~:: kalyan ::~

December 29, 2006

Jeremy Allison Has Resigned from Novell to Protest MS Patent Deal

Filed under: General, open-source — skalyanasundaram @ 3:58 am

Jeremy Allison (of Samba fame a second key developer in samba) has resigned from Novell in protest over the Microsoft-Novell patent agreement, which he calls “a mistake” which will be “damaging to Novell’s success in the future.”

His letters are like ,

I have decided to leave Novell.

This has been a very difficult decision, but one I feel I have no choice but to make.

As many of you will guess, this 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. But my main issue with this deal is I believe that even if it does not violate the letter of the licence it violates the intent of the GPL licence the Samba code is released under, which is to treat all recipients of the code equally.

In case anyone might think I gave up too easily, here is a copy of a letter I recently sent to management on this matter.

——————————————————————————

I know you don’t want to hear this, I know *nobody* wants to hear this but I’ll not be able to live with this if I don’t say it publicly at least once.

Whilst the Microsoft patent agreement is in place there is *nothing* we can do to fix community relations. And I really mean nothing.

We can pledge patents all we wish, we can talk to the press and “community leaders”, we can do all the right things w.r.t. all our other interactions, but we will still be known as GPL violators and that’s the end of it.

For people who will point out to me we don’t “technically” violate the GPLv2 here’s an argument I recently made on the mailing lists.

“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 aggr[i]eved when they change the EULA to stop us doing this?”

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.

——————————————————————————

Unfortunately the time I am willing to wait for this agreement to be changed to remedy the GPL violation has passed, and so I must say goodbye.

SuSE Linux is technically one of the most advanced Linux distributions, and I am proud to have been a small part of the Team that helped create it. Working at Novell has been a great deal of fun for me, and I will miss many of the great people I have worked with here.

Jeremy Allison.

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1 Comment »

  1. Snippets from the agreement:
    “Microsoft, ….hereby covenants not to sue …..provided the foregoing covenant is limited to use by a Customer of Novell (i) of such specific copies that are authorized by Novell in consideration for such Revenue, and (ii) within the scope authorized by Novell in consideration for such Revenue. For the avoidance of doubt, the “received Revenue” requirement above is deemed satisfied with respect to such Customer receiving from Novell a free update to a component of a specific copy of a Covered Product for which Novell has previously received Revenue, but is not satisfied with respect to such Customer receiving a free upgrade or a new version of such specific copy unless Novell has received Revenue for such upgrade or new version.”

    So, does this mean that any customer who has received a free product from Novell in the past and receives an update for that (again, for free) can be sued? May open up a can of worms!

    Thanks,
    IntellectualVillage
    http://www.intellectualvillage.com/
    IP, Patent and IP Law Related News & Resources

    Comment by IntellectualVillage.com — December 29, 2006 @ 9:53 am


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