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Red Hat Rejects Microsoft Patent Deal Overtures 201

Posted by jamie
Geekgal writes "Red Hat has slammed the door shut on any possibility of entering into a patent protection deal similar to the one Microsoft recently announced with Novell, eWeek is reporting. While Microsoft has repeatedly said it wants to work with Red Hat and would like to structure a relationship where its customers can be assured of the same thing as Novell's customers now are, Mark Webbink, Red Hat's deputy general counsel, says 'we do not believe there is a need for or basis for the type of relationship defined in the Microsoft-Novell announcement.' Interestingly enough, Microsoft also says that it has not ruled out going it alone and providing some sort of indemnification for its customers who also use Red Hat Linux." Meanwhile, Eben Moglen, the FSF general counsel, promises that GPLv3 will explicitly outlaw deals like this. (Of course everyone's on v2, so calling the Novell deal "DOA" would be premature.)
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Red Hat Rejects Microsoft Patent Deal Overtures

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  • by Epeeist (2682)
    If I wasn't running Kubuntu they would get my business.
  • WHY!? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aussie_a (778472) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @10:35AM (#16869064) Journal
    Microsoft also says that it has not ruled out going it alone and providing some sort of indemnification for its customers who also use Red Hat Linux.

    WHY!? Why on Earth would Microsoft feel the need to offer indemnification to someone's customers in the first place? Why not just, y'know, not sue them without making some big announcement? How is it possible that we've entered a time when a software company saying "We've decided NOT to sue someone" will actually create positive PR?
    • Re:WHY!? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @10:42AM (#16869154)
      Because Microsoft wants to turn Linux into a platform for its products -- a last ditch effort to try and marginalize FOSS. First, they sign a deal with a few prominent Linux vendors, claiming that they will indemnify only those particular distros. Then, having given all the big enterprise Linux users a reason to switch over to those distros, Microsoft starts publishing software for those distros specifically, keeping it all closed of course. Finally, after a few years, Linux has become a platform for proprietary products...and is no longer a threat to Microsoft. By ensuring that only major Linux vendors are in on it, Microsoft helps sideline other FOSS projects, killing the culture of openness and freedom and limiting choice. Notice that no overtures have been made for non-commercial distros or distros that are popular among home users: Microsoft is not threatened by them. It's about the server market, and about Microsoft's continuing inability to maintain more than a 30% market share.
      • And the worst part?

        There aint a damn thing anyone can do about it. Money talks.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by fangorious (1024903)

          There aint a [got] damn thing anyone can do about it.

          Get these mother f'in .nets off this mother f'in linux?

      • Re:WHY!? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ookaze (227977) <<ookaze> <at> <mail.ookaze.fr>> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @11:17AM (#16869642) Homepage
        Then, having given all the big enterprise Linux users a reason to switch over to those distros, Microsoft starts publishing software for those distros specifically, keeping it all closed of course

        Where is the problem exactly ?
        Especially since you can install these binaries in any Linux distros, just by creating a custom package. Just like some distros did for firefox binaries.
        This doesn't make the OS closed at all.

        Finally, after a few years, Linux has become a platform for proprietary products...and is no longer a threat to Microsoft

        Why is it not a threat anymore ? It runs lots of proprietary products and all the FOSS products, and yet, you magically believe that it would no longer be a threat ?
        It would be a far greater threat on the contrary : that's exactly what some company deny us now, and what people are asking for.

        By ensuring that only major Linux vendors are in on it, Microsoft helps sideline other FOSS projects, killing the culture of openness and freedom and limiting choice

        Which is BS. I fail to see how what you say ensure anything.
        Oracle was available on RH only, it didn't sideline any FOSS database project at all, Oracle even had to buy some afterwards !!
        It didn't kill culture of openness and freedom either. That's complete wishful thinking on your part, that goes contrary to factual evidence.

        Notice that no overtures have been made for non-commercial distros or distros that are popular among home users: Microsoft is not threatened by them. It's about the server market, and about Microsoft's continuing inability to maintain more than a 30% market share

        But MS has no valuable patent on the server side where it matters for Linux OS. So what you're saying seems like nonsense to me.
        • by RMH101 (636144)
          "But MS has no valuable patent on the server side where it matters for Linux OS. So what you're saying seems like nonsense to me."
          Surely the point is that they *would* have valuable patents on the server side? Like Active Directory for Novell Linux, or a mail server that pushes readily to Windows Mobile devices etc etc...
        • While your facts might be right, it doesn't matter. What matters to companies is customer perception. If Microsoft becomes part of the Linux market (presumably by selling commercial software on top of it) they will automatically become the dominant force in the eyes of customers. Many businesses will look to them first for solutions, rather than going the FOSS route. And even if they held no patents to anything in Linux, many customers would still be scared and want indemnification.

