EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.05.07

It’s the Patent Covenant

Posted in Antitrust, Boycott Novell, Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant at 3:22 am by Shane Coyle

From time to time, folks will question what our motives here at BN are exactly, and some have accused us of advancing Microsoft’s very goal of fragmenting the community.

Those criticisms hit home, because obviously there is some validity to those arguments – the site is called boycott Novell after all. I just didn’t think that dearnovellpleasefixthepatentcovenant.com would have the same mnemonic value, y’know?

Anyhow, my problem with this deal, and therefore Novell, is the patent covenant. Novell is paying Microsoft royalties for Microsoft’s promising not to sue Novell’s customers for some unspecified potential ip⁄patent infringement that may or may not be in Novell’s Linux or other Open Source offerings.

At best, Novell is naively validating and contributing to Microsoft’s FUD campaign against Linux, at worst it is a patent cross-license with some clever wording to sidestep the GPLv2. Unfortunately all signs point to the latter case.

Consider this statement by Jason Matusow in response to a comment on his "Your input requested" blog entry, which illustrates the manner in which Novell is using Microsoft’s patent threats to render OpenSUSE.org as the only presumably safe channel for commercial redistribution of GPL code, a right that apparently Novell is paying Microsoft for and I feel is a violation of the GPLv2.

TAG – thanks for the comment.

We have to separate two things. The openSUSE.org covenant is for ANY developer (even professionally compensated for that work) to contribute to the openSUSE.org code base. The covenant terms apply to that activity.

The individual covenant is for any OSS development, for any project, done in any geography – as long as it is done non-commercially. We want to get the covenant to the point where it is clear that even if the code ends up being used in a commercial sense, the individual who did the work remains covered by the covenant – only the entity that is bringing the code to market commercially is responsible for clearing that product for use (like ANY other commercial entity bringing a product to market).

TAG, I hear you about OSS development that the meritocracy element is built upon the quality of the code you create and the accpetance of that code by a project maintainer. I disagree that “generic” is a requirement although broad benefit is important. My view of the issues we are looking to deal with (not there yet) are getting code, modifying code, generating new code, using that in binary form for yourself, and then distribution considerations.

I will continue to Boycott Novell until they fix the patent covenant, at least. My antitrust concerns about the deal are pretty strong as well.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

7 Comments

  1. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 5, 2007 at 3:45 am

    Gravatar

    To add to this, I’d like to quote a message sent by Ray Ozzie last night.

    http://weblog.infoworld.com/openresource/archives/2007/01/which_should_no.html

    ‘Suse is now the only “sanctioned” Linux for the Enterprise due to the agreement and work with Microsoft’

    Isn’t this just a classic? Fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

  2. Danny Cones said,

    January 5, 2007 at 10:01 am

    Gravatar

    I tend to see this as targeted FUD also- you try and address this but the simple fact is this approach further muddies the waters. Make the distinction between SLED, SLES, and Opensuse the way the contract does. The covenant only comes into play with corporate environments, and you indeed, regardless of how many times you defend your “boycott” are doing fud on your own.

    Did ya get a new acer laptop???

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 5, 2007 at 11:11 am

    Gravatar

    Did ya get a new acer laptop???

    You’re suggesting that we promote Microsoft’s agenda, but the matter of fact is that, as I have mention in a previous post, Novell made a mistake and enormous damage was done. How we deal with the new status quo is the principal issue. Isolating Novell from the corporate environment (SuSE ought to live on) seems like the best solution.

    To clarify, I used to be a huge SuSE advocate, but the deal turned Novell from a community contributer into a foe. Novell is acting selfishly on behalf of its financial factors.

    P.S. — On the above joke, I foolishly thought it was mine. *wink* For the past week I have been asking people who spread anti-Linux FUD if they had received their Ferrari laptop.

  4. shane said,

    January 5, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    Gravatar

    This deal betrayed the very principles of the community that Novell derives its product from and is wholly unacceptable, I cannot sit idly by and allow Novell to do this.

    Danny, I understand your viewpoint, but we will just have to “agree to disagree” over the proper course of action in regards to the Microvell deal.

    The way to communicate with a corporation is economically, this boycott shows Novell and their shareholders that their selfish deal is unacceptable.

    And, on the laptop note, I’m hoping Novell will ship me a SERVER with SLES preloaded for my review and do with as I please, (hint hint if anyone from Novell PR or Edelman is reading…). However, I have a feeling I would get a Windows server with SLES running inside of a virtual machine.

  5. shane said,

    January 5, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Gravatar

    The covenant comes into play in redistribution, it limits the manner in which developers may freely redistribute code they receive under the GPL. It is imposing additional restrictions on redistribution, specifically disallowing ‘commercial’ redistribution without paying ip royalty fees per unit as Novell has agreed to do.

    The patent covenant says you may be an individual, non-compensated developer and keep changes for your own use, or you may contribute them to Novell to distribute since they are paying royalties to MS for any possible infringements already.

    Otherwise, if you want to commercially distribute GPL code you must secure your own patent covenant (and pay royalties) to Microsoft.

    http://boycottnovell.com/2006/12/11/embrace-microsoft-or-join-with-us-in-our-embrace-with-microsoft/

  6. Danny Cones said,

    January 5, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    Gravatar

    I agree to disagree. I still think you’re doing more damage to the community than helping it.

    I find it kind of funny that you’d like a SLES laptop from the company you’re trying to boycott.

  7. shane said,

    January 5, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    Gravatar

    Check your sarcasm meter, it’s broken.

What Else is New


  1. Video: Free Communication With Free Software - Daniel Pocock - FOSSASIA Summit 2016

    The 2016 FOSSASIA talk from Daniel Pocock (Debian) about Free software alternatives to Google, Microsoft Skype and so on (Microsoft started paying Debian in 2016)



  2. [Meme] Microsoft Downtime... Now in 'Linux' (Wait a Month for Microsoft to Restore Uptime)

    Microsoft’s utter failure that is "WSL2" is bringing the failures Windows is so notorious for (loss of work, lack of security, fatal patches) to so-called ‘Linux’; the timeframe for a fix says a lot about just how much Microsoft “loves” Linux…



  3. Coming Soon: Microsoft Leaks (Which Microsoft Pressured Medium to Suppress and Promptly Unpublish)

    Microsoft is no ordinary company; exposing it is like dealing with the Mafia or some drug cartel in Mexico, but we're able to publish truths about Microsoft nonetheless (their notorious intimidation and silencing attempts have always failed against us)



  4. Dishonest Corporations -- Like Smug Politicians -- Pretend to be Something They're Not

    Corporate lies dominate the media, having been crafted by unethical marketing departments with their photo ops and hashtags



  5. GNU is Also a Brand, But It Boils Down to Philosophy and Principles, Not Greed or Corporate Identity

    Why the goal of GNU should be freedom rather than so-called 'world domination' (the objective of large firms with shareholders)



  6. IRC Proceedings: Friday, September 18, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, September 18, 2020



  7. Links 19/9/2020: Taiwins 0.2 and a Call for Ubuntu Community Council Nominations

    Links for the day



  8. One Year Later Richard Stallman Needs to be Un-cancelled and Attention Turned to the Real Perpetrator of MIT Scandals

    The sheer hypocrisy, treating Stallman as the real nuisance to MIT when it was in fact Bill Gates who trafficked money through convicted sex criminals (to MIT); justice needs to be belatedly restored



  9. ZDNet's 'Linux' Section Isn't About Linux But About Microsoft

    ZDNet's so-called 'Linux' section isn't really about GNU/Linux; it's just the site's usual Microsoft propaganda, bought and paid for by Microsoft



  10. Debian's Network of Gossip and Gossipmongering in Debian-Private

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  11. More EPO Disclosures: An Explanation of How an EPO Survey Plots to Dismantle the EPO's Staff

    Dismantling the Office for the benefit of a bunch of private companies (taking over various duties of EPO staff) seems like the management's goal; included in image form (and text) below is today's publication. There's a PDF with text (not OCR) but it contains metadata.



  12. Forced Confessions and Thought Control in Debian

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  13. [Meme] You Cannot Elect/Vote Corporations Out of Power (Eternal Vigilance is Required)

    Based on early polls, Biden will be president-elect in about a month and a half; but it’s important to remember that the election (if honoured by the current tenant of the White House) won’t be the end of corporate abuse of power in the same sense that driving Microsoft out of business won’t miraculously mean that Free software ‘won’ (we have a lot more to confront still)



  14. Debian Volunteers Disallowed and Forbidden From Talking About Politics (Unlike Debian's Aristocracy That Handles All the Money From Sponsors)

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  15. Political Compass for Free Software (and Those Who Attack Software Freedom)

    With RMS (the father of the movement) betrayed from multiple angles (OSI, Linux Foundation etc.) it’s probably important to depict what’s going on, quasi-politically speaking



  16. Richard Stallman Has Not Changed His Tune at All

    Richard Stallman's (RMS) principled views regarding software go back to the days of zeroes and ones; his position 35 years ago was almost indistinguishable from today's position



  17. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, September 17, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, September 17, 2020



  18. Keith Packard: Richard Stallman Was Right (About the GPL)

    A 2020 video (before lock-downs) from the brain behind X11 and various lesser-known projects



  19. The Quandary of 'Ethical' Sponsors and One's Ability to Criticise Them (Otherwise It's a Potential Bribe in Exchange for Censorship of Critics)

    When Free software advocacy groups are indebted to companies that greatly harm people's freedom (including privacy) we have to ask ourselves questions regarding morality and ethics because money isn't inherently evil, it depends who or where it comes from (on what implicit conditions)



  20. When Attempting to Run for Debian Project Leader (DPL), Only to Realise the Process is Rigged (and Censored) to Protect Past Leaders

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  21. [Meme] Linux Foundation Does Not Represent Linux Users

    With only one truly technical person inside the Linux Foundation Board (it got a lot worse in 2020) it seems safe to call it 95%+ corporate gerrymandering with no signs of improving any time soon; it’s all about letting hostile corporations change Linux rather than allowing Linux to change the world



  22. Somebody Needs to Talk About Free Software Politics

    The world of Free software is full of politics; it's impossible to be completely apolitical in it and just like "office politics" or "corporate politics" a lot boils down to deception, manipulation, exchange of favours (sometimes bribes) and we must talk about those things if we're ever going to seriously tackle abuse



  23. 2020 Elections: No, It's Not About Russia

    The Biden/Trump false dichotomy (perpetuating the two-party system monopoly/duopoly) borrows from Russophobic tactics and fact-free shaming



  24. Nepotism and Conflicts of Interest in Free Software

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  25. Links 17/9/2020: Qt Creator 4.13.1, Linux 5.8.10 and Mesa 20.1.8 Released

    Links for the day



  26. Codes of Contradiction

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  27. [Meme] Two Dictators: When Jimmy Met Satya

    Jim Zemlin’s Linux Foundation has sold Linux to a bunch of Linux-hostile dictators



  28. Germany Would Violate 3 International Agreements With the Unitary Patent, Says FFII

    Open Letter to the Bundesrat: “Germany will violate 3 international agreements with the Unitary Patent”



  29. Expulsions by Vendettas

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  30. [Meme] António Campinos Fools Nobody at the EPO Anymore

    António Campinos, President of the EPO, is failing to hide who or what he really is; he’s not even trying anymore


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts