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01.23.07

More Articles on Microsoft’s Paid Wikipedia Contributions

Posted in Formats, Fraud, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Standard, Wikipedia at 9:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Articles are beginning to appear which describe Microsoft’s pay-to-edit Wikipedia strategy. For further information and for your own ‘leisure’, here they are:

You may find yourself asking, “what does this have to do with Novell?”

This intricate question would be answered by our extensive set of items on this topic. Novell also neatly fits the OpenODF category, although it has done more to damage its adoption, rather than help it. There is a clash of interests here.

When you cannot control the media, control the encyclopedia. It rhymes, too!

Opensuse Reviews: Decent for the Experts, Not So Much for the Beginners

Posted in OpenSUSE, Review at 7:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Here at BoycottNovell we have adopted this tradition of occasionally posting SLED/SLES/Opensuse reviews. Two reviews have caught our attention since the last installment. We are not being selective as far as these reviews are concerned. The intent is to point out every decent and elaborate review that’s found.

1. OpenSuse 10.2 Review

I looked at OpenSuse 10.2 as a Win2k replacement. I’ve been impressed with Suse over the years so I was looking forward to see what Novell brought to the table with 10.2. Like I said before, I am not going to judge a distribution on its setup process (OS installation, mp3 setup, flash setup, adding printer, etc), however I am going to mention some installation pitfalls I ran into during the 10.2 install.

2. openSUSE 10.2

Conclusion

openSUSE is a stable, fast and very powerful distribution, capable of anything Linux without having to do a lot of extra work, as there are RPM-packages for virtually everything. It is not the most user-friendly distribution, as the installation gives the user some tough choices (although hitting next will give a good default, I think such options should be hidden away from the beginners) and playing DVDs and listening to MP3s or WMAs, or watching live-content from the web, is not possible without installing unofficial packages. Finding and installing these packages feels like breaking the law, as there’s warnings all over the official documentation warning agains making such content possible – but it isn’t illegal, unless you live in the USA.

If you are a power-user you will not feel in any way cheated for options. Even though YaST is a GUI for managing virtually everything, it doesn’t hide any options, and even if you feel like hacking your configurations on your own, feel free to do so. If something goes wrong, it’s easy to restore configurations with YaST. Some parts, especially the package-manager, is quite slow as it does a lot of unnecessary tasks before and after you install anything (like it always updates your list of fonts, even when you haven’t installed or removed any fonts).

If you’re a beginner there’s easier distributions out there, but not necessarily better, as openSUSE is fast and very stable, but it’s just not that intuitive.

Novell/Microsoft Meeting: Mini Summary

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Meeting, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 4:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amid the latest discussion at Groklaw, some interesting information is becoming public. To quote bits of interest:

1. Both Nat Friedman and Miguel de Icaza are reported to have visited Microsoft to say that the patent agreement as written isn’t acceptable, and Microsoft said itself publicly that a change was needed. Where is the rewrite? When might we expect it? What will the changes be?

[...]

3. For Novell: You promised the community that you would use your patent portfolio to protect Linux. Now you ally with this Microsoft statement, that the deal is “enabling both companies to recognize commercial value from their respective patent portfolios.” Why did you break that promise? Do you care that the majority of the FOSS community is opposed to software patents? How do you reconcile the clear intent of GPLv2 that no restrictions, such as a patent license, can be added to the GPL and what you signed?

Is Microsoft ‘Correcting’ Blogs on Open XML?

Posted in Deception, Formats, Interoperability, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Standard at 1:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Originally, this observation was merely a comment of mine. Later I decided it was worth pointing out in a new blog item.

Yesterday we mentioned a report about Microsoft’s money incentive for changing Wikipedia. More specifically, Microsoft sought to ‘embelllish’ technical details about OpenXML by contacting a field expert. Only a day later, Boycott Novell received a comment ‘correcting’ information about OpenXML. See this for yourselves. There is precedence here as well, namely promotion of Microsoft products in blog comments:

MSN Is Spamming The Blogosphere

Mr. Youth LLC is a marketing firm and lists MSN as a customer. Their website is here: http://www.mryouth.com/ Their phone number is (212) 779-8700.

