in/lock-out opportunities (locking customers into their own offerings by locking potential competitors out under pain of patent lawsuit).

  4. So, when they implement this business opportunity, giving coupons to Dell, etc, they justify this stuff on the grounds of the aforementioned customer demand, even though it's now a gross distortion of what it originally was. It was originally customer dissatisfaction with Microsoft's lock-inly ways, but they've ended up turning it into yet another attempt at more of the same, even though that's exactly what customers are dissatisfied with in the first place!

---
"Public relations" is a public relations term for propaganda.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 01:53 PM EDT

Probably what I thought when I first heard this MS/Novell deal. It's a cover story. Just like the 'deal' MS and Apple did a few years ago. Remember the 'Technology Investment'? Microsoft gave Apple a Billion dollars to help them develop new tech. Turns out it was payoff for copying Quicktime technology into Windows Media player. Oops.

No doubt Novell caught MS doing some similar IP 'borrowing'. This deal is a face saver. All the monies flowed from MS to Novell. And MS is suppose to evangelize SUSE Linux when making deals (like that's going to happen). And if there appeared to be some SCO/MS connection, like paying SCO to violate Novell's copyrights? I suspect that was incidental, as it appears SCO represented to MS that they owned the Unix trademark and source code. 

This situation reminds me of an Engineering Law class question. Had something to due with 'reasonable man' concepts. If a car thief sells you a stolen car, for what appears to be a 'reasonable' price. Is the car yours? I seem to remember from Engineering Law class that it was. The owner had recourse on the thief, not the new owner. But what if you paid way under the going price of the car, an unreasonable price. Do you own the car? No, you, reasonably, appeared to be trafficking in stolen goods.

Did MS think they were buying legit goods & services from SCO? Did they pay a reasonable price? Well, the Novell deal seems to indicate (to me at least) that MS didn't pay a reasonable price. I think Novell could and did argue with MS this very issue, behind closed doors. And did so convincingly. Why else would MS pay good money for worthless certificates?

What's Novell's reason for letting a competitor like MS off the hook with this obviously lopsided covenant?  Do I hear 'recover twice' anybody? If the deal appeared to be a redress from MS for stolen IP, specificly stolen Unix IP, could Novell continue to ask for those same monies from SCO? Well the papers filled by Novell a few days ago said no to that issue. You can only recover damages once. This appears to be Novell's way of getting their cake and eating it too; after all they are in business. Their managers and lawyers must have done a presentation like:

1) Novell has to know the the Linux business is an OK bet; not a gold mine. Just a silver mine.

2) Novell has to know that the lawsuit with SCO is a sure win. But SCO will have no money on their Doomsday. Never the less, Novell has to defend the Unix IP rights.

3) If Novell worded the deal as a license for Unix code, SCO would press that issue in court (and no doubt amend their complaint to say Novell was now selling 'their' IP). 

5) So let's word the deal as a covenant not to sue each other for misuse of IP rights; dollars weighted heavily towards Novell.

Cake and eating for everybody but Linux and SCO.

Good sound business logic. It's just that it stinks. The deal dirty's Linux. But again, Novell's in business. And they have to know they don't own any of Linux, so they have no good reason to protect the Linux brand. And MS? They could hardly buy good FUD for such a low price.

[ Reply to This | # ]

- It's all FUD
Authored by: webster on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 02:12 PM EDT
..

1. "Why..."you ask, "...Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from
M[onopoly]soft, Not Novell?" This is what the Monopoly wants. What
leverage Dell has gained, from their down market and the VISTA-BUST, is not
enough to withstand the insistence of the World Dominator that they take the
Novell certificates and participate in the patent-threat campaign. It should be
called the Patent-Lie Campaign. It is like SCO's campaign thus the lack of
disclosure. It is also slanderous since not all or much of Linux is subject to
their claim. But the Monopoly is powerful if not skillful and they are taking
the longest most damaging path to degrading Linux uptake.

