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05.20.08

Novell Gets Sued by Its ‘Partner’ Astrum

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Novell, SLES/SLED, Tivoization at 8:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Betrayal of a partner: no, not Microsoft… yet.

A fairly far-fetched hypothesis and a controversial opinion too is that Novell has already been sued by Microsoft over software patents, albeit by proxy [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Be it true or not, we know what we know, but we probably will never know the truth — not for sure anyway. We just gather evidence and let others draw conclusions or at least consider probabilities. At the end of the day, likelihood can become compelling enough a factor to satisfy an observer’s thirst for answers and facilitate further connection of dots. In the Internet everyone works together.

Regardless of Microsoft, folks from Astrum (probably just one of them) have have been openly protesting for a while in the Boycott Novell site, using the comments section where they voice their complaint and share the message. We welcomed this because its showed that Novell was willing to betray its own partners.

A question to be begged for is this: if Novell, just like Microsoft, back-stabs its own close partners, what would ever prevent it from screwing codebase siblings like Ubuntu, Red Hat, Mandriva, Slackware, Debian and [apologies to all those who are left out]? In fact, Novell has already done that. It signed a deal which it knew was exclusionary. It took a direct shot at the likes of Red Hat, whom it was unable to defeat otherwise. It helped Microsoft in the process — and knowingly so! It jeopardised free software.

Mono advocates who read this site like to rave about Mono’s speed, power, etc. (avoiding all the key issues). They also rave about Moonlight, which Dana Blankenhorn recently compared to a pony in a horse race. Will you have a look at the Moonlight reference page at microsoft.com? Groklaw has taken a look and said last night: “You might want to read the Microsoft-Novell patent covenant for Moonlight, for example. Who can be sued? When? Under what circumstances?”

As such, there’s no reason to sympathise for/on Novell’s behalf at the sight of this news:

Novell slapped with suit for new mini-OS

Astrum Inc., a software security company in Carrollton, Texas, has filed suit against Novell Inc. Astrum claims that Novell violated its contract regarding development of the mini-operating system appliance that Novell launched last month. Novell’s JeOS or Just enough Operating System, is a miniature version of the SUSE Linux Enterprise OS, which was created to help independent software vendors develop or deploy new SUSE-based applications easier and faster.

Filed in U.S. District Court in Texas’ Eastern Division, the lawsuit contends that the two companies entered into a mutual nondisclosure agreement on Oct. 25, 2006, to develop the software appliance but Novell violated the agreement by revealing confidential information to partners and customers. Then, after the prototype was successfully tested in November 2007, Novell engaged rPath of Raleigh, N.C., the following April to create the appliances based on SUSE Linux Enterprise.

The suit alleged breach of contract, trade secret misappropriation, common law misappropriation, misappropriation of ideas and promissory “estoppel,” or broken promises.

Good luck, Astrum. If you need some unflattering information about Novell, please feel free to come by and ask. Novell has already pretty much admitted selfishness and it’s no better than Microsoft when it comes to exploiting partners. Ask Cisco. Revisit the big antitrust case. Grave minds [sic] think alike.

”Microsoft’s conduct as a corporation and a manufacturer of computing products, is predicated upon an internal policy of deception, which includes deceiving customers, deceiving competitors, deceiving partners, deceiving its own vendors, and at some level, deceiving its own staff.“

Scott M. Fulton, III

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