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A 5-Year Deal With Microsoft To Dump Novell/SUSE 174

Nicholas Petreley writes, "Wake up little SUSE, wake up. No, that's not good enough. Wake up SUSE customers, wake up. Novell is jeopardizing the future of Linux for its own short-term rewards. If you want to see Linux flourish, let alone survive, after Novell's five year deal with Microsoft expires, I suggest we make an alternative five-year deal with Microsoft. In this case, our part of the deal is to spend the next five minutes, months, or years migrating away from every shred of Novell/SUSE software in our home, office, or enterprise."
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A 5-Year Deal With Microsoft To Dump Novell/SUSE

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  • SuSE and Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tannhaus ( 152710 ) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @11:06AM (#16785319) Homepage Journal
    I understand people hate Microsoft. But, how is this any different than the mono project and their microsoft deal?

    Microsoft advertises on slashdot as well.

    Microsoft is, in the end, just a company. It may be a monopoly, but it is just a company. It's not going to destroy linux if one company makes a deal with another one. Linux is an operating system that spans MANY companies. If anything, this may get linux into more of those pro-windows IT shops. The ones that aren't pro-windows won't care about the deal either way.

    It just seems odd to me that people are foaming at the mouth over this.
  • Actual Knowledge (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 09, 2006 @11:07AM (#16785345)
    People who have actually seen the agreements: 10.

    People who have seen the comments who have publicly shared the exact details on /., digg, or anywhere else? 0.

    Honestly sometimes the /. paranoia gets to me. While there may be downsides to the agreement the fact of the matter is that Suse customers will benefit as long as it exists and probably after it is no longer. Linux users at the very least won't be hurt because nothing Novell or Microsoft does will break Linux....neither company owns it, one of them actively contributes, and the other is saying it will help with interoperability.

    Sheesh....time for a break from my tinfoil hat and staying indoors.
  • by Concern ( 819622 ) * on Thursday November 09, 2006 @11:10AM (#16785407) Journal
    The thesis here is a little murky, but the author has enough of a point for me to wipe Novell-related Linux products (though that's easy for me to say, as I don't actually use any that I know of).

    In brief: Microsoft has cross-licensed software patents with Novell. The idea is to legitimize their patents before they attempt to sue other Linux distro vendors (and probably others).

    The author is correct in their assertion that, if Novell has done so (and it appears that they may have), they are actually now in violation of the GPL. From section 7:

    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.

    The endgame is where I lose the guy a little on the specifics, but it doesn't really matter. The point here is another anti-Linux legal FUD campaign. suffice it to say, this is hardly a conspiracy theory. Microsoft is the direct author of SCO.

    Say it with me, kids. Software Patents are Insane.

    Software Patents are Insane.

    No one can read 200,000 of them, or the few thousand new ones each day. No human being can validate code against the patent base. All software is a ticking patent timebomb. It is (vaguely) legalized barratry, and the rest of the world (who has soundly avoided this insanity) will be laughing at the American software industry all the way to the bank.

    There is no solution short of immediate and complete invalidation of all current and future patents on software.
  • by RichMeatyTaste ( 519596 ) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @11:15AM (#16785509)

    Do you want in the door at Fortune 500 companies? I mean lots of them? Then this is a good thing.

    If Linux is to displace Microsoft then it needs exposure exposure exposure. It needs people seeing if they can run complex Excel spreadsheets with VB Macros on other platforms. It needs people seeing if there are alternate Exchange backends that allow full Outlook frontends.

    If Linux works well with Microsoft more people will at least *try* Linux, plain and simple. When people try it, they either stay with it or come back and say why it won't work.

    For example, there are tons of popular PC platforms that various Linux distros won't work on without changing things. Just 2 weeks ago I attempted to install the newest Ubuntu build on a 3 year old P4 IBM business class PC and you know what, it wouldn't install. I was able to troubleshoot it to a lack of onboard video memory, but a quick bios fix took care of that. Unfortunately the error that came up was so vague that the "average" user would have probably given up.

    Linux needs all the "new" users it can get. They are the ones that find the funky errors, the ones that the "elites" otherwise consider a "minor" issue.

    One of the reasons that Windows is so popular is that for the most part it installs without any problems, especially on PC's from major manufacturers (which Fortune 500 companies tend to buy).

