Bonum Certa Men Certa

What if Patent Deals Never Covered Linux at All?

Having discussed the Novell and Samsung deals outside this Web site (here for example) and seen Grokalw's comment on the latest press release, I am coming to realise that some people are convinced that Linux is not part of the deals. Let us see if these are misconceptions and perhaps misinterpretations.

Wishful thinking, or reality?



Let us emphasise again that, according to Microsoft and Samsung, UNIX and Linux get some sort of bizarre coverage, in a land where software patents are invalid. To be more specific, "Linux-based products" are the 'intellectual property' conceded in Samsung's case. This does not seem to include the Linux kernel

In Novell's case, a Novell executive said that NetWare products received coverage as well, which means that Linux could altogether be left out. Whether there was such an omission or not, we might never know. Microsoft and Novell provide no specific details whatsoever. It's fear through uncertainty. Novell continues to insists that the deal was not about patents (and it's very confused too), but Steve Ballmer made it clear the deal was primarily about patents. He even directed his threats at Linux, nothing else.

What it all boils down to



Whether we like it or not, everything is very vague. There are more questions than answers and it's neither a coincidence nor a side effect. The fear of the unknown is the worst time of fear. Details about the deal are unknown by design. SCO did the same thing 4 years ago.

While one could cling onto subtle wording in the deals, it remains clear that Linux is being targetted. They try to tell us that it's 'unclean'. Sometimes, Novell is even willing to remind us, on behalf of its new partner. To Novell, it's a selling point.

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