          It doesn't matter if
        • What color is the sunrise on your planet?
        • Re:WHY!? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ewhac (5844) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @01:13PM (#16871446) Homepage Journal
          Where is the problem exactly ?
          Especially since you can install these binaries in any Linux distros, just by creating a custom package. Just like some distros did for firefox binaries. This doesn't make the OS closed at all.

          Try installing ClearCase [ibm.com] on anything other than RedHat or SUSE. Things may have improved in the last few months, but SUSE only received official support just over a year ago. Prior to that, it was RedHat only. If you were/are a Debian user, you were essentially SOL.

          Linux distros can, in fact, be marginalized by precisely the kind of half-baked support Microsoft plans.

          Schwab

        • Microsoft doesn't want to release proprietary software for anybody's Linux distro.

          What they want is to make Linux non-free. They want to scare IT managers into only using commercial distros that don't cost much less than Windows. You see, they know that their whole TCO argument is bogus. Windows is probably not cheaper TCO-wise in many situations today, and in the future, the argument will become less and less valid, not more so.

          But if they can make sure that businesses (think they) have to buy Linux to
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by novus ordo (843883)
        I think it's more of Microsoft looking for another player to embrace. In about 6 months it will be time for the last stage of this disease. But unlike you I don't believe that Linux will ever be a platform for proprietary products. The RTFM culture with proprietary make it easy software? HA!

        What Linux has and Microsoft is drooling over is developers, developers, devel... Who else would waste their time learning Linux? It's a case of the eagle hunting the fly. I actually think that Microsoft will pull a fast
        • I actually think that Microsoft will pull a fast one and try to ride atop Linux like Apple rides OpenBSD.

          If so, the GPL may give them some problems down the line. As others have pointed out, Section 7 of the GPL may even now prevent the distribution of a patent-encumbered Linux distribution.

          If Microsoft wants to use Open Source, they would be far better off to pull an Apple and grab some BSD as basis for their plans. With BSD, closing the source is perfectly legal. So I guess Microsoft are either trying spr

        • by Knuckles (8964)
          Apple rides OpenBSD

          What are you talking about?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Because Microsoft wants to turn Linux into a platform for its products

        Between multi-core CPU chips and virtualization, Windows is looking like a big loser in the enterprise. Why not shrink the server "farm" to a "garden", run Linux, and stick it to the man?
        Linx on the desktop and OpenOffice remain tomorrow's threat, but the fact that XP is Vista's chief competition is undeniable. And what about the costs of developing Vista? It would be interesting to see how much the profit margin has really shrunk fo

      • by db32 (862117)
        Explain something to me please. Why do you believe that proprietary software will only work on the major distros just because MS only deals with them? With linux you have pretty much total control of your operating system. So what if the proprietary software looks for things in a particular place, you can move them there, or symlink them and the software chugs right along. You can manipulate the OS more than enough to run anything you want so long as it runs in linux. The distro XYZ kernel is still a l
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Pharmboy (216950)
        I have been saying for some time now, IMHO, Microsoft is preparing for the day when the operating system is purely commodity, and the real money is in the apps, which need to change more than the os does, since they run on TOP. That day isn't too far away, and Linux is proving it.

        MS is hedging their bets, simple as that. If Linux DOES gain a foothold on the desktop soon, MS apps will run on it. If Linux ever became the most popular OS for servers, then workstations, then home system, then MS apps will ru
    • Re:WHY!? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by muellerr1 (868578) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @10:42AM (#16869162) Homepage
      I think what they mean to do is sell the indemnification directly to Red Hat users. Maybe the RIAA should think about doing that, too. That wuld just make it easier to know who to sue--anyone whose indemnification 'subscription' expired.

      Though the government used to call behavior like that 'racketeering' and 'extortion'.
      • scaredy cats (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rucs_hack (784150)
        Microsoft are scared, really scared. If they can't get some leverage in the linux world, then they lose their monopoly. Can you list how many products Microsoft have released outside of a monopoly position that have made money?

        Offering indemnification regarding other peoples products is crazy, unless they need to in order to hold their position as market leader. They can only be hoping to stir up more doubt.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Rhett's Dad (870139) *

      As has been said in many posts in many venues since the Novell announcement, the fact that these companies felt the need to declare that such indemnification is necessary for the protection of Linux-using companies, so then Microsoft will feel the need to extend such indemnification to Linux customers of companies that don't sign agreements with it. It is by declaring such a blanket indemnification that they imply to the world that such indemnification is needed, and that without it the Linux-using compani

    • Three years (Score:5, Interesting)

      by overshoot (39700) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @10:53AM (#16869306)
      WHY!? Why on Earth would Microsoft feel the need to offer indemnification to someone's customers in the first place?
      Read the coverage of the Microvell deal -- the "promise not to sue" expires in three years.

      First, get them dependent on MS technologies such as Mono, then tell them time is up and they have to pay or get sued into oblivion.

      "Nice little enterprise IT setup you have here. Pity if a court slapped an injunction on it."

