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Jeremy Allison Resigns From Novell In Protest 344

Posted by kdawson
from the conscientious-action dept.
walterbyrd writes to alert us to word from groklaw.net that Jeremy Allison has turned in his resignation at Novell. "The legendary Jeremy Allison (of Samba fame) has resigned from Novell in protest over the Microsoft-Novell patent agreement, which he calls 'a mistake' that will be 'damaging to Novell's success in the future.' His main issue with the deal, though, is '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.' He leaves the company at the end of this month. He explained why in a message sent to several Novell email lists, and the message included his letter to management."
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Jeremy Allison Resigns From Novell In Protest

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  • Excellent! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scott Lockwood (218839) * on Thursday December 21, 2006 @12:55PM (#17326098) Homepage Journal
    Now if a few more people apply similar pressure. What I'd really like to see, is the Samba team officially pull support for Novell/SuSE, if not outright inform them they are in violation of the liscense, and their right to use the software is revoked.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Attrition_cp (888039)
      I wonder if developers jumping ship was part of Microsoft's reason for wanting the deal. more disenfranchisement means less open source competition (you could say they'll move to greener pastures but some could just leave). I realize even if that was true it would be a huge monetary waste for Microsoft, but tin foil hats are cheap. No, not trolling. It's a boring workday and I can cook up any plots I like!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bogaboga (793279)
        I wonder if developers jumping ship was part of Microsoft's reason for wanting the deal.

        It seems it was part of the strategy and so far, it appears to be working. Good for Microsoft.

        On the other hand, I wonder what Novell will ever to right with Open Source Software.

      • Re:Excellent! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by eno2001 (527078) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:39PM (#17326654) Homepage Journal
        This is what I predicted from the beginning. The goal here was fragmentation of the Linux development community. It looks like they could succeed. It's basic "divide and conquer" because there will be some developers who don't see much wrong with the deal and will support the Novell Microsoft deal and there will be others who will not. The ones who don't MAY start new forks/projects and join other distros, or... they may just move on to other things entirely. This ensures a two-tiered Linux world with crappy underdeveloped software in non-blessed distros (Gentoo, Debian, etc...) and second-rate (compared to Microsoft Windows solutions) software in the intentionally stunted Novell Suse Linux and anyone else who decides to sign on. Microsoft very likely wants Novell Linux to be as successful as Apple's Mac OS was pre-OS X. That is to say, "enough to stay alive and prove that there is competition but not alive enough to compete on Microsoft's turf in the profitable business markets".

        Microsoft couldn't care less if Apple Macs were all the rage in schools early on because that wasn't one of their markets. Schools aren't as comparatively profitable as businesses. Once Microsoft had conquered the business world, they then started paying attention to schools and libraries and took those markets away from Apple. If the Apple platform actually started to make major inroads in server rooms, office suites, groupware and provided a killer alternative to Exchange, MS would be actively trying to take them down a few pegs again. Many Linux distros are doing exactly that and that's why taking Linux down a few pegs is a necessity to MS. MS doesn't want Linux dead. They just want it to smell funny. Probably something like pee. (I keep doing that)
        • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:05PM (#17326968)
          This is what I predicted from the beginning. The goal here was fragmentation of the Linux development community. It looks like they could succeed.

          Okay.

          It's basic "divide and conquer" because there will be some developers who don't see much wrong with the deal and will support the Novell Microsoft deal and there will be others who will not.

          But that does not seem to be happening.

          So far it is just Miguel who supports it ... and everyone else who opposes it.

          The ones who don't MAY start new forks/projects and join other distros, or... they may just move on to other things entirely.

          I think you're confusing those items.

          If the legendary Jeremy Allison moves to Red Hat or Canonical, he'll probably still be working on Samba. And when the GPL v3 comes out, it will probably be adopted by Team Samba.

          So in that specific case, it would be Novell who would have to fork the project and do all the work without the help of Team Samba.

          This ensures a two-tiered Linux world with crappy underdeveloped software in non-blessed distros (Gentoo, Debian, etc...) and second-rate (compared to Microsoft Windows solutions) software in the intentionally stunted Novell Suse Linux and anyone else who decides to sign on.

          Huh? So Red Hat (where Alan works) is "second-rate"?

