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05.04.07

Speculation: IBM Will Buy Novell

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, NetWare, Novell, Servers at 9:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sounds bizarre, right? By no means is it the first time that such a speculation is made. This short article is particularly interesting because it dives deep into the details and studies some of the history of the companies involved.

So why has Novell cut costs well beyond the point of “to the bone”, and killed any products that are useful to the SMB market? To understand Novell today, you must understand IBM, since 4 of Novell’s top 7 execs made their bones at Big Blue.

[...]

Linux sales simply will not replace Netware sales, and $80 per seat support agreements simply cannot compete against “support by Google search” that many IT departments depend on.

It was a sad day when I realized that the Novell that I knew would never again be a vendor partner for me, or a viable business partner for my clients. I went to Brainshares, did beta testing for Novell, attended sales conference, have Novell jackets and mugs and tee shirts and backpacks and water bottles… but it was time to face facts. Novell, in all likelihood, will be bought by IBM. Beyond that, Novell will probably be parted out. None of that is good for my customers, and probably not good for any Novell customer.

Let us not forget that IBM gave its immediate approval on the day when the Novell/Microsoft deal was made. This was pointed out before as it was rather suprising. Also bear in mind that IBM assisted and encouraged Novell’s acquisition of SuSE. At present, IBM uses SUSE in many of its servers, based on recent press releases.

Novell’s Chief Architect of the Linux Desktop Resigns (Updated)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell at 6:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Only a short time after Ted Haeger and Walter Knapp resigned, Robert Love, Chief Architect of Linux Desktop at Novell, resigns as well. He joins others prominent figures such as Jeremy Allison and Gunther Deschner. From his Web log:

An operose decision, I resigned as Chief Architect of our Linux Desktop endeavor, effective today.

It has become very clear who gained from the Novell/Microsoft deal. Linux operations at Novell have been completely disrupted. Disruption of the market through deals and acquisitions is something that might affect Google as well. Microsoft is reportedly flirting with Yahoo again. They seek a takeover.

Update: a discussion at Slashdot contains many speculations, including possible reasons for Robert Love’s departure. A loud critic of the deal, Bruce Parens, is among those who comment.

Customer/User Survey from Novell — Everything but The Kitchen Stink (sic)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE at 9:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell has just published its Opensuse user survey [PDF]. It is a rather extensive paper. One noteworthy fact which caught my eye is that 98% of the responders were male.

It is nice to see what users prefer. Nevertheless, questions which are of more interest to skeptics like ourselves seem to be missing. The highly biased and flawed surveys simply do not cut it. As it stands, Novell does not involve the community when it comes to managerial decisions. It does not even seem to listen. Its speaks on behalf of its customers, but there is gross generalisation and lack of understanding. The betrayal of many volunteers and enthusiasts (including myself) has proven this.

The company should have queried or surveyed its community before making the deal with Microsoft. The process totally lacked transparency, let alone interaction and consultation with some in-house developers, based on facts we have received. In that respect, Novell could learn from Dell, which seems to be reaching out to its clients in better ways nowadays (albeit just at a technical level).

Open Source company, closed-source management. Novell has plenty of room for improvement; but instead it takes a passive and arrogant approach.

The New Spin on the Controversial Deal, Courtesy of Novell

Posted in Deals, Intellectual Monopoly, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents at 9:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell has certainly changed its tune. However, the fact remains that it is too late to embellish things. Novell now argues that “the cross-licensing agreement that Novell signed with Microsoft, according to both Justin and Sam, was necessary as Novell required sanctioned access to Microsoft’s code in order to develop open source interoperability without violating MSFT’s IP.”

Matt Aslett reports on his findings:

It’s not as if the two companies haven’t had the opportunity to present it before. It wasn’t mentioned in the original announcement, it wasn’t mentioned in Novell’s FAQ, it wasn’t mentioned in Microsoft’s FAQ, it wasn’t mentioned in Novell’s further details announcement, nor its open letter to the community

[...]

It also wasn’t mentioned by Novell’s VP of worldwide sales and president of EMEA, Tom Francese, when I met with him in November, although one thing he did mention is that the full details of the deal would eventually find there way in to the public via the SEC.

It sounds as though Novell has found a new story to tell. Conveniently, it makes its decision look rather decent. Sadly, it does not align with logic. Why did Novell get paid by Microsoft to access Microsoft IP? This question is of course rhetorical. Novell’s new story seems to be a farce. The two companies want the critics off their backs.

Linux ‘Violates’ Microsoft’s Sudo Patent (Updated)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, UNIX at 3:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nothing illustrates the problem with Novell’s deal better than this new blog post.

Did Microsoft just patent sudo?

[...]

What makes this whole thing funny, though, is something I saw a couple days ago. Head over to Builder-AU and listen to Peter Watson from Microsoft. He says,

“User Account Control is a great idea and strategically a direction that sort of all operating systems and all technology should be heading down”

Excuse me? Does he really believe this is all Microsoft’s great new idea?

In the end, this seems like a patent that Microsoft will hold up and say “we have a patent and Linux is violating it!” They won’t ever sue on it though (just leave the threat hanging to scare away potential users), because then they could have the patent revoked. It’s better for them to just wave it around.

Microsoft continues to claim that this sudo-like mechanism is its own innovation. Therefore, as Glyn Moody recently said, we must treat all of Microsoft’s threats as though they are as futile as SCO’s.

Luckily for those who care about sanity, the US courts finally stand behind those who call to abolishing ‘junk patents’. Here are some relevant articles:

Analysis: Less patent shield for code

Clearing the way for wider worldwide distribution of computer software code, and saving Microsoft Corp. millions of dollars in patent damages, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that it is not illegal to send Windows code abroad for copying and installing in foreign-made computers, even if the code incorporates a part of someone else’s patented invention.

Supreme Court to Patent Appeals Court: Drop Dead

Then the justices cupped their hands astride their mouths and shouted in unison: Fewer patents!

Update: The ruling against obvious patents is already serving as ammunition for defense. That is what the following article shows.

Vonage is hopeful that the Supreme Court’s ruling will help its case. “We are very encouraged by the Supreme Court’s decision and the giant step it represents towards achieving much-needed patent reform in this country,” said Vonage interim CEO Jeffrey Citron.

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