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05.25.07

The Problem Novell Introduced is Gradually Being Resolved (Without Novell)

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE at 11:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ComputerWorld has just published an article which explores the recent events and also reiterates the serious issues that Novell introduced through its deal with Microsoft.

Some Linux users may be protected because, as part of its FUD campaign, Microsoft entered into a patent swap with Novell. According to Microsoft, Novell agrees that Microsoft has valid patent claims against Linux but the deal will keep Microsoft from suing any Novell Linux customers. Novell does not agree with Microsoft’s characterization, claiming that it does not agree that Microsoft has patents that Linux infringes.

This is, needless to mention, nothing new. The recent events, however, confirmed many of our long-held suspicions. In another article, Microsoft talks about the GPLv3. The company has become morbidly obsessed with it as its spokesmen continues to mention it in interviews.

Speaking to CXOtoday.com, a Microsoft spokesperson states that the latest draft of the General Public License version 3 (GPLv3) attempts to tear down the bridge that Microsoft has built between proprietary and open source software.

Microsoft has our deepest of sympathies. Is anyone still surprised that they use various proxies to attack GPLv3 like it was the plague? They do this in the most desperate of ways now, with shades of the infamous “Get the Facts” campaign.

In related news, Rick Lehrbaum, who is a prominent man in the Linux community (as well as a Ziff Davis executive) calls it a day and apt-get removes SUSE.

The Signs of Success, Indicated by Miserable Acts

Posted in Dell, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell at 11:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Which is the winning side and which is the losing side in the endless exchange of words, threats, and rebuttals? We have spotted evidence that suggests weaknesses thrive in the side of the offense, which is gradually losing its appeal. Among the flood of encoraging news about increasing adoption of Free software, there is also plenty that mentions the recent set of attacks as a key indicator of success.

Here is one such column from an eWeek Analyst.

…there was one aspect of this whole circus that struck me immediately upon seeing the news. And that was that this whole effort of FUD on the part of Microsoft is a clear sign that they have given up. Microsoft has been fighting a war for the last several years, and this announcement about the 235 patents was as clear as a white flag that they have given up on ever winning that war.

Which war is it that I’m referring to? It’s the war over you, the IT worker and administrator.

Here is another one, which also bothers to mention Dell’s milestone — one which we have neglected to point out, until now.

One thing is for sure, and despite Microsoft’s official denials; open source software is the biggest threat the company faces to its world-beating business model.

This was further underlined with Dell’s announcement that it was shipping a range of desktops and notebooks with open source operating system Ubuntu preloaded.

Novell Stock Buyback Speculations; Expansion Overseas; Sentinel 6 is Out

Posted in Asia, Finance, Marketing, Novell at 11:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Over at SeekingAlpha, Eric Savitz opines that Novell might initiate stock buybacks, just like Microsoft. Additionally, following what might become a trend, we also hear about an aggressive hiring programme in India.

Novell has appointed Naresh Shah as managing director of Novell India Development Centre in Bangalore. This appointment adds onto his current role in Novell as vice president of Global Engineering Strategy. Naresh brings to Novell over 20 years of experience in the technology industry in Asia. Prior to this, he was product manager for Lucent for Mexico, with added responsibilities of managing Lucent’s relationship with AT&AT and its joint ventures in the Asia Pacific region. Novell’s India Development Centre is the second largest R&D centre for Novell worldwide and it is continuing its rapid expansion plans through an aggressive hiring programme.

Meanwhile, Novell has announced the availability of Sentinel 6.

Novell today announced that its next-generation real-time security event management product, Sentinel 6 from Novell, is generally available worldwide.

Novell 10-K Released, Redacted Agreement Available

Posted in Deals, Finance, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents at 9:33 pm by Shane Coyle

Finally, some facts…

Here it is, folks. This will take some time for me to peruse, but here are some early reactions from Dave Rosenberg and Bruce Perens:

Open-source advocate Bruce Perens said he would be looking to see exactly what Novell was given through the deal and whether there is any requirement for the Linux vendor to defend Microsoft’s patent claims. “What I’m actually looking for is, to what extent was there a violation of faith?” he said.

Microsoft has claimed that Linux violates more than 235 of its patents, and because the deal offers patent protection to Novell users, it is seen as potentially driving a wedge in the Linux community. “Novell had a choice here, and Novell’s choice was to be in the same boat with the rest of the free software community, or not,” Perens said.

Based on an initial reading of the documents, Perens said the deal does not appear to provide full patent protection to Linux users. “Novell did not get complete rights regarding Microsoft patents,” he said. “For example, office productivity applications are specifically excluded. … OpenOffice.org is excluded by name, WINE and Open-Xchange are excluded by name,”

The Economics of FUD

Posted in Courtroom, Deals, Deception, Finance, FUD, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Microsoft, Novell, OpenOffice, Patents, Red Hat, SUN, Ubuntu at 9:13 pm by Shane Coyle

Once upon a time, I had opined that Microsoft’s true bounty in the Microvell deal was Novell’s complicity in Microsoft’s attempts to undermine the E.C. Decision and fines, and that the FUD was merely a bonus.

Apparently, I hadn’t any appreciation for just how much of an economic interest the monopolist has in using any and all means to defend their position for as absolutely long as possible. While reading through the Linux Foundation’s response to Microsoft’s recent patent saber-rattling, I was taken aback at the truly staggering sums involved:

In the time it will likely take you to read this article, Microsoft will have made $500,000 in net profit. It’s instructive to note that the majority of that profit comes from its Windows operating system and Office suite of business software. Not coincidentally, those are the two product lines most threatened by Linux operating systems and Open Office.

Given the high stakes involved, it’s not surprising that Microsoft would take steps to protect its turf. In fact, it makes perfect sense. Let’s face it: If you were making $1 billion a month, what would you do? Perhaps engage in rhetoric and hyperbole to generate some old-fashioned FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt)? Just looking at the numbers, it’s easy to see that even if the scare campaign merely delays a customer’s migration from Windows to Linux by a single day, Microsoft is $34 million dollars better off.

Think about that – just one week of Novell-Fueled FUD pays for all of those SUSE subscriptions (7 days @ $34M each = $238M, MS payed $240M for 350,000 SUSE subscription coupons). Each and every day that Microsoft has been able to use Novell’s capitulation to FUD Linux since November 9th 2006 has been pure profit.

Does anyone still really want to argue that Novell was the party of advantage, as evidenced by the relatively larger (but insignificant to Microsoft, as these number indicate) payment for the patent covenant?

As far as the statement from the the Linux Foundation, they have called on Microsoft ("a rational actor") to "work with the Linux ecosystem to restore confidence in the patent system by making sure they are issued only for truly unique, innovative, and novel functions that advance the state of the art." The statement also includes not-so-subtle reminders to Microsoft that they are not the only people to hold significant patent portfolios.

Joining in the patent cold war recently, on the side of Free Software and toting a significant and focused patent portfolio of their own, was Sun’s Jonathan Schwartz, who has pledged to rally to the aid of Red Hat and Ubuntu, if need be. (It should be noted that Sun engaged in a controversial deal with Microsoft back in 2004, in which Sun secured protection from potential IP claims regarding OOO by MS for only Sun StarOffice customers – sound familiar?)

Of course, neither Microsoft nor Sun want to truly test their spurious software patents in a court of law, but moments such as these allow us some insight into the dispositions, and motivations, of the "leaders" of the software industry.

In this case Microsoft, Novell and Sun all have a vested interest in the perpetuation of the software patent myth, and would prefer just an adjustment of the broken system.

Which Parts of the Disclosure Will Be Redacted?

Posted in Deals, Finance, Novell at 1:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There is an excellent insight over at Dana’s open source blog. More interesting, however, is the conversation that follows. As you may recall:

Novell will give more details of its patent deal with Microsoft, although the full story wouldn’t be revealed as the company plans to redact some of the more sensitive details.

Which parts? Shane pondered this yesterday. Among Dana’s observations:

Novell faced such a choice six months ago. Microsoft offered it a fat check for its corporate soul.

Novell took the check.

Now it wants a do-over. Novell promises to (finally) share the full agreement.

The fact is that the full details of the agreement are not to be disclosed. This leads to the following short thread. Let us wait and see… not what Novell discloses, but what it chooses to hide. We impatiently wait. When Steinman addressed BoycottNovell’s questions, he said nothing about redactions.

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