2. Ballmer and Hovsepian talk about cutomer demand for MonsterSoft Linux. Is
this not misleading or a lie? Can they document this other than their salesmen
pushing it? Doesn't this mislead stockholders? Why tease folks with Linux and
then threaten patents? This is a twisted game. Fortunately, Orwellian thought
control must wait until the Monopoly solves the internet. They probably buried
their control mechanism in VISTA. They are waiting for critical mass. Then you
will either give in or be turned off. It's Our Office or No Office.

3. "I was definitely going to get at least an Ubuntan laptop and probably
a desktop too, for the office. I already use Ubuntu LTS at home. Dell had my
sale. Then they announced this Novell Certificate "cooperation." Are
they totally insensitive to open source users? The Monoply must have clamped
thier scrotum. They have lost thousands of sales. They certainly lost mine. I
won't use them for anything, even an XP."

4. Mainframe Newspic: Novell will lose mainframe sales it would have had.
This is painful for them and deserved. When you get in bed with the Monopoly,
only one side rolls over.

5. One of the comments today wonders why the Linux Legal people don't race to
court to stop the Monopoly FUD. Readers may have noticed over the years that
Court is more akin to a casino than a sawmill. Court is the last resort, and a
desperate one at that. Even with an seemingly overwhelming cause, like for
example IBM over SCO, you can be tied up in court for years. First there is the
luck of the draw: What judge would you like to get? Jackson, Kollar-Kotelly,
Kimball, or a rookie Wells? Then the other side may have deep pockets enabling
them to pay their lawyers for overlength motions, replies, sur-replies,
objections, reconsiderations, and appeals. Remember the last thing that happens
is proof and trial, if you get that far.

6. The Monopoly is too powerful. Judges, commissions, governments,
politicians, have to fear their clout. Death for a Monopoly is being a small
majority. They are in their death struggle with Linux and Apple. The latter
survive as tiny minorities just fine. The Monopoly must keep it that way. If
not, standards, interoperability, open formats would be permitted to benefit
mankind and slay the Monopoly. Ignorance is strength. Ask Hovsepian and
Ballmar.





---
webster

[ Reply to This | # ]

Clarify what a SLES, and a coupon, is!?
Authored by: TJ on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 03:20 PM EDT

Despite everything said over recent months here and elsewhere - and not withstanding what the FSF's Brett Smith says about the FSF's interpretation of the MS-Novell deal seen under NDA - I'm still finding it hard to accept the assumption that these 'coupons' represent a distribution of Linux under the GPL, by Microsoft or for that matter Novell.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in favour of Microsoft's behaviour - in fact end of last year I dumped Windows and moved my business to be totally GNU/Linux because I appreciate having the right to hack problems without having to wait for the publisher to put my problems at the top of their list (usually years too late!).

That said, I'd like to see a convincing legal step-by-step proof that these coupons represent a distribution of Linux, rather than buying of a limited-time support and updates service.

Let me outline my thinking and see if anyone can explain what I may be missing:

  1. I can download Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 from Novell free of charge
  2. If I want access to product updates I have to activate SLES:
    SUSE® Linux Enterprise 10 Evaluation version requires an Activation Code for access to product updates. The Activation Code is valid for 60 days, and does not include access to Novell Support services. To purchase a regular activation code, which includes unlimited access to product updates and Novell Support services, see How to Buy.
  3. I can buy an SLES e-License for $349 for a 1-year subscription

I can, however, freely download, install and run SLES 10 without making any purchase in the same way I can with Ubuntu or any other distribution. In all cases I'm not necessarily obtaining the rights to updates, although many distributors offer them.

That says to me that the SLES subscription is not a payment for distribution since I can become a distributee without a contractual or financial relationship with Novell.

Now, Novell and Microsoft say Microsoft has bought a bunch of SLES coupons entitling the user to redeem them for a SLES subscription. That end-user could well already have downloaded and installed SLES before Microsoft came into the picture.

I can imagine a scenario where Microsoft is trying to sell Windows Server 2003 Enterprise into a company that has some SELS systems or is dabbling with moving servers over to SLES or another GNU/Linux distribution.
Microsoft might want to preserve its position in that company by persuading it to deploy SLES on Microsoft Virtual Server, and as an incentive hand out these SLES coupons to the company.

