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Novell's "Mixed Source" Announcement
Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 01:30 PM EDT

Do you remember when Novell filed the Microsoft deal agreements with the SEC, its annual report said, "No one license is critical to our business?" I took that as a possible hint of their future direction, post GPLv3.

I take Novell's new press release, "Capgemini and Novell Enter Broad Mixed-Source Partnership", as confirmation. Steven Vaughan-Nichols says that corporate types will love this and will eat it all up:

Novell didn't win many friends in the open-source community with its Microsoft partnership. However, that deal, along with Novell's growing partnerships with enterprise software players such as SAP and now Capgemini are bound to win it friends in big business.

Maybe, at first they will. But what will they do when GPLv3 arrives? Where will the updates come from? It's a very foolish vendor that cuts itself off from its suppliers, and it's a very foolish company that buys from such a vendor, in my view, unless you have only a short-term need for Linux.

So this is the dream. Mixed source. How foolish is that? You lose the primary benefit of Linux, namely the flexibility to do pretty much whatever you want with it as a customer. And it's bound to be a very short and bumpy ride. The Xandros deal, to my mind, makes litigation pretty much inevitable.

This whole Novell-Microsoft saga to me was kind of like a hostile takeover of GPL code, or an attempt at it, to neuter it so as to make that code go more proprietary whether it wants to or not. Folks who like the proprietary ways better and didn't much like the GPL, or don't understand its value, thought the license doesn't mean what it says or that they could get cute with it and make oodles and boodles of money by selling code that belongs to other people in ways those authors told them in their license they don't like.

Well, the GPL does mean what it says. And if you steal the Golden Egg and in so doing kill the Golden Goose that laid it, what have you accomplished? The development method that makes the code so much better is the Golden Goose, and the GPL is central to the health of that Goose. I suppose that is why Microsoft wants to get it neutered or eaten for dinner, but why would anyone else help them, particularly someone selling or wanting to buy Linux? You cut off your own future, or make it subject to Microsoft's whims.

CEO's ought to be able to comprehend that this is about respecting others people's IP, to phrase it in a way they are accustomed to. That is what the GPL represents, other people's code and their instructions on what you can do with it, and one thing you are not supposed to do is limit or encumber it with patent deals. That's it. Novell and Xandros and CEOs wishing it to be different than it is need to nevertheless respect the authors' right to decide what one can do with their code, without looking for loopholes or trying to undermine the GPL's effectiveness. It really doesn't matter what your customers want if the authors of the code you are distributing say no. I can't get cute with Microsoft's EULAs without risking litigation, even if I think Cruella de Vil wrote them. It's Microsoft's code, and they can set the terms. My job is to respect their wishes or leave their software alone. Well, it's no different with the GPL. Either respect it, or leave the software alone. That's simple, basic fairness. It's also the law. That includes Microsoft, a company that is telling the world that it is a company that respects IP. Does it? Is it showing respect to the GPL?

More from the press release:

With this partnership, Capgemini's customers gain fully supported mixed-source solutions built on open source and proprietary software that Capgemini will help build, deploy and maintain. The Capgemini Open Source practice will help customers define enterprise open source governance and select the right open source packages and solutions to deploy on top of a flexible, fully supported Novell platform that delivers optimized performance. World-class enterprise solutions for servers and desktops will be delivered, along with data center virtualization and management capabilities. In addition, Novell open source solutions will be supported via Capgemini's open source Support Service Center (OSSPartner) offering. Novell plans to provide Level 3 support to Capgemini.

“Among the global leaders in systems integration, Capgemini continues to lead and innovate in the consulting industry,” said Ron Hovsepian, president and CEO of Novell. “With today's announcement, Capgemini makes a strong commitment to build the best solution for their customers with a flexible combination of open source and proprietary software. We're thrilled to be working with Capgemini to deliver true mixed-source solutions to help customers lower cost, reduce complexity and mitigate risk on their desktops and in their data centers.”

Three Areas of Focus

Capgemini and Novell will work together to build solutions in three areas:

- Integrated development tools and application stacks. Novell will provide SUSE Linux Enterprise plus proprietary systems management solutions and development tools to enable Capgemini to design, develop, deploy and maintain business applications based on mixed-source solutions integrated with Capgemini's middleware and Web application frameworks. As a result, customers will benefit from more rapid and cost-efficient application development, deployment and maintenance.

- End-user solution deployments based on the Linux desktop. To help customers identify key opportunities for Linux desktops and then implement those migrations, Capgemini will enhance its consulting practice with capabilities based on the deployment of Novell's award-winning SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, which includes an office productivity suite, integrated search engine and complete Microsoft* Windows* interoperability.

- Data center virtualization and management. Capgemini will offer customers solutions based on Novell ZENworks® Orchestrator to help customers optimize their virtualized data centers using ITIL-based tools that automate the deployment, use and management of both physical and virtual IT resources based on business policies.

So, that's the new Novell. It's really sad to watch. But they can stop being a Linux company eventually if that is what they wish to do, and we'll wish them well. It would be better than mongrelizing GPL code and calling it good.

When people don't grasp the GPL, I think it's because they haven't thought carefully enough about the scientific tradition of sharing knowledge. That is all the GPL is saying. It does make a difference to software development to share what you learn, and in my view the results are already obvious. So GPL code will continue to progress more rapidly than any other code, with maybe a bit of a storm as all this gets sorted out, and those that settle for mixed source will have to settle for second best. People choose GNU/Linux systems usually because they've simply had enough of the troubles they've experienced with Microsoft's software and/or EULAs. We are not interested in mixed anything. If CEOs are, it may be they need to think more carefully about the benefits of a clean getaway. Mixed source, to me, means you will undermine two of the clear benefits of Linux: stability and increased security, not to mention flexibility and cost savings. How does that benefit you?

Here's the thing: no matter what, customer demand can't justify violating the authors' license. That isn't how IP law works. You respect the author's wishes as to how you copy code that he has written. Customers demand freedom to download music free too, by the millions, but that doesn't make it legal if the copyright holder doesn't want it to happen. This is no different.

Instead, CEOs should tell Microsoft to simply make interoperability possible by following common standards and providing the specs needed, as the EU Commission has said they should do. That is all that needs to happen here. Linux and FOSS are already easy to interoperate with. You don't need exclusionary patent deals to achieve interoperability, and if that were truly the goal, it's actually a step in the wrong direction. These patent deals benefit Microsoft, because it keeps interoperability under Microsoft's sole control, and I see why they want that, but how does that benefit you?

Update: I found something about Xandros you might find of interest, an interview with Director of Xandros Dr. Frederick H. Berenstein:

LWM: I've also heard wonderful reviews from people who have used the product. I understand that one of its real strong points is how Windows applications or Windows files can still be used within the Xandros distribution. Can you comment a little on that? Was it a conscious decision?

Berenstein: That was a very conscious decision. Right at the beginning, and several years before Xandros became Xandros, the philosophy that I and Will Rosen, my partner at Linux Global Partners, had adopted was this: the position that other Linux companies were taking at the time of "We're going to give you Linux; it's so much more stable; it's so much more secure; you'll learn how to do things our way and you'll love it," was the wrong way to go.

You have to be realistic and realize that no matter what you're doing, you're selling into a Windows world. Every article about PCs always says Microsoft has 92% of the market, 94% of the market - it's always over 90%, and so the reality is that you're selling into a Windows world. Everybody out there is using a box with Windows on it. So when 1.0 came out it was, amazingly, the only distribution in 2001 that had automatic domain authentication against Microsoft servers. With every other distribution, even if they would allow you to recognize it through one technology or another, you had to go in each time; you had to identify yourself; and you had to authenticate yourself. But the Xandros 1.0 product did automatic domain authentication. Similarly, when 1.1 came out last April very quietly in response to our corporate customers, it was the only Linux distribution - and it's possibly the only one today - that had automatic support for Active Directory Servers. And our feeling is that anybody who doesn't offer those things is pretending that they're not selling into a Windows world. We know we're selling into a Windows world.

As far as support for Microsoft Office files, we put that capability in as well as the ability to install Microsoft Office directly on the Xandros desktop because, at least for the foreseeable future, those are the applications that a lot of people use. Those are the applications where they have 10 or 12 years of data files in Word format and in Excel format, and those are the files that they cannot lose and don't have time to change to some other format. They can't afford to filter them through some other application, with the result being that they sort of get the document but maybe the formatting doesn't come out right, or maybe the macros don't work. They have to just be able to put in the Xandros desktop and go back to work. So it was a very conscious decision.


  


Novell's "Mixed Source" Announcement | 660 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Here
Authored by: feldegast on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 01:43 PM EDT
So they can be fixed

---
IANAL
My posts are ©2004-2007 and released under the Creative Commons License
Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0
P.J. has permission for commercial use.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell's "Mixed Source" Announcement
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 01:45 PM EDT
I suppose if SAP or CapGemini are caught infringing copyrights by distributing
code in violation of the GPL, there might be a $5bn lawsuit instead of the
"would
you please read the terms of the GPL and publish the source code".

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic Here
Authored by: kjb on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 01:49 PM EDT
Make links "clicky"

---
keith.burt at gmail dot com
Copyright info in bio

"No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try."
- Yoda

[ Reply to This | # ]

Does Novell want Unix back?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 01:50 PM EDT
I mean what it owns or doesn't own or whatever the litigation ends up with?

This question has been asked a thousand times, but sometimes i wonder if they
aren't feeling chased into doing it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell's "Mixed Source" Announcement
Authored by: jochen on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 01:51 PM EDT
Although I always had the strong impression that Red Hat is the only Linux
vendor who really works with the GPL: From reading the announcement, I've got
the impression that you are reading too much into it.

To me this doesn't mean much more than the 356th announcement of a
"strategic partnership" of, say, Novell, with, say, Oracle. (Which is
usually followed two weeks later by a similar announcement of Oracle and Red
Hat, or Novell and IBM as the DB2 vendor.) I tend to ignore them as meaningless
and never understood why Analysts do different.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell's "Mixed Source" Announcement
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 01:54 PM EDT
As to the GPL vs. Microsoft patent threat, I hazard to guess that Microsoft may
intend (for now) to use their patents to sue only as a last resort.

The thing is, in the meantime they will be pushing to skirt around the GPL
requirements. Once someone finally (legally) calls them on it will they as part
of their response bring out the patent guns. That's the way most companies use
patents today (as defensive weapons).

At least, it sound plausible. If I'm right then the only real hope of
challenging Microsoft would be a class-action copyright suit with all of the
developers whose copyrights are being violated by these "business
deals". Is that possible (a class-action copyright suit)?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Not much there there...
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 01:55 PM EDT
This looks like one of those meaningless "strategic partnerships" that
companies engage in when they need to raise their profile a bit.

This deal looks a lot like Cap Gemini has picked Suse as their distro when doing
big consulting gigs. It's basically the same thing that IBM Global Services
does when rolling out a big deployment; CAP Gemini has agreed to try and push
SUSE in more decisions.

In reality, the project team will pick the technology. In some cases the
perception of freedom from being litigated by Microsoft will encourage clueless
managers to demand SUSE or Xandros- but this is not likely to be the standard.


This doesn't really get into the mainstream issues around distribution; it will
all be behind the corporate firewall, and won't really trigger any GPL
provisions, if I'm reading between the lines correctly.

I wouldn't get too excited about this one; it doesn't have nearly the impact of
Novell's slimy deal with M$.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Grandfather Clause
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 01:56 PM EDT

" Maybe, at first they will. But what will they do when GPLv3 arrives? Where will the updates come from?"

The third draft of GPLv3 contains a grandfather clause that allows Novell to distribute GPLv3 code. In order for GPLv3 to keep Novell from distributing GPLv3 code the grandfather clause must be removed.

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

[ Reply to This | # ]

"No one license is critical to our business?"
Authored by: Toon Moene on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 01:57 PM EDT
No, but the GPL'd code in GNU/Linux might.

Or it might not, of course. In that case others will eat up the business that
Novell leaves behind.

<shrug>

I can't get very exited about it, *unless they start to distribute GPLv3
licensed code*.

---
Toon Moene (A GNU Fortran maintainer and physicist at large)

[ Reply to This | # ]

UNIX Code's future
Authored by: rsi on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 02:16 PM EDT
What worries me about the whole Mickey$oft-Novell deal is what happens when
Novell gets back the UNIX IP when SCO bites the dust? Before the M$-N. deal, I
thought that Novell would Open-Source UNIX, but will M$ prevent that? Could
that be considered Anti-Trust? IANAL, and thank goodness I don't think like an
evil lawyer, so I don't know.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The basic misinterpretation is this:
Authored by: freeio on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 02:21 PM EDT
"CEO's ought to be able to comprehend that this is about respecting others
people's IP, to phrase it in a way they are accustomed to."

You are right, they ought to be able to do so, but from past experience, the CEO
at many firms did not get there by being a passive person. In many instances,
she made it by force of will, and by wielding power to cut off her opponents.
Perhaps she sees that it might not be such a good idea to take on Microsoft with
its precious IP, because she knows that Microsoft has fleets of lawyers as
enforcers of the IP. But when faced with a mere worldwide community of free
software developers, she quite likely believes that they are no threat to her in
any way, because there is no huge corporation with fleets of lawyers to defend
free software IP. In effect it appears to be an unprotected target, and thus
fair game in the warlike rules of corporate behavior.

"When people don't grasp the GPL, I think it's because they haven't thought
carefully enough about the scientific tradition of sharing knowledge."

Oh, your CEO knows all about that, or thinks she does. The scientific tradition
of sharing knowledge may be how she gets some of what she intends to market, but
that sharing is intended to be a one-way street. Soak it all up, and give
nothing back, because acting this way is seen as a competitive advantage.

Business, as practiced in large corporate situations, is a largely amoral thing.
There are rules, but the first one is don't get caught. The next rule is that
there are smaller players whose position it is to be taken advantage of. Those
of us who develop free software are simply there to be taken advantage of, and
then summarily dropped. The fact that our free software is protected by
copyright law might be true, but she sees the enforcement as non-existent, and
thus we are fair game. OK, so I timely register my copyrights, and watch
carefully, but if I do not see her company violate those copyrights, did it
really happen? And how do I prove it?

J. P. Morgan put it this way, "I do not pay my lawyers to tell me what I
cannot do, but to tell me how to do what I want to do." If the GPL looks
like a weak defense, then what will the lawyers tell the CEO?

