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back to article Novell breakup and sale imminent, says report

Commercial operating system maker Novell is close to selling itself off after breaking it into two bits, according to the is New York Post. Citing unnamed sources, the Post says a "strategic buyer" will shell out cash to acquire the SUSE Linux business that Novell paid $210m for in November 2003. That Linux business has just …

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So who then owns the Unix IP?

As has (largely) been established, Novell still own Unix IP, so which bit of the company will take them (and the eternal litigation with SCO), I wonder? Who would want it?

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IP

Maybe it will be sold off with some kind of irrevocable license so that MS, for instance, couldn't buy it and screw everyone over. They could, of course, just give it to the "community".

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Vic
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You need to read the court judgements more carefully...

> As has (largely) been established, Novell still own Unix IP

No, that has *not* been established.

What the Court ruled was that Novell did not transfer its Unix copyrights to SCO.

What the Court did not addresss - because there was no need to, if for no other reason - was what Unix copyrights Novell owned in the first place.

The USL vs BDSi settlement shows us that quite a few of the copyrights weren't owned by AT&T in the first place, and never went into USL.

This is part of why Darl McBride's attempts to convince the world of the strength of SCO's claims was so comical - he kept pulling up examples of BSD-owned code, which were never owned by AT&T, USL, Novell or SCO.

Vic.

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Troll

In days of yore, when I was cutting my teeth,

Netware was the dog's danglies...

Nowadays, not so much.

Shame really. NDS and Zen/Xen (Can't remember, can't be arsed to scroogle it), were the way to go. Where did it all go wrong? Oh yeah, TCP/IP and NT.

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I would also add

the Netware file system, immunity to malware (the OS files were outside of the mounted volumes available to users, only at the console you could load and unload them).

It's not just TCP/IP that killed them, it was the lack of any serious application server (database, web etc.). They did file, print and (especially) directory services brilliantly but they stopped there.

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who gets ...

Which part gets to own the litigation with SCO ??

If MS is somehow involved in this there'll be hell to pay

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Anonymous Coward

SUSE buyers

You don't mention Microsoft among the possible acquirers of SUSE - that would seem at least as likely as HP and VMWare.

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And why not?

Microsoft Linux? Sure. As long as it's garunteed to interoperate with Microsoft operating systems...that sounds like a great plan.

Besides, a huge pile of *nix engineers? Finally, they could create a mobile/tablet/low resource usage operating system that didn't suck.

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FAIL

One word - Xenix

They used to (co)own Xenix but they dropped it in favour of NT, so they'd never admit their mistake by adopting a Linux at this late stage in the game.

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@Gareth: Nah, only us old farts remember Xenix,

them young'uns would think it was something new, especially after it got re-branded as Winix 12 or some such nonsense.

The fly in the ointment there would be they'd either have to put up or shut up on their pawn McBride and wouldn't be able to astro-turf against Linux after it was decided.

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Stop

They will not waste their money

on something they can't control or kill.

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Stop

Huge piles of engineers

I wouldn't count on it - they bought Danger, Inc. in order to get their hands on a pile of smartphone engineers. Most of them left, and the rest ended up developing the abortion that was the KIN phone.

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@/dev/null

The Kin phone and the danger crew were GOOD. At least initially. The issue was that there was some warring fiefdom crap going on between the Windows Phone 7 crew and the Kin crew. Remember that had they priced the Kin at anything approaching a reasonable amount, it would have sold like hotcakes, despite not being a full-on smartphone. http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2010/07/a-post-mortem-of-kins-tragic-demise.ars

Microsoft can do AMAZING things. They have BRILLIANT people. What they absolutely suck at is MANAGING them. The company has shattered into little warring clumps each focused on their own little piece and perfectly willing to throw other groups under the bus. If Microsoft snapped up a group of Linux engineers (and MANAGED THEM PROPERLY) they could bring all sorts of great things to Microsoft. Otherwise, they would develop something FANTASTIC whilst operating essentially in a vacuum, then have it squashed by one of the other tribes because it threatened their baby.

All of these management problems can be laid at no other door than he who is in charge of the company. It’s his job to ensure exactly these sorts of problems don’t occur. Ballmer needs to go. NOW.

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Happy

Boycott have worked

http://techrights.org/2010/09/15/two-part-sale-deal/

De Icaza can finally go to work for Microsoft.

Mono will be axed by new owner.

We are all better off.

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Troll

Death of Linux?

I wonder how many boycott Novell fanboys will still be grinning smugly once some patent troll acquires the rights to Unix through this sale, and then goes on to sue every major Linux distributor for every penny they can get?

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Vic
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Linux is not Unix

It doesn't matter who own Unix - not that this purported sale would havemuch effect on that anyway.

There is no part of Unix unlawfully put into Linux. Any commonality there might be is under a BSD licence or similar, and so it is perfectly permissible to incopropate it.

So whilst we can't stop the trolls from filing specioius lawsuits, we can stop them from winning. And, given the recent changes to US court procedure, the SCO nonsense can't be repeated; new plaintiffs will have to show some sort of case before they're allowed to proceed.

