GPL Apache Compatibility; The Man Who Left Novell; Microsoft/Novell and (Non-)Interoperability

Posted in FSF, GPL, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell at 5:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Every now an then, Novell-related stories that fit nowhere specific simply get accumulated. Here are three noteworthy stories, listed in case you have missed them.

FSF admits defeat on Apache

“We apologize to the Apache community for having previously overlooked the significance of this issue. We look forward to further discussions with the Apache Foundation in the hope of achieving compatibility in the future,” said the FSF.

Open-Xchange gets new CEO, CTO

In addition, the company announced it hired as chief technology officer Juergen Geck, who had been CTO of Novell’s Suse Linux software but left one year ago.

Microsoft and Interoperability: Buzz-word or Promise?

I were a Microsoft customer looking at all of their claims of interoperability (especially made in concert with new partner Novell), I would expect that working on such a huge interoperability project like Samba would just be a given. Evidently not.

So, as a hypothetical customer, is Microsoft really doing its best to achieve interoperability, or is it just paying lip service for the benefit of its new partners, while playing a stalling game with every other project that could accomplish integration and interoperability?

The FSF Giveth, and Linus Taketh Away

Posted in Finance, FSF, GPL, Novell at 2:12 pm by Shane Coyle

Here is an interesting posting by Bruce Perens the other day detailing the direct effects of the release of the latest draft of GPLv3 on NOVL stock:

Novell’s stock (stock:NOVL) was up 4% from yesterday morning after the Free Software Foundation signalled that it might not penalize Novell in GPL3, before losing half of those gains after Linus Torvalds signalled new optimism toward the latest GPL3 draft.
In a CNET interview today, Linus Torvalds, leader of development of the eponymous “Linux” kernel, signaled optimism toward the new discussion draft of GPL3, a turnabout from his previous stance in opposition of previous drafts. NOVL fell 2% on that news.

A Final Post for BoycottNovell

Posted in Humour at 9:29 am by Shane Coyle

Well, I’m not sure if y’all heard, but BoycottNovell.com is closing up shop. Roy and I have each been made offers of employment that are just too lucrative to pass up, despite the tremendous amount of flak I’d expect to take over this one…

Roy and I have been hired by Microsoft, in seperate transactions, to serve in a newly created position: "Linux Custodian". I will be the LC here in the North America, while Roy will see to similar duties throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. At this time, I do not know if MS will be hiring Linux Custodians for any other regions, perhaps I can post more on that later.

Anyhow, for those who haven’t clicked away in total disgust already, let me explain a little bit about exactly what my new position will entail: As a Microsoft Linux Custodian, it will be my job to travel throughout North America and clean out the offices and distribution centers of each and every competitor that Microsoft embraces, extends, and then extinguishes.

As a matter of fact, I leave for Waltham in about 2 months, then out to Utah for the big clean-up. If things go really well, perhaps I can be in Raleigh before the end of the year.

;^ )

The Fool on Microvell

Posted in Deals, Finance, Fork, FSF, FUD, Microsoft, Novell at 12:01 am by Shane Coyle

No, it’s not my new tagline.

For some reason, referencing fool.com feels especially appropriate today, and they just happen to have a recent article regarding the Microsoft-Novell deal, and its long-term impact on a short-sighted Novell.

The article speculates as to Microsoft’s motives for entering into this pact with Novell, rather than purchasing them outright, were to use them as a wedge to divide the Free Software community and spread their FUD.

If Novell was looking for a get-rich-quick scheme, it seems to have backfired badly. The company needs to convince a wounded community that what it’s doing is in the best interests of the open-source movement at large, or suffer the consequences.

Microsoft might or might not have had defensive plans, but the whole affair turned into an offensive play regardless. It’s working out very well for the company, to the point where the legal indemnification entendre starts to sound far-fetched by comparison. Maybe this was the plan all along — a “divide and conquer” strategy based on a few huge egos clashing. Brilliant, if true.

The Motley Fool article also discusses Novell’s "cavalier" attitude towards the FSF’s attempts to eliminate discriminatory deals such as the one that they have crafted with Microsoft, and speaks ominously about Novell’s options should the FSF decide to strike back.

“The recent patent agreement between Microsoft and Novell aims to undermine these freedoms,” said Free Software Foundation (FSF) leader Richard Stallman in the draft release notes. “In this draft, we have worked hard to prevent such deals from making a mockery of free software.”

Novell disagrees. From the company’s initial response: “We will continue to distribute Linux. Nothing in this new draft of GPL3 inhibits Novell’s ability to include GPL3 technologies in SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE, and other Novell open source offerings, now and in the future. This is good news for our customers.”

That cavalier attitude could come back to hurt Novell if it sticks by its guns. I think Stallman would take the company to court over these issues in a heartbeat. His GNU tools will most certainly be licensed under the final version of GPL3, since the FSF runs both of those shows. Without that vital glue, you don’t really have an operating system, and the whole Linux platform falls apart. In fact, Stallman has long insisted that we call it GNU/Linux, rather than just naming the kernel, to give the GNU project its props. Either Novell convinces the FSF to drop its anti-Novell wording, or the Microsoft pact is history.

I doubt the FSF will blink, so I suppose that Novell will need to revisit their deal with Microsoft, which they are prepared to do, they have said in the past.

It must be easier to do that than forking around 15% of their code base or risking being "(frozen) in amber as an example of the state of software in early 2007, as the rest of the Free Software community and Linux distributions move into the future", as Bruce Perens so eloquently put it.

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