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Novell Partners With EFF on Patent Busting 167

Posted by samzenpus
from the strange-bedfellows dept.
Seymour writes "Novell and the EFF have announced that Novell will be contributing to the EFF's Patent Busting Project. Novell will also support the EFF's efforts toward patent reform, including with the WIPO. Could this be Novell trying to get back in the good graces of Linux users? 'Novell's agreement with Microsoft has been a source of contention within open source circles, with one Red Hat executive accusing the company of appeasing Microsoft; others have accused Novell of violating the GPL with the agreement. Either way, signing the deal with Microsoft did a lot to sully Novell in the eyes of many Linux users, and Novell's decision to link up with the EFF on patents may have been made with an eye towards getting some of its street cred back with the OSS community.'"
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Novell Partners With EFF on Patent Busting

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  • by 26199 (577806) * on Thursday May 24, 2007 @02:05AM (#19249427) Homepage

    For me, at least, there aren't any second chances. The great thing about the Linux market is there's plenty of choice. Why choose Novell now?

    I won't be.

    (Same idea behind not buying Sony ever again.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Could this be Novell trying to get back in the good graces of Linux users?

      Oh grow up. Novell doesn't give a rats a** if its "in the good graces" of Linux users. If MS gets serious about pursuing litigation (however unlikely), Novell is sitting on a plump little target -- Suse. MS (or anyone else who has a bone to pick with FOSS) won't go after end users -- it'll go after the cash cow that is Novell.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by timmarhy (659436)
        right because novell has been making buckets of cash these days, with it's dominating products like netware....
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I've surprisingly seen novell software in a ton of academic and corporate settings and I've experienced only a few... off the top of my head 10 or so out of 12 places I know of use Novell on XP
      • by oztiks (921504) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @04:02AM (#19249965)
        If thats the case we would of seen similar reactions from Redhat or another enterprising companies that "sell" Linux. The way I see it if a smoker is to sue the tobacco companies for their own bad health, it opens the door for anyone else who smokes also to sue them as well.

        I think in this case it would be exactly the same. Do unto Novell what you'd expect happen to your own company, with the recent adoption of Linux to Dell and the lacking of what is and what is to come i.e "Windows Vista" this is just yet another part of this constant struggle of playing the right tricks to make the most easy cash possible.

        This whole coupon deal was just that, lets see, umm ... Microsoft threatens to sue Linux users, Microsoft finds a way to screw a distribution of Linux whose maintained by a company that needs Microsoft support in other product lines. Redhat you see doesn't need Windows where as Novell really does, just like Norton needs Windows but is also getting screwed with the same sort of tactics. After Microsoft finds this way to screw Novell and make that easy cash, they publicly announce (because they know they cant win) that they are NOT going to sue anybody for using Linux any time soon.

        So what would you expect? Novel is like F**k what did we do? a) We pissed off a pile of people / businesses that use our product (or did) b) had a pile of our customers purchase something they didn't need c) worked directly with Satan himself, then bastard ran off with our soul and we look like a pile of D**ks to everybody now so lets go into repair mode PR style and see what we can do about cleaning up the mess.
        • by Adambomb (118938) *

          we look like a pile of D**ks to everybody now
          I almost hope you're right in that line of thinking, for a company to realize they've been d**ks and implement change because of it seems pretty rare.
          • by oztiks (921504)
            The thing is its back to the easy cash principle, not really wanting to put in change, rather look good so in the eyes of its customers.

            IT is so much like politics these days, you know, if we get this company to use our technology everybody else will so how do we win over the masses? A good answer that question is that they partner to a particular brand and tap into their marketplace. I think Novell is the unique company that was blind to its establishments of products and services and didn't consider that
      • by DrYak (748999) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @06:45AM (#19250691) Homepage

        If MS gets serious about pursuing litigation [...] Novell is sitting on a plump little target -- Suse


        No. Suse can't be a target for the simple reason that Novell and MS have both signed a mutual agreement no to sue (in addition to agree to collaborate for interoperation).
        In fact, that's where the whole story began. Microsoft hoped (and somewhat managed it) that people think that this should mean is that Novell could get sued because of Linux patent infringement and thus signed a deal with MS. Whereas in fact, the net cash flow was massively in favor of Novell (thus you can imply that, maybe, MS was affraid of Novell, somewhat. Novell has indeed a lot of rights inherited from the original Unix).

        And that's where the problem currently lies. Novell has earned $wad_of_cash with this procedure. But now Microsoft is starting to go after the rest of the OSS community. Novell knows that all comunity members must work together to protect their work. But Novell can't retaliate, because there's quite a few thing they promised in their agreement with Microsoft, and that $wad_of_cash is nice enough. They don't want to breach the contract and loose their precious.

