Novell Technology Assurance Program, Microsoft and GPLv3

Posted in Deals, GPL, Intellectual Monopoly, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant, SLES/SLED at 12:26 am by Shane Coyle

Novell’s PR Blog points out that they have updated their indemnification program, one of the "oldest in the industry". Novell Technology Assurance program, or NTAP, is – oh, well let them introduce themselves…

This protection extends far beyond our broad Novell Indemnification Program; you also benefit from the Novell and Microsoft patent cooperation agreement. It ensures that when you buy any Novell products—whether Linux-based or proprietary—you receive a patent covenant from Microsoft. The Novell Technology Assurance Program also affirms our willingness to use the large Novell software patent portfolio as a deterrent to patent aggression. With the Novell Technology Assurance Program and our ownership of the UNIX copyright, we are able to support our customers with one of the most extensive IP protection offerings in the industry.

So, Novell now wants to remind you they have the double whammy in IP protection – a covenant and patent license for themselves and customers from our friends in Redmond, in addition to ownership of the Unix copyrights. Feel free to go check out the details, but the first thing I clicked on floored me: Microsoft is extending their covenant to GPLv3, once a GPLv3 program is in SUSE Linux Enterprise.

Microsoft has extended its covenant to not sue users of Linux-based products from Novell to all GPL v3 users as soon as GPL v3 code is integrated into SUSE Linux Enterprise. This means that the patent protection Microsoft extends to Novell customers now covers every customer who uses any Linux-based software that Novell distributes under GPL v3.

I’m not sure if that means that Microsoft is embracing GPLv3, is confident they can beat GPLv3 in court, or if it means Novell will simply never include v3 code in SLE.

I’ll be poking around the NTAP site some more in the A.M., it’s getting a bit late and I’m bleary eyed. I don’t know how Roy does this so prolifically, sometimes I think there are two of him ;^ ).

Novell Lays Off AppArmor Team

Posted in AppArmor, Boycott Novell, Novell, Ubuntu at 12:03 am by Shane Coyle

It has been said on this site before, we do not really hate Novell (certainly not the employees and community), and we absolutely recognize and appreciate all of Novell’s contributions, we just want them to see the error of their ways. Call it tough love, if you will.

So, keeping that in mind, realize I am not particularly comfortable writing about the current layoffs at Novell. However, this story really shocked me, I must admit.

Apparently, Novell has layed off the AppArmor team (and it’s confirmed, so this isn’t like when it appeared that the Samba developers left Novell, but hadn’t – a little embarrassing).

Two years after acquiring the company that developed the AppArmor security software for Linux, Novell has laid off team members behind the project, CNET News.com has learned.

AppArmor’s founder and leader, Crispin Cowan, joined Novell in 2005 when it acquired his company, Immunix, which developed the software. But he and four others from the project lost their Novell jobs in Portland, Ore., on September 28, Cowan confirmed.

However, he plans to continue AppArmor development. He and two other laid-off AppArmor programmers, Steve Beattie and Dominic Reynolds, launched an AppArmor consulting company on Wednesday called Mercenary Linux.

The article goes on to say, from a rather cold economic perspective, that Novell intends to rely on the AppArmor community to lead development of the project since it is an even lower-cost option than outsourcing.

With the adoption of AppArmor really beginning to take off, in my mind, it seems rather odd that Novell would dissociate itself from the core team in such a way – as Cowan put it, "tossing it in the wind and hoping" – yet Novell terms it as "improving our product development process".

What are we to make of this rather sudden, somewhat shocking (even to Crispin Cowan) move? It’s like Novell wanted to embrace the "Bazaar" development model, and just now is going to a bizarre development model.

Best of luck to the Mercenary Linux folks (great name, by the way!).

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