04.20.07

What if Patent Deals Never Covered Linux at All?

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, NetWare, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents, Samsung, SCO at 8:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Having discussed the Novell and Samsung deals outside this Web site (here for example) and seen Grokalw’s comment on the latest press release, I am coming to realise that some people are convinced that Linux is not part of the deals. Let us see if these are misconceptions and perhaps misinterpretations.

Wishful thinking, or reality?

Let us emphasise again that, according to Microsoft and Samsung, UNIX and Linux get some sort of bizarre coverage, in a land where software patents are invalid. To be more specific, “Linux-based products” are the ‘intellectual property’ conceded in Samsung’s case. This does not seem to include the Linux kernel

In Novell’s case, a Novell executive said that NetWare products received coverage as well, which means that Linux could altogether be left out. Whether there was such an omission or not, we might never know. Microsoft and Novell provide no specific details whatsoever. It’s fear through uncertainty. Novell continues to insists that the deal was not about patents (and it’s very confused too), but Steve Ballmer made it clear the deal was primarily about patents. He even directed his threats at Linux, nothing else.

What it all boils down to

Whether we like it or not, everything is very vague. There are more questions than answers and it’s neither a coincidence nor a side effect. The fear of the unknown is the worst time of fear. Details about the deal are unknown by design. SCO did the same thing 4 years ago.

While one could cling onto subtle wording in the deals, it remains clear that Linux is being targetted. They try to tell us that it’s ‘unclean’. Sometimes, Novell is even willing to remind us, on behalf of its new partner. To Novell, it’s a selling point.

Novell Disses Red Hat (Updated)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, Oracle, Red Hat at 6:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Let this one speak for itself.

Novell’s Microsoft dealmaker chides Red Hat

The Novell executive who architected an historic technology and intellectual property agreement with Microsoft has scolded rival Red Hat for not being innovative and warned Oracle’s Linux play will fragment the company’s operating system.

Try to recall when Novell entered the Linux market. Then remind yourselves when Red Hat entered (and grew) the Linux market. Given Novell’s impact on Red Hat — especially through its deal with Microsoft — this is quite a Chutzpah, isn’t it? Novell takes cheap shots at Red Hat now, having made a deal which it admitted was selfish (i.e. damaging to Linux as a whole).

In other news, Groklaw covers another Novell-SCO story.

Update: Watch how Novell gets slammed over this. It is also being accused of spreading FUD.

Novell Brings .NET to Teenagers

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Windows at 4:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In the past couple of months we have seen situations where Novell gives a boost to Mono and encourages .NET development. If you follow the trail of links, you will surely get the picture. Essentially, Novell promotes the Microsoft API. The following article is no exception:

Novell schoolbooks introduce tomorrow’s developers to Linux

Novell today announced a set of schoolbooks to teach open source, Linux and basic programming skills to children aged 13-16. The books are available now through the Novell Academic Training Partner programme.

[...]

The ultimate goal of the series is to give students a solid grounding in programming using the Mono/C# framework.

Why on earth would Novell want to teach young people to program the ‘Microsoft way’? ‘Patents tax’ aside, this empowers Windows. It is yet another illustration backing the fact that Novell’s agenda does not align with that of the remainder of the GNU/Linux community. It is almost as though Novell seeks to make Linux merely a host of .NET applications. This is what some people speculated Microsoft would do in order to escape the problems of the inherently insecure and monolithic Windows kernel.

On Retaliations, Extortions, and Protection Rackets

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Patent Covenant, Patents at 12:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday we witnessed another example where Microsoft makes no specific claims on Linux, but nonetheless, it requests its share of ‘protection money’ for what it calls “Linux-based products”. This time, Samsung is the company to be named and shamed. The deal with Novell might differ in terms of scale. Nevertheless, it’s an equally-appalling deal. Neither Novell nor Samsung actually own Linux, so ‘admission of guilt’ is completely and utterly out of place. Samsung is not even based in the United States where software patents have validity.

We would like to present a few examples which we have not mentioned before. They show that such acts of bullying, retaliation, and extortion are merely part of a long-lasting pattern. Last week, Intel introduced a Linux-based ultra-mobile personal computer (UMPC). The following day, the New York Time seemed to have hinted at a sudden change of heart.

That software effort does not have the support of Mr. Otellini, who is concerned about incurring Microsoft’s wrath, the executive said. The two companies have a long history of tension over who controls the hardware and software direction of the “Wintel standard.” Intel has said it is supporting both operating systems.

It appears as though plans have changed as a result of this. It’s reminiscent of what happened with Lenovo when it would introduce Linux-preloaded laptops last year. While this may not seem so serious, let us look at another old E-mail from Microsoft, brought to you by the Comes vs. Iowa case which, according to some breaking news, led to settlement with Microsoft software coupons (the same ol’ ‘funny money’ settlement).

[Microsoft:] so as long as they continue such attacks on us, i cannot give them win95 beta, they are NOT just another oem.

So there you go. Even in the past, Microsoft used its corporate power to scare or ‘punish’ other companies. What about Dell, who have just introduced PCs with Ubuntu GNU/Linux preloaded? (last night they also restored Windows XP options, at Vista’s expense)

These are old articles which show that time after time Microsoft played the ‘bully card’ in order to get its way. It would be unsurprising if Samsung came under pressure by Microsoft. There is little or no reason to suspect that Samsung approached Microsoft and sought coverage for its use of Linux.

We may never know what is happening behind the scenes, but last year, before Novell entered collaboration with Microsoft, Ron Hovsepian who is now CEO said the following:

“Microsoft Corp is using scare tactics to exert pressure on PC vendors not to explore the potential of desktop Linux”, according to Novell Inc president and COO, Ron Hovsepian.

The link to this article is now broken, but I have my local copy of this statement.

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