---
Tux et bona et fortuna est.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell's "Mixed Source" Announcement
Authored by: MrCharon on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 02:27 PM EDT
PJ, are you under the impression that they are going to mix GPL code with
proprietary code? My take from the announcement is they are going to run
proprietary applications on top of Linux.


---
MrCharon
~~~~

[ Reply to This | # ]

Systems Management Systems
Authored by: stites on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 02:31 PM EDT

Quoting from the Verivox article:

"Novell will provide SUSE Linux Enterprise plus proprietary systems management solutions and development tools to enable Capgemini to design, develop, deploy and maintain business applications based on mixed-source solutions integrated with Capgemini's middleware and Web application frameworks."

I think that "system management solutions" probably refers to Novell's proprietary software to manage user IDs, passwords, application configuration, etc. across a network containing hardware and software from a variety of vendors.

Xandros also is in the process of developing a systems management system:

Desktop Linux

I suspect that one of Microsoft's objectives in the Microsoft-Novell and the Microsoft-Xandros agreements is to obtain control of systems management systems. Gaining a monopoly on systems management software would give Microsoft a strong hold on dictating what software could be used in a large network. It would also help Microsoft to dictate what file interfaces and network interfaces a large network could use.

Are there other small companies developing such system management software? If so they are the next potential targets for a Microsoft software patent deal.

I think that it would be in most commercial open source companies best interest to have an open source systems management system. If a customer is using one of the proprietary systems management systems controlled by Microsoft the all other software companies, Open Source or proprietary run the risk of Microsoft being able to exclude them from large networks. Companies which compete with Microsoft software should consider funding an open source system management system to be developed by the Linux Foundation.

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

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell's "Mixed Source" Announcement
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 02:32 PM EDT
pj writes:
"I think it's because they haven't thought carefully enough about the
scientific tradition of sharing knowledge."

and this is exactly on target.

Suppose Newton (or Liebnitz) had patented the Calculus?

OSS, like the scientific method in general, benefits from the shared collective
knowledge of all of us. Proprietary solutions are more akin to witchcraft,
drawing power from secret knowledge that is purposely obscured. History is not
on the side of that approach.

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Mixed Source?" Where have I heard that before?
Authored by: overshoot on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 02:33 PM EDT
Oh, yeah -- now I remember. That was going to be the ticket to riches for a
Utah company called "Caldera."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell's has always been "Mixed Source"
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 02:38 PM EDT
PJ,

What don't you understand?

Novell was originally a proprietary software vendor, creating all of their own
products and selling them. Then they acquired SUSE, a Linux distribution. They
then sold, and continue to this day to sell, their own proprietary products as
well as SUSE Linux subscriptions. That is what this press release means by
"mixed-source" solutions. It does not mean mixing proprietary source
with GPL source to create and distribute a single product, it means providing
solutions to customers that comprise a mixture of separate and discreet open
source software alongside of proprietary software.

Eben Moglen and RMS have both stated many times that the GPL is not intended to
limit someone from writing their own proprietary software that works with GPL
software and still be able to sell and restrict their own non-GPL software. That
is precisely what Novell has been doing ever since they acquired SUSE, both
before and after the MS deal.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Please remove the off-colored glasses...
Authored by: meydey on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 02:38 PM EDT

My, what a jaded view... I know you're not one to pass up an opportunity to unnecessarily jab Novell, but just because we've been following some pretty shady dealing in the courts doesn't been Novell is not as good as their word.

"Mixed Source" has been Novell's strategy since the SUSE merger. This isn't some new direction worthy of your conspiracy theory. Their CTO blogged about it in more detail just last year after another acquisition. Please, take a minute to read about it before you go off deriding their intent.

---
“Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.” Chinese Proverb

[ Reply to This | # ]

It's obvious that you just don't get it PJ - a reality check
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 02:51 PM EDT
It's obvious from reading your totally biased and one-sided report that you just
DON'T get it. Not at all.

It's not about what you're talking about. You're not even in the ballpark. It's
not about getting "around" the GPL or hurting the GPL or whatever
other nonsense you are spewing to "sell copy"

So what is it about? What is the "real" reality of the situation?
Well, let me tell you, with a basic undeniable truth...

Proprietary software is not going to "go away" any time soon, your
"article" suggests that all enterprise companies should give away all
that code to open source, for free, and do it immediately!

What have you been smoking? it just ain't gonna happen.
Not now, and for some, not ever.

RMS hates proprietary software, and so do many others, but it's a reality of
life.

it's not going to change overnight, if it will ever completely change. I'm not
sure it ever can.

Just like the Linux kernel. So many people expect Linus to just wave a magic
wand and make the kernel GPL v3 overnight, like magic.

It ain't gonna happen. And I'd bet it's not even possible, at least, not for a
good line time, perhaps a very very long time (more than our combined lifetimes
perhaps).

Enterprises make millions or even billions on proprietary software. Look at
Adobe, they make thousands off a single sale of Photoshop. Or Maya and their
animation software. There are enterprise software packages that cost tens of
thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe more.

You're crazy if you think this is going to change. maybe ever.

Some of it is changing, many enterprises recognize the strengths of open source,
and are moving to take advantage of it. But how do you implement open-source
into your environment if you've been proprietary for your whole existence? Who
do you ask for help and guidance? Some no-name open source developer? I don't
think so!

This is what this Novell agreement is about. It's a part of the process. It's
how enterprise companies are going to take their proprietary worlds and turn
them on their ear and become open source environments.

it's not going to happen any other way.

For now, for the near future, and perhaps a very very long time, perhaps even
for all eternity open source needs to be able to co-exist, interact and even
inter-operate with proprietary software.

There is ONE and ONLY one way this will ever happen.

So please say "thank you" to Novell for doing this, they didn't have
to, there is no obligation for any corporation to make this happen, to bring us
the next step closer to the world RMS envisions.

And next time, before you slam Novell or another company like this, maybe you'll
think about it a bit more.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why companies don't care what the GPL says
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 02:51 PM EDT
The idea that open source is a collection of individual programmers, and
therefore pragmatically difficult to sue, is a double-edged sword. Because we're
talking about individuals (who aren't billionaires), then they also don't have
the financial resources to sue major corporations either. Let's face it. It
takes a LOT of money to carry through a copyright infringement lawsuit against a
major corporation.

So I think that corporations like Novell, Tivo, Xandros, etc., are not taking
the threat of GPL seriously because, not only hasn't it been yet proven in a
court of law, but also, THESE COMPANIES DON'T BELIEVE THAT THE OPEN SOURCE
COMMUNITY HAS THE WHEREWITHAL TO FIGHT A COURT BATTLE TO PROTECT ITS RIGHTS.

Unless the FSF knows that it has the financial means to fight a court case, then
the FSF should DROP things like the grandfather clause because an empty threat
(especially leveled against companies that are accustomed to using empty threats
such as MS) is absolutely no deterrent whatsoever. The grandfather clause gets
you nothing whatsoever if corporations deem it an empty threat, and will just
make a court case even more convoluted and expensive, while exempting some
corporation from being "made an example of" by being sued. Instead,
