Novell has accepted a takeover bid by legacy connectivity and security software provider Attachmate for $2.2bn. "After a thorough review of a broad range of alternatives to enhance stockholder value, our board of directors concluded that the best available alternative was the combination of a merger with Attachmate Corporation …
... the guys who produced Remote Lan Node ? At the time, Novell were the 100lb gorilla - funny how things turn out !
A 100lb gorrilla...
is not a particularly intimidating animal.
Do people still pay for thirty flaky terminal emulators and almost X servers?
If you syllable do then I would suggest you install cygwin X and get a superior product for free.
Not particularly intimidating??
You may be (un)pleasantly surprised.
Just what will CPTN Holdings get?
CPTN Holdings LLC, which was organized by Microsoft appears to be getting some intellectual property rights as part of this deal.
What might Novell have that would interest Microsoft?
Hmmmmmm. Maybe the copyright to the UNIX code that they did not get by backing SCO (I know it's conjecture, but Microsoft were an investor in Baystar when Baystar offered capital to SCO. Look it up, if you don't know). And, of course, they may take ownership of SuSE.
This could be verrrrrry bad news for the Open Source movement, if it means MS get a dagger to dangle over the head of small open source companies, in the same way that SCO tried.
Sounds like another round of FUD coming.
With SUN out of the way, it would leave IBM and Redhat to try to defend the shattered remnants of the UNIX legacy. I'm seriously worried.
Your analysis is somewhat flawed
One one hand, you mention as an OSS defender Sun Microsystems who teamed with Microsoft to finance SCO (remember they were the first to buy licenses) and on the other you forget to add Oracle that really has some serious interest in Linux (do you see Larry going to Redmond to depose a bag full of licensing money, me neither!).
Microsoft was a real danger anyway with or without what they might get from Novell's corpse, it's like really caring if you get fatally crushed by a compact car or a school bus.
It really isn't a problem.
> This could be verrrrrry bad news for the Open Source movement,
Not at all.
Suppose Microsoft *do* get Unix. What would that matter to FLOSS people?
To re-run the SCO shake-down, you need to prove two things :-
- that there is AT&T-copyrighted Unix code in Linux
- that it was put there improperly
Despite years of shouting its FUD from the rooftops, SCO singularly failed to prove the former - they found a load of BSD-copyrighted stuff, but a quick glance at the BSD licence shows that that is perfectly acceptable.
The latter is an even higher hurdle; if Novell owned the copyrights (as two judges and a jury have declared they do), then if any such code is eventually found, it is now perfectly permissible, because the copyright owner has deliberately released it under the GPL. Any new owner may not revoke that licence.
And remember - *both* of the above need to be proven for a SCOSource Mk. 2. Some infringing material would need to be found, and it would have to be put into Linux without the copyright owner's consent. If either of these fail, the whole scam fails.
The only way this could be a problem is if the new owners of Novell declare that Novell perjured itself in the SCO vs. Novell trial, and it was actually SCO that owned the copyrights all along. Besides the array of lawsuits such behaviour would bring into existence, it would also likely mean real jail time for a number of individuals, and disbarment for certain lawyers. I can't see that happening, myself.
There is the small matter that SCO published their own Linux distribution. I have a copy of the linux source package from their ftp site, therefore I have the right to use any copyrighted SCO code it might contain under the terms of the GPL.
Oracle forked Linux
Oracle is forking Linux with their own non-compatible version.
Expect Linux to be the same as Unix with multiple slightly non-compatible versions.
So much for standards....the $$ always wins.
And if Oracle is not already evil enough they hired the SCO lawyers to sue people over use of Java.
OK, maybe it would be the defining moment for Linux. Maybe I am just being a Luddite by today's standards because I think of myself as a UNIX specialist, with a (strong) sideline in Linux.
But think about this. If MS do get access to the UNIX copyright, then many claims the Linux community have about MS including GPL code from the Linux tree evaporate in a puff of smoke (at least for stuff in the TCP/IP stack and other code that overlaps with the kernel), as MS claim that they have replaced the GPL code with the UNIX equivalent.
With regard to SCO, a lot of their case started unravelling precisely because Novell had maintained ownership of the copyright. In this light, Novell would have been in a much better position to try to sue IBM than SCO, not that it would have tried. IBM's SVR2 source license is pretty much bulletproof for AIX. Not sure about the one they got from Sequent. If Microsoft now have that copyright, they might think differently, though, and might waive the royalties for SCO and give them the copyright to kickstart the case. The fact that the case still exists causes enough FUD.
