EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

03.11.09

Bruce Perens Calls Novell a “Highly Paid [Microsoft] Mouthpiece”

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OSI, Patents, TomTom at 1:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ron Hovsepian and Steve Ballmer

Summary: Backlash against Novell; Ubuntu is rumoured to be considering abolishment of Mono

THE man behind the Open Source Definition never liked the Novell-Microsoft deal. After expressions of great concern about Microsoft's involvement inside OSI/"open source" and in direct response to Microsoft's lawsuit against TomTom he wrote:

“They have not turned over a new leaf, and still remain insincere about their involvement in open source,” Perens said.

Making it plain, Perens said:

“I don’t believe Microsoft was ever attempting to be sincere. A perceived involvement in open source by Microsoft, along with highly paid mouthpieces like Novell to chime in for them, is giving Microsoft the ability to speak for open source in government circles, short-circuiting the legislation we need to defend ourselves from software patents or to establish a level playing field on which open source and proprietary software can compete fairly. That’s their true interest.”

The answer is legislation, he said. Perens said legislation is needed to “clean out the software patent system. Developers need to be able to make and sell software without the threat of patent-related extortion. We must unite both proprietary and open-source developers – who are equally at risk – to work for this cause, if we’re to have a hope of being heard by legislators.”

This is similar to what the SFLC had to say, namely that “It’s a good moment for people to take a step back and re-think how friendly Microsoft is to open source.”

Here comes Novell again, characteristically appearing as Microsoft’s beloved role model. Ronald Zink from Microsoft had some interesting words to share, as noted in this article about TomTom. (emphasis is ours)

“We will talk about patents and how they relate to our technologies, but it’s on the basis of private conversations rather than openly broad negotiation,” said [Microsoft's] Zink. “We are willing to license on reasonable terms, and we have covenants not to sue open source developers or for research and development.”

[Microsoft's] Zink added that the covenants, which also extend to those companies such as Novell which agree to cross-license, “give understanding and certainty to people”.

[...]

Allison also spoke out about the TomTom case in February, saying Microsoft’s move would alienate the open source community.

We wrote about Jeremy Allison’s take in [1, 2, 3]. Two years ago he told Boycott Novell why he disliked the deal between Microsoft and Novell (his employer at the time) before he even left the company.

Other groups like the FFII and maybe the FSF have already taken it to the streets in order to protest against Microsoft (post-TomTom lawsuit). The dangers of Mono and Moonlight become ever more clear as well. Microsoft wants to fight GNU/Linux using patents and it’s looking to subvert the GPL along with European law in order to achieve this [1, 2, 3].

Sam Varghese wrote this good new article which reinforces the belief that Microsoft has officially taken a SCO-like route to fighting its #1 competitor.

But if any Microsoft employee went to a free software or open source conference today, I doubt he or she would attract anything other than hostile glares. By suing GPS device maker TomTom over alleged violation of patents connected with an implementation of the Linux kernel any goodwill that Microsoft has built up has gone down the drain.

[...]

Why did Microsoft decide to sue TomTom at this time? Is it the old arrogance asserting itself again as it has many times in the past? Is it a sense that suing at this time gives it more leeway than at others?

[...]

But there is one thing which a corporate entity like Microsoft can never comprehend. And that is the energy of the free software community, the anger and hatred that the lawsuit has generated.

When SCO started its campaign against Linux by suing IBM, it was quite confident that things would go its way. Six years later, the company is just a shell and few people would even bother pissing on it.

Somehow I have the feeling that this time Microsoft may have bitten off more than even it can chew.

It’s probably too late for Microsoft, but it’s not too late for Free software. It is a good time to wake up and realise the dangers of Novell/Microsoft technologies like Moonlight. One must realise that Mono and Moonlight act as legal obstacles which reside at the bottom of many desktop and Web applications, respsectively (thus they create an irreversible, irrevocable dependency, just like FAT).

“Novell spends a lot of time lauding and promoting its work on Mono, MonoDevelop, and Moonlight.”A reader and informant of ours has already embarked on the task involving lots of historical excavation, only to find out that popular distributions accepted Mono because everyone else had (i.e. cattle effect). This means that Mono had become contagious and dangerous at the same time. It’s a lot like FAT because it relies on the ‘network effect’ to spread itself and at the same time it comes with a loose promise not to sue which is not even being honoured (in no case, neither FAT nor Mono). The recent decision regarding Rambus teaches us that this is seen as legitimate in the US.

