A five year deal with Microsoft to dump Novell/SUSE

Wake up little SUSE, Wake up. No, that's not good enough. Wake up SUSE customers, wake up. Novell is jeopardizing the future of Linux for its own short-term rewards. If you want to see Linux flourish, let alone survive after Novell's five year deal with Microsoft expires, I suggest we make an alternative five year deal with Microsoft. In this case, our part of the deal is to spend the next five minutes, months, or years migrating away from every shred of Novell/SUSE software in our home, office, or enterprise.

The controversial agreement between Microsoft and Novell stinks to high heaven. Look, for example, at the contradictory statements.

Take this quote from the Novell FAQ on the agreement:

Novell makes no admission that its Linux and open source offerings infringe on any other parties' patents.

How does that jibe with the following quote from Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith?

"We addressed the proprietary issues through the net up-front payment. The open-source we addressed through the percentage of revenue."

The "percentage of revenue" to which Brad Smith is referring is Novell's payment to Microsoft so that Microsoft will not sue SUSE customers for patent infringement.

Wait. Didn't we just read that no such infringements exist? If Novell is paying Microsoft a percentage of its revenue from sales of SUSE Linux as part of a covenant from Microsoft not to sue SUSE customers for patent infringement in open source code, then is this not a tacit admission that Novell's Linux and open source offerings infringe on other parties' patents, particularly Microsoft's patents? How can one interpret this any other way? Why would Novell pay Microsoft not to sue its customers over patent infrigements Novell says do not exist?

I see only two explanations for this apparent contradiction, neither of them good.

1. There are no Microsoft patent infringements in Linux and/or SUSE open source products. Novell is simply attempting to spread Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) about other distributions. It doesn't matter if there is no possibility Microsoft can sue Red Hat customers or any other Linux customers. Novell can say they have an exclusive deal that protects its customers from a Microsoft lawsuit, which gives it the pyschological upper hand. The implication is that if you buy a non-SUSE distribution, you could get sued. Perception has always mattered more than facts.

2. There are Microsoft patent infringements in Linux and/or SUSE open source products. Novell is simply refusing to admit it in the quote from the FAQ above.

The deal and the GPL

Furthermore, if Novell is obliged to pay Microsoft a percentage of its revenue from Linux in order to prevent Microsoft from suing its customers based on patent infringements, how does this fail to break section 7 of the GPL?

From section 7 of the GPL:

If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.

Or, as stated by Eben Moglen, the attourney for the FSF:

"If you make an agreement which requires you to pay a royalty to anybody for the right to distribute GPL software, you may not distribute it under the GPL."

Obviously, the GPL is the reason why Novell must go on record with the assertion that neither Linux nor its other open source offerings infringe upon any Microsoft patents. To say otherwise would be to admit Novell is violating the GPL.

However, if its assertions were true, there would be no reason to pay Microsoft royalties on the sales of Linux and open source products in order to protect its customers from patent infringment lawsuits. Here, Novell's actions speak much louder than its empty words. No, Brad Smith's words speak even louder, because his statement is pretty clear that Novell is paying royalties to Microsoft in order to prevent Microsoft from suing its customers. Once again, we must conclude that one of the two explanations above must be true. Only in this case, either Novell is paying Microsoft FUD money, or Novell is violating the GPL.

Five year deal in a six year plan

For five full years, Microsoft says it will promote SUSE. For five years, Novell will guarantee its customers immunity to patent lawsuits by Microsoft.

What happens after the five years pass? I seem to recall Microsoft made five year (or similar length) deals with Sybase, Symantec, Corel, Borland, Citrix, and other companies that thrived before the deals only to be reduced to insignificant gnats afterward. All of these deals involved giving the company a bundle of money and promising them they'd prosper. All of these companys were promptly discarded as partners once Microsoft gained what it needed to eliminate them as serious competition.

Microsoft has once again suckered a company. It dangled pretty, shiny short-term gains in front of Novell/SUSE while, at worst, planning their long-term extinction, at best, planning to use the success of Novell/SUSE to bleed its customer base. If Novell/SUSE becomes the king of Linux in five years, you can bet Microsoft will send its thugs over to Novell and raise its "no-sue covenant" protection payments through the roof. I've compared Microsoft to Al Capone before. I see no reason to think Microsoft has morphed into a kinder gentler thug.

My five year deal

I propose the following as an alternative five year deal between Linux users and Microsoft.

First Front

Novell/SUSE users and customers should wipe Novell/SUSE off their disks and install virtually any non-Novell/SUSE alternative in its place. Dump all MONO development for any of the many excellent alternatives, and abandon your investment in all Novell-based open or closed source tools. Ditch Evolution for one of the many great alternatives. Deep-six anything that has the smell of Novell/SUSE on it.

Granted, this will take time for some organizations. Don't worry, you've got five years. As long as you refuse to send another penny to Novell while you migrate, the plan will work.

