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Novell Proclaims 'We're Not SCO' and We Won't Sue 183

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-thank-goodness-for-all-that-then dept.
E5Rebel writes "Novell has promised not to sue anybody over the Unix copyrights that a US court last week ruled it owned. They said there was no Unix in Linux and now they are sticking by it. Perhaps they had no option, but Novell deserve praise for taking on the fight with SCO...."
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Novell Proclaims 'We're Not SCO' and We Won't Sue

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  • I believe them... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chamont (25273) * <monty@@@fullmonty...org> on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:08AM (#20236935) Homepage
    Ok, first let me say that I believe Novell when they say this. I think that they're so beaten up right now by the open source community, that they're going to be walking on eggshells for a long time. Plus they've learned their lesson...What's to gain? Not much, since there's not much of a case (if any) in the first place.

    A lot of people may not know that one of the reasons Caldera was started in the first place (SCO's parent) was that Ransom Love recuited a load of engineers to get Zen works to run on Linux. Internally, Novell rejected the idea after they saw a massively failed WordPerfect on Linux project, and thought they had better stay clear of alternative OS's for a while.

    Both companies being located in Utah county, there was heavy Novell influence in Caldera internally. In meetings (yes, I worked there for a couple of years), you would always here..."At Novell, we did it this way...". People would come in from or leave to Novell here and there. They were actually very passionate about open source. I even got a t-shirt shortly after the merger was announced, hinting that they'd be opening the source code to UnixWare (silly, huh).

    Anyway, once Caldera started all the layoffs after the dot-com boom and SCO merger, a good chunk of engineering ended up at Novell. They closed the German development office (Erlangen), and most of those fellows headed over to Suse.

    Then Novell bought Suse. Wow, funny how things come together. So yes, there are plenty of the same people working for Novell as were at SCO for a time, but as far as I can tell, it's mostly (or all) non-execs. Every guy I worked with was passionate about open source, and making the world a better place, etc.
    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:39AM (#20237401) Homepage

      Anyway, once Caldera started all the layoffs after the dot-com boom and SCO merge, a good chunk of engineering ended up at Novell.

      I think that one phrase tells you a lot about why SCO sued people and Novell won't: Novell is a functioning business with a business plan.

      The reason SCO sued, apparently, is because they were failing as a business and they went into meltdown-mode. The people running the show seemed to give up on any prospect of maintaining a sustainable business, and instead focussed on getting whatever they could as soon as they could, future of the company be damned. They made a deal with the devil and started attacking their own potential customers.

      You can tell a business is in trouble if they start attacking their own customers. Even the most retarded businessman doesn't want his own customers to hate him.

      • The reason SCO sued, apparently, is because they were failing as a business and they went into meltdown-mode.

        I think you're trying to be reassuring, but this is in fact one of the most problematic aspects of Novell's stated position that they won't sue: namely that Novell could likewise find its business failing at some point, and decide in a paroxysm of desperation to sue over unix copyrights. So don't wake me up until Novell wants to back up their nice statements today with maneuvers that legally bi

        • by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @02:16PM (#20239407)
          Copyright isn't a problem; Novell are distributing Linux themselves under the GPL, which is all the licence anyone needs. Patents might be another matter... but if that particular balloon ever goes up then the American software industry will self-destruct in quarrelling over who infringed who. Not sure anyone wants to start that off.
      • Even the most retarded businessman doesn't want his own customers to hate him.

        That certainly says something about Microsoft.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by blackicye (760472)

        You can tell a business is in trouble if they start attacking their own customers. Even the most retarded businessman doesn't want his own customers to hate him.


        A simple fact that the movie and music industry doesn't seem to be able to grasp.
    • by jkrise (535370)
      Every guy I worked with was passionate about open source, and making the world a better place, etc.

      Since Novell makes zero revenue with Netware these days, why don't they Open Source it? They can make a lot of money over Certifications, Implementations and Training... like RedHat does with Linux. The fact that they haven't done; and the Open Enterprise SErver is now moving to Linux, means they are not committed to the ideals of Open Source.

      Their acquisition of SuSE has actually killed a big non-US distro -
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jellomizer (103300) *
        Why Novel doesn't Open Source Netware it is probably because they can't. Espectially with the GNU. I am sure it is filled with stuff purchased from Microsoft, AT&T, IBM, perhaps even SCO, as well a bunch of other places. It will be way to expensive to put it out in open source and impossible with GPL and even more impossible with GPL 3.

        Secondly security threw obscurity Because Netware isn't a huge market seller there probably isn't a lot of people trying to hack in it. But by releasing the source people
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        That's one possibility ... another possibility is that they don't own the copyright to all the pieces of Netware (which could be the case if they licensed some libraries or something), can't Open Source it without those copyrights, and is unable to obtain those copyrights.
      • by Reziac (43301) *
        Several years ago, a friend and I talked to the Novell guys about that. They said Novell was already looking into opensourcing obsolete versions of Netware, especially for Netware 3.x and before. That nothing has yet come of it is probably, as others have speculated, due to too much of their own code being tangled up with licensed code. Second, getting a huge pile of closed-source codebase ready for the public eye is a major undertaking, and could be they can't justify paying their guys to do it, and there
    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      I belive them but not for the reasons you do. I don't think Novell is walking on "eggshells" because of the open source zealots. Novell had produced some of the very best FOSS out there and has for years. Evolution, Yast, Tomboy, Banshee, F-Spot, Beagle, and all of the love it or hate it Mono project. "I am not a fan but there has been some really good software written for Mono." They have been very friendly to open source and it was Novell that really killed the SCO case. The deal with Microsoft seem to
    • Re:I believe them... (Score:5, Informative)

      by tbird20d (600059) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @02:01PM (#20239193)

      A lot of people may not know that one of the reasons Caldera was started in the first place (SCO's parent) was that Ransom Love recuited a load of engineers to get Zen works to run on Linux. Internally, Novell rejected the idea after they saw a massively failed WordPerfect on Linux project, and thought they had better stay clear of alternative OS's for a while.

      Whoa! That's not how I remember it, and I was one of the original employees of Caldera. Caldera was started by Bryan Sparks, who recruited Ransom and other Novell people to spin out "Secret Project X" into its own standalone startup. "Secret Project X" was a Novell project to create a *nix-based desktop OS, using Linux as the base OS. Bryan has tried to do this with UnixWare, but ran into problems.

      Novell rejected the idea of building a Linux-based desktop OS in 1993, which was too bad. It was a bit galling to see Novell get back into the Linux business a full 10 years later, after squandering what could have been an early lead. The decision pre-dated Windows 95, which was arguably where the Redmond Windows monopoly began, so history could have been different.

      Would-a, Could-a, Should-a...

  • Open sourced Unix? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stinerman (812158) <nathan.stine@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:09AM (#20236951) Homepage
    Then it wouldn't hurt to put any and all software they own the copyrights to under the BSD license or even release them to the public domain. If they aren't going to sue anyone who infringes on their copyrights, then they might as well release the code under a permissive license
    • I agree. We've already got an open-source UNIX (Solaris), and a few Unix-likes (*BSDs, Linux, Minix, Hurd, etc.), but I believe it would be a great contribution to open up "the real thing". They would have to wait to be able to tear up their contract with SCOX though (which won't take long judging by their stock)

      As an aside, would "classic" UNIX actually be useful on modern x86-based hardware?
      • As an aside, would "classic" UNIX actually be useful on modern x86-based hardware?
        This is probably not what you meant but I would say that, yes, it would indeed be useful to a lot of people to have access to the source code for classic Unix (Classix? :-). It may not run as is on x86 but I'm sure a lot of code could be ported or at least used as a starting point for many useful things...
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:23AM (#20237155) Homepage Journal
      Essentially, they can't. Novell doesn't own all the copyrights to the Unix source code. Some of the code was developed outside of AT&T by outside vendors. And then there's the whole BSDi case, which has already put the copyrights that Novell does own in a tenuous position. The judge in that case was about this *thumb and forefinger* close to invalidating AT&T's copyrights due to attribution requirements (remember, much of the old code was written before the U.S. signed onto the Berne Convention, which removed attribution requirements) and that's the real reason AT&T/Bell Labs settled with BSDi.