Do you see why I'm uncomfortable with the assumption on the part of the anti-MS/Novell camp that the deal over these coupons for support subscriptions would, in court, be found to be procurement of distribution or whatever other fancy term the FSF might use?

The distribution of updates would be between Novell and the company.

Microsoft would surely be in the same position as any reseller that sells or supplies a SLES e-license subscription as part of a larger deal (whether hardware+SLES or hypervisor+SLES) ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

why not tell us like a man?
Authored by: furkoolitter on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 03:40 PM EDT
why not leave us like a woman?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsoft patents "sudo"
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 04:44 PM EDT
It's pretty hard not to tread on Microsof's patents when they are allowed to go around patenting everything in sight even if it's been around since before they existed. It's really insulting when they can get away with patenting something that's been in heavy use for eons:

http://boycottnovell.com /2007/05/04/sudo-patent/
http://ubuntulinuxtipstricks.blogspot.com/2007/05/did-microsoft-jus t-patent-sudo.html

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell? - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 06:57 PM EDT
I wish someone would bring a lawsuit against Microsoft to get them to state
exactly what IP is in Linux that they claim to own.

I am thinking that even a user could do this. Just claim that you are being
threatened to drop Linux and take up Windows, without adedquate evidence so you
can check out the claims. All you would want from the court is an injunction to
get Microsoft to specify its claims. Is it possible you could get that right up
front, without spending years going through discovery for a trial?

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Elliot Spitzer - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 09:56 AM EDT
MONO validation ? unenforceable patents ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 08:51 PM EDT
Now Microsoft is handing GPL licenced software
to the masses, including bundled Mono in it...

is it safe to say Microsoft is releasing Mono
under the GPL, thereby granting you the right
to use it under the terms and conditions of the
GPL and that it is therefore unencumbered, or
at least... any further rights that were waved
by the GPL become unenforceable the very
moment Microsoft actively offers this product
to the general public ?

or is that what Microsoft would want us to believe ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell? - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 08:57 PM EDT
It seems as if the "cloning issues" referred to in the video are a
reference to MONO vs. .NET. He did not get very specific but that's the only
thing that really makes sense. Apple won a suit against M$ after it first
introduced Windows, and I think there was a Lotus 123 related suit as well.
Both of these cases addressed the issue of "cloning" a similar
product.

JSL

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell? - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 09:08 PM EDT
My prediction is that M$ will be buying Novell out? Gives them a clear line into
Linux with software. Community wont like it though but its what they're after.
Couple that to the Lindows© name they had Linspire agree, through threat of
suit, to not use and you've got a boxable Linux OS.

[ Reply to This | # ]

To buy a Dell or not?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 11:42 PM EDT
I was considering buying a couple of these elusive Ubuntu Linux laptops, but now
I don't feel I should. I wanted to show support for Dell standing up to the
900lb gorilla and I do need to purchase the laptops. Was anyone else
considering buying a dell linux desktop/notebook not going to? Is anyone still
considering it?

thanks.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Question about the Update
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 01:20 AM EDT
I find it hard to watch videos over the Internet. The article says,
.... mentioning all forms of the usual IP, but then he mentions 'cloning' issues ....
Is it easy to list some more details?
  • What are "all forms of the usual IP" ?
  • What is meant by "cloning issues" ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell? - Updated
Authored by: pdp on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 02:51 AM EDT
Simply said:
Because MS sits on this pile of SuSe-stuff inherited off that novell-deal they
try to make a few buchs of it trough their loyal tributebearer, since they do
not want to (overtly) touch it anyway.

C

---
I am not a number,
I am an individual with a unique number.
http://www.clsnet.nl

[ Reply to This | # ]

