Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (144 mails)

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[opensuse-project] Update on the Microsoft deal - Letter to the Community by Novell
  • From: Andreas Jaeger <aj@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2006 10:52:22 +0100
  • Message-id: <hoac2l5dpl.fsf@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

We've updated the material at:

There's now an letter from our CEO Ron Hovsepian, I quote it in full



On November 2, Novell and Microsoft announced a significant,
multi-part agreement to work together to improve the interoperability
between Linux and Windows and for Microsoft to redistribute more than
350,000 subscriptions for SUSE Linux Enterprise to the Windows
customer base over a five-year period. This agreement is at the heart
of what IT users demand - to deploy both Linux and Windows, and to
have them work well together - and many companies have spoken out in
support of this new cooperation.

Customers told us that they wanted Linux and Windows to work together
in their data centers, and so we agreed to develop new technologies
and standards in server management, virtualization and document file
format compatibility. CIOs want to focus on their business, and they
want their suppliers to focus on improving operating system
interoperability. The Linux community will benefit from the creation
and release of the open source code to improve Linux's
interoperability with Windows that will result from this agreement.

Our interest in signing this agreement was to secure interoperability
and joint sales agreements, but Microsoft asked that we cooperate on
patents as well, and so a patent cooperation agreement was included as
a part of the deal. In this agreement, Novell and Microsoft each
promise not to sue the other's customers for patent infringement. The
intended effect of this agreement was to give our joint customers
peace of mind that they have the full support of the other company for
their IT activities. Novell has a significant patent portfolio, and in
reflection of this fact, the agreement we signed shows the
overwhelming balance of payments being from Microsoft to Novell.

Since our announcement, some parties have spoken about this patent
agreement in a damaging way, and with a perspective that we do not
share. We strongly challenge those statements here.

We disagree with the recent statements made by Microsoft on the topic
of Linux and patents. Importantly, our agreement with Microsoft is in
no way an acknowledgment that Linux infringes upon any Microsoft
intellectual property. When we entered the patent cooperation
agreement with Microsoft, Novell did not agree or admit that Linux or
any other Novell offering violates Microsoft patents.

Our stance on software patents is unchanged by the agreement with
Microsoft. We want to remind the community of Novell's commitment to,
and prior actions in support of, furthering the interests of Linux and
open source, and creating an environment of free and open
innovation. We have a strong patent portfolio and we have leveraged
that portfolio for the benefit of the open source
community. Specifically, we have taken the following actions:

* We have stated our commitment to use our own software patents to
protect open source
* We have spoken out against EU legislation that would liberalize
the standards for granting software
* We offer indemnification to our Linux customers accused of
intellectual property infringement.
* We have teamed with the United States Patent and Trademark
Office and other industry leaders to reduce the issuance of "bad
patents" in the software
* In 2005, we co-founded Open Invention Network (´OIN¡), ´an
intellectual property company that was formed to promote Linux
by using patents to create a collaborative environment.¡
Novell's substantial contributions to OIN were made to benefit
not only ourselves, but also other Linux vendors, distributors
and developers, and anyone else willing to commit not to assert
their patents against

In closing, we wish to be extremely clear that Novell is committed to
protecting, preserving and promoting freedom for free and open source
software. We recognize that the community of open source developers is
essential to all our activities in Linux, and we welcome dialog with
the community as to how we can continue to work together toward these
common goals.

Ron Hovsepian
Chief Executive Officer
Novell, Inc.

Andreas Jaeger, aj@xxxxxxx,
SUSE LINUX Products GmbH, Maxfeldstr. 5, 90409 Nürnberg, Germany
GPG fingerprint = 93A3 365E CE47 B889 DF7F FED1 389A 563C C272 A126
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