      But, the ancient Unix V7 sources were already released under BSD long ago by none other than Caldera.

    • by Raphael (18701)

      Then it wouldn't hurt to put any and all software they own the copyrights to under the BSD license or even release them to the public domain.

      It would be much more interesting if Novell would release that software under the GPLv3. Think about it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sumdumass (711423)
        You have to watch moving something to GPLv3. Your taking on a whole lot of liability when doing so. Not only can you get busted for a patent that someone else owns, you have and extremely large amount of culpability in inferring that others had a right to use it.

        Not only could you get popped from a patent troll, they probably could increase the claimed damages because you represented it to others as yours as well as anyone else caught on it could likely come back to you for their losses. OR at least try any
    • A more reasonable stance would be for them to certify that x.xx version or earlier of linux contains no code that they claim ownership of now or in the future.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by stites (993570)

      BSD is an operating system that was developed at the University of California, Berkeley using government grants handed out to develop the Internet. AT&T sued the University of California claiming that AT&T owned the BSD operating system. Early in the trial (USL v BSDi) the court ruled that the code written by AT&T was owned by AT&T and the code written by University of California was owned by the University of California. The story is complicated because both operating systems have change

  • by BlueParrot (965239) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:10AM (#20236971)
    I guess they are trying to rebuild goodwill they lost with the MS deal. Oh well, in either case this is a welcome announcement so at least they can get some praise for that one. Seems they realise just how bad they screwed up at least ...
  • A promise is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cyphercell (843398) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:10AM (#20236985) Homepage Journal
    ...legally binding? I had no idea.
    • Re:A promise is... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Aim Here (765712) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:24AM (#20237179)
      Sure is. I take it you're being sarcastic, but you really are precluded from suing someone if they rely on your promise not to sue them. The legal doctrine is called 'promissory estoppel [wikipedia.org]' and has been invoked by IBM in the SCO case already, IIRC.
      • by Billosaur (927319) *

        And so, by making it public, Novell has pretty much sealed the deal. It would be kind of hard to go back on the promise after making it to so many people. Besides, there's no impetus to sue -- they can look at what just happened to SCO. Novell sure isn't going to ruin itself as a viable company by going on a patent-hunting, copyright-infringement lawsuit binge.

      • by TheLink (130905)
        But if Novell goes belly up and gets taken over by say Microsoft.

        The new management is bound by the legal contracts Novell made, but are they still bound by that promise?
        • by Rich0 (548339)
          I would think so. If an end-user can argue that they relied on the promise and acted on it, then the promise becomes binding. Microsoft would inherit these sorts of obligations even as they inherit any assets should they buy Novell out. This is what often saves companies with massive problems from buyouts - nobody wants to buy the headaches even for a cheap price - a company with sufficient liabilities could have negative value.
      • I'm curious as to how often that sort of thing works though, for instance in this case Novel has personally promised me nothing but Jack and Sh*t. The article itself stands as hearsay only, and the ownership of patents and copyrights both suggest a long standing reservation of legal rights. I don't think they can lose those rights simply by saying "We promise we're not going to be stupid like SCO".
      • by nuzak (959558)
        > The legal doctrine is called 'promissory estoppel' and has been invoked by IBM in the SCO case already, IIRC.

        Yeah, and that's why SCO's case against IBM is no longer in the courts, and anyone without the deep pockets to pay for the likes of Swain, Cravath, and Moore can afford to rely on this doctrine.
    • Promissory estoppel. [wikipedia.org]

      Learn something new every day huh?

