Jeremy Allison, the lead developer at the Samba project and an employee of Novell, has announced that he will be leaving the company because of the deal.
Samba is one of the key projects which has brought about inter-operability between Linux and Windows; it implements sharing of UNIX resources on a heterogeneous network. The Samba project was founded by Andrew Tridgell, a legend among FOSS developers, and a strong believer in the free software movement.
In a letter released publicly, Allison included a note he had sent to the management of Novell; the note says:
"I know you don't want to hear this, I know *nobody* wants to hear this but I'll not be able to live with this if I don't say it publicly at least once.
"Whilst the Microsoft patent agreement is in place there is *nothing* we can do to fix community relations. And I really mean nothing.
"We can pledge patents all we wish, we can talk to the press and "community leaders", we can do all the right things w.r.t. all our other interactions, but we will still be known as GPL violators and that's the end of it.
"For people who will point out to me we don't "technically" violate the GPLv2 here's an argument I recently made on the mailing lists.
"'Do you think that if we'd have found what we legally considered a clever way around the Microsoft EULA so we didn't have to pay for Microsoft licenses and had decided to ship, oh let's say, "Exchange Server" under this "legal hack" that Microsoft would be silent about it - or we should act aggr[i]eved when they change the EULA to stop us doing this?'"
"The Microsoft patent agreement has put us outside the community, and there is no positive aspect to that fact, and no way to make it so. Until the patent provision is revoked, we are pariahs."