    Enough now, I'm at work.
  • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @11:18AM (#16785553) Journal
    Wow, what a difference a few years makes. The comparisons you use are strange. I take it you never used windows before NT or 95. What you are _REALLY_saying is that windows has been around so long, the windows way of doing things is what users expect... No, I'm not going to tell you that is a lame way of looking at things, but you seem to think that most users _KNOW_ how things are supposed to be and how they are supposed to work. I deal with users every day that don't know how to do even the simplest tasks in windows, and are amazed when someone knows such things off the top of their head. My point is that your comparison is falacious in that it makes an assumption about what _regular users_ know and want.

    What I find is that they want a magic disc that they can put in the slot in the front of their "hard drive unit" and magically everything either works, or fixes itself. They are just as confused about having to run setup from a CD as they are about running an install script. Either one is a kind of "black magic" to them as they don't understand either. Many of them don't know if they have installed software or not, despite having run the installation CD.

    The hunt for drivers or updates is something that all computer users used to have to do. The Linux desktop, while not exactly a shining example of easy to use/install software, is still a viable alternative, and if _regular people_ have to learn one OS or another, there is no reason not to learn Linux. Remember, _regular people_ are baffled by every OS, not just Linux. Your ranting is counter productive, and seems to settle on windows simply because its been here for a few years, and until every other OS looks and works like windows, then windows is the only OS to use. This is not sound logical reasoning.
  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @11:20AM (#16785617) Homepage Journal
    I have never used SuSE anyway. I have installed it a couple of time, and I found it bloated and needlessly complicated.

    Some companies may buy SuSE, because of the Microsoft deal, but I strongly doubt it. SCO has shown that legal threats do not work. Do you really think IBM will beg for mercy if Novell (or Microsoft) knocks on the door, legal papers in hand? Do you think HP will do the same? What about Sun? I don't think so.

    As a matter of fact, the Novell/Microsoft deal may be excellent for the future of Linux: I can see a lot of companies (HP, IBM, Red Hat, Mandriva, Sun, etc) get together and pool legal resources to fight any such threat. And that means -- worst case scenario -- that their combined economic power will simply crush any attempt by Microsoft to be "legally" naughty. The fact is, Linux cannot be stopped right now: there is simply too much interest and too much money at stake for too many people. And I suspect Microsoft knows this: it's simply trying to dip a toe in the water, see how this Linux thing really is working, try to work out some sort of compromise and preserve its profit margin. But it knows it can't fight Linux anymore (or, at least, some parts of Microsoft know that -- some other parts may ignore it).

    Open source is an idea whose time has come. And it was Victor Hugo who said: "You can't fight an idea whose time has come". Again, I suspect Microsoft knows this. Hence the Novell deal.
  • Dumping Novell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jdfox ( 74524 ) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @11:26AM (#16785741)
    quote from TFA:
    Novell/SUSE users and customers should wipe Novell/SUSE off their disks and install virtually any non-Novell/SUSE alternative in its place.

    Not so easy in a server room, especially in a mixed Windows/*nix server room where Novell's deal with Microsoft doesn't bother management in the slightest, even if you can explain it to them.

    An "upgrade" to Red Hat might be the sort of thing that could be explained to the average PHB though, especially if you can make a cost-savings case for it.
    We can expect marketing campaigns from Red Hat and Oracle [slashdot.org] anytime now, with "upgrade" deals waved around.

    Dump all MONO development for any of the many excellent alternatives, and abandon your investment in all Novell-based open or closed source tools.
    Sounds easier: Mono hasn't established a significant base in the corporate market yet. And if Sun GPLs Java [slashdot.org], you could even start presenting Java as not just more open, but also least-likely-to-be-sued.

    Weird times.

  • by Himring ( 646324 ) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @11:32AM (#16785825) Homepage Journal
    As I offered earlier:

    "Under the patent cooperation agreement, Novell's customers receive directly from Microsoft a covenant not to sue. Novell does not receive a patent license or covenant not to sue from Microsoft, and we have not agreed with Microsoft to any condition that would contradict the conditions of the GPL. Our agreement does not affect the freedom that Novell or anyone else in the open source community, including developers, has under the GPL and does not impose any condition that would contradict the conditions of the GPL. Therefore, the agreement is fully compliant with the GPL,"

    http://www.linux-watch.com/news/NS4685037869.html [linux-watch.com]

    That reminds me of another, historical, agreement:

    "Under the treaty, England receives directly from Germany a promise not to attack Poland. England does not receive a promise not to attack Germany, and we have not agreed with Germany to any condition that would contradict the conditions of previous treaties. Our agreement does not affect the freedom that Poland or any other country in Europe, including France, has under previous treaties and does not impose any condition that would contradict the conditions of such treaties. Therefore, the treaty is fully compliant with all previous treaties."


    Neville Chamberlain

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @11:36AM (#16785893) Homepage Journal

    Every tiny distro out there considers it offensive that they're not included in the deals and financing directly, because they contribute in some way to OSS. Somewhere they've gotten the idea that a small contribution implies ownership of the whole.

    It's the same crowd that cries about GPL violations when the software under consideration is licensed under Apache, Mozilla, or a host of other licenses.

    Even when dealing with GPL software, they forget that even someone like Stallman who contributed huge amounts of time, effort, and code are still only one team member whose total contribution is still an infinitesmal fraction of the total effort.

    If you want to control software, don't use OSS licensing. If you want to share it so everyone can benefit, look into an OSS license that agrees with your personal and business philosophies.

    Just remember that virtually every single OSS license out there grants people and companies the right to make money by selling an add on service or product. Packaging and support are a service, and apparently one customers will pay for. The fact that your service or product ideas haven't financed a move out of the basement yet are not the fault of Microsoft, Novell, IBM, or any other company or individual with net-positive revenues.

    It's yours. The cheeto-eater. The student with the ideas but no business experience, the theoretician who has proven it works but not built anything useful or saleable from the idea, the idealist who created a great package but has neither mind nor market share.

    Figure out a way to convince customers you have something worth paying for, or stop whining that others are more skilled at doing so. Preferably both.

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:30PM (#16786675)
    Let us not wait what will happen in, say a year.

    Also let us not look at it objectivaly and let us completely ignore what Novell has done for the Open Source community. Just let us drop them and then hope that Novell goes broke and some others fill in the void that will happen.

    Also let us ignore the fact that Novell is not SCO [linux-watch.com] or the Novell is also interested in seeing that the deal is coplying with the GPL [vnunet.com]

    Also let us forget all the Novell suported projects [vnunet.com]

    It is great to so that people are not realy pro Linux, but are rather anti-Microsoft.

    Yes, we should watch the deal closely and decide when things go wrong. To decide now will not do anybody any good, execpt perhaps RedHat, who are happily joining in the FUD for obvious reasons.

    Oh, this was all sarcastic.
  • by ender- ( 42944 ) <`doubletwist' `at' `fearthepenguin.net'> on Thursday November 09, 2006 @01:05PM (#16787039) Homepage Journal
    by tannhaus (152710) Alter Relationship on Thursday November 09, @09:06 (#16785319)

    I understand people hate Microsoft. But, how is this any different than the mono project and their microsoft deal?

    Microsoft advertises on slashdot as well.

    Microsoft is, in the end, just a company. It may be a monopoly, but it is just a company. It's not going to destroy linux if one company makes a deal with another one. Linux is an operating system that spans MANY companies. If anything, this may get linux into more of those pro-windows IT shops. The ones that aren't pro-windows won't care about the deal either way.

    It just seems odd to me that people are foaming at the mouth over this.

    Too bad I can't reply directly to you [darn you slashdot admins!]. Microsoft isn't trying to kill Linux as an operating system. They are trying to eliminate any possibility that large corporations will switch to Linux in large numbers over the long term.

    If things go as the article predicts, Microsoft will prop up Novell/Suse, and get it into some wide use in businesses. At the end of five years, Microsoft significantly raises the amount Novell must pay for indemnity against any patent infringements. At that point one of two things happen:

    1. Novell pays, and pays dearly. Result? The price of Suse goes up, and Microsoft makes as much money selling Suse as they do selling Windows. Winner? Microsoft
    2. Novel doesn't pay. Result? Microsoft sues Novell for distributing patented code, and sues any companies using that code. Companies become very fearful of using Linux lest they get sued by Microsoft. Linux itself won't die, I'll keep using Debian. But no large corporations would be willing to touch it. Winner? Microsoft.

    That's why people are upset at the possibilities.

Overload -- core meltdown sequence initiated.