EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


Let’s Speculate: What IP Did Novell License?

Posted in Action, Boycott Novell, Deals, Deception, Formats, FUD, GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant, Protocol at 9:34 pm by Shane Coyle

Recently, Matthew Aslett has gotten Novell’s Justin Steinman to finally open up some about the true nature of the Microsoft-Novell deal, during which time Steinman mentioned an aspect of the deal that we have suspected but hadn’t been acknowledged publicly before (regardless of assertions that it was missed – trust me, I’ve gone back through the site and it wasn’t).

“Since we announced the Novell-Microsoft agreement in November, we’ve always said that the intellectual property agreement provided a foundation for the interoperability between Windows and SUSE Linux Enterprise. This foundation falls into two primary categories: 1) the “covenant not to sue,” which provides customers with peace of mind when they deploy SUSE Linux Enterprise; and 2) the IP access necessary for the technical collaboration to deliver interoperability between Windows and Linux. For better or worse, the community and press at-large have focused on #1, although Novell has talked about both categories since we signed the agreement.

“As you know, engineers at Novell and Microsoft are hard at work on our technical collaboration, and we demonstrated the first results at BrainShare in March. But in order to deliver the interoperability between Novell eDirectory and Microsoft Active Directory, as well as the bidirectional virtualization between Windows and SUSE Linux Enterprise, Novell required sanctioned access to Microsoft’s code in order to develop open source interoperability without violating Microsoft’s intellectual property.

“The Novell-Microsoft agreement is about bridging the worlds of open source and proprietary software, and in order to build this bridge, we’ve had to do several unique things, including signing an intellectual property agreement that would let Novell’s engineers get a look at some of Microsoft’s proprietary code. We’ve also done several other unique things like having Microsoft representatives sell certificates for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server subscriptions to their customers. I’d submit that all of these things are good for the adoption and growth of Linux.

So, Novell needed access to Microsoft IP and code in order to achieve interoperability – for what? Samba was already doing a splendid job of SMB/CIFS and AD integration, and the argument could be made that Mono was doing quite well in its own regard. Even OpenOffice.org had already achieved quite remarkable conversion of Office’s previous binary file formats, much to Microsoft’s chagrin I would surmise.

Well, there was of course the OOXML that Novell agreed to implement in their version of Novell Open Office – perhaps Novell needed access to MS IP in order to fully implement cryptic specifications like "autoSpaceLikeWord95"? Or maybe they are paying royalties for inclusion of VBA support in OOO, we just don’t know for sure – and that of course is a problem in an open development community.

The only hint that I have been still clinging to is the odd 5-year term that hangs over the deal since its announcement, something that conveniently coincides with Microsoft’s FAQ on their WSPP program terms and conditions, but otherwise I – and everyone outside of Redmond and Waltham – haven’t really a clue, and it seems that Microsoft (and by extension, their Linux Division – Novell) prefer it that way.

Secrecy is unacceptable in an open development model and community, and Novell’s (in)actions threaten to stall or even destroy the advance of Free Software. It is of vital importance to the community – and especially any projects accepting Novell code and patches – for Novell to publicly and unequivocally state the details of their Microsoft agreement once and for all. Now.

Then, we can move forward again – with or without Novell on our side. It’s already clear which side Microsoft will be on, the losing one.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New

  1. More Back Doors Found in Microsoft's Entrapments (Proprietary Software)

    Security flaws and even blatantly obvious loopholes for surveillance are identified in several of Microsoft's so-called 'products', which turn users (and their data) into the real product (to be sold to private companies or shared with spies)

  2. NASA Gives Back What It Took Away in the Form of Patent Monopolies for Private Gain

    Criticism of NASA's habit of clinging onto patents when it is actually the public which pays for everything

  3. The Coup D'état of Benoît Battistelli Follows an Imperialist Model, Threatens Opposition and Dissent

    SUEPO, the staff union, and boards that are independent from the EPO are both under attack and are constantly threatened by Benoît Battistelli and his goons

  4. Links 8/10/2015: Manjaro Linux Releases, Linksys WRT1900ACS, FOSS at NHS

    Links for the day

  5. Links 8/10/2015: KDE Plasma 5.4.2 Released, Linux Drama Queens

    Links for the day

  6. EPO Staff to Disrupt Administrative Council Meeting With Public Demonstration That Raises Awareness of Abuses

    The perception of collusion between the Administrative Council (AC) and the European Patent Office (EPO) leads to staff actions demanding investigation of illegal Board of Appeal (BoA) suspension/s (among many other things)

  7. OIN Turns 10, IDG Floods the Web With Puff Pieces That 'Normalise' Software Patents

    The Open Invention Network (OIN) commissions or helps produce puff pieces in the corporate media because it has an anniversary and corporate interests to push forth (including the idea that software patents can coexist with Linux)

  8. Hypocrite Forks the Linux Kernel Because of Cultural Characteristics That He Himself is Guilty of

    Forking of Linux is misleadingly reported in the media because of a couple of very loud people, who are not even quitting their jobs