Chill PJ: IP minus patents is not code
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 03:32 AM EDT
Lets assume Microsoft actually documented something.
Documentation is also covered by copyright. That could very well be the kind of
IP Novell is talking about.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell? - Updated 2Xs
Authored by: matthiku on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 04:40 AM EDT
Irish ElectricNews.Net today has the following news about the MS/Novell Deal:
Microsoft and Novell have signed up 12 new customers for their collaborative services. The companies taking advantage of the mixed-source environment of Microsoft and Novell now include Fujitsu Services Oy, Gulfstream Aerospace, hi5 Networks, Nationwide, and the state of California, Department of Fish and Game. "This impressive list of customers across a wide range of industry groups and geographies is a further proof point of the value of interoperability," said Susan Heystee, vice president and general manager of global strategic alliances for Novell." The collaboration between Microsoft Windows and SUSE Linux Enterprise offers a number of benefits, including cost savings and intellectual property assurances. Under the agreement Microsoft delivers SUSE Linux Enterprise Server subscription certificates to each company, under separate customer agreements.
http://www.enn.ie/frontpag e/news-10055641.html (emphasis by me)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell? - Updated 2Xs
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 05:18 AM EDT
First, that the vouchers are not for SUSE Linux alone. They are for the two operating systems together.
I respectfully disagree with your analysis here. He said the vouchers are going to be used in a mixed environment. That probably means the vouchers are for Linux, but you won't be able to get one unless you buy a Windows license too. (The Novell SEC filing talks about virtualisation - running Linux on top of MS's virtualization software on top of Windows - so for that you need both a Linux and a Windows license for the same server).
They are promoting a mixed environment, offering Linux as an inducement for folks to buy more Microsoft.
Agree, this has been Microsoft's position from the start.
What is Novell thinking?
I guess they accept that getting enterprises to go Linux-only is harder than promoting interoperability and a mixed Windows/Linux environment. I think that's reasonable. Of course, they think they can sell _more_ copies of Linux by dealing with Microsoft, which strikes me as... naive. Microsoft will be pushing this as a way to get all your "legacy" Linux/Unix applications running, with virtualization, on a Windows server.
If Dell is the consumer, it can't pass along a patent peace. At least that is what they earlier told us about end users, that the patent peace isn't something that can pass downstream.
I don't think they mean "consumer" like that. From the Novell SEC filing about the deal:
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
If Dell sell the vouchers, I don't see how Dell could be the "end-user customer". It's the people who buy the vouchers who are the "end-user customer", and are protected because Novell has indirectly (via Dell and MS) received revenue from them.
So are Dell customers actually covered by the patent peace?
Yes, according to the SEC filing.
How do we know for sure?
We can't because the agreement is confidential. I'd hope that the SEC filing should at least provide some protection if companies rely on it to their detriment. (Laches, waiver, ... - IANAL so I don't remember the technical term, but you get the idea).
If the patent peace is between Microsoft and paying SUSE end users, but they can't pass along the peace treaty, how can Dell pass that peace to anybody if it is the paying end user that bought all the vouchers?
See above.
And if they can, can any other consumer of a voucher do so too?
Interesting question - can you sell the voucher? If so, I'd expect the patent peace to be transferred, too (meaning that the person selling the voucher loses their covenant-not-to-sue, and the buyer gains it). But there are probably T&Cs in the voucher to limit it's sale. There might be a blanket "you can't sell it without MS's permission" (and then Dell obviously would have got MS's permission to resell them).

Once you trade in the voucher for a Novell Linux support contract, it's highly unlikely that you'd be able to sell or reassign the support contract.

Incidentally, people are mentioning that they expect vouchers to be available from people other than MS. I don't understand why anyone else would bother. My take on the vouchers was that they were another way to get cute with the GPL, by allowing MS to sell Linux without actually distributing it. This means that MS doesn't have to agree to the GPL or risk licensing it's patents to Linux, and hence MS can keep up the FUD. Anyone else can just distribute a boxed copy of Novell Linux and be done with it - which is also easier for the purchaser as they don't have to send away for (or download) the CDs.

Also, I expected deals like this Dell deal. Bear in mind that most of Microsoft's Windows sales are to OEMs, it's only reasonable that they sell Linux this way. I expect more deals with other OEMs. This doesn't mean MS have had trouble selling vouchers, it means that they're executing on their plan to sell the vouchers.

jjon (not logged in)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell? - Updated 2Xs
Authored by: PolR on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 06:30 AM EDT
Given the data in the second update, what does it mean to section 6 of GPL2? Do
Novell still clear it by an inch? Or are they now in clear violation? I am
thinking of the reference to a clear patent agreement between Novell and
Microsoft instead of covenant not to sue issued to respective customers.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Secrets are anti OS behavior
Authored by: stomfi on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 09:19 AM EDT
A secret is against the tenets of Open Source. As no-one from Novell is willing
to clarify matters, in Open Source terms that constitutes secretive behavior, so
the only option is to boycott all Novell products, and to advise everyone who
cares for FLOSS to do the same.

