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05.28.07

What Does the SEC Filing Mean to the ‘Technical Enthusiasts’?

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell at 9:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ZDNet’s Between the Lines takes a glimpse at Novell’s *** filing (with *** portions redacted because ***) and then comments:

…while it’s suspicious that Novell dropped these filings late Friday before a long weekend, I’ll give the company a pass. The filings were ridiculously late due to stock options backdating so why make the Securities and Exchange Commission wait? Just get the filings over with already–it’s not like we didn’t know they were coming.

[...]

The takeaways from that passage:

  • Novell may not get the payola it’s getting accustomed to from Microsoft;
  • It’s clear that Microsoft’s patent statements are really about calling a GPLv3 truce;
  • Novell has to be worried since I’d argue that the Microsoft pact is one of the big reasons SUSE Linux is getting traction in the enterprise.

A few good points are being made. For example, Novell may have joined forces with the EFF in order to improve its image and put guilt in the minds of GPLv3 adopters; not to mention denouncing of Microsoft’s patent claims, which was just a defensive move. Novell secretly enjoys Microsoft’s anti-Linux FUD, which makes SUSE seem like a safe haven (at the expense of all else). Looking at the conclusion of this analysis from BTL:

At the end of the document, Microsoft outlines its patents pledge to hobbyist developers and openSUSE.org developers.

The message seems to be: Cut deals with Microsoft on patents and you’ll be exonerated.

This sums up the biggest of issues which Novell has introduced. Novell has consistently shown disregard for the ‘little guy’, who produces software that reaches Novell. Novell seems comfortable calling the “hobbyist”/’little guy’ a “technical enthusiast”. More comments on these issues appear in Groklaw and LWN comments.

Some other people’s suspicions and concerns become more justified (follow the trail of links here, if needed) as Novell reveals its big plans for Linux. From the coverage in eWeek:

Regarding copyrights, licensing, patents and trademarks, Novell said its business includes a mix of proprietary offerings and offerings based on open-source technologies. “With respect to proprietary offerings, we perform the majority of our development efforts internally, but we also acquire and license technologies from third parties. No one license is critical to our business. Our open-source offerings are primarily [composed] of open-source components developed by independent third parties over whom we exercise no control,” the company said in its filing.

Once Again We Find One-sided and Promotional Journalism

Posted in Australia, Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, Servers, Windows at 7:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

On this Memorial day (pardon the pace of posting), a lot news will come from Australia, but some of it boggles the mind. Here, for example, you hear about Novell losing customers that choose to move to Microsoft. Questionable claims are being made. Are 10 Novell servers truly being replaced by just a single Microsoft Exchange server? With a shiny “Get the Facts” banner on the right-hand-side of the page, one must take this with a grain of salt.

It seems to be very fishy as it resembles similar claims that Microsoft made in the past about an IBM servers. Something such as this (awfully misleading advertising) led to serious investigations and Microsoft was told off for making an unbelievably laughable comparisons (e.g. ancient hardware against modern one running other bits of software).

Another appalling article comes from National Business Review (Web site located in New Zealand), which suggests that OOXML enables openness. Enough has been said, even recently, as to why OOXML is merely another monopoly enabler, which even tightens some screws. Here we have an article praising it when it fact it eliminates existing interoperability and helps protect the monopoly. The article only seems to support Microsoft’s side and serves as an advertisement for some of their other products. Journalism and the media truly seem to have become a tool for corporate agenda.

On a brighter note, here is another article which also appeared in Australia this morning (CRN version is quoted below as it appears to be the original source). It mentioned Novell the context of migrations to Linux and Open Source technology.

Part of that may be due to the rise of Linux and open-source software as competitive options to Windows and other Microsoft products, particularly on the server side. Open-source software is creating more opportunities for custom systems builders, “especially in emerging markets where price points are looked on as more important than brand loyalty,” says Mark Longwell, Novell business development director. And that, he says, is putting pressure on Microsoft.

Unafraid of Software Patents, the World Points at the Real Issue

Posted in FUD, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat, Servers, Windows at 7:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An article that we mentioned before has just made it into popular national press in South Africa. To quote:

The recent threats made by Microsoft towards the open source software (OSS) community appear to have done little to worry South African OSS companies.

Having dismissed the threats and shown apathy, Red Hat begins to put the finger at the real issue at hand.

Asked about Red Hat’s feisty response to Microsoft’s claim that it held 235 patents which were infringed by Linux and other free and open source software projects – the Red Hat IP team’s response was headlined ‘Deploy with confidence’ – Webbink said at some point one had to “get in the fight or yield ground to the bully.”

