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03.26.07

Microsoft and Oracle Pull the FUD Manoeuvre

Posted in FUD, Microsoft, Oracle, Red Hat at 10:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It turns out that not only Microsoft and Novell — but Oracle as well — play the game of FUD. This tactic can be a very powerful, however questionable it may seem. It leads to backlash and it repels customers, but overall, it’s proving to be quiot effective. The following article criticises Microsoft for engaging in such tactics.

The concept of indemnification is insidious. Rather than assuaging fears, it actually contributes to them because the risks involved are so vague. Who might file a lawsuit? What code will be involved? What sums will be named? What other companies might step up to defend against it? What will be the long-term implications of the suit? And given so many unknowns, how can you budget for indemnification? How much security are you really getting for your money?

It turns out, to use a parallel, that Oracle’s recent lawsuit against SAP is having the same sort of impact.

Intellectual property lawsuit may generate fear, uncertainty and doubt among customers, analysts say

When will the customers, the community, and the developers/volunteers be considered a high priority? These corporate games serve nobody apart from investors and executives. Wake up and smell the coffee, Novell. While your investors might be pleased, you anger quite a lot of people. Like Oracle, which strives to rob Red Hat’s business, or even Microsoft, which thinks it is “at war” with Linux, Novell seems to be fighting a war of FUD against other Linux distributors.

To make matters worse, at BrainShare, Novell escaped the real issue and chose to pretend that their war should remain a cold one. This leads to further uncertainty.

But while the chat discussed the interoperability component of the agreement between the companies, it ignored the covenant not to sue one another’s customers over patent infringements, which is the most controversial part of the deal for some in the open-source community.

So, to Novell, the strategy is clear. The writings on the wall remain: “we’ve signed a deal, we have no regrets about it, and we’re not willing to talk about it or resolve ambiguities”. Classic FUD.

The Things Novell Does Not Want You to Know

Posted in America, Asia, Europe, Finance, Novell at 9:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

While Novell would like you to believe that it has found prosperity in its controversial deal, truth suggests otherwise.

What Was Right–and Wrong–With Novell Brainshare

[...]

6. Novell Business Claims (Miss): Careful here, Novell. Your marketing videos poke fun at Apple and Windows , and state that Linux has 30 million users. Perhaps. But only a fraction of those users are running Novell’s version of Linux. Also, your event guide states that Novell is a $1 billion company. In reality, Novell’s revenue for 2006 was $967 million. If there’s another $33 million floating around somewhere, shareholders would certainly love to see it.

Now, consider this: Earlier this month, Novell was quietly making office space available for rent, stirring up rumours that layouts are inevitable. Would you really want to put your money on a company that seemingly implodes?

But here is another possibility: Have you heard about Intel’s layoffs of 10,000 staff? Or IBM’s layoffs of 13,000 European staff last year? Intel is currently building a $2.5-billion center in China and IBM recently created 14,000 new jobs in India. This is by no means criticism of offshoring, but merely a word of warning. Novell could fit in this puzzle as well. Consider support jobs in Novell’s Mumbai Centre. People who reside overseas can truly help Novell’s margins. And that is where certification has just been obtained.

Novell Mumbai Centre Gets SCP Certification

[...]

“Novell is the only Linux distributor to have this level of global capability. Now, Novell grows even stronger with the addition of the Mumbai centre,” said Mike Lyons, vice president, global support and services, Novell.

Journalists Attack Free Software — The Next Anti-Linux Crusade?

Posted in Deception, FSF, GNU/Linux at 9:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There appear to be a new coordinated effort to discredit the FSF. Yesterday I spotted yet another attack on Stallman and the GPL, this time in computerworld.com.

After discussion with a few friends, as well as exchange of a few letters which were sent to editors, there is something to show to public. As I have obtained permission, I would like to share with the readers a discussion that Slated.org had with an editor about an article that, using some form of twisted humour, suggested that the FSF is hypocritical. It publicly portrayed the FSF/SFLC as money-making machine. Here are the relevant bits of the coversation:

Journalist: How exactly is disclosing absolutely no details about a seminar that’s three- to four-times the going rate for a legal seminar “transparent”?

Slated.org: I wasn’t aware that transparency was proportional, or in any way related to price. Perhaps you could explain that relationship to me.

As for the lack of details about this event; a legal seminar is not a policy meeting, it has no relevance to the drafting process which is, and remains, transparent. For someone who, by his own admission, knows nothing about this proposed seminar, you seem to have drawn some surprisingly certain conclusions about it.

Journalist: Is it ethical to use the information the steward of the GPL process to make money, particularly when that group is also the enforcement arm of the GPL?

Slated.org: It’s difficult to make sense of your poor grammar, but I think the gist of your meaning is that the SFLC are somehow behaving unethically, because they dare to charge a fee in order to explain the finer details and implications of a software license to some lawyers. So in your opinion, if one is working as a legal advisor in an organisation related to another which produces a legal document, that legal organisation is unethical if they spend time and money organising a seminar to explain
the details of that legal document to other lawyers, and then subsequently charge a fee for their time and effort.

