[lug] Bruce Perens's open letter to Novell

Daniel Webb lists at danielwebb.us
Thu Nov 23 11:46:14 MST 2006

On Wed, Nov 22, 2006 at 11:46:22PM -0700, Ferdinand Schmid wrote:

> I am disappointed that this agreement led to a war within the Linux
> community rather working together.? Novell cannot sign any rights to
> Microsoft that it doesn't own.? So the agreement is limited to Novell's
> patents versus Microsoft's patents.? gzip is excluded no matter if it is
> part of Windows (whit it is) or if it is part of Novell's product.

I think you misunderstand the conflict.  I'm not mad at Novell because I think
they have signed any rights to things they don't own.  I'm mad because they
are using underhanded legalese to get around the GPL.  There's no way the
patent part of the Novell-Microsoft deal jives with the spirit of the GPL, and
they had to do some serious legal contorting to make it fit within the letter
of the GPL.  I'm aware that there are plenty of people in the movement now who
only care about practicalities, but the ethics is important to a lot of us.
You can have a BSD world without much consideration of ethics, but you can't
have a GPL world without it.  Enough developers have voted with their license
to let me know that a significant number do care.
> I had hoped that this agreement would finally lead to Linux products that
> become interoperable with Microsoft products.? Most small to mid-size
> companies who aren't strictly Microsoft shops depend on making their Linux
> systems interact with Microsoft systems.? Personally I feel that I had been
> on the front lines between both technologies for the past 8 years (of using
> Linux in business).? Why not hope for a version of Samba that really
> interacts with Windows clients without constant babysitting?? Why not hope
> that you can run a Windows XEN guest on your Linux XEN host?

Yes, I'm sure Microsoft just spent hundreds of millions to make it easier to
deploy Linux and make it interoperable with Windows.  
> So let's hope that this Novell agreement will allow Linux to enter companies
> that were in the past unable to deploy it due to interoperability or legal
> concerns.? Let's hope that Linux will finally enter industries that ran pure
> Microsoft shops in the past.? 

See above.  If this does happen short-term, that's fine, but please don't delude
yourself into thinking that Microsoft's long-term gameplan is to allow Linux
to thrive.

More information about the LUG mailing list