05.13.07

Gemini version available ♊︎

Let’s Speculate: What IP Did Novell License?

Posted in Action, Boycott Novell, Deals, Deception, Formats, FUD, GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant, Protocol at 9:34 pm by Shane Coyle

Recently, Matthew Aslett has gotten Novell’s Justin Steinman to finally open up some about the true nature of the Microsoft-Novell deal, during which time Steinman mentioned an aspect of the deal that we have suspected but hadn’t been acknowledged publicly before (regardless of assertions that it was missed – trust me, I’ve gone back through the site and it wasn’t).

“Since we announced the Novell-Microsoft agreement in November, we’ve always said that the intellectual property agreement provided a foundation for the interoperability between Windows and SUSE Linux Enterprise. This foundation falls into two primary categories: 1) the “covenant not to sue,” which provides customers with peace of mind when they deploy SUSE Linux Enterprise; and 2) the IP access necessary for the technical collaboration to deliver interoperability between Windows and Linux. For better or worse, the community and press at-large have focused on #1, although Novell has talked about both categories since we signed the agreement.

“As you know, engineers at Novell and Microsoft are hard at work on our technical collaboration, and we demonstrated the first results at BrainShare in March. But in order to deliver the interoperability between Novell eDirectory and Microsoft Active Directory, as well as the bidirectional virtualization between Windows and SUSE Linux Enterprise, Novell required sanctioned access to Microsoft’s code in order to develop open source interoperability without violating Microsoft’s intellectual property.

“The Novell-Microsoft agreement is about bridging the worlds of open source and proprietary software, and in order to build this bridge, we’ve had to do several unique things, including signing an intellectual property agreement that would let Novell’s engineers get a look at some of Microsoft’s proprietary code. We’ve also done several other unique things like having Microsoft representatives sell certificates for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server subscriptions to their customers. I’d submit that all of these things are good for the adoption and growth of Linux.

So, Novell needed access to Microsoft IP and code in order to achieve interoperability – for what? Samba was already doing a splendid job of SMB/CIFS and AD integration, and the argument could be made that Mono was doing quite well in its own regard. Even OpenOffice.org had already achieved quite remarkable conversion of Office’s previous binary file formats, much to Microsoft’s chagrin I would surmise.

Well, there was of course the OOXML that Novell agreed to implement in their version of Novell Open Office – perhaps Novell needed access to MS IP in order to fully implement cryptic specifications like "autoSpaceLikeWord95"? Or maybe they are paying royalties for inclusion of VBA support in OOO, we just don’t know for sure – and that of course is a problem in an open development community.

The only hint that I have been still clinging to is the odd 5-year term that hangs over the deal since its announcement, something that conveniently coincides with Microsoft’s FAQ on their WSPP program terms and conditions, but otherwise I – and everyone outside of Redmond and Waltham – haven’t really a clue, and it seems that Microsoft (and by extension, their Linux Division – Novell) prefer it that way.

Secrecy is unacceptable in an open development model and community, and Novell’s (in)actions threaten to stall or even destroy the advance of Free Software. It is of vital importance to the community – and especially any projects accepting Novell code and patches – for Novell to publicly and unequivocally state the details of their Microsoft agreement once and for all. Now.

Then, we can move forward again – with or without Novell on our side. It’s already clear which side Microsoft will be on, the losing one.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 24/1/2022: Scribus 1.5.8 and LXLE Reviewed

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 23, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 23, 2022



  3. [Meme] Team UPC Congratulating Itself

    The barrage of fake news and misinformation about the UPC deliberately leaves out all the obvious and very important facts; even the EPO‘s António Campinos and Breton (Benoît Battistelli‘s buddy) participated in the lying



  4. Links 24/1/2022: pgBadger 11.7 Released, Catch-up With Patents

    Links for the day



  5. The Demonisation and Stereotyping of Coders Not Working for Big Corporations (or 'The System')

    The war on encrypted communication (or secure communications) carries on despite a lack of evidence that encryption stands in the way of crime investigations (most criminals use none of it)



  6. On the 'Peak Hacker' Series

    Hacker culture, unlike Ludditism, is ultimately a movement for justice, for equality, and for human rights through personal and collective emancipation; Dr. Farnell has done a good job explaining where we stand and his splendid series has come to a close



  7. Links 23/1/2022: First RC of Linux 5.17 and Sway 1.7 Released

    Links for the day



  8. Peak Code — Part III: After Code

    "Surveillance perimeters, smart TVs (Telescreens built to Orwell's original blueprint) watched over our living rooms. Mandatory smart everything kept us 'trustless'. Safe search, safe thoughts. We withdrew. Inside, we went quietly mad."



