Bonum Certa Men Certa

Justin Steinman Addresses Some of Boycott Novell's Questions

First of all, I thought it would only be fair to point out that Justin Steinman has corrected Matt Asay. He was being slammed for what he argued was misinterpretation by journalists.

In a new interview with ITWire, Steinman answers some questions which our Web site raised in the past.

Ok, back to questions from me. People like the ‘Boycott Novell’ site say things like: “Microvell, give us the details. Until Novell makes the details of their patent covenant public, they cannot and will not be trusted nor fully embraced by the Free Software community.” Will you ever ‘give them the details'?”

[Steinman:] We are a public company. We will publish the details of the Novell and MS agreement. However we are currently undergoing a voluntary stock option review as we have made very public. We are one of 500 American Tech Companies doing the same thing right now. Until we finish that, we cannot legally by US SEC regulations publish any material data about our business transactions. The Novell and MS agreement is considered material data. Once we are finished with the voluntary review, we will publish the details of the Novell/MS agreement, as legally required by the SEC.

Do you have a rough time frame on when this might happen?

[Steinman:] I honestly don’t know. It’s being done by outside counsel.

Justin, won’t the boycott people say that’s an excuse?

[Steinman:] It’s a requirement by the SEC. Boycott Novell can say what they want, we are a NASDAQ listed company, we have to abide by the SEC rules. There is no conspiracy here.

Justin, the Boycott Novell people are also asking if Novell charging some kind of patent tax for SLES and SLED, given claims that Microsoft is charging a patent tax for every copy of Windows?

[Steinman:] No.

You’ve nothing else to add?

[Steinman:] No, there’s nothing more to say. We are not charging a patent tax.


We do not intend to be overly critical, but our criticisms remain. All we receive is a silent answer, a muted defence. It is a hush-hush, wink-wink, nudge-nudge scare, to paraphrase Open Sources on intimidation through implicit threats. It results from uncertainty that is still looming over. It very much resembles SCO's tactics, which is rather ironic at times when Novell files 4 motions against SCO. If Novell inherits SCO's role (and technology), it would be hysterical, not just ironic.

While we are certain that there are no infringements whatsoever, corporate users of Linux are being driven into Microsoft patent fear (from Samba, we have even heard about mafia-like extortion). Let's not forget Susan Hauser. They have been caught doing this, so why carry on denying?

For those willing to explore the interview in depth, there are some fascinating bits therein about Mono, among other alarming issues. We may address them another day.

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