I think we could also start by giving RedHat some more support as well, as they
have been the good guys so far and we want to keep them that way.

[ Reply to This | # ]

So are Novell's future contributions to the Linux kernel tainted?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 09:33 AM EDT
If Novell engineers are looking at Windows source code I would expect that any
contributions they (Novell) make to Linux would have to be rejected as possibly
compromised, regardless of any assertions Novell make to the contrary, just to
be safe. Disclaimer: I am not a kernel programmer.

dwandre (not logged in)

[ Reply to This | # ]

You noted that IBM will be using Red Hat, yes?
Authored by: seraph_jeffery on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 10:24 AM EDT
You've all noticed, I'm sure, that announcement that IBM has entered into an
agreement with Red Hat to use their version of Linux on IBM enterprise systems.
Maybe they're planning on dumping Novell completely. The legal-eagles for IBM
certainly have come to the same conclusions all of you have: SuSE code will be
tainted from now on.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Updated 2Xs seems to imply Microsoft documentation is insufficient
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 10:25 AM EDT
Does this indicate Microsoft is not publishing enough details to satisfy the EU
requirements?

[ Reply to This | # ]

This witch hunt has to stop - this is very unprofessional
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 10:49 AM EDT
This witch hunt PJ and others has about this Novell nonsense has to stop.

This is completely unprofessional, and I personally find the comments
defamatory.

You can have IP issues without patent issues. IP covers a whole host of things,
including simple copyright, or even trademark, trade secret etc.

How ELSE do you expect to work with .NET? that's a proprietary technology,
covered by very much IP from Microsoft.

Businesses have spoken, they *want* .NET interoperability with Linux. They want
MONO and SOAP, they *want* these things, they need them, and they are a business
necessity (for them).

What gives you the right to say what they should or should not want, need, or
ask for? nothing, that's what.

Again, I haven't seen any positive constructive (and legal) ways of dealing with
all this?

if you hate it so much, provide an alternative. Don't just slam good people for
trying to accomplish something, especially when you have no idea what you're
talking about.

No one here has seem the agreement, you can't rightly say it doesn't say
"this" or "that" or contradicts, because you don't know.

The morals and ethics of this place seems to have gone ou the window.

No, this isn't a flame, it's a statement of facts.
If you don't like the "agreement" (something you've never seen, and
have no idea what it really says), or you don't like what they're doing,

provide a working viable alternative.
I bet you can't.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell is MS Proxy.
Authored by: waltish on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 11:27 AM EDT
I think MS is pushing Novel SLES because it cant compete against Linux, and to
attack Linux directly leaves it open to counter atack from too many directions
at once.

So maybe MS thinks if MS pals up with One distro and use MS's market presence
and Bully power to push it into the Market Place so it can displace other Linux
distro's.

Once the numbers of competitors and therby the numbers of fronts MS would have
to fight on, is pared down to two or or so,or better yet Just the propped up
Distro (novell).
MS would then start to fight, probably it would accuse Novell of betraying MS's
trust and stealing code.

As well as a couple of other seperate actions, and Kill Novel by bleeding all
its money away.

Its Telling that MS is happy to Push the server version, an area being dominated
by linux solutions.

Bet MS cupons for Desktop Linux never see the Light of day.




---
" You can fool some of the people all of the Time
And all of the people some of the time
But you cant fool All of the people All of the Time."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell eDirectory and Microsoft Active Directory
Authored by: rsteinmetz70112 on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 11:27 AM EDT
I have long speculated that these two technologies were at the bottom of this
story.

Let me suggest a few additional ideas.

In the beginning Microsoft infringed on Novell Directory Services Patents.
Novell was a pioneer in this area.

Microsoft got caught and the launch of Vista was fast approaching.

