The latest case in point: Lead Samba developer Jeremy Allison has resigned from Novell, citing the Microsoft-Novell pact as the reason for his departure.
Novell hired Allison in April 2005. Samba is used to emulate Microsoft file-sharing technology, letting a server running Linux or Unix take the place of a Windows machine.
A copy of Allison's full resignation letter is on Groklaw.Net. Allison wrote:
"As many of you will guess, this (resignation) is due to the Microsoft/Novell patent agreement, which I believe is a mistake and will be damaging to Novell's success in the future. But my main issue with this deal is I believe that even if it does not violate the letter of the licence it violates the intent of the GPL licen(s)e the Samba code is released under, which is to treat all recipients of the code equally."
"The Microsoft patent agreement has put us outside the community, and there is no positive aspect to that fact, and no way to make it so. Until the patent provision is revoked, we are pariahs."
Shortly after Microsoft and Novell announced their partnership, the Samba team posted a public letter, requesting that Novell reconsider its decision to ally itself with Microsoft.
"The patent agreement struck between Novell and Microsoft is a divisive agreement. It deals with users and creators of free software differently depending on their 'commercial' versus 'non-commercial' status, and deals with them differently depending on whether they obtained their free software directly from Novell or from someone else.
"The goals of the Free Software community and the GNU GPL allow for no such distinctions. "
Nat Friedman, Novell's chief technology and strategy officer for open source, also has been openly critical of the Microsoft-Novell deal.
Allison did not respond to a request for more information regarding his departure by the time this blog entry was published.
Update: Allison's response.