Microsoft's president, Steve Ballmer, recently made comments that indicated that the agreement between his company and Novell was some sort of admission that Linux somehow violates Microsoft's patents. This, less than three weeks after the ink on the deal was dried.
In response, Novell's CEO posted an open letter to the open source community. In this letter, he denies that Novell made any such admission.
And Microsoft, of course, responded with a notice of their own, posted on their site, that states that while they believe that Linux has some areas of infringement, Novell made no such admission.
Who's telling the truth? Is someone here lying?
No, I don't think so. While I think Novell made a HUGE mistake getting in bed with Microsoft, I believe that both parties are reporting what they believe to be true. I'm sure that Novell had no intention of admitting any infringement. I'm also sure that Microsoft believes there is infringement (or will claim such in order to kill Linux).
It's unfortunate that this got into the press, but it shouldn't surprise anyone. I'm sure that it was always Microsoft's intention to garner negative headlines for Linux with this agreement. This is very similar to the SCO/IBM case, where SCO tried for some time to extort money from corporate Linux users and started a smear campaign against Linux in the press.
I'm afraid that Novell will realize, too late, that any positives that might have come from this agreement will be overshadowed by the amount of negative press that Microsoft will generate against Linux.
Novell, I hope you're really as committed to the open source community as you say. Keep your eyes open and don't trust Ballmer in the dark. You might find a shiv in your back.