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Novell will keep Unix assets away from Microsoft

Holds onto the good stuff
Thu Nov 25 2010, 15:10

CONCERNS that Microsoft might manage to get its hands on Unix patents have been relieved.

Such was the concern that John Dragoon, chief marketing officer at Novell penned a separate message focusing solely on the issue of Unix copyright ownership. Dragoon stated clearly that Novell, which is being bought by Attachmate, will not include Unix copyrights as part of its $450 million sale of assets to a Microsoft-led consortium.

Dragoon said, "Novell will continue to own Novell's UNIX copyrights following completion of the merger as a subsidiary of Attachmate."

Following a lengthy legal battle, Novell prevailed in its position that it did not sell the Unix SVRX copyrights it obtained from AT&T to SCO. Even though a Microsoft backed consortion will spend $450 million to acquire most if not all of Novell's patents, it seems that the firm decided to hold on to the Unix copyrights. The original Unix patents that were granted in the 1970s have since expired, although they should remain good evidence of prior art, should anyone attempt to assert any similar patents in the future.

There had been some concerns about what any sale of Unix related assets would have on Novell's business, as it develops and maintains the popular Linux distribution, Suse. Attachmate has already announced it will continue to run Suse as a separate business unit and will keep contributing code to Opensuse. And the community led Opensuse project has posted a message to reassure users that it won't be going anywhere.

At least for now it seems that Unix will remain out of the hands of, and that Linux will remain safe from legal attack by, the Vole. µ


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