Here's the point. Microsoft is attempting to manipulate (read: control and/or extinquish) Linux. Its plan is to make Novell/SUSE the king of Linux within the next five years. Once that five years is completed and Novell/SUSE Linux is on top, Microsoft will be in a position to do just about anything it wants. It can eradicate Linux, sabotage it, or simply demand outrageous fees from Novell/SUSE for every copy sold. Who do you think will pay those fees? You, if you adopt Novell/SUSE products. And that money will simply funnel right to Microsoft. You might just as well give up on Linux right now and adopt Vista, if that's the road you want to take.

I say, no! Force Microsoft's hand. Subvert Microsoft's plan by refusing to use Novell/SUSE products, and Microsoft will have no other way to manipulate the future of Linux except through patent lawsuits. In a Novell/SUSE-free world, Microsoft will have no other choice.

Microsoft has been preparing for this war for a long time. Why do you think Microsoft bought the patent for OpenGL? Let the war begin, if Microsoft dares. Let IBM whip out its patent portfolio. I don't mind playing a game of "let's you and him fight" while I use Debian, Fedora, or whatever. Neither should you. And don't fear that possibility that Microsoft can threaten your use of a non-Novell/SUSE Linux while they fight it out. I am certain that Microsoft would be restricted from doing so by an injunction until the matter is settled. Any alternative would be to grant Microsoft a risk-free monopoly on the server market.

Second Front

The Free Software Foundation lawyers should stop wasting its time trying to eradicate DRM through licenses that won't get adopted or work, and spend their time enforcing the license that is already in widespread use. Take Novell to court over its violation of section 7 of the GPL. Force Novell to explain why it is paying Microsoft royalties to guarantee that Microsoft won't sue its customers over patent infringements that do not exist.

Indeed, if, as the company claims, Novell/SUSE Linux and its Open Source software does not infringe on any Microsoft patents, then Microsoft should be brought up on charges of racketeering for asking Novell to pay money to prevent Microsoft from suing its customers.

From the Wikipedia on Racket (my comment in []):

Several forms of racket exist. The best-known is the protection racket, in which criminals demand money from businesses in exchange for the service of "protection" against crimes that the racketeers instigate [such as suing SUSE customers under false charges of patent infringements] if unpaid. Or, "pay me so that you won't have a 'mysterious fire' in your warehouse ..."

As I say in one of the comments below, if there are no patent infringements in Novell/SUSE Linux closed and open source products, then Microsoft is simply collecting protection money by threatening to use its deep pockets to tie up Novell/SUSE and/or Novell/SUSE customers with lawsuits over patent violations that don't exist. That is clearly racketeering.

No matter who is guilty of what, I refuse to be a part of it. By the end of this day, SUSE Linux will no longer soil my hard drive. I'm taking a stand. How about you?



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i have a question

Anonymous's picture

good afternoon could someone answer this question for me please

how can i explain by making use of a time line , and why more then one version of the same os was developed for linux

kind regards


Great SUSE software,

Trade Show Displays 's picture

Wow! Great information for Linux.But product improving for SUSE customer satisfaction is very ... very important.The five years deal with Microsoft for very interesting news.

that great news for Software use, install and open or close source tools.Thank......So Thanks......

this might not kill Novell -

Anonymous's picture

this might not kill Novell - but the damage that Novell has done to SUSE is fatal. Everyone I know started planning their exit strategy within a couple of days of the announcement, and Red Hat is going to be the winner - without having even made a move


Anonymous's picture

as a user of fedora, I have always hated the idea of costly software and capitalist ideas in selling ideas. Like I mean, Ideas can be sold. Everyone deserves his/her rights of thinking... and imagination. M$hit can't just say something is copyrighted no other variations can be made. That's just total m$hit tactics in preventing its competitors from rising.

like Hitler, when Hitler took over Germany he immediately banned all non-Nazi parties. In a way, M$hit = Nazi

I was once a pirate and I've used enough of M$hit's crap. When I switched to open source. things totally changed.

Patents are totally fu&ked up... these laws enabled M$ and as well other companies to sell shit that are years old attached w/ a dirty pricetag.

M$hit said patents are to keep new products innovative and secure from what they so call 'theft of ideas'. Well I say, Patents are simply to guarantee a company's progress of selling their unwanted $hit.

Sounds dirty to me ........

Cereal Pirate's picture

Well guys ... This just sounds like a load of crap to me. I mean really why does MS have to stick their nose in the OS market ?? I blame Novell 100% for this as they are selling out just like everyone else that has NO pride. Pride ... now that a word you don't hear anymore. Rappers , Movie Stars , Musicians .... They all sold out and look at how 80% of them live life ... like unlawful gods. Microsoft has done that and then some ... Apple is not 100% in the clear but they are no where near as dirty as MS.

Microsoft has how many versions of the SAME os ??? Linux and Mac have 2(most of the time - Darn netbooks=) They have sucked the computer world clean and now they are trying to worm their way into the Linux world. After they destroy Suse who will be next ... Ubuntu ? if that happens I quit ... no more Penguin for this  lover.

