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

    by stinerman ( 812158 ) <nathan.stine@gmail.cTEAom minus caffeine> 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
  • 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:heh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thatskinnyguy ( 1129515 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:14AM (#20237035)

    but Novell deserve praise for taking on the fight with SCO
    More like f'ing pwning SCO and totally burying them!
  • by JosefAssad ( 1138611 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:17AM (#20237063) Homepage
    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. Thank you Sweden for honoring the Sun's contribution to our civilization.

  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:18AM (#20237073) Journal
    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 SuSE even the pretence of competing in the OS market has gone - it is now an unholy 'partnership'.

    Novell's promise "Not To Sue" will not win them more customers for SuSE Linux. Customers will go in for Linux distros not tainted by Novell, Ximian Xandros etc.
  • 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.
  • by tloh ( 451585 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:21AM (#20237125)
    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.
  • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter&slashdot,2006,taronga,com> on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:37AM (#20237381) Homepage Journal
    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 nine-times ( 778537 ) <> 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.

  • Re:heh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jeevesbond ( 1066726 ) on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:53AM (#20237579) Homepage

    What the hell are they going to do now, without this case to report on!?

    Oh come on! There's the Microsoft-shilling-ISO problem to report on yet, Groklaw is in the thick of that []! Don't forget who funded the SCO attack [], Microsoft are not yet defeated, that was just one maneuvre. Meaning there's the end-game of Microsoft's patent FUD attack [] on GNU+Linux to report, might even be a court case in it too.

    I think the site is well established, too many people like PJ's pithy analysis for Groklaw to disappear. Although I doubt your post was serious, it's still worth pointing out all the things the site could do in the weeks, months and years to come. :)

  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> 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. 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?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @11:55AM (#20237597)
    Novell haven't abandoned NDS (eDirectory) at all, in fact it's one of their core products around which a lot of stuff is built.

    I would say though they have shelved NetWare despite their public comments. But is this such a bad thing ? NetWare was good for its day, but is starting to show its age now as a 32bit OS. It's never going to make the transition to a 64bit world.

    This whole "NetWare is dead" argument is a moot point anyway. Nobody should care what their operating system is called, what they should care about is what services it provides them.

    So, for example when say they want NetWare servers, what they really want is for the OS to provide the following:

    NetWare levels of stability
    Minimal hardware requirements (compared to Windows)
    NCP (Novell Core Protocol) access for Windows clients (a.k.a the "file" part of file and print)
    eDirectory authentication
    A Novell file system with the extra ACL controls they have
    A platform to run the various Novell applications e.g. GroupWise, ZENWorks, IDM etc.

    Novell offer all of this now with their Linux Kernel OES. You can swap out a NetWare box for OES on Linux and nobody in your orgnaization would even know (OK, not entirely true if your workstations are running old client code, but if you keep them up to date you'll be OK). In addition to that you can run all the Linux applications and also allow Microsoft clients to connect with SAMBA. Novell OES basically gives you NetWare + Unix + NT.

    Whilst I would love for NetWare to be open-sourced, it would be a huge drain on resources for them to do this (I know it was when they released NetMail to the community and that's a minor product compared to NetWare)
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @12:02PM (#20237675)
    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 see that there is a hole for a Master Password or something the systems with Netware running will be volnerable. But I doubt there will be enough comunity support to fix the bugs to make it a secure product.

    Third while it is probably a break even product it is better to keep your customers then loose them, just for keeping their contact information is valuable. At some point they may migrate off of Netware if you have a nice linux solution they just may go back to you and buy it. If Netware was open source you could loose some customers as contact and will just go free use only downloading without dealing with novel. Thus when they feel like they need to move off they have no alegence with novel and lost much of the contact information so their choices for competing products are equal.

    Forth it is best not to keep all your eggs in the same basket. There are people who may not like the other offerings and they are still worried about Open Source so Novel has an option for them. Also if they are going to make a new product iNetWere that is closed source they still have private IP that they can use for the project, giving them a competivie advantage.
  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @12:21PM (#20237951) Homepage
    Errr... Ok, if you don't believe that Novell employees worked on anything the past few years, I don't know what to say to that. Perhaps a Novell employee could respond and describe all the non-work they've been doing?

    In any case, they are a functioning business with a business plan, which was my only claim. Even if we assume that they've written no code and engineered no product, they were at least hiring people, which is a sign that they intended to.

  • 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.


    Damn, I got tired of this nonsense.
  • by Nossie ( 753694 ) <(IanHarvie) (at) (4Development.Net)> on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @01:06PM (#20238495)
    As much as I dislike Novell for dealing with MS, I have to agree that apart from that they have contributed quite a bit to open source. A good chunk of their engineers work on open source software when they have their spare time at work. Not as much as the likes of Google but still a contribution to say the least.
  • Re:Unix OSS (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @01:07PM (#20238497)
    Correction: *was* judged by 20 years ago -

    this predates the original and now-outdated posix "standard" by ~3 or 4 years

    you probably wouldn't *want* anything in SYSV -

    would you want these great features:

    drivers for 8MHZ AT&T 3B2 computers? maybe - netbsd port anyone?
    outdated VM algorithms? nope
    crappy SMP support (*maybe* 2CPU scalability)? nope
    no threading? nope
    outdated UFS filesystem? nope
    ancient 4BSD TCP/IP with lots of security holes? nope

    maybe some stuff from the userland like Korn shell & updated "real" troff,
    another outdated open source but commercial-ish quality C compiler / debugger
    could be useful, but not really that cool.

    it would probably only be useful as a historical example or to 'update' for
    80's hardware with US-Made Western Electric processors..
  • by jambarama ( 784670 ) <jambarama AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @01:15PM (#20238597) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • 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.
  • Re:heh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Reziac ( 43301 ) * on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @02:23PM (#20239509) Homepage Journal
    Best punchline revision ever :D

  • 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.

  • Re:A promise is... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 15, 2007 @03:26PM (#20240301)
    It is not correct to say that the promise becomes binding. It may be correct to say that Novell becomes blocked from collecting damages for infringements commited in reliance on the promise not to sue. It's not clear to me that this block would be inherited by anyone else. If the copyright itself were weakened by estoppel, that would convey with the copyright; but that is explicitely not the case. The copyright is still in full force.

    Moreover, even while Novell owns the copyright, it doesn't appear that any criminal liability for infrignement would be affected by estoppel.

    Novell has made a nice statement of intent not to continue the SCO nonsense. They justify their position by saying they don't believe there's any infringement -- which is not the same as saying they wouldn't pursue future infringement in any case. What they've said needs to be kept in context, and I'd say that attempts to broaden it are wishful thinking.

    If Novell indeed intends to make UNIX IP free, they need to do so in a legally binding form (such as releasing it under a free license). Unless/until they make it legal, I see no reason to think "free UNIX" were their intent in the first place. Anyone relying on their statement as a basis for willful infringement is putting himself or herself in a legally risky position.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.