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09.07.08

BSA and Novell ♥ Software Patents, Microsoft

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, SCO, SUN, UNIX at 3:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[Note: see the comments at the bottom for an alternative point of view.]

“Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

“It’s going very well insofar as we originally agreed to co-operate [with Microsoft] on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on.”

Ron Hovsepian (last week)

Digging up some old news, investors or investigators might find that Novell is not exactly averse to patenting, even after its acquisition of S.u.S.E. and FOSS pretense.

It’s worth remembering that SCO contributed to Linux just like Novell. That’s how it all began anyway.

The following article from 2005 reveals that Novell not only applies for patents (software patents), but it also buys them.

Utah-based tech concern Novell picks up 39 valuable business to business and web services patents from their bankrupt owner.

[...]

Novell, however, seems content to fulfill that purpose themselves. Public relations at the Orem, Utah firm state the patents will be used defensively and not for generating a licensing revenue stream.

“We have a stated policy that we will use our patents to defend our open-source offerings against potential patent challenges by others,” Lowry said. “The acquisition of the Commerce One patents strengthens our ability to do so.”

Novell’s patents are significant among its assets, which it can use against GNU/Linux rivals and maybe even (Open)Solaris. In theory, Microsoft can use Novell here, either as a front/proxy (think SCO) or as an acquired company. Regardless, Microsoft has other proxies at its disposal.

The BSA, which is a front for Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, is already lobbying for software protocol royalties and software patents in Europe. It turns out that the BSA is now pressuring Obama as well.

BSA lobbies Obama for software patents at the Democratic Convention in Denver

IP-watch tell us that BSA went to lobby Obama at the Democratic Convention in Denver with a list of principles, where the first one is “inspire creativity and innovation through strong, comprehensive, and enforceable intellectual property policies, including copyright, patent and trademark laws.” Software patents are definitely on the top of the agenda of American multinationals. BSA does not has any small software company in its members, and Microsoft more active then the other members in using the association as a vector for its purposes.

Matt Asay has been complaining about this for a while. The BSA is actively working to legalise anti-Free software mechanisms such as RAND. Asay’s friend, Dave Rosenberg, has just announced that he is leaving MuleSource and only a year ago he wrote the following with request for Asay to bar Novell and Microsoft from OSBC [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]).

Open source companies should boycott Microsoft’s ISV corruption event

[...]

This past Friday a IT banking friend and I spoke at length about the upcoming Microsoft event prior to OSBC which is designed to encourage OSS companies to partner and win with Microsoft. The guys at Olliance have been trying to help Microsoft not be such incredible clowns about open source and this event seemed like a good idea.

Nonetheless, I just couldn’t convince myself to attend and in fact I was kind of obnoxious about the whole thing. My main issue was that I had zero trust that Microsoft was going to do right by me, my company or the community at large.

This weekend I was proven 100% correct. Microsoft wants nothing more than to kill open source, and is clearly very threatened–far more than we have realized in the past.

At the end, Novell was not banned, even though It should have. It does not help GNU/Linux against a sworn foe, so it's part of the problem.

“We will do some buying of companies that are built around open-source products.”

Steve Ballmer

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64 Comments

  1. AlexH said,

    September 7, 2008 at 3:29 pm

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    This is another study in crap reporting. I’m sorry, but this is just horrifically horrible.

    You state that Novell bought the CommerceOne patents and that these pose a threat to GNU/Linux.

    How about you just spend two minutes at Google, and figure out what the actual truth is?

    I’m really lost for words at how you turn a free software good news story into more anti-Novell bile, and fly in the face of known facts. You’re doing so much damage to free software and you just don’t even realise it.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 7, 2008 at 3:33 pm

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    How is Novell getting hold of these patents a Good Thing™? Novell is not a FOSS company.

    Software patents are better left to rot, not change hands.

  3. AlexH said,

    September 7, 2008 at 3:39 pm

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    Sad that you didn’t bother to take the two minutes in front of Google as I requested.

    So, why is this a good thing? Let’s wind back to 2005, and see what people said about them getting the patents:

    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20051207055128391

    “Thanks to Novell, those patents are now available to the community, having been donated to OIN, and not only do they not endanger Linux, they protect it.”

    Novell has taken these patents and put them in the hands of OIN, who are duty-bound to protect a wide range of free software projects from patent attacks.

    You would rather than these patents rot? I wouldn’t; while we have software patents I’m glad that they are in the hands of the good guys (Novell) who are using them to protect free software.

  4. Jose_X said,

    September 7, 2008 at 10:24 pm

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    AlexH, why in the world are you calling Novell a “good guy”?

    See the comment titled, “No such thing as a religious hot dog” and then the replies that follow (at least the 4 from Jose_X) http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2008-09-05-011-35-OP-OO

    Novell is helping Microsoft fight off FOSS and Linux. A good guy to whom?

  5. AlexH said,

    September 8, 2008 at 2:11 am

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    Jose_X,

    Why am I calling Novell a “good guy”? Well, anyone who spends close to $16 million on some of the most dangerous software patents registered, and then immediately donates them to a multi-vendor free software protection organisation ranks up there for me.

    And what do they get for it? This site runs a story saying that they bought these patents to _threaten_ free software.

    It’s totally, obviously, 100% wrong.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 8, 2008 at 2:15 am

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    As far as I know, Novell still owns these patents, regardless of the pool it contributes them to — for now.

  7. AlexH said,

    September 8, 2008 at 2:28 am

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    Wait a minute. You’re _still_ trying to spin this as “Novell have done a bad thing”?!

    “As far as I know” – I’m sorry, that phrase is meaningless, because you refuse to do basic research on your stories. Ignorance is no excuse.

    I really think that you should actually look into this deeper and then offer Novell a public apology.

  8. Josh Bell said,

    September 8, 2008 at 3:50 am

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    AlexH,

    Why bother arguing? It’s not worth it on this site. Roy does this all the time. He takes an article that could be positive about Novell and then spins it to be negative except on hid do no evii Saturdays. As he said Novell is not a FOSS company, it’s really just a Microsoft company. At least in his eyes. No matter what Novell has done or will do for FOSS it will never be good enough.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 8, 2008 at 4:07 am

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    http://boycottnovell.com/2007/01/15/novells-software-patent-strategy-in-south-africa/

  10. AlexH said,

    September 8, 2008 at 4:07 am

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    Josh

    I know what stories are like on this site; I just thought on this particular occasion – where there is no argument and where OIN’s ownership of these patents is clear-cut – that once, just once, we’d see admission that the facts don’t fit the conclusion and that an apology is in order.

    But, no. Head in sand time, again.

    What’s the betting that this article shows up again in a few weeks’ time in the usual Steaming Pile of Citations to prop up some more “news”….

