05.23.08

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Op-Ed: Novell Pollutes Free Software (and GNU/Linux) in Preparation for Microsoft Attacks

Posted in Courtroom, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Open XML, Patents at 12:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A reader’s opinion

About year ago we wrote and later tried to show (ideally prove) that Novell just loved Microsoft’s saber rattling against GNU/Linux. Novell’s response (or lack thereof) sometimes spoke louder than words. Like many companies, Novell is selfish and its roots of vanity do not help, let alone Microsoft's presence.

“It would also be in Novell’s interest if Microsoft started suing other Linux distributors like Red Hat.”Some hours ago a reader wrote to say: “The ‘do not sue’ promise is only for Novell’s paying customers. That means the others do not get access to all the patented stuff. It would also be in Novell’s interest if Microsoft started suing other Linux distributors like Red Hat. That way, large corporate users of Linux will run to safety in the Novell IP-protected safe harbour. See, that’s where the real money is.”

A few days ago we showed that Microsoft hasn't softened its hard stance against GNU/Linux. This was made explicit, based on the latest word from Microsoft's lawyers and the recent talk from Brad Smith. IT Pro has just published this article about the use of patent terrorism techniques in the fight against real innovation.

Patents and how they’re controlled are damaging the way technology is developed – and the Linux case is a key example of this.

[...]

Litigation as a mode of business is fashionable in the current climate, but offers little or nothing of benefit to users or developers. Authorial copyrights in the US have been extended to 70 years after the author’s death. The law that made this possible, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, was passed in 1998. Patent law, meanwhile, increasingly protects the interests of the powerful, encroaches upon notions of innovation and freedom to operate, and is used to inhibit competition. Both are in critical need of reform.

Dana Blankenhorn has also just published an excellent short anslysis which explains how Microsoft used Novell to bypass the courtroom’s ‘acid test’. Remember that Microsoft's software patents were defeated by Alcatel-Lucent just a couple of days ago, showing that they may be worthless, never to be upheld.

“What’s in it for Novell? Some more contracts and about a third of a billion dollars in immediate rewards.”It’s almost as though Novell chose to lose in court (staging a defeat, or “taking a dive”, to use boxing terminology) and then voluntarily pay Microsoft some royalties. What’s in it for Novell? Some more contracts and about a third of a billion dollars in immediate rewards.

In short, Novell sold us out when it possibly ran short of cash and almost got kicked off the NASDAQ. In exchange for Microsoft’s bribe generous incentives, Novell also decided to inject some more software patent poison into GNU/Linux , thus fulfilling the prophecy it had initially fell for (and was paid to fulfill with Mono, Moonlight, OOXML translators, and other junk code which is encumbered by Microsoft patents).

Anyway, here is what Dana said:

They have signed innumerable contracts based on the claims, contracts which assume the truth of the claims, and caused the production of products whose chief selling point is that their makers admit the legitimacy of the claims.

Microsoft seems in no hurry to change the status quo. They are not going to put up, in the form of a lawsuit. They are not going to shut up, either, given the commercial advantages they have created.

Our reader concluded with a personal opinion: “And this is what Bill Gates’ long-term strategy seems to be. Eventually there will be a Novell/Microsoft merger/takeover and Microsoft/Novell will be the prime seller of fully ‘IP-protected’ Linux solutions. To get there they have to pollute the ecosystem with hybrid Open Source/Closed-Source solutions. Like what they are currently about.”

Novell has already spoken openly about this hybrid model [1, 2] (as far back as 2006). If you care about Free software, then boycott Novell. Now, not later. Do what you can to ensure nobody pays a dime to that company, which shares revenue with Microsoft, for a fact.

If Novell gives software patent infringements by Linux some legitimacy — no matter the disclosure or validity, as judged by impartial experts — then Novell must lose all legitimacy and credibility as a Linux vendor.

Linux gives blood to Novell

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13 Comments

  1. self_liar said,

    May 23, 2008 at 12:50 am

    Gravatar

    Is possible create a script to eliminate mono in distributions?
    Please ,someone make one.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 23, 2008 at 1:10 am

    Gravatar

    There is something close to this here. For DEB/RPM, sort of.

