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12.25.06

What is Circumventing the Spirit of the GPL Worth?

Posted in Deals, Finance, GPL, Law, Novell at 8:48 pm by Shane Coyle

$350,000 (US)

According to an 8-K filing by Novell, that is the additional compensation awarded to Novell General counsel and Sr VP Joseph A LaSala Jr.

On December 12, 2006, the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors of Novell, Inc. made a cash award to Joseph A. LaSala, Jr., Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Novell, outside of the previously disclosed Annual Bonus Program for Executives. The award of $350,000 was made in recognition of exceptional contributions made by Mr. LaSala.

Here is Mr LaSala’s take on the Microsoft-Novell deal:

In particular, LaSala continued, "Many people want to know whether this agreement is compatible with Novell’s obligations under the GPL, especially section 7. This was an important consideration for us as well."

"Under the patent cooperation agreement, Novell’s customers receive directly from Microsoft a covenant not to sue. Novell does not receive a patent license or covenant not to sue from Microsoft, and we have not agreed with Microsoft to any condition that would contradict the conditions of the GPL.

"Our agreement does not affect the freedom that Novell or anyone else in the open source community, including developers, has under the GPL and does not impose any condition that would contradict the conditions of the GPL. Therefore, the agreement is fully compliant with the GPL," concluded LaSala.

Fully compliant with the GPL? Perhaps to a lawyer, but to developers and community members, not at all.

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2 Comments

  1. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 26, 2006 at 3:50 am

    Gravatar

    How about this article that had been published just before the deal was made?

    Novell Hikes Execs’ Pay

    ,—-[ Quote ]
    | Open source software maker Novell said last Friday its board approved
    | the increase of its president and chief executive’s base salary to
    | US$825,000 per year.
    `—-

    http://www.linuxinsider.com/rsstory/53226.html

    That link is now broken, but it was certainly live in September 25th, 2006.

  2. shane said,

    December 31, 2006 at 4:41 pm

    Gravatar

    Here was an interesting update on what it apparently was worth to Ron Hovsepian, in a slashdot comment by symbolset http://symbolset.blogspot.com/:

    http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=214380&cid=17418140

    He received 778,470 shares of stock awarded 12/20/06. http://money.cnn.com/quote/insiders/insiders.html? symb=NOVL [cnn.com]

    From this page you can see he’s historically not a big holder: http://money.cnn.com/quote/insiders/insiders.html? symb=NOVL&mode=person&pid=101687 [cnn.com]

    778,470 @ $6.20 is $4,826,514. No doubt he was hoping for more presents under his tree. Perhaps there will be more for him after the dust settles. Certainly would have been nice for him if the Street had liked the deal and he got a good bump. Too bad.

    It’s interesting that seven of ten managers listed here are new to the company in 2006, and almost all are new in the last 18 months: http://finance.google.com/finance?q=NOVL [google.com]

    If I were a stockholder looking at that, and the recent change of course in the company, I might be concerned. The theme is familiar, but I can’t remember where I saw it before… Maybe someone else will reply with that answer.

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