Jeremy Allison Speaks Out

Lora Bentley

Just before Christmas, word got out that Samba project leader and former Novell programmer Jeremy Allison was resigning his post with the Linux distributor to protest the patent provisions of Novell's agreements with Microsoft.


Now, Allison is in his second day of employment with Google, but before he assumed his new responsibilities, he spoke with various members of the media -- about why he left Novell, how he landed his gig at Google, and what about the Microsoft deal he doesn't like.


First, he was upset that Novell was willing to compromise the spirit, if not the terms of the GPL, to make this deal happen. The fact that Microsoft was involved, he told Red Herring, was completely irrelevant.


The patent provision was the proverbial last straw, as far as Allison was concerned. And the fact that Microsoft "insulted" Novell at the press conference on the deal by essentially threatening other Linux vendors with IP litigation didn't help.


Though the patent provision wasn't Novell's idea, the company was a willing Microsoft victim in this case, Allison told Boycott Novell, and that's why he had to leave.


As insightful as all that is, the comment from Allison that struck us the most is this: He sees the deal, in part, as a personal failure. If he had voiced his misgivings sooner, he may have been able to prevent Novell from making what he calls "a big mistake."

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