          Or is it that Ubuntu is "crappy"?

          I don't see that happening. Instead I see a company flailing at its declining marketshare and signing an agreement to FUD everything else Linux related.

          Just like SCO did.

          And Novell will die, just like SCO is dying.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by eno2001 (527078)
            It's all hypothetical, but I'm speaking strictly from the vantage point of a non-technical person (I am an IT person, I'm just playing non-tech's advocate.) and that is likely the way they will see things. "Oh... I heard that you shouldn't use RedHat in the server room because it can't run on the latest servers since they didn't go with the Trusted Computing option that Novell did". Or... "Yeah, I could use Debian to run a web server but this review I read said that Novell's Apache based web server has fu
            • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:41PM (#17327504)
              It's all hypothetical, but I'm speaking strictly from the vantage point of a non-technical person (I am an IT person, I'm just playing non-tech's advocate.) and that is likely the way they will see things.

              I'm not seeing that. If people question Linux, they'll choose Windows instead.

              Just like Novell's CEO saw when he tried to go head-to-head with Microsoft ... and kept losing the deals.

              "Oh... I heard that you shouldn't use RedHat in the server room because it can't run on the latest servers since they didn't go with the Trusted Computing option that Novell did". Or... "Yeah, I could use Debian to run a web server but this review I read said that Novell's Apache based web server has full IIS compatibility and is able to essentially duplicate the previous version of IIS". To those people, Novell is going to seem like the easy choice and the others will be fairly irrelevant.

              No, the "easy choice" will be Windows. The "easy choice" in IT is always to go with a single vendor. That way there's no finger-pointing about why something won't work that way the salesperson said it would.

              Why would anyone be looking for "full IIS compatibility" from a different vendor when they can have IIS itself? Migrations are expensive and the customers know that deals between IT companies can go sour. It's safest to involve the fewest companies and that means buying from the vendor selling the product itself. Not from someone promising "compatibility" with that product.

              Linux has a few advantages over Microsoft products. And licensing is one of the biggest advantages for the end user. Once that is gone (and it is under Novell's deal), there really isn't any reason for the end user to consider "compatibility" with Microsoft's products when they can just go with Microsoft itself.

              Particularly when Novell has to maintain its own "forks" of projects such as Samba because Team Samba has gone with GPL v3.
          • stop spreading FUD (Score:3, Insightful)

            by oohshiny (998054)
            If the legendary Jeremy Allison moves to Red Hat or Canonical, he'll probably still be working on Samba. And when the GPL v3 comes out, it will probably be adopted by Team Samba. [...] So in that specific case, it would be Novell who would have to fork the project and do all the work without the help of Team Samba.

            There is no rational reason anybody has demonstrated why SuSE shouldn't be able to ship Samba under GPL v3. So, please, stop spreading FUD.
            • So, if Novell is distributing under a nontransferable "patent umbrella license" from MS, wouldn't that put them in violation of the GPL3 with any GPL3-licensed package they were to distribute? That's the crux of the whole GPL3 issue, IIRC; that Novell would need to do its own support and updates under GPL2 'cause they couldn't distribute anything under GPL3 and still offer the "patent protection." I don't seem to recall there being any wiggle room in that deal for Novell to distribute Open Source software o
    • Re:Excellent! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @12:59PM (#17326148)
      Can the Samba team do that? Samba is released under the GPL, and even though Novell may be violating the intent of the GPL it's not violating the actual license agreement itself. I don't think the Samba team can unilaterally tell Novell they no longer have the right to use Samba. I suppose they could release new versions under a modified GPL license that specifically excludes Novell, but Novell could still use the current version and modify it on their own. It'd just end up in a split of the Samba project - the full GPL'd version and the bastardized Novell/Microsoft hybrid.
      • Re:Excellent! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:03PM (#17326188)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AceJohnny (253840)
        It'd just end up in a split of the Samba project - the full GPL'd version and the bastardized Novell/Microsoft hybrid.


        The worst part is that the bastardized Novell/Microsoft hybrid would probably the best-working version. (Hey, who better than microsoft to know the backward-compatibility quirks of Samba/CIFS?)
        • Re:Excellent! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by lawpoop (604919) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:39PM (#17326658) Homepage Journal
          Now witness the genius of the GPL. If you distribute software you have derived from GPL'ed code, you must provide that source code to the public under the terms of the GPL.

