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Kevin Carmony Responds, Linspire on Permanent Feature Freeze for GPLv3 Software

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell at 11:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It appears as though Mr. Carmony decided to defend his position and shed some light on the pressing issues. Speaking to DesktopLinux, he explains where things stands. You can read the whole conversation which contains some dross and marketing drivel, but one one part which stands out is this:

“As for the GPLv3, our agreement [with Microsoft] was designed to incorporate and be flexible around this new license. (No coupons, etc.),” concluded Carmony.

All righty! In other words, Kevin seems to confirm that his distribution is intended and bound to stay stuck in GPLv2 (2007). He confirms that he deal with Microsoft had this provision. He confirms, for example, that no longer will his product incorporate changes made to Samba (however critical they might be). This was not a smart business move. Novell could at least argue that it would continue to distribute and deliver GPLv3-licensed software to its clients (working around Microsoft).

Matt Hartley has just published a short piece which might as well demonstrate the fact that any Linux distributor that enters negotiations with Microsoft is simply committing suicide. The author also explains the absurdity of such moves.

These companies were given access to thousands of man hours worth of code and software, and they repay this kindness by outwardly betraying the license that made this possible for them in the first place.

I would replace the word “thousands” with “millions”. The cost of developing Debian (had it been built in a commercial setting) is flabbergasting. Reports have been put together to show this.

Hopefully, at the end of the day, someone is at least counting some cash and planning a one-way journey to Maui. It’s neither the users nor the developers.

Remember Pamela’s analogy? Selling your mother’s blood?

Microsoft Already Plans to ‘Extend’ Its ‘Standard’; ECMA and ISO Named and Shamed

Posted in ECMA, Formats, ISO, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 10:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The weekend is almost here. The amount of news that is related the monopoly enabler (OOXML) is fairly large. Here is a quick summary.

Pamela wrote a long article which cites others. It also contains some very alarming piece of information. The takeaway: Miirosoft is proprietizing standards and ‘extending’ them. We have seen this before.

….when you proprietize standards, you touch me. And that is precisely what is happening with OOXML. Microsoft’s own expert at the Portugal meeting said so pointblank: Microsoft will add proprietary extensions, he said, to do things ODF can’t do.

Rob takes a look at some unbelievable slides from ECMA. These pretty much confirm that ECMA should be treated as nothing but a coin-in-the-slot standards organisation.

I’ve joked about the Ecma process before, but I never thought I’d see it written out officially like this. Standards are made available “on time”? Minimize the “risk” of changes? I thought the whole purpose of technical review was to find the problems and fix them? As always, the man who pays the piper calls the tune.

Bob has more to say about the questionable voting process.

I mention this because this general issue of stacking committees to force favorable votes is now under examination with respect to OOXML and the ISO/IEC JTC1 Fast Track process.

Mr. Jelliffe seems rather unhappy. He posted “Bribery Watch!”. It seems like a bizarre way of accusing people of inaccuracies or maybe even slander. These arguments needn’t get ugly, but where corruption (yes, it’s a strong word, I know) is identified and where people game the system, something simply must be said. If you say nothing, the consumer will continue to suffer whilst greedy corporation exploit loopholes. Whose side are you on?

Do-No-Evil Saturday: Build Service, Contracts, Success Stories, Even a Video

Posted in Asia, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Novell, OpenSUSE, Videos at 9:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The weekly series continues. Here are some of the more positive news and developments at Novell, whose bragging rights are well earned.

The popular blogger Liquidat tells us about his experiences with the OpenSuse Build Service. It is part of an interesting series of posts.

After playing around with the OpenSuse Build Service for some days now I decided to build development packages of kblogger as a first real life test.

More on OBS here. Liquidat had some minor setbacks at the end, but he still stubbornly supports Opensuse and Fedora.

Under new leadership, Opensuse Alpha6 was announced a couple of days ago.

AJ [Andreas] used to write here, that he’s glad to announce. I can’t say I am – I am relieved I can announce openSUSE 10.3 Alpha6 to you. I didn’t have a chance to put too much testing into more than the i586 DVD5 and the KDE CD. But I didn’t want to wait any longer either. So I’m left with hoping the best.

Still on the issue of Opensuse, have a look at this article which nicely covers Hack Week.

According to legendary scientist Albert Einstein, “everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.” Perhaps that is why open-source software is such fertile ground for innovation.


[Q:] Are there plans to do another Hack Week in the future? If Novell does another Hack Week, is there something that you would like to see done differently?

[Nat Friedman:] Absolutely. We’re looking at doing it again in 6 months or so. No date is set yet, but in the future we hope to involve more participants from the community.

Novell has just begun an important initiative in Asia Pacific.

