Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Novell bring some light in the dark ...

It was about time. So many questions from the community about the Novell/Microsoft deal and the details. All this (justified) spec and rumours about Novell violoate the GPL section 7 with this arrangement and the other issues like Novell and the Open Invention Network (OIN) or Mono. Now we have some answers to the questions. Take a look at: Novell Answers Questions from the Community.

Here some parts (for more read the FAQ):
How is this agreement compatible with Novell's obligations under Section 7 of the GPL?

Our agreement with Microsoft is focused on our customers, and does not include a patent license or covenant not to sue from Microsoft to Novell (or, for that matter, from Novell to Microsoft). Novell's customers receive a covenant not to sue directly from Microsoft. We have not agreed with Microsoft to any condition that would contradict the conditions of the GPL and we are in full compliance.

Novell's end user customers receive a covenant not to sue directly from Microsoft for their use of Novell products and services, but these activities are outside the scope of the GPL.

Will Novell's involvement with the Open Invention Network (OIN) change due to this agreement with Microsoft?

[...] Novell is a founding member of the OIN and remains strongly committed to its mission. We have contributed valuable resources to OIN and will continue to participate in OIN in the future. Novell remains firmly in support of the goal of creating an environment of open innovation in the Linux world, without worry about the threat of patent lawsuits.

The value of OIN's patents as a deterrent remains critical to the entire Linux industry, including Novell, and is not affected by our agreement with Microsoft.

There is now also an new Novell announcement with more details of the deal. This also include a statement about GPL Section 7 and (very interesting) about the financial parts:
As part of the business cooperation agreement, Microsoft will make an upfront payment to Novell of $240 million for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server subscription certificates. [...] Microsoft will dedicate $60 million total over the five year period for marketing Linux and Windows virtualized scenarios and will also spend $34 million over the five year term of the agreement for a Microsoft sales force devoted primarily to marketing the combined offering.

[...] Under the patent cooperation agreement, Microsoft will make an up-front net payment to Novell of $108 million, and Novell will make ongoing payments of at least $40 million over five years to Microsoft, based on percentages of Novell's Open Platform Solutions and Open Enterprise Server revenues.
I think this should bring finally some light in the dark ...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The "patent protection" section is pure fud, and possibly even extortion.

At best its no better than everyone elses' patent indemnification deals, and at worst its holding the rest of the free software world at ransome under a vague and unspecified threat of patent litigation from MS.

Its a stab in the back to all non-Novell free software members (including both RH et al. engineers and users) I dont know how you can defend that.

If I write some code that gets included in all linux distros, and happends to offend a patent in the US Im not aware of, and Im not running Suse, does that mean its OK for MS to sue me?

Novell is using fear to sell Suse, and where I come from thats extortion.

Danny said...

[quote]The "patent protection" section is pure fud, and possibly even extortion.[/quote]

I don't know what you mean ... at least with extortion. Where is the attempted extortion and what is the claim?

[quote]...and at worst its holding the rest of the free software world at ransome under a vague and unspecified threat of patent litigation from MS.[/quote]

Why this? I don't see this. If there is software which breach the rights of Microsoft, we have to fix this. This has nothing to do with this deal. The deal didn't change anything on this fact. The deal make it not better but neither worse than now.

[quote]Its a stab in the back to all non-Novell free software members (including both RH et al. engineers and users) I dont know how you can defend that. [quote]

If, as you say, the deal is not better than "everyone elses' patent indemnification deals" what's the problem. Novell does not stab in the back of anyone. Novell did not change its involvement with at the OIN. I don't defend anythis, because there is nothing do defend.

[quote}Novell is using fear to sell Suse, and where I come from thats extortion.[/quote]

If this is the extortion than I can say: RedHat do the same and "everyone elses' patent indemnification deals" is the same. So what's the problem

I'm not a fan of MS, but I don't see what this deal make worse for you or any other than it was before the deal.

Anonymous said...

danny,
the problem with the deal is novell not competing in a fair manner -- with quality of goods and services -- its using a big scary ogre to frighten people into buying from you.

lets say I walk over to your house with two large guys carrying axes and a tank of gasoline, and I sell you some home insurance. did you buy the home insurance from me because its good home insurance, or did you buy it because my "associates" scared you?

what do you call that trick where you come from?