      Admittedly, I'm being a little facetious there. A promise isn't legally binding as such, but if you rely on someones promise not enforce a copyright, and as a result of that reliance breach their copyright, they will almost certainly be prevented from enforcing that copyright by the doctrine of promissory estoppel.

      I'm only familiar with the doctrine as it is applied in English law, but Wikipedia seems to indicate that US law is pretty similar.
    • The RIAA should be talking to economists rather than lawyers.

      Excellent sig line. Too bad the RIAA doesn't read Slashdot.

  • If Novell is soooooo
    cool, why don't they open source
    UNIX already?
    • by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:20AM (#20237109) Homepage

      Unix *is* open source. Between *BSD and Solaris, pretty much all the Unix code you might want is available. Seriously - what useful code is in some version of Unix that Novel may hold copyrights for that isn't in *BSD or Solaris?

      • by Gazzonyx (982402)

        Unix *is* open source. Between *BSD and Solaris, pretty much all the Unix code you might want is available. Seriously - what useful code is in some version of Unix that Novel may hold copyrights for that isn't in *BSD or Solaris?

        Well... I'd like to compile my own Solaris kernel, please?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tloh (451585)
      Why is that necessary when we already have GNU? Let the proprietary folks keep their gig. Diversity is supposed to be healthy isn't it? One ought to have options in both code ANDlicenses if one is truly free.
      • So you would rather us wait for HURD to be finished?* And by your own arguments, we would benefit more from having UNIX opened up.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Spy der Mann (805235)
      Yes, but what license shall they choose? BSD? GPL?

      Let's assume they release it under GPL. What happens with the BSD-like OS's (including Mac OS X and beyond)? Will they have to adopt GPL, too? For this we would have to find out if they are indeed Unix derivative works and not just clean room implementations, and well, we really don't want to get into that, do we? So, I would choose to re-release Unix under the BSD license.
      • by sumdumass (711423)
        Anything derived from before it went GPL would be lost in the wind. The GPL could go back in time and all the sudden effect that. But, any changes to Unix after it would have been GPLed would count so they couldn't take the new stuff after the license switch.
      • by Kjella (173770)
        Let's assume they release it under GPL. What happens with the BSD-like OS's (including Mac OS X and beyond)? Will they have to adopt GPL, too?

        This doesn't make any sense whatsoever. As copyright holders Novell can release the source as many times they want under as many licenses as they want. If the BSD-like OS's need a license, they're violating the law right now. If they already have the licenses they need, they'll still be just as valid as ever.
    • +1, Haiku

      I'm not sure anyone else noticed, though. Nobody responded in haiku, which leaves me in doubt.
    • When IBM, HPQ, SUNW, and SGI, bought their UNIX licenses from AT&T, it was with a clear, contractual, understanding that the code would remain closed.

      Novell inherited those contractual obligations. So novell can not legally, unilaterally, decide to open the old UNIX code.

      That's how I understand it.
  • by alexhmit01 (104757) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:13AM (#20237019)
    Novell has shown themselves consistently to try to do the right thing 1) for their customers, 2) for open source in general, and 3) for their shareholders.

    They are constantly harassed by not being a "pure" open source company, but they have shown a tremendous dedication to working with the community on their Free Software. Their "deal" with Microsoft was an attempt to offer their customers something unique, the indemnification/license to protect them from Microsoft.

    They were attacked, because private citizens felt that nobody should offer that, that's silly. That was Novell working to offer a unique value proposition.

    When SCO turned on Linux, they COULD have hung other companies out to dry and claimed that as a unique advantage to Novell. They didn't. They defended the Free Software world against SCO.

    I think that Novell has been a remarkably good citizens in short order, and should be given more slack when they announce a program that is good for their customers but isn't hurting the general movement.