Other things MS could do:
Start increasing any repeating license code fees for UNIX licensees.
Stop granting any more UNIX source code licenses (OK, I suppose you might say how many people actually want one that have not already got one)
Don't actually start suing anybody about UNIX IP, but they make statements about potential contamination to increase FUD. After all, that is what they have been doing for years.
@AC re. flawed analysis - You seem to suggest that SUN and Microsoft were in a pact. This was not the case. SUN's UNIX source license for Solaris was always bulletproof, especially as they were a co-developer of SVR4 with AT&T. What they offered was indemnity for licensees of Java and other technologies by paying for various licenses from SCO to cover IP in new products that may not have been covered by GPL and their original UNIX license. This was not SUN financing the SCO case directly, this was standard business practice.
People tend to cast SCO as a completely evil company, but you should really see them as a company that thought they owned some IP, with a suitable business model for licensing it, but who then stepped over the line in a serious way and lost the plot and did not know when to stop. This did not alter the legitimate business that they had, which is what SUN bought into.
@jonathanb - The fact that SCO publish their own Linux has little bearing on what Microsoft might do with the UNIX copyright.
@another AC - Oracle have no bother with forking Linux and keeping it in-house (as long as they keep to the GPL and other appropriate licenses). They probably no longer case about what happens to Solaris, this was not what they bought SUN for. So they are probably not worried what MS do as long as there is no litigation.
Maybe I'm just mournful of a passing age, and that this may be one of the last nails in the coffin for Genetic UNIX. I would have preferred IBM (originally a UNIX baddie, but reformed for 15 years or so) or Redhat to have bought that part of the business.
> Oracle is forking Linux with their own non-compatible version.
Errr - you sure about that?
Last time I looked, they were basically just rebuilding RedHat Enterprise.
They did announce they were going to use a different kernel - but that's basically just the upstream latest kernel. Aside from this not necessarily being a particularly good idea, they're also obliged to release the source to whatever they ship (it's GPL), so anyone that wants to do the same can do so.
> Expect Linux to be the same as Unix with multiple slightly non-compatible versions.
From a kernel perspective, the only difference will be in terms of which kernel each distro chooses to use. That's no biggie.
The difference is predominantly in the userland stuff - and that's just down to where the maintainers =make the trade-off between conservative stability and bleeding-edge risk.
> So much for standards....the $$ always wins.
Forgot the footnote...
> Aside from this not necessarily being a particularly good idea
 One of the major elements of an Enterprise distribution is stability: you test your installation at rollout, and you know that there aren't going to be any significant changes throughout the lifetime of the distro. Apps that worked properly initially will continue to work all the way through. By making such a step-change in the kernel, this proposition is no longer known; Oracle runs the risk of breaking lots of stuff for its users.
About time too. I hope MS does get the Unix rights.
@Bugs - I'll try this again
If you can say this with sincerity, you don't understand what the implications would be. I hope that you have a big wallet, because you are going to need one to keep paying to use your computer if MS can kill alternative operating systems. It would be like printing money to them.
Now Apple appear to be in the cashing-in-on-their-user-base game as well, you can't even regard Windows as a monopoly.
To the moderator. I think I've removed everything that you could possibly have object to, so will you accept it this time? Thanks.
Microsoft might be able to turn it into something people actually want to use. This is something that has been beyond the abilities of the Open Source / Free Software hippies for a long time.
Would you care to share with us
your opinions (not you personal wishes) on why is this a good/bad thing ?
In my opinion all they could do with these is to start developing a new proprietary closed version of Unix. What ever Novell released under GPL will remain that way for ever and what was kept proprietary shouldn't be in Linux anyway.
> I hope MS does get the Unix rights.
As do I, actually.
They can't harm any of the incumbent Unix operators - IBM, Oracle and HP have all got paid-up, permanent licences, so they can carry on knocking out their own flavours of Unix.
Linux, BSD, etc. can carry on doing what they are doing - MS can't affect that, as it doesn't hold copyrights to any code there that isn't properly licenced.
Microsoft, on the other hand, could chop out the core of Windows, and replace it with a proper Unix. They could leave the Windows skin over the top, port their Windows API layers to Unix, and serve up a robust POSIX core with pretty pictures over the top.
That would benefit all of us - Microsoft probably the most, as it could make Windows into something really quite special, but the rest of us would gain from MS becoming more standards-compliant, and if nothing else, a better Windows would mean fewer botnets and less spam.
I'm definitely hoping that MS are getting ownership of Unix.
> if MS can kill alternative operating systems
You haven't mentioned how they would achieve that.