          If MS/Novell create a better samba derived from the samba team's GPL code, they *must* provide access to the source code. Any improvements MS/Novell make to samba are guaranteed to become available to us, and they can never take it away.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by garcia (6573)
            If MS/Novell create a better samba derived from the samba team's GPL code, they *must* provide access to the source code. Any improvements MS/Novell make to samba are guaranteed to become available to us, and they can never take it away.

            Then they'll just link to an external library that hides all the new functionality.
            • It's not LGPL (Score:5, Insightful)

              by mangu (126918) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:35PM (#17327416)
              they'll just link to an external library that hides all the new functionality


              The beauty of the GPL is that they cannot do that. That's why I support the GPL over all other licences, its track record to this day has been perfect in keeping free source free.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Sloppy (14984)
                they'll just link to an external library that hides all the new functionality
                The beauty of the GPL is that they cannot do that.
                Really? They'll get sued and injuncted like Nvidia and ATI did?
                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by Znork (31774)
                  Do note that many Linux vendors do not ship proprietary drivers because of that exact GPL requirement. You're entirely free to ship the components apart (like NVidia and ATI), letting the end user do the combination, but shipping the combined work is a violation.

                  Supposing a loadable module functionality for Samba that would allow a reasonably 'separate' entity to exist without incursions into the Samba sourcecode it might be possible for a third party to ship such a module and let the end users do the comb
              • Re:It's not LGPL (Score:5, Insightful)

                by OriginalArlen (726444) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:31PM (#17329120)
                Right, but I think you underestimate the skill of the lawyers and engineers Microsoft will have poring over this problem. How's this for a scenario. Microsoft release a new product specifically for SuSE interop - not just for SMB, but the real value of the Microsoft LAN stuff which is Active Directory. The product contains two main components. A client-side blob runs on the SuSE client and includes ready-to-go config files (note: not software, just configs) to set various stuff up - Kerberos or OpenLDAP, Samba, PAM, CUPS perhaps, and so on. All that software can be made to work well with AD, but anyone who's tried to learn it from the man pages will have also spent a lot of time searching mailing lists for config tips. The software probably has a wizard, it prods the local network and DCs to see what is likely to be well received, makes "intelligent" guesses to recommend default settings, builds the config files and HUPs the required services / daemons. The whole thing would appear in the SuSE installer as something like "Microsoft Network InterOp Kit". The MS-blessed configs would just eliminate the hell of trying to make everything work OK. (I've been using Linux as a workstation and for security and web development work for eight years now, and it's as much as I can do to make icons on the desktop that open smb:// URLs in Konquerer. A keen web dev tried to get his LAMP wiki to use AD authentication, he was messing about with mod_auth_kerb for weeks, every few days he'd get excited & come over asking me to try it again, again without success. The Microsoft-blessed config files can of course be easily read and copied, but they're (c) Microsoft and no other distribution can use them. They can't even read them , go "Aha! I need to set signing to NTLMv2 AES-128 *only* for NMB lookups, not Samba SMB traffic itself" (or whatever it may be) and then write the appropriate lines into their own custom config files. And if anyone looked like getting close, MS would I am sure be happy to kick off a decade or two of lawsuits, draining tens of millions of dollars from the victim distributions and vigorously smearing FUD over the whole GNU world. The end result is that SuSE Linux interoperates beautifully with a Windows AD based network, has a "Microsoft Approved" sticker on the front, and comes with file & print, mail & whatnot all working really slickly. No other distribution can ship the same thing because Microsoft own the copyright on the configs and client-side agent binary. Other distros can attempt to find their own magic configs, but let's face it, we've been working on Windows interop technologies for ten years and although huge amounts of excellent work have been done, Microsoft will always easily be able to FUD corporates by saying it's unsupported -- "Unlike Microsoft's new "Services for Linux" product, included with our selected Linux Partner Vendor, Novell. Here's their number, tell 'em Bill sent you..." No linking to GPL'd software required, no source released, Microsoft succeed in partially subverting Free software. Score: Microsoft 1: Free Software community 0.

