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

05.02.11

What Happens to OpenSUSE and Novell’s Software Patents Now?

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 6:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

RIP, Novell (April 2011)

Novell's CEO and Ballmer

“I’m going to f—ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to f—ing kill Google.” –Steve Ballmer [quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald]

Summary: How Novell died (news summary) and what it means to its main open source project which it acquired almost a decade ago; a look at what happens to Novell’s patents

NOVELL as a company is technically no more. Despite Novell acting as though it controls its future, the company is now in unregulated private hands [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] and Microsoft helped that happen for its own selfish interests.

Here are some official documents with “Hovsepian Ronald W” and “Russell Dana C” on them. The deal is done and it is irreversible. There are those in Novell who think that everything will be fine, but AttachMSFT’s boss only mentions parts of Novell’s offerings, not all of them. He says there is little overlap and we believe that just like Oracle cut Sun into slices, AttachMSFT will abandon some of Novell’s portfolio (along with staff, naturally). As we have shown repeatedly, there is no apparent commitment to OpenSUSE, just to “SUSE”. And what is OpenSUSE really? It’s a package manager like YaST2, an installer, and few other bits that cannot be found in other distributions of GNU/Linux. But really, there is hardly a distinguisher in OpenSUSE and not even profit. Novell did try to buy itself an “open” image, whereas AttachMSFT has none of these aspirations and it has not expressed interest in acquiring such a reputation. Based on some newly-published download numbers, the OpenSUSE 11.3 release had just over 50,000 downloads in the first day (after the release). The numbers were better for the 11.4 release, but probably not enough to compel or rationalise a massive commitment to OpenSUSE (it was different before the Microsoft deal, back when Novell still advertised “Linux”, as shown in this newly-uploaded video). Here are some bits of YaST news from the OpenSUSE Web site (it mostly has summaries like this one, not many original stories anymore): “With the release of GNOME3 I would assume that people are interested in seeing how YaST2 (suggestion: rename it to YaST3 !!) is going to take form with GTK3. Of course this means eventually writing another application in GTK3, hopefully different from the old gnome-control-panel ‘style’ which was actually pretty confusion from the user point of view as it was far too close to gnome-control-center, thus confusing new comers.”

It is our long held belief that AttachMSFT will not stay committed to OpenSUSE and in order for YaST to survive, OpenSUSE might need to be forked. The bylaws situation is not acceptable as the legalese experts explained some months back [1, 2]. Surely enough, Novell staff does not want to listen to them. The OpenSUSE community manager berates Groklaw (the messenger) rather than listen to the message. There is a sense of denial there. According to any new blog post, article and analysis we can find these days, AttachMSFT is focused on SUSE, not OpenSUSE. To quote one:

I’m currently researching and writing about the changing Linux and operating system landscape, which is being impacted by cloud computing, additional competitors and devops, as well as the ongoing impact of unpaid, community Linux distributions such as CentOS and Ubuntu.

Another one of the changes underway is what’s happening with SUSE Linux, largely considered the second-leading enterprise distribution behind Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which has undergone some uncertainty thanks to the Attachmate deal to purchase the distribution and separate it from Novell.

Novell too only really cared about paying customers of SUSE and high-priced mainframes [1, 2]. The press releases from Novell refer to it accordingly [1, 2, 3, 4], hardly even mentioning the “L” word. Needless to say, SUSE is a Microsoft cash cow. Microsoft gets paid when one chooses SLE*. So why would anyone choose it? According to this new article, “Opsview, has been tweaked with a 3.12 release. With the update, the Opsview monitoring server can now run on Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11.” Why would anyone choose to pay Microsoft to run Free software like Nagios? Novell keeps trying to offer proprietary bolt-ons as a way to sell SLE*, e.g. PlateSpin which it keeps promoting online, still [1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Red Hat, unlike Novel, offers Free software for such jobs.

So anyway, what role has Microsoft played in this whole thing? If one asks Microsoft brigadiers like Maureen O’Gara, then there is one version of the story, whereas Muktware puts it more bluntly with headlines like “Novell Patents Sold To Microsoft & Party”:

Novell also announced that immediately prior to the completion of its merger with Attachmate Corporation, it had completed its previously announced sale of certain identified issued patents and patent applications to CPTN Holdings LLC for $450 million in cash.

“Microsoft will not be able to keep patents it proposed to buy from Novell under an agreement with the US Department of Justice,” says this report about news which we covered before. It is further validated here although articles speak of mere limitation, not prohibition of the sale [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. Some of the reported are mutually contradictory, but the gist of it is that Novell still spreads its patents to Linux foes [1, 2], and that is a real shame. Novell does not deserve business.

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

2 Comments

  1. The Mad Hatter said,

    May 2, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Gravatar

    Agreed. Fork it, and fork it now. There’s some valuable stuff in OpenSuse, and we need to kept in community hands.

