If you love something, let it go...
By patrickf on Nov 07, 2006
I'm following the fallout from the Microsoft-Novell deal with interest. I don't agree that this is equivalent to any cross-licensing deal. The implications for the GNU/Linux community, which does extend beyond Novell, are obvious to all.
What may not have been obvious to Ron Hovespian last week, but is increasingly obvious to Novell's customers, is the liability they take on by using Novell's Suse Linux, as evidenced by this quote on the thoroughly likeable Ted Haegar's blog:
Will Novell release a Free and Open version of Linux in the future that is \*NOT\* covered by this Microsoft IP agreement? We long liked and supported Suse Linux, but can’t use it if its own distributor thinks it contains protected Microsoft IP. We look forward to Novell releasing a new version of Linux that is \*NOT\* covered by this relationship.
If you migrate from Suse Linux, it seems that Micrsoft might consider legal action.
"If a customer says, 'Look, do we have liability for the use of your patented work?' Essentially, If you're using non-SUSE Linux, then I'd say the answer is yes," Ballmer said.
This is free software without the freedom. Novell say that this is all about serving their customers' best interests. However, their customers seem to recognise that interoperability is poor substitute for the freedom to choose. And being free to choose means being free to leave.
ps. the views expressed here are not necessarily those of my employer