  11. AlexH said,

    September 8, 2008 at 4:13 am

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    @Roy: Pulling up more “citations” doesn’t change the facts. This story is wrong, please correct it and apologise for it.

  12. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 8, 2008 at 5:07 am

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    I don’t see how it’s wrong. It’s a fact that Novell is still receiving software patents (we’ve covered many examples before).

    I’ve just reread my post and everything that I read there is still correct. Your remarks pertain to /intent/, not the fact that Novell bought patents and aqcuires new patents, which is true.

  13. AlexH said,

    September 8, 2008 at 5:17 am

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    “Novell’s patents are significant among its assets, which it can use against GNU/Linux rivals and maybe even (Open)Solaris”

    – incorrect, it cannot use these patents against its rivals; it donated them to OIN.

    “In theory, Microsoft can use Novell here”

    – incorrect, it cannot, since Novell doesn’t control the patents.

    “[Novell] does not help GNU/Linux against a sworn foe, so it’s part of the problem.”

    – incorrect; it did help GNU/Linux by donating the patents to OIN, which defends free software against a variety of attackers.

    I don’t have a problem with you stating that Novell bought the patents, that’s a matter of record.

    What I do have a problem with is you continued attempt to spin this as anti-free software, when Novell have donated these patents to *protect* free software. You are the one who is talking about intent, not me, and the facts are simply not on your side. Novell’s move to purchase these patents and put them on the side of free software is a good thing, and no amount of spin or deception on your part can change that.

    I am literally speechless that you’re continuing to defend this article in the face of obvious errors which need correction.

    If ever there was a day Boycott Novell jumped the shark, this is it. This is the pits, it truly is.

  14. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 8, 2008 at 5:51 am

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    “Novell’s patents are significant among its assets, which it can use against GNU/Linux rivals and maybe even (Open)Solaris”

    – incorrect, it cannot use these patents against its rivals; it donated them to OIN.

    I was referring to Novell patents in general as well as UNIX.

    “In theory, Microsoft can use Novell here”

    – incorrect, it cannot, since Novell doesn’t control the patents.

    Which patents? What about UNIX?

    “[Novell] does not help GNU/Linux against a sworn foe, so it’s part of the problem.”

    – incorrect; it did help GNU/Linux by donating the patents to OIN, which defends free software against a variety of attackers.

    It has also harmed GNU/Linux in many ways, especially after November 2006.

  15. Jose_X said,

    September 8, 2008 at 6:57 am

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    I think the anti-sw-patents crowd would have a shot at getting patent laws changed at least to the point where ALL open source is AUTOMATICALLY immune from patents. It’s tough to argue that abridging people’s freedom to independently create material and release it to the public under very generous terms (a la FOSS) should be held back in order to give dubious long term monopolies to anyone. The costs are being born by those releasing the source. [This cost claim could be argued to varying extents by friends and foes alike, but I stand by the overall claim that cost args should not be used as evidence to support sw patents. Remember, there is always trade secret status. If, for example, I decide to throw away 1 million USD on lottery tickets or some other bad business, should I be rewarded with some sort of monopoly in order to help me make that money back?] Even proprietary companies individually (not to mention society as a whole) benefit tremendously from access to source code.

    AlexH, though PJ argued in that article that donations are better than none, I REALLY would like the system to be changed to something that is fair and naturally more useful to society (I understand you may disagree with my views, btw). Having to depend on the generosity of patent holders is not exactly fair since patents should not be a weapon in the first place. It still gives those donating a lot of leverage, and, as is, offers no protection against attacks by proxy. One debatable positive of having an unworkable system and many horrible patents in place is that it may make it harder to try and enforce patents against any FOSS based business because of the cloud in the air.

    Roy S might dislike patents so much as to not be willing to give credit to companies that contribute patents while supporting the system. This would include IBM certainly ahead of Novell.

    The specific donations you mentioned, taken at face value, were on the positive side of the ledger for Novell, IMO.

  16. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 8, 2008 at 7:03 am

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    OIN hardly resolves the issue. It’s wishful thinking because patent trolls are immune to OIN and are capable of harming OIN members. Patent trolls can operate at the behest of large companies.

  17. Jose_X said,

    September 8, 2008 at 7:19 am

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    >> It’s tough to argue that abridging people’s freedom to independently create

    Those creating patents do not “independently” create the ideas expressed in the patents; thus, that hurdle-test should not be used against those on the other side, who do not take out patents but simply release source code.

    Software patents have many fundamental problems (other patents share some of these but not all). I want to look at just one item. Ignoring all other arguments against software patents for a moment, one could argue that releasing source code is compatible with patents as it simply removes items from the field of patent play. While this simplistic view is true, it still points out how unfair a system is when two groups each coming up with “breakthroughs” has one rewarded with nothing when they release very useful full specs as source code, while the other, the more wealthy, ambitious, antisocial, and law savvy one, gets rewarded with huge monopolies for expressing a much less useful difficult to understand outline. Efficiency and generosity should not be discouraged by rewarding the opposite. Society should not allow efficiency and generosity and freedom of expression to be shut out shut down by government mandates to protect something of much less overall use and, in individual cases, of extremely dubious value.

    Overall, we need to spread the GNU+Linux way to as many people as possible while helping to explain that all of this material, in order to remain legally free and clear, needs the help of users who stand up against sw patents.

    Want to give back to the community? Write to your Reps in government to shut down sw patents. Then sit back to enjoy free/Free Linux and reflect on how you are helping to make all of that free/Free goodness possible.

  18. Jose_X said,

    September 8, 2008 at 7:36 am

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    >> OIN hardly resolves the issue. It’s wishful thinking because patent trolls are immune to OIN and are capable of harming OIN members. Patent trolls can operate at the behest of large companies.

    Roy, I completely agree with you.

    Even a company that was dedicated to acquiring patents to help FOSS would be helping to support a system that presents a serious threat to a lot of FOSS usage/development and could actually be created by those wishing to support this system in order to help show that the system might be workable. You’d have to weigh all pros and cons of the specific case in order to come up with a verdict.

    I still think that, in itself, throwing patents in our direction helps (though this may be a negligible positive) especially since you can also simultaneously be working to help end sw patents (eg, I would put Red Hat into this group). How much value gets added with every patent thrown our way is subject to debate.

    I certainly don’t think that those patent donations Novell gave come close to getting Novell off the hook (ie, have me consider them today an asset to the FOSS community). One reason is that the patent donation has dubious protection value against attack by proxy, as you stated. And Novell has some genuine negatives on its side (eg, as expressed in link provided in earlier comment).

  19. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 8, 2008 at 8:01 am

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    I’d go further and say that OIN can be a little harmful (unless you’re Google, Oracle or IBM*) because it serves to show that F/OSS is playing the dirty game which is software patent. It’s better to deny their existence and work to eliminate them.

