With all the hoopla flying around lately, we had already pretty much known this. The interesting part of this article is that it lays out the terms which Novell has released for the first time since the agreement. It is particular to note:
Microsoft’s promised patent indemnification to paying SUSE users specifically excludes open source software like Wine, OpenExchange, StarOffice and OpenOffice by name.
It also excludes:
• “office productivity applications (word processing, spreadsheets, presentation software etc.)…that are hosted by or running on a computer acting as a server for a connected client device” (think Google);
• “business application designed, marketed and used to meet the data processing requirements of particular business functions, financial forecasting, financial reporting, customer relationship management and supply chain management” (think salesforce.com);
• “mail transfer agents (a k a e-mail servers)”;
• “unified communications”;
• and video games consoles, console games, video game applications designed to run on a computer and online video gaming services like Xbox Live.
The implication is you can run SUSE free of patent concerns but you’d better be darn careful what you run on top of it. Otherwise you’re good for six years after the last of the covered patents expires.