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The Novell-Microsoft Wheeler Dealers Speak - Updated
Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 12:03 PM EDT

You'll find an MP3 of a conference sponsored by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council on the Novell-Microsoft deal held in Boston on September 26th here, where representatives from Novell and Microsoft defend the patent deal. Here's the MP3 directly.

This is the conference that Dan Bricklin announced and asked us to help him come up with questions for, and we did, and then the conference was postponed and now reappears without Bricklin asking any questions at all (John Palfrey of Harvard's Berkman Center asks the questions instead] and with no Groklaw questions included. Fancy that.

Novell is getting money, they claim, market share, although you will note Andy Updegrove challenges that story, pointing out that sales leveled off after the initial spike. But the main takeaway, as they might put it, for me is that this is an anti-Red Hat deal, and Novell is thrilled about that. Justin Steinman reveals that to market their SUSE Linux Enterprise Server against Red Hat they ask, "Do you want the Linux that works with Windows? Or the one that doesn't?" It's just appalling. Let me ask you developers who are kernel guys a question: When you contributed code to the kernel, was it your intent that it be used against Red Hat? How about the rest of you developers? Is that all right with you, that your code is being marketed by Novell like that? I also have questions about antitrust issues, with Microsoft being Novell's partner in such deals and sales pitches. Nothing speaks louder about Microsoft's true determination never to be actually interoperable than this conference.

They all speak marketdroid language, which I don't, so I'll just tell you that what I get from it is they have no idea the damage they have done. They saw money. Well, Microsoft probably does. Note the answer to the question asked as to what Microsoft is getting out of it. It's about Longhorn and virtualization. They expect money from that. And it's about "the strategic impact" on their sales teams, so they can approach customers and claim they are working with Linux and interoperable with it, so customers that want Linux stay with Microsoft in the picture too. He actually says that before this deal, a customer wanting Linux would go 100% Linux. Microsoft was out of the picture. Now that the deal is in place, Microsoft gets to stay involved with Novell on the sales calls, staying in the picture, and don't forget that Novell is paying Microsoft, so I guess you could say that from Microsoft's perspective, all sales are Microsoft sales to some degree now.

All that is required for interoperability, as far as I am concerned, is for Microsoft to permit it by making available its specifications, as the Court of First Instance just told the company forcefully. My opinion is that Novell offers MonopoLinux, if you will, which damages all other Linux vendors, users, and programmers. They are unabashedly making money from Microsoft's patent saber rattling, even while claiming there are no patents infringed. But the threat is there, and they are benefiting from that fear, by advising people to avoid the threat by using only their products. Shame.

Steinman claims the community isn't as upset any more about this deal. I'm here to say, I am still upset about it, and even more so after hearing this conference. All the PR from Novell, the conferences, the blogs -- none of it changes anything. Novell claims it's good for Linux to get into places it never was before. That is a short-term plus for Novell, but the deal damages the entire FOSS development ecosystem. Long-term, that is the death of Linux as we know it, if Microsoft were successful in getting everyone to sign such a deal. That is, as I read it, the very purpose of the Microsoft's Patent Pledge for Non-Compensated Developers, which threatens Linus and any non-Novell programmer who contributes code that is used in any non-Novell commercial distribution.

How can Novell not care about that? They are benefiting from code that was written by people who are now not protected from patent claims from Microsoft, and Novell is making money from doing a deal with the company threatening them. All the money they are making is hence tainted. They didn't write that code 100%, after all. They didn't write most of it. I don't think anyone cares if Novell wanted to sign some deal about Mono or Moonlight or any code they actually did write. But taking other peoples' code and going against their wishes, as reflected in the license, is not acceptable and it never will be. Money doesn't make it right. Broader acceptance of Linux now doesn't make it right either, if it threatens the long-term survival of Linux by altering the Open Source development model in a way that prevents Linux and FOSS from flourishing.

At the time the deal was announced, I spoke by email with Novell and SUSE guys, and you'll remember the IRC conversation led by Nat Friedman, and they all told me and us that the programmers' deal wasn't acceptable, but that they had told Microsoft it needed to be changed, and they told us it would be. So, guys, how's that going? How about an answer on that?

Corporations are not so smart about long-term issues. I know that. But no one I know is "cautiously optimistic" as he avers about this deal. If they were, they'd be wrong.

You'll find all the documents on the deal on Groklaw's permanent Novell-Microsoft Deal page or in this article I wrote when the SEC documents were filed. Steinman also says in the Q & A that Novell's code will be released as Open Source, but Microsoft's, which Novell has been able to view due to the agreement, will not. Anyone but me see patent dangers in all of that Novell code?

They talk about how they figured out how to wiggle around the GPL, while pretending to respect it. The Microsoft lawyer there says the company is "very active" in looking for ways to work with the Open Source community without violating GPLv3, arrangements "similar" to the Novell deal. In other words, that type of exact deal is blocked. They are trying to figure out how to get around v3 in some way that is similar but not blocked.

They talk about customers demanding that IP issues be solved, so it's off the table for customers. The Microsoft representative says its customers told them they want Microsoft to support ODF and Open Source. Instead, they do this and pretend it's the same thing. Of course, the large customers don't understand the implications of this deal to the FOSS ecosystem, but Novell should. Microsoft surely does. Microsoft avoids true interoperability by hand picking only those who pay them to have access to specs, some of which are no doubt patent-burdened, and in addition agree to damage the GPL by agreeing that end users are the ones that need protection. Don't forget Steve Ballmer's statement: "If a customer says, 'Look, do we have liability for the use of your patented work?' Essentially, if you're using non-SUSE Linux, then I'd say the answer is yes."

It's very plain that this was driven by marketing on Novell's side. Steinman actually praises Silverlight and the Moonlight tagalong. Miguel will be speaking about Moonlight on a Microsoft stage, he says, and he's proud of that. If the community can't see deeper than this, Microsoft will win. It's like frogs in a pot of slowly warming water.

The bottom line? They don't get it. They still don't get it. They are putting the chance to do deals above their responsibilities to the folks who wrote the code they are making money from.

I'd like to repeat my unasked and unanswered questions that I posted when Bricklin first asked us what to ask Novell and Microsoft, because I'd still like them answered, despite realizing that there is no basis for "cautious optimism" that I'll ever get an answer:

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

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

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

Update: A reader found this Forbes article from 2004, which you may find illuminating:

Microsoft is done dismissing Linux. Martin Taylor's job is to embrace it, so the software giant can figure out how to squelch the phenomenon....