    If the Novell/MS deal gave Novell an edge than its because Linux IS infringing. If Linux isn't infringing, then their deal was nothing more than my promising not to sue you for using city roads, a meaningless offer. The attacks on them seemed unfair.
    • by Chyeld (713439)
      They were attacked primarily because almost everyone outside of MS and Novell thought it was a mistake and a trap. We were watching someone good naturedly walking into what we believed (and most of us still believe) to be a minefield. In other words, the backlash they have received is more for being boneheaded as opposed to being malicious (as SCO received).

      It wasn't unfair, it was worry.
    • If the Novell/MS deal gave Novell an edge than its because Linux IS infringing.

      I assume you're talking about the 235 patents, right?
      No, it isn't. The deal gave Novell an edge because Microsoft's FUD has drawn everyone to believe it is.
    • by Himring (646324)
      Novell has shown themselves consistently to try to do the right thing 1) for their customers, 2) for open source in general, and 3) for their shareholders.

      You musta missed the java GUI with v5....

    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:54AM (#20237585)

      If the Novell/MS deal gave Novell an edge than its because Linux IS infringing. If Linux isn't infringing, then their deal was nothing more than my promising not to sue you for using city roads, a meaningless offer. The attacks on them seemed unfair.
      ...compare to...

      Their "deal" with Microsoft was an attempt to offer their customers something unique, the indemnification/license to protect them from Microsoft.

      So Novell tried to offer something that they felt would distinguish their product from others ... even though doing so would kind of admit that Linux was violating Microsoft's patents.

      Novell has shown themselves consistently to try to do the right thing 1) for their customers, 2) for open source in general, and 3) for their shareholders.

      But if Linux does NOT violate Microsoft's patents ... then Novell is marketing something that is not needed by their customers.

      Yeah, that's doing "the right thing" for "their customers".

      That seems contradictory to me. Why sign a deal with Microsoft if there isn't any violation?

      Why not simply state that Novell offers "indemnification" for any and all violations of their products? Because Novell believes Linux is clean and Free. No deal needed with Microsoft.

      And if Novell is so noble, why did they immediately start pushing their "protection" as something NEEDED by Linux users and ONLY available from Novell?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jambarama (784670)
        You forget Novell also got a pile of cash from Microsoft. My bet is that Novell did it for the cash as much as for the indemnification they claim is worthless.
    • [Novell] are constantly harassed by not being a "pure" open source company

      I don't think I've seen anyone attack them for not being a "pure" open source company.

      A lot of Free Software developers did get upset at Novell's attempts to circumvent the clear intent of the GPL. And when those developers objected, Novell's response was was essentially "it's legal and you can't stop us - so nyah!".

      This in turn led to a lot of people questioning Novell#s trustworthiness. bad enough that they demonstrate suc

    • by Skapare (16644)

      They were attacked, because private citizens felt that nobody should offer that, that's silly. That was Novell working to offer a unique value proposition.

      No. They were attacked because their agreement with Microsoft:

      1. encouraged Microsoft to expand or continue its FUD campaign.
      2. could be used as evidence by Microsoft to support their IP claims.
      3. unfairly tipped a balanced playing field in the open source markets.
  • Perhaps they had no option, but Novell deserve praise for taking on the fight with SCO

    This is why I read slashdot. Where else do you find editors with such mental agility that they can completely contradict themselves in the mere space of 16 words?

    From the mysterious future, I bring you this headline:

    Sweden launches nubile virgins straight into the heart of the Sun. After all, it shines on us every day. I mean, it doesn' exactly have much else to do, but we need an empty reason to express gratitude. T

    • by mooingyak (720677)
      Sure, SCO sued them after they asserted ownership of the UNIX copyrights. Novell could have sat back and watched the show if they wanted.
    • by doxology (636469) <cozzyd.mit@edu> on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:52AM (#20237559) Homepage
      Sweden launches nubile virgins straight into the heart of the Sun.

      That's it, I'm switching to Solaris.

