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

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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  • 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.

  • 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 []' and has been invoked by IBM in the SCO case already, IIRC.
  • Pact or Chess move? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:37AM (#20237377) Journal
    I'm not so sure anymore.

    First, MSFT's mumblings about patents will likely go splat if a single MSFT voucher purchases a single copy of SuSE with GPLv3 code on it - at least for any patents covering those bits of code (I can imagine Samba w/ it's impending GPLv3 conversion wiping out plenty, if there are any).

    Second, MSFT is rather stuck - While I don't know all the agreement details, I'm willing to bet that it will likely have the effect of cutting the legs out from under a lot of anti-competitive initiatives that MSFT might try. Hoveispan isn't exactly a stupid man.

    Besides - as long as it doesn't compromise FOSS and the GPL any? Why not at least attempt to embrace the Beast, extend the Beast, then extinguish the Beast? It'd be one Hell of an ironic way to shove MSFT into obscurity.


  • Re:I believe them... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hotawa Hawk-eye ( 976755 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @12:15PM (#20237873)
    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 belly69 ( 1114799 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @12:36PM (#20238115) Homepage
    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...
  • Re:I believe them... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jambarama ( 784670 ) <jambarama@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @01:07PM (#20238509) Homepage Journal
    Please do some research before absurd claims. Let me list a few of the Linux contributions Novell has made you might have heard of. 1. YaST 2. XGL/Compiz 3. Ximian 4. Mono 5. Beagle 6. Bandit 7. iFolder Plus the boatload of patches and drivers they've contributed, and the Linux devs they pay that write software for "Linux" not specifically SuSE. Novell is right there with Sun, Intel, Dell, Redhat, HP & the other big open source contributers. They give away SuSE (OpenSuSE), and not only that, IMO Novell has done more than any other firm to bring Linux to the enterprise desktop.
  • 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...

  • by stites ( 993570 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @02:14PM (#20239365)

    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 changed ownership. BSD is currently owned by Berkeley Software Development and System V is currently owned by Novell.

    There is a 1994 agreement between (now) BSD and (now) Novell deliniating what code is owned by each. Also the agreement states that Novell or its successors, never again sue over the BSD code. On November 28, 2004 this agreement was made public by a request under California's Public Records Law.

    At the time of the 1994 agreement the majority of UNIX code was owned by BSD. A large minority of UNIX code was owned by Novell. Other individuals and organizations with known copyrights to portions of System V code include:

    Computer Associates International, Inc. Edison Design Group, Inc. Eric P. Allman Hewlett-Packard Company Hitachi, Ltd. Intel Corporation International Business Machines Corporation Massachusetts Institute of Technology Microsoft Corporation The Regents of the University of California Sun Microsystems, Inc. The Open Group (formerly OSF) Compaq Computer Corporation Digital Equipment Corporation

    Since 1994 both Novell and SCO have added code to UNIX and each owns the copyright to the new code that they have written.

    Novell would have to get the permissions of all of the copyright holders to release their UNIX code under the any other license. BSD will not do so and I doubt that SCO would agree. So it would be almost impossible for Novell to change the UNIX license.

    -------------- Steve Stites

  • 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.
  • Re:I believe them... (Score:5, Informative)

    by houghi ( 78078 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @03:09PM (#20240093) []

    Shows a bit more then the few you stated.

    Although SuSE (now openSUSE and SLES/SLED) was always available for free, Novell has taken it up a notch by making YaST GPL, opening the development and it goes beyond RedHat by giving you the tool to make your own openSUSE based distriobution [] with the tool Rembrand that removes branding.

    So you could have your own SUSES-CentOS.
  • Re:I believe them... (Score:3, Informative)

    by MrNiceguy_KS ( 800771 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @03:47PM (#20240599)
    I remember reading several month back that, after Sun, Novell was the largest code contributor to OpenOffice. Certainly seems likely, as Novell converted entirely to OO not long after the Suse acquisition.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant