Novell and the Brave New Open-Source World

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Print this article Print


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Opinion: The company's deal with Microsoft may not sit well with open-source idealists, but it is not a betrayal of Linux. (Linux-Watch)

For some people, when Novell recently made a deal with Microsoft, it might as well have sold its soul to the devil.

At the same time, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has been mouthing off about how Microsoft signed the pact because Linux "uses our intellectual property" and Microsoft wanted to "get the appropriate economic return for our shareholders from our innovation."

Novell, with its corporate headquarters in Massachusetts—not hell—was not amused.

Read more here about Novell's collaboration agreement with Microsoft.

So it was that Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian replied to many of these concerns in a Nov. 20 "Open Letter to the Community from Novell."

The letter actually could have a better name—it's actually a letter both to the community and to Microsoft.

Novell's CEO rebuffs Microsoft claims that the companies' agreement acknowledges that Linux infringes on Microsoft's intellectual property. Click here to read more.

First, to the community, Novell reminded open-source fandom that it's done a lot of good in the past for open-source's IP (intellectual property) rights.

While Hovsepian didn't mention this one, I will. Novell, with its own IP claims to Unix and its highly entertaining slash at SCO for the money SCO got from Microsoft, has made darn sure that easily the most public attempt to ruin Linux will likely come to nothing.

Does this sound like a company that's suddenly turned anti-Linux? Anti-open source? It doesn't to me.

I'm fed up with people acting like Novell has become a heretic in the Church of Open Source. There has always been a wide range of opinions about what's proper and what's not in open-source software.

Read the full story on Linux-Watch: Novell and the Brave New Open-Source World

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Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor of eWEEK.com's Linux & Open Source Center and Ziff Davis Channel Zone. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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