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Novell Rejected by One Blogger (and Ex-Novellist) While We Get Dismissed by Another (Updated)

Posted in Boycott Novell, Novell, SCO at 10:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell Snubbed

Matt Asay (of Alfresco) outlines Red Hat’s business model. If you look carefully at the comments, you’ll discover that Novell is being snubbed by Matt, who is also a former Novell employee. Mind the comments from Justin Steinman. It’s rather telling, and it’s even blunt.

Paul Murphy Thinks Groklaw and BoycottNovell Are a Waste of Time

Have a look at this moot point.

If wishes were fishes groklaw’s anti-SCO crusade would have led to the death penalty being imposed on McBride et al by now, slashdot’s deliberate exclusion of roughly half the political opinion in the United States would not be contributing to growth at Digg, and Steve Jobs wouldn’t have come to deeply regret his Intel decision – but wishes aren’t fishes, and activist responses like these or the recent attempt to read [rid?] Novell out of the Linux community for daring to sign a patent cross licensing agreement with Microsoft aren’t helpful to anyone’s cause.

I believe that groklaw has been extremely effective when it comes to getting the truth heard. In fact, SCO has turned from a company with great promise into a laughing stock. Even the stock market is due to give it the boot. No wonder Murphy is bl[a|o]cklisted in Groklaw.net (he is claimed to have ‘trolled’ for an audience). To be fair, Murphy gave me some credit the other day, saying that I had hit the nail on the head. I wish he realised that our site has been very effective and, to date, served almost a million Web pages.

Update: As I look closely at the comments which were added to Murphy’s latest items, he is being refuted quite aggressively. So, it isn’t just my own assessment then.

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  1. Francis Giannaros said,

    May 13, 2007 at 5:20 am


    No, the problem is, as you can see, that these sites get too enthralled in their hatred of thing X that they just become seen as speculative FUD-spreading machines (this is a quote, in fact, from a few people on /. ironically), abandoning reason and any rationality. Things generally go one of two ways with news, consequently:
    (i) “This place is reporting something negative about thing X, hence they must be right and it’s the worst thing ever, and let’s publicize this!!”
    (ii) “There’s some completely unrelated change in company X, let’s speculate that it could be some impossibility that aids our course!!”

    (i) is exactly what happened with the freetype, OO.o etc nonsense, and (ii) is exactly what has happened with practically every single Novell employee departure, or any general decision in Novell. If there’s one thing that people look highly upon it’s veracity, and the lack of it is always undesirable. Then again, I do see specific sites as this (particularly with this name) as a little childish, but like I said, if people feel they really need to fight for a cause like _this_ then heck.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 13, 2007 at 5:56 am


    Companies have PR to serve as a wall. Without cautious speculation (and we explicitly say when something is merely an hypothesis), one can never get past PR. :-)

    Our site cited another in your example of case (i). The reader was able to reach his/her own conclusions based on the sources. As for OO.o, the closer you look at it (and the more you find out), the truer the apocalypse becomes. In fact, Novell’s recent admission that its FAQ (denying IP) was pretty much a farce confirmed our suspicion.

    As for case (ii), see Dana’s comments on the matter. For all we know, prominent people depart. These are people who work on Linux, which is (or shall we say “was”) intended to be Novell’s future.

  3. shane said,

    May 13, 2007 at 8:36 am


    If there’s one thing that people look highly upon it’s veracity, and the lack of it is always undesirable.

    Which is why Novell has suffered almost irreparable damage to their position in the ‘community’ – they haven’t told more than a half-truth in months, and don’t seem to be willing to come clean any time soon…

    We shoot from the lip here, sometimes we miss (usually not by much, often our ‘speculations’ ring true a month or two later), but ‘veracity’ as you put it is very much on our minds – we retract and eat crow here whenever appropriate.

    So, anytime Novell decides to comes clean about exactly they have agreed to, and which open source software shipped under the agreement Novell agreed to pay patent royalties to Microsoft on and why, then, explain what “ip” was needed to be licensed to achieve interoperability with Windows (Samba was doing a pretty decent job without being tainted by looking at MS code), and cease to FUD Linux since they are in the unique position to benefit from it, then this ‘childish’ site will fade away.

    I have a feeling we’ll outlast Novell (as it’s currently owned anyhow).

