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03.16.07

FUD for Thought: What If Microsoft Bought Novell?

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Law, Microsoft, Novell at 11:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Free Software Magazine raises an interesting question which probably results from speculations about acquisition costs. Could Microsoft ever pay to hijack Novell’s agenda, rather than just control and abuse it by proxy?

Did Novell really believe the agreement would result in increased Linux revenue (to what it would have been)? Do they really think interoperability with Microsoft will be improved? Or have I simply got the wrong end of the stick? The person of wisdom whom I asked put a different perspective on it.

If Microsoft ever truly considered a hostile/friendly takeover, would it inherit GNU/Linux software? Despite the existence of so-called ‘peacemakers’, to whom disregard of the GPL seems acceptable, the deal is unlikely to last, at least in its present form. OSTG has a new article on the Novell deal and its effect on GPLv3 (namely the continuing delays). It is becoming apparent that Novell will see screws tightened on software which it relies on.

Although the FSF soon judged the agreement technically legal under the current version of the GPL, Eben Moglen, general counsel for the FSF and the principal legal architect for GPLv3, is quoted as saying, “Our strategy is to use GPLv3 against the deal.”

Some Novell Clients and Developers Unhappy with Microsoft/Novell Deal as a ‘Sizeable Number’ Departs

Posted in Deals, Microsoft, Novell at 10:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The following two articles tell a story. The developers and the customers share a certain pain.

Novell deal yields dividends – for Red Hat

A “sizeable number” of developers have jumped ship from Novell to Red Hat, according to Scott Crenshaw, the senior director for product management and marketing at Red Hat.

Novell users say Linux transitions successful

As Novell kicks off its annual user conference, customers are enthusiastic about their transitions from the legacy NetWare operating system to Linux. There’s discord, however, among Novell users regarding the company’s controversial technology pact with Microsoft.

Also today: CEBIT – Novell to manage Windows desktops with Zenworks

80-85% of Open Source Community Backs Microvell Deal?

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, GPL, Interview, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant at 10:33 am by Shane Coyle

That’s the assertion being made by Novell’s Justin Steinman, spinner extraordinaire for this deal so far.

Novell continues to paint their patent covenant with Microsoft as "simply a covenant not to sue", and not a patent cross-license (they just agreed to pay Microsoft per-unit royalties on open source software that they ship for protection from infringement suits, it’s completely different, really).

Question: Many in the broader open source community have accused Novell of “selling out” by collaborating with Microsoft. How do you respond to that?

Steinman: There are a lot of people who do believe that Microsoft is the devil. And that’s an opinion that’s prevalent in the open source community. However, I think it’s an opinion that’s prevalent in the minority — and it’s a vocal minority. I think the vast majority, and I’d quantify that at about 80 percent to 85 percent, of the open source community actually supports this deal. The reason I think that the community supports the deal is that it supports the adoption of open source in the enterprise.

Let’s go back and look at some of the success we’ve had in the past 90 days with Microsoft. We signed a huge deal with Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart had been messing around with Linux a little bit, on fewer than 50 servers in its environment. Wal-Mart also has a very strong relationship with Microsoft. When Wal-Mart heard that Microsoft had endorsed … SuSE Linux Enterprise, Wal-Mart decided it was time to stop messing around and get serious with Linux. They added a large number — in the tens of thousands — of SuSE Linux Enterprise servers. These are not Red Hat takeaways; these are not replacing anything. … These are new Linux. So the vast majority of the community is excited about this because they’re seeing new Linux deployments. Net new.

Now if I’m in the minority and I don’t like this — if I’m Bruce Perens — then I’m going to be vocal about it. I’m going to be angry and I’m going to make a lot of noise. But if I’m in the large majority, why do I need to stick my nose in someone else’s fight? I’d rather just go on doing my job. If I like the Microsoft agreement, there’s no real benefit to me, personally, in coming out and saying that. If I did, the vocal minority is going to attack me, too. It’s easier just to keep quiet. That’s why the community perception has been misconstrued by the media at large.

Slightly more interesting is Steinman’s assertion that “Novell is committed to our Microsoft agreement, and we’re committed to helping develop a version of the GPL that enables that agreement to continue”, noting that Novell is part of the vendors committee B in the drafting process, and Novell lawyers are actively involved in the drafting process.

Novell has already committed to being GPL3 compliant and promised to alter the MS deal if necessary, rather than lose their rights to GNU but not Linux.

Novell Strikes a Deal with Postbank, Replaces Microsoft Technologies

Posted in Novell, Servers at 3:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell has just struck a deal with another bank.

Postbank will replace all of BHW Holding’s Microsoft* Windows* 2000 servers with Novell Open Enterprise Server in 2007. In addition, 3,500 BHW office staff and 4,500 field staff will switch to Novell GroupWise from Microsoft Exchange, joining 9,000 Postbank employees who are using GroupWise for secure e-mail and collaboration.

The press release, which this time for a change does not involve Microsoft, contains no word on “intellectual property”. Then again, the solution deployed isn’t purely Linux-based, if at all. Remember that Novell claims the Microsoft deal also covers intellectual property in its proprietary products.

Novell has issued two more press releases:

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