Linus Torvalds Has No “Hugely Strong Opinion” on Cross-licensing Deals (Updated)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Interview, Kernel, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents, Xandros at 9:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…but he won’t reveal his opinion

Several days ago we mentioned what appeared to be the first response to the Novell/Microsoft deal from Linus Torvalds himself. There is another new interview where he is questioned on these matters. Here are some bits of interest:

Q: The soon to be released Windows Longhorn is touted to be Microsoft’s answer to the Linux threat, as Windows NT was for Novell in the 90s. Are there any improvements planned in Linux, keeping the technology advancements of Longhorn in mind?

Linus: I actually don’t worry about MS at all. Their strength is in their marketing, and in the (obvious) market share they have. They’ve never been all that interesting from a ‘technical’ angle. And since all I personally care about is the technology, I don’t end up being all that interested in what MS does.


Q: What do you think about Microsoft’s efforts to sign cross-licensing deals with Linux distros like Novell, Xandros and Linspire? How is this going to affect the development of the kernel?

Linus: I don’t really have a hugely strong opinion on it. Business is business, and I don’t get involved with it; I worry about the technology. Yes, software patents are certainly worrisome, but I also tend to think that people just overreact a bit whenever MS is involved, and that some of the shrill reactions on the Internet have been a bit over the top.

Let’s see what happens.

As it stands, Mark Shuttleworth and Bruce Perens appear to be the loudest prominent protesters who denounce and condemn such deals. Alan Cox, Jeremy Allison, and Eben Moglen are not too pleased, either. Linus Torvalds tactfully avoids picking sides. He does not allow Linux to become fragmented, but at the same time he attacks Microsoft for its FUD tactics (common ground to all except Microsoft).

Linus recently complained about people selectively parsing his words and taking them out of context. However, despite his dislike for such habits, let’s consider the words “I don’t really have a hugely strong opinion on [cross-licensing deals]” more carefully. It sounds like he certainly does have an opinion. That opinion is possibly “strong”, but it is not “hugely” strong. It sounds like the man is biting his tongue. Based on previous interviews, it seems possible that he won’t mind seeing his Free kernel being commercialised (even if it means being ‘taxed’ by third parties).

Update 19/08/2007: Another new interview with Linus Torvalds has just been published. Torvalds is being more specific in it.

ITB: Microsoft and Novell announced last year a partnership for the interoperability of Windows and Suse Linux. Do you think Novell betrayed the principles of open software?

LT [Linus Torvalds]: I actually thought that whole discussion was interesting, not because of any Novell versus MS issues at all, but because all the people talking about them so clearly showed their own biases. The actual partnership itself seemed pretty much a nonissue to me, and not nearly as interesting as the reaction it got from people…

Knowledge is Our Friend, Not Our Foe

Posted in Boycott Novell, GNU/Linux, GPL, NetWare, Novell, SCO, Site News at 7:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cherish information, not brand names

It is very disappointing to find people who protest against this Web site, but it is not surprising. It is still seen as controversial site and the domain name does not help. Days ago, a long thread began in a forum that criticised the site not for its content, but for its existence. It’s akin to the “shoot the messenger’ strategy. Some hours ago came this one.

Let us just clarify that the best way to address inaccurate information is by being specific. When we challenged Miguel de Icaza to say what we interpreted wrongly, he did not have much to offer. It was all just vague accusations without substance.

Sadly enough, too many people believe what they prefer to believe. They ignore some inconvenient truths. A business-oriented talk at LinuxWorld was a fine example of this. Have a look at this recent report from Jack Loftus.

There wasn’t as much clapping as I thought there’d be. What I mean is; is when a user stepped up to the microphone to grill Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian about Microsoft, the GPLv3 and those infamous “coupons,” there wasn’t the zealous explosion of applause that I had become accustomed to over the years.

It seems like many people have been brainwashed by mainstream media in a Faux News-like fashion. Important angles of the story are simply overlooked (maybe deliberately, i.e. they get ignored). Remember SCO and all their shills, such as the SCO cheerleaders Dan Lyons and Rob Enderle? Some people thought that they sounded reasonable at the time. They lied. Enderle said that he saw code which was copied from UNIX and put in Linux.