the FSF should now be concentrating upon targeting the GPL for an offensive
attack against some corporate entity (Novell is probably the best candidate
IMO), soliciting donations to fund that legal offensive (especially from very
friendly corporate entities who have nothing to fear from the FSF such as IBM,
Red hat, and Canonical, and who wouldn't mind seeing MS and its partners slapped
with yet another lawsuit), and THEN SUE.

Until corporations KNOW that someone is financially capable of suing over the
GPL, and is known to take that course, then they will NOT take the GPL
seriously, and will continue to do things with GPL code that GPL authors do not
want done with their code.

The GPL _NEEDS_ to be tested in a court of law now, to make sure that it has
legal teeth, not only in terms of being capable of winning a copyright case in
theory, but also in terms of winning a copyright case IN PRACTICE, so that
corporations understand that not honoring the GPL is not just a theoretical
obstacle, but an ACTUAL obstacle.

Only then will we see companies like Novell stop saying "We think we can
get away with this", but rather "Let's not do that because we KNOW we
can't get away with it and not end up in court".

[ Reply to This | # ]

Where this goes from here
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 02:57 PM EDT
Sounds like Novell gets out of the GPL software business entirely and forms
partnerships with open source developers to do that part of the code. Novell =
proprietary, partner = open. No conflict.

[ Reply to This | # ]

CEOs do comprehend. It's the Board's compensation committee that doesn't.
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 02:57 PM EDT
CEO's ought to be able to comprehend that this is about respecting others people's IP, CEOs understand. Darl understood that he had cash bonuses, not stock, and didn't give a darn about the long term survival of his CEO. Hovsepian understands that he's a new CEO and press releases with big companies with Microsoft matter more to his bonus packages than the long term survival of Novell. Microsoft understands this and structures deals to benefit CEOs at the expense of their companies. I don't know what can be done about that.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell/M$ And A EU Style economy
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 03:04 PM EDT
Much like what's going on in the United States right now,
big business is pressing for a EU style economy.

And what's known about the problems about starting such a
model is you need no boarders.

Windows and Linux have a boarder seperating them both and
those in power or with the power, can't stand it.

It probably won't matter the outcomes of the procedings
with IBM/SCO, Novell/SCO or any other combination you
can think of.

The customer's or if you like the people are out of the loop, all that matters
is money. Who makes it and who controls it, that's what matters today.

Redhat and every other Linux vender, manufactuer or supporter has a only a
limited amount of time till it all
comes crashing down because of M$.

They have the money and the power, the "government" will not
do or say anything. They count on M$ to do what they do
best, crush anyone else making competing products.

And there is nothing anyone can do about it. No more than
complaining about out sourcing of American jobs to our
"government" or securing our boarders or free trade or
health care or the economy, etc, etc.

As far as I am concerned, Linux only has so long before
the end. And winning any litigation won't change it.

Much like our friends in Washington, all they have to do
is reach farther in their bag of dirty tricks.

GPLV3 has no teath to punish Novell/M$, and has emboldened
M$ to do more. Unless something serious is done, this whole
thing is just a waste of time and a joke.

[ Reply to This | # ]

I don't agree
Authored by: philc on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 03:06 PM EDT
I have no problem with proprietary applications being run on Linux. At present
in the software industry there is a lot of both proprietary and FOSS software.
There is no reason that they cannot and should not interoperate. There is no
reason that companies cannot make a living with combined proprietary/FOSS
software.

There are, of course, the rules of engagement that are pretty much laid out in
each product's license agreement. In ALL cases the terms of the license MUST be
respected.

The current Novell deal looks a lot like what IBM has been doing for years. Even
the Novell - Microsoft (technology) deal is reasonable.

The problems come when the parties DO NOT intend to respect, or try to work
around, the various licenses. The Microsoft - Novell patent deal falls into this
category and people rightly take Novell to task for what they have done. The
xandros - Microsoft patent deal may have issues as well.

Competition based on providing superior value ultimately wins. The problems
arise when companies, such as Microsoft, decide to not put in the effort to
compete but rather rely on lawsuits to generate revenue. Actually, the whole
patent mess falls into this category.

I believe that FOSS will eventually win over proprietary. The FOSS development
model does yield superior software and the quantity of FOSS grows rapidly over
time. It will get to the point where its not cost effective to do proprietary
software. Companies can and do make a living with FOSS software.

However, eventually is not today. We need to find a good practical transition
strategy.

[ Reply to This | # ]

NOVEL HAS SAID THIS FROM THE BEGINNING
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 03:17 PM EDT
Novell has said this from the beginning. They will use linux as a base to sell
software and services, open or closed.

They are a mixed source company. They sell open a closed products. They have
stated this from the beginning. People are reading in to things that just arent
there.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Probably doesn't mean what you think
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 03:22 PM EDT
As was previously noted, it's mostly a fluff announcement, but it also doesn't
describe what many take it to be.

CapGemini is a large consultancy. They are in the business of implementing
systems for customers. What they're likely looking for is OS level support for
Linux based projects.

Think, "We need this in Gnu/Linux now!" Who's going to do it?

In return for Novell committing SUSE staff to the task, CapGemini recommends the
use of SUSE. Which makes sound business sense. After all, is CapGemini going
to get the sort of response from Red Hat that IBM gets? Probably not.

As for the "mixed source", there are lots of things that aren't
available as open source packages and never will be, for a wide range of
reasons.

The asserted superiority of Gnu/Linux is largely a matter of perspective.
Comparisons to Microsoft make it easy to look good. There's still plenty of
egregiously stupid stuff in Gnu/Linux (e.g dynamically renaming disk drives at
boot time)

rhb

[ Reply to This | # ]

MS wants to be sued
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 03:54 PM EDT
It is always easier to defend in a lawsuit than to attack. MS is just going to
provoke and provoke till itself or a partner is sued. Then it wants to win the
suit and have the GPL revoked and all of the GPL in the public domain after
which they will create their own Winux and tax everybody else.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Surely you jest -- Novell's "Mixed Source" Announcement
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 03:55 PM EDT
"That includes Microsoft, a company that is telling the world that it is a
company that respects IP."

Did you not mean to say Microsoft is a company that wants the world to respect
it's IP?

Microsoft is attempting to get patent law re-written so they don't get sued as
much.

Microsoft is a target of Patent lawsuits. I am speculating that either because
they have deep pockets, or because they feel they can do anything they like, and
if someone calls them on it, they will simply buy that someone off.

I will keep to myself that which I think it is.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Copyright Concern -- Novell's "Mixed Source" Announcement
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 04:02 PM EDT
For a while, I was not concerned that Novell would win the Novell vs SCO suit.
Now, I don't know what to think. SCO tried to sue Unix users who used Linux.
Perhaps the hand of Microsoft is behind this. I speculate that when they
discovered it was not SCO that had the copyrights to Unix but Novell, plus
Novell may have some Unix patent rights, they went and played the temptor to
Novell.

Adding more layers to my tin hat.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Seems what big companies really don't get is this ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 05:44 PM EDT
... and perhaps the notes to GPL3 should include a real "the cat sat on the
mat" primary school level explanation.

It appears that most companies - especially Microsoft - only understand two
situations: code is either public domain or it's still "owned" by
someone who must, obviously, want to make money from it.

Copyrighted software made available simply with a few restrictions, instead of a
price tag, seems to cause a "$%£!#, parity error, does not compute,