    • Novell had an option: They could have done nothing. SCO sued them because they stood up to SCO's claim that they owned UNIX. The SCO vs. IBM case would have fallen apart for SCO anyway (as most of the "infringing" stuff is POSIX and/or header files). And it may have even come out that SCO didn't own UNIX (and Novell could have simply filed an amicus curie brief or something).

      The straight-up fact is that they set themselves up to get sued by SCO for the purpose of defending their copyright and defendin
  • So many thousands of 'engineers' have got the Certified Novell Engineer certification... millions of devices have been designed around Netware.. and Novell has simply ditched them all.

    If they will not maintain and enhance Netware, they ought to atleast Open Source the damn thing; maybe even GPL it. Netware and NDS have been very good pieces of work, and abandoning them has worked to Microsoft's and Intel's advantage.

    With Netware, Novell was pretending to be a competitor to Microsoft's DOS and Xenix; with Su
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by belly69 (1114799)
      Umm... Did I miss something? Novell stopped supporting Netware?

      I guess those field-test patches that I downloaded from them yesterday didn't really exist.

      From your post, it is obvious that you are apparently confused. Netware is STILL a supported product, STILL has a thriving support community, and is STILL a viable choice for a server OS.

      sorry for feeding the troll...
      • by Phishcast (673016)
        Netware...is STILL a viable choice for a server OS.

        Do you really believe that? Say I'm starting a new business and I plan to have a hundred people with PCs on their desks. How should I enable them to share files and run print servers? Would you really recommend I go out and purchase Novell Netware? Maybe when you say "viable" you mean that it will work today, not that it's something you actually believe is going to be around in five years.

        I used to be a Netware advocate and took care of an NDS tree w

        • by alanp (179536) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @03:08PM (#20240069) Homepage
          Man, you are so uninformed it's sickening.

          Your 100 PC example is just what I've done. New company, never used Novell in my life before for anything.
          Now it's ALL novell running on Linux / OES, ZenWorks for PC management, Groupwise for email, OES for file, print, eDirectory, and kerberos everywhere.

          OES rocks the socks of every other Linux enterprise distro.
          NDS not around ? Are you smoking the crackpipe ? It's now called eDirectory and is at the core of every service.

          As a Linux old hand, I really appreciate the reliablity, simplicity and great services Novell have brought to the table, running on Linux.

          They understand 'integration', single sign on, security and that everything should work well together (linux, Apple and Windows). And it does...

          File and print ?? iPrint and NCP ported from netware running on OES rocks. I mean rocks.
          The stuff you get in OES is astounding.. all the Linux goodies plus loads of novell stuff :
          eDirectory, iFolder, Novell Clustering, iPrint, and good integration with M$. Like it or hate it, that IS necessary in corporate IT.

          I've bet the ship on Novell, plumping for their Open Workgroup Suite (Great VFM, includes Groupwise, ZenWorks, OES and a load more) and I'm not looking back...

          Their support rocks, their products generally rock stable, and a hell of a user community.

          Screw Redhat, VmWare, et al, Novell are the ones to watch, they've got it ALL sorted, and their Linux integration is TIGHT.

          And finally a plug for SLED10... what a Linux desktop ! Amazing. Everything needed in corporate world for desktop user without the heartache of configuring the shit out of it for weeks to get something close.

          SLES 10... makes redhat 5 look like a donkey. In much the same way as SLES9.3 made RHEL4 look like a relic. Configuring sendmail by hand ? Give me a break. Yast rocks the shit out of every other Linux admin tool.

          So before spouting about netware is dead, consider what netware was.. a NOS (network operating system) nothing more. A basic OS akin to DOS. That you ran services on top of.

          All those wonderful services have now moved to Linux in a coherent, integerated, amazing way.

          And this is coming from someone with lots of experience in build IT infrastructure. Tried the Apple OS/X server route... incomplete, unstable and shit. Ease of use yes. Reliabilty shit.

