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LinuxToday Readers Weigh in on Novell

A discussion began yesterday which revolved around Novell's financial results. Here are a couple of comment (among several more) that highlight the issue that we have with Novell.

First comment:

Steve Stites - Subject: "Don't you DARE ever do that again"?" ( Dec 14, 2007, 20:37:23 )

"That was a really stupid thing to do, trying to weasel around GPL restrictions" followed by stern "Don't you DARE ever do that again"?"

We have tried that. GPLv3 was in development when the Microsoft-Novell deal was announced. Immediately we began working on ways to use GPLv3 to block the Microsoft-Novell deal. The most effective way to accomplish this seemed to be barring companies from distributing GPL software if they agreed to deals like the Microsoft-Novell deal.

There was some bargaining among the entities negotiating the terms of GPLv3 and at the last minute the grandfather clause was dropped into GPLv3. The grandfather clause excepts the Microsoft-Novell deal from the ban on such deals being enforced by a supply side software embargo. The net effect of GPLv3 on the Microsoft-Novell deal became "Don't you DARE ever do that again?". Novell breathed a sigh of relief at having dodged a bullet.

Since GPLv3 was gutted Novell has made no attempt to stop their attack on open source. Novell continued to charge ahead fully on all of the promises they made to Microsoft in the Microsoft-Novell agreement. Since then they have also added:

1. Lobbying on behalf of Microsoft to make OOXML an open standard

2. Attempting to have a Novell employee put in charge of open source standards at the Linux Foundation.

3. Attempting to have a Novell employee put in charge of managing device driver development for Linux

So, "Don't you DARE ever do that again"? has had no noticable effect on Novell's actions. We still need to defend ourselves in every way possible against the combined Microsoft-Novell attack on open source. I agree with CJM that the best possible solution to our conflict with Novell would be for Novell to back out of the Microsoft-Novell agreement. If Novell won't do that then our second best solution is to bankrupt Novell.

------------------ Steve Stites

Second comment

Novell brought it all on themselves. Had they taken the first three years after they purchased SuSE and created a truly great Linux NetWare replacement they would be climbing rapidly back to the top of the server heap and making huge inroads on the workstation market share by now. But, one could tell they had a different, less Linux friendly marketing plan when they announced the departure of key SuSE management and development people.

And then came November 2nd, when Ron Hovsepian announced that HE could not sell SUSE against Windows, so instead of competing against Microsoft he joined with Microsoft in an attack on FOSS and the GPL. If you check the time line from when he was hired, follow what he did and when he did it, you'll see that this direction was planned at least 16 months BEFORE November 2nd, by Hovsepian's own statements. I documented these events in prior LT postings shortly following November 2nd.

Hold on to these observations. Some of them contain valuable information that is new to us.

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