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Does OpenSUSE Board Member Shelter Microsoft’s Patents?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patents at 8:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lobbying the wrong way

IS the Bilski ruling considered good news or bad news to Novell? Probably a bit of both.

Software patents may be dying, but much like the USPTO, there’s refusal to acknowledge such a thing at Novell. We have not found a formal response or statement from Novell (yet), but one of the key people (the most voted for) in OpenSUSE is not exactly optimistic.

I wouldn’t conclude to Shantanu’s “Microsoft Has A Problem: Software Patents Go Up In Smoke” for several reasons:

  1. software patents aren’t gone yet, not by any means, but the Bilski decision seems to at least discard the most ridiculous and invasive ones
  2. we still have to see how that court decision translates into what the USPTO will grant as patents or not, as the fact that a patent should be granted or not doesn’t really relate to what patent offices actually grant (just think of what the EPO has been doing for years)

Steve Ballmer rides SUSEWhether intended or not, Pascal gives ammunition to those who will object to generalising the decision and fighting software patents.

While Pascal is right about some things, he ought to understand that patent lawyers will attack the decision and software patents are good for Novell, which keeps pursuing them.

Novell is using patents as a competitive tool to capture markets at the expense of companies like Red Hat and markets which require compatibility with Microsoft.

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  1. Chris said,

    November 3, 2008 at 3:04 pm


    1. I totally fail to see where / how he gives “ammunition to those who will object to generalising the decision and fighting software patents” or “shelter[s] Microsoft’s Patents”.

    2. For sure only Microsoft and bad bad Novell ™ acquire patents while IBM, RedHat, Sun, … don’t … NOT.

    3. OT: I get really tired of having to copy & paste the source url from the html source. Please make those cite references clickable or at least let me select the text if you don’t want to link (I’m using FireFox 2).

    So, once again, you make a false accusation and pervert the truth by telling only one side of the story. Congrats Roy, that’s what we are used to …

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 3, 2008 at 3:15 pm


    All the quoted text has a hard link prior to it. By the way, who said Sun and IBM are any different? I criticise them too. In fact, I sent E-mails to some IBM employees today asking them to fight software patents too (not just BM patents). I got replies. I had correspondences with Sun also… and MySQL.

  3. Jeremy said,

    November 3, 2008 at 3:48 pm


    Was their response “oh, yes, Roy, we’ll stop filing for patents right away”? I highly doubt it.

    Have you sent off any emails to Red Hat? They’ll laugh in your face too.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 3, 2008 at 3:52 pm


    Was their response “oh, yes, Roy, we’ll stop filing for patents right away”? I highly doubt it.

    Many things are taken into consideration, including input. IBM released some of its patents and ‘gave them away’ last year.. to the Free software community.

    Have you sent off any emails to Red Hat? They’ll laugh in your face too.

    Red Hat put its patents in OIN *AND*, unlike Novell, it didn’t use them to back-stab other GNU/Linux vendors, using a deal with Microsoft.

  5. freewill said,

    November 3, 2008 at 5:36 pm


    In short, “YES, Red Hat file patents and give them to OIN just like Novell but they don’t have an arrangement with M$, so that’s A-OK”?!?!

  6. Sebastiaan Veld said,

    November 5, 2008 at 5:21 am


    The problem is that Roy seems to fail to see the bigger picture. Tough the promotes to boycott Novell and others publicly, he on the other side does not take parts out of Linux and other OS software that (for example) Novell has worked on, cause that’s in his works not ‘practical’.

    So, for the -exact- same reason Novell/IBS/SUN/RedHat/other do still file new software patents, but on the other side do work actively to try to change the patent system itself. Not fileing patents with the system in mind we have today is just a matter of not being practical…

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 5, 2008 at 5:50 am



    I see that your career is based around Novell solutions. Do you not think that it would be better for Novell to play along with other GNU/Linux vendors, as opposed to working against them using patents? I want to at least understand your views on the deal.

    Novell harmed everyone, including itself (long-term).

  8. Apogee said,

    November 5, 2008 at 6:09 am


    why people are talking about Software Patent in OpenSuse? If your country accept Software Patent so the problem is your country…

    I am living in Brazil and here software patent is not valid, so M$ cant do anything if I am using there patents.. we have the same scenario in some countries from EU..

    so if people dont live in a Democracy country what they expect?

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 5, 2008 at 6:13 am


    Patents don’t affect use, particularly in your country, but they can affect development, especially because companies like Red Hat are based in the US.

  10. Apogee said,

    November 5, 2008 at 6:41 am


    but we shouldnt be agaisnt the country laws instead try to fight agaisnt companies?

  11. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 5, 2008 at 6:54 am


    Novell did not approach Microsoft to sign this deal because of the law; it did this in order to gain competitive advantage, essentially by harming other GNU/Linux vendors.

    Novell was merely exploiting the broken laws.

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