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08.08.07

Ron Hovsepian Apparently Gives the Nod to Microsoft Patent Deals, Gets Red Hat Angered

Posted in GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, Red Hat, Ron Hovsepian, Xandros at 11:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ron Hovsepian gave a talk at LinuxWorld. While most press coverage remains focused on consolidation and covergence aspects, the following important part is equally noteworthy.

In the same vein, the Novell CEO praised proprietary software companies for jumping on the Linux bandwagon, including Oracle’s leap into the Linux distribution support market — based on a variation of Novell rival Red Hat — and even Microsoft’s additional deals with Linux distributors Linspire and Xandros.

Oh, dear. That’s a mouthful. It is not an exact quote, of course, but let’s dissect:

  • “…praised proprietary software companies for jumping on the Linux bandwagon…”IOW, Free software isn’t quite so important to Novell anymore.
  • “…[praised] Oracle’s leap into the Linux distribution support market…” — IOW, Novell supports companies that steal another company’s business by making copycats, halving the support fares, and sucking money out of someone else’s labour.
  • “…[Unbreakable is] based on a variation of Novell rival Red Hat…” — IOW, changing a logo and some bits of artwork make a true variation. Not bad for a multi-billion-dollar company, which yesterday issued press releases to boast contribution to the kernel.
  • “…and even [endorse/praise] Microsoft’s additional deals with Linux distributors Linspire and Xandros…” — IOW, Novell might as well invite all Linux distributors to strike deals with Microsoft, patent licensing included.

Red Hat was not too impressed by Ron’s presentation, but for other reasons.

A call by Novell’s CEO for a standardized way to certify Linux applications Wednesday was subsequently greeted with skepticism by a high-ranking official at rival Linux distributor Red Hat.

Novell Surrenders to Windows in the Datacentre

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Ron Hovsepian, Servers, Virtualisation, Windows at 11:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Without diving too deep into history, let us resurrect the controversy that surrounded Microsoft’s decision to limit Windows Vista virtualisation on Macs and Linux PCs. Microsoft cited security concerns, but nobody bought this argument. In fact, over time it became more apparent that this was more of a business decision (as in money-driven and rival platform-discriminatory, i.e. anti-competiive). Knowing that an ‘enhanced’ edition of Windows Vista does not stop malware or defend Vista’s DRM core, Microsoft’s argument was moot at best. To quote one article on this issue:

Software like Parallels Desktop for the Mac or Microsoft’s own Virtual PC for Windows allow multiple operating systems to run simultaneously. When it announced licensing rules for Vista last year, Microsoft said that only Vista Business and Vista Ultimate could run as guest operating systems. The company said virtualization presents inherent security risks and that it hoped by limiting which versions of the OS could act as virtual machines, only sophisticated users and businesses would employ the tactic.

This was one of the gentler article that discussed the issue. The fact remains that the EULA is still ruthless, with a lot of flip-flopping and a recent rumour about change on virtualisation (it never materialised and a proposal was dumped at the last minute).

Here is where the news kicks in. While Ramji’s words may have been taken out of context, have a look at this new article:

Microsoft Says No Windows Virtualization on Top of Linux

Microsoft will not allow Windows Vista or Windows XP to be virtualized on top of Linux, Sam Ramji, the director of Microsoft’s open-source software lab, said at the annual LinuxWorld Conference and Expo here Aug. 7.

That’s rather aggressive is it not? That’s just what Ron Hovsepian envisioned — Linux on top of Windows, not vice versa. Thanks, Novell.

Even Windows Projects Consider a GPLv3 Move, GNU GPL for Hardware a Great Success

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Hardware, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, SUN, UNIX at 10:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Oh no!! GPLv3! Cancer. Infectious. Oh, wait. The sky is not falling, so why did Microsoft (and its many proxies) warn everyone?”

It seems as though Microsoft’s anti-GPLv3 battle has been lost. Not only does the licence flourish on the GNU/Linux side, but it also appears to be invading Microsoft’s own back yard — Microsoft Windows. It might be just a matter of time.

