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Debian, the “Other” Enterprise Distribution

Posted in Debian, Finance, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Novell, Red Hat at 8:57 am by Shane Coyle

It’s Not Just Red Hat and Microvell

Here is a quick reminder that there are more Linux players in the enterprise space than most pundits usually mention.

For some time, we have been hearing about how the Debian-based Ubuntu wants to be considered in the discussion of "enterprise distributions", and now HP has announced that they made $25M on hardware sales directly related to their Debian Linux support.

Another Step Towards GNU/Solaris?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, SUN at 8:30 am by Shane Coyle

Sun has, in recent times, become an increasingly vocal and active supporter of Free Software and the community.

With the announcement that Java will be licensed under the General Public License and subsequent rumors regarding the possibility of Open Solaris being licensed under the upcoming GPLv3, and now we have an announcement that Sun is becoming a patron for the Free Software Foundation.

I am glad to see Sun fully embracing the community – not only the technical terms and conditions of the GPL, but its principles and spirit as well.

Update: Sorry, forgot to link to Simon Phipp’s weblog, where I heard about this to begin with. That was rude of me.


Novell PR Doing (More) Damage Control

Posted in Deals, Deception, FUD, Intellectual Monopoly, Interoperability, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant at 5:41 pm by Shane Coyle

Novell: It’s an Interoperability Deal

that’s our story, and we’re sticking to it

After BetaNews posted their story regarding Microsoft’s refusing to officially distance itself from Mr Ballmer’s most recent veiled threats, Novell’s Bruce Lowry was forced once again into the position of trying to spin the Microvell deal as something positive for the Free Software community.

Essentially, Novell is sticking with a combination of its previous apologies, including that Ballmer’s statements may have been taken out of context, and that they will just have to agree to disagree over the significance of the deal. To Microsoft, it is an Intellectual Property deal, to Novell it is an Interoperability deal, and to the Free Software developers that create the products that Novell sells it is a Raw deal, I suppose.

When asked by BetaNews yesterday just what context Ballmer meant to frame that statement in, the company’s responses seemed to support the context of a veiled threat.

That’s not how Novell perceives the agreement. “This is not the first time that this issue has surfaced,” Lowry’s response began.

“The agreement with Microsoft has three components: technical cooperation around virtualization, web services management and document compatibility; business cooperation involving distribution of SUSE Linux Enterprise coupons by Microsoft (plus some joint marketing); and a patent cooperation agreement, whereby Novell makes a covenant not to sue Microsoft customers over patents and Microsoft makes a covenant not to sue Novell customers over patents.”

Microsoft Stands Behind Steve Ballmer’s Linux Threats

Posted in FUD, Microsoft, Patents, Steve Ballmer, Virtualisation at 9:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Things did not appear to improve after Microsoft’s CEO had issued an implicit threat. According to BetaNews, speculations derived from his threats are not so far fetched.

The company’s response to BetaNews suggests that, if Ballmer was taken out of context, then at least Microsoft was in no mood to correct that context. At worst, it suggests the company may be comfortable with letting the “veiled threat” theory stand.

Some of these out-of-context remarks suggest that Microsoft is willing to sue. An ITWire columnist opines that Novell virtually ‘sponsors’ this latest attack. And in case you have not witnessed enough of Microsoft’s verbal games, get a load of this:

Microsoft Corp. is making it hard for Mac owners and other potentially influential customers to adopt its new Windows Vista operating system.

Microsoft says the blockade is necessary for security reasons. But that is disputed. The circumstances might simply reflect a business decision Microsoft doesn’t want to explain.

‘Transparency’ at it best, don’t you agree? Or yet more of the FUD tactics, as well as extortionate, discriminatory licences. The question in many people’s minds remains, “will Microsoft alienate its customers by attempting a lawsuit over IP?” It has just been slapped on the wrist with a $1.5 billion fine over patent infringement. Might it seek retaliation? The company has lost a lot recently. This includes Cuba and — only yesterday — South Africa. The Linux ‘domino effect’ has begun.

Discussing the Futility of the Novell Deal

Posted in FUD, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents at 1:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

I would like to divert the readers’ attention to a couple blog items from Matt Anslett, who is a journalist.

Updated again – Microsoft Linux patent FUDwatch

Given the recent comments from Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and others I thought it was time for an update. I particularly enjoyed Microsoft lawyer Brad Smith’s explanation of why patent protection is important even if no one actually needs it.

Can someone explain to me how the Microsoft/Novell patent deal doesn’t stink?

So if you’re a Novell customer, the deal gives you peace of mind that Microsoft won’t sue you, which it wasn’t going to do anyway, for code that may or may not be in Linux, that may or may not infringe Microsoft patents.


Being Sued Over Microsoft Office Macros

Posted in Boycott Novell, Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenOffice, Patents, VBA at 10:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The following exchange of words suggests that Novel could get sued over OpenOffice macros and even put other companies at risk.

This has direct implications to the guys at Novell who are working on VBA integration with OpenOffice.org. Sure, with the new partnership between Microsoft and Novell, customers of Novell would not get sued, but the Novell team themselves and all other OpenOffice.org users are at risk here. So it’s imperative the Microsoft provides an answer if closely related technologies to MSOOXML are also covered in this covenant, so it is possible for third parties to develop solutions.

This is not yet definite, but Boycott Novell raised this as a possible legal risk in the past. Security aside.


There Needs to be a Device

Posted in Courtroom, FSF, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 7:54 pm by Shane Coyle

Software code is not patentable, as many have asserted previously (pdf) and now we have additional confirmation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s stance on the matter, via oral arguments in Microsoft v AT&T:

MR. OLSON [For Microsoft]: The ’580 patent is a program, as I understand it, that’s married to a computer, has to be married to a computer in order to be patented.
JUSTICE SCALIA: You can’t patent, you know, on-off, on-off code in the abstract, can you?
MR. OLSON: That’s correct, Justice Scalia.
JUSTICE SCALIA: There needs to be a device.
MR. OLSON: An idea or a principle, two plus two equals four can’t be patented. It has to be put together with a machine and made into a usable device.

There are more quotes over at the Patently-O site regarding whether code can be patented on its own, check it out.


In the News: FUD, VB, and the FSF

Posted in FSF, Intellectual Monopoly, Mono, Novell, Steve Ballmer at 9:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

At risk of generalisation, Novell is currently in hot waters over Microsoft’s most recent threats, issued to scare Linux distributors. Novell is being used to empower Microsoft’s arguments.

Meanwhile, Novell boasts cashing in on what appears to be old technology and some further work on Visual Basic under Linux, which is seen as controversial by some.

C|Net has just hosted an anti-FSF column. The delivery of the message, which puts the label “religion” on the FSF, is courtesy of the “Progress & Freedom Foundation”, whatever it may be and whatever they mean by “progress”. They are a Microsoft front.

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