All the Penguin heads out there needs to come together on this and make a stand ... Linux and Microsoft should never be in the same sentence .... let alone on the same machine !!

I say if anything Microsoft needs to worry about Xerox suing them for grand theft ..... then Apple can come along and sue them for what ever is left.

Its just a mess ... makes me miss the pen and paper days :(

Still, I think it is

ktunnel's picture

Still, I think it is possible, though far too early to tell, that this time it may actually backfire on Microsoft. Reading this news the oft mentioned Ghandi quote came to mind, This being the "... then they fight you ..." part. And Microsoft seems to be employing its tried and true method of dealing with competition from commercial products. And, as I've seen discussed elsewhere, this move seems to me almost a tacit admission by MS that Vista is at best no better than Linux. Also, its worth remebering that Novell has been burned by MS before with, I believe it was Corell WP, they know who they are dealing with.
Linux however, isn't primarily to my understanding a commercial product, its Linus's pet project that really took off. Or, and I am not sure if this fits the legalistic requirements but I think is basically correct, it is a standardized code base that is publically available and freely distributable. Commercial companies then add their various bells and whistles and customized support packages. I don't have a crystal ball but it is possible in 4 years people might be saying "well everyone is using Linux, Linux good, Redhat flavor of Linux or Ubuntu or whatever is cheaper". Maybe I'm an optimist.


Text Messages's picture

Arrr ...
He has a few points ....
Why is Novell paying M$ "please don't sue me" money if their linux distro is GPL?
Or is M$ just hoping to kill the GPL ideals?

you make my day...

Partnersuche's picture

"Wake up little SUSE, Wake up" <<<< THATS the greatest part (search in my music archive for the original...) i just rofl(ed) ;) great article anyway very good to read (and funny)

from me: digg + average rating ;)

it seems so redundant to

Ferienwohnung Sizilien's picture

it seems so redundant to have to explicitly define it as an array.

Can anybody say...

vhrocker's picture

INTEROPERABILITY & INTEGRATION. Not every business runs JUST Windows, or JUST Linux, and usually not JUST Mac. A lot of shops run both which require integration and interoperability. From an administration level, running both systems is a pain in the @$$. If you haven't noticed, Microsoft has been more 'friendly' to the open source world lately, largely because it is getting large. They have refined the Windows Services for UNIX, which is great (or at least a great beginning) for administration in a mixed environment. Of course they want the business back, but there can be compromise. Windows does some things very well that linux/unix just doesn't AND linux/unix does a lot of things well that Windows doesn't, particularity in cost. With interoperability, people/business can CHOOSE! Isn't this one of the goals of open source?

This is what I was thinking all along, and I like it.

This article mentions Microsoft 'not sueing' a lot, while the Novell FAQS page: (here again) clearly states several times that there is no reason to sue, no patent infringement, etc.

To me its a clear business transaction, being on the frontline of interoperability between open source/Microsoft/Apple is a smart choice.

After some further reading

vhrocker's picture

of stories such as the SCO case where they bought into Linux, sold it, then sued for code copyright infringement, I retract my argument. Open source code is expected to be open source, copyright/patent free. If it's open, you can use it in your own code, and a simple acknowledgment of the original author is usually good enough. Revealing third-party "proprietary" code screws everyone else.

Yea, its a decent business strategy, but its like playing with rattlesnakes.

Linux Customers and the Great Patent Infringement Scam

Kenneth Hess's picture

I don't see how someone's purchase or use of Linux can qualify them as "patent infringers." I mean can people who drive Chevrolet's be sued by Ford because they own cars that have windshields, gas pedals, or steering wheels? This seems like a very feable attempt by MS to unseat Linux as a viable alternative to their OS. I guess you can sue anyone for anything but realistically there would be no substance or purpose to sue someone for this.

It's a shame, Novell/SuSE was my second favorite Linux distro

vl4dt's picture

Novell/SuSE used to be my favorite distro but that was before I installed Ubuntu and that was long before this shameful agreement, so for me that is no more than the lack of character by Novell, is just a matter of money, I still remember Corel Linux it was very good and with the Corel Suite also being ported to Linux represented a real threat to Microsoft interests, that really was a chance to fully replace the Microsoft platforms because there is no war between Linux and Microsoft, there is no such thing we all know that Linux is by far more powerful than Windows but, the real problem for Linux adoption by the non-geek user is that in time if you are used to certain software you will miss it, there are just a few programs that stop Linux from replacing the "Blue Screen OS", Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia Dreamweaver Autodesk AutoCAD and Games, maybe most long time Linux users can live without them but the average people who work and live with these programs can not waste time relearning how to do what they have been learning for some time maybe even years of daily work, that is what we as a community need to admit, let those guys throw money wherever they want Microsoft already destroyed his most important threat, Corel products for Linux, OpenOffice.org is a great tool although some people really adept at using Microsoft Office won't switch until they feel at home, they just want to play with OOo the way they do with MS Office.

On the other hand there is a segment that frankly I don't understand why is so underestimated, Games, they are one of the may reasons why the PC is at home and although there are some good titles available, free and commercial, I have not seen interesting reviews about it in the magazine and I think is very important because in my expierence, most of my friends will happily switch from their Hangdows to Linux if they could run the games they like, I know there are many tools commercial and free to run Windows games on Linux but I wish to see more native games, there are a few I have tried, and is interesting because some of them perform better in Linux than in Windows, for example, America's Army, the official U.S. Army game runs much better in Linux than in Windows the same machine, at least in mine and maybe is due to the superior networking capabilities and reliability of Linux but it does, think about it I know there are millions of users that think the PC is just a more expensive and customizable Gaming console and that rarely run other applications, or just for those of us that don't want to reboot the machine to waste some time to return to the dark age to kill some dwarfs.

In the case of Novell/SuSE I think the real threat could be if somehow, Novell write some code to support Microsoft technology (maybe with help from Microsoft) and then this code is contributed to the community and in turn distributed and adopted by the community, then, if the code really infringe any patents then the lawsuits and fear Microsoft have been waiting will be there, all set up for a world class hollywood style massive lawsuit or series of lawsuits or at least it can damage all of us stoping development and distribution of Linux.

I like the path the magazine is following now is now much more interesting and most important, useful, someday will get a subscrition because sometimes I forget to buy it and miss some articles I may have been waiting.

Excuse my english

vl4dt's picture

Excuse my bad english I have made some spelling errors but I bet you understand what I meant :)

Refuse to use Novell/SUSE products

Shaun Clark's picture

Lets Force Microsoft's hand like Nicholas said. Lets refuse to use Novell/SUSE products.

Like already

Anonymous's picture

Like already stated--consider Novel/SUSE a sell-out (they sold their soul to the great devil MS). What's the big deal about SUSE anyway? There are plenty of other dist. out there, as well as open source solaris now. MS claiming their "patents" are being violated makes me laugh so hard I can't control myself sometimes. Just who would actually WANT to violate any shitty MS code? It's bloated, ridden with security issues, and most likely is the violater of patents themselves. MS didn't invent anything from the ground up from the get go, and they're still at it. What's next, they're going to sue Sun also over Solaris going open source? hahahaha. Pathetic! Their lawers are obviously all MICRO(brains) hahaa

Novell + SUSE + MS

Jiri's picture

a nice article, indeed! But too late.
Using Suse since the Version 4.x I had deleted it
immediately I've heard about the Novell deal.
The Novell company is an old Unix killer.
The SUSE 9 and 10 is too fat, too many applications
you don't need, too many DVD's etc.
Sure there is something rotten in this new deal
with Mircosoft!
I'm satisfied with UBUNTU now, with some small complains.

Best regards


I wanna look at that person

Anonymous123's picture

I wanna look at that person who wrote this article


JohnD (CNE)'s picture

Am I the only one who has considered that all this talk of dumping Novell may be exactly what M$ wants? Microshaft is the undisputed King of FUD. They found Linux continuing to make inroads no matter what they did or said. So now they are using the Open Source community to do what they can't. OS community has it's knickers in a knot because Novell made a deal that "violated the spirit of the GPL". So despite all of Novell's contributions to the community, despite it's taking on SCO for the protection of everyone else - you vote for tossing them into the abyss because they make a deal that nets them money and helps keep them out of court. Let's face it the only people who get rich in court are the lawyers. They are spreading Linux and helping to convince the suits that Linux is a risk worth taking instead of following the "No one ever got fired for using Microsoft" mantra. Novell is positioned to help Linux over the hump and become mainstream, yet you would turn your backs on this opportunity which would benefit the whole Linux community because they signed an agreement to keep themselves out of money draining lawsuits? That's just plain dumb. Ever hear the phrase "Cutting off your nose to spite your face"? Do I think M$ has an ulterior motive - sure I do it'd be dumb not to think so given it's past dealings. I think fracturing the community is it's biggest goal right now, and every negative post on this site show's that it's working like a charm. Microshaft got you guys to abandon the company that poses the most serious threat to M$. Novell may have made a bad deal - only time will tell us for sure. But the community is making a bigger mistake by trying to help Microsoft screw over Novell. The M$/Novell deal has given Suse a leg up in the corporate environment - they are the ones spending the money and it's their money that Linux needs to continue to pose a threat to M$. The reality is this: People want the same OS at home that they have at work. They don't like having to switch gears. You get large corporations to switch, and then you will start to see demand on the consumer side. Until Linux can support all the current gadgets on the market without requiring the end user to install kernel sources and login as root, etc, it will be a consumer flop. It won't matter that it's free or that it came on the machine. If Joe Snuffy goes out and buys a new digital camera and comes home and plugs it into his new PC with free linux on it - only to find out the camera won't talk to the PC - he'll be on his way to buy Windows. Big corporate deals will convince hardware OEMs to spend the time to support Linux - not pleading by Linux distributors. The vendors want to make money - not support a cause. Mr. Petreley I used to read your articles back in the OS/2 days and I enjoy them now, but your plan is seriously flawed. Microsoft wants you to see the deal as dead end - how about helping Novell make the plan backfire for once?