reboot" response in their brains!

They just cannot compute someone having a valid copyright on something but NOT
trying to make money from selling it.

Perhaps GPL3 could include an example like:

"I own the copyright to this software. If you want to use it you WILL
comply with the conditions I lay down. If you don't like those conditions then
find another piece of software to use. The single condition for using this
software is that you will stand on your head for 10 minutes every second Tuesday
of the month. If you don't like standing on your head, find another piece of
software to use. If you do not fulfill this condition I will sue you for
copyright infringement."

I swear, this kind of first-grader explanation may be the only way to get the
message across!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Confusion surrounding different points of view
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 07:16 PM EDT

It seems to me, reading the messages so far, there are two differing points of view with regards the Novell and Xandros deals. There's also a few other issues people have with the deals, but this is to cover the one issue with different points of view.

The key point the different points of view focus around is that Novell/Xandros want to be able to combine "other" licensed code with GPL code.

First point of view: The combination is acceptable to the GPL. This kind of combination is similar to adding the NVidia driver to a Linux distribution. Or adding a proprietary word processor to run on the Linux OS.

Second point of view: The combination is un-acceptable to the GPL. This kind of combination is similar to taking an FOSS accounting package, adding a "balance sheet" to the package cause it wasn't added before, then licensing the whole thing as a single unit.

What the deals boil down to:

    If they actually combine in the manner of the first point of view, then their safe.
    If they actually combine in the manner of the second point of view, then their not safe.
At least, that's my IANAL opinion. The biggest problem with the deals is that us "other .... users/developers/etc." of FOSS don't know what the end result is going to be. We don't know how the businesses involved are really going to end up combining things.

What we do know: MS is involved.

When IBM, a proprietary company, ends up making such deals the rest of us don't have the same issues as we do when it's MS involved. Therein lies the hidden time-bomb in the mix. MS has built it's own reputation such that a large portion of FOSS simply doesn't trust them to be honest about even the time of day.

Anyone that needs an example of why people continue to distrust MS need look no further then what happened with the Novell deal. The moment the deal was signed, MS used it as a FUD marketing tool. How can you trust someone to behave when the first chance they get - they attack?

Simply put: you can't.

So... the question isn't so much "what can we expect out of Xandros/Novell". The real question is "what can we expect out of MS". With MS' history of how they treat partners backed by the recent "dis-meeting of the minds" with regards the Novell deal, can we trust the deal between MS and Xandros? I think not.

Since we can't trust the deal, the most likely, and worst-case, scenario seems to be view 2: Xandros will end up implementing the MS licensed code (the interfaces mentioned in the article) in with FOSS authored code thereby both contaminating the code and breaching the GPL.

The above is how I view it. In my case, I do not want MS code on my machine. As a result, the moment Xandros made the deal - much like Novell - they decided I would not be one of their customers. It really is that simple. When you get into bed with the Devil, expect others that know the Devil to have less to do with you.

RAS

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell's "Mixed Source" Announcement
Authored by: Witness on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 07:28 PM EDT
The comment about companies with Word documents 10 or 12 years
old is silly. Documents that old don't open in today's MS Word. But they will
in OpenOffice.


---
Witness

[ Reply to This | # ]

This remindes me of something
Authored by: pscottdv on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 08:12 PM EDT
I remember there was once another company tried to grab the Linux market by
including proprietary "improvements" in their Linux distro. The name
was Caldera, wasn't it? I wonder what ever happened to them?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell's "Mixed Source" Announcement
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 10:09 PM EDT
This only leads to mixed feelings. I'll just take a left turn at the GPL,
thanks.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell's "Mixed Source" Announcement
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 11:38 PM EDT
After the Microsoft-Novell deal, Novell has become one of the REAL BAD GUYS.

It seems that now, we can forget that Novel actually is a part of the community,
through all its contribution to the community and GNU/Linux.

Novel is, in my opnion still a part of the community. It contributes both with
software and it is defending GNU/Linux legally by standing up towards SCO.

Therefore, I do not for a second believes that Novel in any way will accept
Microsofts patents claims in FOSS.

I really believes that Novel is just trying to create a product their customers
need, and is willing to by MS technologies to make it possible. This is
understandable and acceptable.

It is also understandable and acceptable that Novels customers, when buying
Novels SUSE Linux, also will have to pay for any MS technologies that is
enclosed with the products they buy.

Novel should be given the benefit of doubt: The minute MS goes to court with its
patents claims, I am convinced that Novel will defend GNU/Linux. It is after all
its major product!

Boycotting Novel, and shutting down their ability to distribute Linux, will in
the end only benefit Microsoft. In this matter, they have already the benefit of
splitting the FOSS community, and if Novel goes bancrupt, they have removed a
large competitor.

Vidar

[ Reply to This | # ]

one less distro to watch, watch out !
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 06 2007 @ 11:51 PM EDT
So there goes Xandros...

Let me check my blacklist so far:

* Xandros
* Lindows / Linspire
* Novell linuces including:
- Suse Linux Enterprise Server
- openSuse
- Novell Desktop Linux


Red alert list:
---------------
* Gentoo lost its founder to Microsoft, should
recheck how they're doing lately.

* Sun's Java Desktop System (based on Linux)
(do they still sell that ? what became of
their customers ?)


Still great
-----------
* Debian (yeah ! still free, still cool)
* Redhat (anxiously waiting for their new desktop)
* Centos (will they get centos desktop from redhat too ?)
* Ubuntu (default comes with mono stuff, watch out)
* Fedora (default comes with mono stuff, watch out)
* Mandriva (alternative nextgen non-beryl desktop,
strong following in France and Brazil,
keep an eye on it)
* Knoppix (comes with some non-free stuff, should
recheck when it comes with free Java)


Perished or morphed a long time ago:
------------------------------------
* Lycoiris (merged with Mandrake/Mandriva)
* Conectiva (merged with Mandrake/Mandriva)
* Corel Linux (morphed into Xandros)
* Caldera, SCO, Turbolinux et al.

Not meant to be a complete list by any standard, just my personal nitpick list
based on my limited, humanly-constrained tests, feel free to add your own
comments and insight.

My personal criteria of selection:
----------------------------------
- Good enough on the desktop
- Good as a server
- The larger the community the better
(i.e.: support)
- The freer the better


Where will the nasty boys drop their next bomb ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Spinning Press Release - Another GPL Dodger
Authored by: fudnutz on Thursday, June 07 2007 @ 12:06 AM EDT
-------------Monopoly, Puny Linux Narrow Collaboration Agreement Shortens Bridge
Between Commercial Open Source and Monopoly Software

-------------Agreement Enhances Mongrel-Source Customer Choice; Features
Business, Technical and IP Collaboration

REDMOND, Wash., and ERAT, Louis. – June 4, 2007 — Today Monopoly Corp. (Nasdaq:
MONOPOLY) and Linux platform provider Puny Linux Inc. announced a narrow
collaboration agreement based on a set of technical, business, marketing and
intellectual property commitments. These commitments channel customers toward
enhanced Monopoly interoperability, more specialized systems management
solutions, and intellectual property assurances or else. All these improvements
shorten the bridge between open source and Monopoly software and treats
heretofore reluctanT open customers with real monoculture value in their
stubbornly mixed-systems environments.

For Puny Linux, the agreement marks a major gravestone in its vision of
delivering end-to-end Linux desktop and server solutions as well as Monopoly and
Linux cross-platform management and interoperability tools.

"Companies today are running a mixture of Monopoly and Monopoly
systems," said Deepsand Jetty, Chief Executive Officer of Puny Linux.
"Cross-platform data centers are a waning reality. To create evolving
customer needs, vendors need to recognize the value of sharing Monopoly
intellectual property or else, developing more Monopoly accesible solutions and
providing management tools that are familiar, easy to use, ubiquitous and locked
in."

For Monopoly, the agreement is the latest in a series of conquests over Linux
platform and open source software providers. This list of collapses includes
Novell Inc., JBoss, XenSource Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Zend
Technologies Inc. and others.

"Customers win when their platform providers build Monopoly
relationships," said Gil Half, General Potentate of Platform Doctrine at
Monopoly. "We have been working on commercial open source companies to
deliver better value to their customers or else, in areas like server
interoperability, systems management and office document formats. We believe in
and demand respect for our licensing and development models, and intellectual
property is an important component in our monocultural environment. Our
announcement with Puny Linux is an exciting step to deliver what their customers
should be asking for."

Over no more than the next five years, Monopoly and Puny Linux will focus on
five primary efforts:

* Systems management interoperability changeover. Puny Linux and Monopoly
believe advances in system management technology can significantly reduce the
cost of operating large computer networks running diverse platforms by inverse
simplification. Puny Linux will partner with Monopoly to deliver value-deducted
homogeneous management capabilities that will work with the next generation of
Monopoly® System Center and Puny Linux Systems Management products, which
provide end-to-end service management. Puny Linux must also join Monopoly and
other management vendors in implementing the WS-Management set of protocols in
Puny Linux BridgeWays cross-platform management products and in various systems
management unification efforts.
* Server interoperability. Puny Linux will license at a reasonable price a
broad set of Monopoly server communications protocols. Puny Linux will develop
enhancements to Puny Linux Server, making it to interoperate more smoothly with
Monopoly Server® in a network setting.
* Office document compatibility. Puny Linux and Monopoly share the view that
competing office productivity applications should, by design, make it easy for
customers to exchange files with one another and that having them produce the
same standard format would be wasteful and anti-monoculture. To that end, Puny
Linux will join Monopoly and other companies that are building open source
translators preventing convenient interoperability between documents stored in
Open XML and Open Document Format and covenanting not to allow
"one-format-fits-all" compatibility. Puny Linux will ship the
obfuscators in upcoming releases of its Puny Linux Desktop offering.
* Intellectual property enforcement. Through the agreement, Monopoly will
make available patent covenants for Puny Linux customers, or else. These
covenants will provide customers with relief that the Puny Linux technologies
they use and deploy in their environments will not subject them to a Monopoly
intellectual property lawsuit. By putting a framework in place to share
intellectual property, and give the Monopoly its due, Puny Linux and Monopoly
can speed the development of uni-operable solutions while Puny Linux survives.
* Monopoly sales and marketing support. The companies are committing to a
set of sales and marketing efforts to promote the output of their technical
efforts, and dominate market share. As part of this effort, Monopoly will now
endorse Puny Linux Server and Desktop as a preferred Linux distribution, if one
must, due to Puny Linux' efforts to establish rich uni-operability and deliver
IP assurance to its customers, and a warning to others. In addition, a
specialized team of Monopoly staff will be trained on the value propositions of
this collaboration, Monopoly products, then Puny, to customers and channel
partners. Puny Linux must also become a member of the Monopoly Interop Vendor
Alliance.

About Puny Linux
Puny Linux, Inc. is the leading provider (21st place) of award-winning (The SCO
Award), intuitive, end-to-end Linux solutions, including desktops, SMB and
enterprise servers, and mixed-environment, cross-platform management tools. Puny
Linux pioneered low cost, graphical operating systems that leverage minimal
skill sets and provide seamless Monopoly-Linux interoperability. It has since
extended its Debian-based consumer and business desktop line with SMB and
enterprise servers and management software, featuring workflow automation and
"single pane of glass" remote deployment and administration. The
company is headquartered in Erat with research and development facilities in
Opelousas and Morgan City, and sales and support offices countywide. For more
information, please visit www.Puny Linux.com.

About Monopoly
Founded in 1975, Monopoly (Nasdaq "MONOPOLY") is the worldwide leader
in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses support its
full potential.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on
Monopoly, please visit the Monopoly Web page at
http://www.Monopoly.com/presspass on Monopoly's corporate information pages. Web
links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may
since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may
contact Monopoly's Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at
http://www.Monopoly.com/presspass/contactpr.mspx.

Puny Linux® is a registered trademark of Puny Linux Inc. All other trademarks
and/or registered trademarks are the property of the Monopoly.

Contact for Puny Linux:

Wenia von Xedel
Terpintyne Communications Group

[ Reply to This | # ]

why don't you say it even more understandably
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 07 2007 @ 02:30 AM EDT
This is plain IP theft.

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Mixed Source" does not violate the GPL
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 07 2007 @ 03:04 AM EDT
If you will notice, the GPLV3 final draft press release announced compatibility with the Apache License. After reviewing http://www.rosenlaw.com/GPLv3- Comments.htm I can only conclude that this "mixed source" plan will not cause any problems whatsoever for Novell.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The race to sell out.
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 07 2007 @ 05:23 AM EDT
Here is one of my paranoid delusions.

M$ partners with an obscure distro under the guise of cross licensing ip. This
distro distributes both GPLv3 Linux AND proprietory extensions (Xandros ?/
Novell ?) which facilitate ease of use/interaction/interoperatibility with
Windows. The distro is successful and increases its payments to M$.M$ gains from
every Windows OS it sells and every Linux OS its proxy sells, but also this
proxy becomes the most popular by default. How does the GPLv3/4/5/6/7 get around
this, if indeed it desires so to do ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

M$ and the GPLv3
Authored by: Stevieboy on Thursday, June 07 2007 @ 05:46 AM EDT
I think I've said this before but surely GPLv3 will only work and serve to
protect the open source community and the way it works if:

1. its proponents are able to recognise and then prove it has been violated when
it has been violated;

2. somebody then has the cojones to actually sue the violators.

Put it another way: is Microsoft quaking in its boots at the thought of the
GPLv3? Is it worried about people suing it for the use of its 'patented' code
merely because it has distributed a few Novell licenses? Are the GPLv3 guard
dogs going to be toothless when it comes to an M$ onslaught on open source
code?

M$ (like big business everywhere) will only refrain from breaking a law if:

1. it believes it cannot get away with it;

2. the cost of breaking that law exceeds the profit made;

3. it does not contribute to a long term strategy of wiping out all the
competition - even disinterested observers must admit that this is a primary M$
strategy.

All three of these criteria have to be met before M$ starts worrying about legal
repercussions.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What, me worry?
Authored by: Ian Al on Thursday, June 07 2007 @ 06:54 AM EDT
They don't call me Alfred for nothing. Well, they don't call me Alfred, at all.
Anyway, I find some comfort in the following thoughts.

Novell and Xandros are not silly enough to violate copyrights and both fully
understand the GPL (especially, Novell).

IBM will litigate against any company that threatens an important component of
its business like Linux. IBM have copyrights and patents in Linux. IBM,
probably, have patents, and lots of them, and valid ones too in Microsoft
products. That would be hardware as well as software. Microsoft have good reason
to know that IBM are prepared to litigate over patent and copyright violations.
Microsoft are just waiting for the last IBM settlement timeout to expire so that
they can benefit from the next IBM onslaught. IBM have so many cluesticks they
don't know what to hit Microsoft with, next. IBM will litigate against
Microsoft, and soon, and they will get most commercial benefit from litigating
FOSS violations.

A few other large, patent and copyright-owning companies with interests in both
proprietary and FOSS software could move in the same direction to protect their
