"As originally worded, this patent deal was in complete
violation of the GPL and it didn't take a rocket scientist to see
that the real purpose here was to sow FUD, pure and simple. Soon
afterward, if memory serves, Techrights began the Boycott Novel
project to research and document the shenanigans between Microsoft
and Novell. They found, of course, plenty of evidence that Novel
was not the good open source player they wanted everyone to think
they were, even if they did redeem themselves somewhat by their
actions in the SCO case.
"At the time Novell struck the deal with Microsoft, they were a
relatively new player in the open source world. Three years
earlier, in 2003, they separately acquired SUSE and Ximian in moves
that seemed to be entirely opportunistic, meant to add sparkle to a
once dominant but now aging proprietary software stack by
piggybacking it atop popular and trusted Linux."