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By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-03-21 Print this article Print

But what Hovsepian does regret is that he did not release an open letter he wrote to the community a week or so earlier than he did, as he believes that would have "cleared up a lot of confusion and reduced the emotions associated with it. So that part I would have done better," he said. Click here to read about the open letter Hovsepian sent to the community.
Hovsepian also reiterated, strongly, that Novell does not acknowledge any patent infringements with open source "in any way, shape or form. We would never do that, as we believe there arent any," he said.
Novell competitor Red Hat has refused to enter into a similar agreement with Microsoft not to sue, and criticized Novell for doing so. Is Microsoft violating some patents covering open source? Click here to read more. Others, like open-source evangelist and developer Bruce Perens and Richard Stallman, the executive director of the Free Software Foundation, agree with Red Hats view. Perens held a press conference March 19 in Salt Lake City to coincide with the first day of Novells BrainShare conference and later released a statement from Stallman, who is currently rewriting the GPL. The statement said that the GPL is designed to ensure that redistributors of the program respect the freedom of those further downstream. "The GPL defends the freedom of all users by blocking the known methods of making free software proprietary," it said. Novell and Microsoft tried, using Microsofts patents, to give an advantage to Novell customers only. "If they get away with scaring users into paying Novell, they will deny users the most basic freedom, freedom zero: the freedom to run the program. Microsoft has been threatening free software with software patents for many years, but without a partner in our community, the only thing it could do was threaten to sue users and distributors," the statement said. The Free Software Foundation versus Novell? Click here to read more. "If nothing resists such deals, they will spread, and make a mockery of the freedom of free software. So we have decided to update the GPL not to allow such deals for the future software releases covered by GPL version 3. Anyone making a discriminatory patent pledge in connection with distribution of GPL-covered software will have to extend it to everyone. … In the mean time, lets make it clear to Novell that its conduct is not the conduct of a bona-fide member of the GNU/Linux community," it said. Hovsepian declined to comment on that statement until it is officially written into GPL 3 but did say that Novell is willing to work to try to strike the equilibrium of what can be done inside the market of growing Linux and the spirit of that versus what it does from a licensing perspective. "But Im very respectful of what Richard [Stallman] and the community have to say. Novell truly does care about doing the right thing," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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