businesses from attack (or have already done so).

Other proprietary computing companies suffer from Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt
when they realise what can happen to them if they use Microsoft's methods.

Other proprietary companies are losing the will to be unpopular with their
customers.

Globalisation now extends to anti-trust.

Governments are becoming aware of the importance to their economies of FOSS.

It does not matter if the US software industry collapses in ruins. The Rest of
the World economy is dramatically larger and does not, in general, accept
software patents. A large amount of good US software is FOSS and can continue to
be part of the ROW economy.


---
Regards
Ian Al

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • IBM & Microsoft - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 07 2007 @ 07:04 AM EDT
I get a very bad feeling about this......
Authored by: tiger99 on Thursday, June 07 2007 @ 08:11 AM EDT
Novell are up to something very nasty, I think. They seem to be intending to continue to use FOSS applications, but it is not too clear that they will still be using a GPL kernel.

I suspect that they may be going to switch to a BSD kernel, and make it proprietary. Now there is nothing wrong with any of the BSD variants (indeed, some of them are excellent), but we may be about to see why the BSD licence is very stupid, and very bad indeed, for the BSD developers as much as anyone else.

I do hope that I am wrong.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell's "Mixed Source" Announcement
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 07 2007 @ 10:45 AM EDT
I work for Capgemini and would claim that they are not "a very foolish
company that buys from such a vendor". That is insulting and unjustified.
They do all sorts of silly internal things that are associated with being a big
corp but attempting to mess with software licences whether GPL, Microsoft, IBM,
Oracle, SAP whatever just isn't in the playbook.

What is not obvious from the release is that Capgemini are not a product company
- they do not sell software - they integrate - thats what being a Systems
Integrator means. The Frameworks referred to are the patterns used to integrate
business and technical components.

There are very many projects out there where Capgemini have delivered linux
(often suse because of the IBM fit) into an integration - but its always been
'mixed' and for the forseeable future always will be, simply because what
matters is solving the business problem with the most appropriate solution.
Working with multiple licence constraints is Systems Integration 101.

Attempting to frig licences wouldn't help Capgemini because its their customers
that would have to deal with the consequences - which doesn't help repeat
business.

Despite the rants from zealots on both sides it is rare that you can solve
anything except trivial problems solely with microshaft or solely with open
sauce.

( FYI my first linux deployment for Capgemini was in the UK in 1996 using
slackware, a proprietary X.400 gateway, a proprietary mailing list manager and a
proprietary cryptographic engine - tiny project but still mixed!)

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Mixed Source" is a reality of business
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 07 2007 @ 10:58 AM EDT
this is not new people.
It's reality.

all of you need to get a clue.
"Mixed" source is here to stay.

You expect every company to dump all those billions of dollars of code into GPL
or OSS just like that? You're insane.

You expect every enterprise company to "convert" from proprietary over
to OSS overnight? get a clue.

ain't gonna happen.

That's what this deal is about, so stop trolling and stop slandering Novell for
something good.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Reader Poll: How long till Novell sues PJ/GL for libel?
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 07 2007 @ 11:15 AM EDT
So how much more in Novell going to take from PJ/Groklaw before she gets a
C&D ?

we'll start the pool at 6 months.

PS - no this is not a joke.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell's "Mixed Source" Announcement
Authored by: boojumbunn on Thursday, June 07 2007 @ 11:59 AM EDT
You know, it's funny. I've been working with computers for a very long time
and I've seen a lot of code come and go. Everything from proprietary, to
shareware, to public domain, and to GPL has been created while I watched and
it's been an exciting time.

Somehow, during that time, the programming community has gone from
"This is so cool, look what I can do." to "X company is the devil
because of it's marketting/legal practices." It's been a very strange
shift in the climate to watch. GPL has become less a safe harbor to show off
your coding abilities and more a way to stick it to companies based on
proprietary code (mostly Microsoft, but also some others.) I realise that some
companies (again, mostly Microsoft. ;) ) have gone out of their way to foster
this mentality by their attacks on the community, but it is still a very strange
thing to see.

Now, back on this particular topic. A fractured landscape for program
design makes the creation of quality programs more difficult. This is not
necessarily a bad thing since it gives more opportunities to work and shine. It
can, however, also fracture the marketplace which doesn't understand and doesn't
want to understand the legal differences in the programs they are using.

Because of the nature of the contracts, prior versions of the GPL are not
simply going to vanish from the landscape. Code that has been released into
these earlier versions of GPL will still be available using that version of GPL.
This is the way GPL was designed and it makes sense from a designer standpoint.
When you write the code you decide how you want to release it and it isn't up
to others in the community to put your code into a different contract.

This means that, for all intents and purposes and for a limitted time, we
are going to have 2 product lines in the FOSS community. There will be products
in the earlier version of GPL and products in the new version. If a company is
able to establish a solid, ongoing product under the older version of GPL then
that product line will continue into the future provided there are enough
customers to justify it.

As new products come out, the programmer must determine which codebases to
release to and verify his code works under each. For example, I know people
today who still use Windows 98 SE even though Microsoft no longer supports it.
I know of companies that choose to support that version of OS because enough of
their customer base wants to use it that it justifies the additional development
costs.

Now, we come to the coder working in GPL and to the customer. As time
passes the codebases will seperate. Some things will be released into the
earlier version of GPL while others will be released into GPL 3. Thus,
supporting both will become a greater burden, which some programmers will take
on and some will not. This is from a programming point of view.

From the point of view of the Market, the customers who use your code, they
will have the difficulty of never knowing what is going to be supported under
the differing code bases. Did nVidia make a graphics driver for both versions
of code? Did HP make a Printer Driver for both versions? This comes at a time
when hardware manufacturers are just starting to support Linux. How many of
them will pull back on that support because of additional development costs?

At any rate, thats my concern out of all this. I'm not a legal specialist
(though I enjoy reading Groklaw quite a bit.) Predicting the intricate legal
battles that these decisions will spawn is beyond me. What I can see is a
potential fracturing of the FOSS market into two different camps, particularly
if a company with a lot of disposable funds were to support the earlier version
of GPL.

Of course, this raises the question of "What can be done about
it?" Well, one thing is for the FOSS community to determine how much
support it is going to give the prior GPL version. Yes, you want people to move
to the newer versions, but the only way to force people to do that is to only
support things people want in the new code which will anger a lot of people who
use your software. The best alternative that I can see is to continue to
support the earlier gpl code even if you don't like what Novell has done. This
will sooth the marketplaces concern that open source code is unreliable. At any
rate, thats my opinion on it all.

Well, thats my first post here. I've never felt comfortable about posting
opinions an a lot of the legal matters that have arisen over the years... but
this was a topic I felt I knew enough to add to the discussion. Have fun,
everyone.

Boojum the brown bunny

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"scientific tradition of sharing knowledge"
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 07 2007 @ 12:48 PM EDT
I think you've got it. It's a different culture. And different funding
mechanisms.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Not a big deal, services firms do mixed-source work all the time
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 07 2007 @ 01:39 PM EDT
I work for a services firm (not the one in question). Most of my work involves