Novell spends a lot of time lauding and promoting its work on Mono, MonoDevelop, and Moonlight. Novell also praises Microsoft on various occasions and helps it get a ‘free pass’ — usually resulting in entry into Free software/Linux conferences [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft understands that this is a convenient way of 'crashing' competitors' events. This is all happening while Novell sacks 20% of SUSE's staff without a reasonable explanation (SUSE was one of the only growth products). Whose team is Novell playing ball for and is it being pressured to step away from the Free desktop, as some rumours suggest?

“I think the Mac has a part to play here. Mono for OS X *sucks*… no one uses it. Therefore, if programmers want to target Mac as well, they can’t really use Mono,” wrote Balrog a couple of hours ago. Another person, David Gerard, points out that “There was a rumour that, in the wake of the TomTom case, Canonical was seriously considering removing Mono from main and leaving it to multiverse as too dangerous to support (like mp3). I haven’t been able to find any more info either way, asking around.”

That would be quite a change at Ubuntu after overly-prolonged sleeping time at the wheel.

Novell newspaper

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

13 Comments

  1. David Gerard said,

    March 11, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Gravatar

    That’s only a rumour, not anything I know for sure! Not even slightly! I asked again on Sounder just now if Canonical considered Mono dangerous like MP3.

    BTW, it looks like it’d go in Universe (community-supported packages, not endorsed by Canonical) along with Moonlight. It’s not hard to get a package into Universe.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 11, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Gravatar

    Thanks, we’re still watching that.

    Novell employees are involved in this too.

  3. aeshna23 said,

    March 11, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Gravatar

    “One must realise that Mono and Moonlight act as legal obstacles which reside at the bottom of many desktop and Web applications, respsectively (thus they create an irreversible, irrevocable dependency, just like FAT).”

    I disagree with you here. Mono and Moonlight aren’t “just like FAT”. Microsoft’s legal case against Mono and Moonlight will be a far stronger case than what Microsoft can argue about FAT. I would like to suggest a reason why Microsoft is pursuing the Tom Tom case. Microsoft, of course, would like to win the TomTom case, but Microsoft figures it might as well start out with the weaker cases. Microsoft figures it can turn defeats on the weaker cases into a long run victory, by lulling the Linux community into complacency and then attack Mono in a couple of years.

  4. Darren said,

    March 11, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Gravatar

    Well, if Novell has signed a Patent agreement, we need to somehow find out what it was for. This may mean that they are going against the GPL.

    One can only hope.

  5. Jose_X said,

    March 11, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Gravatar

    Darren, Novell’s initial deal with Microsoft got a free pass.

    Microsoft and Novell did not violate the GPLv2 by agreeing to a “covenant not to sue customers” rather than a direct patent license as literally forbidden by the GPLv2. The GPLv3 blocks against this new agreement type but isn’t an obstacle either to this initial deal because the GPLv3 set an effective cut-off date that was after the Novell-MS deal (that deal purposely got grandfathered in — in particular, Novell let the FSF gain extra access to details of the deal, perhaps in exchange for an exception for that deal).

    >> [Microsoft’s] Zink added that the covenants, which also extend to those companies such as Novell which agree to cross-license, “give understanding and certainty to people”.

    Ah, but we know Microsoft is not a trustworthy business partner. What protection are they offering against others that might have patents on that technology, patents possibly sold by Microsoft or allowed by Microsoft to be developed by the proxies?

    Microsoft has close relationship with various patent troll companies.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 11, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Gravatar

    Don’t forget that — as both Novell and Microsoft have openly stressed — the deal does not prevent lawsuits. In other words, it establishes almost nothing, but for a payment it turns Novell into a marketing dunce (of Microsoft patents, of OOXML, .NET and you know the rest).

  7. Dan O'Brian said,

    March 11, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Gravatar

    I disagree with you here. Mono and Moonlight aren’t “just like FAT”. Microsoft’s legal case against Mono and Moonlight will be a far stronger case than what Microsoft can argue about FAT.

    I think you mean far weaker, since Microsoft is helping Novell develop them. It’ll be kinda hard for Microsoft to claim damages (which they have to do) if they were involved in producing it.

    They’ll get laughed out of court.

  8. Jose_X said,

    March 11, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Gravatar

    Dan, if those two have a patent understanding, then you might expect that those two won’t end up in court.

    Was that your point? That if you deal with Microsoft, they won’t sue you? Is that the message you wanted to bring?