          All you OSS mouthpieces who chastise them should be very FUCKING grateful for what they did to SCO.

          Long live novell.

  • "We're not interested in suing people over Unix," Novell spokesman Bruce Lowry said. "We're not even in the Unix business any more."

    Does that mean Unix is effectively in the public domain now?
    • by simong (32944)
      It would be a nice gesture although it wouldn't mean a lot. How many Unices are closed source now? Probably more than we might think - AIX, HP-UX and Tru-64 for three in major use. Placing Unix in the public domain, rather than binding it to a licence, would be a strong acknowledgement of its position in the IT world of the early 21st century.
  • by Bullfish (858648) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:20AM (#20237105)
    They are saying they own their patents, and they won't go after you as a Linux user. What more do you really want? They may be able to make money off the patents in other ways. They are a business after all. Holding the MS deal against them for eternity is dumb as well.
  • Somebody at Novell probably believes that. But somebody else is looking at the bottom line and is still thinking their sellout to Microsoft was good business sense.

    Novell need not sue because Microsoft will sue twice as hard.
    Meanwhile Microsoft need not distribute GPL2 because that's Novell's bag.
    Both indemnify each other and their customers over patents, only loser being the general open source community.
    The community (or some of it) launches back with GPL3, but this only covers future software which is no
  • no option? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lxy (80823) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:30AM (#20237271) Journal
    Perhaps they had no option

    Novell has plenty of options here. They are in the same position as SCO right now. Novell holds the UNIX copyrights, and has a linux distro that is gaining market share. They could very easily start up the infringement train and force everyone to use SuSE linux as not to infringe on their IP. They could even sell indemnification licenses, at, oh, say $699 a pop.

    BUT THEY DIDN'T. Even though Novell is losing money left and right, and the target of much hostility in the community (for which I really don't understand), they have opted not to sue. They have the UNIX copyrights and have promised not to use them, in the best interest of the community. That's HUGE. Unlike the SCO case, Novell actually has the resources to put a stranglehold on the community. BUT THEY DIDN'T.

    Stop bashing Novell already. PLEASE.
    • Re:no option? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:42AM (#20237449) Homepage
      They could very easily start up the infringement train and force everyone to use SuSE linux as not to infringe on their IP. They could even sell indemnification licenses, at, oh, say $699 a pop.

      And... just like with SCO's retarded license, nobody with a brain would pay for it. And if they tried to enforce it against, say, IBM, then they would find themselves being beaten around by the Nazgul just like SCO was. And subject to many of the same counter-claims that SCO is.

      Unlike the SCO case, Novell actually has the resources to put a stranglehold on the community. BUT THEY DIDN'T.

      They DIDN'T because they CAN'T, because JUST like in the SCO case, there IS NO INFRINGING CODE IN LINUX. It's not about resources, as SCO had plenty thanks to MS. It's just that they DIDN'T HAVE A CASE. The ruling that SCO doesn't own UNIX copyrights has brought about a quicker end, but that doesn't change the fact that up to this point SCO hasn't produced a single piece of actual evidence of infringement, and Novell, were they to try, couldn't either because IT ISN'T THERE.

      So yes, let's all congratulate Novell for not going on a retarded suicide mission of a pointless lawsuit. Having an actual business that makes money, this would be stupid, and Novell isn't that stupid. I commend them for being in touch with reality.

      I mean, I don't really have anything bad to say about Novell. But when they say "Oh, we're not going to sue Linux users for infringing UNIX because we're nice guys" you need to look through the transparent PR and translate that as "because we would lose horribly".
      • Re:no option? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kripkenstein (913150) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @01:18PM (#20238639) Homepage

        I mean, I don't really have anything bad to say about Novell. But when they say "Oh, we're not going to sue Linux users for infringing UNIX because we're nice guys" you need to look through the transparent PR and translate that as "because we would lose horribly".
        If you read TFA, you will see that Novell do not say they won't sue 'because they are nice guys'. They say they can't because there is no Unix in Linux. They make that very clear in their statement.

        So why make the statement at all? Very simple. Say there is a gun held by someone (SCO) in a room full of people; the gun is used in a threatening way. Then the gun is moved to another person's control (Novell). To get everybody to calm down as quickly as possible, the second person shows that the gun isn't loaded anyhow, and then puts it away in some drawer. That is essentially what Novell did: tell people that there is no threat whatsoever, in the most direct way possible. This is necessary because the people in the room, on edge from the previous threats, are still worried by the gun.
        • by Chris Burke (6130)
          Right, so only one poster thought Novell was doing us all a big favor by not suing.
        • by zerocool^ (112121)

          My god, sir. You win the "most applicable analogy on Slashdot" award. It's not often that someone uses an analogy that makes sense, but that's a good one.

      • They DIDN'T because they CAN'T, because JUST like in the SCO case, there IS NO INFRINGING CODE IN LINUX.

        And even if there were, they STILL couldn't, because as a Linux distributor themselves Novell have put any code of theirs that is in Linux under the GPL.

    • Novell has plenty of options here. They are in the same position as SCO right now. Novell holds the UNIX copyrights, and has a linux distro that is gaining market share. They could very easily start up the infringement train and force everyone to use SuSE linux as not to infringe on their IP. They could even sell indemnification licenses, at, oh, say $699 a pop.

      Right. And then, someone would grab the GPL'd sources to SuSE, then publish it for free.

      The problem is, *if* Novell publishes SuSE, knowing th

    • Re:no option? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DimGeo (694000) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @01:00PM (#20238405) Homepage
      But they wouldn't have a case. You see, when you get SuSE, you get permission to use Novell's code under the GPL. Novell give that license to you. To anyone. So, any other distro can remove any GPL'ed code they have that could infringe on Novell, get the code same code from Novell under the GPL, and re-add it to their distro, ending up with the same distro they started up with down to the last line of code.

      In other words: AS LONG AS NOVELL ARE DISTRIBUTING THEIR OWN CODE UNDER THE GPL, ANYBODY HAVING THAT CODE IN THEIR DISTRO IS OBEYING THE FRACKING LAW. THERE IS NO CASE!

      Damn, I got tired of this nonsense.
  • A lot of posts about "Novel should open source Unix then". Curious though now adays what *IS* Unix? Solaris? BSDi? Unixware? Sco's OS? 4.4BSD? Thought Unix was just a term applied to a specific product, and that people could consider their systems "Unix" if they paid for that trademark.

    For me I'm not really concerned since all that should matter is whether a system conforms to SysV, Posix, etc. Unix as a trademark neither betters or worsens an OS's abilities. It seems more like all of those OEM's who sla

    • When we're saying Novell should open up Unix, we are referring to the original System V Unix source, which is the "gold standard" Unix implementation that everything else (Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, Tru64, Darwin that) is judged by.
  • The summary includes a slam (or two, depending on how you count) against Novell.

    I have to say that despite my initial skepticism back when they bought it, I have come to believe that Novell has done a far better job throughout every part of their stewardship of the UNIX copyrights than anyone would have expected. Remember that when they acquired it the lawsuit over BSD was still ongoing... and the first thing that Novell said about it was that they would rather compete in the market than in court. Lawsuits have momentum, so it took a while to wind down, but the final settlement was remarkably positive: CSRG had to remove a token - three files - and Novell agreed not to sue anyone using the resulting code base.

    I also had the opportunity to use UNIXware from Novell, and it was a solid release of System V... far better than SCO's awful version.

    After their vigorous and aggressive response to SCO's actions, I think they deserve better than this.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @12:51PM (#20238283)
    Of course there's no Unix in Linux. Everyone knows there's Microsoft Windows in Linux instead. It must be true, Microsoft said so.
  • This is Here [slashdot.org]

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