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


Reactions to Microsoft’s Novell Software Inside GNU/Linux

Posted in BSD, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents, Servers, SLES/SLED, Ubuntu at 6:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: This post brings together a variety of thoughts and insights into the impact of Novell’s actions, which promote Microsoft and demote GNU

Microsoft-esque and Microsoft-funded/inspired software (see Wiki pages on Mono and Moonlight) continues to fragment and separate the community of Free software users. Recently we saw hostility towards GNU in GNOME [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. It came from the same guy who had started a banner meme to protest against Stallman’s stance on Mono.

Now that the Director of GNOME is a Novell Employee, there are those who believe that if Microsoft decided to buy Novell, it would have even more control over GNOME. From ECT (Linux Insider):

“I [imagine] Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is very pleased with this new direction with Gnome,” wrote Stumbles on Slashdot, for example. “I predict in 5 years, perhaps less, Microsoft will have maneuvered these short sighted individuals to accepting Microsoft to buy Gnome.”

Novell is increasing focus on Mono and its vice president has called developers to program for Microsoft's Silverlight (XAML). He once said that they could “refresh the look and feel of the entire desktop with Moonlight.” He seems to be ignoring the conditions under which access to Moonlight is granted.

Simon Phipps argues that “Microsoft desperately needs a clueful open source leader to fix this stuff.” Put in context:

There is still a strong thread of thought at Microsoft that imagines open source is purely the domain of solitary programmers of private means. This is yet another “covenant” from them that gives no assurance whatsoever to the average FOSS developer. Microsoft desperately needs a clueful open source leader to fix this stuff.

These are unacceptable conditions for Free software users. As one person put it:

Moonlight 2 sounds good but they still need the licensed codecs.

Bernard Swiss writes:

“Covenant” appears to be a marketing term that means:

“If you only do what we say we’ll let you do with our stuff, we think we’ll let you use it. For now, anyways. But we can still take it all back if we happen to change our mind.”

This isn’t a “covenant”; it’s an advert for a “free trial offer”.

Steve Stites agrees with Bernard, whose analogy is a valuable one.

derp sarcastically puts it liks this: “thank you for not suing me. MS decided not to persecute #moonlight users.” Later he wrote to me: “best part is that they can break the agreement any time they want. so nothing matters. except for de icaza”

eWEEK spoke to Novell’s de Icaza, who had interesting things to say (also here).

But de Icaza explained to eWEEK that this model was not so “open-source-y.” Yet, he assured readers that “Microsoft’s intention was to expand the reach of Silverlight, but the original covenant was not a good cultural fit.” And, “The new patent covenant ensures that other third-party distributions can distribute Moonlight without their users fearing … getting sued over patent infringement by Microsoft,” he said.

It is possible treat it like freeware, not Free software, but it’s even worse (and there is an expiry date to worry about). Watch this new article bearing the headline “Download New Moonlight For Free!”

They pretend it’s about price. But Microsoft's “promise” to Moonlight has at least 10 holes in it (some are seeing more). We wrote about it just before Christmas kicked in and Slashdot covered one aspect of it shortly afterwards (the part about MonoDevelop licensing).

rysiek writes “A few days ago, Miguel de Icaza wrote on his blog that the whole of MonoDevelop is now ‘free’ of GPL-licensed code. ‘MonoDevelop code is now LGPLv2 and MIT X11 licensed. We have removed all of the GPL code, allowing addins to use Apache, MS-PL code as well as allowing proprietary add-ins to be used with MonoDevelop (like RemObject’s Oxygene).’”

Boycott Novell apparently brought this to light for more people to see. They begin to realise Novell's ambivalent approach when it comes to the GNU GPL. It’s an important wakeup call.

To say that Microsoft and Novell have a muddy history when it comes to open-source projects and the GPL would be an understatement. Things were looking up, with the release of the open-source implementation of Silverlight, Moonlight 2, last week, but today things took a turn for the worse: Novell has just cut all the open source code from MonoDevelop.

Despite warnings from the FSF, Novell continues to promote C# and servers too are being stuffed with it. Not good. From this week’s news:

Novell stacks Linux and Mono for mainframes


Novell doesn’t just want mainframe shops to put SLES 11 on their boxes and run Linux workloads, it wants them to take the commercially supported Mono clone of the .NET runtime environment and use that to move Windows workloads over to mainframe boxes. So Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Consolidation Suite (SLECS) bundles roll Linux and Mono software together and provide a single support package for the stack.

Kicking Novell out of the mainframes would be a case of reducing Microsoft’s ammunition. Fred Williams writes about another area that Mono and Moonlight have reached:

Along with Mono, I see Ubuntu including this on the live CD as well. Microsoft writes such good software and has such excellent standards that we should all embrace whatever Microsoft wants. Besides they have never done anything that would harm any potential competitor.
So, people in charge of what gets included in Ubuntu, bring it on.

On the same subject:

Microsoft just doesn’t change. No matter what they say.

