Novell raised eyebrows last week when the company announced it was going private via a $2.2 billion purchase arrangement with Attachmate. However, the aspect of the deal that sent a chill through the Unix and open source community was that a consortium led by Microsoft was buying some 882 patents from Novell in a $450 million deal. While neither Microsoft nor Novell are commenting on what patents and IP are involved in that sale, Novell has come forward about one thing: Novell’s highly valued copyrights to Unix—which it defended at considerable expense against SCO—are not part of the arrangement. The Unix copyrights will be staying with Novell.
“Novell will continue to own Novell’s Unix copyrights following completion of the merger as a subsidiary of Attachmate,” said Novell’s chief marketing officer John Dragoon in a statement on the Novell Web site.
Attachmate has also indicated it plans to continue developing the SUSE platform and will work to support the openSUSE community-driven open source project. Although the openSUSE project and Novell have had friction points in the past—most notably over openSUSE’s decision to run with the KDE desktop environment rather than the Gnome environment used by Novell’s SUSE platform for enterprise—the openSUSE project has managed to maintain strong ties with Novell, with Novell frequently contributing code to the project. Although Attachmate has indicated it plans to operate SUSE as a stand-alone business after its acquisition of Novell closes, only time will tell if Attachmate will stay involved in the openSUSE project and show the same kind of commitment demonstrated by Novell.
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