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 Vista 10 Still a Failure, So Focus Shifts to Attacks on GNU/Linux, Android

    Vista 10 adoption is already plateauing (at very low levels considering the zero-cost 'upgrade') and Microsoft is trying to assert or exploit (patent) monopolies where adoption and market growth are extremely high (Free software)



  2. Links 3/9/2015: Xiaomi's Linux Push, Calligra/Krita 2.9.7

    Links for the day



  3. TechBytes Episode 89: Chromebooks, Privacy, and Vista 10

    An episode which focuses on the rise of Chromebooks, serious issues pertaining to privacy, media bias, and the demise of Windows



  4. Links 2/9/2015: Chromebooks and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 Beta

    Links for the day



  5. Software Patent From Troll Called 'Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations' a Symptom of a Rotten Patent System

    Another example of patent trolls and software patents as gatekeepers and parasites, denying access to very trivial ideas or implementations



  6. When Even Patent Lawyers' Blogs Acknowledge the Rapid Demise of Software Patents

    Voices for patents are accepting the new order wherein software patents are hardly potent at all (and increasingly difficult to acquire)



  7. Calling Proprietary Software, Software Patents, Lock-in (Like OOXML) and DRM 'Open'

    What Microsoft et al. call 'Next-Generation Open Media Formats' are basically neither open nor acceptable (it's DRM) and what Microsoft apologists dub 'Open Source Tools' are just another example of a Microsoft Office openwashing Trojan horse



  8. Recycled Old News About Vista 10, Stressing That Not Only '10' is Spyware But All of Windows is

    How Microsoft propagandists are spinning Microsoft's gross and potentially illegal privacy violations as a reason to 'upgrade' to Vista 10



  9. Links 1/9/2015: Manjaro Linux 0.8.13, Netrunner 14.2 LTS

    Links for the day



  10. Patents Roundup: IAM's Claims About India, Lawyers' Patent Bias, ITC for Microsoft, and PTAB Against Kyle Bass

    Another weekly summary, focusing on issues that pertain to or affect Free software in particular



  11. Microsoft Crowd Rocks the Media With Misleading Claims and Deliberate Lies About GNU/Linux, Vista 10, and Free/Open Source Software

    A roundup of rigged press coverage, intended purely to serve Microsoft's agenda



  12. Links 31/8/2015: Linux 4.2, LXLE 14.04.3

    Links for the day



  13. IRC Proceedings: August 9th, 2015 – August 29th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  14. “Conservative” Site Responds (Yet Again) to Misguided “Conservative” Efforts to Derail Patent Reform in the US

    Patent trolls throw stones in glass houses, contributing to their own unpopularity, but some influential “Conservatives” continue to defend (conserve) them



  15. Increase in Lobbying for Software Patents in Europe and Its Trojan Horse, the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The relentless campaigns to bring software patents into Europe have not stopped and so-called 'unification' -- much like so-called 'trade' deals -- serves to support them



  16. Microsoft Technology Crashes Financial Markets, Again

    SunGard, which is a Microsoft shop, is clearly failing to provide what it calls mission-ciriticaal [sic] solutions



  17. Alice v. CLS Bank (Alice/§101) Comes to Squash Software Patents Even in Eastern District of Texas

    The crackdown on software patents is coming along nicely and the Alice case is now being utilised even in the capital of patent trolls



  18. Apple's Patent Cases Against Android Are Falling Apart, as Acknowledged Even by the Anti-Android Lobby





  19. Links 29/8/2015: NetworkManager 1.0.6, Systemd Merges “su” Command Replacement

    Links for the day



  20. Microsoft Loves Linux to Death and Still Tries to Kill GNU/Linux

    Microsoft's relentless attacks on GNU/Linux and Free software in general (even if it runs on Windows) are so evident that claims of 'love' remain laughable at best (if not infuriating)



  21. Censorship, Self-Censorship and Intimidation Now the Modus Operandi at EPO

    The European Patent Office has ceased even trying to pretend that it respects human rights, including the right to free speech



  22. Patent Practitioners: "The Unitary Patent Might be Able to Open the Floodgates for Software Patents in Europe"

    The EPO-backed Unitary Patent scheme threatens to bring software patents to Europe and along with them a lot of patent trolls from all around the world (especially the United States)



  23. Microsoft Lies About Vista 10 and Increases Microsoft Surveillance (Even Beyond Vista 10 and Into Android, Vista 7/8)

    Windows surveillance expands retroactively, making its way into platforms other than Windows and also expanding to predecessors of Vista 10



  24. Another Suicide at the EPO, Fifth by Our Count

    Yet another EPO member of staff has just committed suicide, leading to the inevitable question: how many people need to die before Battistelli and his minions are out of the Office for good?



  25. Links 27/8/2015: ownCloud Desktop Client 2.0, Red Hat Downgraded

    Links for the day



  26. Microsoft-connected Mesosphere Threatens to Eliminate Free Software in the Datacentre

    Hiding behind a misleading 'open' label while actually backed by Microsoft (and based on new rumours may join Microsoft), Mesosphere wishes to eradicate Free and back doors-free software in large datacentres hosting a lot of physical and virtual servers



  27. Microsoft Aggression Against GNU/Linux Amid Vista 10's Failure

    A look at the recent assault on GNU/Linux in Munich and the likely cause for this assault (in such a timely fashion, too)



  28. Message to LinuxCon Regarding Microsoft: “It is Necessary to Get Behind Someone in Order to Stab Them in the Back.” -Sir Humphrey Appleby

    Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, helps Microsoft gain influence in the Foundation after payments are received



  29. Market Share Estimates Confirm That Vista 10 Failed in a Major Way

    Confirmatory evidence that Vista 10 is failing in the market about a month after its much-hyped (paid coverage) release



  30. When Microsoft, the Master of Patent Trolls, Complains About Trolls

    Possibly the world's biggest patent abuser and monopolist, which also creates many patent trolls (including by far the biggest one), takes on a far smaller abuser in Court


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