Novell keeps Unix copyrights from Microsoft

Leaps to catch dropping Linux ball


Novell has moved to quell growing concerns that it has sold Linux out to Microsoft as part of its Attachmate deal.

On Wednesday, Novell chief marketing officer John Dragoon issued a short statement saying that Novell – not Microsoft – owns the copyrights on Unix.

Sentence two of Dragoon's terse, three-sentence statement said simply: "Novell will continue to own Novell's Unix copyrights following completion of the merger as a subsidiary of Attachmate."

Dragoon's statement came two days after Novell said that it is being sold to Attachmate for $2.2bn. Under the deal, the barely-known Attachmate is selling 882 Novell patents to an even lesser known Microsoft-backed consortium called CPTN Holdings LLC for $450m in cash. Novell's SEC filing on the deal did not specify which patents are going to Microsoft, and Microsoft has not coughed up details either.

Ownership of Unix was a critical issue in SCO's prosecution of IBM and others. SCO contended that it – and not Novell – owned Unix and that its IP had been used without its permission in Linux.

Novell's statement comes after Jeff Hawn, chairman and chief executive officer of Attachmate - a company with no meaningful history of participation in Linux or of running an open-source project - tried to sooth concerns over the future of the SUSE Linux disto.

Hawn said Novell's SUSE business would be operated as a standalone business until the deal closed. After that? "Attachmate Corporation anticipates no change to the relationship between the SUSE business and the openSUSE project as a result of this transaction," he said. ®


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