I suggest that in future you spend time contemplating the semantics of an article, before you submit it for publication, and embarrass yourself.

Neither the costs nor the publicity (or lack thereof) of this event is in any way relevant, or contradictory, to the principles upheld by the FSF or its legal arm the SFLC.

In fact this entire issue is a non-event, not even worthy of the back pages of some crass tabloid.

Your genre of journalism is purely sensationalist, without substance or merit, and I find it surprising that The Register would retain someone of your ilk for any purpose other than humour.

Journalist: Are you a GPL fanboy?

Slated.org: That question pretty much confirms my suspicions about you.

To answer the question: No, I am not any sort of “fanboy”. Unlike you, I formulate opinions based on fact, not uniformed bigotry. As someone who purports to be a journalist, I would have assumed you’d understand how important that principle is in your line of work.

Commentary: I remembered this article very well, but in order to perserve anonymity, I will not link to it. It seems to have been either filled with malice or perhaps it was just a blunt expression of opinion with anti-FSF agenda. It was just one among many. You ought to know that many people have been paid in the past to do such things.

Maureen O’Gara, Dan Lyons, Rob Enderle, and Laura DiDio are all notorious for their bias (and sometimes their funding sources). Only by standing up, as Slated.org did above, can we truly discourage this from recurring. Other victims include: Richard Stallman, OLPC, OpenDocument, PJ/Groklaw…

Returning to the correspondence, here is the presumably final reply, which indicates that the journalist has given up.

Journalist: My piece speaks for itself. I stand by it. I respect your opinions, even though I disagree with most of them.

Slated.org has an afterthought to share: Hmm, yes I can certainly feel the “respect” and sincerity.

So in the end, another one of the brainwashed sheep bleats back into his pen, with yet another reason to hate FOSS and its advocates.

Sorry, but I can’t help myself. If someone rants about Linux because of a genuine technical problem, I’m more inclined to respond positively and helpfully (I understand frustration as much as the next man).

But here we have a journalist, who presumably understands the responsibility that such a position entails, who without any technical nor rational reason decides to attack FOSS based on nothing… absolutely nothing at all. A veritable storm in a teacup, and all in the name of sensationalist journalism. It’s despicable; it truly is, and (again) sorry but I’m disinclined to show any mercy. He’s been Slated® and he’ll feel the burn for a long time to come.

You may have noticed a considerable reduction of my activity this past week; there is a particular reason for that.

Since the miserable flop that was the Vista launch, and the ensuing dissent in the Blogosphere, the MS-payroll journos have been out in full force poisoning that Blogosphere with anti-FOSS sentiment, in a desperate (and futile IMHO) exercise in damage limitations. I find it very disconcerting, and I determined myself to do something about it. This publisher is just one of many I’ve been “moderating” this past week; here’s another:

http://blogs.cio.com/what-cios-dont-get-about-open-source

I must say I really like Bernard Golden’s style and frankness, but apparently he’s upset a few Munchkins who have infiltrated his Blog with poison posts. If you look down at the comments, the second one is by some idiot called James Gingerich @ iAnywhere Solutions (remind me never to buy anything from them). My comments follow (posted as “Slated”). You’ll notice that he had no response to my follow up. IOW he admits his anti-FOSS dissent is just bigotry, he gives up, he’s been Slated®.

I’m seriously considering dedicating a new section of Slated.org to these Shills that I have given a public bitch-slapping, because I think people really need to be aware this kind of Blog poisoning is going on.

There’s an increasing amount of this sort of activity, both on Blogs and also on more traditional Tech News sites, much of it (rather disturbingly) emanating from (supposedly) contract journalists. My feeling is that the level of anti-FOSS bigotry has not actually increased at all, it’s just the level of exposure of that bigotry is on the rise. IOW the bigots are feeling more threatened than ever, so they are protesting ever more vocally.

That is the surest sign I’ve seen yet, that Linux advocacy is succeeding, and that the Microsoft FUD is failing; that Linux adoption is now epidemic, and Windows dissent is more rife than ever.

Commentary again: An InformationWeek writer, for a change, takes a stance that favours free software.

I’ve come to the conclusion that software should be free. And I mean really free–as in free beer. Or free advice.

Let us hope that the press will sidle with logic, rather than the money machine.

Has Microsoft Learned From Google? Tellme.

Posted in Courtroom, Google, Humour, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 2:31 pm by Shane Coyle

Recently, an article entitled "What Novell Could Learn From Google" discussed conjecture among many that one of the reasons that Google had acquired YouTube was to ensure its continued existence by providing the necessary deep pockets to fend off copyright and other IP claims.

Well, now it appears that Microsoft is looking for similar publicity, apparently their recent acquisition Tellme is in the process of being sued themselves for patent infringement.

Perhaps this is Microsoft’s attempt at "pulling a Google" to bring attention to their calls for patent reform? Or, do they just like paying out judgements?