    There was a similar situation last year with OOXML. You cannot fight against OOXML while at the same time implementing support for it or suggesting improvement to it in ECMA (Jody Goldberg et al).

    ___
    * I’m not a fan of Red Hat’s patents, either.

  20. Jose_X said,

    September 8, 2008 at 9:40 am

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    I probably view the OIN case similar to how I view having or developing Firefox/FOSS browsers on Windows. I tolerate it and recognize that given the situation it *may* be more beneficial overall than detrimental (eg for firefox: accepting that Windows is currently very widespread, Win-ff immediately helps fight spread of Monopolyware on the server end and in the minds of various developers); however, I don’t see myself playing that game at all (meaning contributing).

    I agree that there are better ways to attack the problem: fight to eliminate software patents without wasting time to pick up patents, and develop FOSS to tap into Linux without wasting time on porting. In each case, generally, simply playing the game helps the other side, and not just in the sense of wasting time. For example, it also adds legitimacy, which may encourage more to contribute to those ends.

  21. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 8, 2008 at 9:47 am

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    I’m not so sure that a lot of time is being spent porting these applications to other platforms. The greater issue is the hooks for proprietary features that cannot be brought to other platforms and I don’t think Firefox has any. Platform-specific security issues on the other hand…

  22. landofbind said,

    September 8, 2008 at 11:34 am

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    And again Mr. Schestowitz assumes no responsibility for the disinformation that he spreads.

    The problem is that he is self described “Free Software” defender. And by association the real defenders will be labeled as liars and lunatics as he is.

    Almost every post he makes follows “throwing mud to wall to see if sticks” template.

    He’s incapable of intelligent comment or analysis.

    He constantly quotes out of context and to articles that contradict what is stating. He makes a fool of out himself. He seems incapable of realizing that.

    He’s a buffoon!

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

  23. Jose_X said,

    September 8, 2008 at 12:49 pm

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    >> I’m not so sure that a lot of time is being spent porting these applications to other platforms.

    There are various time sink issues. One is debugging library calls that are not perfectly specified (not an issue really if you have access to source code) or that change (even subtly) with updates/patches to the platform. Debugging is definitely not straightforward when you have to deal with the movable target that is the Microsoft desktop. This is especially true if you do not have a bunch of invested research on Microsoft platforms and have to rely on regular dev docs.

    There’s the obvious initial cost of having to recode even if you were to hypothetically nail it on the first shot.

    The learning issue would be a real cost except that most that work on ports probably already have experience with the platform [if they cheat and compile using MS tools, then there are other issues and many more places where problems can arise].

    If we consider Vista as the next upgrade to the platform, then I am sure that Vista would be responsible for a bunch more loss of time. It’s one thing to learn the latest api calls for some FOSS library (usually these change for a tech reason and not a business reason), but to be forced to use Microsoft’s latest or else pay other costs? With Linux, besides that all investments are OK since that is the point, you also have the fact that you have the option to use old api and that is usually not a problem at all (this is clearer as the years pass when contrasting these two distinct platforms).

    Open source interfaces also means you can have an impact in their development (bugs and design). User devs may realize something can be added to some lower level or vice-versa.

    **Remember Linux is still young in many ways. I think the differences will become clearer over the years as Linux matures further and as more devs develop deeper knowledge of Linux (kernel + apps).**

    On Windows, if you accept modest quality and more bugs than you would like (bugs would include security issues), then loss of time may not be the biggest problem. For achieving modest security (ie, you don’t try and compensate extra yourself within your code, eg, by adding safety layers) and a bunch other things, time may not be the biggest problem.

    >> The greater issue is the hooks for proprietary features that cannot be brought to other platforms

    Even without the hooks that could give Windows an advantage over Linux in features and lead to greater dependence on Windows (note that this is a time sink.. reinventing the wheel to some extent and having redesign forced on you), simply adding value to Windows/Vista by porting your application is counter-productive. You don’t try to win people to come over to your party if everything you offer you also take over and provide at the other party. Some will be impressed and want to come over out of curiosity, but many will wonder why bother if they might have more or everything they want at their current party (eg, many friends may not want to change locations.. assuming the original party is “good enough” and there are some issues in changing).

    If we don’t sell Linux well and help it, then the easy way out for FOSS app devs to take is to co-exist on Windows. That is weak.

    Note, the value given by companies in all industries to the “exclusive”. Something is Exclusive! if it is not readily available anywhere else (at that point in time).

    Roy, to use a link you gave in a different thread/blog http://boycottnovell.com/comes-vs-microsoft/text/msg00067.html

    >> We do not suggest that we “merge CDA and OLE” or any of the other hundred rat holes that could be entered .. Long term I can’t imagine their current world surving so I frankly think we are helping their future.

    Complexity and overall nastiness is what Microsoft third party APIs are about. Those that do a better job have experience built up.. and even then.

    This wastes time, and the lessons learned are frequently not reusable in the Linux world since the APIs and issues are distinct.

  24. Jose_X said,

    September 8, 2008 at 1:07 pm

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    OK, the time costs of porting are clearer when a project is initially mostly/all based on Linux, eg, developed to maximize use/integration and speed of creation on Linux. Mozilla is not a good example because that project already has many differences between these two platforms factored out. Mozilla was initially a Windows project.

    Kernel has lots of abstraction, but that is to deal with the many types of hardware. Most apps do not need to be as abstract as the Linux kernel. I like generalizations (it’s intellectually stimulating because of the challenge and because of the efficiency gains possible when you have to deal with the multiple platforms scenario), but not if I think they might be for arbitrary reasons and maybe even to have me slow down (business reasons). Imagine an interface that is obscene. Porting to it may be interesting and a good exercise for software devs, but it will affect the overall quality of the code on your preferred platforms. So we waste time and the performance and maintainability suffer at least somewhat when we force ourselves to port to Windows/Vista.

    Another example is how too much error handling can degrade performance on the most common execution path, especially if you try to make the code neat and maintainable or short, etc.

    Think of writing, how efficient is it to write always with most of the 6 billion people on earth being your target audience? Sometimes it’s better to focus and narrow. In particular, if you aren’t interested in long term commitments, then you want to avoid addressing that audience.. eg, imagine if all technical physics paper were written so as to appeal to Jack/Jill?

  25. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 8, 2008 at 1:16 pm

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    That’s a fair point (regarding Mozilla). I am not too sure how I feel about KDE spending time on OS X and Windows because that would be an awful lot of work and KDE4 has other priorities now (mainly polish and versatility). Then again, we can’t complain, can we? It’s really down to the developers, who have their own goals.

  26. AlexH said,

    September 8, 2008 at 1:30 pm

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    @Roy: “I’d go further and say that OIN can be a little harmful”

    You have sunk beneath the waves of reason, without trace or wake.

