03.07.08

Quick Mention: Miguel’s Eureka Moment

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 1:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell Vice President slams Novell deal

Have a quick look.

MIX – Novell’s de Icaza criticizes Microsoft patent deal

Open-source pioneer and Novell Vice President Miguel de Icaza Thursday for the first time publicly slammed his company’s cross-patent licensing agreement with Microsoft as he defended himself against lack of patent protection for third parties that distribute his company’s Moonlight project, which ports Microsoft’s Silverlight technology to Linux.

Speaking on a panel at the MIX 08 conference in Las Vegas, de Icaza said that Novell has done the best it could to balance open-source interests with patent indemnification. However, if he had his way, the company would have remained strictly open source and not gotten into bed with Microsoft. Novell entered into a controversial multimillion dollar cross-patent licensing and interoperability deal with Microsoft in November 2006.

“I’m not happy about the fact that such an agreement was made, but [the decision] was above my pay grade; I think we should have stayed with the open-source community,” de Icaza said. He was speaking on a panel that also included representatives from Microsoft and open-source companies Mozilla and Zend.

[...]

De Icaza shot back that it was “unfair” of Schroepfer to paint Novell as the only company protected by patent covenants, as many companies have signed licensing agreements not only with Microsoft, but also with other companies such as IBM that have a large patent portfolio.

[...]

The choice has drawn ire from open-source diehards who were displeased with Novell’s decision to sign a cross-licensing agreement with Microsoft in the first place. A Web site called “Boycott Novell” decried Moonlight as a Microsoft “pet project” and criticized the company’s decision not to port Silverlight to Linux itself.

This article ought to reach other news sites fairly soon.

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17 Comments

  1. Woods said,

    March 7, 2008 at 2:01 am

    Gravatar

    Curious, I didn’t know there have been similar patent deals with IBM (shouldn’t be surprised really, it’s the Big Brother after all…)

    Judging by Mr. de Icaza’s comments, it seems the situation at Novell is somewhat similar to Microsoft. Upper pay grades (nice term) are doing everything they can to lie, cheat and backstab while filling their pockets with ill-gotten gains, whereas the lower pay grades are doing the best they can with what they have.

    Hmh. Sounds like every corporation I’ve ever worked for…

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 7, 2008 at 2:12 am

    Gravatar

    Curious, I didn’t know there have been similar patent deals with IBM

    Sun also. We’re still trying to understand what Dell joining the Novell/Microsoft actually means, in partial terms. Might this explain why Ubuntu from Dell isn’t sufficiently cheap?

    Upper pay grades (nice term) are doing everything they can to lie, cheat and backstab while filling their pockets with ill-gotten gains, whereas the lower pay grades are doing the best they can with what they have.

    Yes, that’s why we slam managers and not developers. We also try to encourage engineers to flee the sellout-type at Novell (arrogant mindset from NetWare-age Novell), finding those who actually think differently.

  3. Woods said,

    March 7, 2008 at 2:27 am

    Gravatar

    >Might this explain why Ubuntu from Dell isn’t sufficiently cheap?

    Might also explain Mr. Shuttleworths lukewarm response about Mono in Ubuntu…(well, it felt lukewarm to me…)

    That just about leaves RedHat with their hands clean (at least they came out and explained why they agreed to let Mono into Fedora:
    http://gregdek.livejournal.com/4008.html )
    Even then, it gave me the willies to see TomBoy as the default, right there in the Gnome-panel (at least with (B)ubuntu you have to add it in manually…)

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 7, 2008 at 3:32 am

    Gravatar

    Do you think it will be safe to assume that Ubuntu is suspect? (I think not) It seems like a step a tad too far. We already have uncertainty about Mandriva, due to Manbo.

    I’d still like to see a more current statement from Red Hat/Fedora. Paul didn’t respond to my/Mark’s E-mail. It means that silence was the choice for the time being.

  5. Woods said,

    March 7, 2008 at 3:42 am

    Gravatar

    >Do you think it will be safe to assume that Ubuntu is suspect? (I think not)

    Definitely not. Business maybe business but even then it takes far more cynicism (and plain paranoia) than at least I’m capable of to start suspecting Ubuntu of shady dealings.

    “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny…” :-)

    All in all, it can be said that the best defense of everyone in the FOSS-camp is open and honest communication (and while I’m at it, I’d like world peace, clean environment with a side order of honest politicians…meh)

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 7, 2008 at 3:55 am

    Gravatar

    > I’d like world peace, clean environment with a side order of
    > honest politicians…meh)

    For that we have Radu blogging (READ: ranting). :-)

  7. Victor Soliz said,

    March 7, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Gravatar

    Might also explain Mr. Shuttleworths lukewarm response about Mono in Ubuntu…(well, it felt lukewarm to me…)

    Not really, it would just have some meaning to MS’ OEM buddy dell.

    Canonical is just being indifferent to the issue. Which is bad, but they are not really actively promoting these things, either way they must figure out about the danger sooner than later, they require user feedback, a single email to Shuttleworth wasn’t enough apparently.

