Repeating the old arguments
There are many implications to be considered here. Let us begin with the fact that Novell has awoken the sleeping giant which is software patents. The deal gave credibility to an argument that Linux infringes on Microsoft patents and is therefore required to license Microsoft technologies. Another important issue is the exclusionary nature of the deal with Microsoft. Novell gains access to and develops various bits of software that other Linux distributors cannot have. This undermines the principles and spirit of Free software which — among several other things — thrives in collaboration and sharing. The relationship should be reciprocal in order for progress of Linux as a whole to be fast.
Novell’s deal has an impact on a variety of other things, including the European Commission’s antitrust ruling. Novell is also engaged in supporting technology that helps Microsoft stifle the adoption of Linux.
I am pleased to find out that PJ feels the same way. In response to a recent interview which suggests that IBM continues to accept the Microsoft/Novell, PJ said this:
If it’s bad for the community, it will eventually be bad for customers too, because the community will disappear. Then you are back in the Cathedral, and you will have lost the Bazaar, which is what made Linux great in the first place. And Microsoft doesn’t have the goal of interoperability anyway. The MSOOXML story proved that to me. So the patent peace deals will not increase interoperability. They will increase the cost of Linux to Microsoft’s advantage and reduce the value received, because the patent license terms restrict what customers can do with Linux. They also restrict what programmers can do, which will kill Linux in the long term.
Why can’t everyone see this?