    You’ve written this desperately poor article, and now you attempt to defend it by saying you were talking about “patents in general”. The problem is that the evidence you put forward just doesn’t support your point of view: in fact, it refutes it.

    This simply proves that you write the conclusion, and then attempt to make the facts fit. When the facts are shown not to fit, as is so often because you never research your articles, you’re not even honest to admit as much and correct the article.

    Even Jose_X can admit that Novell have done a good thing here, which benefits all. We can all agree software patents are bad and that the world is better off without them; however, for now, we are stuck with the system that we have.

  27. Jose_X said,

    September 8, 2008 at 1:35 pm

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    >> Almost every post he makes follows “throwing mud to wall to see if sticks” template.
    >> He’s incapable of intelligent comment or analysis.
    >> He constantly quotes out of context and to articles that contradict what is stating. He makes a fool of out himself. He seems incapable of realizing that.

    This is a blog site. A huge number of material goes up weekly when considering the resources spent (few people and money). Mistakes and not spectacular commentary are OK. Roy S stated recently on IRC (and maybe elsewhere many times??) that this blog has an important purpose of helping him organize his thoughts.

    While mistakes can be a bit embarrassing and sometimes put you in a pickle for a while, all contributions go towards improving the understanding of the general readership (and of googlers).

    Simply put, best case, you are exaggerating ..a lot. People following along could see that for themselves.

    What this site is short on is “the other side of the story”. Comments try to patch that up here and there, also making their own mistakes at times.

    My views of Novell as a business are not particularly bad, but I am foremost a member of the community, ie, I really value what we have. Business concerns take a removed back seat to what I consider the main issues.

    In so many ways, Novell appears to be attempting to help Microsoft meet important MS goals. Novell just hasn’t done the things to make me feel that we have a solid partner there trying to weaken Microsoft in X or Y area. In fact, Novell admits that it’s after mutually beneficial partnerships with Microsoft (clear through their actions, whether they had admitted it or not). The cost to Microsoft isn’t to have to put up much of a compromise, I don’t think, since they appear to be willing to pay in order to have Novell come on over. [Roy has covered this by pointing out to past Novell financial woes] Also, I think Novell has potential to damage the FOSS world by a lot more than what they have gotten from Microsoft.. that is a net loss.

    Novell is bound by what it is, a public corp with hungry investors and a particular exec makeup who didn’t want to deal with having to play a risky and potentially slow catch-up game to Red Hat when possibly they could score a coup through a Microsoft partnership.

    I really see the potential gains for Novell (the temptation) and their committed approach. Also, you won’t hear numerous things through mainstream avenues. This is why I don’t think Roy is going overboard. He is doing quite a lot of work, though. He must have some itch to scratch :-)

    And I do like some of his writing here more than many things you find elsewhere (at least on this topic).

    Perfection? No.

    Utility? Certainly.

    [*Reasonable* comments that dispute what is being put up here are useful to everyone. I've seen a number of them. I don't get the impression that those that want to give the other side aren't being given an opportunity. Perhaps there should be an anti-boycottnovell site if others think that much more to the story is not being told.]

  28. Jose_X said,

    September 8, 2008 at 2:01 pm

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    >> This simply proves that you write the conclusion, and then attempt to make the facts fit.

    All experiments (the formal as well as the informal) start off with a hypothesis.

    Like I recently said (and somewhat in agreement with you), many of the articles don’t appear designed to give the full balanced views and most unemotional analysis Roy would be capable of providing, but that is the nature of this site. Part of why it exists is to help pull the pendulum from where it otherwise might lie.

    This doesn’t mean that there are a pack of lies and unreasoned material. Also, comments by the public is accepted, so that everyone gets their word in if they want. The site is not ideal, but I don’t mind, considering the biases in the other direction that you regularly get from much mainstream press.

    The balance is struck when you augment this site with the rest of what you find online.

    I doubt this site will ever become perfectly neutral because there is information that is always missing to us, and we have to be cautious and raise questions not bury them.

    The real injustice would be to have the darker side of Novell not be covered (and of other companies, though this site focuses mainly on Novell) or be covered only lightly.

    Perhaps if Microsoft and Novell and everyone else, worked much more openly (a virtual impossibility to expect among humans competing aggressively), we’d have less of a need for a site like this. How many items have been archived here that the reader likely would never know about and have difficulty finding? A lot.

    Remember also, that the main reason Novell plays an important role is first because of the hugely important role Microsoft plays and then because Novell has gotten particularly close to Microsoft.

    You will find that many times very driven individuals will be working on behalf of FOSS. This is because it’s a personal issue. There is value here (unrelated to money) in large measures that is at risk. I don’t think this website has an “obligation” to come to the most balanced conclusion. Think of this website as an advocate for the plaintiff or for the defendant (depending on pov) instead of the final judge+jury.

    I think I’m posting too much.. Need to take a break.

  29. Jose_X said,

    September 8, 2008 at 2:08 pm

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    >> Even Jose_X can admit that Novell have done a good thing here, which benefits all. We can all agree software patents are bad and that the world is better off without them; however, for now, we are stuck with the system that we have.

    One thing to keep in mind is that patents are currently in the law books. I think it’s entirely up to us what Linux becomes, but it’s not entirely up to “us” what patent law becomes. A more cautious approach might mean we accept defensive patents where we can get them.

    On the other hand, if the best logic lies on the side against software patents, perhaps we need a call to action to stop playing around and get serious about getting the law changed (USA perspective).

  30. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 8, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Gravatar

    Thanks for jumping to my defense, Jose.

    For the record, there is hardly an article (fact, exhibit, etc.) about Novell that I miss or ignore. Every Saturday I present some more positive coverage that I have not sufficient time to focus on. It’s there, it’s documented. and I occasionally look back at it because I need to keep track of a lot of thing (both good and bad).

    The issue is not blindness, but as the name on the door suggests, expect bias when you enter. You don’t expect reasonable opinions on GNU/Linux in Microsoft-sponsored whitepapers, do you? I do this voluntarily and I am not wiling to spend time praising a company that betrays Free software. The press is already corrupt enough to give them ‘free’ publicity.

  31. AlexH said,

    September 8, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Gravatar

    No-one is expecting lack of bias from the name on the door.

    Issuing a correction when the facts are shown to be contradictory to how they are discussed in the article is just basic manners, though.

  32. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 8, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Gravatar

    I think that addition of information is what was needed. I still don’t think that I made any incorrect statement. If I withheld something from the reader, I’ll correct it. In fact, let me change the original to include the quote from Bruce Lowry (who left Novell BTW). It’s in the same article that I cited.

  33. AlexH said,

    September 8, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Gravatar

    You don’t think you made any incorrect statement?

    So, when you referred to the CommerceOne patents being purchased by Novell, did you realise that they had been donated to the cause of free software? Yes or no?