So how does one meet the criteria??
@Vic - You seriously don't believe they want to and won't try?
In case you hadn't noticed, Microsoft have been doing a really good job of keeping Linux off the desktop. It is an uphill struggle to get traction with users in the home, education and business markets. Even with the likes of Ubuntu and it's derivatives, it's just not happening.
If they can go in to any procurement with organisations by starting with "Of course, you know that we MAY still sue users of Linux for use of OUR copyrighted material", then to the uninformed procurement officers, this will equate to "Better stay clear of Linux, just in case". Financial officers have been known to be sacked for taking decisions that include known financial risks, so they tend to be cautious.
I don't see this as being illegal under current unfair trading practices legislation, but it would be seriously unethical, and unfortunately probably effective.
Without commercial organisations being able to build a business around Linux because of an unfair poisoning of it's reputation, some of the major contributors could fall by the wayside. Without the likes of SuSE (which I believe will be wound down as a Linux developer anyway), Redhat and Cannonical, Linux will revert to a hobbyists OS, with some embedded systems maintained by the likes of Oracle and IBM. Any serious chance of being an accepted desktop OS will disappear.
Also, imagine how much "Get the facts" could have been enhanced by claims of UNIX copyright ownership.
With the potential of a Linux desktop reduced, Microsoft could then capitalise on their near monopoly position (along with a like-minded Apple), and engage on leveraging maximum return from their tied-in user base who have nowhere else to go.
Let me ask you. Do you think that you would pay, say, £100 a year per PC just for the right to use it? Microsoft have often stated that they would like to move to a subscription model for their software, and have also moved in positive ways to exclude (think DRM) Linux from the equation.
Of course, if you or your company have the resources to build, maintain and market a good Linux distribution, and keep it up to date with all the DRM and media licensing issues, then this won't be a problem, will it?
"Microsoft, on the other hand, could chop out the core of Windows, and replace it with a proper Unix"
That is essentailly what Novell did with OES, wrap their Novell services around the Suse kernel
If you're going to make unbased and silly accusations, you could try not to hide your username next time...
I'm one of those "Free Software hippies". All of our ("our", as, despite being a dirty code-hugging hippie, I have a girlfriend!) computers run GNU/Linux. They run really, really well.
My main computer is a 1.6GHz, 512MB RAM machine celebrating its fifth build birthday next month. It's been running Debian GNU/Linux perfectly through hardware changes, country changes whilst all this time only taking up 1.94GB for a fully installed system (system + all apps I want) and, after booting, taking up a disgusting 85MB of RAM.
By God, how dare those Free Software hippies think their stupid little distros are so great. Windows Vista only takes up 30GB with most apps installed and would crap itself on anything less than 1GB of RAM.
Forgive us for letting our computers have technical superiority (and actually being able to use most of a 200GB drive, instead of spending a fifth on it on the OS/apps only).
We may not pay for licenses, but we do pay taxes - so, if by chance we're in the same country, I'm paying for your kids. You're welcome.
Of course MS wants to kill other OSes. But that doesn't mean they can.
> If they can go in to any procurement with organisations by starting with "Of course,
> you know that we MAY still sue users of Linux for use of OUR copyrighted material"
If they try that, they will be ignored, for the most part.
The arguments have been thrashed out. World+Dog now knows that any necessary Unix copyrights - and there are almost certainly none, as we'll see in SCO vs. IBM - have been licenced under the GPL. Such a threat will only be useful when dealing with the terminally incompetent - and such PHBs rarely need such threats to be swayed anyway.
But such behaviour could also land MS in very hot water: knowingly making false claims is a tort, and would land MS with a very hefty bill in the courts. There is no way, post SCO vs. Novell, that MS could claim to believe that owning any Unix copyrights could affect Linux. Threats like this would be corporate suicide.
> I don't see this as being illegal under current unfair trading practices legislation
It is most certainly illegal under US legislation. That would do...
> Do you think that you would pay, say, £100 a year per PC just for the right to use it?
No, I won't. And, because of the Freedoms granted me by the myriad FLOSS developers, I don't need to.
You are imagining difficulties where there are none. If you want to get excited, worry about US patent law, and how it affects software - that's a threat for all software writers, both Free and proprietary. But Unix copyrights - they just don't matter to Linux. There is no AT&T Unix in Linux, and it would be legitimately licenced if there were.
We will just have to disagree.
I don't think I ever said that there was any AT&T code that was not properly licensed or in the public domain in Linux.
That said, the SCO vs. IBM case was never dismissed. It's not been actually ruled on and there still are claims of copyright infringement, rather it has been deferred until the Novell vs. SCO issue has been resolved. That is likely to be dismissed unresolved as SCO have filed for bankruptcy. It would be better if the IBM case came alive again and was ruled on, rather than being dismissed because SCO cannot continue to support it. If it is not resolved, it can always be re-opened by whoever ends up with that part of SCO, although I would hope it would not.
The tort, as you put it, does not have to be so blatant as I made it. Remember, this is FUD we're talking about, not firm claims. It only has to sow doubt in an uninformed procurement officer or financial director (as most of them are, in IT matters at least) for them to ask for assurances from anyone who proposes a Linux solution. If Microsoft actually had the copyrights, and they said "Of course, we own the copyrights to UNIX upon which Linux was modelled, and there is unresolved litigation about whether Linux infringes these copyrights", then that would be completely truthful, and could not be contested as long as the cases had not been resolved.
I can envisage a situation where Free software cold be excluded from playing commercial media by patent and license restrictions. Read what Ross Anderson said about TPM, which doesn't appear to be happening at the moment thank goodness, but is not dead yet. Your BSD or Linux box might be great for HTTP/XML/Flash that we have at the moment, but if H.264 were to become the dominant CODEC rather than WebM, without a benefactor like Mark Shuttleworth to pay for the license for you, you may not be able to buy a system with Linux and an H.264 codec pre-installed on it. General acceptance as a home PC OS without being able to watch video - not a hope. This may be a patent issue, as you pointed out, but they are all hurdles for Linux to overcome.
Wouldn't it be funny if Microsoft ended up owning whatever rights to Unix that Novell thinks it has?
In that case they could sell^Wgive them to SCO and turn up the FUD machine to 11
But then suddenly...
....no-one would give any more of a f*ck than happens currently.
What's the currently claim anyways? Five lines of "illegally copied" comments?
> In that case they could sell^Wgive them to SCO and turn up the FUD machine to 11
Even if SCO acquired all Unix copyrights now, it would do them no good at all. They didn't own the copyrights when they allege that part of Unix was put into Linux. Novell did, and Novell have licenced any such code under the GPL. So even if SCO got the code now, they can't remove the licence for any of it that might be in Linux (and nor have they demonstrated that any such code exists).
Being given the Unix code now would actually be disastrous for SCO - there's nothing left there now but the litigation, and the litigation hinges on an appeal against a judge and jury telling them they never owned the copyrights. To accept them from a benefactor like MS would be an admission that they did not own them - and that would destroy any faint hope they might have of getting this appeal.
Current state of play
> What's the currently claim anyways?
SCO are currently reduced to the Gollum defence in their appeal pleading to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals :-
"But we *wants* it, my precioussss"
Re: But then suddenly...
I think they claim copyright on all the white space in the files.
Re: Wouldn't work
Vic. I totally agree with you as regards the facts you point out. I just don't see the facts getting in the way of the PR.
Re: Wouldn't work
> I just don't see the facts getting in the way of the PR.
That boat's already sailed.
SCO made a huge noise about how Linux infringed on everything. The world and his dog heard the story - and now the world and his dog know it's untrue.
Attempting to do the same thing again just isn't going to work. That FUD has dispersed...
didn't Microsoft say they were friends with open source
let me guess, that was a lie. it'll be obvious real soon, that's for sure.
Open source, yes...
...Linux and the GPL, no.
I remember installing MS Xenix back in 1987?
I installed Services For Unix a few months ago, it's pretty good actually.
Yes, that was when Microsoft thought PCs were only good for the desktop, and commissioned a UNIX variant to act as the office hub. Microsoft didn't write it, however (what a surprise), but bought it from the Santa Cruz Operation, then a small development company.
Ah yes, Xenix. They spun off that operation and it turned into something called the Santa Cruz Operation. Sound familiar?
Microsoft has Services for Unix, which basically installs a POSIX subsystem on the Windows OS. It works pretty well, even if the FLOSS community turns a blind eye to it and pretends it doesn't exist, using Cygwin instead. It would be nice if MS were to build a POSIX-compliant Unix.
If they want to build up a "SCOSuit" again ... it will get ugly.
Re: It would be nice if MS were to build a POSIX-compliant Unix.
I suppose that while they were off busily reinventing the wheel, the rest of the world could get on with doing something useful without interruptions from that quarter......
> They spun off that operation and it turned into something called the Santa Cruz Operation.
MS licenced Unix from AT&T. They got SCO to create Xenix from this code.
SCO later acquired Xenix from MS, and renamed it SCO Unix (later SCO OpenServer).
