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05.28.07

What Does the SEC Filing Mean to the ‘Technical Enthusiasts’?

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell at 9:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ZDNet’s Between the Lines takes a glimpse at Novell’s *** filing (with *** portions redacted because ***) and then comments:

…while it’s suspicious that Novell dropped these filings late Friday before a long weekend, I’ll give the company a pass. The filings were ridiculously late due to stock options backdating so why make the Securities and Exchange Commission wait? Just get the filings over with already–it’s not like we didn’t know they were coming.

[...]

The takeaways from that passage:

  • Novell may not get the payola it’s getting accustomed to from Microsoft;
  • It’s clear that Microsoft’s patent statements are really about calling a GPLv3 truce;
  • Novell has to be worried since I’d argue that the Microsoft pact is one of the big reasons SUSE Linux is getting traction in the enterprise.

A few good points are being made. For example, Novell may have joined forces with the EFF in order to improve its image and put guilt in the minds of GPLv3 adopters; not to mention denouncing of Microsoft’s patent claims, which was just a defensive move. Novell secretly enjoys Microsoft’s anti-Linux FUD, which makes SUSE seem like a safe haven (at the expense of all else). Looking at the conclusion of this analysis from BTL:

At the end of the document, Microsoft outlines its patents pledge to hobbyist developers and openSUSE.org developers.

The message seems to be: Cut deals with Microsoft on patents and you’ll be exonerated.

This sums up the biggest of issues which Novell has introduced. Novell has consistently shown disregard for the ‘little guy’, who produces software that reaches Novell. Novell seems comfortable calling the “hobbyist”/’little guy’ a “technical enthusiast”. More comments on these issues appear in Groklaw and LWN comments.

Some other people’s suspicions and concerns become more justified (follow the trail of links here, if needed) as Novell reveals its big plans for Linux. From the coverage in eWeek:

Regarding copyrights, licensing, patents and trademarks, Novell said its business includes a mix of proprietary offerings and offerings based on open-source technologies. “With respect to proprietary offerings, we perform the majority of our development efforts internally, but we also acquire and license technologies from third parties. No one license is critical to our business. Our open-source offerings are primarily [composed] of open-source components developed by independent third parties over whom we exercise no control,” the company said in its filing.

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