Bruce Perens Microsoft-Novell Protest

Xavi Drudis Ferran xdrudis at
Fri Nov 24 15:43:18 UTC 2006

I thought I had answered this but I don't see my message. I must have lost

> On Fri, 2006-11-24 at 13:39 +0100, Xavi Drudis Ferran wrote:
>> But I think the agreement essentially changes nothing:
> There is a potential difference here.
> OIN is supposed to protect users of free software, by retaliating
> against people who sue via patent claims some developer or user of
> certain packages.

Mutual destruction is not so charming, but anyoway even this has not changed,

> OIN's patents come mainly from Novell.
> If Novell haven't transferred those patents explicitly to OIN, then
> Microsoft are effectively free from OIN retaliation, and will be able to
> press patent claims against those OIN is supposed to protect.

MS customers are free from Novell/OIN retaliation but apparently
the agreement MS/Novell does not forbid Novell or OIN to sue MS for
patent infringement. Novell wouldn't have sued MS customers anyway, since
it's trying to make them their own customers.

There was something on this from Novell FAQ, I don't know whether I
understood or how trustworthy it is.

> That is supposition based on the patents listed on OIN's website; all
> but one of them are assigned to entities other than OIN, at least one of
> those non-OIN entities is a business known to have been purchased by
> Novell and is therefore presumably a Novell patent.

Anyway, I don't think MS is likely to sue free software
companies/users/developers, since they still have a little software
business that could suffer from retaliation by OIN, IBM or anyone else.
It's more likely that any attack comes from patent trolls, be it
controlled by MS or otherwise. Adn the agreement won't change this htreat.
Well, I don't know, since I haven't read the agreement, and any statement
on it by Novell or MS is tainted by marketing spin, so not very reliable.

There is a threat, but is just the same it was before the agreement.

It's a psycological war, not a legal one. MS is in a hurry to launch Vista
and litigation would be too slow for this. It's about headlines, not
about lawsuits.

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