Microsoft Granted Extension By EC

Posted in Antitrust, Deception, Europe, FUD, Intellectual Monopoly, Interoperability, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell at 11:43 am by Shane Coyle

Needing more time "to address the complex issues involved", Microsoft has requested and received a deadline extension to respond to the allegations that their proposed licensing terms are unreasonable, since the information Microsoft has to provide rivals as part of this ruling include "no significant innovation" worthy of high fees.

Microsoft Corp. now has until April 23 to respond to EU charges that it fails to offer rivals a fair deal on licenses for communications code that helps servers work with Windows, an EU spokesman said Monday.

The European Commission originally set a four-week deadline ending April 3, threatening to start levying daily fines of euro3 million (US$4 million) a day after that.

Be on the lookout for a busy month for Novell P.R. in and around the European Union for the next month or so, touting the benefits of their deal with those pro-interoperability folks over in Redmond…

What did Microsoft Gain from the Novell Deal?

Posted in Antitrust, Deals, Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 11:01 am by Shane Coyle

According to Laura DiDio, pretty much everything we have been saying. And, to be fair, this is not the first time that Ms. DiDio has been able to see this deal for exactly what it is.

[editor's note: links are mine]
“I really think the main impetus for the MS/Novell deal was to 1) undercut Red Hat; 2) by embracing Novell, Microsoft gets to “hold its’ friends close and its’ enemies closer” BUT most importantly by embracing and supporting Linux in this matter, Microsoft gains an important ally in the ongoing EC antitrust actions — the Microsoft/Novell alliance severely diminishes many of the anti-competitive allegations the EC is lobbing against Microsoft. And at the time they inked the deal, that was very much (and still is,) on Microsoft’s mind…”

Matt Asay has a great write up on some of these findings from the Yankee Group’s report, which seems to indicate that Novell is indeed gaining share at Red Hat’s expense, but it appears that Windows is holding its own against Linux – with a purported 12% of those who switched to Linux now returning to Windows.

In short, Novell is getting what it wants – to hurt Red Hat – but not getting what it really wants – to grow the market and take a larger share of that market. Novell may have succeeded in winning a skirmish, but is also helping to lose the battle, the war, and everything else for Linux/open source.

For all that Microsoft has gained from this deal, has Novell really gained all that much? And, at whose expense?

Novell to Boost .NET (Miguel de Icaza Talks About the Partnership)

Posted in GNOME, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 1:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A few days ago, legal threats that loom over Mono were demonstrated using a timely news article. Therein, Novell explained that it has some form of legal immunity, which others do not have. It was an implication that .NET technologies had Novell covered for the next 5 years. What does this mean to Ubuntu GNU/Linux users whose desktop contains Mono software? What does this mean to Novell clients who may still depend on Mono after 2011? But wait. It could get worse.

In a new interview with Miguel de Icaza you will find some interesting bits. For example:

derStandard.at: Rumour has it, that Novell is substantially staffing up its Mono-team, any chance you’ll put this into numbers?

Miguel de Icaza: We are doing a big push for Mono.

derStandard.at: Where will these increased resources go to?

Miguel de Icaza: We will try to staff up all the areas in Mono that need better support, it is still something that we are discussing internally.

Mono getting the boost at the expense of Microsoft-independent programming? Promotion of the Microsoft API? Remember: it’s all about developers. It seems obvious that the Novell marionette is once again having its strings manipulated by Microsoft’s agenda.

“Discussing internally”? Are you not an Open Source company? Where is the client, the developer, and the volunteer? How are decisions being made and to whose advantage do they work? This is not the first time that users, including Opensuse contributors, are being left in the dark.

In another mind-boggling part of this interview, there is admission that wordings in the deal were deficient. Consequently, the community is not being treated the way it deserves and the way it should.

[Miguel de Icaza:] Also, another thing that rubbed people the wrong way [in the Novell/Microsoft deal] was the promise to the community. And part of the problem with the current promise is that it was an important consideration as part of the deal but they did not get the right wording in place on time. Folks on both companies are trying to improve this to actually mean something meaningful.

Why not just admit that the community was not a factor in this deal? There is little or no room for misinterpretation. There was betrayal.

Eben Moglen Expects More Novell-like Attacks by Microsoft

Posted in FSF, GPL, Law, Microsoft, Novell at 12:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

After endless delays, which were caused by the Novell/Microsoft deal, we may finally get a closer look at a solution to the nuisance it has become. The next draft of the third version of the GPL is due by Wednesday, according to Technocrat.

At the FSF general meeting today, Richard Stallman announced that the third discussion draft of GPL version 3 will be released on Wednesday and will be open for public comment.

Eben Moglen has given speech where he expresses deep concerns. According to him, Novell is only the beginning. He argues that Microsoft intends to repeat these aggressive moves — something which GPLv3 will hopefully provide immunity against.

In his speech at the FSF general meeting, Moglen said that the patent offensive that Microsoft started with the Novell-Microsoft agreement was only the onset of a long intended campaign, and will continue. He feels that new provisions in GPL3 will be one essential component of fighting that campaign, but not the only essential component. He expects attacks and counter-attacks.

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