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 11, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    Gravatar

    The Munchkins used to say (for years) that Microsoft only uses patents defensively.

  10. Jose_X said,

    March 11, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Gravatar

    The more their business is threatened, the more likely they are to lash out. I also don’t trust Gates and Myrhvold.

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 11, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Gravatar

    Why would you? They express love for software patents now.

    Both have private firms for harvesting patents. IV has already proceeded to “racketeering” phase.

  12. Needs Sunlight said,

    March 12, 2009 at 4:18 am

    Gravatar

    Microsoft’s legal case against Mono and its other crap is far, far stronger than against FAT. FAT appears to have a royalty-free license or at one that is vague enough to argue over for a while.

    Mono doesn’t. Mono has a solid paper trail of payments for royalties going from Novel to Microsoft for years. Any distro allowing packages with dependencies on Mono, Moonlight or any other MS technology is really going out of their way to cause trouble for the distro’s users.

    A half measure is to not have mono in the default:
    http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/110/

    However, that is only a half-measure. Removal from the repositories is necessary.

  13. David Gerard said,

    March 12, 2009 at 4:23 am

    Gravatar

    Removal is unlikely at this stage. Pretty much anything can be found in Universe (e.g. the stuff that is free software under copyright, but arguably violates MP3 and MPEG-LA patents), and probably should be.

    Removal from Main is another matter.

What Else is New


  1. Media and Staff Association Elections at EPO and WIPO Are Compromised

    A campaign of abuse (legal bullying) and gifting to the media, combined with a wide-ranging assault on critics who represent the interests of staff, have led WIPO and EPO down the route to totality



  2. New Documents Help Demonstrate That ILO Delivers Institutional Injustice to EPO Employees and Cushions Team Battistelli

    The International Labour Organisation Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) delivers not justice but merely the illusion of justice, probably in defiance of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)



  3. Leaked: 2017 European Inventor Award Finalists, or Stooges Whom the Tyrant Battistelli Exploits for PR Purposes and Media Manipulation

    The stupidest ceremony in Europe (turning serious science into something sketchy such as Eurovision) is disliked among EPO staff and is exploited by the person who destroys the EPO (Benoît Battistelli) to pretend all is fine and dandy, at huge expense to the Office (as extraordinary as about 5 million Euros for a ~2-hour show)



  4. EPO: Can the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) Still Save It?

    Genuine concerns about the slow process at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the lack of progress at ILO, which coincide with weakening of the unions and threat to jobs of patent examiners (leaving ordinary Europeans more vulnerable to meritless patent lawsuits)



  5. Links 21/5/2017: Linux 3.18.53, Tizen 4.0

    Links for the day



  6. Cloudflare's Enemy is Software Patents, Not Just One Software Patent or One Patent Troll

    With a bounty of $50,000, which is likely less than the cost of legal defense, Cloudflare looks for help with its own case rather than the underlying issues that need tackling worldwide



  7. Patent Laws -- and Especially Eligibility of Software Patents -- Are Being Hijacked by Large Corporations and Their Front Groups

    Intervention by large multinational corporations and their lawyers, front groups, etc. (like the classic lobbying model) gives room for concern in multiple continents where most software development is done



  8. Links 18/5/2017: Catching Up With the Past Three Days

    Links for the day



  9. The US Supreme Court Consults USPTO Director Michelle Lee Regarding the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Which is Invalidating Software Patents With CAFC's Approval

    Software patents continue to get knocked out by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) whose introduction of PTAB gave a helping hand to companies that are susceptible to abusive litigation (with bogus patents)



  10. IBM and Its Revolving Doors Lobby Are Plotting to Undermine Supreme Court Rulings to Restore Patentability of Software

    IBM has become so evil that it is now trying to steal democracy, label programmers "thieves", and basically attack the rule of law by extra-judicially overturning a Supreme Court decision



  11. 3 Years After the Alice Case at the Supreme Court the Plague of Software Patents is Easier to Cope With

    Litigation figures are down, rejection rates of software patents remain high, and only spin (e.g. cherry-picking) or constant lobbying can save those who used to profit from software patents



  12. The Attacks of Patent Trolls as Outlined in the Media This Past Week

    An outline of some of the latest troll cases to be aware of and their consequences too (e.g. software patents being used to literally shut down entire programs)



  13. Links 14/5/2017: Linux 4.12 RC1 and KDE Frameworks 5.34.0

    Links for the day



  14. Industry Giants Challenge Qualcomm's Patent Practices While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Closely Examines Such Behavior

