Microsoft and Novell: Hidden Agenda?06 Nov 2006
Microsoft and Novell announced a deal at a press-conference held on November 2nd 2006. This is the first time that Microsoft actually is accepting Linux as an even competitor. Furthermore this deal has raised a lot of speculation because Novell only recently took over SuSE (popular Linux distribution from Germany). Also we should not forget that Microsoft did a large amount of lobbying nearly leading to the legalization of software patents in Europe.
In particular contributors and users of openSuSE are annoyed:
- Microsoft and Novell are promoting the idea of software patents and are thus violating the interest of the openSuSE-community.
- Novell is going to pay a part of its revenue to Microsoft as patent royalties. Microsoft thus is profiting from the work of opensource-developers without consideration.
- Novell agreed to develop and market a number of "new techniques" (i.e. patentable) together with Microsoft. It is to be expected that Yast2 (the core software of the openSuSE-distribution) is going to be compromised even further.
Here are some references:
- Novell's press release
- Microsoft's press-release
- Analysis by Bruce Perens
- Novell Microsoft partnership faces GPL hurdle
- Comment on Groklaw
- Linux-Watch on the Novell/Microsoft deal
- Linux-Watch on Patents vs. GPL
- Joe Barr's interviews with people from Novell
- Angry posting by Nicholas Petreley (also on Slashdot)
- Jack Loftus interviewing Red Hat's general counsel Mark Webbink
- Balmer inviting other Linux-distributors to pay patent fees to Microsoft
openSuSE-users and -developers are even considering switching to another Linux distribution.
Here's a funny picture which was posted to the SuSE-forum.