21 November 2006

The Beginning of the End for Novell?

This is a characteristically brilliant post from Pam over at Groklaw, particularly in the way it uses the Wayback machine to skewer Novell as it twists in the wind. It concludes:

So, here's the question I have for Novell: what happened to that promise to protect FOSS with its patent portfolio? Novell did say it. We relied upon it, and OIN is totally separate from the above promise. I mention that because some Novell guys have been saying that Novell never made any such promise or that the OIN patents fulfill the promise. Read the promise again. Novell clearly promised to use its patent portfolio, not OIN's, and Novell appears to have just bargained that patent portfolio away, giving Microsoft a clear path to now bring patent infringement claims against everyone else. Novell's character and honor is on the line. And we await your statement with interest.

But arising from this, I too have a couple of questions that are starting to loom large in my mind:

Is this the beginning of the end for Mono? If Novell continues along its current path surely everything it touches will be regarded as tainted by the free software community, and Mono is sponsored by Novell. And now that Sun has done the decent thing with Java, there is a nice little programming language just waiting for all those disappointed hackers.

The other question is even bigger: is this the end for Novell? It seems to me that there is a broad-based and massive movement growing within the free software world to ostracise Novell utterly - something that will simply kill the company. As far as I know, this has never been done before - perhaps because the free software world simply wasn't strong enough. Now it is: are we about to see it claim its first victim? (Via AC/OS.)

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