EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

11.20.06

Can Novell’s Protection Racket Swing a Timebomb?

Posted in Formats, Microsoft, Novell at 5:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Verfasst von Oencke has come up with some interesting insights. He highlights the parallels between a classic protection racket scenario and the Novell/Microsoft deal.

What does the wikipedia say about protection rackets? I’ll add my comments in brackets {..}. These may or may not be accurate:

“A protection racket is an extortion scheme whereby a powerful organization {Microsoft?}, most often a criminal organization or gang, coerces individuals {you} or businesses {you} to pay protection money{ SUSE subscription fee} which allegedly serves to purchase the organization’s “protection” services {“patent peace of mind”, S. Ballmer*} against various external threats {patent lawyers}….

It would be reasonable to assume that Microsoft, being the ‘bully’ here, will use Novell to promote its own agenda and commercial interests. I opine that it is no longer necessary to draw any comparisons with SCO. This analogy has been used by various respectable editors who went overboard with the intention of sending loud warning signals.

While Novell remains committed to ODF, as indicated below, Novell may have also ‘contaminated’ OpenOffice in the process of development. The legal boundaries are vague, but Novell has little fear because it has struck a mutual protection deal while excluding all others. This could work to Novell’s benefit in the short term (shareholders would cheer), at the expense of the rest of the Linux community. In fact, since many of the projects at hand run under multiple platform, it is also a great threat, to be broader, to Free software. Harm can be due to inclusion of Microsoft code, visibility of Microsoft code, or collaboration. Richard Stallman realised this in the dawn of the Free Software movement, which is why Linux easily ensures/d SCO’s (Microsoft proxy) baseless accusations.

We will also continue to contribute as part of the OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications Technical Committee to enhance ODF and ensure that ODF standards are the premier file format standards for office applications.

Let me take my tinfoil hat and confess that it would be overly presumptuous to jump to conclusions. However, I merely try to present some possibilities here. With regards to Mono or OpenOffice, no clear violation has been identified as there isn’t yet any concrete proof. I would like to close by quoting an item that grabbed my attention a few months ago.

The best part of the file Michael sent to me was that the data was formatted into a “Data Pilot,” which is OpenOffice’s analog to the Microsoft Excel “pivot table.” Data pilots, as well as support for xls pivot tables, is a whole new feature area in OpenOffice.org that I really ought to post something about, too. (So many features, so little time.)

Source: Ted Haeger, Novell

This writeup dates back to August. One wonders if a ‘bomb’ was planted in the code (deliberately by Microsoft while not deliberately by Novell), which sets a legal minefield that has percolated onto other distributions by now. If so, can patches be identified, retracted, or altogether rejected? Can anybody trust Novell at this stage? Their hand on this project, particularly at this stage, seems harmful because any element of FUD is worth a thousand lawsuits, to quote [H]omer.

[puts tinfoil hat back on head /]

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

2 Comments

  1. Ted Haeger said,

    November 20, 2006 at 2:03 pm

    Gravatar

    “One wonders if a ‘bomb’ was planted in the code (deliberately by Microsoft while not deliberately by Novell), which sets a legal minefield that has percolated onto other distributions by now.”

    This is crazy-paranoid. Novell did not work with Microsoft on the features we contributed to OpenOffice.org.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 20, 2006 at 2:10 pm

    Gravatar

    Ted,

    I appreciate the response. I can’t help but feel that collaboration between the two sides changes the legal terrain /entirely/.

    Wanna see “crazy-paranoid”? Check this one out:

    http://openubuntu.blogspot.com/2006/11/novell-will-fork-any-open-source-app.html
    http://digg.com/linux_unix/Novell_to_FORK_all_apps_that_move_to_GPLv3_Samba_tops_list

    And right there I actually defended you guys. I have been advocating SuSE/SUSE for years, but Novell seems to have ditched SUSE (or Opensuse, the community), renamed it, and evolved to become something rather strange.

    Why can’t you guys be more like Red Hat? See the latest news from the Fedora project.

    Fedora to Become More Open and Independent of Red Hat

    ,—-[ Quote ]
    | The most obvious change will probably be the omission of “Core” in
    | the distribution name. That’s because the core packages are to be
    | moved into the community infrastructure, so that they are open
    | to contributions by external developers.
    `—-

    http://linux.about.com/b/a/257580.htm

    Samba is trying to help you guys. Why won’t the management listen, admit it has made a mistake and reverse (to the extent possible)?

    Another thing I fail to comprehend is why/how an executives can say the following:

    ,—-[ Quote ]
    | Microsoft Corp is using scare tactics to exert pressure on PC vendors
    | not to explore the potential of desktop Linux, according to Novell
    | Inc president and COO, Ron Hovsepian
    `—-

    Several months later he exchanges smiles with one of the biggest business thugs of the past two decades. It’s almost as though he decided to join ‘the gang’ while punishing all others (including those who coded for him and supported his products) in the process. This leaves one speechless.

