Novell Supports OpenXML — A Complex Proprietary Format

Posted in Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Patents at 1:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recently we mentioned the fact that Microsoft’s OpenXML — a so-called ‘standard’ which Novell agreed to support — already has proprietary ‘extensions’. From there onwards, the criticism just won’t end. We wish to present just a couple of blog items which address the issue at hand. They are worth reading. Hilarity could ensue, if only it were not so sadly real.

Calling Captain Kirk

When you get an OOXML document, you don’t know what is inside. It might use the deprecated VML specification for vector graphics, or it might using DrawingML. It might use the line spacing defined in WordProcessingML, or it might have undefined legacy compatibility overrides for Word 95. It might have all of its content in XML, or it might have it mostly in RTF, HTML, MHTML, or “plain text”. Or it may have any mix of the above. Even the most basic application that reads OOXML will also need to be conversant in RTF, HTML and MHTML.

The Open XML Lie

The basic premise of Rob’s article was that the Microsoft Open XML Specification was similar to creating a job description that would allow for only one qualified respondent. Such a job description might read as follows:

  • 5 years experience with Java, J2EE and web development, PHP, XSLT
  • Fluency in French and Corsican
  • Experience with the Llama farming industry
  • Mole on left shoulder
  • Sister named Bridgetter

Let us not forget the legal issues one faces when fully implementing OpenXML support.

Novell Files to Delay 2006 Annual Report

Posted in Finance, Novell at 2:34 am by Shane Coyle

As, has been mentioned here before, Novell has a pending stock options investigation (who in the tech world doesn’t these days?). It should be mentioned that Novell was already facing possible delisting from NASDAQ regarding this matter.

Recently, Novell filed to delay its 2006 annual report until its own investigation has been concluded, and stated they are unsure if any restatements would affect their recently announced preliminary fiscal-year results.

The Waltham networking services company announced Aug. 29 that it had begun looking into its option practices and had hired outside legal counsel to assist in the review.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing today, Novell said conclusions drawn from the review may force it to record non-cash stock compensation charges and related tax effects.

Novell’s Technical Strategy

Posted in Deals, Formats, Interoperability, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant, Virtualisation, Windows, Xen at 12:43 am by Shane Coyle

Jeff Jaffe has posted "Novell’s Technical Strategy and progress in 2006" on his CTO Blog at Novell.com.

The Microsoft agreement gets much coverage, but no mention of the advantages of the infamous patent covenant, instead focusing on interoperability and virtualization.

3. The Microsoft agreement

We have already alluded to the fact that our virtualization and interoperability strategy is strengthened with our agreement with Microsoft.

It should be clear that, for the next twenty years, Windows and Linux are the two key operating environments for customers. Before this deal there were Linux focused companies and Windows focused companies like Microsoft. No company had legitimacy to assert itself as key to both environments.

That has irrevocably changed. Novell is the company which stands at the nexus of both of these key platforms. (In addition to bringing the NetWare base forward on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as part of Open Enterprise Server.)

Why is that? Only Novell has Microsoft’s endorsement as its partner to drive Linux-Windows interoperability. So – of the Linux vendors – only we can speak authoritatively about Windows. With our virtualized solutions, we are linked even closer with the solution that customers need.

Of course, Microsoft is also at the base of Linux and Windows since we will work with them to optimize SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on Veridian. However, although they endorse SUSE at the Linux level, they do not aspire to manage heterogeneity at higher levels. Novell, on the other hand – has made multi-platform support a key requirement from day 1.

Other aspects of the Microsoft agreement

While we have focused on virtualization, there are several other significant pieces of our agreement with Microsoft. Our business collaboration (sales and marketing) is significant. Beyond that, we are collaborating technically in three additional areas related to interoperability and management.

One component is collaboration with Microsoft on standards for Web services management. Technically, there is a great deal of synergy between our two companies on how we see the proper architecture for the future. This collaboration will simplify our systems management products, since the management architectures for Linux and Windows will come together.

Another component is directories. Here, the open source world, Microsoft with Active directory, and traditional Novell products based on eDirectory require considerable joint activity. Customers regularly ask for greater interoperability. We have agreed to move this space forward.

Finally, in the area of document interoperability, we have already provided technology that allows interoperability between Open Office and Open Office XML, the basis for Vista’s Office products.

Feel free to read the entirety of the blog posting, I have to say if you look at Novell’s 2006 year in review and there was no patent covenant, I would be impressed.

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