Entrepreneurs in the industry smile at the mention of his name because they know, for one thing, that Taylor is a straight-up, nice guy, but also that his real job is to better understand Linux so Microsoft can do a better job of crushing it. In 2001 Microsoft Chief Steve Ballmer likened Linux to "cancer." Now, says Taylor, "Linux is going to be around forever. We've got to understand it." ...

Microsoft has finally met its match against software that is largely downloadable for free. Investors discount it into the stock price. In a private meeting with executives in May, Ballmer griped that Microsoft's profits have more than doubled in the past six years, but the stock, at $29, is right where it was then. "Linux creates a cloud of uncertainty over Microsoft. Every time Red Hat reports earnings, Microsoft seems to take a hit," says Goldman Sachs software analyst Richard Sherlund.

The reality is a bit less dire. Microsoft's revenue climbed 14% this year to $36.84 billion. What Linux is doing is taking away greater opportunities....Taylor is fond of pointing out that the battle against Linux is an increasingly familiar one. "Before, Linux was this cloud we didn't get, now it is Red Hat, Novell, IBM. We know how to compete with companies. I was high-fiving everyone I could find when Novell bought [German Linux distributor] SuSe. We already won once against Novell."

Inside Microsoft Taylor is building a network of information and relationships aimed at overpowering the rival operating system....

Microsoft is actively sowing uncertainty and doubt among potential Linux customers over who, if anyone, owns the intellectual property behind open-source software. In May 2003 it paid $21 million for software licenses from SCO, the tiny Utah company suing IBM for $1 billion for contributing code to a Linux product that allegedly infringes on its Unix copyright. Linux advocates saw it as a thinly veiled investment in the lawsuit.

At a recent gathering of venture capitalists Ballmer went so far as to suggest Microsoft might own intellectual property in Linux and assured the audience that Microsoft would pursue any violation of its own patents. Before he spoke, a fire alarm went off. "It was eerily symbolic," says a venture capitalist in attendance. "We all scattered." Microsoft denies this, and says it will not litigate.

It's a very long article, and this is just a relevant taste, and I encourage you to read it all. If that isn't anticompetitive behavior on the part of a monopoly, pray tell, what is? Does it get better if it outsources the anticompetitive behavior and gets Novell to do it with Microsoft?

I also want to thank John Palfrey, who did answer the one question of the three that was posed to him.

I notice this morning that the EU Commission has opened formal antitrust proceedings against Qualcomm, and notice why:

The European Commission has decided to open formal anti-trust proceedings against Qualcomm Incorporated, a US chipset manufacturer, concerning an alleged breach of EC Treaty rules on abuse of a dominant market position (Article 82). Qualcomm is a holder of intellectual property (IP) rights in the CDMA and WCDMA standards for mobile telephone. The WCDMA standard forms part of the 3G (third generation) standard for European mobile phone technology (also referred to as "UMTS"). This follows complaints lodged with the Commission by Ericsson, Nokia, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, NEC and Panasonic, all mobile phone and/or chipsets manufacturers. The complaints allege that Qualcomm's licensing terms and conditions are not Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory ("FRAND") and, therefore, may breach EC competition rules.

I guess it would be good to brush up on those rules. It seems to me that requiring Linux companies to alter their traditional development model in a way that means doom for that model to get relief from the threat of litigation is going a bit far.


The Novell-Microsoft Wheeler Dealers Speak - Updated | 556 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections here
Authored by: MathFox on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 12:13 PM EDT
Iff any

If an axiomatic system can be proven to be consistent and complete from within
itself, then it is inconsistent.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic Thread
Authored by: MathFox on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 12:16 PM EDT
Other Open Source and/or Legal issues.

(Please don't start this thread as anonymous)

If an axiomatic system can be proven to be consistent and complete from within
itself, then it is inconsistent.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Novell-Microsoft Wheeler Dealers Speak
Authored by: entre on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 12:36 PM EDT
The three unanswered questions are glaring in their lack of responses to date.
That pretty much sums up what we think of monopoly positions in the free

[ Reply to This | # ]

"Do you want the Linux that works with Windows? Or the one that doesn't?"
Authored by: fredex on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 12:42 PM EDT
That question isn't a new philosophy at Novell, BTW.

A couple years ago (sorry, I forget the date) at the first software conference
in the Boston area that Dan Bricklin helped set up, I went to it and heard Jack
Messman stand up and state that if we all used Novell's Linux we'd be
indemnified against SCO's claims, and that their Linux was the only one that
provided that assurance.

At the time I thought that was a bit crass. The basic philosophy apparently
remains there even though Mr. Messman is gone.

[ Reply to This | # ]

You go PJ... yep-the deal still stinks, no matter how much they spray it with marketing aroma.
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 12:42 PM EDT
You go PJ... Go, go, go...

The deal still stings, and stinks, no matter how much they spray it with
MS/Novell's controlled marketing aroma!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 12:44 PM EDT
Does BSD have all of the future "bear traps" that GNU/Linux appears to
have - if I understand things correctly.

Fits of all, IKNAWC, but I am at the point, if I knew for sure,.... for sure,
that a BSD Tarantula can't suddenly jump out of the shadows in the future and
turn BSD into M$ slave - of sponsoring "the world's best" BSD-X. Yes
it will 100% free; because, computers, on one level, are likely as important as
water is.

Are there ANY BSD "bear traps" or Tarantulas out there waiting to

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Novell-Microsoft Wheeler Dealers Speak
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 12:54 PM EDT
I will be licensing my contribution to the pool of software that runs on Linux
under GPL3. However, there will be one exception to GPL3. That exception is that
no packager/distributor of Linux may integrate my package with their
distribution if they have a patent protection agreement with Microsoft.

OK, OK. Will any of the packagers want my software in their package in the first
place? That's really immaterial. What I'd like to see as that ALL updates to
existing software licensed under any flavor of GPL carry such a provision.

Opinions, please.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Novell has a point about one thing
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 12:59 PM EDT
I do consulting for small businesses and some of what I do involves setting up
Linux servers and Windows desktops. RedHat Enterprise Linux (as recently as
version 5) comes with an antiquated version of Samba which does not support
domain memberships & logins. If you want this basic functionality from
Linux, you must grab the Samba sources yourself and build a version that works.
Note: You must also build newer versions of some supporting programs and deal
with the configuration issues. This is still not an ideal solution because
there are a few remaining issues with the security model. It works for the most
part though. Red Hat has really dropped the ball here. I'm wondering if they
don't include this functionality because they fear being sued by Microsoft...

Now I have not done any SuSE installations since enterprise version 9 so I don't
know if their current release has these same issues. SuSE has too many other
problems for it to be considered an acceptable enterprise server. (Experience
from associates who have gone through the pain of configuring a recent SuSE
distro so it actually works.)


[ Reply to This | # ]

How long until Microsoft sues Novell?
Authored by: cmc on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 01:01 PM EDT
"Steinman also says in the Q & A that Novell's code will be released as
Open Source, but Microsoft's, which Novell has been able to view due to the
agreement, will not. Anyone but me see patent dangers in all of that Novell

I see it as much worse than that. When the time is right, or when bad blood
starts to develop, Microsoft can immediately sue Novell claiming any number of
IP-related violations. Patent issues, copyright infringement (literal or
non-literal, as SCO tried to do), theft of trade secrets, NDA violations, etc.
And, of course, Microsoft will then say that any FOSS Novell released after
having viewed their code may be tainted.

In the end, this was a brilliant move by Microsoft. Unethical, but probably
legal. I just can't possibly understand how Novell was so stupid about it. I
know money is a great motivator, especially for execs and management, but still.
It's like there's no one in management at Novell that actually remembers what
Microsoft has done to them and others in the past.

Personally, I liked the comment "Do you want the Linux that works with
Windows? Or the one that doesn't?" That implies that there are only two
versions of Linux, which we all know to be far from reality. But I'll answer
the question anyway. Given the steps necessary and the risks taken to get
"the Linux that works with Windows", I'll choose the one that doesn't.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Novell-Microsoft Wheeler Dealers Speak
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 01:05 PM EDT
"When you contributed code to the kernel, was it your intent that it be used against Red Hat?"

When developers license their code under the GPL, they are explicitly saying that their code can be used for any purpose whatsoever:

"Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of running the Program is not restricted..."

The above question implies that a developer might object to Novell's usage--if that were so, he should release code under a license that states that.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Newspick Thread Here
Authored by: artp on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 01:06 PM EDT
For comments on articles from the Newspick sidebar.
Please put the article title somewhere so we can tell what you're talking about.

Userfriendly on WGA server outage:
When you're chained to an oar you don't think you should go down when the galley
sinks ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Like Sneak Theives In The Night....
Authored by: TheBlueSkyRanger on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 01:42 PM EDT
Hey, everybody!

IIRC, the collective wisdom of all us Grokbots was that the rescheduled hearing
would be held with a minimum of fanfare, little advance warning, and done to
tilt perception in their favor to justify their behavior.

This is the problem with cynicism -- too often, it's correct.

Yeah, you can tell the community has forgiven and forgotten about the deal,
because everyone is lobbying Red Hat, Ubuntu, et al to sign up for such deals

I am currently testing out PC Linux OS and Mandriva. My plans to replace SuSE
on my Linux box are still full steam ahead. So I would say I haven't forgiven
and forgotten yet.

Novell can stop putting lipstick on this pig. I know I'm never going to get
straight answers out of them, so I'm not going to bother asking questions or
figuring this out with them anymore. As always, greed and vanity deliver a
one-two punch. Curious that the research turned up a spike after the deal was
announced, and then things flatlined. What happened? Was that when all the
coupons were used up?

I'm just trying to figure out why Red Hat is the enemy. Aside from professional
jealousy, that is. Novell and Oracle can form their own little support group.

This whole thing doesn't make me angry. Strike that, it doesn't make me
angrier. I mean, it's still wrong. But the overwhelming urge I get nowadays is
to smirk. Because here's irony, the filling inside the karma burrito -- big
businesses are trying to hijack (Oracle) or sell out (Novell, et al) Linux. And
they are failing to get anywhere. Companies not only aren't signing up for
their tainted products, it's actually pushing more business to the legit distros
that care about their users and doing right (Red Hat, Ubuntu, etc.). In other
words, their sure thing, the business model of Engulf And Devour that has never
failed before, is backfiring on them.

Just like the SCO lawsuit.

Maybe this is why so many companies oppose Open Source. It's not that it gives
consumers too much choice and control. It's that it's the knife that kills
their golden goose.

Dobre utka,
The Blue Sky Ranger

"What's the use of a foot soldier who can't do anything but hobble along
and moan about brains?"
--The Dresden Files

[ Reply to This | # ]

The more things change...
Authored by: mbd on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 01:49 PM EDT
Reading this brings to mind the Old Novell I got to know when I set out to
install Netware 2.11 back in the early '90's. The first thing I discovered was
that Novell held its technical information so closely that it was all but
impossible to install Netware from the documentation alone--only with the help
of a few third-party books was I able to get even a minimal system going. The
only way to learn enough about Netware to do any serious work with it was to pay
Novell many thousands of dollars for their CNE training. Shoot, you couldn't
even get the keyboard shortcuts for the built-in script editor without shelling
out serious bucks (was it $500?) for the introductory course. With that
ultra-proprietary, squeeze-every-possible-dollar-from-the-customer attitude, it
was not the least surprising to me that Novell turned out to be such an easy
mark for Microsoft when it got into the networking business. (Ironically, MS now
seems to have placed itself in the same position--sweet!)

IIRC that also was about the time that Ray Noorda was buying out WordPerfect
(with huge market share), Ashton-Tate (dBase) and Quattro Pro to assemble an
office suite to compete with MS. The DR-DOS acquisition also took place then, I
believe. The impression I developed then and have carried with me to the present
is that the only significant difference between Noorda's Novell and Gates'
Microsoft is that Microsoft successfully attained monopoly, and Novell didn't.
As a result, Novell's current course just appears to me to be more of the same,
and not a change in behavior. Am I alone in thinking this?



[ Reply to This | # ]

Defense of Waiver - What is it ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 02:00 PM EDT
"2. For Mr. Palfrey: If Linus or Groklaw or any FOSS developer sent a registered letter or published an Open Letter to Steve Ballmer, asking for a specific list of Microsoft patents that he believes support his claim that Microsoft has "IP" in Linux or FOSS, if Microsoft failed to provide the list, would the defense of waiver later be available? What other strategy might be successful, since no one in the FOSS community is interested in violating Microsoft patents, if any actually existed, but no one can ameliorate without specificity? How can such a specific list be forced out of them?" [emphasis added]

Can somebody give a quick explanation or post a link to an explanation please ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Could the rule not be a general provision
Authored by: Stevieboy on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 02:05 PM EDT
not to be used with with software that has these restrictions added wothout
inferring the names of the guilty parties?

