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Helping Linux by Cloning Novell SUSE and Redistributing?

Posted in Fork, GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 5:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It should be very obvious by now what Microsoft intends to achieve with Novell-type deals. This new article says it loud and clear.

Instead of slaughtering open source with patent lawsuits, injunctions and damage claims, it appears the goal is to milk, or bleed, open source software companies through licensing, and indemnification deals. You can’t say there’s anything secret or hidden about that strategy.

The following article suggests an excellent solution which relates to a previous (and very recent) one. Have a look and see what you think.

Microsoft’s legal war chest is greater than the gross national products of numerous nations. They can, at will, become the RIAA of the operating system and user software worlds.


My strong suggestion is a very easy one, if you believe that it’s time for Microsoft to put up or shut up: Make your own Linux distro and publish it.


Then publish it; send the info to distrowatch.com. You’ll get no money for it, but you’ll be one of a few million people for Microsoft to sue. Since they’ll be forced to stop making innovative software and spend money on litigation, quality will suffer for a little while. Then it will get better again.

As you may know, Shane has its own educational Linux distribution, but is it time for FreeSUSE? SUSE Linux without the litigious burden and without any affiliation or relation to Novell? CentOS and Oracle (among others) did this with Red Hat, but in terms of obligation to a third party, there was none.

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  1. mcintosh said,

    May 22, 2007 at 6:48 am


    >>Since they’ll be forced to stop making innovative software and spend >>money on litigation, quality will suffer for a little while.

    This sentence is hilarious. They’ll be forced to *stop* making innovative software???? When did they *start*??? I used to think that the simple menu style of the old DOS MS-Word was innovative (or at least infinitely superior to the Wordperfect way of making the user play Twister with his/her fingers for special functions)… until someone pointed out that Word had only copied EMACS.


  2. akf said,

    May 22, 2007 at 9:19 am


    I think the critical stuff is not the SuSE distribution as such, but their compatiblity software, ie. the OOXML converter and Mono and their planned replacement for silverlight and stuff like that.

    I don’t suppose to boycott them completely, but at least be sure not to get dependent on them.

    You can use software written for Mono, but writing software for Mono also means writing software for windows. But writing software for windows “.Net” most often doesn’t mean that it will also run on Mono. “Compatiblity” is a one way road as far as Microsoft is concerned.

  3. Francis said,

    May 22, 2007 at 10:16 am


    > How does FreeSUSE sound?

    How does please read some FAQs sound?

    > SUSE Linux without the litigious burden and without any affiliation or relation to Novell?

    Remind me why you think it’s justified then to use the Linux kernel, GCC, KDE or GNOME? Again, please refer to the FAQ.

    It’s becoming very clear and apparent that you guys (or, at least Roy) are completely blinded on this issue and are simply not willing to listen to any reason. If you were, then you would join us for discussion, but that’s apparently not the case. =)

    Who needs to consider another perspective when you’re infallible? Right.

    I have just finished watching Google’s How Open Source Projects Survive Poisonous People, and it’s increasingly intriguing how fit a description this site (and a few others in the so-called community) is of that very talk title. Take some time to watch it, kick back, read, and please think. :)

  4. gpl1 said,

    May 22, 2007 at 3:27 pm


    I’m glad you seem to be happy about MS-Novell Francis, but the people who contributed the code under the auspices of the four freedoms, like Red Hat, are not. GPLv2 Section 7 is still unproven especially considering the Dell/Microsoft/Novell deal, yet GPlv3 is the path of least resistance.

  5. Francis Giannaros said,

    May 22, 2007 at 7:31 pm



    Arguments like that just aren’t going to cut it. The GPLv2 violation isn’t “unproven”, it’s completely false. See the link I provided to get a statement from even RMS on the deal. As for the GPLv3, well, check the FAQ again. Playing the legal game means playing by the rules; saying it violates the “spirit” of something that’s quite clearly written down is only asking for trouble.

