Samba lead leaving Novell after kernel panic

One of the fundamental differences between the proprietary software
world and the free software world is that the proprietary software world
divides users by forcing them to agree to coercive licensing agreements
which restrict their rights to share with each other, whereas the free
software world encourages users to unite and share the benefits of the
software.

The patent agreement struck between Novell and Microsoft is a divisive
agreement. It deals with users and creators of free software differently
depending on their “commercial” versus “non-commercial” status, and
deals with them differently depending on whether they obtained their
free software directly from Novell or from someone else.

Samba’s
November denouncement of the Novell/Microsoft deal

If Microsoft’s partnership with Novell truly was, as the conspiracy
minded argue, intended to nettle the Linux development community and
ultimately incite its fragmentation, the company is seeing some
respectable first results (“
Lie down with dogs, wake up with Ballmer
“). Jeremy Allison, a lead developer
behind the open source Samba project resigned from Novell earlier this
week in protest of the company’s interoperability agreement with
Microsoft (see “
In other news, there were some unseasonably cold temperatures in Hell
today
“). “As many of you will guess, this (resignation) is due to
the Microsoft/Novell patent agreement, which I believe is a mistake and
will be damaging to Novell’s success in the future,” Alliso
n wrote in a letter posted to Groklaw
. “But my main issue with this
deal is I believe that even if it does not violate the letter of the
license it violates the intent of the GPL license the Samba code is
released under, which is to treat all recipients of the code equally.
The Microsoft patent agreement has put us outside the community, and
there is no positive aspect to that fact, and no way to make it so.
Until the patent provision is revoked, we are pariahs.”

Harsh words, but ones that will likely ring true for anyone that’s
looked askance at the patent-sharing and legal indemnity aspects of the
Novell-Microsoft deal (see “
Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The
most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only
slightly less well-known is this: nobody ever benefits from a Microsoft
partnership except Microsoft!
“).
Perhaps they will further galvanize the open source community against
the partnership. Certainly, there are some within it that are hoping for
just that. “I’ve publicly told Nat Friedman (Chief Technology and
Strategy Officer for Open Source at Novell), whom Novell is using as the
public apologist for the patent agreement, that I think his ethical
position stinks,” open source advocate Bruce Perens wrote
in a post to Slashdot
. “Jeremy’s resignation (which I applaud, of
course), should reinforce this. Nat should leave too.” And perhaps he
should. Especially if he could arrange for his philosophical interests
to dovetail with his financial ones as perfectly as Allison has.
Allison, who’s been watching Novell’s share price decline since April of ’95, starts a new job with
Google in 2007.

 
 

Share this Post



 
 
 
  • STUART

    “Harsh words, but ones that will likely ring true for anyone that’s looked askance at the patent-sharing and legal indemnity aspects of the Novell-Microsoft deal…”

    JP: This implies YOU have “looked” at the agreement. If so, fine.

    However, it’s very, very rare that major agreements of this type are ever made public. If you have not seen the agreement, as a journalist, please stop telling the world “facts” which you haven’t substantiated.

    This assumes you are not of the Rush Limbaugh-Al Franken-Dan Rather School of journalism (“facts are what we want them to be

    The other obvious bias is that–“somehow”–wonderful, fuzzy, warm, sharing (etc) members of this free-love “community” will not ever need to earn a pfennig–you know, like some cash to buy shelter, food.

    Since the beginning, inventors have needed a way to buy food/shelter. But people with money wouldn’t give it to them gratis. Hence, the patent-copyright system. Do you know that the Constitution does not mandate Congress to adopt any particular economic system or enact any specific laws–except for patents and copyrights?

    The little medium-level worm who started MS was given 2 gifts from his lawyer-poppy: money to buy IBM’s DOS and a stern admonition to patent/copyright all developments made by the employees.

    While everybody else was into the open source jazz, Billy required all PC makers to pay a royalty for each box, whether they incorporated the MS OS or not. To add significant insult and injury, the little rat then required the box makers “support” the crap put out by MS.

    This horrific monopoly was made possible by the purchase of congress and the executive–both parties, who cares–plus the arrogant stupidity of the open sourcers–who sat, sucking their thumbs.

    Which is to say, other than Mac (now possibly arising from ashes, propelled by a music device!), the “community” failed to form competitive enterprises to challenge MS.

    Wonderful, now we have what illegal monopolies always produce: a very bad product and a bunch of whiners who have zippo idea of how to stop the evil empire.

  • paczkowski

    STUART …

    No, I have not seen the full text of the formal partnership agreement itself. But I have read the public documentation that Microsoft posted back when the deal was announced. You can too:

    http://www.groklaw.net/staticpages/index.php?page=20061218045851480

  • STUART

    JP: To me, those tiny fragments of what are surely a series of monster agreements hardly support the conclusion you presented.

    But then again, I’ve only practiced patent law for decades….

    Actually, the agreements may well be worse than you or the refusniks you quote think. Worse for the Public, that is, since ANY “collaboration” between the Alpha and a significant actual/potential competitor inherently restricts competition.

    Inventors, by nature, almost always dislike the biz details involved in forming/booting/running an enterprise.

    So, it appears that MS will continue to make us all miserable until the arrival of a SOB with the greed and ego as bad as Gate’s who will get all of the whiners in a big room, hand out pacifiers and tell them to whup it. Maybe even some (kosher) stock options if they play well together.

    That last part may take some doing since it would also appear the boilerplate in SV law firms is in a folder called “backdate-to-whenever-we-want”.

    Merry Christmas!

  • Wonderful, now we have what illegal monopolies always produce: a very bad product and a bunch of whiners who have zippo idea of how to stop the evil empire.

  • Wonderful, now we have what illegal monopolies always produce: a very bad product and a bunch of whiners who have zippo idea of how to stop the evil empire.

 
 
css.php