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Red Hat CEO Talked Patents with MS 126

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the sleeping-with-the-enemy dept.
c3ph45 writes "Before the Novel-Microsoft deal, Red Hat was in talks with Microsoft over patents. Thankfully, the deal fell apart before Novel made their infamous partnership with Microsoft. As has been reported before, Red Hat doesn't plan to enter into any patent agreements with Microsoft, but it leaves open the question: What if both Red Hat and Novell had entered into such deals? One large vendor doing so has caused enough disruption. How would the community have coped with two of the largest vendors doing so?"
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Red Hat CEO Talked Patents with MS

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  • Mass hysteria (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Friday June 29, 2007 @07:31AM (#19687331) Homepage Journal
    We would have coped the same as always, we would rant and rave and generally work ourselves into a tizz, then get back onto our normal day jobs.
    • Re:Mass hysteria (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Aladrin (926209) on Friday June 29, 2007 @07:44AM (#19687405)
      Hah, I was going to post 'The same way: Ridicule and disgust.'

      I think we are very quickly approaching the point where something has to break. Either the government steps up and admits that it doesn't give a shit, or people in general start to notice what is going on and there are major problems.

      (I know patents and copyrights are not the same thing, but they are symptoms of the same problem. Bear with me here.)

      The RIAA has started suing everyone and their grandmother (literally) and the general populace is starting to realize how unfair it is, and that the tactics the RIAA is using are -allowed- by the government.

      Patents are starting to prevent cool devices from existing, and threatening the ones we already have. (Blackberry.) There have been quite a few reports lately about 'x device will have to be disconnected because someone else hass a patent' etc. Discomfort enough people with money, and something is going to happen.

      Copyright is even starting to overstep its bounds and artists everywhere are finding themselves restricted instead of encouraged. Yes, they are still encouraged to innovate, but let's face it: Most art improves on other art, rather than being wholly original. Patents are starting to restrict them as well. Imagine if someone patented cel-shading or any other style. With our current system, that could be done.

      Things keep getting worse instead of better, and someone -will- step up and do something about it soon.

      "God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." -- Thomas Jefferson, emphasis mine.

      http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson [wikiquote.org]

      We've been a lot longer than 20 years without 'such a rebellion'.
      • We've been a lot longer than 20 years without 'such a rebellion'.

        I would say that Gen-X has certainly felt one brewing. Fight Club, anyone?
        • Re:Mass hysteria (Score:5, Insightful)

          by simm1701 (835424) on Friday June 29, 2007 @08:40AM (#19687681)
          The problem with films like fight club is that people watch them, people agree with them, people think "wow, that's so true, I really should be more like that and challenge the system"

          Then they go back to their lives, following the rules, working a job they hate to earn money they don't want to buy stuff they don't need.

          Call me cynical but I can't see that changing any time soon.
          • by gravos (912628)
            It takes a lot of energy to buck trends and you don't get any reward for it. I don't think you can really blame anyone for taking the path of least resistance. Our society may be doomed to run itself into the ground but it's an emergent behavior of the system "society" and it's not really any individual's fault.
          • Most Insightful Post Ever!
          • by Yvanhoe (564877)
            Be fair, some of them listen to gangsta music...
          • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

            by konquererz (915002)
            I think that the problem does lie with complacency, just no in the same fashion that you speak. People make money and buy cool stuff. They get enthralled with whats on TV, knee deep in World of Warcraft, and basically enjoy their life. People do not stand up to "tyranny" or "challenge the system" as long as their every day existence is not interrupted. In other words, it doesn't truly effect them. While they watch fight club, there is no noticeable impact on their life by anything that the RIAA, or any
          • by PCM2 (4486)

            The problem with films like fight club is that people watch them, people agree with them, people think "wow, that's so true, I really should be more like that and challenge the system"

            You had me up to this point. Then I realized that you really do think that "Fight Club" was a true and insightful movie, and not just frivolous entertainment for angry young middle-class white males.

            • by Miseph (979059)
              It most certainly is more than that, just not in the way those individuals think it is.
        • by psykocrime (61037)
          I would say that Gen-X has certainly felt one brewing. Fight Club, anyone?

