Bonum Certa Men Certa

Reactions to Novell's Crackdown on Linux 'Piracy' in China (Microsoft Linux 'Tax') (Updated)

"I've heard from Novell sales representatives that Microsoft sales executives have started calling the Suse Linux Enterprise Server coupons "royalty payments""

--Matt Asay, April 21st, 2008

Isn't is both sad and ironic that a nation where copyrights infringements is prevalent and not many people pay for Windows might actually pay Microsoft for GNU/Linux, which Microsoft contributed absolutely nothing to (other than smears, threats and technical sabotage)? Well, that's just what Novell helps Microsoft achieve. Here is the press release, which we have not linked to before.

This increased demand is exemplified by the People's Insurance Company of China Group (PICC), The Dairy Farm Company Ltd. (Dairy Farm) and Dawning Information Industry Co. Ltd. (Dawning), which have agreed to receive Microsoft certificates for three-year support subscriptions for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server from Novell(R).

Once again, Novell truly 'impresses' the world by managing to extract patent money not from the use (let alone licensing) of Microsoft Windows, but from the use of GNU/Linux, built to a large extent by volunteers. We wrote about such an oxymoron earlier this week [1, 2].

Here is Dana Blankenhorn's take on this:

The news peg is that Microsoft and Novell extended their existing agreement on IP to China. They call it “an incremental investment in their relationship” aimed at selling SUSE Linux contracts there based on interoperability with Windows.


From the viewpoint of history, of course, all this “piracy” and “theft of intellectual property” is, well, charmingly American.

Here is what Pamela wrote in Groklaw: "I'm sure this is gospel indeed, since we all know China is internationally famous for requiring IP peace of mind and for their scrupulous care regarding patent and other IP rights. I wonder if they are telling them about the GPLv3 thing?"

Novell and Microsoft hardly talk about GPLv3 nowadays, but increasingly it becomes the reality they cannot escape.

Novell coupons
Image from Wikimedia

Update: check out this good new article, and especially its headline.

Microsoft, Novell Tag-Team Against Chinese Distros


Currently, the major Linux players in the China market are home-grown Red Flag; Hong Kong-based Sun Wah Linux; Japanese player TurboLinux; and Red Hat.

Of the other players, only TurboLinux has joined Microsoft's Interop Vendor Alliance, which seeks to help vendors insure interoperability between their applications and Microsoft's; the rest remain independent.

Put simply, Novell and Microsoft fight all those 'nasty' distros that don't pay Microsoft for Linux. Does anyone still think that Novell is good for Free software?


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