The company has yet to decide whether it will license Script Start under the GPLv2 or GPLv3 open source license…

Of course, one reason why Microsoft fears GPLv3 so much is its effective way of handling and obstructing abuse of power over the user. Other factors include patent-related clauses that put an end to a malicious plan.

In other encouraging news, the GPL licence makes its way into hardware. In the long run, this can resolve Tivoization issues as well (modifiable hardware).

The success Sun Microsystems has seen from publishing the hardware designs of its Niagara processor is pushing the server and software company to continue its open source chip initiative, and release the source codes of its latest “Niagara 2″ processor.

University of California gets a praise for its work.

Sun Microsystems has named the University of California, Santa Cruz as its first OpenSPARC Center of Excellence, establishing a collaborative partnership between the company and university faculty who work with the OpenSPARC community on the processor code first released as open source by Sun in 2006.

Sadly, Sun Microsystems announced that it would axe some jobs. The announcement came out yesterday, but no figures were disclosed. For quite some time, Sun has wrestled with the idea of strategic transition, but its move towards the GPL is gradual and slow. With licensing issues that came to light with the release of ZFS, people began wondering what Sun really meant by “open source”.

Speaking of being ‘open’ (or pretending to be open), Novell and IBM are victims of such accusations. With their latest offer, which was mentioned here yesterday, came some interesting observations (a critique).

While the term “open source” was not actually used in the latest announcement, the connection is there to be made and any confusion does not hinder IBM’s cause. The same could be said of Microsoft choice of the phrase “Office Open XML”.

While IBM contributes more to the open source ‘ecosystem’, like Microsoft it is attempting to use open source as a foundation for selling more commercial products. If you’re going to discriminate against one for doing so, you have to discriminate against both.

OOXML Watch: Funny Business Comes to Switzerland, ECMA Speaks, Apple Falters

Posted in ECMA, GNU/Linux, Interoperability, Interview, ISO, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Patents, Windows at 10:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We have seen it in Italy, we have seen it in Portugal, we have seen it in Spain, we have seen it in Denmark, we have seen it in Colombia, and we have seen it in the United States. Microsoft has no shame about abusing any system that is open to abuse or where abuse will go unnoticed. Microsoft even admitted this. The latest report comes from Switzerland (although its source and credibility cannot yet be verified).

The present spin doctors of Microsoft and ECMA managed to convince Mr. Thomann to reject every serious technical and general concern we had regarding OOMXL by pointing to compatibility reasons. At the end we had a majority _against_ Microsoft but which (giving the unfair rules) results in a Swiss vote _for_ Microsoft. Mr. Thomann was fretting and fuming at the end of the meeting how it can be that successful international companies (we had representatives from IBM, Google, …) vote against the best interest of their customers and theirself!

Yes, this is how the democratic system at SNV / ISO works. After the meeting I could not eat as much as I wanted to puke…

This is beginning to sound like the very typical storyline. How many more nations will have their authorities and their decisions subverted in this way? Is China next?

Microsoft and Novell Don’t Wait for Standards

Microsoft typically invades LinuxWorld and this year was no exception. Watch how Novell and Microsoft defend their decision to partly neglect ODF (or let it rot) by taking a proprietary format — an expensive and incomplete ‘shortcut’ — to achieve so-called interoperability. It does more harm than good. In practice, this lets real standards lag behind.

Microsoft defends vendor standards lead

[...]

Microsoft has defended vendor-led standards and interoperability work rather than waiting for industry bodies to reach an open consensus.

Shame on Novell for accepting a route which ensures documents can only be rendered properly in Microsoft Office/Windows. In the next post we’ll discuss other Linux-discriminatory routes that Novell has encouraged.

ECMA Under Berlind’s Fire

Watch this part of an interview with the Secretarie General of ECMA.