        Helping the EFF fighting is an indirect way that enables them to do thing some of which may be against their agreement with MS.
        Just like before, MS used SCO as a proxy to try to sue Linux shops.

        If MS threatens to sue over patents, Novell can't counter sue them, but they can help the EFF to either : bust those special patents OR destroy the whole bogus patent system through reforms.
        • by killjoe (766577) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @07:27AM (#19250983)
          MS won't sue anybody. They will transfer the patents to a third party. The third party will get investment from MS, MS executives, their buddies and others to the tune of a few million. The third party will sue.

          The third party will not be developing any software so there is no chance of a counter infringement claim.
          The third party will not be a signatory to any contracts and agreements MS signed with Sun, Novell or anybody else.

          See how that works. The MS executives are sleazy dirtbags but they are not stupid.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by apokryphos (869208)
          > No. Suse can't be a target for the simple reason that Novell and MS have both signed a mutual agreement no to sue (in addition to agree to collaborate for interoperation).

          This is untrue; take a look at the openSUSE.org FAQ [opensuse.org].

          The patent coverage does not give Novell any immunity from being sued for patent violations. In summary:
          * Novell has no licence for Microsoft patents.
          * Novell can't use Microsoft patents (and vice versa)
          * Novell can sue Microsoft for Novell patents in Microsoft p
        • by tajmorton (806296)

          No. Suse can't be a target for the simple reason that Novell and MS have both signed a mutual agreement no to sue (in addition to agree to collaborate for interoperation).

          Incorrect. Novell and Microsoft agreed not to sue each other customers. They can still sue each other. See this:

          Q5. Novell's November 2 press release states that, "Novell will also make running royalty payments based on a percentage of its revenues from open source products." Are these payments for a patent license to Novell?

          No. Novel

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      (Same idea behind not buying Sony ever again.)


      Absolutely no second chances? So, I suppose you're not buying Nintendo, either? Shame, that.
      • by 26199 (577806) *

        Eh? What did Nintendo do that was as bad as Sony's CDs?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by LiquidCoooled (634315)
          Have you seen Wario wares for the Wii?

          It makes your eyes bleed whilst you play, then as a double insult you get the tune in your head.
          Its torture.

          At least Sony rooted your computer, Nintendo manage to root your brainstem.
        • Price fixing on a massive scale and the original inventors of Regional Lockout(TM)?
          • by rifter (147452)

            Price fixing on a massive scale and the original inventors of Regional Lockout(TM)?

            Not to mention stifling innovation by draconian licensing restrictions. In some cases Nintendo would approve a project, allow a company to spend money and time on it, then pull out at the last minute. The most egregious of these was when a certain company worked with Nintendo on a new color portable game system that would play NES games as well as gameboy games. After the company developed the technology and made a few mi

            • Then there were the exclusivity agreements, which got so insane that even Nintendo was locking out itself. Games like the Zelda series, for instance, only being available on a given version of the Nintendo console. To this day, unless you can emulate some of them, you would have to get a complete set of Nintendo game consoles to play all the Zeldas.

              That's one I don't quite get. Is there something unusual about playing old games on old consoles? What's it got to do with exclusivity? Nintendo had the Zelda

        • You're joking, right? You honestly don't know about Nintendo's notorious business practices [geekcomix.com] and censorship [filibustercartoons.com] back in the day?

          (Why those URLs both happen to refer to cartoons or comics I have no idea -- the material they link to is factual.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      hat is why all the talk about convincing Novell dropping its pact with Microsoft never made any sense to me. People who were committed to Suse and dropped their support for Suse after the deal wouldn't rush back after giving it up because of mistrust and the effort involved. If Novell dropped their pact with Microsoft now, they would not get the full support of the community back which means the damage is done, and Novell would be giving up any of the positive benefits their pact provides (i.e. sales, inter
    • by physicsphairy (720718) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @03:19AM (#19249807) Homepage
      Why choose Novell now?

      Because it is based on that expectation that their actions were pursued, and if you do not reward companies which make these 'selfless' maneuvers on behalf of open source, then none will. It's the same as eeking linux loaded comps out of Dell, in regard to which numerous persons have commented on the necessity of now purchasing these comps to validate the move.

      Now, I've never used SuSE, and don't really plan to, and I'm not saying everyone should now jump ship to Novell in servile gratitude. But I do think it's fair for us to tender some rescinding of animosity in regard to Novell's previous patent deal--for those persons who were upset about it--or elsewise indicate appreciation of their latest move.

      Why shouldn't we be nice to people who are nice to us?

