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12.10.06

Site Updates, Poll Question Suggestions

Posted in Site News at 10:13 pm by Shane Coyle

It appears that we are in for the "long haul" here in our campaign against Microvell. I must admit that I personally believed it would only take a week to ten days of boycottnovell.com pressure before Microsoft and Novell would capitulate and renounce the deal. ;^ ) I seem to have underestimated their resolve.

As a result, this site was put up in haste and it is only now that we have had the time to apply some tweaking and new features. We’ve been working hard to go back and index all of the previous articles, the fruits of which some folks have already noticed in the sidebar to the right – the new Categories Cloud and the Related Posts links.

The Categories Cloud helps find related articles within a certain category, it is easy to tell which categories are more relevant and populated since the relative size of the font indicates the relative size of the category. Whenever you view a particular article, you will also be presented with links to Related Posts, the hope is to make site navigation easier. Your feedback would be appreciated, are these features helpful? Confusing? What (w|c)ould be better?

Also, I would like to start adding Polls to the site, perhaps one a week. What I don’t have is a pool of questions to draw from, so I am hoping that we can get some suggestions.

More Bad News for Mac MS Office Users

Posted in Apple, Formats, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, VBA, Windows at 9:19 pm by Shane Coyle

Apparently, not only are the Open XML converters for Mac MS Office users slow in coming, leading to at least a few months of interoperability pain for their paying customers, but Microsoft has announced they will also be pulling VBA support from future Mac MS Office.

To say that Excel VBA and Macro support is an important key to interoperating within a corporate (mostly Windows) environment is an understatement, it is the reason that many people buy Mac MS Office:

To me, while the automation features are nice to have, it’s the fact that macros are portable across platforms that has helped the Mac versions of Office succeed in the market. With today’s versions of Office for Windows and OS X, macros written on the Windows version will work on the Mac version, and vice versa. (There are some exceptions for very complex macros, but most macros work the same on both platforms.) In any sort of mixed-platform environment, this is a very important capability—calling it mission critical for many wouldn’t be an understatement.

The other day I had quipped that Mac MS Office users may have to rely on Novell OpenOffice.org for their Windows MS Office compatibility needs on an interim basis, until the document converters were completed. Obviously, that was a misstatement – Mac users may need to rely on Novell OpenOffice.org for their Windows interoperability permanently.

Why is Microsoft bending over backwards making interoperability overtures towards Novell and Linux while punishing Apple and Mac?

Mono’s Demise Good News for Free Software

Posted in Action, GPL, Intellectual Monopoly, Interoperability, Java, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenOffice, Patent Covenant at 6:11 pm by Shane Coyle

In a recent Computerworld article, Neil McAllister opined that Mono’s demise (is) bad news for Open Source, which may be true. But, as has been said before, "Open Source" != "Free Software", or even Open Standards for that matter.

Not only has it been feared for some time by many in the community, I have previously argued on this site that Mono is a legal minefield, and McAllister concedes that the Microvell deal only serves to reinforce those suspicions:

Microsoft’s recent announcements about indemnification only underscore concerns about Mono — particularly given that Novell is the primary sponsor of the project. Foremost among these has always been the issue of intellectual property. Critics warned that despite de Icaza’s and Microsoft’s protestations to the contrary, Mono exists solely at the whim of Microsoft. Any time Redmond feels like pulling the rug out from beneath them, Mono developers could find themselves subject to patent-infringement lawsuits.

As part of its agreement with Novell, Microsoft has now enumerated a short list of those categories of developers that it promises not to sue. The implicit message is that everyone else should watch out — and watch out they shall. The availability of Java under the GPL now gives those developers who want modern language features an alternative to Mono, and they need never look back.

Recently, it was pointed out that Mono is not going to be included in Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux 5, and many believe that the Microvell deal at least played a part in that decision. Interestingly, Red Hat paints a different picture, instead pointing out that Mono is an example of limited, one-way interoperability – behavior we have come to expect from Microsoft, and of late Novell as well.

“It had nothing to do with recent Microsoft Novell thing,” Joel Berman a Red Hat Enterprise Linux product marketing director, told internetnews.com.

According to Berman, discussions related to the inclusion of Mono had been going on before the Novell Microsoft deal was announced.

Rather than citing the potential legal risk Berman noted the technical limitations of Mono as the reasons why Red Hat won’t include Mono in RHEL 5.

“We don’t like the fact that though it’s very easy to write stuff in Mono and port to Windows, it’s very difficult to take Windows applications and move them back over to Linux,” Berman said.

It is clear that Novell intends to market itself as in a unique position to provide a "Doorway to Windows" as a result of their recent agreement, and apparently they have no problem with it being a one-way door so long as they get part of the toll. I envision Novell developing proprietary plugins for Novell OpenOffice.org that provide improved Open XML support over the "Open Source" version they give back under their BSD-like-license, and I am not alone.

Just as Georg C. F. Greve suggested that Novell’s Danaergeschenk of Open XML support in OpenOffice should be avoided, Mono should be eschewed as well.

Wrong Today, Wrong Tomorrow

Posted in Deception, Humour, Marketing, Windows at 8:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Do you still remember Novell’s self censorship? They cannot deny the fact that they were ‘cleaning up’ all Web site material which contains less than flattery about Windows? Yes, they pulled these down just as they abandoned their open Source competitor to Microsoft Exchange Server, among other things.

It is rather hard to believe that Novell’s identity was altogether different before they opted for Microsoft servitude. Have a look at this old ‘advertisement’.

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