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Further look into the Microsoft/Novell pact March 12, 2007

Posted by rjdohnert in Uncategorized.

We all know about the Microsoft Novell deal.  While customers love it, open source advocates hate it.  While I personally dont thnk its a bad deal I notice that a lot of the blame is being thrown at Microsofts feet which is not exactly very constructive or actually very fair.  Who is to blame if a woman gets pregnant?  The man or the woman.  As the old saying goes, it takes two to tango.

Technical collaboration..

This is the highlight of the deal.  Microsoft and Novell have agreed to collaborate on how to make Windows and Linux work better when used together.  This also includes document formats as Novell has distributed a custom version of OpenOffice.org to work with the OpenXML standards Microsoft is releasing.  More than this we have not seen yet, but Im sure its coming.  Both are hard at work creating labs to which they will work together.

Patent protection…

Many in the open source realm are quick to think that because Linux is open source its immune to patent violations.  Not true.  The GPL is a license, not immune to law. GPL software can violate patents and if the patent holder does not authorize it use, or license the technology for use in an open source project that project has violated law.  No amount of shouting “unfair” and “Patents suck” can change that.  You want to change it, change the law.  But, until Microsoft releases more information on what patents Linux violates I really could care less.  But if you run a multi-million or multi-billion dollar company you cant exactly take that approach.  You have to protect yourself and your business so Microsoft and Novell are willing to cooperate and agree not to sue each others customers for patent infringement.  While some have the luxury of not caring, others do not.

Novell not as innocent as they claim…

Novell can try to say that they didnt know what was going on but they did.  You dont just enter into a million dollar deal with a patent protection clause blindly without knowing the facts of what you are getting into.  If so, why hasnt Novell agreed to release their patent safe technology to other users of Linux?  The answer:  They want the almighty dollar.



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