Are they eating humble pie now that we discover that SCO may have knowingly faked the whole thing since day one? Given what we know after the court’s ruling, this very short video of SCO CDs destruction (a little more here) seems justified. In the past, SCO’s shills used such sights to compare Linux users to fanatics and terrorists (yes, that was a strategy used by Rob Enderle). Yesterday, one comment in this site compared Shane and I to the Taliban.

Another thing that escapes the media’s attention (and gains visibility in blogs instead) is the stagnation of Novell’s business. Novell is not in a good financial state, no matter what its public relations department says. We have proven this in many of the previous posts (about 970 of them so far) , some of which are tagged “Finance”.

Here is one recent story about someone who to decided to ditch Novell after a long time. There is a reason as well.

Dear Bob …

We’re going from Novell (dead end) to ActiveDirectory. And even as a developer (mostly Unix, but some PC), “they” want to lock down my desktop so I can’t install apps (not even give me a login I can switch to to do the installs, and switch back).

This might be one story among many similar ones.

Groklaw used to be characterised as an anti-SCO Web site (or an “IBM shill” when SCO started putting ‘placements’ in the media and then used these placements to subpoena Pamela). At the end, it turns out that Groklaw was right all along. So, going back to the title, let’s pursue information rather than be fed by corporate agenda and spokesmen, which journalists are so keen on quoting. Disagreements and mistake can be addressed through discussion, not by character assassination.

Microsoft’s Linux Hijack Continues. Latest Victims: Scalix, Xen (Updatedx2)

Posted in Deals, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat, Scalix, Servers, Virtualisation, Xandros, Xen at 4:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The mainstream press neglects to mention the following aspect/angle of the stories. The XenSource acquisition by Citrix already shows signs of Linux neglect and this will not only affect Novell. It will affect Red Hat and others as well. Based on the announcement, it appears likely that Microsoft has something to do with this move, which gets Xen under tighter control.

The second extended deal — the one that involves Xandros/Scalix — was mentioned earlier on and has been updated twice since. It seems clear that Microsoft will use its proxies and partners to acquire other companies that it competes against (Scalix in this case). It’s a shield against antitrust complaints and it enables Microsoft to eliminate rivals or impose ‘innovation tax’ that crushes their competitive advantage.

In other news, KVM is apparently better than Xen in the sense that it is implemented more elegantly. Later today we will hear about a secret deal between Sun Microsystems and IBM.

Update: to say more about IBM, there is rising speculation that revolves around OpenSolaris. Bear in mind that IBM is also close to Sun because of OpenDocument format.

Longtime rivals IBM Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. have signed an agreement related to operating systems technologies, the two companies said Wednesday.


In fact, IBM has listed Solaris as one OS option for System X and BladeCenter systems on its Web site since May, according to the Internet Archive Web site.

It’s a big step for IBM, since the company has historically been a major proponent of Linux.

There is another word on the street which suggests that IBM might acquire a Linux company.

Wind River, a leader in real-time and embedded Linux is up for sale. Sources close to the deal say IBM is the buyer.

Busy August.

Update #2: Somebody else is thinking along the same lines and even reveals similarities to the Novell deal.

Citrix Buys VMware Rival XenSource; Will Someone Now Buy Citrix?


They note that Citrix built its core application delivery infrastructure business “on the back of its access to Microsoft source code.” XenSource, they note, in 2006 cut an exclusive deal for access to Microsoft’s fothcoming Viridian “hypervisor.”


“For Citrix, Viridian becomes the base operating system component for its next business,” the 451 analysts write. “This intentionally looks and feels like the genesis of Citrix Systems’ $1 billion current business – built on access to Microsoft source code and building tools to do what Microsoft doesn’t. Citrix, we believe, will save a couple of years development time by buying XenSource to get into the virtualization market.”

The 451 analysts also ask whether the deal could be prelude to Microsoft buying Citrix. “That way, Microsoft distances itself from the awkward GPL aspects of what XenSource does, fuses it own server consolidation story into a credible ‘virtualization desktop utility’ stack, and – not least – gets its hands on the lucrative $1 billion enterprise Windows revenue now generated by Presentation Server [which is Citrix’s lead product.]”

Finally, the 451 analysts offer this juicy tidbit: “Citrix executives are said to have considered an acquisition of VMware four years ago, but were frightened off by fears that such a move would antagonize Microsoft materially.”

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