[sclug] Open Letter to the Community from Novell

ed ed at s5h.net
Wed Nov 22 19:18:52 UTC 2006

On Wed, 22 Nov 2006 09:22:28 +0000
"Roland Turner (SCLUG)" <raz.fpyht.bet.hx at raz.cx> wrote:

> Novell is not in a position where it can admit "it is our intention to
> co-operate with Microsoft in destroying its only serious platform
> competitor, thereby helping Microsoft to re-establish its effective
> (and unlawful) monopoly". Consequently, no useful information about
> Novell's actual intentions can be gleaned from Novell's stated
> intentions.

but the monopoly is still established. the 95% desktop market is very
much a monopoly, nothing there needs re-establishment.

it's almost just a sad, and accepted fact. it's often the de-facto
desktop. sadly.

> > am i right in thinking that the gpl now prevents Novell from
> > distributing gpl'd code, since they have an alliance with a company
> > now that is taking/trying to take action against gpl'd code
> > distributors... all seems like a big mess now.
> Note in particular clause 7. If Microsoft is maneuvered into actually
> suing someone for patent infringement over use of non-Novell Linux,
> and wins (so it becomes established in law that running Linux does
> require licenses on Microsoft patents), then Novell will have to
> abort (or at least suspend) its Linux business overnight:
> GPLv2> For example, if a patent
> GPLv2> license would not permit royalty-free redistribution
> GPLv2> of the Program by all those who receive copies
> GPLv2> directly or indirectly through you, then the only way
> GPLv2> you could satisfy both it and this License would be to
> GPLv2> refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.
> Note that this is a constraint on Novell's activities, not a
> constraint on its licensees' activities; consequently Novell can't
> escape this particular constraint by indemnifying its licensees
> (customers). This is different to a prohibition arising from
> co-operation with an attacker that you suggest; such measures are
> being discussed for protection against DRM and patents in GPLv3.

well, ms can go on a real rampage then can't they! the moment novel
happens to become much of a competitor for them, it's simple to off

> It is conceivable that Microsoft is planning to do this to Novell,
> but I suspect that it's more likely that Microsoft is aiming to
> repeat the FUD campaign that it has already waged under the SCO
> banner (which requires that the game be played for an extended
> period; the FUD being more valuable than victories in court). It
> will, no doubt, successfully FUD at least some customers into
> choosing Windows over Linux.

this was one of my thoughts too, but it seemed a little too obvious for
ms to go down that route. particularly by polluting the repositories
with 'malware' with the only purpose really to infect other distros with
THEIR cancer!

> Note also that it may in fact be pure FUD, that Microsoft may have no
> patents that a court will uphold against Linux distributers.
> Some thoughts on the open letter:
> Novell> Our interest in signing this agreement was to
> Novell> secure interoperability and joint sales agreements,
> Novell> but Microsoft asked that we cooperate on patents as
> Novell> well, and so a patent cooperation agreement was
> Novell> included as a part of the deal.
> This is a non-sequiter. To see why, imagine that it had said "but
> Microsoft asked that we cooperate on large-scale armed robbery as
> well, and so the hiring of a few hundred mercenaries was included as
> a part of the deal". It is not enough to state that a term was
> included at the other party's request; by virtue of acceding to this
> request (and signing the deal) Novell has itself implicitly asserted
> that this is a reasonable term, despite any spin that it's now trying
> to put on it.
> Novell> We disagree with the recent statements made by
> Novell> Microsoft on the topic of Linux and patents
> <irony>
> Oh dear, how astonishing. Perhaps Novell's lawyers are so inept that
> they neglected to even form an opinion on, and/or discuss with
> Microsoft, the possibility of patent infringement in distributing
> Linux. </irony>

i am starting to wish i read the gpl better. i never thought the day
would come when knowledge of the legalities of the licence would be

Regards, Ed                      :: http://s5h.net/u?l
proud linux person
Chuck Norris's roundhouse kicks are powered by love. Everytime he 
connects with a roundhouse there is slightly less love in the 

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