    • Re:WHY!? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by molnarcs (675885) <molnarcs&gmail,com> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @11:05AM (#16869456) Homepage Journal
      WHY!? Why on Earth would Microsoft feel the need to offer indemnification to someone's customers in the first place?

      Wrong question - because it is not what they are doing, actually. Let me translate Microsoft's offer: there are patent problems with linux. That's what Microsoft's offer means, no more, no less. A subtle, distressing and unfair FUD machine. Your question is understandable, because they offer doesn't make sense at all, unless you examine not what it says, but the message it conveys. That message is clear: linux might be encumbered with patents belonging to MS.

      It is such a pity that Novell has become a partner to this for perceived short term gains. No wonder that the free software community is up in arms (ranging from groklaw through Perens to the Samba team) - MS simply tries to single out commercial linux companies to support its own FUD propaganda. They offer these distributions a new tool to compete with: patents. So far, commercial linux distributions competed on two fronts: technical excellence and quality of support and services. Even Oracle. Novell, by accepting Microsoft's offer, introduced a new tool: patents. This is against the spirit - if not the letter - of the GPL, which tries to enforce a level playing field, and was successful until the Novell-MS deal it was successful. (That's the main gripe of the Samba team [samba.org] with Novell. Microsoft is fishing for others now.

      • by Stalyn (662)
        Let me translate Microsoft's offer: there are patent problems with linux.

        There are no patent problems with Linux. Some [sys-con.com] have suggested that it's the opposite; Novell threatened Microsoft with IP and Microsoft in return paid Novell $108M in their so called "patent deal". What Microsoft has been spewing is pure FUD and Red Hat knows it. But since the Microsoft FUD has been so effective, Red Hat must come out with it's own. Don't be fooled, Red Hat, Novell, etc are all corporations with shareholders and they wi
        • by ray-auch (454705)
          It's more than that. Look at the other parts of the deal - total is $300M+.

          MS bought a lot of "coupons" for Suse. Good sell to shareholders (only $100M for patents and we get $40M back from them) - just leave out the "we bought some paper for $240M and we paid $300M+ up front and we'll only get the $40M back as a % of Novell sales when they happen".

          It's a payoff for Novell (for Novell's IP in MS products) - exactly like the one for Sun a couple of years ago.

        • by molnarcs (675885)
          There are no patent problems with Linux.

          Actually, you can bet that there is ... any software with some complexity will have patent problems. That's why software patents suck. But you are right, this is plain posturing and FUD.

          What Microsoft has been spewing is pure FUD and Red Hat knows it.

          True, but not because there can't be any parts of RH (I'm referring to the entire distro) covered by MS patents... It is FUD because MS won't actually sue anyone in the near future - or it is very unlikely. What they

    • "Why on Earth would Microsoft feel the need to offer indemnification to someone's customers in the first place?"

      Threats and intimidation. Do business with us or get sued, by us!

      was Re:WHY!?
    • Gates to Stallman: im in ur linux stealin ur rightz
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Why not just, y'know, not sue them without making some big announcement?

      They've been not suing people for years, Sparky. What rock have you been hiding under?

      Seriously, this is just another example of the way that MS can't win with the FOSS community. They have been making assurances for years that they would not use their patents in a punitive manner and that the patents are mainly for their own protection. And the FOSS community always complains that those assurances are not good enough because MS

    • The "indemnification" only extends to M$ customers. It's kind of stupid to promise not to sue your own customers, but the threat is really aimed at companies who are about to dump their shit all together. The idea being conveyed is that M$ might forgive your cheating heart if you keep paying them. As Bruce Perens pointed out [slashdot.org], M$ is effectively selling Linux licenses. It might not look like a sale now, because they are offering thirty pieces of silver to a select few, but the deal is to recognize M$'s bo
  • by LibertineR (591918) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @10:35AM (#16869068)
    As Novell becomes THE Linux for companies with a Linux-Windows infrastructure, Red Hat will look back on this day as when they lost warp field containment and got stuck in Redmond tractor beam in search of revenue.

    Bet me.

    • by div_2n (525075) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @10:43AM (#16869172)
      I'll bet you a cookie. Do you really think Microsoft reps are going to promote another company's products let alone a Linux product? Think again.

      I'll throw you a cross bet--this is just one more link in the FUD chain for Microsoft to suggest Linux has "intellectual property" problems and, more specifically, it has patent issues.

      Microsoft shops that want to deploy Linux must have something very specific in mind. I'd wager they'll use whatever they think is best. It may very well be Suse, but that will probably be for reasons that have nothing to do with Novell and Microsoft forging some sort of strange and obscure patent deal.
      • Microsoft if anything, is pragmatic. If they can squeeze the market down to a few Linux vendors that either play well with Windows or don't, that can leverage .NET or not, that can integrate into an Active Directory solution or not, you think they wont help market that?

        How many companies and vertical markets does Microsoft have to kill off before some of you get it?

        • by div_2n (525075)
          Samba 4 will be able to integrate quite nicely into Active Directory without Microsoft's help as a full domain controller. You can already integrate the latest versions of Samba 3 into AD as a file server and it works quite well actually. With version 4 you will allegedly be able to, theoretically, run an Active Directory network without a single Microsoft product on the server side.

          What further integration do you need since Samba 4 will be distro agnostic?
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Prediction: in five years time, Trusted Computing hardware will be widespread and Microsoft's networking software will be using trusted network connects. In other words, you won't be able to connect to a Microsoft machine unless you are running code that has been blessed (signed) by a Microsoft key.
        • If they can squeeze the market down to a few Linux vendors that either play well with Windows or don't...

          There, you said it. If.

          While there are a lot of shops that might actually care to use something that's officially 'blessed' by Microsoft, there are actually very few all-Microsoft shops, and the most of the rest don't actually care whether they have Microsoft's blessing or not.

          Samba 3 supports ActiveDirectory as fileserver just fine, thank you very much, and Samba 4 will be able to run an ActiveDirector

      • by ImaLamer (260199)
        Do you really think Microsoft reps are going to promote another company's products let alone a Linux product?

        Sure. But then again, you've got o know sales and your customers. When a salesmen knows that Linux (just the idea/word) turns his customers on then he likes the idea that he can always fall back on that. It's about increasing sales and revenue, not power.
        • by div_2n (525075)
          There is a difference between "promote" and "recommend" in sales. Promote is actively suggesting one product whereas recommend is usually a response to a customer's request. Microsoft employs reps that work on site of some of their largest customers (such as government entities). These people are there to assist in solution design and purchasing so that those entities get the "right" products.

          If, as you seem to think, these reps discuss Suse Linux, you can bet that it will almost always be when the customer
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      As Novell becomes THE Linux for companies with a Linux-Windows infrastructure, Red Hat will look back on this day as when they lost warp field containment and got stuck in Redmond tractor beam in search of revenue.

      I think you swapped "Novell" and "Red Hat" in that sentence.

      Rich.

      • No, I am saying that Microsoft is giving vendors a choice now to either assimilate or they will whip out their cutting beam and start fucking up your ship. Too many fail to realize the sheer power of money on the thinking of executives. Red Hat will be re-thinking this decision.
    • by ajs (35943)
      No one that I've run into is seriously looking at Novell software. This is, after all... NOVELL. All they have going for them right now is that they bought two small companies that were very good at what they did, but you have to wonder how many of those people are left, and how long into the Microsoft dance of "good night Wesley, most likely kill you in the morning," they will put up with before seeking a company that suits their temperment (like Red Hat).

      Keep in mind that those of us who have followed Red
    • We were standardizing on SUSE but switched to RHEL afterthe Microsoft-Novell pact. For the desktops we use Kubuntu. And we don't have a single problem. And Microsoft threatening to sue and bullying vendors into contracts without telling them what patents they think they are violating is called 'extortion'.

      Nice software you got here... shame if something happened to it.
      • We are talking about Microsoft, right? Knowing that most CEOs are risk-averse, they really have a good FUD program working now. Just when I thought the gangster had repented, too. But, Microsoft has 50,000 mouths to feed. They dont care what we think of their morality.

        Novell may become Microsoft's prison bitch, but at least they will get lube and a cigarette.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by molnarcs (675885)
          LibertineR, you forget that RH already offers complete protection from any patent litigation to its customers. Basically, they want to force Microsoft's hands. MS doesn't want to sue actually, with the EU decision hanging above their heads, and countless of patents others might have (OIN, SUN, even RH), especially in the server space.

          The Novell-MS "protection" is simply worthless compared to what RH has to offer [redhat.com]. On top of that, FSF is going to release glibc/gcc/etc. under GPL v3 - which will explicitly pr

    • by molnarcs (675885)
      As Novell becomes THE Linux for companies with a Linux-Windows infrastructure, Red Hat will look back on this day as when they lost warp field containment and got stuck in Redmond tractor beam in search of revenue. Bet me.

      If what Ebem Moglen promises is true, and GPL v3 will prevent such deals, than in a few years, Novell will be stuck with the latest glibc/gcc/etc. released under v2. I wouldn't put any bets on Novell surpassing RH in the next few years... in fact, I wouldn't bet on it's survival eithe

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Morphine007 (207082)

        and owns ~80 of the market.

        A WHOLE 80 SERVERS!? ... shit man... that's like 95% of the market ;-)

        /ducks

      • by ray-auch (454705)
        Not that the "SUN gpl-ed JAVA, is friendly to GPL v3 " neglects to mention that Sun is party to a mutual covenant-not-to-sue patent agreement with regards to Java, and it is with... ...Microsoft.

        Just like Novell. Oh. So what is the GPLv3 going to say ?

        "if you have a covenant-not-to-sue deal that is really a patent-licence that coevers this software, then it must be freely sublicenceable to all - if you are Novell or MS, if you are Sun you can ignore this bit"

        [that's before we get onto the other patents th
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by molnarcs (675885)
          You are recirculating the same argument you had yesterday. I have already answered your question, remember?

          http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=206274&cid=168 23028 [slashdot.org]

          In the case of SUN-MS, the deal covered software developed by SUN & MS. In the case of Novell-MS, the deal covers software developed be MS and distributed by Novell. But I guess you don't really want to have an answer to your question - you simply want to repeat the same statements over and over again, that SUN made the same deal like

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ray-auch (454705)
            And I refuted your non-answers.

            Now you seem to be even more confused - "Novell is distributing software developed by MS" - huh ? This is about patents, not copyright. It matters not at all who developed the software - patent liability doesn't care. And what MS software is Novell shipping ???

            Note that I have never claimed that the deals are exactly the same - they clearly aren't - but what I am interested in is what is the difference that makes one deal ok by the GPL and the other an (alleged) violation.

            T
  • Easy to do. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @10:37AM (#16869088)
    Hilf, who has been touring Europe since the announcement, admitted that there's been a lot of negativity about the deal in the open-source community. "Our intention with this deal was not to create a problem, but rather to solve one," he said.

    As such, Hilf is trying to be more clear about the company's true intentions and trying to translate all the legalese around the deal into something that a layman can understand.

    That's easy to do.

    Simply explain to them why Ford would pay hundreds of millions of dollars to Chevrolet for an agreement not to sue Mom (who drives a Chevy) for violating Ford's patents.

    There, that shouldn't be so difficult, right?
    • But mom uses Ford gasoline to drive to church and back, and Chevy isn't licensed to provide compatibility with Ford gasoline. They think they've gotten it to work, but there's not been a real review of the system, and Ford might still manage to win in a patent dispute.

      You wouldn't want mom to miss bible study...would you?
    • by XMyth (266414)
      Why WOULD Ford pay Chevy not to sue someone for violating Ford's patents? Isn't it Ford that would be doing the suing?
      • First off, either there are or there are not Ford patents being violated by Chevy.

        Case #1. There are - So Ford pays Chevy lots of money and Ford can promise not to sue Mom for driving a Chevy. This is going to be a bit difficult to explain as Ford could just save the money and not sue Mom anyway.

        Case #2. There are not - So Ford pays Chevy lots of money for no reason and Ford promises not to Sue Mom for driving a Chevy. This makes even less sense.

        See?
  • by Rhett's Dad (870139) * on Thursday November 16, 2006 @10:38AM (#16869100) Homepage

    Good for them! I admit I've been one of the complacent ones over the last several years, feeling like Red Hat was the Linux business big dog, and that I was a hipper hacker for spreading my use/support around to other distros. No more...

    The big company I left this year was one of those whose IT bureacracy monsters that would not sanction open source, so informed and competent programmers had to use it in the dark. My new company is a Red Hat user, and I'm more proud of that today than I was yesterday. Shame on me for yesterday...

    I'd like to teach the world to sing "Red Hat Is The Way"...

  • So Essentially ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@@@gmail...com> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @10:42AM (#16869152) Journal
    Let me get this straight, essentially Microsoft has successfully divided the Linux community in twain [slashdot.org] by making some sort of psuedo-deal with Novell. The details of which are pretty shady and the specifics are hard to find. Both companies are using generic speak to describe the deal they've sealed. Except that it's not sealed yet as there's still some tweaking yet to be done [zdnet.com]. And now people are spreading all kinds of rumors and the SAMBA group is upset at Novell and suddenly it's like I'm back in high school again and Microsoft asked Novell to go to the senior prom--but we all know he only did that because Novell will put out in the back seat of Microsoft's dad's Cadillac. Everyone else is pissed.

    The "alternative to Microsoft" community is divided and all Microsoft had to do was dump $500 million on Novell & play some mind games with them about possible suits if they didn't take this deal. Masterfully done, Microsoft. Once again, your business strategy is state of the art while your technology doesn't really have to be.
    • by Richard W.M. Jones (591125) <[gro.aixenna] [ta] [hcir]> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @10:49AM (#16869262) Homepage

      Yes, it's particularly brilliant how MS have done this FUD without even specifying any supposedly "infringed" patents. They've made sweeping statements about "owning" this that and the other (eg. "owning" ".Net") which it simply isn't possible to do, and everyone is repeating their FUD. Well done Microsoft.

      Rich.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by heroofhyr (777687)
        Is there some way anyone could see what patents they've allegedly got that are being infringed? I know Dan Ravicher supposedly compiled some list which includes 20+ patents owned by Microsoft, and that because of the "engineer no looky at law breaking listy" rule in US patent legislation it isn't widely available, but is it actually available at all or do we just have to take his word for it that it exists and is accurate? If it's the latter, that seems an awful lot like those ethereal Communist lists compi
        • Is there some way anyone could see what patents they've allegedly got that are being infringed?

          erm... that's complicated:

          a - probably not, since there probably aren't any,

          b - if, in fact, there are some, I don't think they've gotten around to figuring out which ones they are yet.