    Can’t do much more than suggesting to vote up this idea: http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/110/ , btw two days ago it had 100 votes, somebody is downvoting it…

  8. CoolGuy said,

    March 7, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Gravatar

    “I’m not happy about the fact that such an agreement was made, but [the decision] was above my pay grade; I think we should have stayed with the open-source community,”

    YAA right, you could have just left novell. Hum…maybe the money was too high for you to say no. Sxll Oxt

    Reminds me of Judas.

    Serves you right. FOSS community has lost all faith in you – there is no way people will ever trust you again.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 7, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Gravatar

    I feel a little bad for him and I think that we should try to help him rather than scold him now that he has openly admitted his mistake. A friend E-mailed me this an hour ago:


    Re: “He was lying all along”

    “Microsoft indemnifies Novell Moonlight users”

    I don’t think so, he was just duped by billg. What’s that quote ‘there isn’t anything we won’t say to get the contract’. You shouldn’t knock de Icaza in public, he’s still on the side of the angels, even if he helped create Microsoft DOT.Mono. What you should do is offer constructive ‘advice’.


    I think he’s right. Another friend of mine, who happens to be in good terms with de Icaza told me with confidence that Miguel intends only to do good for FOSS. He just fell into the wrong hands and got (mis)used. There was an interesting memo from Comes vs Microsoft (Iowa) at the time which I showed Miguel last week. It’s about Microsoft calling third-party developers “pawns” and “a one-night stand”. They used him.

    So, let’s try to help more and divide a little less. Many people would welcome the old Miguel, who is very talented, no doubt.

  10. CoolGuy said,

    March 7, 2008 at 11:16 am

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    Just words wont work. He/Novell *has* to show it in action.

    1. stop spewing the mono crap in gnome. put those efforts behind vala or any open source language (python/ruby/etc)

    2. leave novell or stop the novell flirting with m$. remove all those m$ propoganda from their website and stop supporting ooxml and other patented crap.

    *Unless* these things happen there is no trust left.

    Maybe this is just another decoy. They must be again flirting with FOSS to give them in the hands of m$.

  11. CoolGuy said,

    March 7, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Gravatar

    Or maybe they will just go with the money changer.

    The clear defeat of m$ at ooxml must have them thinking that they would have been better off not supporting it.

    *IF* ooxml had won they would still be in bed with m$ touting how much better ooxml was all over the place.

    Just a bunch of money changers. Go where the dollars are…

  12. CoolGuy said,

    March 7, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Gravatar

    One of those people who will side with the winning team.

  13. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 7, 2008 at 11:28 am

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    What if we made a list of suggestions to Miguel and posted this as an open letter?

    Remember: we’re not trying to hurt people but to constructively work to make things better (for them and for the triumph of Free software).

    So fine. Miguel has come to a phase where he makes an open admission that there is a problem. Indeed, as you suggested, the next question to approach is: what will he do about it?

    Novell has a contract and it’s unlikely to change. If people can be pulled out of Novell and the talent then rechanneled, FOSS accomplishes something. A lot of Samba, for example, left Novell fairly quickly and they do fine work at the moment.

  14. CoolGuy said,

    March 7, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Gravatar

    ya that sound good. if he is willing to join foss in its true spirit we can make some reasonable demands. although there is no need for him to do that – but it will show that he really means what he says.

  15. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 7, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Gravatar

    I’m just waiting to see Novell’s response to what he said about the deal with Microsoft.

  16. Logan said,

    March 7, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Gravatar

    “I’m not happy about the fact that such an agreement was made, but [the decision] was above my pay grade; I think we should have stayed with the open-source community,”

    So why didn’t he stood with the community. Should we forget that he support the agreement back then, and ever since? Why didn’t he leave the company like that guy from Samba?

    Please, Mr. Miguel de Icaza we are all fed up with your irresponsibility.

    “However, if he had his way, the company would have remained strictly open source and not gotten into bed with Microsoft.”

    So why did he since defended his company mixed source strategy, and open source must have proprietary parts for commercial purposes. Again contradictions. He is just trying to save face. It’s pathetic!

    “De Icaza shot back that it was “unfair” of Schroepfer to paint Novell as the only company protected by patent covenants, as many companies have signed licensing agreements not only with Microsoft, but also with other companies such as IBM that have a large patent portfolio.”

    The Cry Baby! Provide some proof will you! You and your company didn’t even admit that it was a patent agreement!

    Go on, provides us with a list of this companies and this covenants. Pathetic!

    Trying to get rid of the responsibility for what they have done. “It wasn’t us, really, it was that big bad black wolf. Really. We innocent.”

    Or: “We just did it because others did it to.”

    It’s truly pathetic. Lack of responsibility. Lack of integrity. lack of ethics.

    That surely defines a person.

  17. spartan2276 said,

    May 29, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Gravatar

    I think he needs to get a job at microsofty and leave the FOSS community alone for good, Roy says the community should try to give him a chance and that we all make mistakes, I don’t think so the guy is clearly playing the victim card. It is a nice try but do we really want people like this in the FOSS community?

    The guy has no sense of honesty nor does he care; To me it seems like he just wants to make that money. I say let him be and do not include him or ask him to work on any other FOSS projects do not support him because he will do it again, it’s kinda like a cheating wife, once it is done it will most likely be done again, sad but true!

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