                I personally think it's a tactic that shows signs of desperation; you can bet they've spent a lot of lawyer-years brainstorming ways to attack Free software, but it looks like they've got something here in the short term. It would be a dangerous move to be seen to endorse Linux even slightly, and shipping software to run on it would certainly do that -- but most of all I think it'd increase the exposure of Windows admins to Linux / Free software, which just increases the rate of attrition of MS mindshare. So in a couple more decades, OSes will be seen as far more of a commodity, and minimal, streamlined feature sets with straightforward modular components. And will include an old .au file of a man saying "My name is Linus Torvalds, and I pronounce it 'Lee-nuhx' :)

          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:05PM (#17326976)
            The issue with the Novell deal isn't copyright. It's patents. In countries dumb enough to allow software to be patented (ie, the US), Microsoft could make Samba 100% compatible with Windows and 100% GPL. They'd be able to say, though, if you're not a Novell user they'll sue you for patent infringement.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by PinkPanther (42194)
            you must provide that source code to the public
            Er....um...no.

            You must provide access to the source code to the person to whom you delivered your derived work. Nothing in the GPL says that you need to provide access to the public.

            You are correct that the genius is that distributing something that was under the GPL must be distributed under the GPL itself. Recursive genius, though some fudslingers call it viral genius.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by bb5ch39t (786551)
              But that person then has the right to redistribute. And if they do, then they must supply the source code. That is also a part of the GPL. You cannot take a GPL'ed program and say: "Here is a modified version and the source. But you cannot give it to anybody else!" Once the modified program is distributed to ANYBODY, then it can be distributed to EVERYBODY. And that cannot be stopped.
          • If MS/Novell create a better samba derived from the samba team's GPL code, they *must* provide access to the source code.

            But would they even have to derive anything from Samba? MS already has a proprietary closed-source implementation of SMB in Windows. Is there any reason they couldn't port that to Linux themselves or shoehorn in some kind of compatibility layer/shim?

          • You miss the point (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Eric Damron (553630) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:22PM (#17327204)
            You miss the point. Novell and Microsoft are saying that they can release code under GPL v2 that is encumbered by patents. If this is the case FOSS CANNOT use that code without denying the freedoms that were the intent of the GPL.

            Microsoft could, for example, help Novell inject their IP and later tell users that they must pay or be sued for patent infringement.

            I didn't support GPL v3 in the past but I do now. Let's close this loophole and shun Novell until they straighten up and fly right!
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by lawpoop (604919)
              Let me see if I understand what you are saying. They are creating works derived from GPL'ed code, but they claim that their contribution is covered by patents, so even if they were to distribute the code, end-users would have to deal with patented processes, ideas, etc. in that new code.

              So there would be a kind of built-in conflict of the resulting code -- on the one hand, it's GPL'ed, but on the other hand, it's covered by patents. Is that about right?
              • That is correct (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Eric Damron (553630) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:23PM (#17328986)
                Yes, that pretty much sums it up. Novell has always maintained that it hasn't infringed on Microsoft's patents but Microsoft has openly stated that Samba and Mono and other software does infringe.

                So what you have is Microsoft offering .NET to the world as an "Open Standard" and then claiming that whoever implements it are using Microsoft's IP that are protected by the patent laws.

                Microsoft has never been known for playing fair and it's time for the entire world to work hard to simply make them irrelevant. Don't implement standards that are not truly open. Don't support Microsoft in ANYTHING they do. Demand that they be held accountable for their continued antitrust violations. Microsoft needs to be broken into at least three separate companies in order to level the playing field. This can easily be justified by their continued lawless actions and the effects those actions have on the IT world.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by giminy (94188)
              Thank you. A few years ago I got flamed on slashdot for suggesting that patent encumbrance could be an issue for the GPL. This deal is making people "get it." Yay!

              I recommend taking the GPL Quiz [gnu.org] for anyone that questions anyone else's understanding of copyright and patent issues. It's a great starting point to understand some of the issues, and slashdot would be a better place for it.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by 0xABADC0DA (867955)
          Sometimes in software like Samba the best code is written when developers don't know the exact specifications. If you say "make it share files and handle these special cases in Win2k, these ones in WinXP, these ones in Vista" then you are likely to get a solution that can only handle those bugs. But if you say "make it share files and oh yeah there are some special cases here's an example of some" then developers make the system with more flexibility.

          Programmers don't want to get stuck on some obscure fil
      • by codepunk (167897)
        However, nobody is saying samba has got to be easy to compile, run or maintain on Novell's distro.
      • Re:Excellent! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DragonWriter (970822) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:25PM (#17326450)
        Can the Samba team do that? Samba is released under the GPL, and even though Novell may be violating the intent of the GPL it's not violating the actual license agreement itself.


        I'm not sure that's the case; certainly, Allison's position sounds as if it is that the deal violates at least the spirit and possibly the letter of the license. Certainly, a high profile group of suppliers of GPL software included in Novell's Linux offerings raising the specter of litigation and license violations over the deal would undermine the primary purpose and destroy the value of the deal, which was, after all, to help Novell sell its commercial Linux products by removing uncertainty associated with them stemming from the specter of litigation over the IP violations.

        If there is a cloud of GPL-related potential litigation seen surrounding Novell, all its done is traded one potential source of litigation for many potential sources of litigation.
        • BINGO!

          Clearest, most concise description of the FUD we as Open Source supports should be saying. Period, end of story.

          Fight FUD with FUD. They made their bed, now is the time to make them sleep in it.
        • If there is a cloud of GPL-related potential litigation seen surrounding Novell, all its done is traded one potential source of litigation for many potential sources of litigation.

          There is an essential difference between a threat of litigation from Microsoft, and a similar threat from any grassroots community. MS has the cash on hand to fund litigation until they've emptied the pockets of nearly any opponent - they can file motion after motion which you must reply to or face the very real possibility that the judge will summarily rule in MS's favor (since you failed to respond). The resulting legal bills are extremely cost-prohibitive.

          An honest litigant dosen't need to use these ta

      • by Drantin (569921) *
        Would that even be a GPL compatible license with a restriction like that?
      • Of course they can (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bonefry (979930)
        A software's author that licensed the project under the GPL or any other license STILL RETAINS THE COPYRIGHTS of that project. Thus ... the author of a software project can specifically forbid a certain individual or company from distributing that software. If the Samba team holds the copyrights of Samba ... go figure, they can.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by rhombic (140326)
          Except that if the team wants to continue to use the GPL, the FSF doesn't allow modification of the wording of the GPL license, which is what they'd have to do. Inserting a clause like, "All of the above doesn't apply to MS or Novell, they are teh sux and they can't use it" would put the team in violation of the FSF's copyright on the license itself.

          Oh yeah, and MS/Novell could just fork off of a version that's already out there. The Samba team controls the copyright, but they've already released versions
        • by drinkypoo (153816)
          Nope. The GPL says you have the right to distribute if you get it. If you instituted a license which said that certain people wouldn't be able to distribute it would conflict with the GPL. If your other license conflicts with the GPL the GPL version cannot be distributed. If you cannot distribute the software under the GPL then your sole remedy is to stop distributing the software. Thus a clause like that would cause you to be unable to distribute the software - unless you substantially rewrote the license,
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kjella (173770)
          Except
          a) It doesn't work retroactively and far more important
          b) It will no longer be GPL

          There's no such thing as "GPL with my extra requirement", then it's not GPL or even GPL-compatible. If you're lucky it's still OSI-definition "open source", but I think that would even disqualify it as that.
      • As I recall, they specifically announced that they weren't pulling SCOX's license for Samba, so I doubt they'd do it for Novell, either.
    • by omeg (907329)
      They aren't violating the license. That's one of the key points of Allison's post; he says that even though Novell is not violating the GPL, under which Samba is released, it still is not upholding the true intent of the license. Whether or not you agree with that is up to you (I personally do), but nothing is really going to stop Novell from using it.
      • Re:Excellent! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Amazing Quantum Man (458715) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:50PM (#17326798) Homepage
        he says that even though Novell is not violating the GPL, under which Samba is released, it still is not upholding the true intent of the license.

        No, that's not what he's saying. You're close, though. What he's saying is that even if Novell is not violating the GPL, under which Samba is released, it still is not upholding the true intent of the license.

