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Is the Microsoft/Novell Deal a Litigation Bomb? 342

Posted by Zonk
from the pengui-bomb dept.
mpapet writes "According to WINE developer Tom Wickline, the Microsoft/Novell deal for Suse support may one day control commercial customers' use of Free Software. Is this the end of commercial OSS developers who are not a part of the Microsoft/Suse pact?" From the article: "Wickline said that the pact means that there will now be a Microsoft-blessed path for such people to make use of Open Source ... 'A logical next move for Microsoft could be to crack down on 'unlicensed Linux' and 'unlicensed Free Software,' now that it can tell the courts that there is a Microsoft-licensed path. Or they can just passively let that threat stay there as a deterrent to anyone who would use Open Source without going through the Microsoft-approved Novell path,' Wickline said." Bruce Perens dropped a line to point out that most of the content actually comes from his post.
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Is the Microsoft/Novell Deal a Litigation Bomb?

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  • I don't get it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Control Group (105494) * on Friday November 03, 2006 @04:49PM (#16708471) Homepage
    I R'd the FA, and I don't have the first clue what this perceived threat is. How does signing this deal threaten commercial use of OSS? Don't the existing OSS licensing terms still hold? Why should it matter that MS can now show there's an MS-licensed path?

    Is this threat a software patent one? If so, how does this deal change the threat - if the patents already exist, couldn't they be used just as easily without the deal as with it?

    I'm no lawyer, I don't swim in corporate mega-deal circles, and I didn't even stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night, so it's possible (probable, even) that there's something obvious here that I'm missing. Can someone who knows more about it elaborate for me? Because as it stands, I don't see how MS controlling one licensing path for OSS can suddenly mean that all other methods of acquiring OSS become illegal.
    • by eric76 (679787)
      There is some discussion that the whole plan violates the GPL big time.

      It makes you wonder whether or not Novell will be in compliance with the GPL. If not, they won't even have the rights to be a Linux vendor.
      • That's kind of what I was thinking. If the deal somehow restricts someone from redistributing code, then it's a clear violation of the original license. And if it doesn't, I don't see how it can be used to stop people from acquiring the relevant code.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Intron (870560)
          MS doesn't distribute Linux, so they don't violate the GPL.

          Novell can make any deal that they want, as long as they don't try to pass any restrictions along with GPL code to their customers. In this case it looks like they are passing on the additonal benefit "You won't get sued by MS for patent violations".

          As for everyone else, they are free to redistribute, burn CDs, modify the code, mix it with Ubuntu, etc. You can't violate an agreement that you are not a party to.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by DragonWriter (970822)

            Novell can make any deal that they want, as long as they don't try to pass any restrictions along with GPL code to their customers.

            Either the agreement with Microsoft on patents is vacuous (because there is nothing violating Microsoft patents in the code Novell is redistributing), or Novell is not free to distribute that code under the GPL in the first place. (Now, its also possible that the patent covenant applies to non-GPL software Novell bundles with its commercial linux systems, in which case it is li

      • People have been dissecting it left and right, and the people who **actually** read the agreement have come to the conclusion realize that it doesn't violate the GPL.
        • by m0rph3us0 (549631)
          The problem with the GPL is that once you distribute the code you give license to the patents contained with in the code. Thus if Microsoft distributes Linux it licenses the patents contained in the code. Also, enforcing a patent against the GPL revokes the license putting MS in very hot water.
          • DO you have anything to back up this rather broad claim?
          • Thus if Microsoft distributes Linux it licenses the patents contained in the code.

            Microsoft said in plain english in the press release that they WILL NOT distribute Linux. They will merely recommend it if a customer must have a linux solution in a Microsoft environment.

            Also, enforcing a patent against the GPL revokes the license putting MS in very hot water.

            Sigh... have you even read what this is all about? Microsoft and Novell came to a patent agreement whereby they will not litigate each other. No
    • Yeah, I'm in total agreement with you, this makes no sense at all.

      From the article: A LEAD DEVELOPER on the Open Source Wine project, Tom Wickline, has warned that Microsoft's deal with Novell is a cunning plan by Vole to take control over the commercial customer's use of Free Software.

