12.06.06

2700 Signatures and Climbing

Posted in Action, Petitions at 2:27 pm by Shane Coyle

Technocrat.net has an article by Bruce Perens in which he responds to some of the arguments that have been made by Novell (and others) in defense of the Microvell deal.

Two weeks ago I wrote a letter protesting Novell’s patent agreement with Microsoft and made it available for other people to sign. I expected 200-300 signatures for this rather technical matter about patents and licensing, but there are 2700 signatures as I write this, and the number keeps increasing. Many of the signers attached notes directed at Novell, filled with emotion. Obviously, the Free Software community feels very strongly about this issue. But Free Software is not the only party represented. Many of the signers identify themselves as recent Novell VARs and institutional customers who will now turn to another Linux distribution.

If you haven’t read the letter, you should do so now, as the arguments in it still stand. Since I wrote the letter, Novell and others have raised some arguments of their own, most of which are faulty. I’ll deal with them here.

Bruce goes on to shed light on the differences between the Indemnification offered by Red Hat or HP and the Patent Protection provided now by Novell, “Companies that offer indemnification don’t have a business relationship with the aggressor, just as insurance companies don’t make a contract with the local burglars to deter them from robbing certain houses.” and points out that Richard M Stallman has not "absolved" anyone that he is aware of. The article also show that while Microsoft may not themselves become a "patent troll", they could engage in the behavior by proxy.

Head over to technocrat.net for the full write-up, and if you haven’t yet, please sign Bruce’s Open Letter.

Finally, some suggest that we should not shun Novell for their actions as this would hurt the SuSE Linux distribution. This led me to quip that SuSE is the “human shield” of Novell, like the hapless civilians who are herded around some war target. If SuSE is worthy of continued existence, it will continue as Open Source software with or without Novell. The vast majority of the authors of the software in the SuSE distribution do not work for Novell – indeed, I’m one of them. And of course there are several other Linux distributions of similar or higher quality.

Boycott Novell.

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2 Comments

  1. Draconishinobi said,

    December 6, 2006 at 5:41 pm

    Gravatar

    Well, I can sign his letter, but I don’t think it will do much good. I mean, do you really think the deal can be reversed ?

    Well, ok, it’s worth a try … I’ll sign it :D

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 6, 2006 at 11:15 pm

    Gravatar

    I think it will show, at least as a lesson in history, that the deal was not acceptable.

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