Novell & Microsoft

I tried not to comment on Novell’s pact with the, err with Microsoft. There have been enough unfounded speculations and conspiracy theories already. However, just shortly after that patent license deal heise online quotes Steve Ballmer saying that Linux “uses our IP” (german article). I thought MS would not act just like those bad conspiracy theories predicted. They do, which I find quite boorish and clumsy.

I am not afraid that Linux (or open source) is in danger. However, I am very interested in what the consequences will be for Novell. *If* MS asserts specific patent claims against open source packages, Novell will, according to many interpretations, not be allowed to distribute these packages any longer at all under the GPL license. And that will hurt them more then the additional mio $ they have on their balance sheet.

Bill says:

“They’ve appropriately compensated Microsoft for our intellectual property, which is important to us. In a sense you could say anybody who has got Linux in their data center today sort of has an undisclosed balance sheet liability, because it’s not just Microsoft patents. Because of the way open-source works, there’s nobody who’s been able to do patent coverage or patent indemnification behind that.
…we want Suse Linux to have the highest percent share of that, because only a customer who has Suse Linux actually has paid properly for the use of intellectual property from Microsoft…”

Forsooth, he serves you most peculiarly.
Unearthly are the fool's drink and his food;
The ferment drives him forth afar.
Though half aware of his insensate mood,
He asks of heaven every fairest star
And of the earth each highest zest,
And all things near and all things far
Can not appease his deeply troubled breast.

Good opinion here.