Are Microsoft And Novell Looking To Get An Annulment?

from the faster-than-a-celebrity-wedding dept

The Microsoft-Linux lovefest sure didn’t last long. A few weeks ago, Microsoft and Novell announced a surprising alliance, whereby they would work together to ensure interoperability between Windows and Linux, team up on sales, and promise not to sue each other over patent issues. While most of the attention was focused on the partnership aspect of the deal, many suspected that the patents were at the heart of it. That view was supported by statements made a few days later by Steve Ballmer, who said publicly that other Linux distributors were infringing on Microsoft’s intellectual property, and that they needed to sign similar deals. This of course put Novell in the awkward situation of being in bed with a company that was publicly threatening the open source movement. Other Linux distributors, like Red Hat, denounced the deal, while some in the open source community have explored possible challenges to it, on the grounds that it violates the GNU General Public License. So, perhaps to save face, Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian has penned an open letter to the open source community denouncing Ballmer’s statements, and insisting that the main purpose of the deal was to cooperate. In it, he suggests that the the patent part of the deal was something that was thrown in as an afterthought, because Microsoft wanted it. And maybe it was an afterthought to Novell, but for some reason we bet that Microsoft didn’t see it that way.

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Comments on “Are Microsoft And Novell Looking To Get An Annulment?”

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Mike says:


I don’t think so. I’m sure it will last the 5 years. It’s going to be a unsteady marriage though. Constant bickering and much hating. Not unlike a real marriage. The patent issue is probably mostly FUD. But others have mentioned, I’m sure that it infringes on patents held by MS just due to broad language. Red Hat said no to a deal. I dont think MS will take them on. So this could put suse to the top because the FUD will work both ways.

Ed says:

Novell on Track with Linux

Novell has always been able to work with other OS systems. This
is one of the best things about their products. This agreement is
to improve things for their customers that want to move to Linux, but
must still run MS server apps.

The Suse Enterprise Desktop can connect to MS servers with a citrix window and free customers from the MS windows desktop problems.

Novell knows that to do this better they need to work with MS to implement Xen virtualizations that can support legacy MS servers
on Suse Enterprise Servers. Check out a Suse 10 Enterprise
Desktop installation to see the progress they are making.

Sam says:


The coolest thing Novell has done was Suse Linux. Finally they get some street cred, then they go and do this? They may find themselves as an Open Source pariah; much like SCO. Is SCO still desperate for programmers?

We just installed Suse on several servers as we use several Novell products and Suse was free. (I know, I know, not my choice to use them) I really like it, but as it is still in the testing phases I will be replacing them with another flavor of Linux. The last thing we need here is SCO part 2. I do realize as a current Novell user we are “protected” from litigation, but as far as I’m concerned we never needed protecting to begin with. Our shop has 55ish people and we support 1500 users.

Goodbye Suse, I hardly knew you.

Solo says:

“In it, he suggests that the the patent part of the deal was something that was thrown in as an afterthought, because Microsoft wanted it. And maybe it was an afterthought to Novell, but for some reason we bet that Microsoft didn’t see it that way.”

Looks like Novell got out-weaseled by MS. Who would not be though.

“Let’s sign a big agreement of good will and cooperation, would you?”
“Sure, that sounds really good”
“By the way, let me add some patent legaleese, it’s not me, you know, it’s the lawyers. You dont’t mind do you?”
“I don’t see why I would.”


Regarding Intellectual Property, patented or prior art, IBM is the shiznit. Don’t anger them with dumb claims, especially when they have a vested interest in Linux. It did not work for SCO, it’s not gonna work for Microsoft.

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