8.11.06

Novell: "don't sue us, sue our beloved costumers!"

Microsoft and Novell

So, you've been thinking about "what the hell is this" with the agreement between Novell and Microsoft, and you've called me and others who think that this agreement is bad as "zealots", "fundamentalists" or both. Well, we all needed more details to dismiss the other side's oppinion, right? Now we have it: the SEC report is out there, and it tell us more (yet not everything) about this "patent agreement". One big question here was about Novell's obligations under Section 7 of the GPL: they have GPL'd code in SuSE Linux, and yet are making an agreement on patents and such on code that isn't theirs. On that, their FAQ says that "We have not agreed with Microsoft to any condition that would contradict the conditions of the GPL and we are in full compliance.". Yet, he end users are also licensees, according to the GPL license! So, when we read in the SEC report that "Under the Patent Cooperation Agreement, Microsoft commits to a covenant not to assert its patents against Novell's end-user customers for their use of Novell products and services for which Novell receives revenue directly or indirectly from such customers, with certain exceptions, while Novell commits to a covenant not to assert its patents against Microsoft's end-user customers for their use of Microsoft products and services for which Microsoft receives revenue directly or indirectly from such customers, with certain exceptions." ... What does this mean? Well, it means, if you translate it bit by bit,
Hey, Microsoft, regarding to patents, don't sue us, instead sue our costumers!

Another big problem with this whole "this is not a licence, this is an agreement on patents" absurd thing that they're using to circumvent the laws that would set this as illegal as it obviously should be, is that, as you can see in the quote before, the patents are all covered, from both Novell and Microsoft, but "with certain exceptions". Since that they want that, if someone's to be sues is the Novell costumer, I have to ask: how can a Novell costumer know if they're INTO the certain exception? When they get their ass sued? Well, that's easy, avoid SUSE (specially the patent-clumbered SLES) and start using another distro.

YES, this is the conclusions for now: Microsoft just made Novell sign it's own death sentence. Who wants to risk it with SuSE when they have safe alternatives? Now, let me take a look on distrowatch: number one is Ubuntu, and Microsoft didn't even try anything about it, since it's preety plain that Ubuntu wants Microsoft to rot and die. #2 is OpenSuSE and they did this. #3 is Fedora, so Ballmer made an offer to enter into the same agreement with Red Hat two days ago, when this agreement with Novell says Microsoft won't do the same deal with anyone else for three years...

And now? Do you still think that caliming that this agreement is bad for Novell users is being a fundamentalist zealot?