  34. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 8, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Gravatar

    Yes, but they were still bought by Novell. You are being pedantic to the point where omissions are seen as a mistake to you. it’s fair enough but pedantic.

  35. AlexH said,

    September 8, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Gravatar

    You are _seriously_ saying that you deliberately put the quote about them buying the CommerceOne patents and then the paragraph about how Novell could use patents to threaten GNU/Linux, and you think it’s _pedantic_ that I’m complaining that the two things are entirely unrelated?

  36. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 8, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Gravatar

    That’s the way you choose to view it, but this was also preceded by the correct observation that Novell is applying for and receiving software patents. That’s not about defending FOSS, AFAIK.

  37. AlexH said,

    September 8, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Gravatar

    The way I choose to view this?! It’s amusing watching you wriggle to defend this poor article, but it’s not funny.

    You now admit to knowing that the CommerceOne patents were donated by Novell to defend free software, yet you chose to cite that purchase in an article attacking Novell for purchasing patents to attack free software.

    Any way you slice it Roy, that’s what you did. Anyone reading this article is going to go away thinking that Novell bought 39 patents to threaten other companies with, when they did the exact opposite. It’s a lie, and it’s a lie perpetrated by *you*.

  38. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 8, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Gravatar

    First of all, it’s not an article, it’s a blog item, which I write in a matter of minutes, so there are likely to be inaccuracies, typos and gaps.

    I’ve already expanded the quote to show that Novell planned to use these patents defensively.

    You are making a lot of noise, Alex. You can rebut in your blog by making a post which you think is more ‘fair’.

  39. AlexH said,

    September 8, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Gravatar

    Ah, now we go back to the old excuses of “I don’t read it” and “It’s on a blog so it doesn’t matter”. It doesn’t wash, Roy.

    You can wave away my comments as noise if you like; I really don’t care. What I do care about is free software.

    You batter the reputation of free software companies and developers with frightening regularity. Some of the time, you often have a point.

    However, some of the time you don’t, some of the time you’re way off base. If you were a friend of free software, you would admit your mistakes and correct them. I’m not expecting perfection.

    What I’ve done here is try to get you to correct an obviously misleading article. You’ve refused. Fair enough, it’s your site, and at least you have the decency to put your name to it.

  40. Sebastiaan Veld said,

    September 8, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Gravatar

    ‘First of all, it’s not an article, it’s a blog item, which I write in a matter of minutes, so there are likely to be inaccuracies, typos and gaps.’

    So the difference between blogs and articles is that all blogs are full crap and articles are supposed to be (more) true? That would make most bloggers I know not so happy I think, tough also says something about your’s as well. So, cause you made this a ‘blog’ makes you less responsible for the content you place on it? It’s too easy to hide behind that you have just a few minutes to create it. As suggested many times before; quality over quantity.

  41. Jose_X said,

    September 8, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Gravatar

    I’m not sure what has been changed/edited, but this is what the article currently tells me:

    The title is generic. No prob.

    The two quotes at the top by Ron Hovsepian show that Novell has strong bonds with Microsoft *today*.

    Then the body begins:

    >> Digging up some old news, investors or investigators might find that Novell is not exactly averse to patenting, even after its acquisition of S.u.S.E. and FOSS pretense.

    OK, no prob, though note that the “FOSS pretense” part has a link to a blog that quotes Red Hat as stating the fact that Novell is still mostly a proprietary company in terms of their existing business.

    >> It’s worth remembering that SCO contributed to Linux just like Novell. That’s how it all began anyway.

    Everything up to this point in the blog appears to suggest: past performance is not indicative of future results,

    ..or, more specifically:
    Novell might have helped FOSS in the past, but there is precedence (demonstrated by SCOX) and perhaps some expectations wrt Novell (the Microsoft connection, their business focus on the proprietary, and some unmentioned connections to patents) to suggest it should not be too surprising to anyone if Novell chooses patents as an attack vehicle on FOSS in the future.

    Next comes:

    >> The following article from 2005 reveals that Novell not only applies for patents (software patents), but it also buys them.

    This anticipates that the link next to be used as evidence will show that Novell has a certain affinity towards acquiring patents.

    The article is then quoted in part:
    >> Utah-based tech concern Novell picks up 39 valuable business to business and web services patents from their bankrupt owner.
    >> Novell, however, seems content to fulfill that purpose themselves. Public relations at the Orem, Utah firm state the patents will be used defensively and not for generating a licensing revenue stream.
    >> “We have a stated policy that we will use our patents to defend our open-source offerings against potential patent challenges by others,” Lowry said. “The acquisition of the Commerce One patents strengthens our ability to do so.”

    The first part mentions Novell buying the 39 patents. Check.

    The next two parts highlight that Novell says they want to use these patents to defend their open source. At this point, the reader notes that Novell has stated they won’t get aggressive, but the tone of the article suggests that this might just be another SCOX. Reps can say anything in an interview and this won’t really bind them to follow through for all time. If the reader does in fact want to go along with the blog and entertain this theory, s/he might note Novell’s reference to *their* open source. Was Novell talking only about defending *their* open source and not FOSS owned by others?

    This section of the blog ends with
    >> Novell’s patents are significant among its assets, which it can use against GNU/Linux rivals and maybe even (Open)Solaris. In theory, Microsoft can use Novell here, either as a front/proxy (think SCO) or as an acquired company. Regardless, Microsoft has other proxies at its disposal.

    This is the conclusion (note that the topic of the blog changes after this point). It restates the suggestion that Novell could be the next SCOX. It also acknowledges that Novell is not necessarily Microsoft’s best option for a proxy patent attack (this is like a hedging clause: if the Novell attack doesn’t materialize, that wouldn’t be that odd either).

    This part of the blog was a speculative exposition, but there is evidence presented within it to show that some of the pieces of the puzzle have already come together so that the theory of a Novell patent attack against the wider FOSS community is not that crazy a thought.

    Roy hasn’t included anything directly about the donation to OIN. Had he done so, it would demonstrate that Novell would in fact have had to have changed their public position should they attack in the future, but remember that SCOX did just that.

    Really, any company can be “used” for anything, but I don’t find inconsistencies with the way this piece is organized and with what it suggests (again, this may have been edited a bit from the initial version).

    Any accusation of garbage coming from this site would require some other supporting evidence than this particular section of this blog posting; thus, I’ll have to disagree that Roy is doing here anything to be ashamed of. He presented material that supports a possible future course against which we might want to guard.

  42. Jose_X said,

    September 8, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Gravatar

    Quick clarifications:

    [last posting] >> I’m not sure what has been changed/edited, but this is what the article currently tells me:

    Here “article” should be [this] “blog”.

    [last posting] >> At this point, the reader notes that Novell has stated they won’t get aggressive, but the tone of the article suggests that this might just be another SCOX.

    Here, too, “article” should be [this] “blog”.