      It seems to me they're really confused at the concept of free software. There's absolutely no way MS can stop companies from using open source software. For example, I use WinMerge, an open source visual diff program (wh
      • Suppose Microsoft decides to sue AutoZone and Chrysler for patent infringement because of their use of Linux. If the victims don't particularly feel like fighting, a logical settlement would be to "come into compliance" by migrating to the Novell/MS distro(s). I could see a lot of judges encouraging this sort of settlement rather than trying to figure out who owns what "intellectual property"...

        A few hundred commercial users later, you have the standard EmExEx scenario
        • Linux is under GPL. No one owns the IP for Linux. How can MS sue? I guess MS has so many patents, it's inevitable that Linux does something that's patented by MS.
      • by Bilbo (7015)
        > There's absolutely no way MS can stop companies from using open source software.

        Actually, yes they can, or perhaps more to the point, they can stop organizations (for-profit or not) from distributing that software you are using by bringing "patent infringement" suits against them. They may even be able to sue companies that are just using the software, even though they aren't actively distributing it. (That's the way patents work.) They may not be able to stop your particular application (if it's

    • I'll take a stab ... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      I R'd the FA, and I don't have the first clue what this perceived threat is. How does signing this deal threaten commercial use of OSS? Don't the existing OSS licensing terms still hold? Why should it matter that MS can now show there's an MS-licensed path?

      I'll take a stab at this one, but I might miss a few points.

      1. Microsoft announces agreement with Novell for Suse, and says they won't pursue any patent claims against them (and quite possibly, only them).

      2. Suse feeds back technologies to the rest of t

      • You may be right about what the article's saying, so don't take this as me arguing with you - but assuming you are right, I don't see how their case would hold water. Once something's GPL'd, it can't be un-GPL'd. I don't think the Linux community at large would be foolish enough to incorporate Suse tech that wasn't under the GPL, so I don't think MS could make that stick.

        And, really, if the Linux community at large did make that mistake, the only people they'd have to blame would be themselves, just like th
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by foobsr (693224)
        The very paranoid might look at the partnering with Novell/Suse as an attempt to poison the environment so that eventually the rest of the OSS people would be guilty of using MS technology without a proper license.

        From Microsoft, Novell Make Peace over Linux [eweek.com]: In addition, Ballmer said Microsoft would not use its patent portfolio against any individual, nonprofit open-source software developer or against any OpenSUSE programmer whose code ended up in SUSE Linux.

        You may well read this along the lines
    • by ocbwilg (259828)
      I R'd the FA, and I don't have the first clue what this perceived threat is. How does signing this deal threaten commercial use of OSS? Don't the existing OSS licensing terms still hold? Why should it matter that MS can now show there's an MS-licensed path?

      Well, I think that at one point Microsoft had started inserting language into it's licensing agreements that stated that you couldn't use their products with open source products, or develop them on MS platforms or something like that. Most people wou
    • by caseih (160668)
      The deal is what Novell is licensing from Microsoft. Basically patents relating to Mono and probably wine and samba. Think about it. Samba is probably the single most important product in the linux world. Now that Novell has made an exclusive licensing deal with Microsoft, the effect on the rest of the industry is going to be chilling. Microsoft will use it's deal with Novell to apply indirect market pressure on everyone else, causing consumers to think twice about using linux in any capacity that rela
      • In essence they own GPL software now and can extract license fees from us at their will and pleasure

        If true, you're right, it's cataclysmic. I just don't see how this can be true. If they sell GPL'd software, they're required to distribute the source, and they're not able to prevent you from doing whatever you want with it (provided, of course, that you also provide the source if you distribute derivative software). This, obviously, includes distributing the source to anyone else you want to.

        I just don't se
    • by PsychicX (866028)
      Well, to quote Jon Stewart [youtube.com] on the subject of question marks:
      By simply putting a question mark at the end of something, you can say f**king anything.
  • In one way, you can easily scream OMG ITS A TRAP! The article pretty much gives us the worst case senario, which leaves me thinking FUD. Yeah. That pretty much seems like it. FUD.
    • In one way, you can easily scream OMG ITS A TRAP! The article pretty much gives us the worst case senario, which leaves me thinking FUD. Yeah. That pretty much seems like it. FUD.

      Unfortunately this is not an isolated case for the Slashdot community. Haven't had enough FUD from Microsoft? Well, heck, we'll just make our own.

