Linux optimize

Novell and Microsoft v2.0


Recently a reporter from Reuters stated that Novell could be banned from selling Linux. The reporter, Jim Finkle, writes a headline that says <i>Novell could be banned from selling Linux</i>. Finkle says that:<blockquote>The Free Software Foundation is reviewing Novell Inc.'s right to sell new versions of Linux operating system software after the open-source community criticized Novell for teaming up with Microsoft Corp.</blockquote>.However, after reviewing the <a xhref="http://www.fsf.org" target=blank>FSF website</a> I find no mention of this review anywhere.

I realize that the MS/Novell issue is getting near "dead horse" territory, but you have to understand the gravity of this situation as seen through the eyes of the open source community. We all know that I feel this deal was nothing more than an attempt on the part of MS to undermine the Linux community by slipping patented technologies into the deeper levels of the system (read: the kernel). Sure the FSF is concerned about this issue. But are they actually reviewing the deal and threatening to halt their freedom to sell Linux?

My guess is yes. This deal brings out the conspiracy theorist in me. And I also have to say that I fully support the FSF in ANY attempt to block Novell. Why? Because this deal did nothing but give Microsoft a back door into the Linux operating system that could possibly wind up with MS, somehow, owning Linux. Sure the GPL exists and currently protects any software licensed under the GPL but remember one thing...we're talking about Microsoft here. We're talking about the company that can push just about anything they choose down the throats of consumers, lawyers, and even federal judges. They have capital enough to do just about anything. Think about it: Linux accounts for approximately 5 percent of their $967 million dollar yearly revenue. That equals approximately 4.8 million dollars. The MS deal offered them a total of $696 million dollars. Microsoft has THAT much cash to burn. Microsoft can afford to drop millions of dollars to ensure that their biggest competitor on the market is controlled by their lawyers. And that is what I will predict will happen. Microsoft gladhands Novell (and the open source community) saying they just want to enable their software to more easily communicate with the Linux operating system.

Hello Novell - this is Microsoft we're talking about. It's not the Ximian group promising Evolution will seamlessly communicate with Outlook servers. This is the big bad boy itself. This is the Anti-Linus, Bealzigates...they don't make deals unless you're willing to sell your soul. And the soul of Linux is the kernel which is currently protected by the GPL. The only way Microsoft can get around the GPL (hence to the kernel) is to bypass the law. How does Microsoft bypass the law?

Buy, buy, buy.

And that's exactly what is happening. And that is exactly why the FSF SHOULD be looking into a way to block Novell. Is it extreme? Sure. Is it wrong? I don't know. But I do know this: if Novell finalizes this deal and MS gains access to the Linux kernel, it will only be a matter of time before proprietary code is inserted into the kernel and Microsoft can claim patent rights to the Linux operating system itself.

You may scoff but remember - this is all coming from the company who has managed to skirt the law time and time again. This is coming from a company that has produced second-rate software and managed to convince the public it is the best of the best (Windows ME - need I say more?).

I realize we've gone on and on about this subject. But I'm not sorry about keeping it in the forefront, ensuring the public remembers that Linux and Microsoft are not good bedfellows.  The GPL should somehow protect free software from the Likes of Microsoft and their incredibly notorious patent lawyers. And if it means the GPL prevents Novell from selling Linux - I'm all for it. After all, I'd rather see the loss of one Linux distribution than the proprietizing of the Linux kernel.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

11 comments
Styopa
Styopa

The story was cooked up in Finkle's fevered imagination. The FSF have said publicly that they were misreported (see Groklaw passim). There's no way the FSF could stop Novell from selling Linux even if they wanted to. And the idea that Microsoft is trying to insert patented technology into the Linux kernel is just laughable. BTW, as far as I know SUSE have always been ultra-cautious about including proprietary codecs such as AVI in their distributions. Nothing new there and no connection with the MS-Novell patent agreement.

baker_h
baker_h

As an American Rebel, I support the idea that Novell should be stopped. Why? It has to do with MS's commercial history in other group projects: Get'em excited about the great possibilities, then "drop out" of the project for business reasons. Then..... Dig it up-We call entering my house through "back doors" by several "uncultured" names.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

sounds like a really bad thing, in this case, I do not see it that way. I was skeptical at the start, but it appears that it may be for the good of Linux in general, at least if MS stays on top of the OS market. Basically, it will allow for some Linux OS's to interoperate more seamlessly on MS networks. MS has positioned themselves in case of a Linux takeover as well, which is probably why they made this deal right now (before Vista launch). MS is vulnerable and scared of losing too much to open source solutions. when the deal was signed, MS paid Novell a bankload more (due to market share of OS's) than Novell paid MS. If, in the future, SUSE is deployed more, then Novell needs to pay more. If SUSE becomes dominant, then Novell pays MS even more. But if Windows stays dominant, then MS pays Novell more. This all depends on the amount of OS's installed and in current use (If I understood the article correctly). But for now, there really is no down side. Unless SUSE Linux becomes not only the dominant distro, but surpases OS's on the Internet and used, MS is actually helping the open source community by allowing porting to MS products.

Pravat
Pravat

I guess all forgot the SCO scandal (all funded by MS) even MS own UNIX source, acquired from SCO. They tried all they can do bring down the Linux Empire but they realize it is too late to be able to succeed in the same. All forgot why MS has taken this step to get in with Novell? Oracle taking on the Red Hat Ent. Linux Forking? to provide commercial support (even latest news is that is not going too well for them). The end result will be MS having their own Linux Distribution, sooner they will take full control over Novell hence SUSE. Being a Red Hat professional, I can tell you already SUSE have much better integration features with Windows World then any other modern distros. The moral of the story is, no one can beat Microsoft anyways?

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

can make your hair fall out (or accidentally rip it out). I do not see the Linux platforms as being in trouble yet. Although I am not too knowledgeable in the framework and licensing, I have read quite a few posts about it and MS cannot 'buy' their own linux distro and then squash everyone else. However, they have an option to create their own distro, even without this deal. Then they could integrate it with AD domains much better. They do not do this for 2 reasons (my guesses at least). First, it would cost a lot of time/money which could go into things like Vista. Second, it would compete with their existing OS's and legitimize its use, causing more people to move away from the Win platform. The experts will raise many alarms if/when the threat is real, and I have seen very little about this.

j-mart
j-mart

May prevent Microsoft from doing this. I have just had a quick look and from what I see if Microsoft adds anything to Linux Kernel even if patented individually, as soon as it is released as any part of original code the new version will sill come under GPL license. For Microsoft to "own" its own version of linux it would have to write it from scratch with no reused code from GPL Linux, I have only looked at it quickly so I may not be correct in my interpretation. As a side note, in my opinion SuSE has made some bad moves in snuggling up with Microsoft. Recently I upgraded Mandrake 9.2 on one of my machines to SuSE and found some of the codecs for multimedia players, AVI files for instance were not available in SuSE versons of packages I normally use (they were in Mandrake) an I had to get source files and compile them for some libraries to enable me use some of my files. Updating from SuSE did not give me these codecs. As I will always purchase a boxed version of any linux distro I am going to update to I am one paying customer that is lost. I will either go back to Mandriva or Red Hat or I might try Debian

nighthawk808
nighthawk808

Micro$oft is already trying that. Their project is currently codenamed Vista 2.0, and is scheduled to be released sometime around 2032. There are rumors that they've decided to drop the WinFS feature yet again, as they're not sure they can fit it in on such a tight schedule.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

you must have great connections. I heard it was Vista SP2 that would be released in 2032, which was SUSE Linux repackaged (complete with MS logos)

nighthawk808
nighthawk808

I'll be on FreeBSD by then anyway, and Novell's pact is a big reason why. My contact's name is Gay Deceiver. She lets me see into the future through direct sensory observation.

DanLM
DanLM

Sorry, not a fan. Chuckle, try FreeBSD. They even have desktops out there called PC-BSD. Openlamp has an article on it I just read. Dan

stress junkie
stress junkie

I think that Microsoft's strategy in teaming up with Novell is to have one Linux distribution in its pocket and to help to make that particular distribution popular. Microsoft and Novell claimed that some intercorporate sharing will lead to seeing Novell SuSE Linux being more easily able to integrate into a Windows network than other Linux distributions. Network integration in a Windows network is one of the bugaboos around using Linux in the enterprise environment. Microsoft and Novell want SuSE to become the premiere enterprise Linux solution. Then Microsoft will have its claws in that particular Linux distribution but that is as far as it will go. Frankly the idea that the FSF can stop anybody from selling Linux is ridiculous. The GPL was created to prevent exactly that sort of central control. If Microsoft wanted to create its own distribution of Linux they could do so and nobody could legally stop them. Bringing Novell into the Microsoft family is almost like having Microsoft develop its own Linux distribution. The point is that it doesn't really matter what Microsoft and Novell do, whether jointly or separately. Linux is owned by Linux Torvalds but since it was distributed under the GPL even Linus has very little control over who may or may not create a distribution of Linux. Whatever Microsoft and Novell do does not necessarily affect the rest of the Linux or open source community. Microsoft could purchase Novell outright and it would not affect Linux. The GPL has pretty much prevented anyone from preventing anyone else from distributing Linux or the open source software that is often bundled with it.