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08.11.07

SCO Loses = Good. Novell Earns Anti-Linux Weapon = Good? (Updated)

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Mono, Novell, SCO, UNIX at 8:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The news about SCO is truly excellent news. Novell’s UNIX copyrights, however, leave some room for thought. When the deal with Microsoft was struck, several prominent voices in the community said that Novell was “the next SCO”. On numerous occasions, people speculated that, some time along the line, Microsoft might actually acquire Novell and use it as its Linux provider. The direction Novell is taking certainly favours .NET and makes its Linux desktop dependent on it.

We are not trolling, but we only ask. Is it safe to let Novell hold the UNIX flag? Could the flag be inherited and then used to attack Linux again? A few days ago, Microsoft’s financial filing described Linux as a system that is “derived from UNIX”. Was it an accident? Some people already cast doubt on claims that this was not deliberate.

This is all far fetched, but this mind dump might prove useful in the future.

Here is Novell’s statement about the court’s decision.

In the spring of 2003, Novell set out to ensure that SCO’s groundless claims would not interfere with the development of Linux. Today’s court ruling vindicates the position Novell has taken since the inception of the dispute with SCO, and it settles the issue of who owns the copyrights of UNIX in Novell’s favor. The court’s ruling has cut out the core of SCO’s case and, as a result, eliminates SCO’s threat to the Linux community based upon allegations of copyright infringement of UNIX. We are extremely pleased with the outcome.

Update (14/08/2007): a more elaborate statement from Novell has just been posted.

Do-No-Evil Saturday: Wow. What a Week!

Posted in America, Deals, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, GPL, Hardware, IBM, Identity Management, Interoperability, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Ron Hovsepian, Servers, SLES/SLED, Windows at 2:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OpensuseA mental flip-flop switches us to “LoveNovell” mode. So many event-driven announcement were made, so a similar item was posted on Wednesday. Let’s start with our darling OpenSUSE, which is said to be independent from Novell.

Here is what has happened since the beta of OpenSUSE 10.3 was released. Radu was wrestling with OpenSUSE folks after another rant and another tease. He talked about the project’s Guiding Principles, which we mention in our last digest (Wednesday). The guy has a nice blog, so you might wish to join the discussion. He also chose OpenSUSE despite his strong disagreements with Novell (including the fonts controversy which we got entangled with).

Over at the news centre, a Web-based interface to installation appears to be demonstrated.

Software.opensuse.org got a completely new face which improves the downloading of the desired openSUSE distribution a lot.

I have not had the time to experiment with the latest OpenSUSE, but an anonymous person mailed me several DVDs that contain the latest and greatest version. It would be easier to comment on technical merits provided that I gain better familiarity. I am currently using aptitude for package management at work.

In other news, OpenSUSE is now officially 2 years old (as a project, not a distro).

It happened again. Another year passed (flew by). Happy Birthday openSUSE!

AMD gave a certain boost to OpenSUSE with another sponsorship (AMD has had good relationships with Novell recently, and it provided good hypervisor support).

As announced at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo, AMD has been unveiled as a Platinum Sponsor of openSUSE providing it with powerful infrastructure upon which the openSUSE Build Service (OBS) can be run.

The project leader, Stephan Kulow, had an interview which says a lot about his personal life, not just the project/s that he works on.

Today you can also read the ‘People of openSUSE’ interview with Stephan Kulow, the release manager of the openSUSE distribution.

Pascal Bleser had an interview with him published as well.

From Community to Business

Here is one Novell/AMD bonding, as mentioned earlier.

At LinuxWorld San Francisco this week, AMD announced the availability of AMD Validated Server platforms certified for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server from Novell, further confirming AMD’s commitment to the channel by offering solution providers the ability to brand and differentiate their solutions to address customer needs.

In an AMD press release Novell gets some special treatment.

“SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP1 is the first production-level operating system to support Barcelona’s enhanced virtualization feature, Rapid Virtualization Indexing,” said Roger Levy, senior vice president and general manager of Open Platform Solutions for Novell.

Here is another bonding, this time with Fujitsu.

The kits come in two forms, using either the Fujitsu MBF200 fingerprint touch sensor or else the MBF320 swipe sensor. On the back end, the kits are specifically designed to interoperate with Novell eDirectory’s authentication management software running on Linux, NetWare or Windows.

One wonders if a GNU/Linux front end will exist for this product (on a client side).

Although it is no time for criticism and ranting, the following article is worrisome because it shows that Novell chooses interoperability over standards. Sure, it works for Novell, but what about everybody else (that does not have access to Microsoft source code)?

For firms like CapitaLand, the agreement between Novell and Microsoft, to build, market and support new solutions, is seen as a major step towards interoperability.

Moving on, another Novell partner showed off its products at LinuxWorld.

QLogic and Novell have been actively collaborating since 2006 to bring the benefits of hardware virtualization capabilities in Fibre Channel HBAs to Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) customers.

Here is another.

Stampede, the only vendor showcasing WAN acceleration solutions at LinuxWorld, will be exhibiting as a Novell Partner in the Novell Partner Pavilio.