          This Gen-X'er certainly feels one brewing. And I *thought* a large chunk of my peers shared some of that... but I'm starting to doubt it. I dunno... as Gen-X'ers reach an age where they start getting elected to public office, etc., we'll see how many of us really believe in ideals like Freedom and Liberty.

          I have to say, I'll be *very* disappointed if my "generation" isn't heavily involved in a pro-Liberty, pro-Freedom shift in thin
          • But the generation that is in power now is the hippie generation.
            The freedom loving, peace mongering, pro love etc...

            from what I hear, you couldn't step 20 feet 40 years ago and not see someone with a mostly positive message of some sorts.

            Where are they now? Did they grow up, get jobs and become slaves to the dollar?
            Did they all turn on tune in and drop out, only to disappear from existence?
      • by jmyers (208878)
        "If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty"

        This is the part you should have emphasized. It is sad, but it is where we are going more so than revolution. The vast majority of the people in this country do not see the problem. They see Paris Hilton all over every channel and other mind numbing static. All of the power mongers know this and are more and more able to control the population like puppets.
      • Kudos! I for one stand ready to be such a patriot when that time comes.
        • Kudos! I for one stand ready to be such a patriot when that time comes.

          And I for one stand ready to be your new patriotic overlord.

          Kodos.

      • and people are the livestock.
         
        Keep doing your job, watching your entertainment and paying your taxes.
    • Thats exactly what I was thinking ;-)

      One large vendor doing so has caused enough disruption.

      What disruption? The only "disruption" I suffered was all the time I spent reading a bunch of blogs going crazy about the Novell deal was the end of the world.... then I went back to work.
    • by niceone (992278) *
      We would have coped the same as always, we would rant and rave and generally work ourselves into a tizz

      The great thing about this story is that we get to do all that even though nothing happened!
    • Fletcher: Nothing! Because if I take it to small claims court, it will just drain 8 hours out of my life and you probably won't show up and even if I got the judgment you'd just stiff me anyway; so what I am going to do is piss and moan like an impotent jerk, and then bend over and take it up the tailpipe!

      From the film Liar Liar

  • Slow news day? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StringBlade (557322) on Friday June 29, 2007 @07:33AM (#19687341) Journal
    Slashdot has now become the place to post hypothetical questions just for discussion on the main page?

    "I'm a little verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves....I'll give you a topic: What if RedHat and Novell had both made MS deals? Discuss."
    • by Mortice (467747)
      Obviously not slow enough to give editors time to check submitters' spelling.
    • "Since then" or "what if". You're either bleeding edge or yesterday's news. I'm a "what if" type of guy myself.
      • What if my hovercraft was full of eels battling sharks with lasers?
        I was in a technical school back in the days of overhead projectors with slides.
        The topic was electrical circuits and stuff. It was a military school. Prof says "I will now answer all 'what if' questions in advance".
        He then put a a flip the bird [slangcity.com] graphic.
    • by eclectro (227083) on Friday June 29, 2007 @07:51AM (#19687429)

      Slashdot has now become the place to post hypothetical questions just for discussion on the main page?
      It's Microsoft's fault, not slashdot's. They're the ones with the hypothetical patents.
  • by raffe (28595) * on Friday June 29, 2007 @07:34AM (#19687359) Journal
    I don't know the exact text of the agreement but I am bit worried about the contributions from the distros that have signed the deal.
    The code that for example novell puts in the kernel is covered by the GPL 2, but how will that work out with the patent deal they made? Will a switch (if)to GPL 3 of the kernel change this? GPL 3 speaks more of patents than GPL 2.
    • I don't know the exact text of the agreement but I am bit worried about the contributions from the distros that have signed the deal.

      Novell etc are hurting their human-to-human relationships with the community and (to the extent that the deals they do violate GPLv2 and GPLv3) they hurt their ability to continue to legally distribute GNU/Linux, but the contributions they've made are irrevocably made under whatever license they distributed their contributions under - these contributions don't become invalid

    • by init100 (915886)

      The code that for example novell puts in the kernel is covered by the GPL 2, but how will that work out with the patent deal they made? Will a switch (if)to GPL 3 of the kernel change this?

      The switch can't happen unless all contributors accept it, since they usually hold the copyright to their contributions. Novell can simply say "no, we won't permit that", and the kernel either stays GPLv2, or the Novell contributions must be ripped out.

  • despite Linux' vendors' holier-than-thou attitude with regard to F/OSS vs. proprietary and software patents, business takes precedence. In other words, RH, Novell and Mandriva and all the other companies trying to make a buck selling Linux would happily go to bed with the devil if it earned them more money, and that their self-professed interest in the happiness of the community is just a facade to avoid alienating their source of income. RH probably rejected any deal with Microsoft because they didn't want
    • by arun_s (877518)
      *sigh* You're probably right. When the Novell deal came up, RedHat was quick to put a really nice article [redhat.com] on their site assuring that they'd never do such a thing to their customers.
      Funny how times change.
      (Well, I just read that link again, and it still gives me some hope; it really does look like a well thought out plan, and not the usual PR fluff you'd expect.)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dr. Smoove (1099425)
        Guys Szulik basically gave no comment which has been interpreted as an affirmation. If he did 'talk' patents, he probably talked about how Microsoft's vaporpatents don't scare him. RH isn't going to make a deal like Novell did, period. You're way overreacting.
        • Guys Szulik basically gave no comment which has been interpreted as an affirmation. If he did 'talk' patents, he probably talked about how Microsoft's vaporpatents don't scare him. RH isn't going to make a deal like Novell did, period. You're way overreacting.

          Red Hat is a publicly traded company whose primary stockholders and customers are corporate enterprise groups. They don't sell to "hobbyists". Based on their customer profile, who do you think they care most about?

          • Their developers, most of whom are probably hobbyists.
            • Their developers, most of whom are probably hobbyists.
              Most of their developers are employees. And, guess what? Red Hat employees are responsible for *HUGE* amounts for contributions to both the kernal *and* many well used applications.
          • by jZnat (793348) *
            Their employees? Just a guess...
          • Thank You Frosty Piss aka Cptn. Obvious, but IDK how you come to the conclusion that it would be in Red Hat's best interests to align with Macroshaft, simply because their strategy is to sell to the enterprise. They have a lot more to lose by making such a deal than what they would gain.
            • They have a lot more to lose by making such a deal than what they would gain.

              Do they really? You think so? Please give me an example. Boecause in the corporate world, the socialist idiology of the Free Software Movement is seen as silly, and it's not a factor. So, who drops Red Hat when they kiss up to Microsoft? Essentially, no one wo Red Hart cares about.

              • I wasn't thinking just about customers, for one, it's very likely that much of their workforce would be dissatisfied, and possibly leave considering Szulik has assured us many times that there will be no deal. For two, you think Microsoft would just do some kind of straight-ahead deal without any shady business? No, they would use their alliance to undermine Red Hat and get a bigger piece of the pie. There is absolutely no gain for Red Hat to make a deal with MS. If you sell your soul to the devil he eventu
    • despite Linux' vendors' holier-than-thou attitude with regard to F/OSS vs. proprietary and software patents, business takes precedence.

      So?

      If you want to be Richard Stallman about it, this is exactly the difference between "free software" -- an ethical prerogative -- and "open source" -- a business convenience. We knew all along that Red Hat et al. were from the open-source faction.

      In practical terms, Red Hat makes money off its software, and uses that money to pay many prolific Linux developers. Same with m
  • so wtf? (FTFA) (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bl8n8r (649187) on Friday June 29, 2007 @07:42AM (#19687387)
    In an interview with Reuters, Szulik declined to say whether
    his company is now in negotiations with Microsoft over signing
    such a patent agreement.

    "I can't answer the question," he said.
    • This has me puzzled also, Redhat have explicitly stated that they won't go down the whole cross patent deal path, so what's there to deny?

      unless a response of "You must be fskin' joking" was interpreted as a refusal to answer the question.

      • by Tet (2721) <slashdot@NoSPAm.astradyne.co.uk> on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:00AM (#19687829) Homepage Journal
        Redhat have explicitly stated that they won't go down the whole cross patent deal path, so what's there to deny?

        Red Hat's management would be negligent if they didn't discuss potential patent infringments with the competition. That doesn't mean they're talking about a Novell-style deal, though. I suspect MS appreoached them and said "we think you're infinging our patents, what are you going to do about it". RH probably replied with "...and you're infringing these patents held by OIN". That leads to a discussion between the two parties. Discussion != agreement. Why he can't just come out and say that, I don't know.

    • Re:so wtf? (FTFA) (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kripkenstein (913150) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:16AM (#19688581) Homepage
      Not only did Red Hat's Szulik say "I can't answer that question" about whether he was in negotiations with Microsoft, but Microsoft "couldn't be reached for a comment" according to TFA. So, it is a safe bet there are discussions.

      But that shouldn't be surprising. Red Hat said, after all, that

      "We continue to believe that open source and the innovation it represents should not be subject to an unsubstantiated tax that lacks transparency."
      - they never said "no deals with Microsoft about patents." And rightly so - the problem with the Novell-Microsoft deal is exactly that it is a vague 'innovation tax', mentions no actual patents, and is therefore completely nontransparent. Other deals regarding patents could be different.

      A patent deal in which, say, Red Hat license specific WMA-related patents in order to ship WMA-playing software legally is 'reasonable' - at least assuming that that particular software is not GPL (or, if it is, if the patent license applies to all users of the software, not just Red Hat customers). I say 'reasonable' using scare quotes because this is reasonable only under the current highly-problematic US patent system. But, given that system, if Red Hat want to ship certain products, they must reach agreements concerning their patent holders. A sad fact of life.

      (Note: I have no idea if WMA is patented, or not. This is just an example for illustration purposes.)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by masinick (130975)
      I would say that Red Hat and other companies are probably in talks with Microsoft all the time. If they are not, they probably should be. Both companies have customers that use both sets of products, so it is in everyone's interest to communicate and to improve interoperability between distinct, independent products.

      I do not see Red Hat caving in and signing any kind of patent agreement, but I could easily see Red Hat working with Microsoft if the work was in their mutual interest and in the interest of c
  • Good thing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CarpetShark (865376) on Friday June 29, 2007 @07:44AM (#19687397)
    More people would get the distinction between cooperative communities and commercial companies, and move to Debian.
    • by sybesis (1095871)
      I still don't understand why would microsoft help linux to work better with windows and windows to work better with linux. It's nonsense. Microsoft should just respect some standard and it would greatly help. And i still don't see why would microsoft help linux to kill it. It's like a self suicide
      • by janrinok (846318)

        It's like a self suicide
        Not sure what you think that this phrase means? If you "suicide" someone else, I think its usually called murder.
    • Debian? You mean the Linux distribution that recently came out with a graphical installer?

      *ducks* *runs*
      • by penp (1072374)
        No one can deny that, but even the text based installer that was being used before that was extremely user friendly. Just because you can use a mouse and click on buttons doesn't necessarily mean something is useful.
        • Actually I'm both a Debian and a RedHat fan. However, looking at what RedHat currently does with Xen, I'd rather not have everyone switch :-)
      • Still looks text-based to me :) And yes, that bugged me too. Then I saw it in action, and realised they'd made the right long-term decision yet again. The new installer is very cross-platform, and fits in very well with the existing (and superior) package system; it supports all the bells and whistles, like encrypted drives, custom boot media, live cds, text modes, guis, etc. As someone who's previously written installers (not for Linux), there's making a graphical installer, and then there's making an
  • Competitive Intelligence ? - while the siren call of 'software patent' will make some confess there sins, I see nothing wrong in a discussion about 'software patents' with Chair_Thrower().