  3. self_liar said,

    May 23, 2008 at 1:27 am

    Gravatar

    Ok
    Thanks

  4. ZiggyFish said,

    May 23, 2008 at 3:23 am

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    There are a few things with mono, Moonlight and OOXML translators, that may make the patents invalid.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 23, 2008 at 3:25 am

    Gravatar

    Just don’t forget that all Microsoft needs is something to rattle the saber over. It doesn’t need to actually test its claims in court, let alone specify what they are (cryptic documentation aside).

  6. ZiggyFish said,

    May 23, 2008 at 3:36 am

    Gravatar

    Red Hat will take it to court.

    It doesn’t need to actually test its claims in court,

    I’m not a lawyer, but AFAIK, there is a law that has to do with public discrimination (the FUD campaign). Which is what Microsoft is doing to Linux. Also we have the EU that will say something when they decide to take it to court. Their already on Microsoft’s back about the ODF implementation.

  7. ZiggyFish said,

    May 23, 2008 at 3:38 am

    Gravatar

    The other thing is mono, Moonlight and OOXML translators, are all Novells ‘Invervations’, which means that Red Hat is not the inventor, so it’s only Novell who will get sued.

  8. AlexH said,

    May 23, 2008 at 4:22 am

    Gravatar

    @ZiggyFish:

    In general, you don’t need to have invented/written/created something to be sued over patent infringement. If Red Hat distribute Mono, and Microsoft decide they think Mono infringes one of their patents, they are quite within their rights to sue Red Hat.

    Of course, if they do that, then Novell/OIN must counter-sue Microsoft and stuff gets interesting ;)

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 23, 2008 at 4:36 am

    Gravatar

    I’m not a lawyer, but AFAIK, there is a law that has to do with public discrimination (the FUD campaign).

    Yes, it applies in Germany. I can find you the relevant Web page (in German) if you are interested.

    The other thing is mono, Moonlight and OOXML translators, are all Novells ‘Invervations’, which means that Red Hat is not the inventor, so it’s only Novell who will get sued.

    Alex is right on this one.

  10. gggggg said,

    May 23, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Gravatar

    “The other thing is mono, Moonlight and OOXML translators, are all Novells ‘Invervations’, which means that Red Hat is not the inventor, so it’s only Novell who will get sued.”

    They can sue anyone: a user, a distributor, seller it doesn’t mind. It’s fair game. A round of applause to the close minded individuals that write laws…

    And if they are knowingly infringing it’s worse: read this from “http://www.air2water.net/legal.html”

    “Contributory infringement can be committed by knowingly selling or supplying an item for which the only use is in connection with a patented invention. Good faith or ignorance is no defense for direct infringement, but it can be for indirect or contributory infringement.

    Knowingly infringing on a patented his willful infringement and subject of triple damages and legal fees and maybe punitive damages.”

    Microsoft has put everyone on notice: the only safe place is “Novell/Microsoft”. Please thank Novell for this.

    Microsoft will sooner or later buy/merge with Novell. This is a thing that many inside Novell want from Ron to Miguel.

    I just want to see how the developers will react. Will contribute to something that only Micronell can safely “sell”. Will they fall for the “non-commercial/hobbyist developer”.

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 23, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Gravatar

    Yes, Novell is Microsoft’s Pen O’ Sheep. That’s where it wants to ‘imprison’ all GNU/Linux users, but it has some smaller companies under its thumb too.

  12. stevetheFLY said,

    May 24, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Gravatar

    This ‘article’ of yours is just a big bag of nothingness. No substance. Only Blablabla…

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from a possible incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

  13. stevetheFLY said,

    May 24, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Gravatar

    …and the latter surves was done by another ‘Anti-Novell’-freak like yourself. Very, very convincing…

    At http://www.distrowatch.com openSUSE now ranks second behind Ubuntu. Not bad. Fedora ranks 4th.

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from a possible incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

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