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Novell and Microsoft E-mails: More Blasts from the Past

Posted in Courtroom, Deception, Law, Microsoft, Novell at 11:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As you may recall, the Comes vs Microsoft lawsuit never truly ended. This class-action case, which took place in Iowa, reached a settlement last year. The terms of the agreements were never disclosed and the Web site which contained court exhibits was immediately shut down. Reminds you of anything? It just might.

In May 2004, Judge J. Frederick Motz ordered Microsoft to investigate Burst.com’s claim that, in 2000, Allchin ordered Microsoft employees to destroy email after 30 days and not to archive their email, suggesting that this deletion policy might be an effort to eliminate material that would later be damaging in court. This case was settled out of court in March 2005, with Microsoft agreeing to pay Burst.com $60 million for nonexclusive rights to Burst.com’s media player software.

Why is Microsoft so afraid of E-mail retention? Read on.

The heap of antitrust exhibits remains largely unexplored. However, it is available in torrent form and it has even earned a home in a few mirrors. I took some time to fetch a couple of interesting E-mails which involve Novell and Microsoft. Judge for yourselves, based on Exhibit PX02839 [PDF].

[Microsoft:] “Company [Novell] will adhere to the following user interface guidelines: If the user interface is HTML based, Internet Explorer 4.0 must be set as the default browser… If the application is written in Java, the Microsoft Virtual Machine for Java will be the default VM, and AFC will be used for UI elements.”

For context, Microsoft sought to extend Java the ‘Microsoft way’. It also viciously fought Netscape, as the following video shows. Let it just remind you.

Finally, here is another nugget of information, from Exhibit PX02350 [PDF].

[Novell:] “It should be noted that these bugs, for the most part, are not problems with our software (the Win95 bugs are problems we addressed with Microsoft which they refused to fix).”

Microsoft refusing to fix bugs and leaving the burden for others to cope with? It is almost as severe as technical sabotage, which can be demonstrated using some other E-mails and memos (even Novell was a victim). It does make you wonder, does it not? Perhaps Novell should rethink its relationship with Microsoft.

Novell: Really, We Don’t Have a Patent Cross-License

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Novell at 4:11 pm by Shane Coyle

Unless you’re using the definition explicitly included in GPLv3, anyhow.

Bruce Lowry has posted an update on the Novell PR Blog regarding the furor over OpenSUSE and the disabling of Cleartype.

In this specific case, the ClearType font is supplied as part of the freetype2 package; last summer the upstream maintainer changed the package’s default settings to disable Clear Type and thereby avoid possibly relevant Microsoft patents. So, consistent with Novell’s preexisting practices and current policy, Novell is using the default settings established by the upstream maintainer. Distributions such as Fedora made the same choice. This issue only came up in the summer of 2006 and therefore older distributions are using the previous default (enabled ClearType).

We hope this clears up any confusion over the issue.

So, here is a clear indication that Novell indeed does not have a patent cross-license, but rather – as they have stated all along (and is their loophole in GPLv2) they have agreed to pay Microsoft a running royalty on open-source software shipped under the agreement for a promise from them not to sue Novell’s customers over unspecified potential IP infringement.

I still say it isn’t GPLv2 compliant.

Easter Digest: Novell and Related Topics in the News

Posted in Asia, Fork, Formats, FSF, GNU/Linux, GPL, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, OpenDocument, Patents, Standard at 7:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Here are some stories of interest:

GPL 3: Will Somebody Get Short-Changed, No Matter What?

If Novell does not get grandfathered into GPL 3 compliance, Novell’s SUSE Linux will turn into a “fork” of Linux, said Bruce Perens, primary author of the original GPL GNU software contract.

EFF lawyer warns of e-learning patent dangers

Although Blackboard has publicly pledged not to enforce its patent against open-source software distributors, universities, or non-commercial entities, there are many gray areas that make it difficult to guess what is permissible and what is not. For instance, Schultz points out that the pledge allows Blackboard to sue proprietary software vendors that incorporate open-source software components into their offerings.

Comparing Blackboard to “a schoolyard bully who holds a huge club over your head and promises not to hit you as long as you don’t play with certain other kids on the playground,” Schultz believes that Blackboard’s pledge is “a nice gesture” but lacks the efficacy and legal significance of an official royalty-free patent license.

A school deploys Novell’s Linux solution.

“Each multi-station Linux desktop delivers exceptional performance. Students have access to USB audio headsets and can save their files to USB memory keys. The Linux Desktop Multiplier is transparent to users,” according to the posting.

According to Novell, in August 2006, Indiana school officials announced it would be using 20,000 Linux workstations as part of the “Affordable Classroom Computes for Every Secondary Student” program.

Finally, Malaysia suspends ODF approval process amid all the lobbying, which we have covered before.

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