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Our Interview with Jeremy Allison

Posted in Google, Interoperability, Interview, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant, Samba at 1:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shane and I contacted Jeremy Allison, who has answered many of the questions which we thought our readers would like to see answered. I would like to thank Jeremy for taking the time to provide his input.

BN: We would like to hear about your experience with the deal: what and when you were told about it, your initial reaction, what you tried to do to fix it from within, and when/why you finally decided it was a case of irreconcilable differences.

Allison: When I first heard that Microsoft was going to take Linux seriously by doing an agreement with Novell I was delighted. But the more I looked at the details the more unhappy I got with the patent part. I tried to raise the alarm internally but was too timid with my criticisms until it was too late and the deal was signed (I heard about it about 5 days before it was signed). A nagging doubt is that if I had just spoken out louder against the deal I might have been able to change something, but I was too quiet until too late. It’s hard to be the one saying the emperor has no clothes, especially whilst listening to others praising the finery of the silk stitching :-) .

I don’t know exactly why Novell signed it. I don’t think Ron Hovsepian is clueless or malevolent. I’ve met him and think he is a really nice guy. My guess is that the negotiations for the useful parts of the agreement (the virtualization part and the federated directory interoperability part) had, as Ron says, been going on for months and just before Novell wanted to seal the deal Microsoft turned up with “there’s just this one more thing we want you to sign…” and in desperation to get the other parts of the deal done they rushed it through.

It was carefully prepared by Microsoft legal to try and bypass the GPLv2, and I think to their shame Novell helped them do this. I’ve spoken with Novell executives since I came out internally against the deal and their position on it has been “if it doesn’t violate the GPLv2 what is your problem?” The problem is I do think it violates the intent of the GPLv2 if not the letter, as we explained in the Samba Team statement on this.

The intent matters. As I tried to explain in my resignation letter, if you’re screwing over some of your major suppliers by following what your lawyers see as the letter of a license, not the good faith intent of the license, then you can’t expect those suppliers to say “well done, you really tricked us on that one…..”.

The GPLv3 will fix any possible hole in the letter of the license (and Samba will hopefully move to it once the copyright contributors are happy with it). But in the meantime I don’t want to give my efforts to a company that is willing to try and trick their way out of their license obligations on my software. When I talked to the Novell Executives we just had to agree to disagree. In part, I see this deal as a personal failure on my part.

We would like to know more about the reaction to the deal amongst the developers within Novell – are you the only person who is offended, are there other developers that have left or are considering leaving, whether ‘less prominent’ or not? How is morale in general amongst the rank-and-file Linux people since the deal?

Allison: I’m not going to speak for other developers within Novell. Like any large company there are a range of views. Some people agreed with the deal, some did not. Obviously you won’t hear anything from the people who disagree whilst the whole company PR is set on presenting the deal as “a good thing”. There is a healthy discussion on Novell mailing lists about this – I don’t think I’m giving away any company secrets by saying that. Novell is not a monolith controlling its employees thoughts or actions, people are free to disagree with things the company does – it’s one of the things that made it such a great place to work for me.

My contract with Novell prohibits me from soliciting or hiring people away from Novell for 1 year and I take this very seriously, so I won’t comment on other people who may or may not leave, that’s entirely up to them. I found this deal troubling enough to leave and I’m the only person I’m willing and able to speak for.

I’m sad because I don’t think we needed to do this. We were gaining a lot of traction with SuSE Linux desktop, and from my perspective (admittedly not high up in the company hierarchy with views on revenue) we were winning. We had a good product, I was always extremely busy with new customer requirements, and was personally involved in winning new customers for SLED and SLES. It just feels to me like snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Do you think that Novell will ‘fix’ the covenant with Microsoft and indeed be GPLv3 compliant, as Stafford Masie has promised?

Allison: I think Novell has very little power to alter the terms of the deal. If they had, I think they would already have done so. Remember the patent part of the deal wasn’t Novell’s idea, essentially it was forced upon them at the last minute. Novell is a victim, but they were a willing victim and that I can’t forgive.

I’m guessing the effect of the GPLv3 is designed to make Microsoft want to cancel this deal, as that’s where the real decisions lie.