    Red Hat contribute great code, and I’ve got nothing against them. Novell contribute an awful lot too, so let’s not forget that. Still, I would extend the same comment towards Red Hat.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 22, 2007 at 9:57 pm


    Regardless of the licences, the fact remains that many developers do not want Novell (Microsoft) accessing their code. Novell has knowingly dishonoured the spirit of Free software, all for self financial benefit (at its own admission).

  7. Francis said,

    May 23, 2007 at 5:42 am


    You’re quite clearly ignoring everything I’ve said and still continue making the same baseless and ridiculous claims. But anyway, let me say it again:

    * Talking about the “spirit” of a legal document and license is nonsense!

    You’re dishonouring the free software spirit by clearly embodying all the traits of a poisonous person in the community (see the video above).

    You also have no real interest in discussion, or in your veracity anymore. That’s the thing: if your position is justifiable, facts can speak for you. Yet you choose to hide behind negative headlines and baseless stories will ill-formed and gratuitously speculative comments in a huge majority of the blog posts here. You’re invited by some openSUSE community members to discuss these issues, and you quite patently refuse. How curious.

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 23, 2007 at 6:10 am


    I have a great deal of trust when it comes to Opensuse, but I don’t trust Novell’s management. They have proven in the past that they cannot be relied on. They thrive in secrecy and self benefit (selfishness).

    As we have said before, Opensuse might suffer due to Novell’s decisions. The blog BoycottSUSE (blogspot) is no more. I don’t know who ran it.

  9. Shane Coyle said,

    May 23, 2007 at 9:02 am


    the opensuse.org people, unfortunately, are very much in the middle of this; this is because MS and Novell made a deal on their behalf that specifically singles out opensuse.org contributors as beneficiaries of a discriminatory patent peace deal that bestows non-redistributable rights to them in violation of S6 of GPL2.

    I said before, keep the code – its GPL, just get a new website and name. The easiest route to short circuiting MS’ attempt to circumvent Free Software is to take away Novell’s customers, since then there will be no one to accept MS’ patent covenant.

  10. Francis Giannaros said,

    May 24, 2007 at 4:07 am


    No Shane, you’re glossing over the issue here. Please stop claiming that there is any GPLv2 violation, because you know _just_ as well as me that there is no such thing. openSUSE is still and always will be freely distributable.

    You say it’s a discriminatory patent peace, but like I’ve said countless times, nothing else has been added for everyone else. Novell’s customers have protection, but this doesn’t imply that others in the Linux community can _now_ be sued whereas they couldn’t before. That’s nonsense. Novell is one of the very founding members of the OIN ensuring and helping protect all of the others in the Linux community, so the point is still not holding.

    That’s right — openSUSE code _is_ GPL, which is exactly why it’s freely distributable. I can guarantee you that no sane person in the openSUSE community would ever really fork it. You both grossly exaggerate the effect of this. Most people in the openSUSE community have actually done their research on this issue (since there’s FUD from all sides), and hence pretty much know the truth behind the smokescreens you (and others) put up.

    Of course the shame again is that you’re not going to answer this and the discussion will end again because there’s the silly frenzy of posting on here. Once again, you decline to join any of us for a discussion, which is pretty much the most telling point I’ve seen since I’ve been on here. People will very cautiously avoid anything in which they might be demonstrated to be wrong :)

  11. Shane Coyle said,

    May 24, 2007 at 12:50 pm


    Rather than reprint verbatim my GPLv2S6 argument, it is here.

    Have you read the MS Commitment to the Community that Novell accepted on OpenSUSE.org contributors’ behalf? It puts restrictions on redistribution of the code, and distinctions between commercial and non-commercial distribution and also grants non-redistributable rights to those contributors and Novell "customers".

    Just because FSF isn’t going the litigation route doesn’t mean it isn’t there, and should MS ever decide to sue anyone but Novell, S7 of GPL2 will be revisited.

    So, why not update the FAQ you always push to include Steinman’s admission that Novell does have an IP license associated with this interoperability deal, with terms we all do not know but we do know that Novell engineers are looking at MS source which is really scary.

    Go back through my submissions, feel free to pick each apart in the comments – I subscribe to the comments RSS feed and will be happy to respond to any cogent arguments. I cut you a break this one time, next time bring some facts to refute my speculations.

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