Paul Krill has a balanced view of the Microsoft-Novell Linux cross-licensing deal from two years ago.  It’s worth a read.  So too are the comments:

Posted by Linux Fan:

“Say what you will about the agreement’s effect on the community, and there are legit issues there, but get the facts straight. Novell’s market share is up significantly since the deal. Schestowitz is just plain wrong on that point. Check IDC’s numbers. Their share of bookings and of server counts is increasing every quarter and it is coming primarily at RedHat’s expense.

Large organizations in particular seem to like the deal. They don’t care about religious FOSS arguments. They want software to work together with as few headaches as possible. It is that simple.”

Posted by Alan:

“I agree with Corrin. It’s unfortunate that all criticism of Novell-Microsoft seems to come back to Schestowitz and BN. There are plenty of reasonable arguments for criticizing MS-Nv, Roy just happens to be making them the loudest and most obnoxiously (and stretching them for all they’re worth).

So you get people like some here who say that “only paranoid crackpots think this is a bad deal, everyone knows it’s good for Linux!”

The way I see it, it’s pretty obvious why the community was upset about the patent part of the deal, especially when you have Novell salesmen telling customers that they’re the only ones who can legally sell Linux (I’ve heard that firsthand from our Novell rep).

Think about it: You’re a FOSS developer. You write software and release it GPL so everyone can use it.

Then Microsoft claims they own it because of patents. Then Novell comes along and licenses your software from Microsoft, in a sense legitimizing their claims of ownership. Now the software that you wrote and released for free is making Microsoft money. Wouldn’t you be pissed?”

Head on over to Paul’s story and have your say.