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08.13.07

Enough is Enough. Novell is Becoming a Risk to Free/Libre Software.

Posted in GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Linspire, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents, Xandros at 6:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

With another patent troll out of the way, one must wonder if there are more to come. In recent years, whether we like it or not, many patents have been filed, most of which are probably duplicates of older patents. Some other are ‘inventions’ that have prior art which was never patented.

China is apparently among those which are most active when it comes to claiming ownership of ideas — something that each of us has a personal and unique view on.

China has seen a sharp increase in requests for patents, according to the UN’s intellectual property agency.

Regardless of our position on patents, irrespective of where we live and what patent laws we have, it seems like certain issues are here to stay. We can protest, but no rebellion is always fruitful. We must cope with the consequences in a reasonable fashion and never leave the door open to another SCO-esque trolling battle.

What seems worrisome to us are some of Novell’s recent moves. Novell’s customer get exemption for Mono, but no other Linux distributor has this ‘advantage’. Meanwhile, Novell continues to make GNOME Mono-dependent and it pushes the changes upstream. This means that GNOME-based distributions of GNU/Linux that have not got a Novell-like deal (Linspire and Xandros do not count here) are being put at risk. Single-handedly, Novell ‘poisons’ software that many distributors used to happily share.

A new interview that has just been published exemplifies the severity of the issue. Novell does not just accept Mono. As it promised a few months ago, it is actually funding it, thereby encouraging a transformation into a Windows-like Linux.

InfoQ: How is development of Beagle funded?

Joe Shaw: From the beginning Novell has funded at least one person full-time to developing it.

NindowsWhere is this going? Are the hypothetical scenarios we describe not as far fetched as we would like them to be? It would be irresponsible to simply ignore the risks, knowing what we know at the moment. This needs to be stopped before it’s getting too late to revert and rollback some changes (or branch, or even fork). It appears as though the direction taken by Novell leads to a cheaper Windows which requires payments to be made to Microsoft. To make matters worse, there is an infectious element to this because Novell, being a large and prominent player in the Linux world, is having other player consume undesired (and dangerous) bits of code.

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2 Comments

  1. Chakkaradeep said,

    August 13, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    Gravatar

    Whether BoyCottNovell likes it or not, the Corporate Sector (atleast in India and New Zealand where I know) first choice when choosing Linux is – NOVELL

    Even my previous company has started experimenting with Novell and they are pretty happy with their results.

    Have a look here – http://youtube.com/watch?v=3_g72GcaIdc
    The above video shows one of such Indian Government Organization which migrated its Windows (and Linux systems running RedHat) to Novell

    IMO, for them the Microsoft deal is good and taking that most of the government organizations may have their documents in the MS word format and other media in Microsoft codecs format, they have to have some *legal way* (oopsss :D) accessing them :D

    As this article – http://www.madpenguin.org/cms/?m=show&id=7988 states, I believe there will be a big divide between Corporate Linux and Community Linux. Who know Corporate Linux may be Nindows !

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    August 13, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    Gravatar

    I have seen this article but the divide is between Linux as a platform which is partly owned by Microsoft (royalties-inclined, as SCO strived to make it) and Linux as Free software.

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