What do you think about Nat Friedman and Bruce Perens’ publicly calling on you to leave Novell as well?
[editor’s note (shane): This question is worded awfully, and is my fault.]

Allison: Nat supports the deal for Novell, and has never called on me to leave. I didn’t know Bruce had asked me to leave, but Bruce and I see eye-to-eye on many things, so it doesn’t suprise me. I like and respect them both, although I’m obviously a little dissapointed in the Open Source/Free Software people within Novell who are publicly supporting the deal. I see them as damaging the Free Software/Open Source community, but then again they see my public reaction against the deal as damaging to the Free Software/Open Source community, so we just have to disagree on this.

I guess that any questions regarding ‘how life at Google is’ are premature since you haven’t started there just yet, but I would like to know what you feels Google’s interest in Samba is, and the direction of the project going forward.

Allison: Yep, very premature :-). I’m not going to comment much on why Google is interested in Samba, I’m hoping that will become apparent over time. Samba is becoming a more complete solution for integrating Windows and UNIX/Linux and we’re filling out our implementations of CIFS and AD and (soon) SMB2. We’re also heavily used in embedded systems – almost every disk drive in a box product you might buy at an electronics store is Samba inside :-).

If you have time, folks (on our site in particular) will want to hear about your take on the deal – its true meaning, its impact on Novell and on the community, and how you came to decide that there was no other choice but to leave Novell (what other avenues you explored from within first, and what responses were received).

Allison: Hopefully the text above covers much of that. The long term impact of the deal I think will be a negative for Novell and Microsoft, and I’m sorry about that. I don’t think it will allow Novell to change the market share equation for Linux, which currently is overwhelmingly Red Hat as it just tries to put Linux under more of a legal cloud, which of course was what Microsoft wanted in the first place. Novell gave it to them without Microsoft having to do anything risky like suing Linux users (all of which would also be Microsoft customers). It didn’t cost them much – only $400 million. At least when Sun sold out in the EU case they got $2 billion :-). This kind of money is irrelevent to a monopoly – they can simply print more. As Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen once said, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”

Hopefully the GPLv3 will make this deal irrelevent, but the problem for Novell is that people will not forget why the GPLv3 had to be changed to exclude their sleazy deal. No one will blame Microsoft, people expect sleaze from Microsoft :-). It’s the previously clean and upstanding competitor who has been damaged by this, and I feel really bad for the excellent engineers at Novell who have had their reputations tarnished over this.

I think eventually even the deals strongest supporters will come to feel it was a big mistake.

We would like to thank you enormously for taking the time to respond.

Allison: No problem – Happy New Year to you all, you families and all your readers !

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  1. Anonymous said,

    December 31, 2006 at 8:34 am


    Of course, Novell forgot to think of this… that since every user has already purchased a Microsoft system (including a Microsoft Office suite, most likely), and that per seat license gives them rights, that they already have purchased, that allows the use of the patents (so they don’ t have to buy this right twice). And since there is no copyright problem between Windows and Linux, the patent issue is different as the described technology use of Windows related patents CAN COVER THE SAME TECHNOLOGY for a LINUX OS loaded on the same per seat licensed Windows Computer…. meaning, that if the business bought a Windows 2000 retail license that the entire book of patent rights can be transfered betweeen systems and every hard drive that the tech department for a company builds (in mass using a ghost software or a hard disk builder device that puts everything that the company needs on the hard drive), that all the hard drives can have both Windows and Linux loaded on them (and in fact the Windows partitions can even be read and WINE used directly with the windows licensed software already on those computers.

    There is no way that this would violate any Microsoft patent… and everyone has a few Windows 2000 disks already, and even if Windows 2000 is not supported anymore, so what (their is not a termination of patent rights when Microsoft decides to discontinue support on a product… those patents still go for 17 years from date of issue!

    Novell was really short sighted on this one… unless they felt that the MONO and .NET patent issues needed to be addressed as a final insurance policy (however, I don’t see how that could not be addressed legally by using a hard disk loaded with a Windows OS that has .NET parts on it already and then loading LINUX on the same disk, per seat you would still be ok)!