Hit Piece

Kennon's picture

I thought Linux Journal was beyond writing hit pieces against Novell. Every point made in this article has been through the wash in the last 18 months and is completely baseless. Jesus is this a slow news day or what? The fact of the matter is Novell is pushing Linux into markets that no other distribution could ever dream of getting into. The growth of their Linux market is pushing my favorite OS into sectors of business and government that would never consider Ubuntu or some other kumbayah birkenstock wearing hippy bullshit distribution. The interoperability deal with Microsoft is the best thing to happen to Linux in the enterprise ever. Heterogeneous data centers are a fact of life for those of us on the ground working in them. No matter how much I wish for it, Windows will not be going away anytime in the near future. Instead of standing back with their arms folded with a bad attitude like most of the FOSS world, Novell took the initiative and decided to do something about it. Novell is also enabling thousands of IT shops to migrate straight from Netware to Linux instead of Windows. For the last 5-10 years Netware has been disappearing off the face of the earth and 99% of those servers were replaced with MS Windows. Now there is a real enterprise class alternative for Netware customers who have held out against the blue pill of Windows conversion. Novell is one of the main contributers to the Kernel, Gnome, KDE, not to mention all the smaller projects like Open Office and Compiz-Fusion. And mostly in return they get pissed on by short-sighted bigots who have no concept of how business gets done. If every sysadmin got to choose what Linux distro was deployed in their data center we would be living in a Ubuntu world. But the fact that we live in a Red Hat/Novell Linux world in the data center environment means we don't get to choose, the PHB's do. I know in our data center if it wasn't for Novell we would have converted everything to Microsoft 3-4 years ago. If anything harmful ever actually materializes out of this deal for Linux and Novell is to blame I will be the first person to pick up a pitchfork and burn them. But can we at least silence the arm-chair attorneys for now and see if anything ever really does? And you want to talk about IBM's patent portfolio? Novell OWNS UNIX and almost single handedly crushed the single greatest threat to Linux this decade in SCO. So take your Novell bashing ass back to wherever you came from and print something newsworthy you hack.


rmcc's picture


well said...

I like Linux

3dsl Eugen's picture

I like SUSE Linux. From the year to the year it becomes better and better. I loaded last version down and is fully inspired. I am for the fact that Linux remains further free.

warm and FUZZY corporations GET THIS!

Common Sense's picture



Linux/Open Source Diehards Don't Get It

Noah Pulstron's picture

Novell is paying to be legitimate and at the same time get Microsoft to support their version of Linux. We as business customers like this and need it. We want to be able to call Novell and get support for our virtual Microsoft app servers. We don't all love to spend our lives getting things to work on our own. Many of us live in the world of medium business supporting a variety of off the shelf Windowss application with no staff. Many of us use Novell products like eDirectory, ZenWorks, or GroupWise. A great deal of us like NetWare. We are willing to use Linux in the place of NetWare but we want better Microsoft support.

I respect the Open Source community but the continued rallying against Novell by some of you will be 1) ignored by those of that that spend the actual money that pays the bills for programmers and developers and 2) makes your bias plainly obvious. I use a lot of open source software in my data center and will continue to do so and save my organization a lot of money. It will not go away for the same reason it appeared in the first place. Novell's agreement doesn't change a thing other than clearly upset people who want to see Microsoft's demise at the hands of Linux.

Maybe that will happen and maybe it won't - but caring either way isn't good business. It's personal. I hope it's not you that makes real business decisions for your company.

"Paying to be legitimate?"

Anonymous's picture

Linux does not need to pay anyone to be "legitimate", certainly not Microsoft.

People who need a gaming console or office suite are the minority. Real computers have never been centered around Microsoft. They can't be. Pay-as-you-go-for-every-unitasker is a business model that simply cannot possibly keep up with give-people-the-tools-they-need-to-solve-their-own-problems.

The reason people use linux isn't just that it's lower cost. They use it so they can keep up with everyone else, rather than waiting for Microsoft to hire enough monkeys and buy enough typewriters to get Access or .NET to do something everyone was doing 5 years ago.

If Novell is paying Microsoft to make them like linux more, if that's what you're seriously suggesting, then we should be convincing Novel to keep their money. Microsoft hating Linux is what's keeping Microsoft from being adopted for any problem that requires a real computer, and it's what's keeping them in the dark ages every time everyone else has a renaissance.

Maybe they can pay Microsoft to start hating Novel too. One BH share for every incompatibility between Novell's software and Microsoft's software should be a more than fair and lucrative trade for Novell. Anything to make the Windows user experience that much more aggravating for all concerned. A threatened lawsuit or four would make the pot even sweeter. Windows would probably make more money that way than it ever would off the court system.