  9. Željko Topić Attacks EPO Staff for 'Daring' to Legally Challenge the EPO's Management Over Its Gross Abuses in Europe

    Benoît Battistelli's right-hand man, Željko Topić, is under the false impression that yet more threats against staff of the EPO will help contain the crisis rather than further inflame it

  10. Media Reports Based on New Patents Suggest That Microsoft Continues to Attack Google and Android/Linux, Trying to Tax and Delete Android

    Reports and patent applications serve to show that Microsoft not only tries to infiltrate ("embrace") Android to put its apps there ("extend") but ultimately to delete ("extinguish") Android

  11. Commenters Provide Possible Explanations for Mr Van der Eijk Being on Unlimited Sick Leave

    Rumours are swirling around Wim Van der Eijk's absence, suggesting that he too may be a victim of Benoît Battistelli's iron fist

  12. Links 6/10/2015: Linux 4.3 RC4, HP OpenSwitch, Wind River Linux 8

    Links for the day

  13. With Software Patents in Europe (and Pushes for the Same Thing in Australia and India) Patent Trolls Now Come to Europe, Attack Android/Linux

    Worst-case scenarios are becoming a reality as Android backers officially attacked by patent trolls using standard-essential patents in London, England

  14. New Information on Limbo in the Enlarged Board, Courtesy of Illegal Actions by the EPO's Benoît Battistelli

    Battistelli's bullying of people whom he is not even allowed to bully turns out to have gone on for a lot longer than promised, and there is no sign of light at the end of this tunnel

  15. Microsoft Customers Complain About 'Inevitable' Vista 10 Because Microsoft Nearly Forces Botched 'Upgrades'

    In a desperate effort to spread Vista 10, sometimes even against people's will, Microsoft really upsets loyal customers, who are eventually eager to explore alternatives

  16. Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna Explains Why the UPC (“Unitary Patent“ System) is an Undemocratic Sham Whilst UPC Silently Advanced by Patent Lawyers and Politicians

    European patent laws are being covertly overridden so as to allow broader scope of litigation, higher financial damages, speedy injunctions, and even software patents; the European public is intentionally kept in the dark about it, hence kept unable to express scepticism or issue truly effective objections

  17. IRC Proceedings: September 13th, 2015 – October 3rd, 2015

    Many IRC logs

  18. Article Explains Why SUEPO Went Silent Well Over a Week Ago: Nobody is Allowed to Talk to Journalists Without Permission From Battistelli

    More threats from Benoît Battistelli (threats of termination and legal actions on top of it) help hide the abuses of Battistelli and his fellow thugs at the EPO

  19. A Linux World: After Billions of Dollars in Losses Microsoft Changes How It Reports Financial Results

    The abusive monopolist is trying very hard to hide its growing difficulties, especially in an effort to bamboozle non-technical shareholders who cannot understand how Linux has essentially taken over

  20. Microsoft Continues to Extort Linux and Android OEMs Using Software Patents, This Time ASUS (Forced to Pre-Install Microsoft Spyware With OOXML)

    A roundup of news illustrating that Microsoft is still very much in a total war against Android, (mis)using federal regulators and even software patents to get its way

  21. Links 4/10/2015: Linux 4.2.3 , 4.1.10; MPlayer 1.2 released

    Links for the day

  22. Links 2/10/2015: Qubes 3.0, Linux.Wifatch

    Links for the day

  23. Microsoft-Connected Firm Net Applications Used to Mislead About Vista 10 Share and Mock GNU/Linux

    People who are connected to Microsoft (some being former staff) link to a firm that is connected to Microsoft in order to create the illusion that Vista 10 market share grew to 6.63%

  24. Chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) and EPO Vice-President of DG3 Suspiciously on Unlimited Sick Leave After Benoît Battistelli's Unprecedented Attacks on Other EBoA Staff

    Rumours suggest that Benoît Battistelli's affairs at the EPO may have something to do with Wim Van der Eijk's longterm absence

  25. Microsoft's Secret Special Relationship With EPO Illustrates Serious Corruption at Microsoft and the EPO

    A big story about the EPO and Microsoft working in a sort of collusion-type setup so as to serve Microsoft's patent agenda, which involves aggression, even against European software that is Free (as in freedom)

  26. Links 1/10/2015: LFS 7.8, Calculate Linux 15 Released

    Links for the day

  27. The 'Microsoft Loves Linux' Baloney is Still Being Floated in the Media While Microsoft Attacks Linux With Patents, New Lawsuits Reported

    Despite Microsoft's continued assault on Linux and on Android (using software patents, which it still discreetly lobbies for), some figures in the media are perpetually peddling the Microsoft-serving lie that 'Microsoft loves Linux'

  28. The Microsoft Botnet Goes Bonkers and ATMs Running Windows Spew Out Cash

    The terrible security (by design) of Microsoft Windows is causing all sorts of very serious and collectively expensive issues

  29. Black Duck Continues to Pile FUD on Free/Libre Software

    Having spent nearly a decade promoting the fear of Free software licensing, Black Duck now does the same regarding Free software security

  30. Links 30/9/2015: New Kernels, Nexus Devices

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time


Recent Posts