All this happened when SCO was a real software company, producing decent products.
Wonder if Microsoft will get hold of Monotouch, as I'm not sure how that would fit into Attachmates product range, but would be a nice catch for Microsoft.. If so, how long before his Jobsness throws another wobbly and bans it....
This makes absolutely no sense at all on the surface. MS has to be very happy. In one move Novell is dead. Attachmate is now going to enter into a market they know nothing about and compete directly with the big boys and the biggest competitor lives across the lake. Wow ! Just Wow! Can't wait to watch this thing crash and burn. Do they actually think they can resurrect Novell? An dying emulator vendor? Wow! just Wow! Got to admit A'Mate is good at milking dimes out of dying technologies and that business model never runs out of possible acquisition targets...
Makes no sense for Attachmate...?
It's almost as if it should have been Novell acquiring Attachmate. Attachmate will have to operate Novell as strategic business unit if they want to succeed.
Well that's the first part over...
..as someone who works for a Novell Partner and so therefore coat-tails on the company's success (or lack of it), I'm glad this bit is over. I'm sick of all the conjecture over the months as to where Novell was headed, so now it's private again, that might actually work out better. Novell's problem has never been the products, they're all sound and as good as (and mostly better ) than MS's equivalents. The problem is and has always been their shitty management. I hope Attachmate is a bit better at pushing said portfolio along than Ron H and his useless bum chums..
As for the MS angle, I'm told it's to do with the convenants they signed a while back about suing each other's customers, rather than anything of any great note. I doubt that Novell will just hand over Unix/Linux to MS after all of the SCO shenanigans!
I have been saying for the last 15 years: "Given enough time and money, Microsoft will eventually invent UNIX."
Attachmate, the new Computer Associates?
Those of you who know CA SOP know *exactly* what I mean.
"if Microsoft ended up owning whatever rights to Unix..."
After the evil farce of sco, the GPL and GNU/Linux has nothing to fear. Simply remove all Mono code. Along with everything else written in C#. Plus, whatever M$ may have added in the past. Stop using "Suse" Linux. Then switch to LibreOffice just for good measure. It works just fine for me. ;D
FAIL for FTC again
So a group of rich lawyers/investors was able to run in and buy up all three major market players in a very lucrative industry? WTF? What the hell is the point of even HAVING a Fair Trade branch, when they do NOTHING to protect fair trade. These f*cking jokers should not have been allowed to buy up all these major players, and now they are buying a company for less than its worth to even more secure their new monopoly. Crooked behavior folks - avoid anything they do.
oh and CPTN holdings - Why doesn't the IRS and police investigate exactly what freaky shenanigans M$ is up to with a separate holdings company.
Come on Reg - you have the resources, you have the technology...
Please find out exactly what M$ is trying to hide. They ARE trying to hide something see, because honest companies would want ALL of their efforts to reflect on, and improve their corporate image. Companies only do something under another name when they don't want to be associated with doing it (remember skywalker Inc, Chewbacca Inc. from Enron - (should have been flagged by the office taking the business application)
Winner takes all Poker
This corporate consolidation game feels like a very high stakes game of winner takes all Poker, where over time, ever more corporations fold and loose out (yet their greedy directors walking away with huge bonuses for folding their corporations, even though they say its for shareholders etc.., they are the real winners of that move), and the last few players in the game go on to fight to become the winner who ends up taking the vast pot of winnings, to become some kind of trillionaire super corporation.
A few mega rich, mega powerful, super corporations. Even worse as the "Tech firms warn Ireland on bailout" news showed, the corporations already strongly influence governments. Yet these growing super corporations will become even more powerful.
At which point we will all end up having to pay effectively homage to these few global super corporations, as they will be in many ways our new rulers, over everything we say, know everyone we speak to and every bit of money we spend, they will know about and everywhere we go they will effectively able to follow us and record it all. Plus if that all isn't bad enough, they will also be the outsourced government departments monitoring over us and fining us at every step we take that they don't like. (Just look at the way the music industry is affecting the Internet now and imagine that magnified into every walk of life).
Far from being freed from slavery, this all sounds like a growing new form of slavery, one where we cannot see the chains and the whips, but they are there every step we take and every step we take that they don't like. :(
Welcome to super corporation Winner takes all consolidation Poker, where its win win win for the people at the top, and all of us loose endlessly so our masters can win some more. :(
"A few mega rich, mega powerful, super corporations"
That is the underlying theme in the movie "Rollerball"
Great movie, worth watching *
* Not the recent remake crapfest. For gods sake don't watch that pap.
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