    [last posting] >> Reps can say anything in an interview and this won’t really bind them to follow through for all time.

    What I mean here is that the rep’s words won’t exactly bind the company to these words for all time.

    [Roy S] >> Thanks for jumping to my defense, Jose.

    I’m just trying to protect a valued resource, this website and those behind it, if allegations against it, IMO, are not well supported.

    The work that is this website isn’t perfect, but it’s valuable ..IMO.

  43. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 8, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Gravatar

    Jose,

    Those who dismisses it have reasons for Novell affinity anyway. Alex, for example, ‘forks’ code that Novell produced, so he has been protective of the company (even vocally in this Web site, for many months in fact).

  44. AlexH said,

    September 9, 2008 at 1:47 am

    Gravatar

    @Jose: “At this point, the reader notes that Novell has stated they won’t get aggressive, but the tone of the article suggests that this might just be another SCOX. Reps can say anything in an interview and this won’t really bind them to follow through for all time.”

    This is what is totally inaccurate. Novell cannot threaten free software with patents it does not own.

    @Roy: I’m not protective of Novell, I’m protective of free software. It’s a known fact that the project I work on was taken away from the community by Novell, who almost killed it.

    You have this bizarre “us versus them”, and you spend all your time on this blog effectively dividing up the community between people you like and people you don’t. In real life, things are far more complicated than that, which is why you don’t appreciate Novell’s donation to OIN and why you attack them for protecting free software.

  45. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 9, 2008 at 2:06 am

    Gravatar

    No, I did not attack them for this. The criticism is based on other observations made in this post.

  46. AlexH said,

    September 9, 2008 at 2:11 am

    Gravatar

    @Roy: your exact words are “At the end, Novell was not banned, even though It should have. It does not help GNU/Linux against a sworn foe, so it’s part of the problem.”

    That’s attacking Novell. You attack them even though the patents you explicitly refer to were *donated* by Novell to the cause of free software:

    “I’d go further and say that OIN can be a little harmful”.

    Your words, Roy.

  47. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 9, 2008 at 2:21 am

    Gravatar

    This text refers to something else altogether (OSBC and patent intimidation that Novell seems to have quietly supported).

  48. AlexH said,

    September 9, 2008 at 2:29 am

    Gravatar

    Wriggle, Roy, wriggle.

    You compared Novell to SCO in both the second and fourth paragraph. Were those criticisms also completely unrelated to the CommerceOne patents?

    When you said that Microsoft could, in theory, use Novell to assert patents against free software, why did you put that immediately under the CommerceOne story (where you claim you already knew that Novell had donated those patents to free software)? You don’t think a reader would infer that you’re suggesting Novell could use the CommerceOne patents against free software?

  49. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 9, 2008 at 2:35 am

    Gravatar

    In order to please, I have already expanded the quote the include the statement from Bruce Lowry.

    This is not a journal paper. Not every word and possible interpretation needs to be scrutinised to death.

  50. AlexH said,

    September 9, 2008 at 2:38 am

    Gravatar

    Your “expanded quote” does nothing to reduce the obvious inaccuracy in this post, and you know that full well, because it doesn’t set the purchase of the CommerceOne patents in the proper context of their being donated to the protection of the free software community, not Novell.

    Thankfully people have a chance to read the truth in the comments…

  51. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 9, 2008 at 2:40 am

    Gravatar

    Do you want the post to be rewritten from scratch? As I said before, you are free to blog this as you see fit and make it “more accurate” (depending on your point of view).

  52. AlexH said,

    September 9, 2008 at 2:56 am

    Gravatar

    No, I’m just asking for corrections.

    As I keep pointing out, stating that Novell bought the CommerceOne patents and then stating that Novell could use patents against free software is unfair and misleading: we’ve both agreed now that Novell cannot use those patents.

    You can claim Novell is the next SCO if you like, but to stop misleading people you should also point out that they could not do that with the CommerceOne patents since they have donated them to OIN.

  53. Jose_X said,

    September 9, 2008 at 6:40 am

    Gravatar

    AlexH, the impression I got (but I don’t think links were given) was that Novell has more patents beyond the 39 it had at one time. The 39 example serves as one example of them acquiring patents. [I'm pretty sure they have a nonnegligible patent portfolio, like many larger tech corps, regardless of these 39.]

    I understand the reader might think these are 39 still usable against FOSS. That I didn’t think that when doing the mini review is possibly because I had been reading the comments already.

    It’s also questionable to use only an example where Novell donated all of those patents.

    An update at the top of the blog that clarifies all of this might be useful. And better yet would be to give examples of other patent acquisitions that they still have. [Roy, ask for help in IRC?]

    I think it’s always a possibility that Novell might use patents directly against FOSS, but this is true for almost any company. In fact, it seems unreasonable at this point in time that Novell would add more gasoline by attempting this. It also doesn’t make that much sense if they are going to deal in GPLv3 sw. Any old troll could just as easily be used.

    OTOH, SCOX case suggests that should Novell fail/give up with FOSS (something that must always be considered about those partnering with Microsoft), they could easily return completely to their closed source roots and then go on the attack (GPLv3 would be no issue if the Linux business was abandoned or marginalized). That is what SCOX did I believe. Also, like SCOX, Novell has particular insight and dealings with Linux/FOSS and with anti-FOSS “IP” environments. Novell’s possibly still existing financial woes (maybe much worse than they let on as other boycottnovell write-ups have suggested) further increases the likelihood that they might decide to pull a SCOX. Add that they own significant UNIX copyrights (but there was a “promise” not to sue.. directly).

    It seems that (for now) Novell is trying to play the good cop in a good/bad cop routine. They have to be willing to go along and support the bad cop, but they want to otherwise personally try to keep their hands as clean as possible.

    I don’t let the proverbial driver of the get-away car get off the hook. They may get less time, but they are not innocent and did help pull off the crime more successfully. In some cases, the driver may have played an extremely important role, possibly one that few others could have played, in which case they are that much more responsible for actually participating.

    Novell is not stupid. They are getting close to Microsoft in ways that leverage Microsoft’s bullying and patents in their favor. They actively help spread and/or secure Microsoft’s monopoly dominance and advantages. For some words on mono/dotnet, see http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2008-09-08-026-35-RV-SW-0001 .

    Roy, maybe provide a quick update comment saying there may be problems with that analysis or adjust it somehow. Maybe specifically invite the reader to read these comments in order to get an alternative viewpoint.

    I’m not sure what is best for this site. Roy has tasked himself with quite a job that as is is very useful. Improvements would always be welcomed by the community but would be extra taxing. At what point is the average quality of the postings good enough or not good enough?

  54. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 9, 2008 at 6:45 am

    Gravatar

    I’ll add an update at the top.

