11.27.06

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On Novell and Feisty

Posted in Deals, Novell, Patent Covenant, Ubuntu at 1:54 am by Shane Coyle

OwlManAtt has a wide-ranging writeup that touches on the Novell-Microsoft deal, also raising questions about whether Novell’s deal violates the GPL2 and the prospects of designing GPL3 to prevent “Novellization“, an analysis of the Microsoft Patent Pledge, Mark Shuttleworth’s letter to the OpenSUSE mailing list and Ubuntu’s decision to include proprietary drivers in its next release, in its quest for “Multimedia Enablement”. Like I said, it is wide-ranging.

Novell, being everybody’s favorite knight-in-shining-armor has apparently decided that all of its users need to pay the Microsoft tax. To quote Microsoft’s general counsel:

And you’ll see, as well, an economic commitment from Novell to Microsoft that involves a running royalty, a percentage of revenue on open source software shipped under the agreement.

And by doing this, they are appearing as if they agree that Linux does indeed infringe upon patents held by Microsoft. They do indeed nod their head to Steve’s unfounded claims. But hey – you’re Novell. You didn’t base your entire Linux business around a community of idealogical people who don’t even work for you. You don’t depend on them to improve your product, only paying a small and elite team to put the finishing touches on SUSE and ship it. And you did not just spit in their faces and shake hands with the devil.

Oh, shit, wait. You did!

Indeed you did, Novell. Also raised in the entry is the question regarding whether Novell’s submissions to projects can now be trusted:

And their pledge to OpenSUSE developers – what does this mean for us?

Well, what if Novell wants to contibute code back into the GNOME tree. Or the Samba tree. Or the kernel itself. How are we to know that their contributions are not ‘tainted’? Is it possible that they might write something as a part of their Windows compatability project with Microsoft that obviously violates a patent? They are licensed to redistribute it. The rest of the world is not. That goes against the spirit of the GPL.

These are all valid questions, should the community continue to support a company that admittedly acted selfishly in making this deal? A company that deliberately worked to sidestep the very license that allows them to distribute the community’s work? A company which is trying to proprietize Linux and OSS, and has agreed to pay royalties to a monopolist for interoperability information and undermined the EC Antitrust ruling? No, we should not support Novell in their selfish and short-sighted partnership with Microsoft.

Boycott Novell.

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