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Covenant Not to Sue – Where Have We Heard That Before?

Posted in Boycott Novell, Deals, Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, GPL, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant, SCO at 1:26 pm by Shane Coyle

Groklaw has a fascinating (to me, anyhow) piece regarding Chris Sontag’s deposition in SCO v. Novell, in which he apparently talks about SCO’s "Linux License" – a "right to use" Linux, as part of the SCOsource program.

6 Q. Which is the right-to-use license, again?
7 A. The license — the right-to-use license
8 for Linux.
9 Q. The IP license?
10 A. Well, no. The right-to-use license for
11 Linux that provided the covenant not to sue.
12 Q. Is that the Microsoft Sun type
13 arrangement?
14 A. No. That was the license for Linux users.

Now, think about the Microvell deal and the patent covenant – the "covenant not to sue", the one that we now know is definitely not applicable to OpenOffice.org*, StarOffice, Wine or OpenXchange. So, Novell is paying Microsoft per-unit royalties for a right-to-use license for what, exactly?

Given the total lack of specificity in the released agreements, as was expected by all of us cynics, we are still left with mere speculation, something that just doesn’t jibe with an open development community.

Novell, please, all I want to do is "Get the Facts".

* UPDATE: Bruce Lowry has indicated in an update to the Novell PR blog entry that OpenOffice.org is covered for Novell customers as part of the patent covenant, as was initially believed when they announced the deal.

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  1. Shane Coyle said,

    May 29, 2007 at 2:40 pm


    Note how SCOsource delineates between the UNIX License and the Linux License – the Linux right to use license is not an IP license, and I think I recall it was binary only, for end users.

    The UNIX license, presumably, would be for distributors to use their IP in their product.

    Note also, that Novell claims the covenant not to sue is not an IP license.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 29, 2007 at 10:29 pm


    Have a look here. It’s another analysis:

    SCO was Microsoft’s patent warm-up act


    Backhanded compliments are always transparent. If you want your blog to have any credibility at all, you might want to consider putting some facts in with your opinion. You might also consider putting more of your own words in a blog post. You seem to have put the other blog’s words in your own little wrapper — hoping to get credit for the ideas.

    [MATT'S NOTE: The IP address for this one came from One Microsoft Way in Redmond, WA. Imagine that.]
    Posted by: Tobin (Microsoft Employee) at May 29, 2007 08:39 AM

    Microsoft is astroturfing in blogs? Well, some things never change.

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