Interview with Ecma’s Secretarie General

The following is an interview of Jan van den Beld, the Secretarie General of Ecma International.

[ramble on multiple and proprietary 'standards']

David Berlind: But don’t you think that encourages patent wars?

Jan van den Beld: I have never thought so deeply about it (how the pemission of multiple standards encourages patent wars). In a way yes, of course, there are hardly any subjects in hi-tech where no patents are involved. That is one of the big worries about bodies being concerned with patents So, we stay out of it. If you have a patent, you get an unconditional right and what you do with your patent is your business. You can ask “is that good?” Well that’s an interesting question.

There are more disturbing bits in this interview. ECMA has become (or has always been) more of a factory, not a reviewing body. Also see [1] and [2], which are forward-referenced and thus harder to find.

Help the World Receive OpenDocument Format Support from Apple

If you have a moment to spare, please sign this petition.

The ISO 26300 is the international standard XML format for office documents, also known as the Open Document Format or ODF. The newly released iWork ’08 supports the Open Office XML (OOXML) document format, which is still not an ISO-approved standard. It would be beneficial to all if the iWork suite of applications, namely Pages, Keynote and Numbers, support Open Document Format.

We appeal that you release an update to the latest version of iWork suite to support ISO 26300. In addition, we hope that you support the ISO 26300 standard in future Apple products that involves office documents.

Real Standards Advocates

Bob has posted a summary of posts which explain why OOXML is a bad idea. In a nutshell, OOXML is a proprietary format that only Microsoft can implement.

Andy Updegrove has been added to the attorneys team of the Linux Foundation.

Updegrove is a partner and founder of Gesmer Updegrove in Boston, and is best known for blogging about open source and open standards on his Standards Blog on the Consortiuminfo.org Web site he created and manages. Updegrove has received particular notoriety for his criticism of Microsoft in its quest to make its XML-based document format, Open XML, an international standard.

Congrats. Andy!

Closing Thoughts

Yesterday I contributed my thoughts on the use of Linux deals and the OSI in order to exclude competitors and empower vendor lock-in. I shared this with Digg.com and one reply that I received is worth quoting even if it’s rather strong and blunt.

The real shame is that the entire world doesn’t yet understand how detrimental Microsoft is to the tech industry, innovation, and freedom.

Microsoft destroys innovative products by pushing it’s own knockoffs through its OS monopoly.
Microsoft stifles competition by leveraging its OS monopoly, and through backroom government deals.
Microsoft is unable to compete on an even playing field, it spreads fear and terror to create distrust of alternatives.
Microsoft is unable to compete on an even playing field, it perpetuates its monopoly through OEM preloads to the gullible consumer.
Microsoft poisons open standards and protocols. They have been convicted of this in US federal court!
Microsoft software tends to suck.

If people don’t see the harm in all that, then you might as well all go shoot yourselves now, because over the next few decades such monopolists will enthrone themselves as your masters, and then you will be slaves. There will be no open market, no capitalism, it will be a global Oligarchy, a fascist empire of robber barons that control information, culture, and commerce.

Another Soul That Left Novell — Vice President for Americas Operations

Posted in America, Google, Novell at 6:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

I have just caught another story about an executive who quietly left Novell. It is just one among many whose departure we track on this Web site. The last such story involved Novell’s chief in South Africa, who left the company to join Google. Other Novell employees that escaped to Google include notable figures such as Robert Love and Jeremy Allison. Need it be said that Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, used to sit on top of Novell’s kingdom?

Is this business as usual or do we witness a quiet exodus?

Do-No-Evil Wednesday: LinuxWorld Has Buckets to Offer

Posted in America, Asia, Deals, Dell, GNU/Linux, IBM, Marketing, NetWare, Novell, OpenSUSE, Servers, SLES/SLED, Virtualisation, Xen at 3:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There is an awful lot of news piling up because of LinuxWorld. Instead of waiting until Saturday and then unloading a huge pile (attention span issues), here’s an unusual (as in out-of-sequence) digest of positive Novell news.

