Lowry sticks to the party line regarding the deal, that it was to foster Linux adoption in the enterprise and improve Linux-Windows interoperability, and that the IP aspects of the deal are just for additional "comfort" for Novell customers.
Third, we don’t see intellectual property, in general, as big impediment to Linux adoption. That’s been our position for a number of years now. Go back and look at statements we made during the SCO debate, or when we launched our indemnification program. We’ve consistently argued that customers should not avoid Linux because of intellectual property concerns. At the same time, we’ve provided a level of comfort (via indemnification, our patent policy and, now, with the Microsoft agreement) to those customers who do have concerns about the issue. We certainly aren’t out in the market telling customers to use our Linux because it has patent protection from Microsoft. We’re out there telling them to use SUSE Linux Enterprise because it’s a strong distribution that will integrate well into their mixed environments. If the patent agreement with Microsoft means a few more customers than before are willing to take the plunge with Linux, that’s a good thing. But we don’t think patent concerns are driving Linux adoption one way or the other. The deal with Microsoft simply removes the issue from the table for customers.
Did anyone at Novell wonder why these IP concerns weren’t affecting Red Hat adoption rates? This just sounds like weak salespeople, honestly, who are accepting the clients excuses instead of working through them. It reminds me of a quote from Boiler Room
And there is no such thing as a no sale call. A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can’t. Either way a sale is made, the only question is who is gonna close? You or him? Now be relentless.
It is pretty hard to find Open XML and OpenDocument videos on the Web, but they do exist. Here are a couple from Bob Sutor’s (of IBM) speech in Denmark. If you wish to explain to someone why Novell supports a document monopoly (and let’s not forget APIs and network communication), then point him/her to any of these videos. People would take audio-visual over textual information any day.
Earlier today, through a confession by a friend, I witnessed something which I had not quite grasped before. Many people simply perceive Office formats as the standard. Therefore, we must educate the less technical citizens, explaining to them the dangers of a monopoly and the inability to access personal information in the future. There is also the issue of competition and interoperability (or lack thereof). The roots of this debate pertain to and stem in perception, which is sometimes difficult to change (software freedom in another related peril that’s perceptual). Patience and perseverance are the key here.
Bottom line: Rep. Ed Homan (R-Tampa) tried to get a small paragraph added to a general IT bill in the State Senate that mildly favored open standards (i.e. ODF etc.) in state IT operations. It was a quiet effort, he told me, but still, within 24 hours all the State Senators on the appropriate committee had been contacted by lobbyists representing Microsoft, who also paid him a visit.
IBM and Microsoft are also having a brawl in Malaysia.
Standards body Sirim Bhd has stopped a feud between IBM Malaysia and Microsoft Malaysia over competing technologies in this country.
Datuk Dr Mohamad Ariffin Aton, Sirim chief executive, has suspended the process for approving the Open Document Format (ODF), which is backed by IBM Corp, as a Malaysian standard. A competing format is OpenXML, currently used only in Microsoft Corp’s Office suite of desktop products.
The latter point — that which refers to the number of companies supporing Open XML — is also one that Bob Sutor repeats in his talks. Open XML is not about sharing, but about building walls. It is shocking that Novell has turned from an Open Source enthusiast into a passive supporter of this impossible-to-reproduce-mockery-of-the-standards-system.
While Wikipedia provides some solid background on Novell, nothing beats a few lesser-known facts. In a new article titled “Nine things you don’t know about Novell” you will find an interesting nugget of information.
7. When did Novell first start tinkering with Linux?
As early as 1994, with the launch of the Corsair skunkworks project at Novell. Corsair was a project to create a desktop metaphor to compete with Windows. When then-president of Novell Ray Noorda retired and Robert Frankenburg took over, Frankenburg cut out many of Novell’s unofficial products. A number of employees, dissatisfied with the decision to abandon their project, left Novell and founded Caldera with funding from Noorda.
Let us see if this time, for a change, Novell is pressured to leave GNU/Linux, or maybe even finds what Bruce Perens hyptothesises is an exit strategy (from Free software as we know it).