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by iAlta (1098077)
      Yes it is. Software patents are EVIL! I almost had a heart-attack just reading the headline!
  • This sounds like one of thoose stories where pieces of somthing that could destroy the universe have been scattered around earth, & should never be put together less the universe should end.
    More specificly, the part where one of the heros accidently drops one of the pieces & the evil supervillan almost gets it right before the cool guy that everyone thinks is next to useless swoops in out of nowhere & saves the day.
    • by ParaShoot (992496)
      Sacrificing his life in the process. You forgot that part.
      • by wellingj (1030460)
        Yea but which distro is going to throw a libel suit to make MS STFU?

        I actually think MS is using all of this to go after Google...
  • by CheeseburgerBrown (553703) on Friday June 29, 2007 @08:15AM (#19687553) Homepage Journal
    "How would the community have coped with two of the largest vendors doing so?"

    This isn't a particularly well-angled question, in my opinion. The answers are too obvious. The community would cope by...

    * Printing up obscure if arguably quasi-witty T-shirts with phrases on them like "PATENTS == MURDER" or "LESSIG SIGNED MY TITS" or "THE BORG HAVE THE RED BOX!"

    * Posting foaming diatribes to hot-spots of cultural influence like the ass-end of a deeply nested thread on Slashdot or, worse, on a crappy, template-raped personal weblog and then spammed via Digg.

    * Ruining a potentially good date by trying to lecture the poor girl about the GPL.

    * Catharsis through extra masturbation.

    * News: Red Hat and Microsoft strike a deal. Not-news: Some geek writes a snarky headline about it on Fark. Take THAT, Redmond!

    * Lego re-enactments of famous scenes from movies re-written to reflect the patent deal situation, uploaded to YouTube. "Luke, I am your patent holder." "Noo-o-o-o-o-ooo-oo!"

    * LOL i haz ur intellec2al properdy portpholeo!!11!!11

    Oh yeah, baby -- it'd be like the Million Man March all over again.

  • by pieterh (196118) on Friday June 29, 2007 @08:18AM (#19687577) Homepage
    This has been clear for ages. See my article on Digital Majority [digitalmajority.org].

    Linux (and all the free software it supports) is a compelling technology that underpins huge new markets. Microsoft wants to tax these markets. It has been accumulating patents, and lobbying for software patents in Europe, and investing in Intellectual Ventures, to create the necessary tools. It has decided the time is right to move. Its strategy is to divide and conquer the Linux community, by making deals with the commercial vendors. The deals don't need to be patent deals, they just need to allow Microsoft to pump some money into the companies in question, so they become slaved to Microsoft's policies. This is a standard operating procedure for MSFT.

    The real targets are the large Linux users - big business. These firms will be asked politely but with force to pay a MS tax on Linux, in the name of "interoperability" and "intellectual property". The carrot will be interoperability with Microsoft's stacks, the stick will be that wallet of "infringements".

    Above all, Microsoft wants to make life hard for IBM: its fear and loathing of IBM underpins its strategy in the Linux space.

    There are two big problems with Microsoft's strategy:

    One, it has moved too soon and too aggressively, probably scared by the GPLv3, and has created serious anger with those large firms it's supposed to be gaining as "Linux customers".

    Second, it is playing games with an industry - the patent industry - that is more evil even than Microsoft. By feeding the trolls, it's sowing the seeds of its own departure from the software business.

    Three, it is forcing IBM to move to action against Microsoft. The Open Invention Network (OIN) can be seen as a direct counter to Intellectual Ventures, which although highly secretive about its investors, most likely runs on MSFT cash.

    Red Hat will, IMO, eventually make a deal with Microsoft, as will Canonical. The deal won't mention patents at all, but it will come to the same: cash flowing from Microsoft to Linux vendors, in sufficient quantities that they will be forced to play nice with Microsoft's plans.
  • Debian is power (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wikinerd (809585) on Friday June 29, 2007 @08:34AM (#19687641) Journal
    We have Debian [debian.org]. The community existed before commercial interests took notice of us and we do not need any commercial vendor. SUSE, RedHat, and any other commercial vendor could file for bankruptcy without affecting the GNU/Linux community at all. Our power lies in cooperation, volunteerism, and our love for free software. We don't need money to keep our community alive, because it is based on ideology and love for technology. I moved all of my SUSE-based servers and machines to Debian after the Novell patent deal.
  • One word (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by javilon (99157)
    How would the community have coped with two of the largest vendors doing so?