The week began with an announcement from a company that supports Novell.

File Replication Pro, the leading cross platform application for file replication and synchronization, announced today that it has achieved Novell Ready status for its file replication and synchronization product line. File Replication Pro has been validated and enhanced to work with Novell Netware and SUSE Linux Platforms.

With LinuxWorld ‘in progress’, it is worth mentioning Novell’s role as well.

Novell sponsors the first-ever one-day training session for Linux “newbies” at LinuxWorld

Novell’s Linux ads, which were mentioned last week, are now available in the form of whitepaper pages [1, 2].

OpenSUSE

OpenSUSE 10.2 earned a praise from a long-time SUSE user.

The next few screen shots show the M680 at ‘play’. openSuse 10.2 shows considerable polish over Suse Linux 10.0. I look forward to the final release of openSuse 10.3, and hope to upgrade all my openSuse boxes to this latest release.

Susan took Alpha 7 of openSUSE 10.3 for a test drive and, as her comment to me indicates, things have gotten much better.

So, all in all, it appears to me that openSUSE 10.3 is shaping up. We’re still really early in the development process, so there’s plenty time left. Things are looking better and working better for the most part. I get more excited each release but this one has really raised my pulse rate. I can hardly wait for final.

Only moments ago, the beta of openSUSE 10.3 was released. That was fast.

On the second anniversary of the creation of the openSUSE™ project, the community program this week marked two new milestones — the availability of the first beta of openSUSE 10.3 and the continued growth of the openSUSE Build Service.

If you are associated with OpenSUSE, or if you happen to be a user of the operating system, this message might be of interest to you. Here is a fragment.

openSUSE Guiding Principles (short version)
===========================================

We are…

… a community that provides free and easy access to Free
and Open Source Software. We innovate, integrate, polish, document,
distribute, maintain and support one of the world’s best Linux distributions.
We are working together in an open, transparent and friendly manner
as part of the worldwide Free and Open Source community.

We want to…

- create the world’s best Linux distribution
- make users happy
- foster innovation
- be open and work transparently
- work together with upstream projects
- collaborate with other communities
- have a lot of fun!

We value…

- free software
- an open development process
- openness
- choice
- standards
- quality
- transparency
- our users
- respect for others and their work

Such announcements and ambition bring regret to heart (w.r.t. Boycott Novell), but remember that our criticism is directed at management-level decisions, not developers. We have said it many, many times before.

OEMs and SLED

Novell received some wonderful news with reassurance that SUSE preinstalls from Lenovo will replace the older offer which was nothing but certification.

The laptops are slated to go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year and will be sold to Lenovo’s business customers as well as to consumers.

Lenovo made a similar announcement last year, but it retracted soon afterwards. It then promised and committed to very little (only certification). As we said before in this Web site, Microsoft’s involvement was possibly to blame. As Ron Hovsepian indicated, Microsoft uses scare tactics to discourage OEMs that show interest in Linux. Remember that Lenovo also offers Ubuntu and Fedora certification with their latest Thinkpad.

There are also SLED preinstalls by Dell in China.

As part of this keynote, Kettler announced that Dell was expanding its end user focused efforts to China with the addition of SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop for that market.

Novell and IBM had a little desktop flirt that resulted in intersection. It might also help OpenDocument format adoption.

The “open collaboration client” includes Lotus Notes 8, Sametime instant messaging and IBM’s Lotus lightweight productivity applications, which natively support the OpenDocument format. The companies developed a one-click install process for Novell’s desktop Linux.

While the following isn’t truly a case involving an OEM, it is worth mentioning as well. Wyse has just added SUSE to its thin client lineup.

The announcement appears timed to counter competitor HP’s recent investment in Linux-based thin client computing. HP last month revealed plans to acquire Neoware, an early leader in Linux-based network computing. If approved, the deal would bring HP close to Neoware’s claimed 39 percent of the global thin client market, HP officials said.