      I love Slashdot for facts, but I've just about given up on it for opinions, especially speculations of doomsday. I can't think of a single time I've seen one of these ultimate-death-fo

    • Well, have you considered that the best case scenario, Microsoft trying to help costumers who choose to run the OS they're competing with, is totally unbelievable? :) They are surely up to something IMHO.
  • This might end up revealing a lot about how many people will accept loss of control for the sake of "pragmatism". If you don't mind non-free drivers, etc. then I suspect you'll like whatever MS/Novell concoct. No doubt it will contain plenty of non-free technology that the proverbial "average user" needs in order to get hisher nonfree hardware to work out-of-the-box, and so on.

    Acceptable?
  • by common middle name (657525) on Friday November 03, 2006 @04:54PM (#16708555)
    I distrust Microsoft about as much as any other /. reader but this article is just stupid. The author seems to be implying that because Microsoft has made an alliance with a Linux vendor they all of the sudden own all open source software ever created and can just sue people for patent infringement at will. What a crock.

    People....CALM DOWN.

    The world is not coming to an end. Microsoft is not coming to steal your children.
    • by melikamp (631205)

      The world is not coming to an end. Microsoft is not coming to steal your children.

      Are you sure?? Microsoft is about to release Vista and I am missing an ugly child. A coincidence? I do not think so...

    • by mpapet (761907)
      can just sue people for patent infringement at will

      You fail to understand is that's exactly how it works in many american industries. The sole purpose is to eliminate competition. Legally of course.

      In this case, it's happened once with SCO. What makes you so certain it won't happen again?
    • by kurt555gs (309278) <(kurt555gs) (at) (ovi.com)> on Friday November 03, 2006 @06:47PM (#16710163) Homepage
      Novel: But we had a deal .......

      Microsoft: I am altering the deal, pray that I do not alter it any further.

      Cheers
  • TFA keeps refering to "the Vole". WTF is "the Vole"? AFAIK, a vole is a rodent endemic to Northern and alpine climes. I have no idea what it means in the given context.
    • by Otter (3800)
      I was wondering the same thing -- is there some witticism here that I'm missing or is it just some Dadaist/jackass version of "M$"?
    • I didn't know either, but apparently that's Inquirer's clever little nickname for Microsoft. You'd think they'd at least both mentioned once who they meant.
    • by Andorion (526481)
      the Vole is a term coined by The Inquirer [theinquirer.net] to refer to Microsoft. They think they're very clever, they frequently come up with similar witticisms and like to pat themselves on the back for them.
    • by sabernet (751826)
      A vole is a little rodent that lives in the ground. Inq uses it as a cute word to describe microsoft.

      Other Inq vocabularies:

      Chipzilla = Intel

      Chimpzilla = AMD(or I believe it used to)

      Everywhere Girl = A model that has appeared in many many online ads playing a student for MS, Apple, Dell, etc...

      If you read the site regularly you'll pick up on the jargon real quick. People on Slashdot like to badmouth the site often(yeah, Slashdot it the peak of journalistic integrity after all) because it's not taken as se
  • in the code though.

    The Volnovo pact will mean that non-commercial individual contributors can make Open Source, but if anyone actually uses it for something other than a hobby or a non-profit organisation Vole can bring a software patent lawsuit against them unless they are a Novell customer, he said.

    Well sure, but only if you assume that there are patented procedures in Linux. Do we know that there are? I'm almost sure that there are in the Wine project. But can anyone point to an example of something i
    • I also think the article is inane fear mongering, but isn't CIFS patented? (I tried to search but uspto.gov is a mess.)
  • Or could be, rather. It seems to me that Microsoft would have to be idiots to try and pull the kind of crap SCO were doing.
  • Seriously, as the article said Microsoft needs a new deterrent for all the players in the free software movement. SCO is history, now they need a new partner, someone who's not as big (or will be) as Microsoft is today. A major linux vendor is the perfect way to achieve that. Microsoft will keep continuing to push only that much technology that they would like to - I doubt whether we'll see MAPI being opened up, whether the doc format will, whether we'll see a pam_ad etc ... All Microsoft wants is to look good in the press, give a cozy feeling to its customers and more importantly have a position to draw lines in the free software movement. Patents and litigation will be seen as a major drawback by all the majors looking at deploying free software solutions. I am not talking about the average bearded nerd here in /., but the multi-millionaire CEOs who don't know jargon from garbage.

