[Novalug] Possible Novell Ban on Selling Linux
kkauffman at headfog.com
Sun Feb 4 09:47:44 EST 2007
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Despite what impressions I may have hurled over the wall in the past,
I'm not an MS hater. I find the agreement interesting but harmful to
Novell. I used to be a Novell guy and used to really enjoy working with
NetWare over MS Server products.
According to Greg, there is some legal documentation that exists that
outlines the agreement better but is unavailable to the public. From
his post here, it sounds unfortunate that we can not read that as it
would disperse some FUD. The real issue at hand is there is legal
uncertainty after the interoperability is established.
The DRM-like lock down of Vista and increased licensing restrictions
simply do not jive with the "share and share alike" spirit they have
extended to Novell.
There are solid business solutions that exist today without the Novell
agreement, which people seem to miss in all this. Interoperability also
exists already. I have a feeling that MS is going to patent and lock
down their future technology - look at Vista right now. It may also be
possible that WinFS was delayed with this intent in mind.
"You can not built open source WinFS tools (mount, etc.) because certain
technology that we've embedded is proprietary AND PATENTED. Talk to
Novell for that functionality."
There's nothing wrong with this approach except that Novell has violated
the spirit of the community. It was mentioned that the interop will be
contributed back to the community. However, what protections does a
company like RedHat have by incorporating this into their software which
is part of the business?
The problem is their is a track history by MS of embracing and
extinguishing and there really is a lot of uncertainty surrounding it.
It's like inviting a "known wolf" into the hen house who promises not to
eat the chickens AND will feed and care for them. It goes against
instinct to allow the wolf in, but now he IS in. So, now it's a wait
and see game with much much doubt.
Mike Shade wrote:
> I don't pretend to be an expert on this subject, but the way I see it is this:
> 1) Since Novell and Microsoft have arranged a patent swap of sorts, it brings
> credence to allegations that some of the reverse engineering necessary for
> linux' interoperability with proprietary formats is in and of itself, a
> patent violation.
> 2) Microsoft is selling Novell SUSE Linux licenses as part of the deal.
> Combined with above, it implies that the only 'legal' linux is that which is
> sold by Microsoft or Novell.
> 3) The FUD surrounding the deal may cause Pointy-Haired-Bosses to shy away
> from other commercial distros for fear that Microsoft might exercise its
> right to seek damages from the patent infringements implied by the deal.
> 4) Part of the deal is to 'promote compatibility' and allow linux and Windows
> to coexist more peacefully. While this sounds good on the surface, the Open
> Source community has to wonder whose code is going to be affected most by
> this. In other words, if Novell adds functionality to a given suite, say
> extended support in Evolution for Exchange, who owns that code? Does this
> agreement make that added code property of Microsoft, that of Novell's, and
> in either case, will it be GPL? Well, we don't know. And frankly, it's
> -- Mike Shade
> On Sunday 04 February 2007 03:30, Angelo Bertolli wrote:
>> I finally got to read through those articles. What's really disturbing
>> is that in articles like this they should differentiate between Linux
>> the kernel and the rest of the OS that is made up of GNU software.
>> First of all, Microsoft doesn't need Novell's help to conduct a
>> "significant patent aggression" against open software. I really don't
>> see how the deal between Microsoft and Novell can really hurt anyone.
>> The worst thing that can happen is that Novell gets isolated from the
>> rest of the open source community and ends up losing. That's sad for
>> Novell, but I'm not convinced it will happen anyway. Maybe someone else
>> can explain to me how Novell teaming up with Microsoft magically makes
>> patents more of a problem for the GPL than they were before.
>> Thank goodness for Linus. I feel the same way he does about the GPL 3
>> so far. I do think the GPL 2 could use some improvements and
>> clarifications, but 3 seems to go a big overboard. I don't think "most
>> of the projects under GPL 2 are going to upgrade to GPL 3" like GNU is
>> probably hoping. I remember considering handing over my copyrights to
>> software I had written to the FSF like they suggested in their GPL
>> instructions, but now I'm glad I didn't do that.
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> Novalug at calypso.tux.org
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