Novell tried to craft an agreement which instead of paying them huge bundles of
cash (a la Sun) gave them access to Microsoft's Active Directory code, forced
Microsoft to interoperate with Novell eDirectory and allow virtualization of
Windows in SELS in spite of Microsot's vista EULA prohibition against that.

Dell wanting to provide legal virtualization to its customers signed on. They
may also have gotten the certificates for next to nothing.

I always believed the Linux patent agreement was sort of a side show to the main
event, Microsoft's infringement of Novell's patents. Possibly Novell got
snookered. Possibly is was an attempt by Novell to offer a differentiation of
SUSE in the market.

---
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 | # ]

Bye bye SCO Forum 2007
Authored by: belzecue on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 11:35 AM EDT
Too bad, so sad.

Looks like Darl won't get to do his dog-and-pony show at the Mirage this year.
No driving a Harley on stage. No strutting around to the Mission Impossible
theme tune.

http://ir.sco.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=240546

Instead, this year they will have only a SCO Tech Forum. The next SCO Forum is
promised for Spring 2008.

Reading between the lines... SCO has no money to pay for these lavish forums, no
enthusiasm, and no customers left... except the poor techs stuck with keeping
their company's legacy SCO servers running.

[ Reply to This | # ]

This is harakiri for M$ FUD department
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 11:54 AM EDT
When somebody licenses GNU/Linux OS from M$, M$ is, in effect granting
permission to use all the intellectual property (Yes, I am using that IP term
deliberately) implemented by the underlying code. That means, anybody buying
SLES from Dell gets license from M$ for M$' IP, including patents.

This spells the end for M$ patent threats to GNU/Linux.

Hip!! Hip!!! Hooray!!!!

Long live the GPL!!!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Actually...
Authored by: Marc Mengel on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 12:20 PM EDT
Selling a SUSE certificate unfortunately does not mean you distributed any code, only a support/maintenance license for said code.

So this does not bind Microsoft to the GPL. Other things might, but this doesn't.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Actually... - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 12:28 PM EDT
  • Agency - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 01:07 PM EDT
  • Actually... Waiver - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 03:23 PM EDT
What is Novell thinking?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 01:36 PM EDT
PJ wrote: "What is Novell thinking?"

That's easy -

Novell's management is thinking:
"Isn't this third of a billion dollars Microsoft gave us pretty - it sure
does nice things for our new CEO's bonuses."

Novell's sales guys - esp. the guy with the Dell account - are thinking:
"Oh no! You've just upset all our customers and created a big competitor
in Microsoft."

Novell's board is thinking
"Boy did we mess up in Ron H's bonus plan - why the heck did we give him
incentives to sell out at the expense of the company"

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS is quite the operator
Authored by: philc on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 05:39 PM EDT
MS wants a patent deal with Novell. MS buys certificates for SELS and pays a lot
of money to give out the certificates to MS's customers. Balmer says MS sells
Windows, not Linux.

MS gets Dell to buy the certificates from MS. This reduces the price of the
patent deal with Novell (and MS gets revenue selling Linux). Novell doesn't get
to sell to Dell. Dell doesn't get to sell the certificates to its Linux
customers.

How good can it get? All they need to do now is to find a way to kill the
interoperability joint project.

When it comes to business deals, MS is the pro.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Dell Buying SLES certificates and the Novell part agreement
Authored by: seeRpea on Friday, May 11 2007 @ 11:50 AM EDT
Couldn't it simply be that Dell purchased the certificates from a vendor it
already has a relationship with to purchase software at a special price ?

As for code Novell acquired access to: seems to me that a good guess would be
Active Directory and the m$ networking base so that Novell could make a superior
type of SAMBA free of future considerations.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why Is Dell Buying SLES certificates from Microsoft, Not Novell? - Updated 2Xs
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 11 2007 @ 11:48 PM EDT
Quote from Dell: "First, like all the certificates, these certificates are
going to be used in mixed Windows-Linux environments and as incentives to get
customers to buy more Windows by offering Linux as part of the package."

Quote PJ: "First, that the vouchers are not for SUSE Linux alone. They are
for the two operating systems together."