          Another poster hit the nail on the head, this is a masterstroke of FUD which only cost microsoft $500mil. The masterstroke is that it is having better FUD-like effects than any previous MS-FUD that I can remember, but it's tar

      • by houghi (78078)
        What the best part is, is that they actualy did not do anything. They just posted it and let all anti-microsoft people do all the work.

        Well done Anti-M$ people.

        Oh, some nice link that nobody will believe: http://www.novell.com/ctoblog/ [novell.com]
    • by ookaze (227977)
      Let me get this straight, essentially Microsoft has successfully divided the Linux community in twain by making some sort of psuedo-deal with Novell

      Actually, they haven't divided anything. Unless you believe Novell is even part of the "Linux community", or that their part is significant, or that big corporate buyers are part of the Linux community. None of this is true though.
      This split is wishful thinking from FUDders.

      The "alternative to Microsoft" community is divided

      Again it's not. It's no more divided t
      • I don't see anyone divided, what I see is lots of people that fear for Novell : they're basically toast once GPLv3 is out.

        And what a lovely piece of FUD that will make when Novell (who by that time likely will have MS IP in their OS) has to either rollback their OS a couple years (which will likely kill it) or simply folds up their OS shop... I can see the MS sponsored FUD now: "Linux and FOSS in general is such a broken way of doing things that even access to MS money can't make it profitable and succes

    • You fail to see the deal. They are essentially cross-licensing with Novell. Which means they are using Novell as a proxy to acquire Linux IP. This shouldn't be possible with the GPL, but they've done it. I doubt they would just throw half a billion dollars down a rabbit hole to scare a few "hobbists." They are pursuing a longer-term strategy.
      • You fail to see the deal. They are essentially cross-licensing with Novell. Which means they are using Novell as a proxy to acquire Linux IP. This shouldn't be possible with the GPL, but they've done it.

        You fail to make sense. Microsoft is going to acquire "Linux IP", is it? By the fuzzy term "Linux IP" I assume you mean that Microsoft will acquire copyrights on sections of the Linux kernel, gcc, libc, etc. That's quite an achievement. Pray explain for us how they will do that.

        Rich.

        • IP != Copyright. Still, it's only semantics separating copyright and IP, or software patents, since if somebody has patented the method your using in your software, your copyright on that software is invalid. Microsoft has acquired a troll-mine so now they can start trolling for 'violations.' Kinda like SCO but this time they really got something. Ballmer calls it an "IP bridge" in their joint press conference [microsoft.com]:

          So I don't want to make that unclear, but we also said, look, we care enough about this issue an

      • They are essentially cross-licensing with Novell. Which means they are using Novell as a proxy to acquire Linux IP.

        Um... no. It's not Linux IP they are after - it's Novell's. And believe it or not, even though Microsoft have tried for years, they still don't have the kind of large installation enterprise tools that Novell has. Namely eDirectory and Zenworks. And that's what they are planning to steal, along with whatever contributions Novell can make to virtualization technologies.

        Remember, Novell i

  • by pugdk (697845) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @10:45AM (#16869192) Homepage
    Eh? I don't get it. So Micro$oft want us to pay them for Winblows even if we don't use it, so we don't get sued? Sounds like Micro$oft wants people who use Linux in their business to obtain a Micro$oft license to do so.

    In other words, Micro$oft want us to pay a Micro$oft tax for using something that has nothing to do with them. I got two word for you Bill Gates: Piss off.
    • Well, if you use ideas or knowledge that they own, then you owe them money, don't you? PS: I don't think the government should pretend that people can own ideas or knowledge, but that's a side issue.
  • It's a good indicator of just how toxic that "offer" from Microsoft is that they're willing to go unilateral on it.

    Red Hat refuses to take the "pill" so Microsoft "forces" it on them? This is something good?

  • by Sr. Zezinho (16813) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @10:49AM (#16869250) Homepage Journal
    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then they provide indemnification."

    • I think that Redhat should offered subscription based indemnification to all MSWindows clients. Just to muddy the waters, of course. :-)
  • by Medievalist (16032) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @10:53AM (#16869314)
    Meanwhile, Eben Moglen, the FSF general counsel, promises that GPLv3 will explicitly outlaw deals like this.
    Up till now everybody's been saying "GPLv3 is too complex and restrictive for actual use, GPLv2 has proven its worth and we're going to stick with that".

    But I'm guessing GPLv3 just got a big boost in popularity. I wonder if the FSF is going to send Ballmer a thank-you note?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Gazzonyx (982402)
      Nah, they'll send him a cake.
    • "But I'm guessing GPLv3 just got a big boost in popularity. I wonder if the FSF is going to send Ballmer a thank-you note?"

      Hey, that's my joke:

      http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=206202&c id=16815084 [slashdot.org]

      Let's call this a case of great minds think alike. We never heard 'fools seldom differ' - no, not us! ~;-)

      all the best,

      drew
      http://www.ourmedia.org/node/262954 [ourmedia.org]
      Sayings - Deterred Bahamian Novel
  • Even if in the long run, it might be your demise, you have not sold out yourself and your users to Microsoft. For that, you have our gratitude—mine and of those who'll see in the future that in spite of all odds, you made the right choice.
  • Way to go Red Hat (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pbailey (225135)
    Thank goodness these guys didn't get into bed with M$ too. There is still hope. Won't be doing any business with Novell/Suse in the future though....
  • Thank you, RedHat. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lethyos (408045) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @11:07AM (#16869486) Journal

    Accepting any deal of the sort from Microsoft is tantamount to giving legitimacy to a corrupt system and buying into blackmail.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @11:23AM (#16869742) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft is SOOOOO stupid in that matter.

    It is evident that due to their corporate heritage/understanding, they still think that they can manipulate the whole world by dealing with a number of big corporations.

    So, novell, red hat and similar will succumb to their schemes, and we, millions of developers, system admins, it managers will oblige by them ? duh ?

    am i missing something here ? we 'the people' in the field were the ones to make linux come to where it is today, not the single handed effort of any company. zillions of our contribs made linux come to this point.

    not only that, but we as a whole are the bulk of the community that will advise our top brass, decision-makers, bugdet planners, policy-makers in our corporations and workplaces as to what should be the best course to take.

    we did not oblige by microsoft crap then, and you can easily deduct that we will never do. and you can guess that our advice/move on that matter would be to avoid more microsoft crap.

    we will just scratch anybody who deals with microsoft to that kind of harmful extent, and build on something new. im not putting a prophecy here - im talking about the social dynamics and previous experience - new distros can be done, new platforms can be put together, even now-obscure operation systems/platforms may rise to prominence.

    this is the power of people. microsoft has rowed against the river before, got carried away with it, STILL trying to do as such. do not make the same mistake again. and as for novell, we are already wary about you.

    do not take these as the babblings of a fanatic - this is being spoken from bitter experience with these stuff and a great deal of practical concerns.

    red hat has the go for now.
  • by mythz (857024) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @11:26AM (#16869768)
    This fiasco clearly shows the ideals of these two 'opensource' companies. Redhat is driven by both the idealism of open source and basis its revenue model on the value proposition and technical superiority of its products.

    Novell on the other hand is a stagnated giant, it only turned to Linux in a bid to generate some revenue to comabat the decline in its directory sales. Novell is clearly driven by profit as is demonstrated by this deal with MS. With this deal Novell is no longer just competing on the strength and value proposition of its products, it has created an artificial barrier (FUD / illusion customer protection) where they are now hoping customers will consider their products of greater value as it has this 'added' protection. If Novell really believed in open source and not as just a way to make profit it would have open sourced NDS a long time ago simarily to what redhat had done with its acquisition and opensourcing of Netscape directory services.

    Now I have to ask what is with the 3 year exclusive deal with MS? Surely this is not a restriction MS has imposed on itself? This must've been a directive from Novell, which makes me think that Novell is more than a puppet in this MS sponsored charade.
  • GPLv3 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by metamatic (202216) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @11:27AM (#16869782) Homepage Journal
    Meanwhile, Eben Moglen, the FSF general counsel, promises that GPLv3 will explicitly outlaw deals like this. (Of course everyone's on v2, so calling the Novell deal "DOA" would be premature.)

    Yeah, Novell might decide to fork the entire GCC toolchain, the standard C libraries, the file utilities, the shell, the bootloader, and go it alone maintaining the entire system without the benefit of the Linux community. Yeah, that'll work well for them.

    • Yeah, Novell might decide to fork the entire GCC toolchain, the standard C libraries, the file utilities, the shell, the bootloader, and go it alone maintaining the entire system without the benefit of the Linux community.

      You seem to presume the "Linux community" is going to seamlessly move as a herd from GPL v2 to GPL v3 for all of those things: that seems less than clear at this point. There's been a lot of back and forth about the desirability of lots of things in GPL v3, and for lots of widely used thi

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Someone please tell me what patents Microsoft has over Linux ! Don't they have the cart before the horse here, ala SCO ? "We won't sue you" Great. How are they going to sue us now ? Don't we have to infringe on something not to be sued ?

    And even if Microsoft does have a patent or two buried in Linux, don't they have to give fair warning and wouldn't the OS Community just rewrite around it ?

    I totally don't understand any of Microsoft's involvement with Linux. It seems to me like they are trying to sc
  • Go FSF! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Zonk (troll) (1026140)
    I for one will be welcoming the GPL3.