    • by houghi (78078) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @05:23AM (#19250283)
      Don't forget to take out any code put in the kernel, KDE and GNOME and other projects made by people that are payed by Novell. Put your money where your mouth is.
    • For me, at least, there aren't any second chances. The great thing about the Linux market is there's plenty of choice. Why choose Novell now?
      Better not give IBM a second chance either. They blew it with their strongarm tactics for over thirty years. Why allow them to be a friend of the free world now?
    • The great thing about the Linux market is there's plenty of choice. Why choose Novell now?

      Because you can. GPL 3.0 has taken the worst thorns out of the Novel M$ pact. A portion of the money might go to M$, but that's much less that an all M$ "solution" would bring and that's the market Suse is supposed to serve. If you work for a big dumb company, Novel might be right for you. If you de-M$ed yourself five years ago, you don't need them.

      GPL 3.0 has left Novell no choice but to behave. Sooner or l

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @02:15AM (#19249485) Homepage
    Husband sleeps with his secretary. Wife finds out. He buys her a Tiffany's bracelet. For some wives it's the bracelet that matters. For some it's the remorse (or lack thereof). For some there is no uncheating. Same story here.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by gselfridge (793768)
      Maybe a bracelet from Jared would help.
    • Husband sleeps with his secretary.

      Secretary? M$ has always been a whore, dishonest, drugged and only interested in your money.

      Wife finds out.

      Wife finds out and crafts GPL 3, which transfers all the benefits of husband's infidelity without any drawbacks. She get's all the O time from every M$ whore without contracting the VD M$ is famous for. M$ has become her bitch, little more than a disposable sex toy. There are as many coppies as she likes and no one but Pimp Daddy Bill Gates has lost.

  • by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @02:20AM (#19249501) Homepage
    Patent Busting? That sounds like a business model. I bet you could patent that....
  • Oblig (Score:4, Funny)

    by phalse phace (454635) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @02:26AM (#19249545)
    Billg: Novell partnering with EFF? That's the dumbest fucking idea I've heard since I've been at Microsoft.
  • Wouldn't Novell's deal with Microsoft render anything Novell contributes useless against Free softwares biggest enemy: AKA Microsoft?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Some of you apparently have adopted FOSS to be against something.

      Can't you let go of that anger?
      • by killjoe (766577)
        It has nothing to do with anger. It has to do with patented MS code contaminating GPLed code. Novell can either willingly or unwillingly inject MS patented and copyrighted code into the GPLed codebase so software from Novell should not be trusted unless the developer takes a legally binding oath that he was not exposed to any MS code or IP.
        • by Degrees (220395)
          But isn't that also true of any developer?

          Sure, reverse engineering MS object code is harder than cut/copy/paste source code made available direct from Microsoft. I don't think Novell would do that, but obviously some people think they might.

          But it doesn't change the ability of anyone inserting patented code into stuff they shouldn't. And thus, Microsoft is a threat everyone. Novell offering to support the EFF isn't necessarily a bad thing.

          • by killjoe (766577)
            >But isn't that also true of any developer?

            No, not really. Let's say I submitted a patch some program. There is a 0% chance of any MS copyrighted work being in that code because I have never seen MS code.

            >Sure, reverse engineering MS object code is harder than cut/copy/paste source code made available direct from Microsoft. I don't think Novell would do that, but obviously some people think they might.

            Why wouldn't they do that? It's a corporation, if MS gave it 500 million dollars to do that then they
  • All this shows (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @02:43AM (#19249637) Homepage
    Is that Novell are trying to have it both ways. But Free (not Open Source) Software is about principles, not realpolitik. Novell can't back both sides, or claim to be some sort of bridge across troubled waters. Well, they can, but we shouldn't be enabling them. Free Software is over hyar, Microsoft is over thyar. The only acceptable compromise is for Microsoft to surrender; we have nothing to gain by moving towards them.
    • Re:All this shows (Score:5, Insightful)

      by giorgiofr (887762) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @04:44AM (#19250135)
      Why does one always have to make this kind of choice? OSS vs MS, MS is t3h debul, wtf... Every time I build a system I assess its needs and choose the right OS for the job. Sometimes it's Win, sometimes it's Lin, sometimes it's BSD, but *never* does it become a religious matter. Why do you, and many other people, make one out of such trivial issues as what OS to use?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by killjoe (766577)
        Because principles are important to some people. Apparently they are not important to you but not everybody is like you. Some people boycott unethical and sleazy companies. Some people only buy dolphin safe tuna. Some people only drink fair trade coffee. Some people don't shop at walmart.