    As for me, I am in India, I can keep laughing whenever talk about software patents happen.
    • As for me, I am in India, I can keep laughing whenever talk about software patents happen.


      while India has already ordered [ffii.org] legislation of software patents.

  • If Microsoft attempted to assert their patents against a complete sector of activity could it be construed as anti-competitive and a basis for new anti-trust proceedings?

    I would hope so.
    • by Aim Here (765712)
      That's why they're partnering with a major commercial Linux distributor, that pays them rent.

      When they sic their attack lawyers on RedHat or whoever, then they can say 'Oh, we're not destroying all the competition, we just want to be compensated for our Intellectual Pee -look how we're helping SuSE'. That way avoids the 'patent abuse' defence, where RedHat could say that Microsoft can't enforce it's patents in a way that would destroy competition and uphold Microsoft's illegal monopoly.

      Of course, the side e
  • by non (130182)
    i agree with Wickline that this is the next ploy by MS to try and subvert/control/destroy OSS, especially as it pertains to commercial enterprises. at the end of the day MS are always going to try and involve the courts, as it is the easiest and most cost-effective. why innovate when you can litigate? i wonder how this will affect the new patent review group (here [slashdot.org]), as this news makes it look like a mexican standoff, with GE casting the deciding vote.
  • 1) The inquirer? Seriously?
    2) The article isn't even coherent. None of what's said here make any logical sense, and even less legal sense.

    I need a trash bin on the side of /. I can drag things to.
  • by acvh (120205) <geek@mscigar s . com> on Friday November 03, 2006 @05:03PM (#16708699) Homepage
    not to mention that the linked article, and articles linked from that, are pretty much incomprehensible. Microsoft and Novell agree to work together to make Linux and Windows work together, Microsoft agrees to support SUSE for Novell customers, therefore Microsoft owns Linux? Sloppy reasoning, sloppy writing, sloppy discussion.
  • Ofcourse they can cooperate as they will and develop software under any license. I would not complain if they would do just that.

    But why, do they have to threat with suing commercial opponents?

    I guess Microsoft by now is only used to playing the monopolist and only wants to operate in the linux market with the rules they have become used to.
  • The SCO case taught us the taxonomy of what's inside Linux, and it's protected. Add to this the GNU utilities, also hand-crafted by RMS. Any patents that Microsoft pulls out of its sleeve and sends torts about will be fodder for the EU community to go ballistic about, and worse, hurt Microsoft's chances to make friends with the OSS & F/OSS communities.

    No, this is a case of the enemy of my enemy is my cross-licensed friend. This would never happen while Ray Noorda was alive, but alas, he's gone now. It's
  • by FatherBash (632310)
    I think the confusion is a result of using the terms "unlicensed linux" when that's not the case. They're referring specifically to the way a linux server or desktop would interact with Windows machines CIFS/SMB etc. Also, many of the Windows desktop features emulated in KDE/Gnome could be patented by Microsoft...like old Apple/MS lawsuits over the GUI in the first place.

    Personally, I think Novell has the touch of death for everything it gets involved in. It's not enough for them anymore to issue gro

    • by NullProg (70833)
      KDE/Gnome could be patented by Microsoft...like old Apple/MS lawsuits over the GUI in the first place.

      The judge ruled in the orginal Apple/Microsoft case that you can't patent "Look and Feel".
      Microsoft could no more sue KDE/Gnome than they could sue Fisher Price.

      Enjoy,
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      Also, many of the Windows desktop features emulated in KDE/Gnome could be patented by Microsoft...like old Apple/MS lawsuits over the GUI in the first place.

      Could be, except that those features are themselves descended from MacOS, NeXTSTEP, PARC's GUI, OS/2, CDE, etc. The whole concept of "prior art" applies here. M$ just aggregated a lot of the features into a package that's relatively easy for the average schmuck to use and install.