creating custom software for companies to solve particular problems. (If the
problem was generic, the companies would likely buy off-the-shelf software
instead of developing software on their own.)

Creating these custom applications usually involves one or more FOSS packages
and one or more commercial packages. For example, many enterprise applications
are written in Java. Most such applications created today will use an
open-source framework called Spring, and probably use one or more packages
released under the Apache license. (Apache-like licenses are the most common in
the Java world. This may change with Sun's adoption of GPL with classpath
exception.) We then write software that makes use of these packages, along with
new code we write ourselves, ending up with custom software paid for and owned
by the customer.

Quite a few companies use Oracle as a database and so you'll need a package to
connect to the Oracle database. This package, from Oracle, is free as in beer,
but not open source.

Right there, you have a "mixed-source" project. Note that in most
cases, these custom applications are never distributed, so quite a bit of the
GPL never comes into play. In cases where distribution is considered, I find
companies are _very_ aware of licensing issues (FOSS and commercial) and they
likely restrict the project to only use technology available under licenses they
are comfortable with. (This usually means a preference for Apache and against
GPL-style licenses. The reality of the licenses never seems to really matter.
Instead, the perception is what counts. I've argued to no avail a number of
times over LGPL and other licenses.)

In all projects I work on, we "integrate" some existing technology and
create some new software as well, like that described above. Most of the
projects I work on are also server-centric. Most are deployed on a Unix or Linux
server. Many use IBM's WebSphere software on the server. Others use JBoss (GPL,
RedHat) or other FOSS server software.

So, I find it very likely that this is the type of work a company like Capgemini
does. Their "system integration" work probably involves a lot of work
needed to make really, really expensive commercial software actually function.

From what it looks like, they do some work on Linux, both on the server as well
as some desktop work. I suspect, though, that Capgemini is probably more
interested in the ZENWorks virtualization technology than anything else.
Virtualization is really hot right now.

So, I'd caution against reading too much into this press release, which is
likely just a piece of fluff with little meaning in the real world.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell's "Mixed Source" Announcement
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 07 2007 @ 01:43 PM EDT
"CEO's ought to be able to comprehend that this is about respecting others
people's IP, to phrase it in a way they are accustomed to. That is what the GPL
represents, other people's code and their instructions on what you can do with
it, and one thing you are not supposed to do is limit or encumber it with patent
deals. That's it"

It is beyond me how these companies can look their stock holders in the face and
tell them with a straight face they aren't trying to get rich from other
people's code.

We are watching one company that is an illegal monopoly try and destroy the art
of folks who love to code.

The patent system should not be applicable to software IBM, Microosoft, HP, Dell
and any others should be going to congress and just get rid of software patents.
It is math period end of story. Why can't I write software without worrying
about any patents being stepped on whether I am in my basement, in my yard, in
the park, you can write code pretty much anywhere these days.

And we all wonder why the computer science departments of our colleges are not
getting any enrollment. Why would anybody want to code and get sued - better
off going to law school and looking for lawsuits.

[ Reply to This | # ]

On "Covenants not to sue"
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 07 2007 @ 01:46 PM EDT
You know, I've been trying to get my head around this whole Microsoft-Novell
deal, and how a "Covenant not to sue" over patent violations helps
them coopt GPL software.

Maybe I'm a little slow and everyone else already understands this, but I think
I've just finally gotten my head around this.

I bet the legal argument/trap that Microsoft is trying to build with Novell goes
something like this:

GPLv3 says that if you distribute software to someone, you give them an explicit
grant to use *your* patents, and the grant is conveyed also to anyone to whom I
then re-distribute the software to.

But what if you don't have control of the patents in question to begin with?

Consider this scenario. Microsoft and Novell have a patent agreement which is
construed as a covenant not to sue. . . so Novell has no right to grant licenses
to Microsoft's patents, because it doesn't actually have a license/grant to use
those patents. Just a wink-and-a-nod agreement not to sue each other, or
Novell's customer.

Novell distributes SuSe Linux 11, with GPL v3 modules. Because Novell doesn't
actually control the patents that 'cover' the software it distributes, Microsoft
can argue in court that someone who received the software from Novell doesn't
really have a patent license, GPL v3 notwithstanding, but Microsoft wouldn't
actually *sue* such 'customers'. Just the customers of Red Hat, Ubuntu, etc.

Novell can claim(?) that it is abiding by the terms of the GPLv3 when it
distributes such software, but without actually granting a patent license,
because it does not have the right to license such patents.

Basically, they follow the copyright terms, so there is no copyright
infringement against the authors of the GPLv3 software, while purposely
infringing Microsoft's patents so they can setup lawsuits against people who
aren't covered by the covenant not to sue?

I confess to not really understanding the GPLv3, but can it effectively block
this? Could courts rule that this "Covenant not to sue" is in effect a
license by another name, and so rule from the bench that Microsoft's patents are
licensed to all users of the GPLv3 software distributed by Novell?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Now LG?What does microsoft execs think they are doing?
Authored by: PJ on Thursday, June 07 2007 @ 05:55 PM EDT
Please read our comments policy and repost
appropriately, if you wish.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Let's just remind ourselves...
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, June 08 2007 @ 12:55 AM EDT
People have been throwing sticks and stones at Red Hat when they released RHEL.
And yet, Red Hat are and always have been 100% open source committed
(http://www.redhat.com/promo/believe/). That's how we get to have CentOS after
all.

Novell on the other hand is attempting a bit of Unix tactics, where open stuff
is sprinkled with proprietary stuff. It just isn't going to work. Hopefully they
wake up before going bust.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Confused???
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, June 08 2007 @ 01:58 AM EDT
Is Novell planning on releasing an application with Mixed Source or is it
releasing a bundle including both GPL/FOSS and proprietry Software?

I ask because if it is the latter other than the fact they have there own
Distro, how does this make it different to IBM? (M$ Deal aside)

IBM sell proprietry apps that run on Linux as well.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Free -> Open -> Mixed ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, June 08 2007 @ 09:37 AM EDT
Novel in the best "Microsofian" tradition is trying to confuse by
obfuscation.

Free software is as straight as you can get. Freedom to collaborate is an
ethical imperative.

Open Source is the son of Free software but with a commercial twist. Getting the
best technology is what matters more and it can be achieved by using the
scientific method which requires the source code to be available.

Mixed source is a new term that really means contaminated Free and Open Source
software. By using Microsoft's infamous bundling techniques, Free and Open
Source software will be packaged with proprietary software in such a way that
the user is presented with two options:
1) Don't use the bundle at all; or
2) Use the bundle but only by abiding to restrictive terms (the patent deals
casts a shadow of doubt that discourages free redistribution).

Aggregation is OK because there is no patents involved
Bundle is a minefield because it has undefined patents that you must pay for
without the chance to avoid them.

The problem Mr Mutant (and other Novel's fans) is that neither of the options
above are the intent of GPL licenses. The authors want the software to be free
(not just open for you to see), but free to compete on a free market, free to
become better, free to challenge the old establishment, etc.

The fact that you have the chance to steal something and maybe not getting
punished doesn't mean that it is OK (i.e. ethical). True, maybe you can walk
away, but you are still a thief and your reputation will be damaged.

--------------
P.D. Free software admirer and Open Source supporter

[ Reply to This | # ]

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