Servers

Novell grew closer to IBM with the following announcement.

“At the opening of the LinuxWorld/Next Generation Data Center trade show in San Francisco, IBM and Novell today announced a new agreement to join forces to capture a larger piece of the growing open source application server market. Under the agreement, Novell will deliver and support WebSphere Application Server Community Edition (WAS CE) as part of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, making it the industry’s most comprehensive open source-based server offering.

This confirms that Red Hat is not necessarily IBM’s ‘favourite child’.

Novell has some new features in its management solutions.

Full-lifecycle management for SUSE Linux Enterprise from Novell running Xen virtualization is also available with this version.

A few weeks ago we included a video that shows and dissects ELCOT’s migration to SUSE Linux. Novell has issued a press release to say more about it. The text is boasting some big figures (30,000 desktops and 1,880 servers).

Miscellany

Novell has published another self-praising press release. It talks about its position in client management suites”.

Novell today announced its systems management solution, Novell® ZENworks® Suite, was recognized as a strong performer in the July 2007 report, The Forrester Wave: Client Management Suites, Q3 ’07.

It also has a new partner. Here is the press release, which is quoted verbatim.
_________________________________________________________
SteelEye Teams with Novell

SAN FRANCISCO—August 7, 2007–SteelEye Technology®, a provider of award-winning data protection and application availability solutions for Linux and Windows, announced today that it has become a Gold member of Novell PartnerNet for Technology Partners.

“Novell congratulates SteelEye on becoming a Gold Technology Partner,” said Justin Steinman, director of marketing for Linux and Open Platform Solutions at Novell. “SteelEye is a key player in high availability solutions, and we are pleased to be partnering with them to bring LifeKeeper support to SUSE Linux Enterprise customers.”

The partnership grants SteelEye access to technical information and resources needed to enable its suite of high availability clustering, data replication and disaster recovery solutions for future SUSE Linux Enterprise offerings. SteelEye also acknowledges its commitment to provide support for future SUSE Linux Enterprise-based environments within its LifeKeeper Protection Suite for Linux.

“This alliance is a powerful combination,” said Bonni-Jo Salazar, Vice President of Strategic Alliances for SteelEye. “SteelEye has a long history of support for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with a significant number of deployments throughout the world. We are pleased to formalize this support through our Novell partnership.”

About SteelEye LifeKeeper for Linux

LifeKeeper for Linux supports the building of active/active and active/standby clusters for application high availability configurations of up to 32 nodes using x86, ia64, EM64T and Opteron-based servers from Dell, HP, IBM and others or using virtual machines built using VMware Infrastructure or Xen. LifeKeeper supports both shared nothing configurations using data replication and shared storage configurations which can be built using direct-attached shared SCSI, Fibre Channel SANs or Network Attached Storage devices. LifeKeeper clusters may be deployed either within a Local Area Network or across a WAN for disaster recovery. The ability to cluster together physical and virtual servers provides powerful flexibility in the configurations that can be built.

LifeKeeper for Linux delivers out-of-the-box application protection for Oracle, SAP, MySQL, Apache, Sendmail, Rational ClearCase, Websphere MQ, NFS, SAMBA and others. Through the use of LifeKeeper Extender, any application can be easily protected by LifeKeeper.

About SteelEye Technology, Inc.

SteelEye, a subsidiary of SIOS Technology (www.sios.com), is the leading provider of data and application availability management solutions for business continuity and disaster recovery for Linux and Windows. The SteelEye LifeKeeper family of application-focused data replication, high availability clustering and disaster recovery solutions are priced and architected to enable enterprises of all sizes to ensure continuous availability of business-critical applications, servers and data.
_____________________________________

Last but not least, Novell has some new Web seminars.

Novell is hosting a series of free web seminars in August, September and October focusing on our identity, security and systems management solutions.

This ought to cover news from the past 3-4 days, but if you know about something significant that we missed, please add a comment or two. ;-)

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