  55. AlexH said,

    September 9, 2008 at 7:04 am

    Gravatar

    Jose,

    Thanks for your balanced comments, but I think at this point it’s too late – the comments are as bad as the article.

    So far I’ve seen Roy deny that contributing these patents to OIN is a good thing, deny that Novell even donated them to the OIN, he called OIN “harmful” even though it protects free software and admitted that he deliberately omits information from readers and that he was unwilling to spend time on anything which could praise Novell.

    At the end of the day, this article stated that Novell loves software patents when in fact it helps the EFF bust them and purchases potentially harmful patents so that it can donate them to the free software community.

    Having that opinion is “fine” in so far as we can’t stop people hating free software. But to dance around the issue when presented with facts is pretty sad. Talking about “average quality” of articles on this site is like taking depth readings from a cesspit imho.

  56. Jose_X said,

    September 9, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Gravatar

    AlexH,

    I want to make my position clear. I appreciate having amicable discussions. I do understand this website bothers you, but I value a lot of what gets put here.

    Roy, not making it clear boycottnovell.com was a blog may have lead to unnecessary pain for all sides.

    >> At the end of the day, this article stated that Novell loves software patents when in fact it helps the EFF bust them and purchases potentially harmful patents so that it can donate them to the free software community.
    >> Having that opinion is “fine” in so far as we can’t stop people hating free software. But to dance around the issue when presented with facts is pretty sad.

    You can’t seriously hang around here and think RS hates free software.

    You presented a very interesting press release. I hadn’t seen that link before. The patent issue might be one where Novell can help itself while also really helping us.

    Though I am encouraged in reading about what Novell might do, the situation today remains that IMO Novell is fairly clearly hurting FOSS through their extensive helping hand towards Microsoft (even excluding patent issues). I understand it’s just business for them, but that is besides the point.

    A press release without details and about future plans could be nothing more than a delay tactic PR episode aimed at FOSS developers (they are in need of these) or could turn out to be but an exaggeration of what ultimately comes to pass [..new just-in-time CEO leads to project cancellation].

    It’s expected that Novell has to try and win over developers. Two things to look for: (a) will anything of real value come out of this joint effort with the EFF and (b) will they keep massaging Microsoft’s back and keep their fate bolted to Microsoft’s ship?

    A Novell that smiles for the cameras (think of philanthropist* Bill Gates) and dutifully keeps employees (paid through Microsoft provided funds) hanging around EFF workers could end up being useless. It might even be hurtful. The press release was full of pleasing sounding generalities. It wasn’t full of results.

    >> .. deny that contributing these patents to OIN is a good thing .. called OIN “harmful” even though it protects free software ….

    I think this was covered. If the OIN increases the odds that sw patents be kept in the books in any but the most watered down form, then it hurts FOSS. That is an opinion I share with RS, and I roughly explained that a few times in earlier comments.

    Novell’s talk is always about how change will not come in any meaningful way any time soon. Having that be the case helps their business, but it hurts FOSS. They attempt to rationalize in public that they are simply trying to do the only thing that can really be done since Microsoft will remain in control for a long time. “Patents won’t change,” you’ll also hear them say.

    What will or will not happen is not something I can predict. What I do know is what is or isn’t acceptable to me as a user and developer. I don’t own a Ferrari. I did not apply to work at Novell or at Microsoft. I don’t accept patent or Microsoft rule for an indeterminate period of time.

    The inevitability of software patents helps many large commercial players besides Novell. The inevitability of Microsoft’s dominance helps Microsoft and Novell and some others. I don’t accept either of these.

    I am not sure if the OIN is involved in this, but the project to help weed out bad patents is a horrible one. It simply ensures that after doing a bunch of free R&D for these patent companies, they then can tell the investment and business world that they own something that is unlikely to fail in court. In only increases the strength of their hand after us having wasted huge amounts of time. And this hand can be used against us [this might be negotiable].

    I won’t take a position that contributions to/from the OIN are absolutely a mistake, but you should now have a clue that I am not likely to be very impressed with Novell’s efforts unless and until they help achieve significant patent reform. Short of abolishing software/business/etc patents across the board, I am not sure what I would find an acceptable consolation prize. …Well, keeping the system broken and with the big guys taking losses is fine with me for the time being.

    And as already stated, don’t let this patent storyline distract from this: http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2008-09-08-026-35-RV-SW-0001

    And don’t forget that Novell might simply be working the EFF into accepting as an achievable goal (significantly) less that what is just. I think that R&D should be rewarded, and it can be. In the FOSS world, the fit learn to leverage the community.

    Anyway, if it makes IBM, Novell, and others feel happy to get some brownie points by using their patents to defend FOSS (and the horrible system), then that is fine, but some brownie points only works so long as no legit FOSS business or project gets seriously hampered, and it doesn’t equate with a free ticket to ride Microsoft.

    ..just remembered that RS clearly stated that patent trolls are not affected by OIN. I think we all recognize why. So Novell’s past patent contributions are possibly marginal in the big picture.

    [Software patents help the big guys. I am not necessarily against this if FOSS is protected, but FOSS must be protected. This must be so, even if these companies have a change of heart/management tomorrow. I could accept this scenario since it would help to eliminate closed source software which means users would generally be more empowered. Plus, the low profile, not widely distributed closed source software is not going to become a target.]

    The above are my opinions. IANAL. The conditions are what would satisfy me and possibly no one else. YMMV. Etc.

  57. AlexH said,

    September 9, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Gravatar

    @Jose;

    To be honest, I’m not surprised that you’d never seen that Novell PR before; it’s not like you’re ever going to read such things on this site.

    In terms of OIN, I think you have to look at the global picture. You can want to see an end to software patents but still want to put in place the means to defend yourself against them. Novell (et al) have actually gone further than that: they set up OIN to defend the *community*. If Microsoft sue a Linux developer, OIN has to respond with a counter-suit. The existence of OIN does nothing to promote software patents; if anything, it helps make the case that they are not useful, because freely licensing them to all makes clear that Novell (et al) are not interested in the economic rights to the patents.

    You will not find any serious anti-patent campaigner who thinks that OIN is a bad idea.

    In terms of hating free software: I didn’t name Roy; I said “people”. I view people who twist the good work of companies and developers into mean words as hating free software.

    It’s fair to criticise anyone in the community, including Novell, for the things that they do wrong. It’s unfair to criticise people for the things that they do right, though.

    Unfortunately, all this site does is post criticism of any type. It’s not all fair criticism; in fact I would worry that the majority of it is unfair criticism. With an article as problematic as this one, it’s extremely disheartening to see the author take no steps to correct it. People coming here will believe what they are reading is true, and that is sadly far from the truth.

  58. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 9, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Gravatar

    “…With an article as problematic…”
         ^^^^^^^^

    *There’s* the misunderstanding.

  59. AlexH said,

    September 9, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Gravatar

    No misunderstanding. You published this, it’s your article.