[ Reply to This | # ]

A timely warning
Authored by: tiger99 on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 02:12 PM EDT
This article is very timely, because many people, seeing what is happening to SCO, and knowing that when Judge Gross lifts the stay on the SCO vs Novell trial, SCO will be history, have probably forgotten that Novell are not the good guys.

I know just how bad SCO are, and they surely deserve what is coming, but I remain unconvinced that Novell's evidence so far is entirely above suspicion. (Not that it matters in the long run, even if SCO won the remainder of the Novell case, IBM would still, rightfully, flatten them, and Red Hat would stamp all over the carcass.) Novell's version of the APA just seems too good to be entirely true, and Novell being who they are, it always did smell bad to me.

But, in the end, Novell will go the way of everyone else who has ever done a deal with M$. I for one will not miss them. But I think that Miguel will finally get his job at M$, as a reward for nicely encumbering most Linux distros with Monopoly patents. However, M$ themselves are dying, thanks to utter incompetence like Vista, so his reward may be very short-lived.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Fortunately my Novell days are over
Authored by: kjs on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 02:16 PM EDT
After this info I'm happy that I recently switched from Novell to Fedora! Sure,
I still struggle with some things which have been easy in openSuSE and require
to default back to command line in Fedora (still don't have my software RAID
running) and KDE isn't supported as well as I would like it but it's worth


[ Reply to This | # ]

Commercial realities
Authored by: maroberts on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 02:34 PM EDT
Let me ask you developers who are kernel guys a question: When you contributed code to the kernel, was it your intent that it be used against Red Hat?

Whilst not approving of the general MS-Novell deal, I would point out that it's a competitive world out there and the fittest corporations prosper. Every single company selling Linux, is whether it admits it or not, competing against each other. Surely groklaw is concerned about whether their actions are lawful, not whether one company will benefit at the expense of another?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: dvela on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 04:00 PM EDT
Well, I have to admit. Being interested in UNIX/Linux/Open Source stuff as pure
hobby, and as a non-programmer who happens to be intensely curious, I stumbled
along this site and have been reading it for a bit now. It all definitely
convinces me that I need to do some IP stuff while I'm in law school. The issues
are so complex. And equally frustrating. [But then, what isn't frustrating when
you're dealing with the likes of MS and their ilk?] I did want to say, though,
that ya'll are doing a fantastic job, even the debating in the comments. The
issues are so fascinating, especially since the legal world appears to be still
trying to catch up to the tech-rich world in which we live now.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Dan Bricklin comments
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 04:27 PM EDT
I did ask a couple questions -- the one about Moonlight being
"endorsed" (barely audible question, but there was an answer), and the
one about whether Microsoft is learning from this relationship how other
companies make money while developing FOSS rather than just saying a software
company can't.

I assumed John Palfrey would look to the Groklaw questions. I planned before the
meeting not to ask any questions myself, given that this time I was running the
whole sound system and doing the podcasting and was pretty busy -- I spent an
hour or so staging the equipment before the meeting at home and then got there
45 minutes early to set up. (As you might hear, recording my own question was
tough holding a shotgun mike and adjusting the recording levels at the same
time.) I'm sorry I didn't have the list and ask them, but my aim was to make
sure that others could hear what was said since nobody else was offering to
record it (we asked) and it feel to me.

In any event, the original Groklaw questions put the participants on notice
about what people wanted answered. If their answers didn't address those
questions, then they shouldn't be surprised if the people who asked the
questions aren't satisfied. The Council just gave them a forum. At least you
heard what you heard from people close to the deal and can base what you say
about the deal and their motives on quotes from them and not rumor.

Thanks, PJ, for posting this. If anybody wants an ogg version instead of MP3,
just use the same URL with a ".ogg" extension.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 04:32 PM EDT
If Novell says "Which Linux do you want, the one with a patent pledge or
the one without?", the "community" shrieks in horrified

If RedHat says, "Which Linux do you want, the one from the company in bed
with MS, or one from a company whom isn't?" the "community"

Same thing.

Each one is taking their strategic direction and trying to win customers with

If a programmer submits a patch to Linus to plug a memory leak in the kernel,
how does that give them the right to approve the marketing materials for a
distribution? If a company follows the GPL (which Novell did, for the most
current GPL available at the time) then the code gains freedom from the coder's
intentions, preferences or wishes. Read the GPL - if compliant, anyone can spin
it anyway they choose. If Iran markets a version of Linux "Great for
planning terrorist attacks!", there's nothing any of the coders can do
about it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Novell-Microsoft Wheeler Dealers Speak
Authored by: kozmcrae on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 04:39 PM EDT
"They talk about customers demanding that IP issues be solved, so it's off
the table for customers."

How can the IP issues be solved if the IP remains hidden?


"The Microsoft lawyer there says the company is "very active" in
looking for ways to work with the Open Source community without violating GPLv3,
arrangements "similar" to the Novell deal."

"work with the Open Source community" That's what his mouth said. His
brain said "work on the Open Source community".

And as far as wiggle room? Microsoft representatives have almost no
"wiggle room" when it comes to the words they speak in public. It's
all handed down from on high.


Coming soon: Signature 2.0

[ Reply to This | # ]

Congratulations on your latest contribution
Authored by: TedSwart on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 04:46 PM EDT
PJ. You have written many excellent cover articles over the years and this
least contribution on the abominable MS-Novell deal is surely one of the best. I
have to confess that when I first heard of the MS/Novell deal I was literally
driven to tears and could not really talk about it. The level of bad faith
displayed is utterly inexcusable. There is a huge distinction between fair
market competition and shady dealing. And the really sad thing is that many
users felt that the SUSE Linux implementation was and perhaps even still is a
better implementation than Red Hat's. And it stood a good chance of given Red
Hat a run for its money.
Thank you so much for the clarity of your thinking.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Nice wishful thinking of MS and Novell
Authored by: Peter Baker on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 05:41 PM EDT
Let's start with a couple of encouraging signs.

(1) MS is sure as hell worried about Linux. That statement that they were out
of the deal when a customer spoke about Linux is good news.

(2) The fact that MS have to buy off all and sundry to stay out of court (or at
least influence cases) is good news too, although I SERIOUSLY question the role
of DoJ when they criticized the EU for acting where the DoJ failed.

they *still* don't have any FACTS that make them look good in comparison with
Linux. Customers are getting tired of the "other lemmings use it" as
a sales argument, especially if they have to put in extra effort to stay safe
(on that note, I'll be talking to a couple of people about securing IT who have
become VERY wary of MS since the Vista debacle).