  4. Francis Giannaros said,

    May 13, 2007 at 12:50 pm


    Remember that it is very easy to get caught up in whatever one thinks the “Linux community” is. It’s an abstract concept, and if you are going to define it to be the users that post on Slashdot then you’re confining yourself to an insanely small minority of Linux users, or those who are “really” in the community. There is a very large difference between a very vocal online community, and an actual community, though people also ignore the fact that Novell is a very big part of this Linux community. As I’ve said before, KDE and GNOME are nice comparisons, once you realise that Novell have more developers working on those two projects than anyone else, though the Linux kernel and OO.o are other prominent examples.

    Unfortunately there are just way, way too many examples in the ‘vocal’ online community of people having only read some negative headline, and not really knowing what happened.

    Not entirely sure what you’re expecting from Novell, but the IP argument seems to run like:

    Novell: absolutely no money is being paid for Linux infringing on MS’s patents
    Microsoft: yes, we can verify that this was never part of the agreement; Boy.com: We maintain that they are

    Any _hard_ evidence?


    I’ve also just read your “why boycott?”, in particular:

    Do not Buy, Use, Host or Recommend Novell or SUSE products or services.

    Why do you specifically mention that people should boycott SUSE products? This is quite sad, to be honest, since you’re targetting openSUSE as well. openSUSE is a distribution with community participants working together to make a wonderful Linux distribution. It is sponsored by Novell.

    Should all Novell-sponsored things be boycotted? It would be impossible for anyone to use Linux if that was the case. What exactly is your reasoning here?

  5. b3timmons said,

    May 13, 2007 at 12:58 pm


    Then again, I do see specific sites as this (particularly with this name) as a little childish, but like I said, if people feel they really need to fight for a cause like _this_ then heck.

    Nonsense. Boycotting is a perfectly reasonable and legitimate strategy to effect change. If you consider a company that sabotages the most important free software license to be bad, then boycotting the firm to draw attention to this issue is perfectly justified. What;s childish about it?

    Hatred can be as admirable as love. E.g., I can love free software and integrity and hate nonfree software and corruption.

  6. Francis Giannaros said,

    May 13, 2007 at 5:27 pm



    I never said there was anything wrong with boycotting in theory, but there is certainly something wrong with it when it is aimed into the wrong areas (and hence innocent parties), such as openSUSE.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 13, 2007 at 6:24 pm


    Francis, “boycott” is a strong word. In some very old discussions on this Web site we explained the the name of the site (and domain) should have been something like “dropthepatentnonesense”. We have nothing against interoperability that is based on open APIs.

    As for pressuring a company, this was the reason Novell published a FAQ, which last week it refuted (admitting that patents were indeed part of the deal, even in Novell’s eyes). As long as Novell abuses Free software for its own benefit (a Novell VP admitted that Novell’s deal was selfish), we need to speak with our wallets, or at least retract our support. I know I did.

  8. shane said,

    May 13, 2007 at 7:33 pm


    I also authored this one.

    Please, read the MS covenant that Novell accepted on the behalf of OpenSUSE contributors and Novell customers, it goes against the GPL by limiting the rights that you may pass on with the code and also imposes additional restrictions on distribution by making a distinction between commercial and hobbyist contributions, as I see it, by continuing to support Novell you are aiding MS’ attempt to proprietize free software and circumvent the GPL.

  9. Francis Giannaros said,

    May 14, 2007 at 3:10 am


    No, you haven’t answered the question at all. You made a very bold statement about Novell paying Microsoft for patent royalties. Microsoft and Novell both completely deny that this was an original part of the agreement. Your bold claim remains as-yet unsubstantiated.

    While I have read the agreement, it appears that you haven’t looked into Novell’s open letter to the community which of course addresses your fears about patent royalties.

    Please, please don’t bring up the GPL issue. It runs like this:
    (i) but it’s incompatible with the GPL v2!
    (ii) RMS and FSF say there’s absolutely no GPL v2 violation
    (iii) ok, but it undercuts the ‘true’ spirit of the GPL v2

    This is the no true Scotsman fallacy; I’m sorry, but if you want to play the legal game, you have to play by the rules. We can continuously dream up of speculations on what the GPL really means, but that is silly; what’s clear is what is explicitly stated, and that is not.

    GPLv3? Come back when it’s published or show me a draft (so far, all of which don’t prohibit Novell in any way), though it’s still interesting to see the results of your poll 8)

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