    One word,

    Ubuntu

  • How would the community have coped with two of the largest vendors doing so?"
    It would have not impacted anyone who posts here, right? The /. account application clearly stated that your PC had to be homemade, and your OS had to be free. No one here actually paid RedHat for their copy of Linux, did they? Hey... wait a minute... you are running Linux, aren't you??
    • Well, actually I have a dualboot, but the copy of Windows 2000 is from a corporate license, so technically it's free to me...
  • a modest proposal .. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rs232 (849320) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:15AM (#19687951)
    Why don't RedHat start sending threatening letters to MS customers telling them that they are in violation of RH patents.
  • I expect a deal. A good one in fact to get RedHat to sign. I also believe Microsoft has just revealed their motive for these cross licensing agreements. Go after Ubuntu.
  • by roemcke (612429) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:25AM (#19688035)
    The way I see it, only entering a patent deal is not necessary bad. (except for giving MS money and FUD ammo.) The problems only starts the moment you include patented stuff into GPL'd software.

    Without the patent deal, if you by mistake include patented stuff, you will anger the authors of free software AND risk being sued to death by Microsoft. With the deal, MS can't touch you. You only have to find a way to please the authors of any GPL'd code you may have distributed. History has shown that if it only was an honest mistake, they tend to have small demands. Just remove the offending code and everyone will most likely be happy.
    • "Not totally evil" isn't the best starting position for building a corporate relationship. Darth Vader still had some good in him, but he killed a few billion people along the way.

      Given the contrast between Novell and RedHat, I can't imagine staking my business on SuSE over Fedora.

      • by roemcke (612429)
        Since i wrote the original post, I have have taken a pub-to-pub round in Berlin, so I am most likely intoxicated when I write this.

        What I wanted to say with my post, is that a patent deal is mostly an insurance, not a license to use MS patents. You don't go into a patent deal with MS because MS has so many fine ideas you want to copy, but because you don't want to risk getting sued by the juggernaut that MS is.

        A deal, or no deal, doesn't change the fact that you can't use MS patents because of the GPL. But
        • by roemcke (612429)
          Basically, going into a patent deal IS unethically because you give MS money and FUD ammo. But it is not against the GPL or the spirit of the GPL as long as you don't put patented stuff into free software.
  • by csoto (220540) on Friday June 29, 2007 @09:29AM (#19688065)
    is that it highlights the FOSS community's basic inability to come together over topics. Not that this is a bad thing, but it has to be accepted that some members of the community (yes, RH and Novell are extremely valuable members) will do things others wouldn't. Learn to live with it. Don't quit your day jobs...

    (PS- I call shenanigans!)
  • How would the community have coped with two of the largest vendors doing so?

    The community would have survived, but much time would have been wasted on dealing with FUD and other unproductive arguments. As long as none of the leading business-supported distributions (currently Redhat and Unbuntu) is affected, the damage is much more limited.

    Therefore, it's important to react now, as long as it's essentially just Novell, and support the GPL version upgrade from version 2 to version 3 [fsf.org].

  • You know (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nrgy (835451)
    this stuff is starting to scare me more and more each time I read it. Sure you can talk about "We will just do without them" but the fact is the corporate world does contribute to linux. How much do they and where would linux be without it I really can't say. But to act like what they do contribute is insignificant is bs if you ask me.

    I like linux, I've been using it for the past 5 years as my only os, but that doesn't mean I run around with blinders on thinking all is fine and dandy. Would linux contin
  • Talking is his job (Score:3, Insightful)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Friday June 29, 2007 @10:08AM (#19688491)
    He would have been negligent if he didn't talk to MS. In the end, he probably made the correct decision.
  • It's important to understand that "the community" by and large doesn't run Red Hat Enterprise Linux or SuSE Linux Enterprise (Server|Desktop), so Novell and RedHat license agreements simply don't affect them. Perhaps a RedHat agreement with Microsoft would have caused yet more ill will and sped up the decline of Fedora, but that's about it.