    I’ll be covering the details in an opinion post later.

    Wayne

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    That would be good, thank you.

What Else is New


  1. Microsoft's and Bill Gates' Biggest Patent Troll (Intellectual Ventures) Suffers Setback and Nokia is Dead While Patents Scattered to Microsoft Patent Proxies

    Microsoft's patent collectors (trolls) are to have a feast with Nokia patents while Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft's largest patent proxy, continues to attack companies including Motorola



  2. Patent Racketeering Continues With Nadella: Motorola the Latest to Join the FUD Campaign

    Nadella continues Ballmer's campaign of intimidation and alienation, showing that nothing has changed at Microsoft, not even the FUD



  3. Links 23/4/2014: GNOME Maps Application, LG in Headlines

    Links for the day



  4. Links 22/4/2014: More GNU/Linux Gains, Syria Updates

    Links for the day



  5. Links 21/4/2014: New Games for GNU/Linux, Some NatSec Politics

    Links for the day



  6. Site Focus for The Remainder of the Year

    What we plan for the rest of 2014 and why



  7. Links 20/4/2014: EFF FOSS, Easter Drone Strikes, Copyright Industry Fear of Google

    Links for the day



  8. Links 19/4/2014: Slow Easter News Day

    Links for the day



  9. Links 18/4/2014: New KDE, Kubuntu, and More

    Links for the day



  10. Some Perspective on Heartbleed®

    Our views on the whole Heartbleed® bonanza, which seems like partly a PR stunt (for multiple stakeholders)



  11. Microsoft is Leaving Windows -- Including Vista 8.1 -- Vulnerable to Non-Government Crackers, Not Only to NSA

    Microsoft makes it ever more evident that securing users of Windows is not at all a priority, and perhaps not even a desire



  12. Links 17/4/2014: Android RDP, New Ubuntu, RHEL 7 Milestone

    Links for the day



  13. Racing to 1984: Mass Surveillance, Cracking, 'Targeted' Assassinations, and Illegal Torture

    Links for the day



  14. More Microsoft Subsidies to Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures

    Microsoft hands money to Bill Gates' close friend who is the world's largest patent troll



  15. Aiding Microsoft Under the Disguise of 'Pro-FOSS'

    Not everything which is FOSS necessary becomes, by virtue of existence, a positive contribution, as we are constantly reminded by projects that help proprietary software and/or restrictions get a strong grip on FOSS



  16. Links 16/4/2014: Red Hat PR, Ubuntu LTS Imminent

    Links for the day



  17. Links 15/4/2014: Lots of PCLinuxOS Releases, Ukraine Updates

    Links for the day



  18. Apple and Microsoft Actively Lobbying Against Patent Reform in the US

    Apple and Microsoft are reportedly intervening/interfering with US law in order to ensure that the law is Free/libre software-hostile



  19. Lawsuit by Microsoft Shareholder Targets Fine for Crimes Rather Than the Crimes Themselves

    A new lawsuit by a Microsoft shareholder shows everything that's wrong with today's model of accountability, where those who are responsible for crimes are accused of not avoiding fines rather than committing the crimes



  20. Public Institutions Must Dump PRISM-Associated Software

    Another reminder that taxpayers-subsidised services should refuse, as a matter of principle, to pay anything for -- let alone deploy -- proprietary software with back doors



  21. GNU/Linux News: The Opportunities Amid XP EOL

    Links for the day



  22. Microsoft Gets Its Money's Worth From Xamarin: PlayStation 4 Now Polluted by Microsoft

    The Trojan horse of Microsoft, Xamarin, is pushing .NET into Microsoft's console competitor



  23. After Brendan Eich Comes Chris Beard

    Having removed Brendan Eich using bullying and blackmail tactics, his foes inside Mozilla achieved too little as we have yet another man (coming from inside Mozilla) acting as CEO



  24. Healthcare News: Free Software in Health, Humanitarian Causes

    Links for the day



  25. Links 14/4/2014: MakuluLinux, Many Games, More Privacy News and Pulitzer Prize for NSA Revelations

    Links for the day



  26. TechBytes Episode 87: Catching up With Surveillance (NSA, GCHQ et al.)

    The first audio episode in a very long time covers some of the latest happenings when it comes to privacy and, contrariwise, mass surveillance



  27. Server News: KVM, ElasticHosts, Other GNU/Linux Items, and Open Network Linux

    Links for the day



  28. Hardware News: Freedom, Modding, Hackability on the Rise

    Links for the day



  29. Distributions News: GNU/Linux Distros

    Links for the day



  30. GNOME News: Financial Issues, Mutter-Wayland, West Coast Summit, Community Participation

    Links for the day


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