Bonum Certa Men Certa

The Top 5, or is it 4?, Myths About Microvell

Over at LinuxWorld, there is an oddly-titled entry listing the "Top 5 Myths about the Microsoft-Novell Deal", I say that the title is somewhat odd because I only note 4 topics or "myths" listed in the article, but maybe I am just too tired.

  1. Novell's actions are part of a conspiracy
  2. Microsoft is going to become a patent troll
  3. Any of the compatibility news is about Linux on the desktop
  4. Sticking with Novell is fine

The article explains that Novell is too large an organization to be able to successfully pull off a conspiracy, the deal being more the product of a disconnect between the sales folk and developer folk. "What we have here is not a conspiracy but a misunderstanding in the inner circle that led to a blunder."

Of most importance is the last myth, "Sticking with Novell is fine", since that most certainly is a myth. Here is the explanation why you should not "Stick with Novell"

[editors note: the links and emphasis are mine]

Reasonable as many aspects of the deal are from a quarter-to-quarter basis, if Microsoft gets an ongoing royalty for vague patent threats, you end up with a cartelized software industry. Instead of a spectrum of companies at all sizes, you get "hobbyists" and "cartel members". So the advice to stay away from doing business with Novell for now is still good. You don't have to drop them like a hot rock, but moving away should be a priority. Technology that has touched Novell in some way is not necessarily tainted, though, thanks to the good intentions of the real people there. So feel free to use it once it has passed through the filter of some trustworthy license checkers such as the invaluable nitpickers on debian-legal -- a role that we need more than ever these days. Debian and Gentoo both have social contracts and governance structures that make them resistant to "Novellization", so they're good places for migrators to look.

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