        There's a difference. The actual statement is a hypothetical. Your version is an assertion.
    • by Billosaur (927319) *

      Well, they took a first step with this [samba.org], but how much further will they be willing to go? What does SAMBA stand to lose if they lock out Novell?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fudgefactor7 (581449)
        Novell now no longer needs Samba, with MS being their shiny new sugar-daddy. They'll just come out with something *like* Samba, but different, and proprietary (50% MS, 50% Novell), and it would probably work better than Samba does now...thus killing an otherwise excellent OSS program...and locking in more to MS's solutions...which is what MS wants. The only people that lose in this scenario is Samba and the OSS/GPL movement in general.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What I'd really like to see, is the Samba team officially pull support for Novell/SuSE, if not outright inform them they are in violation of the liscense, and their right to use the software is revoked.

      Er, so basically, you want the Samba team to treat Novell differently to other recipients of the code... because Novell don't treat recipients of the code equally?

      • Fair is fair, after all. More importantly, I want to see them enforce the spirit of the agreement - treat them the SAME as you would anyone who violates the GPL.
    • by KWTm (808824) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:42PM (#17326704) Journal
      Because Samba is distributed under the GPL, they won't be able to revoke the rights to Novell as long as Novell stays within the (letter of) the agreement.

      Besides, in the past, the Samba team has demonstrated a professionalism that has put their detractors to shame, and I hope they can continue to uphold their standards. Witness what they said to SCO when SCO accused the evil Samba team of spreading the deadly plague of Open Source (all the while distributing Samba with their SCO Linux). Here's the letter from Samba to SCO:
      Samba is developed and distributed under the GPL, in exactly the same manner as the Linux kernel code that SCO has been criticising for its lack of care in ownership attribution.
      Because of this, we believe that Samba must remain true to our principles and be freely available to use even in ways we personally disapprove of.
      Even when used by rank hypocrites like SCO.

      Translation: "Up yours, SCO." But they say it in such a way that it will carry weight in business circles. In the same way, Allison's resignation makes a clear statement.

      It would be a mistake to do otherwise; if the Samba team says, "Well, then I *un*-give you the code! Nyaah nyaah!", it would epitomise in the minds of executive decision-makers that Open Source is run by a bunch of immature J.Random Hackers From China who will revoke your license at the slightest provocation.

      One only hopes that Novell will show some more understanding of how much turd they have now placed their foot in, and make some public gesture to show the IT world that OSS is alive and well. Sort of like what EV1 did. Novell's done a lot of good for OSS. I hope they continue.
    • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:35PM (#17328206) Homepage Journal
      I've publicly told Nat Friedman, whom Novell is using as the public apologist for the patent agreement, that I think his ethical position stinks, Jeremy's resignation (which I applaud, of course), should reinforce this. Nat should leave too.

      Please sign the Open Letter to Novell [techp.org]. I'd like to get that over 3000 signatures at least today. It's at about 2950 now.

      Thanks

      Bruce

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Rimbo (139781)
        Bruce --

        If I were a Novell executive, upon reading your second sentence, I would immediately think: "That's correct. This is in our best interests financially!" I would stop reading beyond that point; you just made my point for me, so any disagreement expressed would not be in my interests to investigate.

        Novell doesn't care about betrayal, unless it affects their bottom line. Now, you and I both know that Novell's decision will affect their bottom line. So instead of patting Novell on the back for thei
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Bruce Perens (3872) *
          If I were a Novell executive, upon reading your second sentence, I would immediately think: "That's correct. This is in our best interests financially!" I would stop reading beyond that point; you just made my point for me, so any disagreement expressed would not be in my interests to investigate.

          I see. You believe that the phrase "it betrays ... for Novell's sole financial benefit" would be percieved as "we screwed someone to make money, great!, no need to read any more of this, there can't possibly be a

  • You don't think that MS and Novell have had teams of lawyers going over everything for this deal, including the GPL. When it comes down to it, it's the letter of the contract that matters, not the intent that was in the minds of the writers.

