back to article Open source campaigners urge investigation of Novell patent sale

Open source software advocates have asked a German competition law regulator to investigate the purchase of patents owned by Novell by a consortium led by Microsoft and including Apple, Oracle and EMC. US-based open source advocacy body the Open Source Initiative (OSI) has said that it was informed that the German Federal Cartel …

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Stop

Is this really the worst option?

Playing Devils advocate.

Oracle, MS et al actually produce products that may or may not use these patents already.

However if the patents don't go to this consortium they may well end up in some patent troll lawfirms portfollio who will sue far, far more readily then the businesses mentioned to reclaim the costs in purchase. Sue who? Well RedHat and Unbuntu would be prime targets.

So be careful what you wish for, it may be a case of better the devil(s) you know.

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WTF?

I don't see the problem

I have to admit that I don't see the problem with a consortium of companies that normally compete with each other owning the patents rather than just one of the companies doing so. That seems to make it much more likely that its a defensive move, and I really don't see what is wrong with that.

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Alert

Problem is , we dont know.

We dont know what patents are being sold.

That's a big part of the problem.Novell keeps the UNIX related patents

but again , which one are they ? Noone knows.Many sites have covered this

but again , noone knows what those patents are.

Novell did not hand a list say " hey this is what we're selling to that group , interrested ? " either.

It's a closed door deal and noone but Novell and Al knows.Which is why we all want the block of the sale until we know that those patents will not be used against the open source FOSS GNU/Linux environment , ecosystem and community.

Are any of those patents covering the work of open source programmers that contributed their work to openSUSE thinking they were playing it safe with Novell at the helm ?

Noone knows which is why we all ask for the Germans to look into this with an electron microscope.We all have the impression we're going to get shafted bad.

Ric

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Linux

Oh dear...

Let's hope Google's earning enough money to step in here....

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patent troll lawfirms ..

> However if the patents don't go to this consortium they may well end up in some patent troll lawfirms portfollio .., AC

You mean like Nathan Myhrvolds Acacia or Intellectual Ventures and now MS has 882 former Novell Open Source patents, what could be bad about that ?

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/more-mobile-patent-madness-microsoft-licenses-74-smartphone-related-patents-from-acacia/7606

http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2010/12/intellectual-ventures-sues-nine-tech.html

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Dead Vulture

Think above the OS

I wish at some point, I could see the open source community would think above the OS. Linux is Linux is Linux. So you install Linux as your OS so what then?, Apache/Tomcat and a webpage. Microsoft, Oracle, Novell, Apple, all have there own OS capabilities and what is at stake is above the OS, it's the Directory, eDirectory, AD or even Open DS, LDAP it does not matter. It's also enterprise integration into the Directories and Applications that leverage and use the tools that allow users to access business critical resources. It's mobile computing that allows access for users who want access to anything. It was Novell that invented the enterprise directory called NDS than Active Directory came along and the landscape changed forever. What is happening is a large consortium creating a model above the OS that will limit or lockout open source from ever leaving the limitations of the OS and growing past just the OS. If you noticed Oracle is already pushing and the result is the community dumping Open Office, Java and Apache foundation not supporting Java. This is the problem within itself, Novell along with CPTN has enough patents in the bank to control direction as they see fit and if you want to develop down there path they as Apple will pay you a 30% of the revenue you generate while they bank the lion share and control most of the intellectual property and everyone will cave for fear of litigation as soon as you make a certain amount of money or achieve a certain amount of market share and unless you have millions of millions of dollars in your bank and a very good legal team, you will be tied up in litigation until you either or forced to sale to them or you spend yourself out of business. You want to change something change the legal system that ensures everyone walks into court with the same allocated resources to plead your case so large companies can't out spend the little guy in court and stop the David and Goliath approach to defending your intellectual property.

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Anonymous Coward

Novell has other patents than on OSS

Remember that Novell has been in the software business (and before that, the hardware business) for a long time before they got involved in Open Source, and even before they got involved in Unix.

These patents may well have absolutely nothing to do with OSS at all.

I agree with the comment above that says we need to know what they are *specifically*, but we also need to stop acting hysterical, as if this is going to be the end of OSS as we know it if the patent sale goes forward.

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Bronze badge

This is why there needs to be an escrow or "estate"

To protect patents from ending up in the hands of ms and oracle and so on, entities that would most assuredly lock them up and shut them down, and then cause a death grip on numerous (hundreds of?) open source projects and ongoing, currently thriving or potential activities, there needs to be an escrow environment run by something higher than corporate control.

This is scary.

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Stop

Yet again you are panicing....

....You run linux yes?

You do know in order to run Linux you are using hundreds, if not thousands of patents?

It's called PC / Monitor / mouse / Glidepad whatever.

How do you know that MS et al have not been paying Novell hundreds of millions of dollars to use Novells patens? maybe that's that's why they want them. How do you not now this is to protect THEIR businesses from patent trolls and has fuck all to do with killing OSS?

Stop panicing until the facts arrive.

Sheez everyone thinks that patents kill businesses. When used and applied correctly they protect businesses. If they didn't exist we'd still be using leaches to cancer after all which company in it's right mind would spend a $7billion a year in research (GSK's budget for R&D) to have some knock of shop sell the goods for 1p a go.

Now calm down.

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Megaphone

Shake and Break!

Memo:

After acquisition, a few windoz up-dates

will fix that pesky Open Source problem.

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