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11.10.07

One-Year Anniversary ‘Celebrations’ — Bruce Perens on the Novell/Microsoft Deal

Posted in Deals, FUD, GPL, Microsoft, Novell, SCO, Xandros at 3:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A look back at Bruce’s greatest hits

A year has gone by since Novell betrayed Free software. It has also been about 6 months since Bruce Perens last rained on Novell’s parade, but let’s bring back some memorable key events.

Perens to rain on Novell’s parade

The topics will be

  • The Microsoft-Novell agreement
  • GPL version 3 and how it will impede Novell from making use of new innovation by the Free Software community
  • Software patents vs. Free Software.

Perens: Novell Apologies Debunked, 2700 People Sign Protest Letter

Obviously, the Free Software community feels very strongly about this issue. But Free Software is not the only party represented. Many of the signers identify themselves as recent Novell VARs and institutional customers who will now turn to another Linux distribution.

Bruce actually foresaw dangers such as the Novell deal back in 1999. Read the following:

Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution

Efforts to hurt us from inside are the most dangerous. I think we’ll also see more attempts to dilute the definition of Open Source to include partially-free products, as we saw with the /Qt/ library in KDE before Troll Tech saw the light and released an Open Source license. Microsoft and others could hurt us by releasing a lot of software that’s just free enough to attract users without having the full freedoms of Open Source. It’s conceivable that they could kill off development of some categories of Open Source software by releasing a “good enough,” “almost-free-enough” solution. However, the strong reaction against the KDE project before the /Qt/ library went fully Open Source bodes poorly for similar efforts by MS and its ilk.

Perens: Allegorical version of the Novell-Microsoft Patent Agreement

Once upon a time there was a software company called Novell. Novell had a friend “Big Mike” who was always getting in trouble with the law, but he was strong and had a big business.

[...]

The volunteers didn’t like any of this. They made sure that Novell couldn’t use any of their new work, but they shared it with all of Novell’s competitors. The volunteers stuck Novell with the full cost of maintaining all of their old work without their help, for as long as Novell had to support its own customers. The volunteers were also business owners, developers, VARs, and IT managers, and they never recommended Novell for anything again.

Here is the Novell petition from Perens.

In short, now that Novell has chosen not to hang together with the Free Software community, we’ve chosen not to do so with you.

Xandros has not escaped Bruce’s attention, either.

Here is a key article:

Perens blasts Microsoft/Novell ‘protection racket

Salt Lake City — In a small conference room across the street from the location of Novell’s BrainShare conference, free-software advocate Bruce Perens attacked Novell’s patent deal with Microsoft and said that Novell was enabling Microsoft to run “a protection racket” with the threat of its patents.

[...]

More than that, though, Perens said, if the Novell-Microsoft patent deal is allowed to stand. It would take only as few as “two or three intellectual property law-suits” of open-source developers or small business at a cost of at least $5 million dollars a pop, to destroy open-source development. So, from where he sits, Novell is running a “protection racket” with “Big Mikey” as the enforcer

And another:

Is Microsoft/Novell SCO All Over Again?

Several days after Novell’s Brainshare conference, Scott talked to Bruce Perens about the reaction to his news conference criticizing Novell’s financial and development agreements with Microsoft. In this conversation, Scott challenges an earlier Perens statement that the agreement amounts to “SCO all over again.”

When the anti-GPLv3 brigade went loose, Bruce decided to strike back as well.

Perens Lashes Out at Claims GPL 3 Brings Legal Risks

“Let’s make it clear that [ACT] is Microsoft’s lobbying front and that they are going to paint as negative a picture as they can,” Perens told eWEEK in an interview.

“Obviously, GPL software is displacing Microsoft enough to have them concerned, and it’s doing it at customers who are important to them. A lawyer’s job is to scare the other side if they can–because they know it’s cheaper than winning a case in court,” he said.

”We, for one, thank Bruce for spending so much time letting himself be heard by the media on this topic.“Perens is one among several vocal luminaries and journalists that protest against the patent deals. Other examples include ITWire, Groklaw, Matt Asay (OSI), and Dave Rosenberg (Open Sources). There is a lot more opposition, but not all of it is quite so loud and active. In terms of its protest visibility, we are probably standing at the top at the moment.

We, for one, thank Bruce for spending so much time letting himself be heard by the media on this topic. This site is by no means alone, it’s not a niche, and it’s not a faction or “clique o’ zealots”. This site brings a picture of reality — one that some are too afraid to cope with, believe in, accept, and/or acknowledge.

Everyone whom I know that truly likes this deal is associated with Novell or Microsoft. Yesterday, it turned out that another journalist felt the same way. Read the following:

Does anyone care about the MS-Novell agreement besides, well, MS and Novell?

I realize it’s only one year in, but I think it would behoove Microsoft and Novell to flesh out what it is they mean when they talk about “interoperability frameworks” and the like. Revenue numbers from Novell for its OS business wouldn’t hurt, either.

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3 Comments

  1. Yuhong Bao said,

    November 11, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    Gravatar

    In fact, even back in 1991, the FSF foresaw the effects of a discriminatory patent deal like this. See Section 7 of GPLv2.

  2. eet said,

    November 16, 2007 at 5:08 am

    Gravatar

    Your forgot to mention the new M$-Novell collaboration on accessibility:

    http://www.itwire.com/content/view/15258/53/

    Please correct your article accordingly.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an abusive Internet troll

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 16, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    Gravatar

    What does it have to do with Perens?

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