      Besides, the Linux code is out there and available. With the prolif

  • by feranick (858651) on Friday November 03, 2006 @05:07PM (#16708761)
    "It's possible that Thursday's deal between Microsoft and Novell could conflict with a provision in the General Public License (GPL), according to Eben Moglen, the attorney for the Free Software Foundation that created and oversees the Linux license. "If you make an agreement which requires you to pay a royalty to anybody for the right to distribute GPL software, you may not distribute it under the GPL," Moglen told CNET News.com Thursday. Section 7 of the GPL "requires that you have, and pass along to everybody, the right to distribute software freely and without additional permission." Article from CNET: http://news.com.com/2061-10795_3-6132156.html [com.com]
  • by HighOrbit (631451) * on Friday November 03, 2006 @05:10PM (#16708783)
    I don't see anything necessarily nefarious in this. As I commented in the earlier article, most likely, Novell is may making sure that Microsoft continues to support NDS/NetWare (which is now the Linux-based Open Enterprise Server) by having the client software supported on Vista. Microsoft wants to make sure that .Net has a foothold in the linux/unix backend market. They both get something out of the deal. Novell gets Windows desktops to provide a market for their server products. MS gets Novell supported Mono/.Net-based servers to provide a market for the desktop and application products. Anything that grows the NDS/Netware line is good for Novell. Anything that grows .Net is good for MS. They both win.
    • Anything that grows the NDS/Netware line is good for Novell. Anything that grows .Net is good for MS.

      1. So, suddenly after years of competing directly with Novell, they are "giving an inch" to Novell in the battle for corporate customers?

      2. I'm all for win-win situations, but how many deals does microsoft make where they don't eat the other party alive?

      Please, show me some examples.

  • And read people's analysis - just not the mainstream press, who spun this sensationally as "MS validates Linux." It becomes clear quickly that this is a very cold move to:

    1. make it clear that Novell has the only authorized Linux, and anyone else is open to lawsuits. This is an attack on one of Microsoft's main challenges, Linux, as well as open source in general. They also make it clear that anyone but Novell who is funding open source development is subject to lawsuits.

    2. make it clear .net (and mono) are
    • Watching the video, Novell's CEO slips in that he reached out to Microsoft. Missing that, during Q&A, someone asks who reached out to whom. He again has to state he reached out to MS, but with more visible squirming and coverup.

      No, it was incredibly clear, RTFTranscript:

      QUESTION: How long have these talks been going on about this agreement, and who initiated it, essentially? Did Novell go to Microsoft, or Microsoft go to Novell, or did you just sort of get together spontaneously? How did that work
      • by segedunum (883035)

        No, it was incredibly clear, RTFTranscript

        Hmmmm. Yes it was clear:

        RON HOVSEPIAN: How it happened was I reached out to Kevin Turner in the April timeframe, the COO of Microsoft, and I suggested to Kevin that there was a relationship to be had here, and I'm smiling a little bit, because I said to Kevin, I know you're at Microsoft, but I want you to go back to when you were a customer, and we had some laughs about that.

        Hovsepian was the one who reached out, that much is certain, and that's squirming if ever

    • Another thing: in return for licensing Novell to use its patents, Microsoft will get paid a small "tax" on certain sales by Novell. So that when somebody buys Novell Linux with a support contract, they're also paying Microsoft, which uses part of its revenue to try to destroy or cripple Linux.

      Novell, and its legal team, has clearly calculated that it can simply screw all the people who wrote the software that Novell bundles and sells in its distro. Novell has enough good lawyers, and it's probably right.

      F

  • Bad read (Score:3, Informative)

    by sys49152 (100346) on Friday November 03, 2006 @05:16PM (#16708895)
    So MS has said that it won't sue Novell's customers, and Novell said it won't Sue MS's customers, (sad, BTW, that this is what it comes to) but how does this protect the corporate Linux adopter from everyone else with a lawyer? If corporate CIOs and legal departments are truly holding off on Linux and open source (and apparently they are) because of potential litigation over IP issues, then I don't see how this is much of a help. If I now go out and install Suse, what's to keep Oracle, or TIBCO, or Cisco from suing me. Do RH and Novell have to secure covenants from every copyright/patent holder in the industry?

    Besides, hasn't the SCO thing proven that suing your customers is not a good idea (despite what the music industry is up to). If MS sues Citigroup for using Red Hat, then I'd put my money on Citigroup.

