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. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Gradually Champions Patent Quality, in a Spectacular Reversal on Its Past Ways

    Some of the latest actions and decisions from the Federal Circuit, which originally brought software patents to the United States and is now taking them away, gradually



  2. The Mohawk-PTAB Fiasco Threatens the Tribe's Reputation More Than It Threatens PTAB

    In an effort to dodge scrutiny from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), Allergan Plc offloaded a lot of negative publicity onto the Mohawk people, owing primarily to the Mowhawk Tribe's general counsel, Dale White



  3. Latest EPO Rumours Allege That Benoît Battistelli Rigged the Process of EPO President's Selection

    António Campinos is quite likely the next EPO President, as insiders suspect that many applications for the job got rejected politically



  4. Links 23/9/2017: Mesa 17.1.10 RC, Samba 4.7.0, KStars 2.8.4

    Links for the day



  5. Courts Are Losing Patience for Gilstrap's Unbridled Support of Patent Trolls

    The man whose court has become a trolling ‘factory’ is being refuted (but not reprimanded) by the CAFC, which certainly can see that something is amiss and serves to discredit the system as a whole



  6. Intellectual Ventures, GNU/Linux/Android/FOSS Patents, and the Ascent of European Patent Trolls

    The existing status of GNU/Linux in a world full of patent trolls, which not only target OEMs from Asia -- typically in the US -- but are also dragging them into Europe, aided by the EPO's 'patent bubble'



  7. Shelston IP Blames “Well-Organised and Appropriately-Connected Open Source Lobby” for Ban on Software Patents

    The activism is working and foes of programmers are feeling the pressure, for software patents are being more explicitly banned in some countries



  8. The EPO's Latest Lies About the UPC and SMEs Unraveled, Long-Term Plan Described as Daunting

    The vision of Battistelli and the latest lies (about SMEs) are being criticised anonymously -- for fear of retaliation -- as Europe braces for impact with patent trolls from all around the world



  9. In an Effort to Push the Unitary Patent (UPC), EPO and the Liar in Chief Spread the Famous Lie About SMEs

    The EPO wants people to hear just a bunch of lies rather than the simple truth, courtesy of the people whom the EPO proclaims it represents



  10. Links 21/9/2017: Red Hat's Open Source Patent Promise; Qt 5.6.3, Kali Linux 2017.2 Release

    Links for the day



  11. East Asia's Patent Peril and the Curse of Patent Trolls

    The high cost of China's new obsession with patents and the never-ending saga of Samsung (Korea), which gets dragged into courts not only in the US but also in China



  12. USPTO Starts Discriminating Against Poor People, and Does So Even When They Rightly Point Out Errors

    Even though the burden of proof ought to be on one who grants a monopoly, the legal costs are being offloaded onto those who challenge an erroneously-granted monopoly (even if the court sides with the challenger)



  13. Ambrose Chan Enters Document Security Systems (DSS), a Partly Patent Troll Entity

    The Board of Directors of DSS enlists a man from Singapore, whose lack of technical background suggests that the company is still more of a bully than an innovator



  14. UPC Threatens to Weaponise Software Patents in Countries That Forbade These

    The reality of software patents in Europe and what a Unified Patent Court (UPC) would mean for these if it ever became a reality



  15. The Latest Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC) and CIPO's Participation in Those

    Team UPC continues to overplay its chances, conveniently ignoring simple facts as well as the Rule of Law



  16. The Patents Policy of Facebook is Causing an Exodus

    Yet another major player walks away from Facebook's code because of software patents



  17. Links 20/9/2017: Wine Staging 2.17, Randa 2017, Redox OS 0.3.3

    Links for the day



  18. When Google Used Alex Converse to Raid the Public Domain With Software Patents

    In its overzealous pursuit of software patents, Google is now turning public domain methods into private 'property' (in defiance of critics)



  19. Mark Kokes, the Man Behind BlackBerry's Patent Aggression, Leaves the Company

    The man behind the patent troll-like behaviour of BlackBerry is leaving



  20. WordPress Demonstrates That Facebook's Patent Strategy is Deterring/Alienating Developers

    React is being dumped following Facebook's attempt to restrict distribution/derivatives using software patents



  21. Links 19/9/2017: Pipewire, Mir Support for Wayland, DRM in W3C

    Links for the day



  22. Links 18/9/2017: Linux 4.14 RC1, Mesa 17.2.1, and GNOME 3.26 on Ubuntu Artful

    Links for the day



  23. Patent Trolls Update: Eolas, Conversant (MOSAID), Leigh Rothschild, and Electronic Communication Technologies

    Patent trolls are still being watched -- as they ought to be -- even though some of them shy away, hide from the media, engage in dirty tricks, and file more lawsuits



  24. Microsoft is Promoting Software Patents in India in Another Effort to Undermine Free/Open Source Software, Microsoft-Connected Trolls Are Still Suing

    The ongoing patent threat to Free/libre Open Source software (FLOSS) and the role played by Microsoft in at least much of this threat



  25. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Under Attack by IBM and Other Patent Parasites Who Undermine Patent Quality

    The PTAB, which has thus far invalidated thousands of abstract/software patents, is under a coordinated attack not by those who produce things but those who produce a lot of lawsuit



  26. Why the Mohawk Tribe Should Fire Its Lawyers and Dump the Patents Which Now Tarnish Its Name

    In order to dodge the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) with its Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs), the Mohawk tribe is being exploited -- very much in direct detriment to its reputation and status



  27. Amazon and Google Have Both Become Part of the Software Patents Problem

    The transition from so-called 'defensive' patents to offensive patents (ones that are used to suppress competition) as seen in Amazon and in Google, which is already suing rivals and is pursuing additional patents by acquisition



  28. Unless Physical, Inventions Are No Longer Patent-Eligible in US Courts, But USPTO Ignores Precedence

    Even though the ability to enforce software patents against a rival (or many targets, especially in the case of patent trolls) is vastly diminished, the US patent office continues to grant these



  29. Citing the European Patent Convention, Spanish Court Tosses Lawsuit With EPO-Granted European Patent

    The quality of European Patents (EPs) -- a subject of growing levels of scrutiny -- as demonstrated in Barcelona this summer



  30. Links 16/9/2017: More of “Public Money, Public Code”, Equifax Failed to Patch for Months

    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