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05.04.07

The New Spin on the Controversial Deal, Courtesy of Novell

Posted in Deals, Intellectual Monopoly, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents at 9:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell has certainly changed its tune. However, the fact remains that it is too late to embellish things. Novell now argues that “the cross-licensing agreement that Novell signed with Microsoft, according to both Justin and Sam, was necessary as Novell required sanctioned access to Microsoft’s code in order to develop open source interoperability without violating MSFT’s IP.”

Matt Aslett reports on his findings:

It’s not as if the two companies haven’t had the opportunity to present it before. It wasn’t mentioned in the original announcement, it wasn’t mentioned in Novell’s FAQ, it wasn’t mentioned in Microsoft’s FAQ, it wasn’t mentioned in Novell’s further details announcement, nor its open letter to the community

[...]

It also wasn’t mentioned by Novell’s VP of worldwide sales and president of EMEA, Tom Francese, when I met with him in November, although one thing he did mention is that the full details of the deal would eventually find there way in to the public via the SEC.

It sounds as though Novell has found a new story to tell. Conveniently, it makes its decision look rather decent. Sadly, it does not align with logic. Why did Novell get paid by Microsoft to access Microsoft IP? This question is of course rhetorical. Novell’s new story seems to be a farce. The two companies want the critics off their backs.

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5 Comments

  1. shane said,

    May 4, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    Gravatar

    I have speculated in the past that this is what Novell signed up for, and is why it is a five year deal:

    What is the term of these licensing agreements? Can I continue to distribute and develop products implementing the licensed protocols after the end of my agreement?

    The term of the WSPP Development Agreement is five years. After the agreement expires, certain development and distribution rights continue indefinitely, subject to applicable royalty obligations and termination provisions.

    Ask yourself, why would Novell approach MS over interoperability when the EC ruling is forcing them to hand over the info? Why would Novell be publicizing benefits of the deal in areas of Europe where software patents aren’t even valid? Microsoft is paying Novell off to help them with the EC Antitrust case.

  2. gpl1 said,

    May 4, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    Gravatar

    As you said, Sun et al leaped off the EC train a while ago and took settlement money. Luckily enough for us consumers, the EC does its own independant investigation, regardless of who’s left on the plaintiff side, which is right now mostly the Free Software Foundation.

    Anyone reading, please don’t let Novell and more importantly, Microsoft, dilute this important decision by the EC (which MS is still in violation of, and I think it’s about to get even more interesting as the EC finds that its behavioral remedies aren’t working to get MS in compliance)

  3. gpl1 said,

    May 4, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    Gravatar

    Also, I’d like to know how Novell is going to implement these specifications in an open source way? Haven’t most of their Samba developers left already?

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 4, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    Gravatar

    @ gpl1: we are aware of only two Samba developers who left, but there were rumours about an exodus, which an article in Linux.com denied, pointing to a post of ours.

  5. Jeff said,

    May 22, 2007 at 11:20 am

    Gravatar

    When SCO sued Linux, who counter-sued? Novell and IBM primarily. M$ has tied Novell into a non-litigation agreement now so one down, and how many to go? M$ is trying to tie the commercial open community up in these agreements to take out as many teeth as they can before the lawsuit. Watch for attempts at agreements with IBM, Red Hat, Sun and even Google, all with the face of cooperation on them. Frankly Novell should have seen this coming, and if they did and made the agreement anyway, well they did it to save their skin, avoid the fight or whatever and that’s the bed they made, they can lie in it. However, the open source community as a whole needs to watch for the wolf in sheep’s clothing because it’s coming and if we buy what they are selling it could be over before a shot is fired.

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