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"Novell has published details of its landmark November 2006 partnership agreements with Microsoft.

The versions of the three agreements it signed with Microsoft were published in its annual 10K filings to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, providing the public with its first detailed look into a deal that some see as critical to the future of Linux. The 10K filing had been delayed by an internal stock options review at Novell, which was concluded last week."

"Linux advocates are expected to scour the documents for signs of how the agreement may affect Linux and whether anything in it will put Microsoft or Novell in potential violation of the upcoming Version 3 of the GNU General Public License (GPL)."

Sun Microsystems Inc. increasingly looks like a prototype of what Microsoft could become, although we might say roughly the same thing for IBM except that it was in a different time and a different game.

Sun's own CEO, Jonathan Schwartz, has written a blog entry in which he makes some very crucial points about the direction that software industry should be taking. Comparing it to the newspapers industry this is what he said:


Now, traditional media could certainly take another tack. They could sue the new/technology media companies, claim they're stealing readers by violating patents held by traditional media. Imagine, "We patented text in columns! Classified ads in boxes! Captions on pictures! Headlines in large type!" But they'd be suing the community - the moral equivalent of suing subscribers - stepping over the line of editor, into the role of censor. And censoring free media is a particularly awkward plea for those that believe in freedom of the press

"Microsoft is supporting a chief rival to its Office suite for approval to a national standards board.

The company announced yesterday that it voted to add the Open Document Format (ODF) 1.0 to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) list. ANSI is a private, nonprofit organization that coordinates and develops U.S. standards for products and processes." -- Read more

Apparently the demand for ODF is now strong enough for even MS to turn around and start supporting it. This is quite a big win for free file formats.

"Following the attacks earlier this week by Microsoft on the free software movement the Free Software Foundation has set up a new activist wing to fight back.

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) yesterday announced the creation of a new activist campaigns team to organise public support into action on software freedom issues." -- Read more

At the same FSF also launched the campaign to promote ogg as a free audio format as opposed to mp3.

At this point it is clear that Microsoft neither prefers nor has very good chances at actually successfully materializing their patent threats. With their recent claim that GNU/Linux violates 235 of their patents they have merely solidified their threats and provoked a more determined response from the community and those who represent its interests.

Therefore, Linus Torvalds has responded to the patent threats by bringing to question the validity of the patent restriction for any of the fundamental operating system theories and calling Microsoft to "name the patents that it claims have been violated so the claims can be tested in court or so open-source developers can rewrite code to avoid the violation". This is really the crux of the issue for Microsoft and the very reason why we can't take Microsoft's threats seriously. As long as they make threats without evidence they will remain ridiculously unconvincing to anyone who knows what's going on.