[...]

Webbink said the patent rhetoric coming out of Redmond had started going up in volume about three years ago – right at the time when Microsoft started seeing its timeline for releasing Vista pushed back.

That’s right! Internal problems are still the cause for the verbal attacks, just as this other little piece confirms.

Ashley Vance had a story on theregister last week about Microsoft’s use of an article in Fortune Magazine to communicate a patent threat. Here’s his summary paragraph:

It would seem that Microsoft now relies on the likes of Fortune to perform scoldings. The software maker, as you’ve no doubt heard, placed a terse article with the publication.

[...]

What caught my eye in the comments was a heading “Apologies to Flanders and Swann” which, sadly, did not live up to its billing. The one below it, however, has much to recommend it:

By Carl

Posted Monday 14th May 2007 21:13 GMT

If Linux is using all this patented Mugrosoft code why are they so much better?! Apparently Mugrosoft views Linux as a threat since they would not bother unless there really is a viable business/GPL model for Linux. The sad fact is Mugrosoft is on the way out, Vista is a Blackhole, the security problems are interfering with other software releases. The gaming side of things is notably unprofitable. Visual Studio and C# are not attracting as many developers as python and php unless you count corporate shills onboard for all the freebies. Mugrosoft Server software is apparently working now but with this kind of irresponsible market behavior why would an IT department spend the cash to become dependent on the unwieldy and seemingly abusive Mugrosoft model of programming and corporate bullying?

Some would say that a unanimous vote has shown us that patent infringement — if valid at all — was never the real problem. It’s just being used as what we have come to know as “scareware”.

If You Lack Good Software, Then Produce “Scareware”

Posted in FUD, Microsoft, Novell, Windows at 7:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ComputerWorld has an article which coins an interesting new term — “scareware”. It explains why vapourware tactics are ineffective, so they are being replaced by something more aggressive, which can possibly compensate for lack of innovation. Have a look at this new fragment of text.

Microsoft talks a lot about innovation. It innovated the Xbox, several years after everyone else; it innovated the Zune, several years after everyone else; it innovated the GUI, several years after Apple (okay, and Xerox); it innovated Hotmail … oh, alright, it bought Hotmail. Bill Gates famously missed the internet revolution and then innovated the web browser, several years after Netscape.

[...]

In the meantime, though, the company that brought us vapourware has innovated yet another new product: scareware (oh, okay, a couple of years after SCO).

In another new interview, the man at the top of the Linux Foundation confirms this.

Question: How do you respond to the theory that it’s all part of Microsoft’s plan to pull the rug out from under Red Hat?

Zemlin: I don’t think they’re really targeting anyone here. It’s just really about the FUD.

Remember that Novell is a passive part — a cogwheel if you like — in the use of intimidation. You may also wish to see his BusinessWeek rebuttal, which Shane covered last week.

Eben Moglen Confirms That GPLv3 Will Address Microvell Debacle, Acknowledgement Comes from Novell

Posted in FSF, GPL, Microsoft, Novell at 7:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Some of our readers are here to defend Novell. Comments get posted which either apologise or insist that GPLv3 won’t be effective against Novell. Eben Moglen, on the other hand, certainly begs to differ, as the following new article suggests:

Apart from the people at the two companies, one man had already seen the agreement after signing a non-disclosure agreement – Eben Moglen, the chief legal eagle of the Free Software Foundation. And Moglen was the one who came to the conclusion that the existing GPL – version 2 – could probably not stop the deal. He also concluded that language in the GPLv3 could be used to block the deal.

According to another article, it is indeed undeniable. Even Novell admits that GPLv3 will give it a hard time.

Another worry is that Novell may be restricted in its ability to include GPLv3 code in its products.

Novell admits (in the statement) if any of the cases arise its business and operating results will be adversely affected.

Hopefully this will clarify a thing or two.

Novell Accused of Using Sex to Sell

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, SLES/SLED at 6:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In a short and mystifying article, Novell criticisms are raised (or at least echoed). These are related to marketing.

The chap behind the Secret Diary of Steve Jobs blogsite lambasted Novell for its puerile guerrilla marketing effort, saying it’s not cool to use hot girls to flog merchandise — and it hasn’t worked anyway.

Let’s remind ourselves of marketing spoofs that Novell recently used to promote SUSE. Another case of “sex sells”? Be the judge. Microsoft has had some similar problems recently.

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