Novell/Microsoft agreement

Phil Gardner's picture


I am totally with Noah Pulstron on this one, it is totally good for us corporate types. It gives our managers the warm and fuzzies knowing we aren't going to have any issues deploying Suse along side our Solaris, Windows Server and Novel products


Per's picture

Novell makes no admission that its Linux and open source offerings infringe on any other parties' patents.

Wait. Didn't we just read that no such infringements exist?

Actually no. What I read was that Novell does not admitt to an infringement which is pretty standard rhetoric in such cases as this and they (Novelle) are merely setting the stage for possible future lawsuits.
They didn't say that there weren't any infringement.

Evil Microsoft?

dave's picture

I would love to see Linux succeed,but the windows you guys keep talking about doesnt exist anymore. I haven't had a problem with Windows XP for a year or two, and it is stable. Ive tried puppy linux, Ive tried Red hat which is More stable than the others Ive tried SUSE, and in my experience Windows XP is more stable. Windows is eaiser for me to use because Ive been using it since the early 90's. Linux is free that's good,and wonderful that people volunteer their time to work on linux, but it also makes it hard to switch because there is always some angry person screaming about the evil of Microsoft,cursing you out for not agreeing, and how So much better Linux is. Keep on working but spend you time on how to's not bad mouths


Carl's picture

It sickens me that microsoft would be allowed to taint the Linux community in such a conniving, back-handed way. I have the latest suse distro on 4 cd's, which will soon be used for skeet in the backyard, and never will I come within arms reach of another novell product. I reserve the right to use whatever operating system I want, and big brother bill's heavy handed tactics will not sway me in the least. Of course, being a computer repairman, I also say God Bless the windows users, cause you idiots are making my house and car payments, but as for me and mine, we'll take open source any day. Let's dig in, and let the fight begin!

MS and Novell Deal

Anonymous's picture

Personally I think M$ is scared of Linux and like every other product out there that they couldn't beat, they bought them. Many have wondered what happens after the 5 year deal........can you say MSLinux??? I am a big Linux fan and I have recently moved to Ubuntu for my home (with one XP drive for the few items I need in Windows). I'm also a Network Manager in a Windows shop yet I am still hoping that Linux will prevail. I think both products have good things to offer. It's just that one of them cost way too much and is usually playing catch-up to other OS's. May the best OS win (I hope it's Linux) ;-)


Hell with Suse

varaahan's picture

I am a home user , converted from buggy,hanging windows to stable, secure linux. I do work with various distros at a time. Never had I been comfortable with the bloated , slow Suse. What Novell has done is a meekly surrender to the hand bending of M$. Linux will rise like a Phoenix.
Presently I am comfortable with PCLOS / Slackware / Kubuntu.

Can anyone find the best way to migrate to another distro ?

Mark (Ireland)'s picture

OK I've read 20+ opinions.

I'm a suse user since 9.3. I moved to suse to escape
M$ corporate nastyness, high cost, and insecure OS fears.
I think that M$ has picked on SUSE to "buy-off", because of
recent success, grabbing former M$ users and new desktop
users, and know that the quality and potential of SuSe is so
If they can seduce SUSE long enough to bring it down a dark
alley-way, sweet talk, then rape and stab to death. They will !
My confidence, and trust in Suse as been badly damaged.
We don't need M$, we don't want M$, we don't want to help M$.

Can anyone find the best way to migrate to another distro
of similar quality, but minimal fuss, before it's too late ?
I think this would be good project to make available, as a
handy `escape hatch'.
I'm an end user. If I was a developer, I'd be working on it !

Mark (Ireland).

Here's one way, w/o reformatting the entire hard drive

Anonymous's picture

Hello Mark,

I've swapped distros on the same machine many times--Fedora, SuSE Linux, Slackware, and Kubuntu. First, back up your data. Then, pick a distro that you like--any distro--and install it, ENSURING that you do not format the /home partition. Just mount it as /home. Make sure, of course, that you back up your data! :-)

The key to this is making sure that /home is a separate partition. If you don't do that now, I suggest that you start, going forward. Now, assuming that /home is a separate partition, then, when you do the installation, simply use the same partition-mounting scheme that you used for SuSE Linux. Tell the installation to format every partition except for /home. REPEAT: DO NOT FORMAT /home.

Then, once the distro is installed and you've added your unprivileged user account for normal use, we should clean out any desktop settings that the "old" unprivileged user had. When I do this, I remove anything having to do with GNOME or KDE. The basic ones that have worked for me are .gconf*, .gnome*, .kde*, .trash, and .qt. There might be a few others, but unless you want to lose all your saved mail, don't, for example, kill of .firefox! :-)

Now, we need to set permissions for the unprivileged user. Just issue a "chown -Rv myusername /home/myusername" to set the permissions for your userID on the new distro. You will, of course, have to do this step as root, or if you are running *Ubuntu (disables root by default), use sudo to do it. This step is necessary if your UID on the new distro is different from what it was on SuSE Linux. For example, Red Hat distros, including Fedora, start with UID 500 for unprivileged users. Debian, Ubuntu, and Slackware start with UID 1000.

I actually went from SuSE Linux 9.2 to Slackware on my laptop some time ago, using this procedure.

By the way, did I mention to back up your data before doing any of this?

Try PCLinuxOS / Kubuntu /

Boovarahan S's picture

Try PCLinuxOS / Kubuntu / Zenwalk.

Axe grinding

Anonymous's picture

Why do YOU care what Novell does or does not do with MS? Do you own Novell stock? MS stock? Some other stock? If you own Novell or MS stock than YOU do have the right to express your opinion about their actions at the next stockholders meeting, otherwise, shut up. Did you secretly create the SuSE distro and got robbed when Novell BOUGHT it? It seems to me that you (Nicholas) are pissed off because someone (Novell) did something you don't like with someone you hate (MS) and now you want the world to beat them up because you can't do it by yourself. Grow up. If you THINK what Novell is doing is paying protection money, what is it to you? What it sounds like to me is that you are terrified Novell might actually become the sole dominate player in the linux marketplace with this deal and your ego can't accept that for whatever reason known only to you. If your only grudge with Novell is that they made a BUSINESS deal with MS, then you aren't fit to be a columnist. If you have VALID complaints against the SuSE distro, then air them but stop hiding behind the 'lets all hate MS and anyone who deals with them' irrational attitude.

I like SuSE linux. I refuse to use RH at all now since many years ago when we had to integrate our multiple servers (NetWare, MS, & RH) and share files across them, RH refused to support NetWare connectivity. This was LONG before Novell bought out SuSE. The difference between RH and me versus Nicholas and Novell is that RH offended me DIRECTLY whereas Nicholas is offended for something not even related to him. If you don't like the SuSE distro then by all means don't use it. The insanity of hating whatever MS touches is crazy. MS has developement deals with Intel and AMD. Is the linux box you are using to read this powered by an Intel or AMD cpu? Should you rip it out and get an old Apple PowerPC box to run your preferred linux? You all need to get real.

Re: Axe grinding

DLJ-1942's picture

If you THINK what Novell is doing is paying protection money, what is it to you?

Ever heard of politics? Politics is about competing interests, as they are perceived. It is not confined to business, as some - you? - would seem to have us believe. Not only do we have a right to discuss how to best protect our interests, as consumers and otherwise, we would indeed be stupid not to. Therefore, and the more so where a notorious actor like Microsoft is involved, it would be a disservice to ourselves and everybody else if we let business deals and decisions go uncommented.

Now think about this and try to get it, and try to curtail the invectives, too.


alice's picture

The Windows product is professional seo maturing quickly , giving Linux more time to catch up. Windows is also becoming too expensive to manage real soft for the consumer, so Windows will become a premium product, and SUSE with MS technologies website optimizer targeted to mass consumers. Microsoft will gain by pointing those SUSE users to their internet space.

Your article

Anonymous's picture

Right on!

Voting with our feet is the best response we can make until some of the large movers-and-shakers of OSS make themselves heard.

By the way, it would be great if the folks at distrowatch.com got a good look at this. Right now they are of the opinion that those poor Suse developers in Germany, who happen to be on Novell's pay roll, shouldn't be blamed or hurt in anyway. If we follow your 'five year deal', those developers will have to make a conscious moral choice regarding whether they want to 'sleep with the enemy' for the benefit of a paycheck.

Microsoft, right out of the Axis handbook...

justme's picture

"The best political weapon is the weapon of terror. Cruelty commands respect. Men may hate us. But, we don't ask for their love; only for their fear. "
-- Heinrich Himmler

This would seem to fit quite nicely to the hand Microsoft is playing.

On a lighter note, Does anyone remember the Simpsons episode when Homer creates his own internet company? Bill Gates comes to talk about a buy out, he says something along the lines of "I didnt get rich handing out money..." and has thugs take a bat to the office.

I worked my way away from Suse when they didnt allow a root login...(I by no means use this on my machine) When setting up someone that wants to change away from Microsoft, having to type the password every time while showing them around just plain sucks. I like my control and take responsibility for the issues I create for myself. If I screw it up, I am the one to have to fix it. Disabling this seemed to me like taking away some (although minor in the grand scheme of things) control. I switched for choice. If that choice is taken away whats the point.

I switched to Fedora and havent looked back. Trivial reason overall to switch, but thats what this is all about for me... CHOICE! With Microsoft's Genuine Advantage there doesnt seem to be even the flexibility for people legally using the software. I myself change my setup too fast to keep up with activation.

Im straying into the grand picture, so ill just say I strongly agree with your assessment. Articles like this give me such a passion to get involved.

Thank you

Media Hype

John Stampe's picture

I agree completely with your article. What concerns me is the way this deal is being portrayed in the media (such as AP and BBC). Nothing is being mention at all about the patent agreement. The stories are all Microsoft's and Novell's spin. I think that this issue needs to get in the mainstream more. I think it has repercusions beyond just Linux.

no more Novell products

E. Flores's picture

I think the same way you do and made the decision before I read this article. Actually I thought I was alone! I migrated my systesm to another distro and decided I spend no more cash for Novell products until those 5 years have gone by.