I’ve talked to a couple of other bloggers who said they are receiving similar comments on their blogs. This pisses me off because MSN/Mr. Youth should 1) be more upfront about their true identity, and 2) provide a real e-mail address so that I can request they take my blog off their marketing campaign.

Walmart Accepts Microsoft’s Stay-Out-Of-Court-Free Coupons

Posted in Deals, FUD, Intellectual Monopoly, Interoperability, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, Ron Hovsepian, SLES/SLED, Steve Ballmer at 1:31 am by Shane Coyle

35,000 Coupons distributed to date

Walmart has apparently accepted a busload of Microsoft’s SUSE Linux IP indemnification, I mean support (I keep messing that up) coupons. If the assertion that 35,000 coupons have been distributed to date (and unless I missed an announcement or two), that means Walmart accepted somewhere in the region of 19,000 coupons.

“Customers tell us every day that they need to operate a cost-effective IT organization and leverage the most they can out of their investments,” said Ron Hovsepian, president and CEO of Novell. “Through our relationship with Microsoft, we’ve created new opportunities for enterprise interoperability and virtualization that ultimately result in real savings for our customers. We are delighted that Wal-Mart has chosen SUSE Linux Enterprise, and we look forward to collaborating with them for many years.”
By working together with Microsoft and Novell, Wal-Mart gains the ability to manage Windows and Linux by extending its existing Microsoft
management tool set and authentication platform: Systems Management Server, Active Directory(R) and Microsoft Operations Manager. Wal-Mart can also move to lower-cost commodity server hardware while simultaneously improving the customer experience.
“Customers tell us that they need interoperability and that they want their technology vendors to manage the underlying intellectual property issues in software,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. “We are delivering this to Wal-Mart and giving them peace of mind so they can focus on their business and build for the future.”

One thing that caught my attention (besides Ballmer’s FUD) is that the press release characterizes the coupons as entitling Walmart to three years of priority support, which is counter to Justin Steinman’s statement: "First, Microsoft will purchase at least 70,000 certificates every year of the agreement for distribution to their customers. Each certificate entitles the recipient to a one-year subscription for software updates and technical support for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Distribution of these coupons will start immediately."

Confusion over the specifics of the deal amongst the parties who negotiated it? I, for one, am shocked.

Update: More information here regarding how Walmart intends to roll out SUSE and Windows Server for expanding their web presence, and although they are already a Red Hat customer, apparently Walmart has serious IP concerns about Linux, according to senior vice president and chief technology officer, Nancy Stewart:

She said the intellectual property protections in the Novell deal give Wal-Mart more confidence in using Linux more broadly.

Questions over intellectual property are a “huge problem,” Stewart said. The company now uses Linux in the data center of its current Web presence but had some trepidation with the idea of expanding it a much larger operation.

“To think about using it pervasively, we were very concerned about it,” she said. The larger Web operation would have “significantly higher legal exposure.”

Update 2 (Roy):

Intersting observations are being made by Mary Jo Foley:

Microsoft’s press release trumpeting Wal-Mart’s support of the Microsoft-Novell technology partnership announced last November omits some interesting details.

[...]

Not too surprisingly, Microsoft’s press release also doesn’t admit that Wal-Mart is a Red Hat Linux customer and is planning to supplement — not replace — its existing Red Hatsystems with Windows Server and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Update 3 (Shane): Matt Asay also questions Novell’s allowing their sworn enemy to be their biggest reseller and provides some excellent insight into Wal-Mart’s acceptance of these coupons:

In the meantime, it’s nice to see that Microsoft’s COO hasn’t lost his Wal-Mart friends (he was CIO there, of course, before he joined Microsoft). It’s important to call a favor now and again. Whatever smoke and mirrors it takes to get by. :-)

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