Can Red Hat and Ubuntu laugh at Novell’s expense?
As programmers with only mere knowledge of the law (primary based on intuition), we still fail to understand — with full confidence at least — the impact of OpenOffice.org upgrading its licence [1, 2].
Looking elsewhere, we begin to find legal interpretation which explains the impact on Novell.
These news does of course upset Novell, as it is one more move against their brilliant scheme of alliance with Microsoft (« ’till thy death, my beloved master »). In effect, it nullifies the legal threats from the integration of Microsoft’s own intellectual property into OpenOffice.org. If you wonder what I’m talking about, just consider the work that is being done jointly by Novell and Microsoft on the now famous plugins and converters to OOXML. Some of the codes, ideas, and methods, let alone presumed patents will find their way back inside Openoffice.org, in two places. First there will be a full import and export filter developed by Novell and Microsoft in the Novell edition of OpenOffice.org (ain’t that sweet?) that will permeate Microsoft’s intellectual property.
Before the release of the (L)GPL v3, only Novell could grant you, lucky you, the complete protection on the code (hence creating a lack of balance among OpenOffice.org, courtesy of Microsoft). Fortunately for us though, the licence upgrade is now protecting OpenOffice.org from the claims of Microsoft and anyone legally affected by them. Patent protection is thus the second major advantage to this upgrade, as Simon rightly pointed out.
In light of this recent development, it is worth recalling that Novell pretty much forked OpenOffice.org [1, 2], creating its Microsoft-oriented version of the software, It comes with semi-cooked OOXML ‘translators’, patent ‘protection’, Microsoft fonts, macros (only for Windows) and so forth. For further information see:
- Anti-symbiosis: ODF, OOXML, Mono, GNOME, and OpenOffice.org
- Novell’s Dirty Little Secret: It Helps OOXML (Updated)
- Quick Mention: Novell’s Latest GNU/Linux Discrimination
- Novell and OOXML
- From Fighting for Standards to Fighting Against Them (Novell)
- Is Novell is Trying to ‘Hijack’ OpenOffice.org from Sun Microsystems for Competitive Reasons Alone?
- Forking, Software Patents, Format Incompatibilities, and Corporate Selfishness
- Novell’s OpenOffice.org ‘Fork’ a Case of Misapprehension?
- Novell Forks OpenOffice.org
- Has Novell Made OpenOffice Incompatible with Itself?
- Everyone Apologize to PJ
- Novell OpenOffice Fork?
It is not just Novell which is affected by Sun’s decision. Remember what Microsoft did to Linspire just shortly after they had signed a patent deal. Linspire continues to seem like a lost cause and this article agrees. The article is from yesterday and here is another one about Freespire, which is equally problematic.
Freespire: An Open OS, but Proprietary is No Problemo
Many times, when I talk to people who are just dipping their toes into using Linux, they complain that they end up wishing they could use a mix of proprietary drivers, codecs, applications and other tools with their newfound open source applications. Especially for people used to the Windows environment, I usually recommend Freespire in these cases. In this post, I’ll show how Freespire—an open source Linux distribution with tons of plug-ins and extras—creates a great bridge between the worlds of proprietary and open source tools.
Will Linspire, which is not permitted to use Novell’s edition of OpenOffice.org, be permitted to use OpenOffice.org 2.4 (and successors)? IANAL, but it seems like they are now stuck. They are stuck in the past. █