COVENANT MATTERS

COVENANT MATTERS

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Dear Linux Magazine Reader,

Usually we only get one cataclysmic,

world-changing Linux event per month, but it looks like we had two this month. The first was the news that Oracle plans to produce a spin-off of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and sell support for way less than Red Hat is charging. The second was the announcement of a deal between Microsoft and Novell in which, reportedly, Microsoft provides a patent covenant offering protection to users of Suse Linux from suits for patent infringement. It is hard to explicate both these explosions in just one page, so I guess I should just pick one. If anything, the Oracle announcement seems to have more potential for altering the landscape, but maybe that means I should talk about the Novell deal because there is a greater disparity between what it means and what it sounds like it means. This new patent covenant from Microsoft seems fully intended to invert itself in the mind of the viewer. The user is supposed to think, “If Microsoft will not sue the users of Suse, that means they will sue the users of other Linux distros. If they will sue users of other distros, that means I’d better not use the other distros, which means I’d better use Suse.”

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