Linux and Microsoft: Jeremy Allison’s summary of the Novell deal

Saw this on /.. Jeremy’s major problem was the patent cross license.

My problem was not that. I had indicated that if this were a reasonable deal, then both companies would be talking about expanded capabilities, better interop, and all sorts of things.

One company was talking that way. Novell.

One company was talking about “unaccounted for balance sheet liabilities”. Also known as FUD.

Specifically he articulated:

The problem with the Novell deal is — Novell gave Microsoft what Microsoft dearly wanted, which is a public admission that they think that Linux violates the Microsoft patent. So, that’s the difference between this and the sort of off-the-record quiet deals. This one is public. This one is Novell admitting, “yes, we think that Linux violates Microsoft patents.” Now, of course, Novell has come out and said, “no, that’s not what we said at all. We don’t think that.” To which, of course, Microsoft publicly humiliated them and said, “oh, yes, that’s really what you were saying.” It’s kind of funny. They couldn’t even wait until the press conference was over to start threatening users with a Linux system.

Yeah… he noticed that too. Mr Balmer started in right away.

Jeremy’s take was that Novell effectively admitted that they were using others IP in their product.

My take on it was that SuSE’s management got played. Badly. If they haven’t resigned yet, they need to be forced out.

This deal was not good for Novell shareholders, as there appears to be a fundamental miscommunication and disagreement as to the meaning of the agreement. And we all know that this will wind up in the courts, eventually.

Unfortunately, while Microsoft’s lawyers aren’t nearly as good as IBM’s, they have something that other lawyers don’t have: an infinite pool of cash to draw from, and an uncanny ability to stall until the other party runs out of money and just gives up.

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