        MS is a sleazy, unethical company run by people who are borderline sociopaths. There are lots of reasons not to support the corporation by buying it's products. When you buy MS products you are supporting them and their act
        • by giorgiofr (887762)
          Wow. I use the "the best tool for the job" approach rather than the Jihad approach and so I become a human being without principles, who kills dolphins, rapes Caribbean coffee harvesters and supports MS.
          You have a very balanced view of facts!
          • by killjoe (766577)
            >Wow. I use the "the best tool for the job" approach rather than the Jihad approach

            Once again, when making your decision you do not any ethics or principles or morals enter into your decision making process. You only judge the product. You clearly think ethics, morals, and principles have no role to play when you are shopping for your products and services.

            Most people are like you.

            Some people are not. Those people let their ethical judgement and moral upbringing play a role in their choices as a custom
            • by giorgiofr (887762)
              I guess it has never occurred to you that your duty when building a system is to provide your customer with the best possible choice for him, rather than forcing your own religion on him. And you call that ethics?
              • by killjoe (766577)
                >I guess it has never occurred to you that your duty when building a system is to provide your customer with the best possible choice for him, rather than forcing your own religion on him.

                No it hasn't occurred to me. I would never compromise my ethics just because a customer wanted something. They don't run my life, I do. I have been asked for all kinds of illegal and unethical things by customers including "hack my competitors network" and "write me something that will zombie that machine" and even "fin
              • Because I have professional standards that are pretty high.

                That is not a religion, it is professionalism. I will not compromise my profesionalism for the sake of following the flock.

                If a client insists on using something after I have given my expert opinion, that is fine, but that is why I am an expert in the field, I am aware of the reputations of the different companies and can recommend with confidence the ones that will provide you with a good service or the ones that may be out to screw you.

                MS IMHO hav
          • You are a person that does not apply any ethical principles to their choice of software.

            If that hurts you it is your fault, not ours. I and others are stating a matter of fact based on what you are saying.
      • by btarval (874919)
        "Why do you, and many other people, make one out of such trivial issues as what OS to use?"

        Because sticking to principles is what has built both the GNU and BSD movements. You fail to see that it is that adherence to priciples which has given you the exact choices which you have.

        Without people sticking to principles, you simply wouldn't be able to choose between Windows, Linux and BSD.

        Since you are using BSD and Linux, and complaining about the people who built the software, I'd also like to ask exact

        • by giorgiofr (887762)
          My post made it very clear that I respect and appreciate those OSs I quote, I think. I cannot understand why you think I was complaining about them. I also think you can read whatever you like in my post, if it makes you feel better about being a foaming-at-the-mouth zealot. I mean, just look at all the venom you spat. Finally, I believe that "leeching" is the word you were looking for.
          • by btarval (874919)
            No, your post didn't make that clear at all. Specifically, by equating the O.S.'s as "trivial issues" is marginalizing the efforts put in by many. I don't think you have any idea as to how much work has been involved in getting to the point where we are at now.

            And sorry if you took my words as "venom"; they weren't intended as such. You asked a question; I was trying to educate you on the matter of "why". Perhaps I'm being foolish in the attempt, but I'll give anyone who asks at least one response (and ev

      • by Hooya (518216)
        if not for the two extremes, where would the middle ground be?
      • It is not a matter of "religion".

        It is a matter of principles.

        I have some, do you have any?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mgpeter (132079)

      Free Software is over hyar, Microsoft is over thyar. The only acceptable compromise is for Microsoft to surrender; we have nothing to gain by moving towards them.

      Only the Sith think in Absolutes

      • Only the Sith think in Absolutes

        Which, ironically, is itself an absolute statement. (I.e. Anyone who think in absolutes must be a Sith.)

    • that GPL 3 has eliminated the co-operation with evil by patent choice? That was the point.

    • by Hasai (131313)
      ....we have nothing to gain by moving towards them.

      ....Except significance.

      If you disagree, please feel free to rip Samba out of your current Linux distribution.
  • by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsnNO@SPAMearthlink.net> on Thursday May 24, 2007 @03:02AM (#19249729)
    Novell isn't yet, quite, in my list of totally untrustworthy companies. They seem determined to get there, but for now I'm willing to not condemn this move before I see the results. For now.

    This doesn't mean that I'm willing to use or recommend Novell software. That appears wantonly reckless. Perhaps *AFTER* I seen the agreement with MS, and decide whether the redacted parts might be larger than a couple of words, and get some reactions from independant lawyers. Perhaps after that I'll be more willing to trust them. Maybe. And maybe just the opposite. The weasel words so far used in public commentaries don't inspire any confidence at all. They're rather like the MS pledge that "We don't currently have any plans to sue...". They could change their mind at any minute, and they aren't obligating themselves to give any warning. And there could exist plans right now that this spokes-thing just doesn't know about, possibly on purpose. Novell seems to aim more towards incoherence than ambiguity, but the effect is the same. The promises appear worthless, and certainly not legally binding. (And if a corporation is carefully insuring that its public statements aren't legally binding, what does that imply about its trustworthiness?)

