More strong coverage from CBR on the Microsoft-Novell covenant flap. It seems that the GPL 3 wording will be worked over to make the deal troublesome for both Novell and Microsoft.
There's also an online petition in circulation asking for a change in the arrangement, at the least. One wonders whether Novell is in too deep to back-track, or whether the communities will be left with the last chess moves. Has Novell, and by extension SUSE, hitched their wagon to the wrong star too soon, and with too much slack in the line?
If some of these GPL 3 issues pan out as seems now possible, in early 2007, then the other Linux distributions may have the last laugh. And Microsoft will have succeeded only in weakening an already weak Linux support company. As I said earlier, these are clearly unintended consequences (at least for Novell), which further begs the question: Why were these people in such a hurry on this accord?
One theory is that Novell had a powerful suitor courting it. And the Novell leadership seemed to think the Microsoft pact would afford them a longer period of autonomy. Based on the company's stock performance of late, that autonomy remains tenuous. The bump from the Microsoft announcement has been muted, nearly from the start, with little long-term value afforded Novell. That could not have been intended.
Another interesting factoid: When I did a recent Google search on "Novell," at or near the top of the paid ads on the right was "Oracle Unbreakable Linux." Such a deal!