    Scrutiny of Qualcomm's patent aggression and coercion -- scrutiny that can profoundly change the way software patents, SEPs and FRAND are viewed -- as seen in various amicus briefs (amici) from industry giants that are affected



  15. Professor Lisa Larrimore Ouellette Questions Whether Patents Work When Patent Scope is Too Broad

    Citing MIT economist (and MacArthur “genius”) Heidi Williams, Professor Lisa Larrimore Ouellette from Stanford challenges old myths and quotes: “we still have essentially no credible empirical evidence on the seemingly simple question of whether stronger patent rights—either longer patent terms or broader patent rights—encourage research investments.”



  16. OIN is Still a Distraction Unless We Want GNU/Linux to Coexist With Software Patents (Rather Than Eliminate Those)

    Another wave of media coverage by/for the Open Invention Network (OIN) necessitates a reminder of what OIN stands for and why it is not tackling the biggest problems which Free/Open Source software (FOSS) faces



  17. Links 13/5/2017: Neptune Plasma 5 ISO, a Shift to Free (FOSS) Databases

    Links for the day



  18. Countries With a Dozen European Patents Are an Easy Photo-Op 'Sell' for Battistelli While the EPO's Demise is Largely Ignored by the Patent Microcosm

    Behind the façade of legitimacy, the EPO suffers from an incompetent, insecure and delusional boss, whose actions will almost certainly lead to the collapse of both the Office and the entire Organisation (whose founding document he routinely shreds to pieces)



  19. Our Assessment: Unitary Patent (UPC) Will Crumble Along With Battistelli's Regime at the EPO

    A reflection and an opinion on where the EPO stands and what it means for the UPC, which doesn't seem to be going anywhere (it's all talk and lobbying)



  20. The European Patent Office Has a Long History/Track Record of 'Screwing' Contractors

    The European Patent Office (EPO) appears to have quite an extensive track record/reputation for ‘screwing’ contractors and then misusing immunity to get away with it



  21. Links 12/5/2017: Wine 2.8, Kdenlive 17.04.1, NHS Windows Syndrome

    Links for the day



  22. Links 11/5/2017: New OpenShot, GIMP, and GNOME (3.24.2)

    Links for the day



  23. The Sickness of the EPO – Part IX: Using Confidential Medical Records as a Weapon Against Staff

    In defiance/violation of labour laws and medical oaths etc. the EPO is passing around medical information, either for dismissal pretexts or a sort of blackmail -- a serious abuse in its own right



  24. The EPO is in Disarray and Additional Complaints to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) May Be Imminent

    Team Battistelli reaps what it has sown, as complaints are being made to a court with “47 member states [that] are contracting parties to the Convention,” (European Convention on Human Rights) according to Wikipedia



  25. By Promoting the UPC, in Defiance of Public Will, the EPO Has Become Patent Trolls' Best Friend

    The patent–industrial complex, aided by the EPO under Battistelli's iron-fisted reign, is trying to convince us that the UPC is coming soon and that it is desirable (it's neither of those things)



  26. Links 10/5/2017: Mesa 17.1, Git 2.13, Qt Creator 4.3 RC1, MINIX 3.4 RC6

    Links for the day



  27. Team UPC Still Twists and Fabricates Statements to Make It Seem Like Unitary Patent is Happening Soon

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC), a terrible system which was envisioned and covertly constructed by those who stand to benefit/profit from injunctions and trolling, is not going anywhere, but media which is dominated by Team UPC would have us believe otherwise



  28. English-Speaking Media Catches Up With Latest Twists in EPO Fiasco, Including Appeal to the European Court of Human Rights

    Actions about or against EPO management have accelerated ahead of next month’s Administrative Council meeting, whose head is leaving after alleged orders/commands from his government (half a year after we exposed his conflict of interest/s)



  29. Another Victim of Battistelli's Monarchy: Dutch Contractors

    How TBI Holding, the company that ‘won’ the tender (as notorious as these can be), is actually a victim of EPO underpaying for the work, having also spent some of the budget on Battistelli's new penthouse



  30. 'European Media Intervention Award' (EIA), EPO Censorship, Self-Censorship, and Paid 'Media Partners'

    How the multi-million Eurovision-esque lobbying event of Battistelli corrupts European media and when it does not legitimise frauds it contributes to an atmosphere of distrust in media


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts