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05.23.07

[Humour] The Master Plans and the Hypothetical Scenarios

Posted in Humour, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents, Windows at 11:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The following made-up scenarios very well illustrate the problems that Microsoft is facing. The first one reveals the real motives, which could not be truly concealed.

Microsoft, patents and the open source community

Dear Open Source Community,

You have been had.

We hadn’t been doing too well lately. Vista sales aren’t up to our previously over-inflated figures, we are still loosing money on that whole Xbox thing, and Dell, normally our favourite lapdog, is going to go and sell Linux on a home PC! Not good. So, we came up with an ingenious idea. Let us use these patents we spent so much money on getting, despite the fact everyone knows they are worthless and frivolous, and take on the open source community with them!

[...]

Regards,

Microsoft PR team [NOT REALLY]

The second one shows demonstrates the inability to act upon the expressed desire (or baseless threat).

IT Confidential: What If Microsoft Went Door To Door To Enforce Its Patents?

How would you feel if Steve Ballmer rang your doorbell and starting asking about the software that you used? It’s not so far away from what Microsoft is trying to do with its latest patent claims.

Microsoft Collaborates with Linux Company on Security

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Novell, Security at 11:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

While Novell gets cozy(ier) with Zenoss, which is considered an Open Source company, Microsoft flirts (even collaborates) with a Linux company. Therein lies an absurdity and a conflict:

Patent claims against Linux notwithstanding, Microsoft is working with a startup to ensure a key security initiative includes support for the open-source operating system on client computers.

This time, for a change, it is not a divide and conquer attempt. It is, however, supposed to give a boost to Microsoft’s own business agenda, which requires compatibility with a platform whose existence rights it does not honour.

Microsoft is Novell’s #1 Channel Partner

Posted in Deals, Deception, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Novell, SLES/SLED at 8:53 pm by Shane Coyle

Recent statements by Novell’s Justin Steinman regarding the Microsoft-Novell deal continue to indicate that Microsoft is indeed distributing SUSE, and quite successfully I may add.

Steinman characterized the deal as good for the open source movement, and referred to it as the deal that "put Linux in Walmart and Nationwide Bank" (Umm, Walmart already had Linux Justin – don’t know about Nationwide off the top of my head), and we all know sometimes Justin has a gift for making bombastic statements, fumbling his words or spinning the words of others, so it is alway precarious to base our speculation on Justin’s statements.

Anyhow, my question is this: How can Microsoft be Novell’s #1 channel partner, as Justin asserts, but not a distributor bound by the GPLv2?

Agreement Details Coming This Month

Posted in Deals, Finance, Law, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant at 7:32 pm by Shane Coyle

Let’s all keep an eye out for Novell’s upcoming 10-K filing, it has been promised that the Microsoft deal details will be attached.

Waltham, Mass.-based Novell has not yet disclosed the information due to an on-going and unrelated stock options review, a spokesman said. “We will now file the documents by the end of the month and will publish the Microsoft agreements as attachments to our 10-K,” spokesman Bruce Lowry told attendees of a panel at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) in San Francisco.

Finally we should have a pretty good idea of exactly what IP Novell licensed from Microsoft in order to improve Linux-Windows interoperability, and for what "open source software shipped under the agreement" that Novell agreed to pay Microsoft royalties on.

One thing we already know, from the recent OSBC conference: Microsoft is Novell’s Number 1 Channel Partner, apparently.

Novell, Patent Busters

Posted in EFF, Intellectual Monopoly, Novell, Patents at 7:17 pm by Shane Coyle

Novell and the Electronic Frontier Foundation will be teaming up to address the "patent issue" on an international basis, an apparent follow-up to Novell’s espoused strategy regarding software patents in South Africa and an attempt to clean up their tarnished image in the community.

Novell issued a statement saying that the company would work with EFF to lobby governments and national and international organizations to develop patent legislation and policies that promote innovation.

In particular, Novell and EFF plan to appeal to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to encourage the group to take a global approach to patent reform.