    Well, possibly these were off-the-cuff remarks, and not carefully thought out. Possibly. But they have explicitly refrained from making any carefully thought out statements that address the topic...unless they were so vague as to be worthless. (Or unless they were statements about how someone else would behave, which they obviously can't be responsible for.)

    We'll see what gets published about the MS-Novell deal, and we'll see how this quest for "patent reform" works out. Perhaps after those resolve we'll decide that Novell was merely clumsy about what they did and were misunderstood. Possibly. Until then, however... well, Safety First. And that means avoiding Novell, as well as MS.

    • I guess thery should invest 10% of what they gained into patent reform.
      • by HiThere (15173)
        You don't understand.

        "Patent reform" is a quite ambiguous phrase, which could be used to describe ANY change in the patent laws. Not all changes would make things better. Just as an example, extending the term of patents to 70 years could be described as patent reform, though I don't think many here would consider that a fair way to use the term. So when Novell is proposing to "help the EFF with patent reform" we don't really have a clue as to what they are proposing. They could be describing a lobbying
        • And the fact is that EFF is the most ineffective lobby organisation when it comes to patent reform. I am not sure that the donation would change that.
  • by dteichman2 (841599) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @03:04AM (#19249747) Homepage
    Novell worked out a deal with Microsoft. Novell got a big bucket-o-cash, and Microsoft got what still seems to amount to nothing.

    Now with this, it seems like two things are true.

    1.) Novell costs Microsoft money.
    2.) Novell actively works against Microsoft.

    Awesome
    • by bmo (77928) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @03:23AM (#19249821)
      "Novell worked out a deal with Microsoft. Novell got a big bucket-o-cash, and Microsoft got what still seems to amount to nothing."

      And Judas got a pocketful of coins for only a kiss.

      What did Microsoft get? Microsoft got _validation_ from one of the premier Linux distributors for what it considers pocket change.

      I've got a question for John Dragoon: How do those pieces of silver feel now?

      --
      BMO
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by apokryphos (869208)
        Using Judas terminology doesn't validate your point, unfortunately. Microsoft have always been claiming that Linux violates Microsoft's patents. This is NOTHING new. Novell couldn't have made it clearer that they didn't agree to any nonsense about Linux infringing on MS's patents, and Microsoft even openly admitted this wasn't part of the deal, and yet you'll still go on about it. :)
        • by Dogtanian (588974) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @04:38AM (#19250101) Homepage
          Doesn't matter. Microsoft got what will be perceived by many as *external* validation, which isn't the same thing as them themselves parroting that Linux violates their patents.

          Novell wanted to have their cake and eat it, and despite their assertion that they "couldn't have made it clearer that they didn't agree to any [such] nonsense", if they knew how the deal would likely be perceived in practice, such a statement is likely to be meaningless or just legal ass-covering.
          • by apokryphos (869208) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @05:23AM (#19250281) Homepage
            That's nonsense. Novell have made it explicitly clear, and since they have, the only thing it possibly does is make Microsoft look silly (as they regularly do). Although you clearly don't want to admit it, this deal has been very beneficial for Novell (and, in turn, Linux), and it's hardly like Microsoft have used the deal to begin their campaign on Linux infringing on MS's patents -- that has always (ALWAYS) been around.

            > if they knew how the deal would likely be perceived in practice, such a statement is likely to be meaningless or just legal ass-covering.

            The only people who perceive it that way are some Microsoft speakers and a few clueless people in the Linux community. I haven't seen any indication anywhere else to suggest otherwise.

            The reason 99% of the people (and, I know this from direct experience) in the Linux community are annoyed about this is because there's some (as usual) very vocal poisonous people [google.com] in the community who spute out countless of erroneous negative headlines without even knowing what's going on [opensuse.org]. Others in the community see these headlines, think the headlines alone are evidence, and don't even consider the matter. I mean, the amount of people I've seen who think that Novell have some immunity from Microsoft (completely false), or the amount of people I've seen who think that countless of people have left Novell because of this (when only two have permanently left), or the amount of people who think that Novell is losing money from this (when they're getting a few hundred million), or the amount of people who have no clue about Novell's hundreds of Linux engineers in the open source community (KDE, GNOME, Linux kernel, OpenOffice.org, etc), is always astounding.

