Feeds

Perens: 'Novell is the new SCO'

But who gets to play Darl?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Often cast as the peacemaker in free software disputes, Bruce Perens is on the warpath.

When we caught up with him, he wasn't in a mood to be charitable to Novell. On Friday the Utah company, which markets the SuSE Linux distribution, revealed that it was entering into a partnership with Microsoft. Redmond would pay Novell an undisclosed sum in return for Novell recognizing Microsoft's intellectual property claims. Novell received a "Covenant" promising that it wouldn't be sued by Microsoft.

"It's a case of 'Damn the people who write the software'", he told us. "Novell is in a desperate position - it has a smaller share of the market than Debian," he told us.

Actually, Novell did eke out a small profit in the most recent quarter: $11m on sales of $241m. But its been a rough year, with the company losing its CEO and Chairman in June. Revenues from Novell's long term cash cow, Netware, declined 20 per cent year on year, and Linux revenue is negligable by comparison: just $11m.

Was the deal even legitimate, we wondered?

"Novell is violating the GPL," he tells us. "It's up to the Free Software Foundation, which owns the copyright, to pursue this. But the FSF owns the C library and the compiler outright. There isn't much Novell can do without either."

Perens also urged users to be cautious.

"We should note that the promise is revocable. Microsoft can withdraw it - change or discontinue it - at any time. You can't depend on any promises made here."

The timing also smelt a bit fishy, he thought.

"Coming just as the SCO case is winding down, the timing is interesting. Novell is the new SCO."

Ouch. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
Whistling Google: PLEASE! Brussels can only hurt Europe, not us
And Commish is VERY pro-Google. Why should we worry?
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.