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To read comments to this article, go here
Novell Marketing in the UK - Updated - Germany too
Wednesday, November 22 2006 @ 01:20 PM EST

Novell is already marketing its Microsoft deal in the UK. A couple of readers have sent me their UK newsletter, and it's a pip. They mention the patent aspect of the deal, by the way, prominently. The newsletter has a link to this page, where it is all spelled out clearly:
The patent cooperation agreement enables Microsoft and Novell to give customers assurance of protection against patent infringement claims. It gives customers confidence that the technologies they use and deploy in their environments are compliant with the two companies’ patents.

As part of this agreement, Microsoft will provide a covenant not to assert its patent rights against customers who have purchased SUSE Linux Enterprise Server or other covered products from Novell, and Novell will provide an identical covenant to customers who have a licensed version of Windows or other covered products from Microsoft.

Anybody but me see a disjoint between this wording and Novell's letter to the community? And if you don't mind my asking one teeny tiny question: Are software patents legal in the UK? The marketing page puts it on the record that Novell is advertising in the UK a product that supposedly has patent benefits and which implies that users of Novell's products are specifically protected from Microsoft patents.

I think we should start to collect all of Novell's marketing wording. It'll be fun. If you see anything by Novell advertising this patent "peace" in your neck of the woods, please send it to me or leave the url in a comment, will you?

Update: Germany is now also being targeted with a press release in German.

Andy Updegrove has an interesting report from a Chinese standards/open source conference he attended, with slides, theirs and his. You can see what he calls "Chinese perceptions and strategies relating to open standards and open source software developed quite fully by government officials, professors and the development community." Here's part of what Guangnan Ni, a member of the China Academy of Engineering, said in his presentation:

2. Correction of Undesirable Tendency in Using OSS

Up to date, there are two undesirable trends in using OSS in China: one is not to respect the open source license, violating principles of open source, paying great attention to use OSS, and making few contribution for returns; another one is to exaggerate risks of IPR of OSS, spreading the "FUD" of OSS. Both two cited trends may harm OSS, they will be disadvantageous to the development of Chinese software industry, and must be corrected.

To the first situation, it should request related companies to strictly respect license of open source in the process of applying, integrating and re-innovating OSS. All circles in China should strengthen their investment on OSS, making us "stand on a giant’s shoulders" to carry out independent innovation under an open condition, this is the contribution of OSS in China. Of course, China also should make its return to OSS, it should actively participate international community of OSS, and make its contribution to the OSS and to the advancement of the world’s software technology.

To the second situation, we should strengthen our propaganda, eliminating users’ misgiving, particularly the misgiving about patent infringement risk....

By all means, let's all correct this undesirable tendency of not respecting the GPL and FUDding about patent risks. How weird to find out that it is by no means a local problem, and that China, of all places, sees a need for such correction while here in the US, we see a player who ought to know better not respecting the GPL and FUDding about patent risks.

That is why the GPL was invented in the first place. Greed is, sadly, found all over the world, and so now GPLv3 is being rewritten to make it more useful in ways that wouldn't be necessary if people did not sometimes turn out to be snakes.

If this is how the corporate players behave when the GPL is in place, imagine if there were no GPL license restrictions. I guess that is its purpose in a nutshell: it forces folks to play fair, even when they don't feel like it, as Novell is sadly going to learn if it doesn't course-correct.

Update: Want to laugh? Without me saying a word, I direct you to the wisdom of Yankee Group analyst Laura DiDio, who never lets us down:

"This is a win-win for customers," says Laura DiDio, a research fellow in the application infrastructure Relevant Products/Services and software platforms division at the Yankee Group. "First, by pledging not to assert patent rights against SUSE Linux, Microsoft silences many of its critics in the open-source community. Secondly, by stating they will cooperatively build products that make SUSE Linux and Windows Server coexist, Microsoft and Novell are guaranteeing interoperability."

: )


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