            It's an unfortunate simple fact: people like fighting for a cause when the ideal (freedom) is good, even when there's no threat to it or they're ignorant of who the enemy is.

            This headline is nothing new from Novell (I mean, they're an OIN founding member), but people will still interpret it in a silly way.
            • by bmo (77928)
              You know, this wouldn't be an issue if Novell was straight up about this in the first place, but since it's all so fucking secret, trying to explain it to people so they might understand is an exercize in futility.

              JUST WHY DO NOVELL CUSTOMERS NEED PROTECTING FROM "MICROSOFT IP" BY THIS COVENANT NOT TO SUE?

              Eh?

              Nobody has explained that. John Dragoon has danced around it and totally ignored the issue. Miguel DeIcaza in his blog said that Sun "signed a similar agreement so they could distribute Gnome." I don
              • by apokryphos (869208) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @05:52AM (#19250409) Homepage
                > JUST WHY DO NOVELL CUSTOMERS NEED PROTECTING FROM "MICROSOFT IP" BY THIS COVENANT NOT TO SUE?

                This has been answered countless times. Personally, I think Andreas Jaeger said it best [blogspot.com]: Let me state clearly: We do not think that Novell's Linux distributions violate valid patents - but if they do, we do change the code to avoid or work around the patent. Meanwhile we have some means in place to protect customers and developers better. So, it's some kind of important insurance.

                We did not expect that Microsoft would sue individuals. But who would have known a couple of years ago that the record industry is going after individuals downloading or copying music and driving them in bankruptcy. Therefore the agreements consider a promise not to sue.


                The meaning is clear: customers want the extra assurance. When you've got billions of dollars, you cannot avoid so many risks, you become a big target. This is why Microsoft customers asked for the protection from Novell as well, of not being sued.
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by bmo (77928)
                  "This is why Microsoft customers asked for the protection from Novell as well, of not being sued."

                  Oh gawd, this is an ISSUE? Are you SERIOUS? This does not even pass the laugh test!

                  "When you've got billions of dollars, you cannot avoid so many risks, you become a big target. "

                  And Google is the biggest Linux user out there. Microsoft has not sued Google for the $BIGPAYOFF. Neither does anyone believe that Microsoft will even attempt it.

                  "We do not think that Novell's Linux distributions violate valid paten
                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by apokryphos (869208)
                    > Oh gawd, this is an ISSUE? Are you SERIOUS? This does not even pass the laugh test!

                    You can laugh it off but it's not addressing the very serious fact that customers have asked for it.

                    > And Google is the biggest Linux user out there. Microsoft has not sued Google for the $BIGPAYOFF. Neither does anyone believe that Microsoft will even attempt it.

                    Pretty bad argument. Just because Google might not be concerned, this is not to say that many other customers aren't (which they are). Microsoft would
                    • by bmo (77928)
                      "Microsoft would hardly get involved with Google over Linux (if anything) anyway."

                      Why not? You said that Microsoft would sue end users were it not for this agreement. Well, There You Go, the World's Biggest Linux User.

                      "We can argue all day on how different people perceive it, or what the "spirit" of some agreement is etc etc, and yet the only things that really stand are the facts"

                      I'm going to slow down the text so it will be clear to you:

                      T-H-E F-A-C-T-S D-O N-O-T M-A-T-T-E-R. I-N A W-A-R O-F W-O-R-D-S,
            • by Dogtanian (588974)

              Novell have made it explicitly clear, and since they have, the only thing it possibly does is make Microsoft look silly (as they regularly do).

              As I already said (the above is merely an expanded version of your original comment), I'm not convinced that Novell really believed that their agreement would merely "make Microsoft look silly".

              Although you clearly don't want to admit it, this deal has been very beneficial for Novell

              How the hell do you assume that I "clearly don't want to admit it"?

              Where on earth do I imply that the deal *wasn't* beneficial for Novell? I said nothing of the sort; on the contrary, I would expect it to be beneficial for them in the short term unless there is a serious backlash.

              Elsewhere, you accuse others of

            • by MobyDisk (75490)

              the only thing it possibly does is make Microsoft look silly
              Except that Microsoft has made press releases about how the deal means that Novell acknowledges that Microsoft has patents on Linux. And guess which company has the bigger spin machine?
        • by bmo (77928)
          "Novell couldn't have made it clearer that they didn't agree to any nonsense about Linux infringing on MS's patents,"

          Bullshit. Microsoft has the bigger bullhorn and the PR budget that just dwarfs Novell's entire market cap.

