[Mono-list] Novell sell out?

Jonathan Pryor jonpryor at vt.edu
Fri Nov 3 05:56:40 EST 2006

On Fri, 2006-11-03 at 10:18 +0000, tom potts wrote:
> http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20061102175508403
> so hows that work then?

Novell gets to say to its customers that there are no legal issues from
Microsoft toward any of its products.  Which instantly kills 25% [0] of
all patent complaints toward Mono, Samba, Wine, the Linux kernel itself
(see articles circa 2003 claiming that the Linux kernel violated ~230
patents held by Microsoft), and just about every other non-trivial piece
of software (because software patents are evil).

This is good.

The bad part is that it seems to apply only toward Novell, which is a
GPL violation waiting to happen FOR SOME SOFTWARE.  It's not a violation
for most of Mono, as Mono's class libraries are MIT/X11 licensed (which
doesn't mention software patents, and thus doesn't have any problems
with having patents covering the implementation).  Mono's runtime
(libmono.so) is LGPL, so that could potentially have problems (e.g. if
Microsoft had patents on some portions of their GC), along with some of
Mono's apps (e.g. if there's a patent that mcs violates, which would be
patently absurd -- compilers are decades old -- but this *is* the USPTO
we're talking about...).

So worst case, Microsoft sues Red Hat, Red Hat sues Novell (for shipping
GPL-licensed software which infringes Microsoft's patents), and everyone
gets together for a huge cross licensing clusterfuck, allowing all the
large companies to continue on their merry way [1], and killing any
chance of new small software companies from making it big [2].

So for the immediate future, it brings sanity to some (Novell
customers), FUD to others (Fedora Core, Ubuntu, etc. users), and gives
Microsoft cash (preventing them from FUDing many parties involved).

Business as usual.

 - Jon

[0] number pulled out of my ass.
[1] minus large amounts of attorney's fees
[2] which is the primary purpose of patents these days, to prevent any
new market competitors.

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