Novell’s partnership with IBM was mentioned on Wednesday, but many publications, including this one, added a spin to it. They strive to say that Novell and IBM are sort of grouping against Red Hat. Oh! Drama, drama, drama.

The end goal of the IBM-Novell alliance is to provide an enterprise-ready open source alternative to JBoss. At the same time, developers will have an opportunity to build on WAS CE — the open source WebSphere Application Server Community Edition — which is supported by both firms.

It would be even nicer to target UNIX and Windows servers rather than ‘cannibalise’.

In hopes of finding and capturing the affinity of new partners, Novell showed them a nice time.

When Novell invited a dozen VARs to Wednesday night’s San Francisco Giants game, the vendor was hoping that the prospect of Barry Bonds making history would be the sort of deal-sweetener that nicely lubricates the standard luxury box meet-and-greet.

There is more proof that Novell courses are still alive and well.

Improve Configuration Management skills with new courses from QA-IQ: Jumpstart available for groundbreaking Novell software

Sales, Management, and Products

Peugeot’s migration to GNU/Linux is moving on as planned with the intention of converting 20,000 desktops to SUSE Linux.

Peugeot is planning to give Linux desktops to a wide variety of computer users, including sales force workers and workers on the manufacturing floor.

The following news appears like old news that we covered before, but it is worth repeating because it is rather recent and more detailed.

Novell today appointed Jacqueline de Rojas to Country Manager for UK and Ireland(Picture Above). With a long career in the technology industry, de Rojas brings to the role strong experience in enterprise software sales.

Novell has released some more new software.

Fresh from warning against complacency over Linux’s success, Novell has launched software to improve management of data centers running SUSE, its flavor of Linux.

What Ron Said…

The negatives takeaways from Ron’s talk were covered before. One part of Ron Hovsepian’s talk which we did not pay much attention to before is this.

Ron Hovsepian tells LinuxWorld audience that it needs to be easier for developers to write software that runs on multiple distributions of the OS, if Linux is to compete with Windows.

Another takeaway which is rather obvious is this. It offers reassurance rather than anything new.

Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian says it is in his interest to give customers GPLv3 code when they are seeking updates, even if the customer was paying for Novell support through Microsoft certificates.

Bruce Lowry already said this some time ago

Also from the talk:

Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian explained rather than defended his company’s deal with Microsoft in his keynote address at the annual LinuxWorld Conference here Aug. 8.

The CEO must stay stubborn and argue that the deal was good milestone for Novell. Fair enough.

Jack Loftus made some comments about Ron’s speech in the following new video.

Hopefully you enjoy these weekly digests. If you spot errors or have something to add, please fire away! Some proofreading could truly remove errors and polish these posts, which are exhausting at times (particularly this week). At BoycottNovell I strive for quantity, not necessarily quality (which is nice to have too). I can’t speak for Shane on that one.

Document Formats Watch — “For the Love of God, Think about the Children (and Consumers)”

Posted in America, Australia, Formats, IBM, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, SUN at 1:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Why Format Wars Should be Avoided

Formats and standards wars (or just rivalry at best of circumstances) are nothing new. They emerge when two (or more) parties fail to reach consensus on a single path to follow. They emerge when greed and urge for control supersede the needs of the customer. One fine example of this is the high-def DVD formats war. In yesterday’s news you could find an article that mentions (but not addresses) some of the issues.

More studios, including Sony and Disney, support Blu-ray exclusively. Only Universal Pictures supports HD DVD exclusively. Warner Bros. and Paramount release films in both formats.

This is fragmentation. Another new article demonstrates the impact on the consumer.

Likewise, people with Blu-ray players won’t be able to enjoy the action-thriller “The Bourne Ultimatum,” which Universal Pictures will release only in HD DVD.

[...]

“The frustration for consumers is not knowing what format is going to win,” said Chris Roden, an analyst at Parks Associates.

Let’s use this as a case study.

Can a Proprietary Format and an Open Format Live in Harmony?

So, we already know for a fact that Microsoft’s refusal to join the vendor-neutral ODF Alliance — something which it has had many opportunities to do — is a case of selfishness that will cost the consumer, which is also the biggest victim.

What is rather surprising is that a supposedly well-educated and respected body has just made a statement that supports fragmentation. From yesterday’s news:

“NIST believes that ODF and OOXML can co-exist as international standards,” NIST director William Jeffrey, said in a statement. “NIST fully supports technology-neutral solutions and will support the standard once our technical concerns are addressed.”

It is unlikely that NIST are “in Microsoft’s pocket”, so to speak. They have already rejected Windows Vista (this led to a fair bit of noise at the time). So, why on earth would anyone wish to mix incompatible formats where one is badly-designed and proprietary whilst the other is not? Could it be ubiquity that made de facto binary dumps acceptable?

Another new article highlights the real issue here. It states that formats like these fail to communicate.

According to Gary Edwards, founding president of the OpenDocument Foundation, OpenOffice and other Open Document-based applications can do a better job interoperating, if only the vendors that steer the format would allow them to.

