06.04.10

Novell is Knowingly Seeding GNU/Linux, MeeGo and Android With Microsoft Patents

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 11:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

More Interop

Summary: Another look at the negative effects of Novell not only on GNU/Linux desktops but also phones and tablets running Linux, the kernel

Whatever Novell is up to at the moment involves a good (or bad) deal of Mono. Pinta [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] is just one example of this trend as it continues to be developed while the SD Times, which promotes .NET and Mono quite regularly (even shamelessly) and gets named for it, is giving Mono the lip service Novell craves so much (rebuttal here). According to the comments in Linux Today, people do not welcome the Mono applications that Novell has been busy putting inside MeeGo [1, 2, 3]. SUSE MeeGo is expected within a year, but it is not clear what will happen to SUSE when Novell goes to auction. Perhaps it will be sold as a separate asset.

Novell have today announced their intention to release SUSE MeeGo as a fully supported netbook operating system. Novell expects their new OS, which is built on the codestream from the MeeGO Project established by a collaboration between Intel and Nokia, to be pre-installed on a wide variety of devices from OEMS in the next twelve months.

[...]

As you may be aware, SUSE MeeGo actually builds on an already longstanding relationship between Novell and Intel, which initially encouraged OEMs and ODMs to adopt Moblin. That initial effort was met with reasonable success with partners including Samsung and MSI having already shipped netbooks and other mobile devices with Moblin on board. Here’s hoping they can go even further with MeeGo, a project we at Linux User & Developer have high hopes for during the next round of technology and design refreshes.

Samsung is mentioned there too. More on SUSE MeeGo (somewhat negative):

Even so, a bum note sounds when you start to bolt onto that open source, free software model a commercially developed version of Linux for netbooks. The thought was prompted by the arrival of a press release this morning from Novell, announcing that:
“it will release SUSE(R) MeeGo as a fully supported operating system for netbooks.”

Novell carries on: “SUSE MeeGo is built on the codestream from the MeeGo Project, the new Linux-based operating system established by Intel and Nokia”.

As The Register points out, Novell was also working closely with Moblin.

Novell will put MeeGo on top of SUSE Linux, and push it out to notebook and netbook manufacturers as an alternative to desktop operating systems, just as it did with Moblin. So not a radical change, really.

More new coverage of SUSE MeeGo can be found in:

Here is an interview with Novell’s Markus Rex. He has just told the Asian press about Mono software in MeeGo (he calls that “.NET applications”):

Novell also has an initiative called Mono, which allows developers to run .NET applications on Linux and the iPhone. Mono is also included in MeeGo so developers can create .NET applications for MeeGo in a seamless fashion.

Isn’t that just wonderful? Now we can all use .NET even on GNU/Linux. And Microsoft wants to claim a share of the money earned (MeeGo includes Banshee, which falls outside the MCP).

Microsoft/Novell may be trying to get a grip on MeeGo. One can ignore or actually do something about it. Groklaw has raised this MeeGo issue, but it didn’t do enough to counter this. The last time it tried, Mono bullies attacked Groklaw [1, 2]. Shooting the messenger much?

A year ago we wrote about Novell moving some of is SUSE workforce to Taiwan and today we see this materialising [1, 2].

US-based Novell on June 1 announced it will offer Suse MeeGo specifically for use in netbooks and other types of mobile devices and will establish an OpenLabs in Taiwan to cooperate with local makers to promote MeeGo and provide related R&D support.

Taiwan offshoring. June 1st. Also in the news on almost the very same day:

Here is the press release and BusinessWeek coverage that mentions patents.

Microsoft, which has worked with Taiwanese companies for 20-years, will license patents from its technology portfolio and share its software expertise with companies, academia and research institutes in Taiwan to develop connected devices and cloud data centers, the company said in a statement.

Taiwan is the home of HTC, which Microsoft recently extorted with no disclosure of actual patents. BusinessWeek has another interesting new article:

Manufacturers whose phones are powered by Google’s (GOOG) Android software have been hit hard by patent battles. (Google itself has not been sued.) Android handsets accounted for 28 percent of U.S. smartphone sales in the first quarter, vs. Apple’s 21 percent, according to NPD Group. Apple has filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission, saying several HTC Android phones infringe on its patents. It is also suing HTC in federal court in Delaware. Both companies declined to comment.

Licensing fees now represent less than 10 percent of smartphones’ production costs. Yet one Android handset maker has already budgeted for its patent royalty payments to double next year, says an executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity. One beneficiary may be Microsoft, which has blanketed the industry with letters demanding royalties for technologies such as touchscreen menus.

This suggests that Microsoft used “touchscreen menus” as one of the patents. Does that apply to HTC?

Earlier on we also mentioned Tuxera, which currently helps Microsoft tax both Android and Linux, according to a new press release. There are mostly negative comments regarding this press release which we mentioned the other day.

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