05.12.07

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Microsoft, Linux Distributor

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, GPL, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, Servers, SLES/SLED, Virtualisation, Windows at 9:33 am by Shane Coyle

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has the word on exactly what the certificate package includes, and it sure looks like MS is distributing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (fairly successfully).

[ed note: emphasis mine]
The certificates, as described in Novell’s Nov. 7 Form 8-K submission to the SEC (Security and Exchanges Commission) Entry into a Material Definitive Agreement, have always been for a packaged SLES/Windows offering. In detail, the combined offering consists of SLES, a SLES support subscription with Microsoft Windows Server, Microsoft Virtual Server and Microsoft Viridian.

Note the comma between "SLES" and "a SLES support subscription…", because what good is a coupon for support for something you don’t actually have? Although, most of Microsoft’s coupon customers were already Novell customers and only Wal-Mart indicated any significant expansion in the number of SUSE installations. Regardless, the agreement definitively states that SLES is included in the package.

So, Welcome to the community, Microsoft. Please check here for the ground rules. Given your history, you may want to pay special attention to sections 6 and 7, because "some may care about the patent issues." and there are some potential additional implications for patents in the GPL.

Oh, and you may want to brush up on Section 3 too. I assume you are distributing for-profit, you’re not a bunch of communists – are you?

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A Single Comment

  1. shane said,

    May 13, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    Gravatar

    Moglen had another card to play. In his view, the fact that Microsoft was selling coupons that customers could trade in for Novell Linux subscriptions meant that Microsoft was now a Linux distributor. And that, as Moglen saw it, meant that Microsoft was itself subject to the terms of the GPL. So he’d write a clause saying, in effect, that if Microsoft continued to issue Novell Linux coupons after the revised GPL took effect, it would be waiving its right to bring patent suits not just against Novell customers, but against all Linux users. “I told Brad,” he recalls, “‘I think you should just walk away from the patent part of the deal now.’”

    Smith didn’t, and Moglen kept his promise. On March 28, the Free Software Foundation made public revised GPL provisions, which are expected to take effect in July.

    Microsoft and Novell both vow to proceed with their deal as planned. Microsoft claims that its mere distribution of coupons won’t make it subject to the GPL, as Moglen asserts. But even if Microsoft is right about that, there’s no doubt that distributors remain subject to it, and Moglen’s revisions will bar them from trying to strike deals like Novell’s.

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