    I know you’d like to think that you’re in no way responsible for what you write, and it doesn’t matter what you say, but it does. You’re harming the free software community, please stop it.

    At the very least, you owe it to your readership to either spend a few minutes doing basic research on what you write, or put a large warning on the top of the site that you a. don’t do any research and b. rarely read the articles before you post them (both of which you’ve admitted on more than one occasion). It’s dishonest otherwise.

  60. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 9, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Gravatar

    Maybe the highlight wasn’t put on the right word. The point is that I research better for articles. Blog posts are quicker in nature, so they are more prone to errors.

  61. AlexH said,

    September 9, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Gravatar

    We know you don’t research these posts, even when asked (see first few comments in this record).

    That isn’t a misunderstanding, it’s a point of contention.

  62. Jose_X said,

    September 9, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Gravatar

    AH, I guess we aren’t going to see eye to eye on everything. The good news is that we do agree on some things and many different points have been argued so that the googler will hopefully be able to gain something if they land here.

    If RS writes up something else on this topic that is more formal, he now has even more material to work with.

  63. Jose_X said,

    September 9, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Gravatar

    AH, in my last reply, I didn’t mean to sound insensitive to your position that this webpage and some others from the BN site give a lopsided picture of Novell. The best thing to do is to call mistakes when you see them and near where you see them.

    This site is not meant as a biography on Novell. It’s intended to highlight potential problem areas and maybe even help anticipate adverse developments that may come our way. With limited information accessible, there are going to exist over-reactions and misleading conclusions. At the same time, we all know that a failure to prove something doesn’t mean that something did not happen, so we want to stay awake and keep theories on the table.

    In this specific case, I think that the press release you mentioned should be brought to the reader’s attention [RS wrote up a blurb at the top pointing in this general direction]; however, the press release, while full of possibly great promise (it is vague), is still short on results. I would agree that the EFF partnership with Novell is definitely something to keep an eye on.

  64. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 9, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Gravatar

    I used to believe (circa 2006) that the partnership of Novell would fail and leave the company running away from Microsoft. 2 weeks ago, in an interview with Ron Hovsepian (Irish press), he indicated that not only has the number of collaborations with Microsoft tripled (from 3 to 9); they’ll triple again to around 27. I suppose you see where this is going (Mono, OOXML, Silverlight and so forth).

    Thanks a lot, Alex, for all the feedback that helps me see where the post was deficient. I won’t link here (not without expressing the flaws in the anchor).

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    Education necessitates software freedom — a fact that companies like Adobe, Apple and Microsoft try hard to distract from



  11. The Linux Foundation Brought as Keynote Speakers People Vastly Worse Than Those Whom It Now 'Cancels' for Purely Political Reasons

    A lot of people are very upset about the Linux Foundation's alleged 'witch-hunt' and even press coverage has caught up with the outrage; but our position is that it distracts from vastly bigger Linux Foundation scandals



  12. An Open Letter to Richard Stallman

    "It's past the time for the official cornerstones of the Free software movement to return to their full operational capacity, and to take the gear out of neutral."



  13. Links 9/11/2019: Linux Journal Goes Dark (Offline), KStars 3.3.7, OpenSUSE Name Change Aborted

    Links for the day



  14. Think Tanks, Bristows, 'Simmons' and 'Birds' Can Only Ever Lie to Us About the Dead Unified Patent Court (UPC)

    The UPC is a dead bird, but lobbyists of the litigation giants would have us believe otherwise, in “In-depth Analysis” which is anything but (it's just propaganda with the veneer of officialism)



  15. The EPO's Management is Trying Really Hard to Distract the Media From EPO Unrest (and It Has Been Partly Successful)

    We take a look at the profoundly bad situation at the EPO (examiners unable to do their job properly because of rogue leadership); we also reexamine how media covered — or rather refused to cover — this urgent issue



  16. Microsoft's 'Safe Spaces'

    The 'new' and 'ethical' Microsoft that offers us all a 'safe space'



  17. 'Artificial Intelligence' (AI) Will Only Doom Patent Offices If It's Used to Stamp Millions of Invalid Patents (IPs)

    The Artificial Intelligence (AI) craze is being used as an excuse or as a pretext for granting loads of patents on mathematics and statistics (maths and stats aren't permissible or eligible for patent coverage); by calling just about everything "Artificial Intelligence" (or AI, or "hey hi!") they hope to mislead examiners, who are also being presented with new guidelines full of these buzzwords



  18. Need More Questions

    Pedophilia-centric scandals associated with Bill Gates or people working for Bill Gates don't interest the media anymore; people shy away from the possibility of 'embarrassing' the so-called 'philanthropist', celebrated by the media he is sponsoring



  19. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 07, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 07, 2019



  20. Helps to Have Connections and Operate at a Loss Just to Drive the Competition Out of the Market

    Microsoft still uses the same anticompetitive tactics and outright illegal tactics such as bribery, but we're supposed to think Microsoft is run like a charity



  21. Startpage Shows Sheer Hypocrisy After Selling Out and Betraying Privacy (Corrected)

    After more than half a decade of using and advocating Startpage I've come to realise it's a spying operation and Startpage hopes nobody will notice



  22. Former Mayor of Munich Explains How Microsoft Hates Linux

    Christian Ude speaks in a new interview about what Microsoft did in Munich and elsewhere in Europe in order to undermine GNU/Linux and impose Microsoft Windows on everybody, together with all the spyware Microsoft provides for it (likely violation of privacy laws)



  23. Linux Journal is Offline, But the Articles Will Come Back

    Linux Journal may be offline (since just before the weekend), but the articles will come back one way or another



  24. Links 8/11/2019: Ubuntu MATE 19.10 Reviewed, FreeBSD Migrating to OpenZFS

    Links for the day



  25. Nobody Should Believe Bill Gates and the Media He 'Sponsors' (Bribes) Anymore

    No matter how hard Bill Gates and his legion of lawyers/PR people try to divert the media's attention away from his Epstein scandal, it keeps coming back



  26. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 07, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 07, 2019



  27. System1 (Company Behind Startpage, Dogpile, WebCrawler, MetaCrawler and More) Calls Surveillance “Privacy”

    Surveillance seems to have become so fashionable that its purveyors and intermediaries (sending one's data to Microsoft, Google and so on) have a sense of humour strong enough or sufficient to call that "privacy"



  28. Links 8/11/2019: Rust 1.39.0 and KDE Applications 19.08.3

    Links for the day



  29. MIT Suggestions

    Sometimes things are too ugly to talk oneself out of; so a distraction is urgently needed



  30. Quick Mention: Some Dutch Media Covers Dutch EPO Protest

    Signs that the EPO's attempts to distract the media (or from the media) aren't 100% effective; workers get their voice heard by some Dutch people


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