Novell/Microsoft invent the 'Hobbyist', forget what 'Community' means

The recent Novell/Microsoft agreement purports to give what they call 'Non-Compensated Individual Hobbyist Developers' the rights to use unspecified Microsoft patents. The terms are given in this Community Commitments - Microsoft & Novell Interoperability Collaboration. They define a 'hobbyist' as this:

Many software developers, often referred to as “hobbyists,


In the EU patents and any other IP laws can not influence what I do in the privacy of my own home. So I infringe all patents I want and if I don't actually share the code, its all legal.

Which makes the commitment a null-statement. They give you what you already have every right on.

Sounds like a marketing ploy (to avoid the word FUD) along the lines of: "Here is a license that allows you to eat your dinner tonight, aren't we nice guys"?

Also see this cartoon: getFuzzy

By Thomas Zander at Mon, 11/06/2006 - 11:58

In an interview on a radio show for Austrian's main radio station a patent specialist from the Autrian patent office said that non-commercial use of patents is always legal in Austria.

He also didn't get that neither open source nor free software or their creators are implicitly non-commercial.

By krake at Mon, 11/06/2006 - 19:28

Microsoft offers to not sue you for potential patent infringements that occurred "for Your personal creation of an originally authored work (“Original Work

By Kurt Pf. at Mon, 11/06/2006 - 13:36

Yes, to paraphrase Eric Raymond:

Given enough eyeballs, all deceptions are shallow.

By Richard Dale at Mon, 11/06/2006 - 17:12

We'll see a joint FSF/EFF campaign soon: "deceptive by design" :)

By krake at Mon, 11/06/2006 - 19:31

`Get the Facts' telenovela continued (?) ;)

By Jarosław Staniek at Mon, 11/06/2006 - 13:37

This wouldn't help freeware either, because a developer could still be paid for working on said freeware.

Microsoft itself pays developers to work on freeware, e.g Internet Explorer, so they definitely considered this

By krake at Mon, 11/06/2006 - 19:35

Besides the fact of course that a lot of those so-called hobbyists are actually professionals who just think that their time is best spent working on some cool little software project instead of laying on the couch watching TV.

And also forgetting the fact that this is one of those fields of technology where "hobbyists" regularly outperform those highly paid professionals.

So IMHO the tone of this text is more than a little condescending.

By quintesse at Mon, 11/06/2006 - 18:47