But it doesn't quite stop there.

(4) The SCO case is coming to an end. I think it will be interesting to see
what happens when the bankruptcy proceedings starts lifting the cover of this
snake pit because I think there's stuff there that doesn't bear daylight.
That's why Groklaw gets all these attacks - keep going..

(5) IBM has decided to address the lack of corporate weight behind ODF by
bringing out an IBM branded Lotus Symphony suite which supports it - for free.
I only wished they left the word 'Lotus' off it, the Lotus Notes GUI is horribly
dated and in my opinion they should open the API so we can write some proper
open GUIs for it (because the fundamentals are, in contrast, IMHO much, much,
MUCH better than Exchange, especially with respect to security).

(6) There are a few more things on the horizon. More on that some other time
(only just started to come out of the starting blocks :-).

Novell have acquired "now" money which will probably go down well with
shareholders, short term. But to achieve that they are killing the goose with
the golden eggs: killing long term profit. I don't think anyone will accept any
further code of software code from Novell without formal statements from MS that
the code does not contain any IP they'd like to lay claim to. Without it you're
sitting on a time bomb, and I would ask any procurement department to think long
and hard about either Microsoft or Novell. The associated legal exposure just
keeps mounting.

MS: the Vista security risks should raise questions about just how much effort
is required to stay, say, HIPAA compliant (see Section 1177 for a fun example)
and in some countries the same is happening with privacy and disaster recovery.

Novell: the risk for submerged IP risks has just become too big. The clients
have not forgotten the IP FUD, and whereas the SCO case has made it clear that
there was little truth in the SCO case, the connection between MS and Novell may
actually CREATE that risk. After all, why would they otherwise be talking about

It's really not all doom and gloom. As a marketing type said a while back:
there is an unbeatable advantage - we've got the FACTS behind us.

= P =

[ Reply to This | # ]

At least MS acknowledges that running Linux is OK
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 06:09 PM EDT
If you listen to the various parts of the recording, you'll hear that Microsoft
very explicitly says that Linux is OK and it's OK with even Steve Ballmer that
people use Linux. Those statements even got Linux into Walmart's IT department
(57:50). While the value of Linux should be obvious, it does show a definite
change from the old days on their approach.

Now, will they "change" enough to join the conversation here and
address the unanswered questions? We'll see. (At least wait until Monday when
they get back into the office.)


[ Reply to This | # ]

The Novell-Microsoft Wheeler Dealers Speak
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 06:26 PM EDT
PJ's comment:

They talk about customers demanding that IP issues be
solved, so it's off the table for customers.


It has repeatedly been posted here that the Linux
distributions do not have the programs that desktop users
want or if these programs exist that they use file formats
that is non computable with the file formats in the
Microsoft world. Fixing these user applications or writing
new ones is the fmostl desirable solution.

The second possible solution is to fix Wine so that Windows
programs can be ran on a Linux box. The last time I tried
this I needed to install librarias from windows or some
such which is way beyond the average desktop users ability.

The third level solution is to run Windows under VMWare or
some such nonsense

Fourth level solution is dual boot.

The fifith level solution is the one the world is opting
for which is to run Windows. It is not that they like
Windows they just have no option to run the programs they

All this also reminds me of why Ubuntu and sever other
distributions exist.

For years we clamored for Debian to be fixed. Installation
was horribly difficult, tedious, and time consuming.
Finally several groups had had enough. The formed
distributions that would install the core system relatively
easely and plainless using Debian application packages.
People are flocking to Ubuntu and raving about it, not so
Debian. Only geeks use pure Debian.

Ubuntu is what is called demand for IP issues to be
solved. Running usable packages is also demand for software
issues to be solved.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Novell-Microsoft Wheeler Dealers Speak
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 06:39 PM EDT
Wake up and smell the coffee. Novell and MS know how to do PR and Red Hat and
Ubuntu don't. Microsoft owns the world and if Linux wants to compete, it's got
to be compatible no matter whose distro it is. PJ hears some marketing hype and
declares the sky is falling and this is the end of Linux. Give me a break!

[ Reply to This | # ]

caustically optimistic
Authored by: jjock on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 07:43 PM EDT
Instead of saying that they were "cautiously optimistic" in
relation to Novell's dealings with the Linux community, I would
use the phrase "caustically optimistic", implying that they are
attempting to wear away the heart of the free software
movement while pretending that everything is just fine. Shame
on them, because they, and their ugly partner, know what they
are attempting to destroy.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Lesser of two weevils
Authored by: wethion on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 08:12 PM EDT
Ok, I understand intellectually that Novell is legally in the right in the
Novell vs. tSCOg case(s), however, emotionally and morally, I see very little
difference between Novell and SCO. Indeed, I could easily argue that SCO is
more noble in it's underhandedness because of the straightforward nature of
their duplicity ( straightforward duplicity???? Who'da thunk? ). Novell is
the Judas here, imnsho, and after this case is resolved, I sincerely hope they
get their comeuppance. Luckily, parasites almost always get stomped and even
the might of the centurions was not able to deal with the corruption from within
and the non-stop assault by free peoples about the edges of their empire.
Beware Novell, currently the lens is focused elsewhere, but your time will come.
I hope your silver is enough to fend off the barbarians at the gate.

Jon Postel, you are missed.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • correction - Authored by: wethion on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 08:29 PM EDT
  • addendum - Authored by: wethion on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 08:37 PM EDT
    • addendum - Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 11:46 PM EDT
The Novell-Microsoft Wheeler Dealers Speak
Authored by: papafox on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 08:39 PM EDT
… and with no Groklaw questions included. Fancy that.

PJ, you have a wicked sense of irony :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Answering the questions
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 08:59 PM EDT
Before answering questions, one should be aware of any implicit assumptions that
are being made in the framing of those questions. The questions being posed
here, particularly targeted to kernel developers, is "When you contributed
code to the kernel, was it your intent that it be used against Red Hat?"
and "Is that all right with you, that your code is being marketed by Novell
like that?".

