Novell's Allison is Google's Allison (and the 50 best 'toons, evah)

Quick-quick, s l o w. It's IT Blogwatch, in which Allison leaves Novell midstep and sambas over to Google. Not to mention links to Felix, Donald, Bambi and Gertie, too. ...

Groklaw saw it first:

The legendary Jeremy Allison (of Samba fame) has resigned from Novell in protest over the Microsoft-Novell patent agreement, which he calls "a mistake" which will be "damaging to Novell's success in the future."

His main issue with the deal, though, is "that even if it does not violate the letter of the licence, it violates the intent of the GPL licence the Samba code is released under, which is to treat all recipients of the code equally." He leaves the company at the end of this month. He explained why in a message sent to several Novell email lists, and the message included his letter to management:

"Whilst the Microsoft patent agreement is in place there is *nothing* we can do to fix community relations. And I really mean nothing," Allison wrote. "Until the patent provision is revoked, we are pariahs....Unfortunately the time I am willing to wait for this agreement to be changed ...has passed, and so I must say goodbye."

lordshipmayhem addresses the market:

To business: Hire this man, he has a strong sense of morality and will do the right thing for you as well as for your customers and suppliers.

Mary Jo answers the call:

What isn't widely known, at least so far, is that Allison is joining Microsoft rival Google. ...

MJF: Do you expect other open-source backers at Novell to resign?

Allison: (No response)

MJF: Is there anything Novell could do to entice you to return?

Allison: (No response)

Ed Burnette applauds the courage:

Kudos to folks like Jeremy Allison who stand up for their principles, even to the point of leaving a job they like. Of course, it doesn't hurt to already have another offer in your pocket. Apparently, 'Google don't hire no' fools, either.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols knew him well:

Allison had been terribly conflicted about the Microsoft/Novell patent deal since its announcement. Those who knew him well were not surprised by his decision to leave Novell.

The Samba Project leadership, which includes Allison, denounced the deal only days after it was announced, asking Novell to "undo the patent agreement and acknowledge its obligations as a beneficiary of the Free Software community."

eno2001 fears fragmentation:

This is what I predicted from the beginning. The goal here was fragmentation of the Linux development community. It looks like they could succeed. It's basic "divide and conquer" because there will be some developers who don't see much wrong with the deal and will support the Novell Microsoft deal and there will be others who will not. The ones who don't MAY start new forks/projects and join other distros, or... they may just move on to other things entirely. This ensures a two-tiered Linux world with crappy underdeveloped software in non-blessed distros (Gentoo, Debian, etc...) and second-rate (compared to Microsoft Windows solutions) software in the intentionally stunted Novell Suse Linux and anyone else who decides to sign on.

T.J. Schmitz had high hopes:

Yes, that’s Jeremy Allison of Samba fame. I was very impressed when Novell snagged him from HP in 2005 - it was one of the reasons I started believing more in Novell at that time, and I thought they had gained significant momentum in transforming their company with a new focus on open source. Last month Novell shelved their Hula open source groupware project, and this month they partner with Microsoft and lose Allison. I sense a loss in momentum.

DragonWriter sees specters through the haze:

Allison's position sounds as if it is that the deal violates at least the spirit and possibly the letter of the license. Certainly, a high profile group of suppliers of GPL software included in Novell's Linux offerings raising the specter of litigation and license violations over the deal would undermine the primary purpose and destroy the value of the deal, which was, after all, to help Novell sell its commercial Linux products by removing uncertainty associated with them stemming from the specter of litigation over the IP violations.

If there is a cloud of GPL-related potential litigation seen surrounding Novell, all its done is traded one potential source of litigation for many potential sources of litigation.

Matt Asay recommends seasoning::

Take this with a grain of salt, however. Jeremy can be a bit of a firebrand. That he's upset, I understand. Why, I also understand. But I think he might have done more good for the company by staying and serving as an internal watchdog than he will outside the company. Novell didn't do this deal out of any malicious intent toward the community or anyone else. It was not a wise move, in my opinion, but I don't know that Jeremy's move helps anything.

Bruce Perens thinks others should follow:

I've publicly told Nat Friedman, whom Novell is using as the public apologist for the patent agreement, that I think his ethical position stinks, Jeremy's resignation (which I applaud, of course), should reinforce this. Nat should leave too.

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Previously in IT Blogwatch

And finally... And that's all folks.

Computerworld's Online Projects Editor, Joyce Carpenter, compiled IT Blogwatch today. Next year, regular Blogwatcher Richi Jennings will return.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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