Novell announced today the launch of the Asia Pacific chapter of the Novell Linux Champions Club, following the success of the Champions Club in Europe. The objective of the Club is to build a community of Linux proponents among Novell’s strategic partners and their partners, eventually creating a Linux-friendly ecosystem in Asia Pacific.

ELCOT’s migration to SUSE Linux is explored in the following new video. I’ll admit that I’m worried about embedding YouTube videos. Some Free software users/advocates loathe them and even complain. Richard Stallman has vocally whined about such videos of his talks, which he is unable to access. You can’t blame him. There is some truly Free software that can play them however. It’s no longer experimental.

It is quite fascinating to see how large organisations handle a radical IT transition. Italy’s decision to switch 3,500 government PCs to SUSE Linux could benefit from ELCOT’s lessons. Maybe they should communicate or exchange technical reports, such as the one produced by Birmingham last year.

Early in the week, Novell celebrated a GroupWise success story which also involved GNU/Linux.

The City of Saint Paul was running disparate e-mail platforms that required increasing IT administration as they often experienced downtime. Standardizing on Novell® GroupWise® on SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server created a unified e-mail platform across the organization, reducing hardware costs by 75 percent and achieving 99.9 percent uptime.

As a government agency, the City of Saint Paul provides municipal services to the more than 275,000 residents of Minnesota’s capital city. The City has more than 3,000 employees across 125 different locations.

Nothing about “intellectual property” or ‘protection’, so well done, Novell! The company also had an honourable mention here:

IT executives in Singapore resoundingly awarded technology giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) top prize in Computerworld Singapore’s survey on desktop and server management vendors, based mainly on its ability to follow through on its service commitments to customers.

HP finished well ahead of its closest rival, Computer Associates (CA), while Novell’s ZENworks line of solutions warranted an honourable mention.


It [Novell] recently sealed a partnership with Capgemini under which the outsourcing powerhouse will bundle Novell’s Linux-based server and desktop management tools in the solution packages it puts together for its generally sizeable clients.

Later in the week, Novell got itself a new business partner.

Acronis will create new storage management solutions for SUSE’s Linux Enterprise customers and provide advanced disaster recovery, backup and restore, partitioning and data migration solutions including centrally managed online server backup, server disk imaging, and bare-metal restore solutions for SUSE.

Fortunately, Novell and Microsoft were not mentioned in the same sentence quite so often in the past week. Can Novell ever distance itself from that ‘partner’ in its road to independence? That would render many of our complaints pointless. Just don’t let Microsoft make Linux distributors suicidal. They should know better by now. Just watch what happened to Linspire.

Can Linspire Still Feed on Ubuntu (or Debian) Linux Codebase?

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Linspire, Microsoft, Xandros at 4:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Earlier this week, just less than a couple of months after their seemingly-friendly deal, Microsoft betrayed Linspire. There are more questions to be raised and implications to discuss.

Setting aside the fact that Kevin Carmony took a cheap shot at folks like Mark Shuttleworth (his supplier) with his “pirates” remark, what might be the punishment?

Microsoft has disavowed any GPLv3-licensed software. Ubuntu will be moving toward the new toolchain, which is GPLv3-licensed. Linspire needs Ubuntu, which is the core on which it builds its products. If Linspire carries on adopting Ubuntu as its codebase or even falls back (some would say “forward”) to Debian, any “patent indemnification” will then be rendered moot.

Let’s admit that we only came to this realisation when we read a comment from a very shrewd person who seems to be intimately familiar with Linspire matters. Here is what he had to say about Freespire:

What a complete and utter crock. There IS no 100 percent free version of Freespire because it was KILLED by Kevin Carmony. Several prominent “community” members gave the distro a two-fingers-up and moved on to klikit Linux after KC signed the pact acknowledging unspecified patent infringements. The newest Linspire has an EULA worthy of Microsoft, and there IS no “community” to make Freespire “community-driven.” Freespire is the red-headed stepchild of the parent Linspire (perhaps Lindows will make a resurgence now that Carmony is in bed with MS.) Avoid, shun, discourage use of this distro wherever and whenever possible.

The very same person was very well aware (and critical) of the fact that Linspire used to game DistroWatch ranks and got caught by Ladislav, the Web site’s maintainer. Additionally, the Linspire EULA only permits the user to install the software on one PC. It certainly teaches you a thing or two about Linspire and their source of inspiration. They used to go by the name “Lindows” before a settlement with Microsoft.

Xandros has not been mentioned in relation to GPLv3 yet. There was no announcement from Microsoft. The abusive company only spoke about Linspire, but the deal with Xandros is virtually identical. Since Xandors does not maintain its distribution purely by itself (it has some proprietary component to latch onto it, just like Linspire, which ‘repackages’ Linux), how does it fit into this debate? Do the same rules apply? Is a Xandros betrayal imminent? Statements from Microsoft have already rained on Novell’s and Linspire’s parade. It is obvious that there is more to come.

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