A wise man once said,...

Andrés González Cantú's picture

"Mankind is threatened by the decline of morality of persons and states, demonstrated in the desintegration of the fundamental ideals of law and justice, in consumer egotism, the growth of crime, and the new international catastrophe of nationalist and political terrorism" -- Andrei Sakharov.

Regards, folks.

Andrés González Cantú

Evolution alternatives?

Siraaj's picture

What would you recomend? Evolution email feature sucks, so I don't care about that, I gladly use Thunderbird, but calendar is something that Evolution does particularly well (especialy integrating with Gnome desktop). What alternatives would you recommend? Besides JPilot and Sunbird (which has lots of potential,but isn't reliable as of yet)...


Try Mozilla Thunderbird with the Lightning Plugin

Flackster's picture

I have replace evolution, kmail & kontact with Mozilla's thunderbird and lightning plugin. Lightning integrates the Sunbird project with mozilla and it has for the most part all of the calendaring and PIM features found in Evolution and Outlook.

Best of all it doesn't care about what desktop environment you are using or OS.


Try Kontact

Nicholas Petreley's picture

Kontact works very well for me, but I have an old Pilot. I'm planning to get a new PDA soon, though, so I will be shopping for the best unit for me that works under Linux.

Look beyond

Paul Unregistered's picture

I am a die-hard RHL fan. I have never used SUSE. I am also a Windows 2000 network admin, and appreciate what AD can do, in terms of corporate networking that RHL/DS simply can not do....yet anyway.

On to the point about your article: I think the point of the patent infringement is because MS will probably look to Novell to start introducing WINDOWS technology into the SUSE product, and vice versa. The reasons I see are many, but helps MS get a foothold in the linux space. I predict in 5-6 years that Linux will be more pervasive in the corporate space. In smaller businesses, it will be pure linux, and this will threaten MS hold in the big business space. Big business is slow to adjust to new technologies, and generally rely on small time users, who are willing to forgo costs for higher risks, to adopt new technologies. The big users will come in later when the product can meet their demanding requirements.

The Windows product is maturing quickly, giving Linux more time to catch up. Windows is also becoming too expensive to manage for the consumer, so Windows will become a premium product, and SUSE with MS technologies targeted to mass consumers. Microsoft will gain by pointing those SUSE users to their internet space.


SUSE is dead

Anonymous's picture

What most of the people who commented don't seem to understand is that SUSE is now on life support. The professional Sysadmin who uses Linux is already starting to plan his/her migration away from SUSE.

Which is too bad - it was a pretty decent distribution. However Novell has decided to commit corporate suicide, and based on what has happened to Microsoft partners in the past, only a fool would rely on Novell's continued health as a company.

Oh, this might not kill Novell - but the damage that Novell has done to SUSE is fatal. Everyone I know started planning their exit strategy within a couple of days of the announcement, and Red Hat is going to be the winner - without having even made a move.

Still, it's too bad about SUSE - I rather liked it (note the past tense).

Linux "WINS" from Novell/MS deal

Anonymous's picture

I've played with various versions of Linux for several years. I can hold my own on any software. I am easily an above average to advanced computer user, but the thing in my opinion that holds Linux back is ease of use.

When I go to install something I don't want to have to read a bunch of crap, go find additional software to satisfy a dependancy. I want it to be easy, simple and fast. Not because i can't figure it out, but because my time is more valuable than sitting here playing with something that I feel should take care of itself.

There are to many distributions of Linux out there, making it hard for anyone to write software that can be easily installed. After all as a developer which version do you focus on? Yeah, I know I can compile it myself blah blah blah...

How Linux wins from this deal is that as a result of the agreement, more companies will use Suse Linux, there employees will become more comfortable with it and maybe consider using it at home, there will be better support, larger user base, and others can focus on writing for that version of Linux.

I could probably explain this better but I think you get the point, a handful of large distributions will allow more average people to start using Linux. I don't care if it's Suse, Redhat or something else as long as it hits main stream so I don't have to think.

I'm even at the point where the kids next computer might be a Mac, that's about as dumbed down as you can get.

"Linux wins..."

JohhnyLongbaugh's picture

I guess I shouldn't expect someone who doesn't even have a firm grasp on the spelling and grammar of our language to have any better grasp on the full ramifications of what this all means.
"...a handful of large distributions will allow more average people to start using Linux..."
What happens when all of these companies and home-users alike, migrate to Suse because of the fear of lawsuit from using other Linux distros (that may or may not infringe on M$'s patents), are suddenly left in the lurch by M$, because the evil giant decided to put an end to the very OS that was originally threating their market-share? Why, they'll all go back to using M$ Windoze, of course. That's exactly what M$ is hoping will happen, all along.
I used to be a part of the "great" Redmond, WA giant. I've seen first-hand what they're capable of and how they think. They've ceased to resemble anything human or caring. All they have in mind is control of as much of our lives as possible.
Watch out.