Novell will help fund EFF’s “Patent Busting” program, which was launched in 2004. That project tries to identify prior art that can knock down patents that impose heavy burdens on software developers and Internet users.

“Show Us the Code” Update (in Video)

Posted in Videos at 7:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The “Sue me first” list keeps growing as well.

It’s Novell’s Blunder and Microsoft’s PR Disaster (External Sources)

Posted in Deals, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Interoperability, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents, Protocol, Red Hat, Servers, Ubuntu, Virtualisation at 6:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Here is an analysis of the Novell/Microsoft deal which hits the nail right on the head. Readers are encouraged to read this and internalise.

…I don’t think Microsoft is going to grow the number of Linux users, at least not in a very big way. But they are in a position to cash in when their customers gradually turn more of their machines away from Microsoft and toward Linux. And this substitution strategy is not the crux of the Microsoft strategy. At the present time, Microsoft supports Wal-Mart by selling them coupons good for help from SUSE. Microsoft got these at no dollar cost simply by agreeing not to sue Novell over undisclosed patents that Microsoft implies are infringed by Linux. This parallels the SCO strategy: pay me and I’ll leave you alone.

This is the heart of the matter. Microsoft frightens Wal-Mart into becoming a SUSE user, and makes everyone nervous about using Linux, for reasons that can’t be clearly expressed and assessed. Since Microsoft’s patent claims against Linux are merely rumor, it can’t hurt to repeat what is also merely rumor: that Microsoft is even now quietly making the rounds among large companies and collecting tribute.

And there is more excitement to come: the word “collaboration” normally makes me think of Penguins. In this case, it reminds me of Vichy — Novell will have an exclusive arrangement with Microsoft to work out real, genuine, patent-blessed interoperability with SUSE. Will other distros have access to this code?

Certainly, more interoperatibility between Microsoft and Linux software would help Linux spread. Samba and OpenOffice have been working on this for years. It’s that Microsoft’s “blessing” of SUSE as the only legitimate Linux is not the way to compete in the open source marketplace. The problem is not that Microsoft wants to sell services for the Linux in its customers’ IT operations, or that Oracle wants to kick Red Hat out of its customers’ shops. The problem is that Microsoft is competing not on service or convenience, but by softly breathing Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt over the entire Linux landscape.

You may also wish to read this analysis of a pessimistic blogger. Luckily, Microsoft’s latest attempt to recruit more victims has simply backfired. The plan to get other distributors to join ranks with Novell turned out to be a public relations disaster, as the following analysis suggests.

“I’m stunned that after taking a number of seemingly positive steps vis-a-vis its thinking and strategy around open source, Microsoft has decided to blow away any bridges it built in a matter of weeks,” long time Microsoft pundit Mary Jo Foley opined.

She noted that Microsoft’s threat to sue had backfired, and pointed to a website that lists over 300 open-source supporters that are openly asking Microsoft to sue them over alleged patent infringement.

Microsoft is now in a tough predicament. Either it must stick to its guns, or attempt to back off and sweep what could become a public relations disaster under the rug.

Malaysia looks at OOXML (and it doesn’t like what it sees)

Posted in Asia, Formats, Interoperability, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Standard at 6:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Under increasing pressure, as small shops begin to preinstall OpenOffice.org, Microsoft steps up to have a 6039-page specification ratified as an international standard. As we said the other day, countries are not pleased with the huge stacks of paper. There are some more breaktaking photos in this new item, and also some interesting perspective which reveals a trick.

It is therefore clear that the interest of Malaysians of consumers can be summarised by the demand: “One Standard, Multiple Apps”.

What is interesting is how this issue is being played up. Instead on concentrating on the technical issues regarding the specification tow hich there are many, Microsoft is politicising it by claiming unfairness in the process, naming IBM as the alleged oppressor to MSOOXML.

This is probably the reason why Microsoft continually seems to be sending non-technical people (to Malaysia and Czech ) to these workshops probably to try to convince us of the merits of the specification not on a technical level, but on a “political” level.

Being a “policial battle”, it seems clear whose side Novell has chosen. This does not help anybody, except for the monopoly abuser.

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