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Buying Linux from Microsoft — Is This the Future in Novell’s Eyes?

Posted in Dell, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Novell, Servers at 11:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Groklaw is somewhat critical of Dell’s latest move. Why on earth would Dell wish to buy Linux from Microsoft? It already trades happily with Red Hat.

So, is it possible Microsoft just wants to get out of the SLES certificates business quick, most specifically before GPLv3 is final?

There are more questions to be asked here. There is a certain malicious strategy here and it ought to be ‘reverse engineered’, so to speak. Other speculations align with the contention that GPLv3 plays major role. Novell, Microsoft, and Dell possibly realise that the GPLv2 clock may be ticking.

So far, the impulse of the FOSS movement has been to use GPLv3 to torpedo the MSFT-NOVL deal and discourage interoperability, not exactly a customer-friendly strategy. One of the interesting implications of the Dell announcement is that Dell must be writing off the possiblity that GPLv3 will be adopted for Linux. Or it is willing to support a fork into v2 and v3 versions.

If true, then yet again Novell is being used as a strawman that intercepts Open Source licences.

Novell News – Quick Roundup

Posted in Interview, Novell, OpenOffice, OpenSUSE at 11:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There are certain Novell stories which we have not mentioned, so consider this a short digest.

First of all, two press releases that offer some praises:

On the community side, a roadmap for openSUSE 10.3 has been established.

openSUSE 10.3 is the next release that incorporates new features from both the community and Novell internal development.

There is some further analysis of the Opensuse user survey which we previously mentioned.

Users of the Linux distribution OpenSuse are overwhelmingly technical, young males and they prefer working in a character-based environment rather than with a GUI, or graphical user interface, according to a survey conducted by Novell, the creator of Suse.

Lastly, here is an interview with Michael Meeks from Novell’s OpenOffice.org team. He justifies support for Microsoft’s OOXML.

Contrasting Novell and Red Hat’s Approaches Further

Posted in Interoperability, Novell, Red Hat at 8:47 pm by Shane Coyle

Recently, during his appearance at the CITI forum shortly after the Microvell agreement was announced, Novell’s Stafford Masie went to great lengths to enumerate the different features in Novell’s edition OpenOffice.org, including the addition of licensed AGFA fonts designed to match commonly used Microsoft fonts.

Enhanced Fonts: For the Novell Edition of OpenOffice.org, Novell licensed fonts from AGFA that use the same or similar names as the fonts available in Microsoft Office. The fonts also look similar to those used by Microsoft and have identical metrics. This allows OpenOffice.org to match fonts when opening documents originally composed in Microsoft Office, and very closely match pagination and page formatting.

Well, Red Hat has also seen the proprietary Microsoft fonts as an impediment to true interoperability, and has addressed the issue in true open-source fashion:

To address this issue and to take a key step toward liberating desktops, Red Hat contracted with Ascender Corp., one of the leading commercial developers of fonts, to develop a set of fonts that are metrically equivalent to the key Microsoft fonts. Under the terms of that development agreement, Ascender retains rights in the fonts and can provide them under a traditional proprietary license to those who require such a license, e.g. printers that have fonts embedded in their firmware, but Red Hat receives a license that permits us to sublicense the fonts at no cost under the GPL+font exception.

You are free to use these fonts on any system you would like. You are free to redistribute them under the GPL+exception license found in the download. Using these fonts does not subject your documents to the GPL, it liberates them from any proprietary claim. Once you have installed these fonts, I encourage you to make them your default in Thunderbird, FireFox, and Open Office. Heck, for that matter make them your default in Microsoft Office, in Microsoft Windows, in Apple OSX, in anything your would like. In many applications you can set Times New Roman, Arial and Courier New to convert to these fonts.

So, how do you want your interoperability – free and unencumbered, or the Microvell way?