    Now, what would really impact the community would be if Ubuntu signed a Microsoft deal. But fortunately, that's not gonna happen. And even if it did, we'd still have Debi
  • by jimpop (27817) *
    How would the community have coped with two of the largest vendors doing so?

    FreeBSD.
    • by masinick (130975)
      There are all kinds of options. FreeBSD is but one of many.

      The Debian project is all about freedom. Many probably do not realize it, but the Linux kernel is not the only kernel to be embraced or to be used with the Debian environment. I know the GNU Hurd project had worked with Debian at one point, so did FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD. Those are only the ones I know about.

      There are many free and open OS efforts out there and there are many free and open applications out there. The only way to slow down
  • by spevack (210449) * on Friday June 29, 2007 @11:31AM (#19689497) Homepage
    Disclosure: I work on the Fedora Project. I am employed by Red Hat, but I am not in corporate communications. However, here is the official statement that was issued by that group:

    "Red Hat has only recently been able to see some of the terms of the original Microsoft/Novell deal, due to the belated and redacted SEC filings that were made. Based on what we have seen, the deal is not interesting to us. Red Hat continues to believe that open source and the innovation it represents should not be subject to an unsubstantiated tax that lacks transparency."

    My own thoughts, that are not necessarily those of my employer:

    CEOs have to be very careful about what they say in public, especially in this day and age in the US business world. Sometimes a "no comment" is the only safe answer. Personally, I do not believe Red Hat would ever make a Novell-style deal. I can't even begin to express how angry and disappointed I would be with Red Hat, and Mr. Szulik, if such a deal were to ever happen. But I don't stay up at night worrying about it, because I trust Red Hat's CEO and top management to do the right thing.
    • by HRbnjR (12398)
      I like the Free Software community - how we all create software together, out in the open, and anyone can jump right in and contribute. I like the Fedora community, how transparent Fedora has become, and how I can basically use the Fedora tools to roll my own personal distro.

      What I don't like is fancy high-paid high-level executives flying around in jets and having closed door "we can't talk about it" board room meetings regarding the status and future of what our communities create. If there are issues s
      • by rayvd (155635)
        This comment might be more applicable if it were Max that was flying around in a jet meeting with MS. However it's Red Hat, not Fedora. Yes, Red Hat plays a huge role in the Fedora project, but it's still the Fedora Project itself that is as "open" as you are suggesting, not the for-profit company Red Hat. They choose to be open source, but have a responsibility to their shareholders and customers to do what's best for the health of their company.
  • One large vendor doing so has caused enough disruption.

    What is this disruption you refer to? Its it something new from the FUD that has been circulation for years, fodder for /. or idiotic articles in Computerworld?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Note that each of these MS "agreements" are cash-positive to the open source side. Also note that neither MS nor the open source company gets anything of tremendous value. The MS patents are unspecified, of dubious enforceability, and the "protection" is limited. The only real threat from open source is to give away functionality that matches or exceeds what MS is selling. Even with the agreements, the threats to both sides remain pretty much the same.

    The end game is for MS to try and sell the concept t
  • At one time, the idea of patents was created to encourage investment in innovation and protect new ideas, rewarding the founder and investor in new ideas for a set period of time. This is fine for completely new technologies, but I seriously question the usefulness of patents for well established ideas, especially when someone attempts to place a patent on an idea that really is well established and wants to own every nuance. That kind of patent ought to be abolished completely.

    I can understand patents fo
  • And yet we still have other, solid distros. We have Debian, which predates RH, and let us not forget about reliable Slackware, the oldest distro in existance. I'll admit that Debian was suffering due to it's release cycle, but, what's wrong with Slackware? Ok, maybe everyone doesn't like to use ./configure; make; make install to upgrade software. Gentoo anyone? Or can you just not wait for "emerge kde" to do the trick? I recently installed Gentoo(x86; I've been working with Gentoo-MIPS for some time n

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

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