          Just by merely signing the agreement, which is secret, allows Microsoft to say whatever the hell it wants, and Novell can do *fuck-all* about it. I have _zero_ sympathy for Novell, because they should have known better. And all of John Dragoon's (VP of PR) statements that this was

  • by hoojus (935220) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @04:16AM (#19250015)
    They could make a show called Patent busters where they could test patents and mark them as Plausible, Prior Art or Laughable. Then to keep in the spirit of Mythbusters they could use explosions by blowing up the companies that try to sue based on Prior art or laughable patents.
    • Sounds like a great show, so long as Kari Byron is still in it.
    • They could make a show called Patent busters where they could test patents and mark them as Plausible, Prior Art or Laughable.

      There is a show like that on the Canadian Discovery Channel called Patent Bending [wikipedia.org]. They take patents for silly mechanical things and try to build them. Turns out that these kinds of patents aren't of much better quality than software patents.

  • KOL novell (Score:5, Interesting)

    by steveoc (2661) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @04:18AM (#19250025)

    You have encountered an Horned Novell
     
    `O'
    /|\
      | [MScontract(tm)]
    / \
    | |
     
    He takes you by surprise and tries to Pimp slap you with his MSContract (tm)
    Novell's attempts to work with the EFF are all well and good, but really .. for as long as there remains any ink on any deal with Microsoft's name on it:

    An exploiter is you.

    Novell may have gained many meat from this deal, but the loss of moxiousness is overwhelming. Until Novell clicks on the unequip link to the MScontract(tm) in their inventory, they will continue to suffer a permanent drain to their Moxie. No amount of practicing the accordian will ever be able to put this right.

  • How curious (Score:2, Informative)

    by apokryphos (869208)
    How curious it is that so few people on Slashdot can read any FAQs [opensuse.org].
    • Re:How curious (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @05:53AM (#19250415)
      I found this gem in the opensuse faq about the deal

      "Novell has also created or is among the top sponsors of projects such as the Linux Kernel, GCC, OpenOffice.org, KDE, GNOME, Tomboy, F-Spot, Banshee, Beagle, (K)NetworkManager, Kickoff, Evolution, XEN, Xgl, and Compiz etc. Are you refusing to use any of those as well? Since they all have substantial amounts of Novell code."
  • Why i use OpenSuSE (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @04:58AM (#19250187)
    I've seen a few people in this thread and others ask "Why use Novell software?". I assume in this case you mean SuSE linux, and OpenSuSE, so i'll start there. This is long, but true, I have used OpenSuSE long enough to recognize how useful it is compared to other systems available and these things are why I will not just abandon SuSE or Novell.

    I have used Ubuntu, RHEL, CentOS, Gentoo, Slackware, and Fedora both in the past and quite recently, and at this time OpenSuSE remains the most usable Linux system available, for a variety of reasons, but in particular the Yast system. Yast fills in a lot of the gaps in Linux system and hardware management. Some of the Yast functions are not presently available anywhere else, and if you decide to use Gnome this is even more important because Yast fills in many of the massive holes in Gnome for these areas. And I don't mean just basic stuff, but more advanced things, like a GUI for inserting PCI IDs into a driver if your card doesn't match perfectly or at all, or a well made Xorg configuration panel, or very well designed network card configuration. It also has GUI configuration for almost every common network service daemon, such as ldap, apache, NIS, kerberos, bind, nfs, sendmail, samba and so on. Pehaps the single most important useful aspect of yast is that all of these functions can be completed over SSH, in a console, or without Xorg at all, because there are totally identical yast systems for both GUI and ncurses, this alone makes yast fairly unique.

    OpenSuSE also has one of the best installers I have ever seen, and it beats just about everything. By everything I mean Windows XP, Windows Vista, OS X, and without a doubt every other Linux dist installer out there. Why you ask? Some very important reasons include its nearly perfect package selection, intelligent partitioning (that can create LVM and encrypted volumes for you), hardware preconfiguration, system cloning, and lots of other useful things that actually work. It also gave me a choice between Gnome and KDE within one disc, which gained it lots of points. It also has very nice system recovery that will check all essential files and replace them if you think something is broken. It will also repair grub easily and quickly, something you would otherwise need a livecd for anyway, that novice users could not do otherwise.

    So you can see after that long rant, that there are things in SuSE that are custom and unique to it, many of them not present anywhere else. None of these things are proprietary and could be done by others, even Yast could be used by others as it was released as GPL by Novell.