Interoperability Shouldn’t Require an Agreement

Posted in Deals, Deception, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Standard, Windows at 7:35 pm by Shane Coyle

Open Standards Will Do Just Fine, Thank You

On the heels of the confirmation by Novell’s Justin Steinman that the Microvell deal does indeed include a patent license, despite earlier denials, Red Hat has confirmed that they continue to hold conversations with Microsoft regarding improved interoperability between Windows and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Red Hat, however, has no interest in signing any deal which will include closed APIs, and is unlikely interested in licensing any Microsoft intellectual property in order to do so.

Red Hat will only sign an interoperability agreement with Microsoft if it is based entirely on open standards, the company’s executive vice president of Engineering Paul Cormier told vnunet.com.

“Interoperability done on closed APIs isn’t interoperability,” Cormier said.

“We’ll never do interoperability based on closed APIs.”

Novell Confirms the Deal Was About “Intellectual Property”

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents at 5:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Well, well, well…

Novell has stubbornly denied that the deal with Microsoft was about patents, but have a look at this new nugget of information which comes from a journalist:

Novell confirms that patent deal gave it access to Microsoft IP

I am also confused as to how Steinman’s explanation of the intellectual property agreement fits in with Novell’s earlier explanation of the patent covenant. For example, in its FAQ, Novell stated:

“Our agreement with Microsoft is focused on our customers, and does not include a patent license or covenant not to sue from Microsoft to Novell (or, for that matter, from Novell to Microsoft).”

Steinman has just contradicted Novell’s ‘damage control’ FAQ. Mark these words. Novell acknowledges that it needs access to software patents. In another press release from yesterday, Novell just seems to accept the statement that customers want legal protection.

“Customers have asked us for greater interoperability and for IP assurance that enables vendors to build technical bridges,” said Susan Hauser, general manager of strategic partnerships and licensing at Microsoft.

Novell, say it isn’t so. Yet again, Microsoft adds intellectual property FUD into your own announcements. It has become a pattern. One’s belief is that if they repeat it endlessly, people might start to believe in this imaginary risk and thus be fearful. Things get even worse when the customer’s voice is being ‘hijacked’.

Novell’s impact on Linux and Free software is best illustrated using some quotes:

In mid-November, shortly after the pact was announced, Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer said companies that sell or run Linux, but aren’t covered under the Novell deal, are illegally using Microsoft’s IP. “We believe every Linux customer basically has an undisclosed balance-sheet liability,” he said.

He said in a later meeting: “I do think it clearly establishes that open source is not free.”

Novell: Remember, Mixed Source includes Open Source

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, Marketing, Novell, Red Hat, RHX at 8:34 am by Shane Coyle

Novell still seems to be struggling internally to define itself and its own philosophy, first embracing and then recently retreating somewhat from Open Source, preferring to categorize themselves as a "mixed source" company.

Recently, Red Hat announced the Red Hat Exchange (RHX) program, an online marketplace for open source solutions. Well, Novell’s Bruce Lowry wants to remind us of Novell’s long-standing effort in this area, Market Start, and detail some recent additions to the program.

Anybody who had any doubts about whether open source has the power to go beyond operating systems and other infrastructure roles need look no further than this list of Novell Market Start partners. Together, we’re making it increasingly easy for customers – big and small – to tap into the flexibility, cost benefits and performance power of open source.

Lowry’s outlook and attitude towards open source seems markedly more positive than that of Stafford Masie, appearing at the CITI Forum shortly after the announcement of the Microvell deal.

We believe today alot of the open source technology has not caught up yet to enterprise customers’ needs in the security domain, management domain. Where Linux is open source, specifically Linux is completely applicable is the platform, the desktop, office productivity suite, the database, etc so there’s kinda 5 major areas where its good enough if not better than whats out there, ok? where its not there yet, Novell has proprietary technology and partners that provide 3rd party technologies to that proprietary technologies where we wrap our technologies around this Linux technology. so, like zenworks management, our zenworks management suite is a proprietary piece of technology.

So, which is the real Novell?

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