  9. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 22, 2022

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 22, 2022



  10. Links 23/1/2022: MongoDB 5.2, BuddyPress 10.0.0, and GNU Parallel 20220122

    Links for the day



  11. A Parade of Fake News About the UPC Does Not Change the General Consensus or the Simple Facts

    European Patents (EPs) from the EPO are granted in violation of the EPC; Courts are now targeted by António Campinos and the minions he associates with (mostly parasitic litigation firms and monopolists), for they want puppets for “judges” and for invalid patents to be magically rendered “valid” and “enforceable”



  12. Welcome to 2022: Intentional Lies Are 'Benefits' and 'Alternative Facts'

    A crooks-run EPO, together with the patent litigation cabal that we’ve dubbed ‘Team UPC’ (it has nothing to do with science or with innovation), is spreading tons of misinformation; the lies are designed to make the law-breaking seem OK, knowing that Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos are practically above the law, so perjury as well as gross violations of the EPC and constitutions won’t scare them (prosecution as deterrence just isn’t there, which is another inherent problem with the UPC)



  13. From Software Eating the World to the Pentagon Eating All the Software

    “Software is eating the world,” according to Marc Andreessen (co-founder of Netscape), but the Empire Strikes Back (not the movie, the actual empire) by hijacking all code by proxy, via Microsoft, just as it grabbed a lot of the world’s communications via Skype, bypassing the world's many national telecoms; coders need to fight back rather than participate in racist (imperial) shams such as GitHub



  14. Links 22/1/2022: Skrooge 2.27.0 and Ray-Tracing Stuff

    Links for the day



  15. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 21, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, January 21, 2022



  16. Peak Code — Part II: Lost Source

    "Debian and Mozilla played along. They were made “Yeoman Freeholders” in return for rewriting their charters to “work closely with the new Ministry in the interests of all stakeholders” – or some-such vacuous spout… because no one remembers… after that it started."



  17. Links 22/1/2022: Ubuntu MATE 21.10 for GPD Pocket 3, MINISFORUM Preloads GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  18. Computer Users Should be Operators, But Instead They're Being Operated by Vendors and Governments

    Computers have been turned into hostile black boxes (unlike Blackbox) that distrust the person who purchased them; moreover, from a legislative point of view, encryption (i.e. computer security) is perceived and treated by governments like a threat instead of something imperative — a necessity for society’s empowerment (privacy is about control and people in positions of unjust power want total and complete control)



  19. Peak Code — Part I: Before the Wars

    Article/series by Dr. Andy Farnell: "in the period between 1960 and 2060 people had mistaken what they called "The Internet" for a communications system, when it had in fact been an Ideal and a Battleground all along - the site of the 100 years info-war."



  20. Links 21/1/2022: RISC-V Development Board and Rust 1.58.1

    Links for the day



  21. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 20, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 20, 2022



  22. Gemini Lets You Control the Presentation Layer to Suit Your Own Needs

    In Gemini (or the Web as seen through Gemini clients such as Kristall) the user comes first; it's not sites/capsules that tell the user how pages are presented/rendered, as they decide only on structural/semantic aspects



  23. The Future of Techrights

    Futures are difficult to predict, but our general vision for the years ahead revolves around more community involvement and less (none or decreased) reliance on third parties, especially monopolistic corporations, mostly because they oppress the population via the network and via electronic devices



  24. [Meme] UPC for CJEU

    When you do illegal things and knowingly break the law to get started with a “legal” system you know it’ll end up in tears… or the CJEU



  25. Links 20/1/2022: 'Pluton' Pushback and Red Hat Satellite 6.10.2

    Links for the day



  26. The Web is a Corporate Misinformation/Disinformation Platform, Biased Against Communities, Facts, and Science

    Misinformation/disinformation in so-called 'news' sites is a pandemic which spreads; in the process, the founder of GNU/Linux gets defamed and GNU/Linux itself is described as the problem, not the solution to the actual problems



  27. Links 20/1/2022: McKinsey Openwashing and Stable Kernels

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 19, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 19, 2022



  29. Links 20/1/2022: Linuxfx 11.1 WxDesktop 11.0.3 and FreeIPMI 1.6.9 Released

    Links for the day



  30. Links 19/1/2022: XWayland 22.1 RC1 and OnlyOffice 7.0 Release

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts