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Microsoft/Novell Deal Could Create Two-Tier Linux Market 375

Rob writes writes to mention a Computer Business Review article about the recent Microsoft/Novell Linux deal. Article author Matthew Aslet warns that while some may see the announcement as a step forward, it may ultimately be very divisive for the Linux community. From the article: "Microsoft made it clear that only SUSE users and developers, as well as unsalaried Linux developers, are protected. 'Let me be clear about one thing, we don't license our intellectual property to Linux because of the way Linux licensing GPL framework works, that's not really a possibility,' said Microsoft chief executive, Steve Ballmer. 'Novell is actually just a proxy for its customers, and it's only for its customers,' he added. 'This does not apply to any forms of Linux other than Novell's SUSE Linux. And if people want to have peace and interoperability, they'll look at Novell's SUSE Linux. If they make other choices, they have all of the compliance and intellectual property issues that are associated with that.'"
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Microsoft/Novell Deal Could Create Two-Tier Linux Market

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  • oh pleeze (Score:2, Informative)

    by xoyoboxoyobo ( 945657 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @11:55AM (#16752105)
    this is exactly the kind of thing that makes people call it micro$oft. just like during the DNC our startup company was frozen out of a contract because microsoft came in and "donated" hardware with the stipulation that only companies that were m$ certified and did not use linux technology could get contracts. i am sure that the open source community sees it for the load of crap it is - i only hope that the corporate world does as well.
  • FUD (Score:4, Informative)

    by Stalyn ( 662 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @11:55AM (#16752113) Homepage Journal
    As much as I like to bash Microsoft, this whole "Microsoft is the next SCO" is bullshit. The only possible patent infringement going on is in the Microsoft compatibility stack of Mono. This is seperate from the Mono CLI and compiler which is under the Ecma. And also different than the Linux stack which includes Gtk#.

    Microsoft is basically saying "If you want to run your ASP.NET app with open source software then Novell is your only choice". Microsoft is not saying "Novell Linux is the only safe Linux distro from Microsoft lawsuits" because Linux is inherently safe as long as you don't run Microsoft's crappy .NET software on it.
  • Violating GPL (Score:5, Informative)

    by pavera ( 320634 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @11:58AM (#16752163) Homepage Journal
    This statement clearly violates paragraph 7 of the GPL. Novell is no longer able to legally distribute linux because they cannot give royalty free copies to everyone.
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @11:59AM (#16752181) Homepage
    Novell just bent over and let Stevie "embrace and extend." Rather than usurp Red Hat, this is going to make Microsoft-connected SuSE Linux software coda non grata in the OSS community.

    They're not worried about the OSS community. Not even a little.

    This is about making the perception among customers that the only way to have a Linux which is free from being sued by Microsoft for IP violations is to go with Novell/Suse. They hope to make the rest of the Linux offerings 'poisoned' for businesses to use with the veiled threat that all other versions of Linux are potentially tainted.

    Really, who didn't see this coming on the day they announced it?

  • by jimstapleton ( 999106 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @12:00PM (#16752197) Journal
    It's a tricky business, as the other reply stated, other companies can go after BSD if they find their software in ther, or software that violates their IP.

    That being said, the three main BSDs (Free/Open/Net), unlike many Linux distros, will not include closed source or commercial packages in their distros (although it does not actually violate their license, unlike Linux's)

    I would say SUSE would probably be your lowest risk, but I doubt the BSD risk would be much higher, as the core isn't really taken much from Linux. I can't say as much about the packages though.

    If all the at-risk stuff is closed source, than BSD is pretty safe, BSD will not auto-retrieve any closed source packages, at all. You will be warned by it asking you to manually download parts of the package yourself.
  • by vrmlguy ( 120854 ) <> on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @12:04PM (#16752273) Homepage Journal
    This is from a year ago, but it's even more relevant today:
    Microsoft made it abundantly clear that they would use their patent portfolio to prevent the spread of GPL software. Section seven of the GPL (the implicit patent grant of the license) now looks like the most prescient writing Richard Stallman has ever done. If you're not familiar with it I'd suggest you read it and understand why using the GPL to protect your Free Software is so important. umn11.html []
  • Re:Bill + Steve (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @12:22PM (#16752563)

    Bill: No way! Remember, Steve, I used to write software

    Total myth. bg knows what lines of code look like on a piece of paper, and that's pretty much it. He hasn't ever coded anything to functional completion. []
  • by Znork ( 31774 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @12:32PM (#16752733)
    "Not sure what Novell are thinking of here."

    I doubt Novell were thinking at all. As far as any GPLed code is concerned, the agreement is worse than worthless; if Novell thinks they're distributing GPL code that needs extra rights granted, then they must forward those extra rights to any and all recipients, or they cannot distribute the code at all.
  • by 0xABADC0DA ( 867955 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @12:54PM (#16753119)
    Because *if* there are Microsoft's patents then unless Novell can extend usage rights for free to all, not just their "users", then they are in violation of the GPL. Clearly they won't be able to do this as that would effectively indemnify all Linux distros (since you could "patch" SuSE to be Fedora Core for instance). So you see that the other distro's are held in check by threats of lawsuits from Microsoft over patents and SuSe is held in check by lawsuits over copyright from GNU and/or Microsoft subsidiaries that get their GPL code included in the distro (parties with copyright to sue over).

    The best response from the community is to boycott SuSE in every way as a distro. The best response from GNU and other rights holders is to immediately sue Novell over violation of GPL license (but this may require showing that there *are* patented code in Linux that SuSE aren't extending rights to use it).
  • Re:Bill's coding (Score:4, Informative)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @01:49PM (#16753975) Homepage
    No Windows became popular because MS-DOS was already the dominant platform and Windows was just an extension of MS-DOS.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982