The implication is that code contributed by kernel developers is being used by
Novell as a weapon against RedHat. This isn't quite the case, IMO. Kernel
developers contribute to the Linux kernel, which is but one component in a
complete Linux distribution. As far as I know, Novell has not claimed that there
are any tie-ins or special advantages gained by using their version of the Linux
kernel versus that of any other vendor with respect to Microsoft liability or
even interoperability. To my knowledge, Novell is in full compliance with the
GPL with respect to kernel modifications, publishing source code and
contributing improvements back to the kernel development community. The kernel
developers appear to be perfectly happy taking an agnostic view of vendors who
incorporate the kernel into other products, including a range of commercial and
proprietary ones, as long as the GPL license conditions under which the kernel
is distributed are followed.

The conflict between Novell-Microsoft and Redhat is between corporations and
what they choose to include in their particular distributions. Distributions are
simply collections of programs and assorted system management software
components which are packaged together. Most FOSS licenses, including the GPL v2
and v3, make little or no restrictions on how separate independent programs can
be packaged together -- even with proprietary and closed-source programs. Both
Novell and RedHat include proprietary components in their distributions,
including software that has been developed in-house and software that they have
licensed from others in order to provide increased functionality for their
customers that was not available from purely free software sources. If Novell
chooses to license some of their technology from Microsoft to achieve better
interoperability with Microsoft products, that is their right. It is also fine
that some people might find that alone to be a good reason to avoid Novell
products. But we should avoid dragging in developers or questioning their
motivations into an argument over what essentially is a business decision made
by a corporation struggling to survive against its competitors.

PJ says of Novell that "they have no idea the damage they have done".
That assertion would mean a lot more if it were accompanied by an actual list of
the damages done by the Novell-Microsoft deal, including an analysis of whether
the net effect on the FOSS community has proven to be an overall positive or
negative. Given that Microsoft already starts with a monopolistic market
position in desktop software, and has leveraged that into a formidable presence
in server software, how much better or worse is Microsoft's position after
customers are exposed to the natural advantages of FOSS-based solutions,
regardless of the vendor who first introduces them to the idea. Unlike Microsoft
solutions, onc e FOSS solutions are accepted there is no built-in vendor lock-in
to keep customers from moving to the vendor who best meets its customers' needs.
Which is more likely -- that a business already enjoying the benefits of
cost-efficient and dependable FOSS solutions will decide to switch to more
Microsoft products, or that a Microsoft-centric business seeking better returns
for their IT dollars will gradually realize the benefits FOSS solutions can
provide and reduce their reliance on Microsoft?


[ Reply to This | # ]

The Novell-Microsoft Wheeler Dealers Speak
Authored by: jpalfrey on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 09:15 PM EDT
Thanks for posting the podcast, DanB, and to PJ for linking to it, listening to
it, and posting the thoughtful review of what was said. As to this question:
"If Linus or Groklaw or any FOSS developer sent a registered letter or
published an Open Letter to Steve Ballmer, asking for a specific list of
Microsoft patents that he believes support his claim that Microsoft has 'IP' in
Linux or FOSS, if Microsoft failed to provide the list, would the defense of
waiver later be available? What other strategy might be successful, since no one
in the FOSS community is interested in violating Microsoft patents, if any
actually existed, but no one can ameliorate without specificity? How can such a
specific list be forced out of them?" (Insert the usual disclaimers about
the fact that I'm not giving legal advice here, etc.) It's a good and hard set
of questions, and an important issue. I credit that no one in the FOSS
community wants to violate a patent, of Microsoft's or anyone else's, and that
many, many people would make an effort to work around whatever needed working
around, if that were made plain. But I don't think that an open letter, once
ignored, could itself be proof of an absence of harm done in the manner that you
suggest -- I could be wrong, but a judge would have to see it in an unusual
light to get there. That said, putting oneself in the position of a judge, one
might certainly take into account a good-faith effort to determine whether or
not the developer was infringing a patent or not. From a tactical perspective,
it probably wouldn't get you far beyond a bit of goodwill in litigation, but --
given that you and others genuinely want to know the answer, it seems -- there's
little downside in making such an ask (without conceding an wrongdoing in the
process, of course). I agree with other commenters here that it is highly
unlikely that a lawyer for a company with a patent portfolio like Microsoft's
would let the company send you a reply other than a very general one about the
patents that they hold and how some number of them might attach here. The only
forcing function I could think of would be for the matter to go to litigation,
one way or another, at which point Microsoft would have to say specifically what
patents are infringed -- an outcome I can't imagine is in anyone's best
interests. I'll think more about it, though.

[ Reply to This | # ]

No Suse For Me
Authored by: Jeff on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 09:52 PM EDT
And this, ladies and gentalmen, is why I will not use Suse Linux.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Microsofts Patent Pledge for Individual Contributors to
Authored by: leopardi on Sunday, September 30 2007 @ 11:37 PM EDT

Unanswered questions persist about Microsoft’s Patent Pledge for Individual Contributors to

Most notably, on the Legal page for there is no mention of Microsoft at all, much less Microsoft's suggested wording " agrees that as a condition of receiving the attached contribution..."

The closest wording I can see on the Legal page is: "By submitting content or Software you represent that you are the lawful owner of such content or Software or that you have otherwise secured sufficient rights to make the content or Software publically available on this website."

The most obvious questions (at least to me) are:
  1. Has anyone outside of Novell and Microsoft yet satisfied the "but only if" conditions of Microsoft’s Patent Pledge for Individual Contributors to
  2. Is there any propsect of anyone ever doing so?
  3. [ Reply to This | # ]

The Novell-Microsoft Wheeler Dealers Speak
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 01 2007 @ 01:30 AM EDT
I can't seem to become desensitised to the disgust I feel
when people put greater value on money than on morals.

A little closer to the topic - isn't the money MS gave
Novell in this deal fairly close to what Novell paid for
SUSE? Did MS buy themselves a distro?

[ Reply to This | # ]

I want that one
Authored by: stomfi on Monday, October 01 2007 @ 03:42 AM EDT
I don't want Windows anymore.

Too expensive to buy and fix. Need to be an expert mechanic even for simple blue
screens. Costs too much to hire one. Staff can only manage 12 servers and 40
users each.

Give me something inexpensive, easy to tinker with and fix. Something so one
mechanic can manage 100 servers and 50 users. UNIX works but costly. BSD or
Linux work great and are license free. FOSS desktops make a homogenous whole.
Cost of relearning completely offset by cost savings. Free IDEs used to recreate
missing parts. Nearly everyone is happy, especially the CFO. CIO missing out on
free trips, golf and dinners.

Who needs Novell's Linux extensions when you don't have to use Windows anymore.

