[ubuntu-uk] Microsoft """"supporting"""" Linux

Alan Pope alan at popey.com
Mon Nov 13 15:09:29 GMT 2006

On Mon, Nov 13, 2006 at 02:39:27PM +0000, Albert Vilella wrote:
> Samba to Novell:
> http://lwn.net/Articles/208958/
> Can anyone explain/point to an explanation on why is people so worried
> about the Microsoft/Novell deal?

Groklaw is usually the place for that.


> The way I see it, what Microsoft and Novell decide to do between
> themselves shouldn't be affecting the community. I am a bit confused
> about all this...

It's not between themselves though. Novell distributes code licensed 
under the GPL. That means they're distributing code written not by 
themselves, and code for which they do not own the copyright on - in the 
form of SUSE Linux Desktop for example. There's nothing wrong with that 
of course, but to suggest that the agreement doesn't affect the rest of 
us probably doesn't take that fact into account.

Novell employ some prominent Linux / FLOSS developers (notably one of 
the main Samba guys) and sell Linux / FLOSS solutions to their 
customers. If they have entered some kind of agreement with Microsoft 
which in any way protects themselves / their developers / their 
customers from legal action from Microsoft, then where does that leave 
the rest of the community that provided Novell with the bulk of the 
product? Does this lead to a two-tier developer community where one set 
of developers are (allegedly) immune from per/pro-secution but the 
others are not? Does this mean that those "immune" developers would then 
be able to put potentially patent encumbered code into FLOSS products 
that Novell sell? Would Novell then have a product which is tainted, 
which contains applications and services that no other vendor can 
provide, thus splitting the community further? What happens when the 
time is up on the deal and Novell are no longer immune from prosecution? 
Would distribution of those FLOSS solutions that we would depend on 

I dunno, I'm not a lawyer or bright enough to figure it out.



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