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Microsoft, Novell, and Novell Open Audio



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November 3, 2006 8:55 am

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A small flood of requests to get an interview on the Microsoft/Novell announcement has begun to fill my inbox. I will be working today to put together a special edition for Novell Open Audio.

I am not sure who I will have as a guest yet, but if there was ever a time for listeners to provide their questions, it is now.

Here are some ways that you can get your questions in:

  • Comment on this blog post.
  • Leave us a voicemail via Skype. Our Skype ID is “novellopenaudio”
  • Send an email to openaudio@novell.com. Audio attachements are especially good.
  • Voice mail us at our North American toll free number: 800-218-1400

I will try to use as many questions from the community as I can.

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7 Comments

  1. One of the items listed in the materials relating to this release is the very interesting idea of a federation with both Active Directory and eDirectory. What does this do for the future of Novell’s Identity Management line?

    -or-

    I’ve seen a lot of concern in the community so far about how ‘open’ the Open Source software coming out of this partnership will actually be. It may be open, but not usable without patent dispensation from Novell and/or Microsoft. Were these details part of the agreement, or is this something that we’ll see in good time?

  2. By:Paul Leopardi

    About http://www.microsoft.com/interop/msnovellcollab/community.mspx
    Exactly which Microsoft patents are thay talking about and how do they affect which existing open source projects? Are open source projects tainted by Microsoft “IP”? Is this the SCO FUD/lawsuit all over again?
    I note that “Microsoft’s Patent Pledge for Non-Compensated Developers” does not cover distribution by the developer, so does that mean that a “Non-Compensated” developer is covered only for their OWN use of software they develop themselves? I am a non-compensated developer, eg. http://glucat.sf.net, so the answer affects me personally.

    Please comment on the form of words “openSUSE.org agrees that as a condition of receiving the attached contribution of Your Original Work, openSUSE.org does not receive from You the contributor any licenses, covenants or any other rights under any Microsoft intellectual property with respect to that Original Work, and openSUSE.org will ensure that all further recipients of this Original Work will be subject to this same condition.” in “Microsoft’s Patents Pledge for Individual Contributors to openSUSE.org.” For example, if Microsoft publishes a piece of software under the GPL, and if I modify it and contribute it to openSUSE.org, does this form of words mean that openSUSE.org does not receive the GPL with respect to my contribution -a nd therefore that openSUSE.org cannot distribute my contribution? Does this form of words in itself violate the GPL?

  3. By:David W. Cooney

    As a reader and poster on Groklaw, there is a great deal of animosity that has resulted from the agreement. Many think that Novell has validated Microsoft’s claims that Linux violates its patents. Some also feel that this agreement puts Novell in a lose/lose situation where you will either be in violation of the GPL or of the Microsoft agreement.

    My own take is that the IP agreement is specifically related to running Microsoft code on SLES, a product that already contains a combination of open source and proprietary code, and that it has no impact on openSUSE which will remain freely available in accordance with the GPL.

    Novell has created, not just waves, but a tsunami in the FOSS community, many of whom feel you have stabbed them in the back. Some quick clarification is needed on how this agreement does not create new problems for Linux (regarding patent claims) and that Novell is still supporting, and complying with, the GPL is needed. You can’t make this clarification too soon!

  4. By:S. Mahalingam

    Novell seems to be giving the impression that the patent covenant includes GPL code in Linux, and not just non-GPL code included in SLED.

    1) Is this true?
    2) If this is true, then how do you plan on complying with GPL2 clause 7?

  5. By:Wondering

    I’ve been using Novell products since NetWare v2.12a, and am using SLED as I type this. I’ve stood by Novell for a long time. So I feel slightly justified when I ask: Are you guys CRAZY????????????????????

    Let’s set aside accusations of betrayal of OSS/Linux ideals, adding fuel to the bonfire that is software patent insanity, or the fact that M$ has backstabbed Novell every chance it for over a decade. Are Ron and Tony and John and the rest of the Boardroom actually naive enough to think that this “agreement” can be a “win” for Novell in any way, shape or form??

    As I read the FAQ and announcement, with the M$ logo (not Novell’s) prominent on the webcast, I was reminded of the movie _The_Empire_Strikes_Back_, specifically the scene just before Luke gets into his battle with Vader. He encounters Leia and the armed guards escorting her, and when she realizes it’s Luke, she screams “It’s a trap!” as she’s dragged away. He follows anyway, and ends up losing battle where his hand is chopped off.

    *Everyone* who has ever climbed into bed with Redmond has been screwed: Spyglass, Stac, IBM, HP, Citrix, et. al. ad. nauseum. How can anyone at Novell think Novell is somehow immune? How can anyone think the end result will be different for Novell?

    Remember the Microsoft-Sun “partnership” a few years ago? Seen any benefit for Sun in that arrangement? Really helped them, didn’t it?

    “SLES coupons”? Don’t make me laugh. You can count on M$ sales reps to “forget” to offer them, and if M$ customers actually ask for them, you can count on the reps to have such a hard time “finding” them that if and when they actually give any to M$ customers, it’ll no longer matter – the customer will have lost interest.

    “Federate” AD and eDirectory? Like Client Services for NetWare allowed NetWare/Windows “interoperability”. Like the stellar NetWare support in the “Microsoft Client for NetWare Networks” in Windows? Like the deliberate sabotage of the GroupWise client by killing MAPI? Like the carefully architected changes to Windoze authentication that broke NDS for NT? Is that the “cooperation” you’re planning to leverage?

    Novell is hopelessly naive to think that Redmond will cease to fund shills and proxies (like SCO) to badmouth and undermine Novell and its products/technologies. It’s foolish beyond belief to believe that Redmond will actually adhere to the spirit of any agreement they sign with a competitor. They can employ more lawyers than Novell has total employees – does anyone in Waltham really think Redmond fears a breach-of-contract suit? They’ll laugh when Novell finally wises up enough to file it.

    A lot of people in the FOSS community regard Novell as having betrayed that community. Is that true, or did Novell ignore the endless litany of Micro$oft ex-partners who regretted their decision and went down that same path, destined for the same eventual results?

  6. By:maba

    No SuSe on my servers/desktop anymore.

    Have a nice day.

  7. By:RMX

    Will Novell release a non-patent-encumbered version of Linux so we can still use it – perhaps FreeAndOpenSuSE?

    Apparently you (Novell) believe that SuSE Linux is patent encumbered and contains Microsoft IP — but you somehow refuse to tell us where the high-risk-code is so we’re not even able to take measures to avoid it. This has lead our companies to create an internal policy to avoid *ALL* Novell “open source” software for fear of contamination of our sources.

    Could you please release a new version of your product that is *NOT* COVERED BY THIS Microsoft IP deal you signed – so at least we have confidence that we’re working with a clean version of SuSE Linux? It’s totally OK if it’s a reduced-functionality version. Our customers care far more about being able to redistribute our resulting product under standard F/OSS terms than they do about whatever fancy new .NET features may be infringing on Microsoft’s patents.

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