As always the best course is to avoid them. There is no longer any real need to use any of their technology. You may try to convince yourself otherwise, but you are just wasting your time. Rather, look forward and embrace the new world that is before you.

Jose_X adds:

Subject: And let’s not forget the Microsoft trolls..

Bill Gates and Nathan Myhrvold own companies that buy many patents. They are not bound by any Microsoft covenants. Both of these individuals serve their interests today by working to Microsoft’s benefit.

And note the covenant doesn’t apply to old versions. This pressures existing users to stay on the treadmill investing in Microsoft standards over and over to avoid patent problems from Microsoft.

Charles Hixson writes:

I’ve read the analyses of the most recent promise, and it’s not good enough. I don’t care how “nifty” people think this new software is, because with that license/promise I’m never going to even look at it.

P.S.: Miguel was, apparently, recently so proud of removing “all GPL components” from MonoDevelop. Makes me quite glad I removed the installation as soon as I noticed it…and all other mono components with it.

Neko Nata concludes with:

Maybe I should say “good riddance” to him… but that’s not ok.
What is better is that Miguel does what he wants and Linux folks do whatever they want. If that means parting ways, I see it as a good thing for both parties.
I really should say to Miguel “goodbye”. And “thanks for all the fish”.
What if Novell starts selling some kind of *BSD? Maybe they can start selling something without the Linux kernel?

That would be highly unlikely, but if Microsoft bought Novell, then it would at least become a possibility. Several other people brought this up in 2007.

Microsoft apprenticeship

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


  1. Bertrand said,

    December 26, 2009 at 4:58 pm


    About the “Novell stacks Linux and Mono for mainframes” part :

    How is it “not good” that workloads (probably existing custom enterprise apps) are moved from Windows servers to mainframe servers running Linux ?

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’m glad you asked. One of the selling point of Mono is that it will move users/developers from Windows to GNU/Linux, but in reality it often achieves exactly the opposite. Mono ratifies Microsoft’s software patents, Visual Studio, C#, .NET, XAML/Silverlight, and Windows.

    To use an analogy, it’s like the promise that invading Iraq will improve security; in reality, it has exactly the opposite effect.

    Bertrand Reply:

    An hyperbolic analogy is like a global nuclear war, it make a lot of noise but… Oh darn !

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Here is a new explanation of what’s happening here.

  2. NotZed said,

    December 27, 2009 at 7:11 pm


    Although i’m probably more ‘thingy’ than most about it, I can’t be the only one finding GNOME increasingly irrelevant. I don’t use it on my own machines since xfce4 basically works the same but much more efficiently (which is why KDE is out of the question for me). Not that xfce4 is really the bees knees, but it’s certainly better for me in all the ways that count.

    I just setup a machine for my mum, and although I initially considered GNOME because of it’s user simplicity I decided against it – it’s so complex internally and there’s too much that can go wrong. It is simply too high a risk.

    And after installing xfce4 (it’s a fairly old machine) I was surprised at how much faster it really is, and about the only feature I need a `desktop environment’ for – automatically mounting USB drives and CD’s, works even better, since it doesn’t bug you with unnecessary prompts. Also dumped PulseAudio for OSS4, and bob’s your uncle, no more sound skipping either.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’m assuming these will have on-screen keyboards for text input. The keyboards can be made more flexible (and multi-lingual/personalised) when not limited to a rigid hardware design.

What Else is New

  1. Links 26/10/2016: “softWaves” in Debian 9, Rust in GNOME

    Links for the day

  2. Leaked: EPO's Vice-President Willie Minnoye Saying the Unsayable, Then Threatening Anyone Who Keeps Record (Evidence) of It

    E-mail that would leave Vice-President Willie Minnoye bashful, as it helps show not only bad policy but also attempts at suppression of discussion about it

  3. Puff Pieces of the EPO-IPO (EPO+EUIPO) Have Begun to Appear Amid New Evidence of Brain Drain, Lowered Standards

    The grim vision of the EPO which is losing all its talent (over time), becomes more like a production line (quality does not matter), and produces propaganda for "media positioning" (or "placements") -- all under the guise of 'studies'

  4. Leaked: Minutes From the Administrative Council of the EPO Regarding the 'Reform' (Exile) of the Boards of Appeal

    Details of the relatively secret proceedings back in June (belatedly released only a short while ago), carefully abbreviated to demonstrate which delegations helped Battistelli crush the Boards of Appeal and which ones insisted on maintaining the status quo, as per the EPC

  5. No Promising Future For the EPO Under Battistelli (If Any Future At All)

    Pessimism becomes realism at the European Patent Office as units are being torn apart, patent quality discarded, "unified" patent courts dreamed of (more patent lawsuits, higher damages), and EUIPO (EU-associated, unlike Eponia) gets closer to the EPO

  6. Leaked Minutes From the EPO Reveal That Battistelli is Detached From Reality and Blames Everything on “Union Officials”

    Minutes of the Administrative Council's meeting reveal some truly bizarre rants from Battistelli, who simply refuses to accept that the European Patent Office is burning (without a future direction, only burnout and brain drain) under his poor and abusive leadership

  7. Tata/TCS is Still Pushing for Software Patents in India

    The obnoxious company that is promoting Microsoft and software patents in a country that needs neither makes the headlines again (Financial Express)

  8. Links 25/10/2016: Rackspace's Praise of FOSS, Chain Chooses the GPL(v3)

    Links for the day

  9. Links 24/10/2016: Linux 4.9 RC2

    Links for the day

  10. Battistelli Plans to Expand the Social [sic] 'Study' (Then 'Conference') Propaganda Until Next Month, Under the 'Workshop' Umbrella

    Milking his shameless propaganda (paid-for 'studies'), Battistelli wants to rewrite the record by all means possible, then pretend that EPO staff participates in it

  11. EPO and EUIPO Join Hands to Release Propaganda (for European Media to Parrot) Some Time Tomorrow

    EPO and EUIPO in collaboration for the promotion of the notion that they are both necessary (and reinforced speculations about growing overlap between them)

  12. UPC Preparatory Committee Puts the Brakes on UPC Amid Brexit and Growing Uncertainty

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) preparatory committee recognises that the UPC isn't going anywhere (any time soon) and false job advertisements -- or advertisements for jobs that will never exist -- are withdrawn

  13. Updates Regarding EPO and BoAC: Unrest and Injustice Carry on

    Some of the latest information which is publicly and privately available to us, in particular regarding the case of a suspended judge which represents unprecedented erosion of the appeal boards' independence (and hence lack of justice in the Organisation)

  14. EPO and the “Iberian Connection”: Patricia García-Escudero Márquez - Battistelli's Pet Chinchilla on the Boards of Appeal Committee?

    Why the Boards of Appeal Committee has begun showing prominent signs that it is anything but independent and capable of standing up to Battistelli (or his circle at the Office, which includes the “Iberian Connection")

  15. Links 23/10/2016: Alcatel's New Android Smartphones, Another Honorary Doctorate for Stallman

    Links for the day

  16. Open Letter Exposing the Farce Which Was Battistelli's 'Social Conference' Coinciding With Further (New) Attacks on EPO Staff Representatives

    A detailed letter reveals legitimate concerns expressed by staff representatives at the EPO ahead of the so-called Social Conference, in which we have highlighted severe factual flaws

  17. Translation of Latest Rant From French MP Philip Cordery About Benoît Battistelli's Abuses at the EPO

    Philip Cordery crosses horns with Benoît Battistelli, who has become a source of embarrassment for France with his autocratic tendencies and misguided policies that rapidly ruin the European Patent Office (EPO)

  18. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC ‘Study’: Leaked Document Shows PwC's Dishonesty and Misrepresentation of EPO Staff

    An in-depth analysis (but not comprehensive, just preliminary) of the so-called 'study' from PwC, which basically did what it was paid for (pay to say)

  19. Links 22/10/2016: Deus Ex for GNU/Linux, Global DDoS (DNS)

    Links for the day

  20. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC ‘Study’: Survey Comparison Shows Serious Deterioration and Efforts by PwC to Disguise the Truth

    The latest output from PwC turns out to be even worse than initially thought, indicating that not only did it find a degradation in the EPO but also attempted to hide/obscure it

  21. EPO Teaser - The "Iberian Connection" - Some Photos of García-Escudero and His Royal/Government Connections

    A look at the undeniably close connections between Mr. García-Escudero and the most powerful people in Spain

  22. Disruption to Site's Service

    A technical note about why Techrights has not been publishing many articles recently

  23. Links 21/10/2016: MPV 0.21, Mad Max for GNU/Linux

    Links for the day

  24. EPO Caricature: Battistelli's High Five

    Another cartoon about the sad state of the EPO

  25. Battistelli Ruins Not Only the EPO But Also the Whole of Europe By Ushering in Software Patents That Patent Trolls Love So Much

    Battistelli's bad leadership at the EPO threatens to bring to Europe all the ills and menaces of the patent system in the United States

  26. EPO Spokesman Lies to IP Watch in Order to Save Face and Save the King (Battistelli)

    Rewriting history (revisionism) regarding Battistelli and what was demanded amidst abusive behaviour from him

  27. Unitary Patent (UPC) is Dead, But 'Managing IP' and Selfish Patent Law Firms Still Try to Resurrect It

    The latest attempts to shore up the Unitary (or Unified) Patent Court and who's behind it other than the usual suspects

  28. Links 20/10/2016: Linux 4.10 Preview, ONF and ON.Labs to Merge

    Links for the day

  29. Battistelli-Commissioned PwC 'Study': The Raw Outcome Shows Distortion of the Facts at the EPO's Notorious 'Social Conference'

    Results of the Staff Survey carried out by PwC, in order to provide some propaganda for Battistelli's expensive Social Conference

  30. Addendum: EPO's Alberto Casado Cerviño, WIPO's Francis Gurry, and EUIPO's Archambeau

    Photos taken as part of an IP event which took place in Riga (Latvia) in March 2015


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


Recent Posts