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 this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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. Links 24/4/2019: Chrome 74, QEMU 4.0 Released

    Links for the day



  2. Supreme Court of the UK, Which Habitually Throws Out European Patents, May Overturn Troublesome Unwired Planet v Huawei Decision

    A lot of European Patents are facing growing scrutiny from courts (Team UPC, including Bristows, publicly complains about it this month) and "greenwashing" of the Office won't be enough to paint/frame these patents as "ethical"



  3. German Federal Patent Court Curbs the Patent Maximalism of the EPO, Which Promotes Patents on Nature and/or Maths Every Single Day

    European courts are restraining the EPO, which has been trying to bypass or replace such courts (with the UPC); it certainly seems as though European Patents rapidly lose their legitimacy or much-needed presumption of validity



  4. Any 'Linux' Foundation Needs to Be Managed by Geeks, Not Politicians and PR People

    Linux bureaucracy has put profits way ahead of technical merits and this poses a growing threat or constitutes risk to the direction of the project, not to mention its ownership



  5. Links 23/4/2019: Kodi 'Leia' 18.2 and DeX Everywhere

    Links for the day



  6. Code of Coercion

    Entryism is visible for all to see, but pointing it out is becoming a risky gambit because of the "be nice!" (or "be polite!") crowd, which shields the perpetrators of a slow and gradual corporate takeover



  7. António Campinos Would Not Refer to the EPO's Enlarged Board of Appeal If He Did Not Control the Outcomes

    António Campinos and his ilk aren’t interested in patent quality because his former ‘boss’, who publicly denied there were issues and vainly rejected patent quality concerns as illegitimate, is now controlled by him (reversal of roles) and many new appointees at the top are "yes men" (or women) of Campinos, former colleagues whom he bossed at EUIPO (as expected)



  8. Links 22/4/2019: Linux 5.1 RC6, New Release of Netrunner and End of Scientific Linux

    Links for the day



  9. USPTO and EPO Both Slammed for Abandoning Patent Quality and Violating the Law/Caselaw in Order to Grant Illegitimate Patents on Life/Nature and Mathematics

    Mr. Iancu, the ‘American Battistelli’ (appointed owing to nepotism), mirrors the ‘Battistelli operandi’, which boils down to treating judges like they’re stooges and justices like an ignorable nuisance — all this in the name of litigation profits, which necessitate constant wars over illegitimate patents (it is expensive to prove their illegitimacy)



  10. IRC Proceedings: January 27th, 2019 – March 24th, 2019

    Many IRC logs



  11. IRC Proceedings: December 2nd, 2018 – January 26th, 2019

    Many IRC logs



  12. Links 21/4/2019: SuperTuxKart's 1.0 Release, Sam Hartman Is Debian’s Newest Project Leader (DPL)

    Links for the day



  13. The EPO's Use of Phrases Like “High-Quality Patent Services” Means They Know High-Quality European Patents Are 'Bygones'

    The EPO does a really poor job hiding the fact that its last remaining objective is to grant as many European Patents as possible (and as fast as possible), conveniently conflating quality with pace



  14. A Reader's Suggestion: Directions for Techrights

    Guest post by figosdev



  15. Links 20/4/2019: Weblate 3.6 and Pop!_OS 19.04

    Links for the day



  16. The Likes of Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), Team Campinos and Team UPC Don't Represent Europe But Hurt Europe

    The abject disinterest in patent quality and patent validity (as judged by courts) threatens Europe but not to the detriment of those who are in the 'business' of suing and printing lots of worthless patents



  17. The Linux Foundation Needs to Change Course Before GNU/Linux (as a Free Operating System) is Dead

    The issues associated with the Linux Foundation are not entirely new; but Linux now incorporates so many restrictions and contains so many binary blobs that one begins to wonder what "Linux" even means



  18. Largest Patent Offices Try to Leave Courts in a State of Disarray to Enable the Granting of Fake Patents in the US and Europe

    Like a monarchy that effectively runs all branches of government the management of the EPO is trying to work around the judiciary; the same is increasingly happening (or at least attempted) in the United States



  19. Links 19/4/2019: PyPy 7.1.1, LabPlot 2.6, Kipi Plugins 5.9.1 Released

    Links for the day



  20. Links 18/4/2019: Ubuntu and Derivatives Have Releases, digiKam 6.1.0, OpenSSH 8.0 and LibreOffice 6.2.3

    Links for the day



  21. Freedom is Not a Business and Those Who Make 'Business' by Giving it Away Deserve Naming

    Free software is being parceled and sold to private monopolisers; those who facilitate the process enrich themselves and pose a growing threat to freedom in general — a subject we intend to tackle in the near future



  22. Concluding the Linux Foundation (LF) “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 3)

    Conferences constructed or put together based on payments rather than merit pose a risk to the freedom of free software; we conclude our series about events set up by the largest of culprits, which profits from this erosion of freedom



  23. “Mention the War” (of Microsoft Against GNU/Linux)

    The GNU/Linux desktop (or laptops) seems to be languishing or deteriorating, making way for proprietary takeover in the form of Vista 10 and Chrome OS and “web apps” (surveillance); nobody seems too bothered — certainly not the Linux Foundation — by the fact that GNU/Linux itself is being relegated or demoted to a mere “app” on these surveillance platforms (WSL, Croûton and so on)



  24. The European Patent Office Does Not Care About the Law, Today's Management Constantly Attempts to Bypass the Law

    Many EPs (European Patents) are actually "IPs" (invalid patents); the EPO doesn't seem to care and it is again paying for corrupt scholars to toe the party line



  25. The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Once Again Pours Cold Water on Patent Maximalists

    Any hopes of a rebound or turnaround have just been shattered because a bizarre attack on the appeal process (misusing tribal immunity) fell on deaf ears and software patents definitely don't interest the highest court, which already deemed them invalid half a decade ago



  26. Links 17/4/2019: Qt 5.12.3 Released, Ola Bini Arrested (Political Stunts)

    Links for the day



  27. Links 16/4/2019: CentOS Turns 15, Qt Creator 4.9.0 Released

    Links for the day



  28. GNU/Linux is Being Eaten Alive by Large Corporations With Their Agenda

    A sort of corporate takeover, or moneyed interests at the expense of our freedom, can be seen as a 'soft coup' whose eventual outcome would involve all or most servers in 'the cloud' (surveillance with patent tax as part of the rental fees) and almost no laptops/desktops which aren't remotely controlled (and limit what's run on them, using something like UEFI 'secure boot')



  29. Reader's Claim That Rules Similar to the Code of Conduct (CoC) Were 'Imposed' on LibrePlanet and the FSF

    Restrictions on speech are said to have been spread and reached some of the most liberal circles, according to a credible veteran who opposes illiberal censorship



  30. Corporate Media Will Never Cover the EPO's Violations of the Law With Respect to Patent Scope

    The greed-driven gold rush for patents has resulted in a large pool of European Patents that have no legitimacy and are nowadays associated with low legal certainty; the media isn't interested in covering such a monumental disaster that poses a threat to the whole of Europe


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts