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03.04.08

What If Novell Did More Harm Than Good to the Linux Kernel?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenOffice, Patents, Steve Ballmer at 1:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Can you trust Microsoft’s partner right there inside your kernel?

Over a year ago we warned that Novell could 'contaminate' OpenOffice.org with Microsoft-patented algorithms or something which had been composed whilst Novell engineers had access to of Microsoft code (i.e. the visibly curse). An SCO-type allegation could be made. Remember the odd situation we find in the Mandriva-Turbolinux collaboration [1, 2, 3]. It generally leads to some uncertainty.

Mono, by the way, is far from being the exception. In fact, Novell receives patent protection for Mono while at the same time spreading it onto other GNU/Linux distributions. But that’s just the desktop environment, applications, and office suites. What about the kernel, which Microsoft vainly claims (without any evidence) infringes on its software patents? This issue was already raised by one of the readers in Linux Today (Steve Stites for a fact).

Scott Mace wrote to present his own views. which readers may wish to comment on.


Re: Novell contributions to Linux kernel, post-11/06

Roy,

Have you looked into which contributions Novell has made to the Linux kernel since the November 2006 interop deal with Microsoft? I’m curious to know several things about them:

  • Has Novell contributed any less or any more to the kernel than prior to November 2006?
  • Have any of these contributions appeared to have benefitted from Microsoft’s contributions?
  • Have the Linux kernel maintainers declined any Novell contributions due to patent concerns?

This would be a meaty topic for your Boycott Novell community to dig into. Feel free to quote from this email if you wish.

Thanks!


As an additional tidbit, consider this audio session from December. Matt Asay says that Novell does not contribute much to the kernel.

“[If I ask you who is Microsoft's biggest competitor now, who would it be?] Open…Linux. I don’t want to say open source. Linux, certainly have to go with that.”

Steve Ballmer, February 28th, 2008

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2 Comments

  1. Woods said,

    March 4, 2008 at 4:04 am

    Gravatar

    Uh, well Greg Kroah-Hartman for one works for Novell and he’s (to my understanding) a big figure in Linux kernel development. And his “Free Linux Driver Development”-project hasn’t been exactly controversy-free.

    Make of that what you will.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 4, 2008 at 4:18 am

    Gravatar

    Yes, I thought mainly about Greg when I wrote this. He’s all right, no complaints.

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