  • by advocate_one (662832) on Friday November 03, 2006 @05:17PM (#16708911)
    The distributors of other versions of Linux cannot assure their customers that Microsoft won't sue for patent infringement. "If a customer says, 'Look, do we have liability for the use of your patented work?' Essentially, If you're using non-SUSE Linux, then I'd say the answer is yes," Ballmer said.

    "I suspect that [customers] will take that issue up with their distributor," Ballmer said. Or if customers are considering doing a direct download of a non-SUSE Linux version, "they'll think twice about that," he said.
    the link to the article is here [eweek.com]

    I'll let you draw your own conclusions... but he is definitely banging the old "Linux infringes our patents" FUD drum...

  • I have a suspicion that what Wickline mean was Microsoft would only support software on Suse Linux that was Microsoft approved. What this could do is creat an imbalance in relation to commercial acceptance of open source software. Microsoft will say "We support package X, but not package Y or Z." So commercial companies who need the functionality provided by X, Y, or Z will choose X because it's supported, not necessarily because it's better. As an example, for customers using Suse Linux, Microsoft may
  • Patent Agreement (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NullProg (70833) on Friday November 03, 2006 @05:33PM (#16709155) Homepage Journal
    I was all for this at first until I read the patent agreement for OpenOffice, Samba and .Net.

    • If Microsoft wanted to interoperate with OpenOffice, all they had to do was support ODF.

    • According to Miguel de Icaza. there are no patent concerns with Mono because Microsoft has granted RAND+Royalty Free licenses to any patents they might own that are required to implement the ECMA 334/335 standards.

    • Didn't the EU just recently decide the SMB/CIFS implementation was legal?


    I personally think Microsoft is trying to plant a patent FUD turd inside the head of any CIO thinking of deploying Linux.

    Hey Miguel de Icaza, what are your thoughts on this?

    Enjoy,
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nonmaskable (452595)
      Which Miguel are you asking? The old Miguel been telling people for years that there are no patent issues with Mono. Today's Miguel says there are serious patent issues, and only Novell customers are safe from Microsoft litigation.

      Which one is right? Can you believe either? Wanna bet the future of the Linux desktop on the answer?
  • Why just Linux? Could not one or more of the BSDs be "threatened" like this also?
    • In theory, yes. In practice, there's no incentive for MS to do so. BSD isn't a threat to MS because it's not used enough. Moreover, BSD offers a great ressource of code which MS is free to take and add to their own proprietary software without any licensing problems. MS would be stupid to kill that ressource while it's not a threat to them.
  • Linux is not going anywhere (at least not through MS's FUD spreading tactics) and Microsoft knows it. I've been trying to make sense out of this whole Microsoft/Novell deal and an article on ZDNet, in which they present Novel and Microsoft as painting a target over Red hat, got me thinking. What better way of getting rid of Linux on the server than to join forces with the rival of the biggest Linux company.

    Once this flag carrier of Linux servers (RH) becomes irrelevant, you can, in the same but easier way,
  • I've got two thoughts on the subject. Mainly that this is probably going to end up being a very bad move on the part of Novell. It's hard to say exactly how it will play out but companies foolish enough to partner with Microsoft often times end up getting double crossed. And we know that Microsoft has it out for Linux, as it's pretty much the only thing slowing their growth in the server market. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind Microsoft is going into this deal with malice aforethought a evil in their
  • by free2 (851653) on Friday November 03, 2006 @05:51PM (#16709409) Homepage
    7. If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.
    This means that , should MS enforce its patents on other open source companies, not even Novell can distribute GPL programs covered by the same patents.
  • Is the Microsoft/Novell Deal a Litigation Bomb?

    If entered into with wild abandon like Novell has, then yes.

    Is this the end of commercial OSS developers who are not a part of the Microsoft/Suse pact?

    Not at the moment, but that's clearly what Microsoft are moving towards and what they hope for. They're not going to go out and sue people tomorrow, but it gives them a nice mechanism to scare people with some FUD of their own.

    Novell have fallen for it like the clueless bunch of buffoons we all know that t

  • "The crux of the deal, to Wickline, is the fact that Microsoft is promising not to assert its patents against individual non-commercial developers."

    I thought orginally they said they wouldnt do it at all and all the patents were just for their 'protection' ? Did they change their mind? ( not suprising if they did ).

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