04.07.07

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Novell Rejected GNU/Linux a Decade Ago

Posted in GNU/Linux, NetWare, Novell at 5:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

While Wikipedia provides some solid background on Novell, nothing beats a few lesser-known facts. In a new article titled “Nine things you don’t know about Novell” you will find an interesting nugget of information.

7. When did Novell first start tinkering with Linux?

As early as 1994, with the launch of the Corsair skunkworks project at Novell. Corsair was a project to create a desktop metaphor to compete with Windows. When then-president of Novell Ray Noorda retired and Robert Frankenburg took over, Frankenburg cut out many of Novell’s unofficial products. A number of employees, dissatisfied with the decision to abandon their project, left Novell and founded Caldera with funding from Noorda.

Let us see if this time, for a change, Novell is pressured to leave GNU/Linux, or maybe even finds what Bruce Perens hyptothesises is an exit strategy (from Free software as we know it).

NetworkWorld has another article that’s derived from the main story, which makes a good read.

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3 Comments

  1. shane said,

    April 7, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    Gravatar

    Here was Stafford Masie relating the tale of Novell’s entry into Linux and Open Source

  2. David Mohring (NZheretic) said,

    April 8, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    Gravatar

    The Novell Linux Desktop was also code-named Expose.

    From my entry on Bruce Perens’ open letter to Novell’s CEO Ron Hovsepian

    In early 1993, AT&T sold it’s UNIX System Laboratories to Novell. Back in April 25, 1994, PC Magazine had an article announcing that Novell Inc was developing a Linux based desktop system for Windows, DOS, NetWare, and Unix applications ( http://groups.google.com/groups?threadm=1994Apr25.151605.293@umr.edu ). After long negotiations with Microsoft, Novell abandoned the “Expose” Linux desktop project. A month later, a group of Novell alumni from the Expose project formed Caldera Systems International with the backing of Novell’s founder, Ray Noorda. The Canopy Group, which purchased major holding in Caldera, was also founded by Ray Noorda. In 1995 Novell sub-licensed the remainder of it’s Unix technology to the Santa Cruz Operation Inc ( No relation to the SCO Group ). In November 2001, the Santa Cruz Operation sold it’s Unix rights under Novell’s license agreement to Caldera. In 2003 Caldera Systems International changed it’s name to “The SCO GROUP Inc” and entered into a series of essentially inherently flawed lawsuits and fraudulent license claims against users of the Linux operating system based upon rights to the original Unix that have turned out to be still owned by Novell itself. Both IBM and Novell lawyers have repeatedly pointed out to the SCO GROUP that it loses the right to continue to distribute GPL licensed code if it violates the terms of the GPL. Also SCO Group long legal travesty would not have been possible without the direct and indirect financial support from Microsoft. In November 2003, nine years after it had abandoned Linux, Novell purchased one of the leading Linux distributions SUSE. Now three years later in 2006, after a long period of Negoitation Novell has entered into another agreement with Microsoft. This agreement results in Microsoft sales people effectively acting as agents on behalf of Novell by selling “coupons” for SUSE Linux and hyping a limited “promise” from Microsoft not to sue the customer for the so called Microsoft IP included in Linux, Samba, Mono and OpenOffice.org. Any agent acting on behalf of Novell offering a limited coverage “not to sue” represents a clear violation of section seven of the GPL by Novell. As Novell’s laywers have repeated pointed out to The SCO Group, you lose right to continue to distribute GPL licensed code if you violate the terms of the GPL. History shows us that the combination of Microsoft and Novell has never been in the long term interests of either Linux or Novell. So to Ron Hovsepian, I say : Please, do not take almost another decade to realise your companies long term interests remain with Linux, open source and continued compliance with its licensing terms. Now is no time for appeasement http://itheresies.blogspot.com/2004_03_01_itheresies_archive.html

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 8, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    Gravatar

    Thank you, David, for some invaluable information.

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