    If I write a contract to deliver a dozen roses, but for some reason I think that carnation is called a rose and instead deliver a dozen carnations, I will be held in breach of contract. It doesn't matter what my intent was if I framed the contract improperly to ensure my
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eln (21727)
      It sounds to me like he released Samba under the GPL with the idea that the GPL somehow reflects some sort of utopian ideal where everyone is equal, and the GPL just doesn't say that. I wonder if he decided to use the GPL because it was the best-known Open Source license, without actually reading it (or better yet, having his lawyer read it), and is now caught off guard when he sees that the license he chose is not as reflective of his idea of the "Open Source Ideal" as he thought.

      He chose to release his s
    • Yes. And Microsoft's record in following consent decrees and contracts with others (Sun) is inviolate.
    • by radarsat1 (786772)
      When it comes down to it, it's the letter of the contract that matters, not the intent that was in the minds of the writers.


      Well, it matters when everyone gets pissed off at you, you begin losing market share, and you start losing your best developers...

      Fortunately we still live in a world where people can make choices, and people are affected by intent. (People... as opposed to Lawyers, I guess. swish!.. heheh.) So yes, it matters.
    • by arth1 (260657) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:16PM (#17326346) Homepage Journal
      You don't think that MS and Novell have had teams of lawyers going over everything for this deal, including the GPL. When it comes down to it, it's the letter of the contract that matters, not the intent that was in the minds of the writers.

      If I write a contract to deliver a dozen roses, but for some reason I think that carnation is called a rose and instead deliver a dozen carnations, I will be held in breach of contract. It doesn't matter what my intent was if I framed the contract improperly to ensure my intent.


      Fortunately, YANAL, and you're dead wrong. Using your example, if you deliver Kevin Rose and 9 members of his family, you've fulfilled the letter of the contract, but will still be held in breach of it because you violented the intent of it.

    • Warning: IANAL.

      You're wrong.

      There are many instances in the law where intent does matter very much, especially in regard to contracts. If it can be shown that Novell and Microsoft colluded to violate the terms of the GPL, you can bet it would be worse for them than if they had been found to be "accidentally" in violation. Plausible deniability is nice to have.

      Related to intent is understanding - the concept of the "meeting of the minds," which is central to contract law. This excerpt is taken from a site ab [healthdecisions.org]
    • You don't think that MS and Novell have had teams of lawyers going over everything for this deal, including the GPL. When it comes down to it, it's the letter of the contract that matters, not the intent that was in the minds of the writers.

      You are about 170 degrees off true (mostly wrong, but not all wrong). A written contract is always subject to interpretation of meaning, definition of words, etc. The more complex the terms used in a contract the more likely it is to be open to interpretation. In American Jurisprudence, the normal goal in interpreting a contract is to reach a true understanding of the intent of the parties to the contract. Here, the parties are the GPL community and Novell/MS. The GPL includes several clear statments of in

  • by autophile (640621) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:05PM (#17326218)

    Executive #1: Hey, I just got an Internet!
    Executive #2: Who from?
    Executive #1: Some guy named Jeremy. Isn't this caviar good?
    Executive #2: Sure is. Who's Jeremy?
    Executive #1: I think he's some greasy coder.
    Executive #2: Ha ha, they are *so* *guh-ross!*
    Executive #1: You said it! Here, have a small, autonomous Micronesian island, complete with 143 nubile slaves and an offshore account.

    Ha ha only serious?

    --Rob

  • Well, here's a nice hiring opportunity for Red Hat - let's see if they take advantage of it.
  • I think his decision is what was expected. People can argue all they want about "technical compliance" and "spirit" of the license. In this case decision seem to be based on a simple fact: employer did something, that goes against employee's beliefs. Employee decided not to "live with it" and quit, as changing of employer's mind seems to be impossible.
    I hope he will find another job soon. I also hope that other people that may be unhappy about the situation will find courage and chance to do something about
  • by astrashe (7452) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:11PM (#17326286) Journal
    Whatever you think about what Allison has done, you have to repsect him for living up to his convictions. This sort of thing can't be good for your career, or for your bank account.

    I really admire people who choose to live by their principles, even when it's hard or costly to do so.

    • by seanellis (302682)
      Seconded, wholeheartedly.
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by epiphani (254981)
      Agreed.

      Now, lets make sure that he gets picked up quickly by someone else. If we can start saying without question that leaving Novell in protest of the patent deal will get you a few job offers off the bat will be quite good.

