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Microsoft / Novell Ageement..

November 9th, 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

Novell This.... Microsoft That... SuSE will gain ground.... Red Hat will gain (more) ground.. Kudo's Novell... Novell in the new SCO... This is great news... This is horrid news... It's the end of the world!!!!!!....
The reactions to the Microsoft / Novell agreement couldn't be more.... manic. Everyone and their "mother/brother/sister/father/" is chiming in on the subject... and most people have nothing (and less than nothing to share)... I'm about to become one of those people.

When I saw this, the first thing I thought was "Woohoo!" This has the potential to change things that I mentioned in a previous post. I thought the patent covenant for SuSE users and open-source, non-commercial developers was a great thing. It seems there are plenty of people that disagree. The anti-Microsoft crowed things this is the death of SuSE... To call Novell the new SCO is nothing but the words of a true linux zealot. These attacks on Novell and this agreement are the sign of little kids... anti-social, "using linux makes me cool" people. The potential for improvements and advances to Linux over the next five years is huge...

We could see full AD integration of linux clients in the enterprise environment. We could see improvements to Evolution that allow full interoperability with Exchange. Full support for Microsoft Office file formats in OpenOffice... maybe even an effective, non-command line method of working with Access databases. I see Virtual PC for Linux, WMP for Linux and maybe even IE for Linux... Is this what the agreement outlines? Not in the least but it's all possible now... more possible than it was a month ago. I'd rather take an optimistic outlook on this... I was also happy to see that I wasn't the only one with a positive take on all of this, a buddy of mine, J_K9, blogged regarding this previously.

I was even surprised by Mark Webbink, Red Hat's general counsel, in his interview with SearchOpenSource.com. To say things like:

But let's see where we all are a year from now. We will still be standing. We still believe that we will be the dominant player in the Linux market because, by that time, there won't be any other Linux players. We will have succeeded once again.

I think that's very short sighted... I also think it's sour apples. To me the entire interview read like, "We're pissed that it wasn't us in the deal so we're going to bash Novell for taking part in this."

So for this most part this is all old news... So why am I blogging about it today? One reason.. A blog post I came across on Linux Journal. It seems that Nicholas Petreley wants to run... He even goes so far as to suggest that all SuSE users should dump the distro and find a new one... As a SuSE user (it get's equal face time with Ubuntu, Mac OS X and Windows XP... I like to spread myself across the operating systems :) ) I take offense with that statement. Novell is a great company with great support for their customers. I've dealt with them for both end-user support and business purchasing and I've never been unhappy with the support or suggestions they provided me.

Nicholas also makes use of the information in a way to support his arguments...He's more than willing to quote the Novell FAQ on the subject when it's beneficial to him. Yet provides "quotes" from Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith without links to back them up. The thing is that none of this makes any sense because it doesn't give any bearing to Nicholas' point of view. Novell claims they don't infringe on any Microsoft patents. Yet Novell is going to pay Microsoft for a patent covenant. The thing that Nicholas doesn't seem to get is that this covenant isn't for Novell... It's for Novell's users... The people that run SuSE... It applies to open-source developers... Novell is paying so that the community can build and use open source software without fear of prosecution from Microsoft... I have a lot of respect for Novell for doing this... It's pure benefit to the OSS community.

Nicholas makes his second statement based on comments from a lawyer for the FSF. First, Novell has already addressed this... Secondly the portion of the GPL that Nicholas quotes is as follows:

If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.

The thing is... Novell isn't paying a royalty to distribute the "Program"... they are paying on behalf of their customers... I don't see this as a violation in the least.

The rest of Nicholas' post goes on to outline how he wants to eliminate SuSE from his hard drive and asks everyone else to do the same... He sees this agreement as nothing more than a Microsoft attempt to eliminate Linux... I see him as another Linux zealout...

I guess I'm just never going to get why people want to look at Linux as a private, partially-interoperable home operating system. Why can't they see it's ability to be an enterprise operating system, fully interoperable in a Microsoft environment. Why can't they see the business side of it instead of their personal battles with Microsoft. The little comments from Nicholas... and Webbink and all the other bloggers that are bashing this are just that... little comments from closed-minded individuals...

This is a great time for Linux and OSS... I'm looking forward to the results of the next five years and say kudos to both Novell and Microsoft... Let the good times roll!


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  1. November 9th, 2006 at 11:26 | #1

    I really don’t know what to say anymore.. My first thoughts on this were “Excellent! Linux is finally being accepted by Microsoft as a potential competitor to the Windows line and they are recognising that it is a strong enterprise OS and that it would benefit them to improve interoperability,” but articles such as that “Novell is the new SCO” one show completely different opinions.

    I’m not sure… As I’ve said: we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out ;)

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