  2. shane said,

    December 31, 2006 at 8:48 am


    The Nat Friedman question is my poor wording, and may be confusing to readers as well as to Jeremy, the question should have read:

    What do you think about Bruce Perens publically calling on Nat Friedman to leave as well?

    it was based upon a slashdot comment:

    I’ve publicly told Nat Friedman, whom Novell is using as the public apologist for the patent agreement, that I think his ethical position stinks, Jeremy’s resignation (which I applaud, of course), should reinforce this. Nat should leave too.

    Please sign the Open Letter to Novell [techp.org]. I’d like to get that over 3000 signatures at least today. It’s at about 2950 now.



  3. ig said,

    December 31, 2006 at 2:23 pm


    Re. Nat Friedman

    Nat Friedman is ethically bankrupt, along with his buddy Miguel de Icaza. Those two have *always* been Microsoft apologists. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were, in some indirect fashion, on the Microsoft payroll.

    Don’t expect Friedman to change his stance on the Microsoft sellout, or leave Novell over it, or anything like that. People used to be fond of saying that Red Hat was going to become the “Microsoft of Linux” but Ximian, who call themselves “Novell” these days, really *do* have designs on being Linux Monopolists, and they absolutely mean it.

    Boycott Novell, and boycott anything the Ximian monkeys have their feces-covered fingers in.

  4. quux said,

    December 31, 2006 at 3:33 pm


    It seems a little disingenuous of Jeremy to (in the first instance) theorize that the patent parts of the deal were an intentionally well-prepared but last minute ‘oh, sign this too, that’s a dear’ kind of thing, and then (in the second instance) treat it as a fact that “essentially it was forced upon them at the last minute”.

    Jeremy, make up your mind. Apparently you were aware of the patent bits five days before the deal was signed. Do you have any evidence that this was some sort of last minute shenanigan?

  5. Jeremy Allison said,

    December 31, 2006 at 3:36 pm


    I don’t think there’s a contradiction between saying they were well prepared (by Microsoft) in advance, and also saying they were sprung on Novell at the last minute.

    I do believe that if the patent deal had been part of the original negotiations then there would have been wider consultation before hand, so yes, I stand by my statement I think this was a last minute thing.


  6. Jeremy Allison said,

    December 31, 2006 at 3:48 pm


    Nat and Miguel are not “ethically bankrupt”, as a previous poster said. They disagree with me on the specifics of this deal and also on the effect it will have, but never for one moment doubt they are powerful and honorable advocates for Free Software and Open Source.

    I respect them greatly (and also count them amongst my friends), and hope that others will respect them also.


  7. Bill Catz said,

    December 31, 2006 at 4:38 pm


    There are enough very good distros of Linux out there that I don’t need to play games with companies that play games. Novell jumped into bed with Microsoft so now that they’re sleeping together, I don’t need to bother them. Red Hat has their own issues too but, they are a step above Novell/SuSE for the moment. Debian has always been a sound distro and for Linux folks, is not a problem to install, admin and program in.

    The bottom line is that I don’t need Microsoft, Novell and SuSE. Their attitudes and philosophies and lack of ethics are not something I want to be involved with. Since I own my own company, I can deal with people I like rather than people I don’t trust and who play dirty.

  8. Baylink said,

    December 31, 2006 at 4:49 pm


    Jeremy, I know we’ve mostly disposed of the Nat question, but I assume by

    > I didn’t know Bruce had asked me to leave, but Bruce and I see eye-to-eye on many things, so it doesn’t suprise me.

    you actually meant that you and Bruce *don’t* see eye to eye?

    Great work on Samba, BTW; it’s our number one Linux deplyoment/sales aid…

  9. shane said,

    December 31, 2006 at 5:09 pm


    That’s a product of my question, it really needed a comma and a little explanation:

    What do you think about Nat Friedman, and Bruce Perens’ publicly calling on him(Nat) to leave Novell as well?

    The way it was sent to Jeremy, it sounded as if Nat Friedman and Bruce Perens were calling on Jeremy to leave Novell. I am not surprised by his confusion to the question, it made no sense, all my fault.

    Note my earlier comment, I only know of Bruce Perens calling on Nat Friedman to leave (and applauding Jeremy’s move).

    My apologies again.

  10. Bob said,

    December 31, 2006 at 5:12 pm


    I had a machine that was unused and out in my garage. I threw a copy of ubuntu on it, but the installation bombed. I had a copy of suse 10.x and thought I would try it – then rethought my decision. I threw out the suse 10.x and installed fedora 6 without any problems. I’ll never use or recommend suse again.

    I agree with several of the comments that people working at Novel do so at the risk of their reputation. You cannot do business with liars and cheats and not expect to be labeled a liar and a cheat. You either believe that ethics matter or you don’t. You either behave ethically or you don’t.

    I’ve met Nat Friedman. He was very likeable, appeared to be very competent. I would have had no reason not to trust him in a business relationship. I no longer trust him and he is running out of time to salvage his reputation.

  11. S. Mahalingam said,

    December 31, 2006 at 5:27 pm


    If Novell wanted they could break the deal. All they need to do is look at how customers are defined in the deal. If Novell set up a mirror of Sourceforge and designated anyone who downloaded a certificate from their Sourceforge site “a Novell customer”, then Microsoft’s protection scheme could apply to everyone (Eben Moglen was talking about a “patent laundry” after he saw the details of the agreement).

    Unfortunately Novell seems to be adamant not to do this. Novell also seems adamant to hide the details of the scheme – it was left up to Microsoft explain the details of how Microsoft wants to manipulate how third party developers may employ and remunerate employees. This must be in breach employment and civil rights laws, anti-trust law and laws that prevent interference with the right of third parties to carry out their business. These would seem to me a good way of voiding the clauses requiring the law to be broken, since such a clause in a contract cannot be enforced by law.

    The problem is that Novell does not seem to be interested in looking for a get out from the contentious clauses, but seem to be even more bent on enforcing them than Microsoft.

  12. Anonymous said,

    December 31, 2006 at 8:24 pm


    It seems incredibly naive to think that the GPLv3 will do anything to help these sorts of situations. Companies that have an interest in being part of the community and being directly involved will always go above and beyond the bare requirements of what letter-granular adherence to the license requires. It’s interesting that embedded systems were brought up in this, as embedded vendors are generally those that do nothing beyond the bare minimum to be license compliant. Putting requirements above and beyond those outlined in GPLv2 will ultimately accomplish nothing. Anti-social corporations are certainly not going to be coerced in to acting friendly towards the community in general, and if anything, they’ll simply resort to hiding off in the corner doing their own thing after being driven away by general fanaticism. Anyone that likes to imagine that some of these companies have a choice in some of these matters is living in an ideological world far removed from the aggravation of consumer electronics, certification, and all of the headaches that go along with that.

    Whether this is something that will turn out well for Novell or Linux in the long run is something that, like DRM, will ultimately be settled by revenue impact. Contrary to popular belief, there are still those of us that simply enjoy writing code for the sake of writing code, and really don’t _care_ what people do with it. If someone can make a viable business on top of DRM, licensing ideology is certainly not going to stop them. Likewise, if people are really against DRM, they’ll vote with their wallets. Corporations will always pursue new ways to make a quick buck, and no amount of ideology or political posturing will change any of these things. DRM will ultimately go away only when consumers are fed up with it to the extent that it starts to become a revenue liability.

    While the DRM issue is unrelated to this particular article, I felt the general sentiment applied. One can only see so many of these “I’m completely removed from the business side of things, but the GPLv3 will solve _all_ of our problems!” posts before it just becomes sad. Standing up for what you believe in is always a good thing, but it’s good to know whether you’re an engineer or a politician.

  13. Alex said,

    December 31, 2006 at 9:38 pm


    > Anti-social corporations are certainly not going to be coerced in to
    > acting friendly towards the community in general, and if anything,
    > they’ll simply resort to hiding off in the corner doing their own thing
    > after being driven away by general fanaticism.

    And this is a problem because ?

    I don’t get it why people are so obsessed by market share.
    Free Software is made and hopefully will always be made by passionate volunteers that sacrifice their free time just for the love of programming.

    Why the hell should we care if some anti-social corporation doesn’t want to play by our rules ?

    Is it so bad that I, as a free software/open source developer, do not want my work to be stolen by other companies ?

    And how am I going to do that, if clearly GPL v.2 is broken ?
    I don’t know about other, but I for one can’t wait patiently enough for GPL 3 ;)

    > If someone can make a viable business on top of DRM, licensing
    > ideology is certainly not going to stop them.

    GPL v.3 does not prohibit the use of DRM.

    GPL v.3 only says that the software provider must provide the keys, so that users can bypass DRM if they wanted to.

    Because, to remind you … breaking DRM’s encryption, even for legal reasons, is illegal in USA, thanks to your competent administration that legalized laws such as the DMCA.

    > Standing up for what you believe in is always a good thing, but it’s
    > good to know whether you’re an engineer or a politician.

    Its pretty clear at this point that you haven’t contributed a single line of code to the free software community, or if you did, you got paid for doing it.

  14. S. Mahalingam said,

    December 31, 2006 at 11:07 pm


    Re Alex said:
    >>It seems incredibly naive to think that the GPLv3 will do anything to help these sorts of situations. Companies that have an interest in being part of the community and being directly involved will always go above and beyond the bare requirements of what letter-granular adherence to the license requires. It’s interesting that embedded systems were brought up in this, as embedded vendors are generally those that do nothing beyond the bare minimum to be license compliant. Putting requirements above and beyond those outlined in GPLv2 will ultimately accomplish nothing.

  15. S. Mahalingam said,

    December 31, 2006 at 11:08 pm


    You are being extremely naive yourself. Let’s get what Novell-Microsoft is trying to do and why it is unacceptable straight. Jeremy Allison has written some code which he has licensed to others to use on some very generous terms, the most important of which is that everyone gets to use it on the same terms. Novell-Microsoft have tried to wangle it so that they get to use Jeremy’s code free of charge while they prevent Jeremy and whoever Jeremy decides to license his code to from using his own code on the same terms. In otherwords Novell enjoys better terms to Jeremy’s code than Jeremy does while imposing restrictions on Jeremy use of his own code. Surely you have enough of an IQ to see the injustice in this, and also see why nobody in their right mind would want to release code under GPL is this were allowed to happen. Jeremy is being perfectly fair and reasonable by saying – OK Novell/Microsoft, I have released my code under the very generous GPL license which allows free use, but if you are going to insist on charging patent royalties on my code under threat of preventing me from using or distributing my own code, I am entitled to charge you copyright royalties under threat of preventing you from using or distributing my own code – in otherwords Novell cannot distribute the code under GPL and will need to seek a commercial license from me for my code if they want to use or distribute it. Clarifying this to remove the loophole in GPL2 that Novell-Microsoft think they have found is all GPL3 does.

  16. bronze said,

    December 31, 2006 at 11:10 pm


    quux: Just so you know, in the world of contract negotiations, two weeks is the last minute, not 5 days. 5 says is last second.

  17. Wesley Parish said,

    January 1, 2007 at 2:12 am


    I personally think that SuSE was one of the better Linux desktop distros available. I just don’t think that Novell is the most appropriate steward for it now. I expect we will have an OpenSuSE spin-off distro within a few months.

    I also think Microsoft will wind up tying itself in knots over the “software patent license” arrangements with Novell – we’ve already seen that starting with Monkey Boy Ballmer’s statements, that were so reminiscent of The SCO Group’s statements on Linux infringing The SCO Group’s precioussss Intellectual Property Rights – all talk and no show. The SCO Group did that when it was rather short on cash and business was failing – do we make the same assumption about Microsoft’s Monkey Boy’s effusive statements?

  18. Anonymous said,

    January 1, 2007 at 4:45 am


    Alex, this is a problem because companies still have many valuable things to contribute, and an alarming number of them are continuously pushed away by an often vocal few. In this case it comes down to simple decisions, do you write off their contribution entirely based on the fact that they’re only doing the bare minimum to meet the licensing requirements, or do you focus on the technical issues and use their contribution as a reference for creating an implementation that can be integrated and pushed back upstream. This is a very common situation with embedded companies, east Asian companies, etc.

    I think your point about companies “stealing” your code comes closer to the actual root of the issue. You want “freedom” for the code you write as long as it’s by some restricted definition. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this, but not everyone writing open source software has an interest in constraining what people can do with the code that’s been produced. I found the GPLv2 to be quite agreeable, and while some additional wording regarding the timeliness and availability of contributions (ala something like the old Plan 9 open source license) would be nice, it’s certainly not a limiting factor. I simply don’t see anything in GPLv2 that needs “fixing” on technical merit alone. Beyond the DRM/key debacle, what does it buy anyone? I’ll stick with GPLv2, thanks.

    It’s also worth pointing out that restricting a device in some way is not always a veiled conspiracy aimed at shafting the end user. Take the case of control software for ASIC-driven regulators responsible for things like charging your battery. Yes, you could map it through sysfs and let users echo random values in eventually leading to the battery blowing up (that would be a fun DoS), but it’s just not a good idea. In some cases you could always have the ROM code lock in a configuration or resort to “firewalling” of parts of the address space as supported by newer CPUs, but it’s a neverending uphill battle. Likewise, no company’s legal department would ever let anything like that out without restrictions due to all of the inherent liability issues that come with it. There are also other external factors to consider, antenna isolation/lockdown for GSM certification, and so forth. Things are not quite as black and white as the GPLv3 would have one think.

    While I find it amusing that you presume that I’m both a resident of the US and in some vague way directly responsible for the administration at hand, I’ll have to disappoint you on both counts. Likewise, do not think that I haven’t been contributing actively to countless open source projects (mostly kernel and toolchai) on a daily basis for more than a decade simply because I don’t buy in to FSF ideology. While I do have a copyright assignment on file with the FSF, and have code in gcc, binutils, gdb, glibc, etc. this has been more out of technical necessity than any love for the FSF’s vision of freedom.

    I am fully passionate about open source software, and have been ever since I was introduced to it, whether doing so at home in my spare time or at the office for a living. The FSF simply does not speak for me or even represent my interests. I’ll just stick with GPLv2 and the “or any later version” garbage removed.

  19. quux said,

    January 1, 2007 at 7:03 am



    Jeremy says he heard about the patent bits while only 5 days were on the clock. I don’t know whether he was on the dealmaking team or not. I’ve simply asked if there’s any supporting evidence for his theory that the patent bits were thrown in at the last moment.

  20. Han-Wen said,

    January 1, 2007 at 9:16 am


    Regardless of Nat & Miguel’s ethical stance, it’s likely that they are contractually obliged to stay with SUSE for some time still, because they were key people in the takeover of Ximian.

  21. S. Mahalingam said,

    January 1, 2007 at 9:46 am


    Anonymous: You are absolutely right that not everyone wants to ensure equal rights to their code (including equal rights for themselves to use and distribute their own code), but this the the whole basis of GPL. There are other licenses like the BSD license which don’t attempt to ensure these rights, and those who wish to do so are free to license their code under the BSD license if they wish. The point is that BSD is nowhere near as widely used as GPL. The fact is that most developers don’t contribute their under a license where a competitor can use their code, and add license conditions to it that prevent them from competing with them such as BSD. Novell’s circumvention is an attempt to turn GPL2 into a BSD license by circumventing the clause that prevents additional conditions being added. If Novell suceeds , then developers will stop contributing code under GPL2, and GPL2 will become another BSD license. There are two issues here. Developers who contribute the GPL code like Jeremy Allison, and those who want to distribute it like yourself and Novell. You may prefer to be able to change the license conditions for other people’s code, just as I would really love to be able to buy a copy of Windows XP and change the license conditions so that I could re-license each single OEM license as a 10 seat non-OEM license fot a payment of $100 to me. However it is not people like you and me who have the right to decide what they can do with other people’s code, but the authors of the code themselves, and it is quite right that this is the case. Now if you have found a legal loophole in the license that allows use of the code in a way that was not intended, would you not think it sensible and reasonable that the author would close this loophole? As for GPL3, I think it will work for most things, but certain things, a degree of pragmatism is in order, especifically things inside the Linux kernel will need to use DRM and binary modules as they are licensed now for a while yet. I think what is necessary for this is a a GPL 2.5 license which fixes the Novell clause 7 loophole and anything Linus and other kernel contributors can agree with Stallman and Moglen for now.

  22. Anonymous Coward said,

    January 1, 2007 at 12:07 pm


    Ok Novell and Microsoft, Exchange 2007 has been out for a little while now and the Evolution Exchange connector does not seem to work with it. With all that “interoperability” money and the newfound love for each other I would think the Exchange connector should have been working with Exchange 2007 before it was even released. Can we see some results to show how genuine this deal really is?

  23. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 1, 2007 at 12:14 pm


    Anonymous, I suggest you read:



    Also see:


    “Consider the publication and execution of a joint Microsoft-Novell roadmap as the critical missing piece of this agreement, with the potential to make or break its long-term value,” the pair wrote.

    The companies promised a first roadmap in March. If there’s no document by then, look elsewhere for your next opportunity.

  24. Ben said,

    January 1, 2007 at 12:22 pm


    > Likewise, no company’s legal department would ever let anything like that out
    > without restrictions due to all of the inherent liability issues that come with it.
    > There are also other external factors to consider, antenna isolation/lockdown for
    > GSM certification, and so forth. Things are not quite as black and white as the
    > GPLv3 would have one think.

    But this argument is just silly and is FUD. There’s a difference between releasing the driver code and giving liability coverage. Oviously, no sane company would give safety liability to people who modify the GPL’ed code but that doesn’t mean they can’t give out the GPL code! Its that same as invalidating your PS2 warrenty if you open the cover. You can still use the system, just don’t think that Sony is going to replace the PS2 when you short-circuit the system and burn a chip while installing a mod-chip.


  25. lpbbear said,

    January 1, 2007 at 1:24 pm


    Thanks Jeremy for having the guts to do what is right. Many people in the same position would have chosen to stay where their the paycheck was coming from and would not have spoken out against this deal.
    In my opinion Microsoft has several other underlying intentions with this deal which are now playing out.
    First I believe their main intent with the 400 million dollars, small change to Microsoft, was to create disagreement among free software supporters. They have achieved this goal fairly well. Novell has 2 very talented open source developers who have tended to be enamored of all things Microsoft. So far those developers have basically wasted their talents on Mono for several years. I imagine they will continue to waste their talents on some other Microsoft pie in the sky crap for years to come as a result of this deal.
    The timing of the deal, being so close to Vista’s crucial release, was not accidental either. Vista is a consumer nightmare and Microsoft knows it. Any distraction that helps to hobble one of the biggest commercial supporters of Linux obviously helps Microsoft to get the behemoth known as Vista flying.
    I agree with several other posters here. This was and is a bad mistake by Novell. You did the right thing Jeremy and thanks for all you do for us normal users.

    George Santayana quote:

    “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

  26. bigg said,

    January 1, 2007 at 2:43 pm


    Maybe having actually seen the agreement, Jeremy Allison could answer a few questions I have.

    (i) Does the agreement include an admission that Linux infringes on specific patents? (Given that Microsoft has said it doesn’t, I doubt that it does.)
    (ii) Is it a matter of Novell licensing the use of patents, or is it only a protection of customers from lawsuits?
    (iii) If a court finds that Novell is violating a Microsoft patent, does Novell have to stop distributing the offending software?
    (iv) If a court finds that Novell is violating a Microsoft patent, do Novell’s customers have to stop using the offending software, or do they have the right to continue using the offending software?
    (v) How the hell could it have taken Novell so long to respond to the criticisms? How could they have possibly not foreseen the potential problems in the open source community? Why didn’t Ron Hovsepian post his letter on the day of the deal?
    (vi) On the matter of ethics, isn’t it up to the software developer to clearly state the limitations on the use of the software? I have to say I agree with Novell’s attorneys. At the heart of my concept of freedom is that I can do anything with your software that you did not explicitly rule out in advance.

  27. Robert said,

    January 2, 2007 at 1:30 pm



    Why cry now? Why have an opinion now?

    Honestly, people in the company may have listened to your opinion had you voiced it while still an employee. You state that you knew 5 days before of the deal and you failed to say anything then. Why do so now?

    What is open souce gaining from your open mouth?

    I respected you at one point but honestly I have to wonder about your motivation and desire to make the statement now. I am positive that as the open source initiative took place a person like you could have changed that from the inside had he spoke out. Of course you chose not to and that is completely respectable should you chose to continue that stance. I just do not see how this serves the community or your code.

  28. Bethany123 said,

    July 4, 2007 at 5:16 pm


    How do i make Petz 5 work without the disk

  29. tshirts said,

    July 23, 2007 at 1:39 pm


    Clearly Novell is getting into bed with the wrong guys, and as a result losing all their respect.

    Jeremy, thanks for this insider look. Although, I do have to challenge you and say that if something like this happens again, please speak up in time and don’t back down.

    I don’t want to question your motives for having only spoken out publicly now : but only want to say, please stand up next time… in time… so that this kind of thing can stop happening!

  30. Desen said,

    August 2, 2007 at 4:45 pm


    Very good interview! I really enjoyed browsing through this site. Greetings

  31. Handwerkersoftware said,

    August 3, 2007 at 12:09 pm


    Thanks for very interesting article. btw. I really enjoyed reading all of your posts. It’s interesting to read ideas, and observations from someone else’s point of view… makes you think more. I think these blog is really useful for new comers and Excellent resource list.
    It´s a very interesting Blog and simple answer of many questions.

  32. tercüme said,

    August 9, 2007 at 5:27 am


    Thanks for very interesting Article.

  33. Skischule Bayerischer Wald said,

    August 18, 2007 at 2:30 pm


    nice interview. Thanks.

  34. Artikelverzeichnis said,

    September 2, 2007 at 3:47 pm


    Thanks for very interesting article. btw. I really enjoyed reading all of your posts. It’s interesting to read ideas, and observations from someone else’s point of view… makes you think more.

  35. portrait artist said,

    September 12, 2007 at 5:26 am


    Wow! Excellent! Although this is kind of long, I couldn’t help but finish everything instead of just stopping midway. Thanks for this excellent post.

  36. abnehmen said,

    September 16, 2007 at 8:53 am


    thx for the great stuff. nice blog. ill come back! greetz

  37. Vlad said,

    September 18, 2007 at 6:07 am


    Very useful article
    Thank you

  38. Gartendesign said,

    September 27, 2007 at 12:08 am


    Interesting of reading this article. I really enjoyed reading all of your posts. It’s interesting to read ideas, and observations from someone else’s point of view. I think these blog is really useful and an excellent resource list.
    It is a very interesting blog.

  39. toner said,

    September 29, 2007 at 3:45 am


    Thanks for the article – I will recommend it to a friend and will be back here soon.
    best regards,

  40. dobre programy said,

    September 30, 2007 at 4:30 am


    realy nice article, great site, thanks for informations

  41. Pioneer said,

    October 3, 2007 at 6:21 am


    realy nice article, great site,

  42. oyun said,

    October 5, 2007 at 7:29 am



  43. Sohbet said,

    October 7, 2007 at 7:02 am


    Best of luck Jim. I actually find this page pretty interesting from a SEO point of view.

  44. Tapeten said,

    October 7, 2007 at 10:58 am


    Thanks for very interesting article. btw. I really enjoyed reading all of your posts. It’s interesting to read ideas, and observations from someone else’s point of view… makes you think more. So please keep up the great work. Greetings.

  45. Sohbet said,

    October 14, 2007 at 2:53 am


    By the way, Jeremiah, double-clicking on a word is supposed to select that word. And if you don’t let go after the second click, you can drag to select the whole sentence or paragraph. It’s very handy when you copy and paste a lot.

  46. Roy Schestowitz said,

    October 22, 2007 at 12:02 am


    I’m closing this item (comments disabled) because of SEO/SPAM gaming that goes on here endlessly.

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