What Else is New


  1. Links 24/5/2019: PostgreSQL 12 Beta 1 and Rust 1.35 Released

    Links for the day



  2. EPO Strikes Further Diminish Chances of UPC Ever Materialising (in Any Shape or Form)

    The EPO crumbles under the weight of its own corruption while an increasingly-insane Team UPC pretends all remains normal and a patent trolls-friendly system is ready to take off



  3. EPO Allegedly Becoming Insolvent (Pretext for Cuts), So Staff Gets Punished While Management Takes the Jackpot

    The corporate 'logic' at the EPO follows the "shareholders' value" propaganda line as if the EPO is a private company looking to maximise revenue rather than serve the public



  4. EPO President Still Not Obeying Courts' Rulings

    Federation of International Civil Service Associations (FICSA) sent a message to António Campinos yesterday (the same day SUEPO publicly made a call for strike)



  5. António Campinos Has Run Out of Time and EPO Staff is Going on Strike (Skipping Mere Protests)

    European Patent Office strikes are to resume; as SUEPO recently put it, people have come to accept that EPO leadership has not really changed and none of the underlying issues is being tackled



  6. Links 23/5/2019: Elisa 0.4.0, OpenSUSE Leap 15.1 Released

    Links for the day



  7. Links 22/5/2019: Mesa 19.0.5, Huawei and GNU/Linux, Curl 7.65.0, End of Antergos, Tails 3.14, ownCloud Server 10.2, Firefox 67.0

    Links for the day



  8. Quality of Patents is Going Down the Drain and Courts Have Certainly Noticed

    Uncertainty or lack of confidence in the patent system has reached appalling levels because heads of patent offices are just striving to grant as many patents as possible, irrespective of the underlying law



  9. EUIPO and EPO Abuses Growingly Inseparable

    'Musical chairs' at CEIPI and the EPO/EUIPO (Battistelli, Archambeau, Campinos) as well as joint reports never fail to reveal the extent to which EPO abuses are spreading



  10. Links 21/5/2019: China's GAFAM Exit, DragonFlyBSD 5.4.3

    Links for the day



  11. Links 20/5/2019: Linux 5.2 RC1, LibreOffice 6.3 Alpha, DXVK 1.2.1, Bison 3.4 Released

    Links for the day



  12. South Korea's Government Will Show If Microsoft Loves Linux or Just Attacks It Very Viciously Like It Did in Munich

    Microsoft's hatred of all things GNU/Linux is always put to the test when someone 'dares' use it outside Microsoft's control and cash cows (e.g. Azure and Vista 10/WSL); will Microsoft combat its longstanding urge to corrupt or oust officials with the courage to say "no" to Microsoft?



  13. Links 19/5/2019: KDE Applications 19.04.1 in FlatHub and GNU/Linux Adoption

    Links for the day



  14. The War on Patent Quality

    A look at the EPO's reluctance to admit errors and resistance to the EPC, which is its very founding document



  15. Watchtroll, Composed by Patent Trolls, Calls the American Patent System “Corrupt”

    Another very fine piece from Watchtroll comes from very fine patent trolls who cheer for Donald Trump as if he's the one who tackles corruption rather than spreading it



  16. Unified Patent Court Won't Happen Just Because the Litigation Microcosm Wants It

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) hopefuls are quote-mining and cherry-picking to manufacture the false impression that the UPC is just around the corner when in reality the UPC is pretty much dead (but not buried yet)



  17. Links 17/5/2019: South Korea's GNU/Linux Pivot, Linux 5.1.3

    Links for the day



  18. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 4: Happy Birthday to the Kötter Group?

    This year the Kötter Group commemorates the 85th anniversary of its existence. But is it really a cause for celebration or would a less self-congratulatory approach be more fitting? And does it create the risk that a routine tendering exercise at the EPO will turn into Operation Charlie Foxtrot?



  19. Links 16/5/2019: Cockpit 194, VMware Acquires Bitnami, Another Wine Announcement and Krita 4.2.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  20. The EPO's Key Function -- Like the UPC's Vision -- Has Virtually Collapsed

    The EPO no longer issues good patents and staff is extremely unhappy; but the Office tries to create an alternate (false) reality and issues intentionally misleading statements



  21. Stanford's NPE Litigation Database Makes a Nice Addition in the Fight Against Software Patent Trolls

    As the United States of America becomes less trolls- and software patents-friendly (often conflated with plaintiff (un)friendliness) it's important to have accurate data which documents the numbers and motivates better policy; The NPE (troll) Litigation Database is a move towards that and it's free to access/use



  22. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 3: “Ein kritikwürdiges Unternehmen”

    A brief account of some further controversies in which the Kötter Group has been involved and its strained relations with German trade unions such as Verdi



  23. EPO Had a Leakage Problem and Privacy of Stakeholders Was Compromised, Affecting at Least 100 Cases

    The confidentiality principle was compromised at the EPO and stakeholders weren't told about it (there was a coverup)



  24. Links 15/5/2019: More Linux Patches and More Known Intel Bugs

    Links for the day



  25. False Hope for Patent Maximalists and Litigation Zealots

    Patent litigation predators in the United States, along with Team UPC in Europe, are trying to manufacture optimistic predictions; a quick and rather shallow critical analysis reveals their lies and distortions



  26. The Race to the Bottom of Patent Quality at the EPO

    The EPO has become more like a rubber-stamper than a patent office — a fact that worries senior staff who witnessed this gradual and troublesome transition (from quality to raw quantity)



  27. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 2: Meet the Kötters

    An introduction to the Kötter Group, the private security conglomerate which is lined up for the award of a juicy EUR 30 million contract for the provision of security services at the EPO



  28. Links 14/5/2019: Red Hat Satellite 6.5, NVIDIA 430.14 Linux Driver and New Security Bug (MDS)

    Links for the day



  29. Links 14/5/2019: GNU/Linux in Kerala, DXVK 1.2, KDE Frameworks 5.58.0 Released

    Links for the day



  30. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 1: Urgent Shitstorm Alert

    Experts at the European Patent Office's (EPO) weather observation station have just issued an urgent alert warning about a major shitstorm looming on the horizon


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts