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 ...