Vic.

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Troll

At the risk of appearing even more troll-like...

"There is no part of Unix unlawfully put into Linux"

You know that, beyond a doubt? Every line of code in the Linux kernel has been compared against every line of code in Unix to verify this?

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Vic
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That's a big risk...

>> "There is no part of Unix unlawfully put into Linux"

>

> You know that, beyond a doubt?

Yes.

> Every line of code in the Linux kernel has been compared against every line of code in Unix to verify this?

There are two primary sources of Unix :-

- BSD

- AT&T

The BSD code is licenced under the BSD licence. There is quite a bit of BSD code in Linux - and it all has the necessary attributions and disclaimers to satisfy the licence conditions.

SCO's complaint was over code allegedly from the AT&T->USL->Novell chain of ownership. Besides the fact that they failed to show any such code in Linux, it wouldn't matter if they had - Novell, not SCO, owns any copyrights to that tree, and Novell has, for some years, been a Linux distributor. Thus, even if there were any AT&T-derived Unix code in Linux, Novell have been licencing it under GPL or BSD licences for some years, so we're all allowed to use it.

But, as I've said, SCO singularly failed to find any such code anyway. If you look through the purportedly sealed exhibits that Kevin McBride (yes, Darl's brother) posted on his blog a few weeks back, you'll see that SCO's "evidence" (and I use the term quite wrongly) did not involve AT&T-derived Unix (but there was quite a bit of BSD there). That dump appears to have disappeared now - but I've got a mirror just in case it's ever needed...

Vic.

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Coffee/keyboard

What is VMware?

I think that El Reg meant EMC. The VMware brand is just a bag of skin on top of EMC.

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Paris Hilton

Why split the cash pile?

Surely Novell can just keep it's cash pile and sell everything else? Why would it want to split it between the purchasers? (Is this some accounting trick?)

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Linux

Novell: Not evil!

My *guess* (and it is only a guess) is that there are other players in the industry who would hate to see SUSE and Novell's intellectual property re SCO get in to the wrong hands.

If Novell was to sell itself off to a bunch of asset-stripping venture capitalists then who knows where these assets would end up.

On the other hand, who would buy Novell for *all* of its assets? Part of Novell's problem is that it has such a huge and overlapping product line. It can't focus.

So... Sell off all the non-Linux stuff to the hedge funds to break up and pawn off and keep the Linux stuff in the hands of a company who would (hopefully) do the right thing.

That's my theory at any rate.

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Anonymous Coward

"The VMware brand is just a bag of skin on top of EMC."

Are you sure that's the right way round? I mean, I know it's right in legal terms, but in the real world, which one would you back on a three-year bet.

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About time......

It's about time they got rid of bloody SUSE.

Does this mean I'll soon be getting Netware 7?

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Pint

dangerous

This is bad news, I would have hoped some linux business would pick them up and stuff some sense into that company. They lost because of their partnership with Redmond - it is as simple as that. Novell, the only company on the planet to have gotten shafted twice by Redmond! Some never learn, do they?

The problem is, who could we trust with UNIX IP? If it is sold to some pension fund, it will be a patent/IP war.

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Heart

IBM Linux?

I'd like to see where they'd go with that.

Certainly, they've got enough of a patent portfolio to protect any such investment from the worst of the bottom feeding IP scavengers.

Sure, it might turn out to be a disaster, but, IMHO, SuSE has already turned into a bit of a bloated mess anyway, so personally I'd have nothing to lose. YMMV.

Hurry up, Big Blue, if it's going that way. I'm teetering on the brink of switching to Ubuntu.

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Linux

Mark Shuttleworth

Instead of him writing a 10 page blog post ( TL;DR ) about what ubuntu does for the community.

He could have rounded up some city investors, brought SuSE and have everybody eat humble pie about who contributes what.

Personally I hope its taken over by a sympathetic company otherwise the new investors run the risk of not understanding the business model, and destroying a great company.

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Pint

This'll be a bit sad....

if it happens

I first used Netware back in the late 80's, and the place I work was a Novell shop (Netware, NDS, Groupwise, Zenworks) until we merged with a neighbouring trust a few years ago, and chucked it out for Microsoft and Exchange. We still cannot do as much, as simply with Windows and Active Directory as we could 10 years ago.

Beer, cos Novell deserves a toast (well from me anyways)

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Linux

Novell and SuSE Linux

There are some great people who work for Novell via SuSE.

But if you look at Red Hats success and the so so performance of SUSE Linux.... Who (via Novell) made a deal with Microsoft to cozy up... Made me sick

I wonder if the seed sown then have sprouted their poison ivy. It was why I had to purge SuSE and go pure Debian... No treaties with the Enemy, as it were. No Microsoft in Linux is a mandatory mantra.

None... *ever*.

There are a lot of people who would never install SuSE because of the deal.

I think it was fatal.

But now, The Linux must be protected from serpents of destruction.

Microsoft may be licking there fangs but it would be all to obvious if they did have a real public interest... it would have to be as usual from them to do it covertly... the danger is real... follow the money. Is VMware the right choice.

Follow the money.

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