    In the mean time, though would it be possible to create a GPL 2.1? Maybe add a clause like this (taken from the CPL):

    b) Subject to the terms of this Agreement, each Contributor hereby grants Recipient a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free patent license under Licensed Patents to make, use, sell, offer to sell, import and otherwise transfer the Contribution of such Contributor, if any, in source code and object code form. This patent license shall apply to the combina

  • by radarsat1 (786772) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @11:46AM (#16870058) Homepage
    Does anyone have a list of Microsoft patents that affect GNU/Linux?
    Like, what exactly are they providing indemnification for?
    And how many of them likely have plenty of prior art that could be used to fight in court?
    Are there any that we should specifically be worried about?

    Additionally, another thing I don't get about this is that by making this Novell deal, they seem to be indicating that they are willing to sue customers of other distros for patent infringement. But since when do CUSTOMERS get sued for patent infringement? Last I checked it was only the vendors of infringing products that could get sued for patent infringement.
    • by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @01:01PM (#16871266) Homepage Journal
      If you are server tomorrow with a lawsuit from MS to stop using Linux, you have to ask you the following:

      -Do I have the poclets fto fight them?
      -Do I have the time to fight them?
      -Do I have the energy to fight them?

      note that the validity of any possible patents is completely immaterial, in a litigation systems in which money talks, the threat of being sued is enough to do whatever you are told to do if you don;t have the resources to defend yourself.

      And of course MS will not go after the big players first (banks, oil companies, software producers, Hollywood studios), no, that would be an even battle.

      They will go after the little guy, the one they can crush. That creates a climate of uncertainity in which Linux will be questioned instead of prised because the bully would be out to get you.

      If MS had any decent intentions they would have launched an interoperability panel with the mantainers of the 5 or 6 most important Linux distributions and teams working on Samba, Mono, Cedega, OpenOffice.org and other parties interested in making interoperability work. They would have alos announce that no patents would have been used against any Linux software.

      There was no need of this nonsense, but the only kind of relationship that MS understands is the one in which they are the abusive party.

      I wish I could say lets give them the benefit of the doubt, but the way I see things is pretty obvious they are positioning themselves for a legal battle. They must be careful, they may be bitting more than what they can chew.
  • by sesshomaru (173381) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @12:00PM (#16870264) Journal
    Here's Cringeley's tak on it:

    http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2006/pulpit_200 61110_001188.html [pbs.org]

    Relevant quote from Cringely article:

    We saw this happen before when 3Com tied its fortunes to Microsoft in the late 1980s with the lamented 3Com-Microsoft LAN Manager network operating system, which was ironically Microsoft's answer to Novell at that time. Then 3Com CEO Bill Krause felt the only way to compete with Novell was through an alliance with Microsoft. So 3Com bought its way into the relationship, ended up doing all the work (MORE THAN all the work if you count recoding Microsoft blunders), then had to BUY ITS WAY BACK OUT when the product failed.
    After that deal was over and the blood had dried, 3Com founder Bob Metcalfe claims that a Microsoft exec told him, "You made a fatal error, you trusted us."
    I still think Microsoft is less evil than Sony though... but only just.
  • Yea microsoft, you didnt have any right on any single shit in linux, but hey, you still decided to provide us who use it with indemnification.

    apparently toes at microsoft are unaware of what their head is thinking.
  • So MS has finally waken up to the reality that Linux has to be taken seriously, but unlike with the little mishap of ignoring the existence of the Internet for several years, this time they are not even trying to compete and innovate, they are reaching directly for the patent portfolio while at the same time trying to ensure that people running already Linux are not alinated.

    Clap, clap, clap. Well done Redmondites, your lessons in Machiavelism never stop to amuse us all, the bigger you guys are the more you
  • History has shown us that the oppressed almost always, eventually, take up the tools of their oppressors. I see members of the samba team, Moglan, and Redhat all using *F*U*D*.

    Perhaps naively, but it:
    1) appeared MS gave Novell money now, for Novell making payments later;
    2) MS will help sell [Suse] Linux -- that means MS is distributing and bound by GPL2 code;
    3) MS promised no patent attacks on Linux software used by Novell. This means the _SOFTWARE_ is free --
    • Perhaps naively , but it:

      I agree with your "naively" there.

      1) appeared MS gave Novell money now, for Novell making payments later;
      2) MS will help sell [Suse] Linux -- that means MS is distributing and bound by GPL2 code;
      3) MS promised no patent attacks on Linux software used by Novell. This means the _SOFTWARE_ is free -- the promise wasn't protecting Novell users, per se, but the Linux software. Any other distro th

  • Novell in a corner? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by greylion3 (555507) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @01:51PM (#16872130) Homepage
    Just a thought here; if the rest of the Linux world moves on to GPLv3, does that prevent Novell from updating SuSE?
    Has Novell effectively run itself into a corner with the MS-deal?

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