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New materials on Novell-Microsoft agreement



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November 21, 2006 9:03 am

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Ron Hovsepian, Novell’s CEO, has written an open letter to the open source community about Novell’s position on patents following the Novell-Microsoft agreement. It’s a direct statement about how we did not – and do not – admit that there are Microsoft patents in Linux. Microsoft has issued its own statement on the issue here, which acknowledges Novell made no such admission. We hope this will help alleviate concerns in the community over this issue.

Also related to the recent agreement, IDC has put out an assessment of the deal which positions it as very significant in the IT landscape. It highlights the potential benefits of the deal for customer, and says “this is a deeply influential relationship that has the potential to massively change the IT landscape in ways that will emerge for years to come.” The IDC piece is worth reading because it provides an independent, third-party assessment of the multiple aspects of the deal.

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Categories: Expert Views, General, PR Blog

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5 Comments

  1. By:Bruce Lowry

    We’ve tried to make our position clear on the patent issue.
    Clearly. there are many in the community who disagree with us.
    We continue to try to answer questions as they come up.
    I can’t say at this point whether we’ll provide a specific
    response to Bruce’s petition.

  2. By:Roger

    This also needs to be answered

    http://silentcoder.co.za/silentcoder/component/option,com_jd-wp/Itemid,59/p,64/

    Dear Stafford,

    This is a personal email from me, not an official policy of UWC.
    However, as the custodian of IT at UWC, I will be pursuing a full
    investigation into a total exit strategy for all Novell products from
    the University of the Western Cape.

    As a non-trivial CUSTOMER of Novell, we will be looking at all our
    Novell applications during the next 3-4 months, with a view to finding
    the fastest possible way to get ALL NOVELL PRODUCTS completely out of
    our environment. As a company that we have been customers of for over a
    decade, Novell has let us down badly, and as customers, you may expect
    us to vote with our feet and encourage others within the education
    domain to do the same.

    As noted by Bruce Perens, it is abundantly clear that Novell and
    Microsoft took the time to engineer a circuitous legal path of issuing
    covenants to each other’s customers, rather than licenses to each other,
    in order to circumvent Novell’s earlier agreement with the community of
    GPL software developers.

    UWC both produces and depends on GPL licensed software, just like
    Novell, and as the custodian of our work in this area, I find the
    approach taken by Novell to be devoid of merit in relation to us as both
    customers and producers.

    As customers, you have failed to consider you ability as a company to
    supply us with a quality product in the face of a significant percentage
    of GPL licensed software owners moving from the GPL in its current
    version to GPL Version 3, which will leave Novell products such as Suse
    linux without access to upgrades and new versions of the software. This
    includes important software like SAMBA, on which we rely for some key
    operational functionality. Given that many other software producers are
    stating their intentions to move to GPL V3, the quality of Novell
    software will be compromised. As producers of software, you have forced
    our hand. You leave us no choice but to consider the GPL version 3 for
    our own software as well, in order to protect ourselves from
    unscrupulous companies willing to betray their customers as Novell has
    done.

    I cannot guarantee that I will be able to extricate UWC from Novell, but
    I can guarantee that I will try.

  3. By:Rascalson

    A quote from Eben Moglen has appeared on the web that seems to
    indicate there are negotiations ongoing over possible GPLv2
    related problems with the MS/Novell deal. Can you confirm or
    deny the existence of these negotiations and if you confirm
    can you offer the community any details at this point?
    Thank you.

  4. By:Bruce Lowry

    Hi Rascalson:

    I haven’t seen quotes like that from Eben. Richard Stallman
    has been quoted at a conference in Europe (see link below)
    confirming that section 7 of GPL2 doesn’t come into play with
    regard to the agreement. Thanks.

    http://fsfeurope.org/projects/gplv3/tokyo-rms-transcript#novell-ms

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