    So, I will not just abandon one of the best Linux systems available, nor will I immediately blacklist Novell for what is basically speculation at this point. Novell positioned the company as being highly dependent on Linux, Novell has more reason to stand by the community than it has to assist Microsoft, even with their agreement. And every day it seems Novell is looking more like the goodguy, particularly if they knew what would happen with those coupons, and now this EFF news makes me think they know more and have more planned than previously thought.
    • by thehunger (549253)
      Yeah, the SUSE install is great and the YAST tool is also great. With it a normal user can configure things like having the PC retrieve time from an internet source. With many other distros, the alternative is editing a configuration file...

      However, even as slick as SUSE is, it had a major drawback for me: extensive software repositories. The Packman / Guru repo's simply don't cut it compared to the vast library of software available for Ubuntu. So I always wanted to switch, and made an attempt with Edgy
    • Funny, how perspectives can differ.

      After a long time of using almost exclusively SuSE (ever since version 1.x, which as I remember was basically a repackaged Slackware) it was yast of version 10.1 that drove me away most of all. Not so much the functionality which I thought was at least adequate. But the speed! It now took ~10min to start up the software selection. WTF? And online updates? Trying to configure online updates sent me into an endless loop of registering online and yast not recognizing that I

    • by AceJohnny (253840)
      so, in essence, you keep with Suse because of "technical" aspects, while many others refuse it for matters of principle.

      I'm not judging anything here, and think your priorities are perfectly valid (although I personally disagree).

      I just wanted to point this out as a perfect example of a schism in the open-source community: those who walk down a path because it is technically best (say, the Torvalds camp), and those who avoid that path because it is philosophically tainted (say, the Stallman camp).

      I find thi
      • by Raenex (947668)
        It's a big tent. There's lots of duplication and fragmentation. That is to say, the community is already broken up.
  • by Pecisk (688001) on Thursday May 24, 2007 @05:52AM (#19250413)
    to do that "Linux is tained and stuff" trick? Simple. Before that, Novell where very close to offer full stack of apps/technologies/stuff for migrating SMB to Linux. Groupware? check, Groupwise. Good looking and working distro? Check, Suse. Enterprise technologies? Check, starthing from Zen network, etc. Commited resources to fixing things in open source stack? Check, Novell employ/employed lot of Samba/KDE/GNOME/OpenOffice.org coders. Microsoft actually nailed two rabbits with one hit - they pushed their IP war against Linux a bit forward and stopped capable company from gaining any marketshare and momentum. What makes me so mad that I can even bet that it was just because of some coorporation tricking (I could guess even on corruption inside Novell). I think Microsoft simply pushed right buttons and leadership of Novell, without thinking or consulting devs or middle management first, decided easily.

    Of course it is all speculation and don't change a bit - Novell have to clean up their higher management and drop those agreements with Microsoft to get it right back on track - but it is kinda little bit sad that stupid decisions are made just because some people are so easily manipulated trough money.
  • If Novell is looking to undo the situation they've found themselves in, they should have done it when the Protest the Microsoft-Novell Patent Agreement* petition came out. They had lots of time to rethink their decision. For all I know, Novell's intentions with the EFF may not be as noble as suggested.

    [*] - http://techp.org/p/1 [techp.org]
  • Play with shit, and sooner or later, you're bound to get it on you.

    My father used that as a cautionary metaphor when it came to hanging out with bad company, and I think it pretty much sums up what happens whenever anyone gets into bed with Microsoft.

    Thing is, that implies being a victim. Novell's a victim, all right, but I'd say it's a situation more of their own making. Years ago, with NetWare, they were the only game in town. In these days, they're struggling for relevancy, and it appears they're willing
  • This is a typical big corporation issue I think. It's not that Novell decides to both support and go against Microsoft. It's just that Novell has some clueless managing types at the top that see a presentation about how a certain decision will make them money. They decide to go with the decision if it prognoses to make lots of money. The next board meeting or staff meeting (whoever decides that and at which level I don't know), they see another decision that will help them with their image, they decide to g
  • Could this be Novell trying to get back in the good graces of Linux users?

    Please don't speak for me as a Linux user, nor as a system integrator. Novell didn't leave my good graces. In fact, that they could manage to grab a huge chunk of change (it was what, several hundred million?) from Microsoft only increased my fondness for the most refined Linux distribution out there.

    Linux is a great operating system. The fact that Novell was able to succeed in scamming Microsoft out of money AND remain in the bounds

  • I am now happily running Debian [debian.org] 4.0 etch as my default desktop and laptop OS. Novell committed a serious offence in the open source world by signing a deal with Microsoft, and their recent partnership with EFF can't change that. No machine runs SUSE anymore here. Perhaps you should consider Debian the next time you have to install an OS, as it'll enable you to become part of a much more healthy community and avoid becoming a customer of a corporation that WILL step over you if it's good for their bottom

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