Among yesterday’s OOXML/ODF roundup we also mentioned another important factor that stifles interoperability, namely platform dependencies. By educating those involved, things can change for the better.

The Ugly Truths and the Lies

From the he-said-what? department comes this:

Groklaw has a rather extensive discussion of a recent meeting at Standards Australia about their vote on OOXML. I need to correct something mentioned in that report.

IBM is not now a member of CompTIA. We used to be a member, but we quit some time ago. We did not participate in any CompTIA meeting where we voiced our support for OOXML.

CompTIA is an infamous anti-Linux lobbying arm of Microsoft. It is bizarre that CompTIA, which has vocally supported Microsoft’s side in this debate, can somehow be associated with IBM. Are these reports being reviewed by the wrong individuals? Panel stacking again?

In any event, Oracle has also submitted its comments about this rushed process. The speed of this process serves Microsoft because it leaves too little or no room for evaluation and feedback.

Wins for ODF, Losses for OOXML

Despite all the whiny-type reports, there are some good news as well. OpenDocument wins support Babya software, for example.

Babya today announced that it will support the OpenDocument format in Babya software.

The standard was developed by a technical committee of the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) consortium…

Additionally, INCITS does not approve OOXML.

The overall vote is not, to me, a surprise. Leaving all politics or opinions aside on whether OOXML should become an ISO/IEC standard when ODF already exists, I do not believe that OOXML is in good enough shape to recommend a yes vote, with or without comments.

A Wooden Horse Knocks on the Door of the Open Source Initiative City

Posted in Formats, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, OpenDocument, OSI, Xandros at 12:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Just as OSCON had promised, Microsoft has just submitted its shared source licences to the Open Source Initiative. Will these be approved? Hopefully not. The reaction is worth quoting.

“Look at it from my perspective. If I told customers we were working with open source and the OSI and they went to opensource.org and saw all the anti-Microsoft messages, what would they think? It just didn’t make any sense,” he said.

Is it an attempt to quiet down a storm?

We wrote about it several times before (even yesterday) because the situation resembles the deals with Linux vendors. It is almost identical. Nobody should interpret this as Microsoft changing its ways and becoming friends with “the Free World”, as Microsoft disrespectfully calls its fiercest competitor. Au contraire — Microsoft wants the OSI’s nearness so that it can pull the rug under rivals’ feet, subvert and change directions taken by the competition, and steal mindshare. Need it even be mentioned that LinuxWorld 2007, which ended a just couple of days ago, was poisoned and corrupted by the Microsoft money?

In LinuxWorld, Microsoft dismissed Linux, got a little too cozy with the industry, and hosted Windows sessions (Yes! In LinuxWorld). The expo just followed the money, as The Register puts it.

Linus Torvalds, who did not attend LinuxWorld, had something to say about the separation between Free software and open source.

From this perspective, Torvalds’ views highlight a fact that has often been overlooked in the recent GPL debates: free software and open source supporters are allies. They may be uneasy allies, blowing raspberries at each other and slinging mud at each other at every opportunity, but they are allies all the same. It’s a fact worth mentioning, simply because it hasn’t been repeated much recently.

This is very much true. We are great supporters of the OSI. Every critique here is just a word of warning because we do not wish to see the OSI turning against us under someone else’s rule. We already saw that happening with Xandros, Linspire, and Novell. These companies are actively working against the adoption of ODF and they encourage patent deals, which not only adds to uncertainty; they also serve as an accusation against ‘non-Microsoft’ Linux distributions. Recall the remarks from Kevin Carmony.

Linspire Keeps Crumbling. Might Xandros and Novell be Next in Line?

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Xandros at 12:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Internal affairs at Linspire seem to be worse than we used to believe. According to Linux Watch, it might not be just the company’s CEO who takes his business elsewhere. SJVN talks about a possible “executives exodus”. He tries to remain balanced, but the headline gives it all away.

In the last 12 months, Linspire has made moves that brought it both praise (such as its decision to base future versions of its Linuxes on Ubuntu and opening up of CNR to other distributions) and condemnation (its patent partnership with Microsoft) from the Linux user community.

As some people on the Web are already saying, one wonders if those executives received money from Microsoft. This seems like a classic case of striking deals and paying a rival to exit the market. It is illegal.

Microsoft was accused of buying out its competition. The accusation was back in 2006 when Microsoft attended the trial in Iowa. This Linspire story rings a certain bell. Microsoft settled to escape prosecution in Iowa, but it can be perceived as admission of guilt.

What’s worrying here is that Linspire’s deal is not all that different from Novell’s. Whether they share the same destiny or not, who knows? We might find out in the future. Here is a new essay which uses a parable to describe Novell’s relationship with Microsoft and the Free Software Foundation.

I’ve been trying to catch on and to understand what this thread’s all about (It started with R. Hovespian from Novell explaining why they needed a deal with MS). I thought, maybe I could try to summarize it all to understand – and maybe explain to others – what’s happening here, so I made up a tale of the whole situation

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