Novell, Microsoft, and far too many coincidences in the Linux desktop patent suit

Is it all just a coincidence?

Thinking more about all those darned coincidences in the IP Innovation lawsuit launched against Red Hat and Novell recently over the Linux desktop, I decided to list them out:

  • One or more former Microsoft licensing execs join Acacia or one or its companies;
  • Ballmer makes his most recent statement regarding Red Hat;
  • Almost the same day, Red Hat (and presumbably Novell) receive notice of the alleged infringement from IP Innovation (Acacia);
  • Before either company has a chance to consider the letter and respond, IP Innovation files its lawsuit in Texas;
  • Novell changes all of its IP indemnification the same day (which it has named "Technology Assurance Program" as contrasted with Red Hat's Open Source Assurance Program Novell apparently isn't interested in assuring open source, just technology ;-);
  • Novell's new program notes a change in the Microsoft/Novell deal that covers GPLv3 code distributed by Novell for downstream recipients.

Hmm....I forget sometimes who is on which team, but it certainly seems like two sides have been conspiring on this, and I don't mean IP Innovation and Microsoft (which is almost a given).

I guess it's just a question of how much Faust thought it would get from the deal. At least in the book Dr. Faust traded for knowledge, not a few points of market share.

Then again, maybe the coincidences don't add up. But where there's Microsoft these days, Novell often seems to follow. In this case, Novell, it really isn't worth it. There are too many people at Novell who still have a clue and will do the right thing, given the chance. I'm just hoping that they're given the chance.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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