[ Reply to This | # ]

It's simply the MS tactic that works..
Authored by: Peter Baker on Monday, October 01 2007 @ 04:07 AM EDT
Let's face it, what MS is *REALLY* afraid of is honest competition - the whole
ODF vs MSOOXML affair has shown that very clearly. They haven't innovated in
years, and they appear to have bought a lot of brainpower simply to deny it to
the competition (which is why having Miguel de Icaza inside Novell is good for
them, he was busy sinking their .Net platform and as far as I can see he's still
thinking he has a job - IMHO only until MS have polluted his code enough to
switch it off).

Now the world has finally woken up to the fact that Vista is the abysmal failure
we told them it was, all that MS can do is fall back on that old tried and
trusted "embrace, extend and extinguish" tactic.

This is how it works:

(1) identify the best tool, or the near best tool/product in the competing
market. SuSE was one of the best distros out there (sorry RedHat :-), a bit
like the design tool Visio (which also has been functionally destroyed by
'Microsofting' it, but I digress), or, say, Stacker.

(2) grab hold of the company. Either buy shares or offer another way to
'collaborate', there's always one who will consider business to be about
ensuring his/her retirement fund is sorted. Everyone has their price, and MS
can afford it.

(3) lock the company down so that it ends being a competitive threat or makes MS
look bad by offering something that actually works. Alternatively, simply steal
the functionality or bundle a 'free' similar product with Windows (Netscape,
Real). In the case the product is useful it will get assimilated (sorry,
"integrated") into the convoluted, feature bloated way the Office and
Windows platforms work (Visio) and it will acquire Microsoft features (wizards,
Clippy, bloat, WGA failures).

Now, the problem is that the integration approach results in an increasing stack
of incompatibilities that have to be managed with every new product release,
which is why it becomes exponentially more difficult to bring out a new product
that actually *works*, like Vista.

Novell has handed them SuSE on a plate, the only really European distro (which
was quietly preferred by quite a lot of IBM engineers I know). SLES 9 wasn't
brilliant, but 10 was good, and OpenSuSE 10.2 was very good. Now it's tainted,
and even if Novell were able to remove the MS leech it will allow MS to allege
IP risks. Not that Novell will dare - there are retirement plans at stake.

The Novell deal is a dream for Microsoft. It allows them to taint SuSE as well
as Mono in one go (the latter may have been what made them try for Novell), and
on top of that they get to claim 'interoperability'. If enough people will fall
for that it will have slowed the Linux threat for a bit, even when Europe starts
to enforce the verdict.

Keep educating people - especially now it's needed.

= P =

[ Reply to This | # ]

t's a really baseless argument intended to appeal more to emotion than reason ...
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 01 2007 @ 09:34 AM EDT

[ Reply to This | # ]

Already happening
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 01 2007 @ 10:27 AM EDT
We could already be seeing the pernicious effects of this. There is a large
tech company that I've contracted for several times over the last 15 years that
have moved recently from RedHat to SuSE after standardizing on RedHat since
about 2000 for their smaller projects (they're mostly a Sun shop).

This happened to us completely out of the blue on the 6 month project that we
delivered to systems integration test in the last couple of weeks. Originally -
6 months ago - the platform was RedHat but after 3 months the customer switched
the requirement to SuSE for reasons never explained to us.

We protested and pointed out the risks this posed to a tight delivery schedule,
particularly since none of our guys have any real experience with SuSE (this is
a 24/7 with failover, zero down time, 5 9's, however you want to put it,

But they insisted, so we continued development on RedHat and then wrote the
deployment scripts to SuSE, and acceptance tested on SuSE.

Luckily it's worked out ok and we made delivery (avoiding the penalties), but
you have to wonder why a major, risk averse customer would be so sanguine about
enforcing such an unnecessary change on a critical project.

Perhaps they had some FUD sprayed at them and they flinched.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Novell-Microsoft Wheeler Dealers Speak - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 01 2007 @ 11:33 AM EDT
Maybe it's up to RedHat to go deal with Microsoft also, if they are concerned
about "playing in the same sandbox". And further...why such a
neglected feeling about the conference not having any groklaw questions? Are we
becoming so prideful that we now think the right questions will only get asked
if groklaw asks them?? Look...I love Linux, and I will not pay another dollar
to Microsoft ever if I can help it...but on the other hand, I have been becoming
concerned about our train of thought on here - we know and believe in the merits
of free software (free as in speech and in beer, IMO ;), but too much of an
"only this way" attitude can be counter-productive.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Very Sad...
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 01 2007 @ 11:49 AM EDT
Why, oh why Novell have you done this?

I *really* like SuSE. I've used it for years and it really fits. I've tried
other distros, but I've grown so used to SuSE, YaST, etc., that I keep
downloading the latest Open SuSE and using it. I used to buy the latest box
version every time it was released.

I am a long-time KDE user, and can configure a SuSE/KDE box in seconds.

I used Gentoo for awhile, but I can't seem to get a stage 3 install running
anymore on my hardware. That was the closest to a replacement I've found. But
you have to be prepared to build everything on the fly. Forget about having a
quick out of the box running system. I started out with Mandrake Linux, maybe
that's an option to return to it.

I tried Kubuntu, but gave up trying to round up kernel modules for my hardware.

OK, case in point. I can take a typical notebook, Dell for instance, with
generic hardware and have a SuSE distro up and running in minutes. I tried on
the same hardware Kbuntu, and I got tired of trying to iron out the kinks and
reached for my SuSE 10.2 DVD and was off and running in about 20 minutes.

There was an article here some time ago where PJ raved about the ease of use of
SuSE. So I know there's others out there that feel the same.

I wish that someone out there with the smarts and servers to host a project
would fork the SuSE source tree and produce a non-Novell version with those same
easy to use tools and the same filesystem structure (so I don't have to figure
out all over again where all the config files are).

Any suggestions? Anyone out there gone off a SuSE diet and found something
comparable without a steep learning curve?

Thanks to everyone for listening to my rant.


[ Reply to This | # ]

MS is missing the point here
Authored by: ka1axy on Monday, October 01 2007 @ 12:05 PM EDT
In my view, the Linux movement (indeed, the entire open source movement) is
about taking control of computers *away* from the corporations and restoring the
users' freedom of choice as to which OS and applications they will run on their
generic hardware.

This isn't the first time such a movement has arisen. The early UNIX days saw a
similar phenomenon, with many vendors' hardware platforms running a common OS,
users were able to avoid OS/hardware lock in by the proprietary system
manufacturers (whose hardware ran only their proprietary OS). Much free software
was downloadable from ftp sites, though it often had to be compiled for whatever
variant of UNIX your system happened to be running.