I don't read it that way. Dell is saying the certificates are for Linux
customers who intend to use Linux along with Windows to acquire Suse Linux. The
certificates are still solely for Suse. They are NOT "for the two operating
systems together". I don't see that reading as correct at all. While Dell
may be promoting Suse Linux in that way, the certificates are still solely to
acquire Suse Linux, not Suse and Windows as one package. If you have anything
specifically stating that, I'd like to see it.

"They are promoting a mixed environment, offering Linux as an inducement
for folks to buy more Microsoft. What is Novell thinking?"

What they are obviously thinking is that it is better to have a mixed
environment than to have a Windows only environment.

Dell, OTOH, is thinking "we can sell Suse Linux and make a few bucks
without ticking off Microsoft any more than we have to, by wording it as if we
are promoting sales of Microsoft products to Linux folks or people on the
fence."

The rest of it is marketing speak and should be disregarded.

Your analysis of this is reaching for reasons to condemn Novell and falling
short. As for why Dell is buying these certificates from Microsoft instead of
Novell, the reasons seem clear to me - either clear or uninteresting, to be more
precise. The rest of your analysis about how many certificates there are and who
is buying them is completely uninteresting to me. Who cares? What relevance does
this have to the Novell deal in any event? Either Novell makes some bucks out of
this, or they don't. Either Dell makes some bucks out of this or they don't.
Again, who cares?

As I've said repeatedly here and elsewhere, the whole Novell-Microsoft deal is a
non-event which is utterly irrelevant to the future of Linux or OSS in general,
no matter what propaganda Steve Ballmer blathers about (or what propaganda
Richard Stallman blathers about, as well.)


[ Reply to This | # ]

If you want a more balanced view of this deal
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, May 12 2007 @ 12:36 AM EDT
check out Steven Vaughan-Nichols's article here.

He corrects one error I made in an earlier post. Apparently these certificates ARE for use with a bundled Linux/Windows package. So PJ is correct about that. However, Vaughn states as follows:

"The certificates, as described in Novell's Nov. 7 Form 8-K submission to the SEC (Security and Exchanges Commission) Entry into a Material Definitive Agreement, have always been for a packaged SLES/Windows offering. In detail, the combined offering consists of SLES, a SLES support subscription with Microsoft Windows Server, Microsoft Virtual Server and Microsoft Viridian.

This package, which includes the SLES certificates, is being offered to customers desiring to deploy Linux and Windows in a virtualized setting. For these certificates, Novell has already made its revenue. According to the agreement, Microsoft made an upfront payment to Novell of $240 million for SLES subscription "certificates," which Microsoft may use, resell or otherwise distribute over the term of the agreement, allowing the certificate holder to redeem single or multi-year subscriptions for SLES support from Novell.

In short, Novell doesn't lose anything by the certificates coming from Microsoft, because Microsoft has already paid for them. At the same time, as Microsoft places them, the deal enables Novell to place SLES in Windows shops."

Exactly my point as made elsewhere in these threads.

And he agrees with my position about the reasons and possible consequences of this deal as follows:

"The one thing both companies agree on, and Dell does as well, is that customers are getting more and more interested in Linux and Windows server interoperability. It is this business opportunity, I think, which drove both the Novell/Microsoft pact and the tripartite agreement between Dell, Novell and Microsoft.

If Microsoft can get some mileage out of IP FUD, it will. Other vendors are willing to put up with it for the sake of Linux/Windows business opportunities. While this will continue to annoy free software purists, Novell, Dell, et. al. are businesses with an eye on the bottom line, not the amorphous mess of the United States patent system which enables Ballmer to make his fuzzy IP claims.

Unless the day comes when Microsoft actually tries a legal attack with its patent claims, I foresee more deals like these happening."

Exactly.

Like I said, without an actual legal attack by Microsoft on Linux - an attack which I do not see any way Microsoft can win - the Novell/Microsoft deal is a non-event for the future of Linux and OSS.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Groklaw © Copyright 2003-2013 Pamela Jones.
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
Comments are owned by the individual posters.

PJ's articles are licensed under a Creative Commons License. ( Details )