      Keep these people employed!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PinkPanther (42194)
      This sort of thing can't be good for your career, or for your bank account.
      I will admit that this sort of move is risky, but I strongly suspect that this will be good for both his career and his bank account.

      So this leader of a popular software development project goes and gets his name splattered all over the web tied to an account of how strong his integrity is?

      You can't buy marketing like that :-)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I wouldn't feel too bad for him. He's moving to google http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=170/ [zdnet.com] which I'm sure isn't too bad for his career or his bank account. It's easier to have strong principles when you have a safety net. I've always found a job offer from a competitor to be the perfect opportunity to get things off my chest followed by a resignation.

  • Winnowing The Herd (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mpapet (761907) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:30PM (#17326542) Homepage
    I think someone at Microsoft understands that most paid OSS developers choose their salaries over the many principals violated with the deal. I'm not discrediting the developers who make this choice. I've sacrificed my principals in exchange for feeding my family many times and I'm not alone.

    As has been said before, Microsoft is trying to narrow its Linux competition to one or two then eliminate them later. The influx of corporate politics and big money/power stands to poison the whole notion of bazaar-style development. Big-Money has a way of doing that. Look at Debian and dunc-tank. That's hardly big money and it's already affected volunteerism at that project.

    As is often the case, there are just a couple of people who carry such a strong sense of principals, that they choose a more uncertain path over a more predictable one that is the result of having more flexible principals.

    I for one admire his sense of conviction.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Tx (96709)
      I'd sacrifice my principals for lots of cash, but not my principles.
  • by pscottdv (676889) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:36PM (#17326612)

    From TFA

    "Do you think that if we'd have found what we legally considered a clever way around the Microsoft EULA so we didn't have to pay for Microsoft licenses and had decided to ship, oh let's say, "Exchange Server" under this "legal hack" that Microsoft would be silent about it - or we should act aggrieved when they change the EULA to stop us doing this?"

    I think this sums up both the reason why the GPL community is mad at Novell even if they didn't technically violate GPLv2 and why there is a need for GPLv3.

    Some are saying that the community has no right be mad at Novell because they aren't technically in violation of the GPL. Fine for them. But many of those that contribute code to GPL projects do so because they believe in the intent of the GPL, which is that all who receive the code are to be on the same legal footing as all others regardless of how they receive it. If the GPLv2 is no longer sufficient to provide this guarantee, then changes are needed. And it is perfectly valid for Eben Moglen to craft the changes to plug specific legal-loophole, zero-day exploits in the GPLv2 such as this Microsoft-Novell deal.

    Novell keeps trying to make this deal smell rosy by talking up the interoperability part of the agreement. Are they really so stupid that they do not see that the interoperability part of the deal is not what has GPL supporters upset? They could have made any number of deals with Microsoft to work on interoperability without trying to destroy the foundation of the GPL.

  • by rudeboy1 (516023) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:37PM (#17326630)
    SUSE 10.2 is my preferred flavor of Linux, and with all that is currently going on, I feel guilty for liking it as much as I do. I see it as a potential windows alternative down the line, once XP is sufficiently outdated, if 10.x keeps improving, cause I'm sure as hell not pissing money away on Vista. Now I feel like I'm being sucked back to the Microsoft teet even as I make plans to break away.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rkhalloran (136467)
      I've run SUSE for a few years now, through 10.1, but with the Novell deal I've reimaged with Kubuntu 6.10 and I don't plan to look back.

      Ballmer promptly started spewing once this deal was signed that customers of other Linux distros were at risk [somebody shut him up shortly afterwards]. This provides MS a wonderful FUD opportunity now that the SCOX farce is winding down. This implies that Linux actually infringes on Microsoft patents somehow without openly admitting it, and that Novell paid them off to s
  • by mpcooke3 (306161) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:07PM (#17327000) Homepage
    I'm interested to know if the GPLv3 would help stop this kind of deal.

    My understanding is that under GPLv3 Novell would have their rights to redistribute samba terminated if they themselves tried to enforce a patent claim against Samba.

    Under GPLv3 would Novell have their right to redistribute Samba terminated if they knowingly introduced code that was patented by Microsoft into Samba? Also how could it be proven?

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