Both the DEC PDP-11 and the IBM PC are examples of "open" hardware
which spawned independent libraries of user-created software, some of which
included alternative operating systems. These were often freely shared. The
PC's open hardware architecture (the original PC came with schematics) allowed
sophisticated users the ability to build and interface their own hardware.

One day, the folks at Microsoft will realize that none of this is new (or maybe
they have, and believe they have found a way to successfully combat it) and that
many users will always gravitate to the computing environment that provides them
the most freedom to do what they want, how they want and without the
interference of a corporation. When this happens, the independent users find
other users, and pretty soon they believe that they can stand up to the
proprietary mindset, and create their own, open, environment.

Linux wouldn't be the threat to MS that it is now, unless it was an attractive
alternative to Windows. It's attractive because it breaks Microsoft's control
of your "computing experience". No matter how Microsoft tries to spin
the advantages of their integrated software architecture, the fundamental
advantage of Linux (or whatever comes next) will remain "freedom" --
freedom from control, freedom to innovate, freedom to say "no" (or

Thanks for listening to my rant :-)

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Novell-Microsoft Wheeler Dealers Speak - Updated
Authored by: chanson roland on Monday, October 01 2007 @ 12:23 PM EDT
To prevent Microsoft from balkanizing Linux, as it did Unix, and prevent
Novell from gaining a competitive advantage by violating or abetting the
violation of the GPL, the Freedom Software Law Center needs to:

(1) notify Microsoft and Novell that any software that they, or either of them,

contribute or allow others to contribute to Linux, by either either express or
implied, permission is subject to the GPL;

(2) Microsoft must identify the software in Linux that they allege violates
IP. Its failure to do so results in that allegedly infringed IP losing its
protections under copyright
and/or patent under the doctrines of equitable estopple, waiver, and/or
violation of the well settled doctrine of patent, trademark, and copyright law
that one
cannot sit on one's right but must either police your IP rights or be estopped
from asserting them; and

(3) Include in the GPL warranty and indemnity provisions whereby anyone
contributing code to the GPL: (1) warrants that it is either his/its code to do

with as he/it wishes or that he/it has permission to contribute the code, and
(2) indemnify the Licensor of Linux, those who use Linux pursuant to the GPL,
those who distribute Linux pursuant to the GPL, the owner of any rights in
Linux, Linux's customers, and other contributors to Linux against the costs of

lawsuits and the adverse consequences of lawsuits for
infringement of another's IP based on the code that he/it contributes to

[ Reply to This | # ]

There's nothing wrong with Moonlight
Authored by: vinea_mayhem on Monday, October 01 2007 @ 12:23 PM EDT
There's nothing wrong with Mono or Moonlight. MS's Silverlight play vs Flash
will happen regardless of Linux and these projects, now with MS's semi-blessing,
means that Linux won't get locked out.

It is something noteworthy and even praiseworthy.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Not Upset - The Novell-Microsoft Wheeler Dealers Speak - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 01 2007 @ 01:26 PM EDT
I suppose it would depend on your news source,whether or not you would conclude
that the community is not as upset about the deal. Since Dan Bricklin did not
get to ask any of the Groklaw questions, guess they don't see any real concern
by the community. Reminds me when a certain politician came to town to
campaign, there were a bunch of security types filtering the potential audience
to make sure there were no "trouble makers". If you don't want to
hear dissent, then simply don't listen to it. Not that dissent won't exist,
just you won't hear any.

Actually, since Vista came out, the Novell deal is about the only way the
Microsoft can remain in the innovative operating system market.

Trouble is, if you drive away all the people who wrote the code you distribute,
pretty soon you will have a lot of old code and nothing new.

[ Reply to This | # ]

silverlight - The Novell-Microsoft Wheeler Dealers Speak - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 01 2007 @ 01:31 PM EDT
Not installed here!

I may be cutting my nose off to spite my face, but I am boycotting silverlite.
Any web site using it has one less viewer!

[ Reply to This | # ]

First post!
Authored by: skuggi on Monday, October 01 2007 @ 01:37 PM EDT


[ Reply to This | # ]

I disagree with PJ
Authored by: Alan(UK) on Monday, October 01 2007 @ 04:42 PM EDT
Now that I have got your attention.

I disagree over one point:

"All that is required for interoperability, as far as I am concerned, is
for Microsoft to permit it by making available its specifications, as the Court
of First Instance just told the company forcefully."

All that is required for interoperability is for Microsoft to adhere to the same
standards that the rest of the industry uses.

Microsoft is nailing up its own coffin from the inside.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Kimball's rate of being overturned?
Authored by: gvc on Monday, October 01 2007 @ 06:43 PM EDT
Is it possible to get a reliable source of information on the rate at which
Kimball's rulings are upheld/overturned?

Darl claims legal some deep divers find it was 1/3 upheld, 2/3 overturned. He
said "in the last few days." Wouldn't devoting resources to that case
be in contravention of the chapter 11 order?"

[ Reply to This | # ]

Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 01 2007 @ 10:19 PM EDT
I don't make the connection between the investigation of their licensing terms
and the way Linux does business. AFAIK it is over how they license their
patents to chip set technology. I don't think it is driver level.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Works with windows? What does that mean?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, October 01 2007 @ 10:24 PM EDT
I honestly don't know. Does suse do something to "work with windows"
better than other distros?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Novell-Microsoft Wheeler Dealers Speak - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 02 2007 @ 05:52 AM EDT
This is why GPL v3 MUST be adopted by all open source software. It'll kill
dirty deals like this in an instant, but sadly, Linus and Co. are more
interested in making money than the community. I'll keep saying this because
it's true.


[ Reply to This | # ]

The Novell-Microsoft Wheeler Dealers Speak - Updated
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, October 02 2007 @ 04:10 PM EDT

Pamela Jones has gotton too accustomed to the spotlight.

Her first cause, SCO, was worthy.

Now, I'm not so sure. Who is she protecting here? And why does she care?

I think that the Novell-Microsoft pact is a business arrangement, not the Devil

The bottom line is, at this point in time, any person on Earth can order a
preinstalled Ubuntu system for the desktop or a RedHat server from Dell -- one
of the Top 5 vendors in the world.

What else needs to be said? Anyone choosing can live Microsoft Free. Anyone
liking Microsoft and Linux can buy Novell. Anyone that likes their computer in
brushed aluminum can buy a Mac.

At this point it's all personal choice...not lock in.

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