Ho! Ha-ha! Guard! Turn! Parry! Dodge! Spin! Ha! Thrust!

*sproinggggg!*

(With apologies to Daffy Duck.)

Novell is fighting hard to spin yesterday’s announcement as favorable for the broader open source community — but they continue to make it clear that they’re *far* more interested in their own survival than in the success of the broader open source community.

The first person to comment on my previous blog post: Scott Tsai from Novell. NOTE: Scott has responded that he is not from Novell in a comment to this post — sorry for the misunderstanding.

Is his response “no, wait, you’ve misunderstood, we believe that Mono is free of potential patent issues”?

No, of course that’s not his response. His response is, “well, you know, most of it isn’t actually licensed exclusively under the GPL anyway, so it doesn’t really matter if we invalidate the GPL or not.” Even better: he invited us to read our own spec files for Mono! Outstanding, Scott. Nicely played. And it’s true: Novell absolutely reserves the right to relicense Mono as proprietary code, should they need to remove it completely from the clutches of the dirty, scary hippies in the *actual* open source community.

Look, Novell, just admit it. This is a cheap ploy to try to turn “patent protection” into a value-add for code that you’ve always alleged didn’t have patent issues in the first place. It’s desperation. Everyone knows it, from Slashdot to Forbes. Your stock actually went down on this news. You’re not fooling anyone except yourselves.

This is all about maintaining the threat to sue somebody. But one thing is now certain: it won’t be RHEL customers that M$ is suing, since we added indemnification to our Open Source Assurance program today. Any RHEL customer will now have the same “protections” (ahem) that you’re offering your customers.

And you know what? Even through all this, we strive to respect legitimate IP rights. We don’t knowingly infringe on patents. We keep MP3 out of Fedora for a reason: we want Fedora to be truly free. We put MP3 into RHEL for a reason: we’re willing to license particular patents, in some cases, to provide a better experience for our customers. But we’re not going to be bullied by vague threats, either.

Great days ahead. This is the fight we signed up for. Time to pick sides. We’re ready.

Ho! Ha-ha! Guard! Turn! Parry! Dodge! Spin! Ha! Thrust!

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