08.12.07

Is Novell Building Microsoft Linux©? (Signs That Your Mono Ain’t So Safe)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, SCO, UNIX, Xandros at 1:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The closer we look into Novell’s affairs with Mono, the more worried we become. Yesterday I received an E-mail which pointed out some important and detailed information.

I read the agreement between Xandros and Microsoft, and one of the excluded products was Mono, so Microsoft promises to not sue Xandros over their distribution but excluding Mono and a few other products, i.e. they reserve the right to sue over Mono. I wonder if this is an interesting preview of on what basis they want to fight the free world.

Interestingly, the Novell deal seems to be different, Mono is not excluded from the Novell deal. So Microsoft seems to be promising not to sue Novell over Mono, but keeps the option open for Xandros. Weird but true.

Let us assume that Microsoft wants to make Novell’s SUSE a distribution that contains some unique features and enjoys special exemptions.

Also yesterday, in a different forum, I half-jokingly posted the following remark:

Maybe they’ll [Microsoft] just acquire Novell, own UNIX, put .NET all over SUSE Linux and threaten everyone else. Maybe. They also shove .NET into GNOME and SUSE.

Even though this wild speculation was intended only to have a dramatic effect, a reply that I received was rather alerting.

SUSE may rapidly turn into “Winix”, certainly if Mono encroaches much further. It already has “exclusive rights” under Microsoft’s protection racket (as far as MS are concerned) for various other forms of Windows interoperability (Exchange/Evolution, OOXML/ODF, Virtualisation etc.), so it’s practically an MS product already.

Why bother developing (“Microsoft don’t develop software, they buy software”), when they can just groom their pet monkey and get it to code the next Windows for them?

“Windows 2020, now based on UNIX technology, just like the Mac.”

How novel(l).

In the reply, this person whose opinion I value enormously, was referring to this recent article (different context).

Asked about these problems, Arno Edelmann, Microsoft’s European business security product manager, told ZDNet UK on Thursday that the code itself has pieces missing. “Usually Microsoft doesn’t develop products, we buy products. It’s not a bad product, but bits and pieces are missing,” said Edelmann.

So, we might as well ask ourselves, what is the probability of Novell getting acquired by Microsoft, which will then sell “Linux on steroids” (boasting Windows compatibility and certain ‘protections’)?

NindowsAs we mentioned just days ago, Dan Lyons, who is close to Microsoft, published an article with the headline “Microsoft Linux” when Novell and Microsoft entered their partnership. On many other occasions we said this too. It is not the first time that we mention “Microsoft Linux”, either. Over time we just have gathered more evidence and puzzle pieces to support this scary thought. Shane once said that Novell is Microsoft’s “Linux department” for the time being.

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9 Comments

  1. Chakkaradeep said,

    August 12, 2007 at 3:23 am

    Gravatar

    Well, Gnome is certainly/will be moving to a mono platform , atleast with novell, as most of the novell products are based on mono now…and Novell does have the market and people in corporate sector are choosing novell than any other product . That may be of several reasons.

  2. kripken said,

    August 12, 2007 at 4:27 am

    Gravatar

    “Interestingly, the Novell deal seems to be different, Mono is not excluded from the Novell deal. ”

    …well, IANAL, but when I read the Microsoft-Novell agreement, that is *not* what I got from it. The deal specifically says that ‘clone products’ are *not* under protection. I would assume that Microsoft see Mono as a ‘clone product’ of their official .NET runtime.

    However, subsequent deals appear to be more clear, that is true.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    August 12, 2007 at 6:03 am

    Gravatar

    kripken, I was under the same impression.

  4. Shane Coyle said,

    August 12, 2007 at 6:13 am

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    Novell "customers" got Mono rights from their deal with MS.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    August 12, 2007 at 6:25 am

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    Oh, dear. Well, I don’t think it’s probable that Microsoft is involved with the whole “SCO loses to Novell” thing, but here is a message I received 5 minutes ago:

    This thread seems to me to miss a central point. It is, when the
    lion cuddles up to the lamb, what is the lion up to? Does he know
    something we don’t? *How come* Microsoft connected to Novell
    and then Novell comes up with these Unix rights? When things
    happen close in time, maybe they connect somehow. Did the
    Novell and Microsoft people *know something* then? It was not
    all that long ago. What was happening behind closed doors? In
    private discussions on golf courses, etc? ??

    I think we are seeing the start of a whole new story, and when
    it grows up, who will profit? *Who will lose?*

    Not so sure I’m happy about this — Martha Adams
    [2007 Aug 12]

    On the other hand, in Technocrat, I received the following reply:

    Yes you are wrong. I would say there are 6 major Unixes or Unix-likes out there including Linux.

    1 – All the BSD variants are already ok because of the ATT suit many years ago, where the house of cards of Unix copyrights was originally shown.
    2 – Linux, aside from there being no copyrightable code from System V in it as far as anyone has shown (and they have looked, I think), has been and is still being distributed under the GPL by Novell to this very second, with willful knowlege, so it is only GPL encumbered no matter what from Novell.
    3 – Solaris is out there with Sun having irrevocable contract.
    4 – AIX (and the other IBM unixes) are out there with irrevocable IBM contract – both stipulated by Novell.
    5 – Ditto HPux and such from HP with ATT contracts. Did HPUX originally come from Apollo? 5 – OSX is Mach and BSD based from NextStep and falls under #1.

    There are other Unix variants (Irix, QNX, several tranaction tandem like ones, etc.) but almost all of them had contracts with ATT which would be still in force per the ruling yesterday (which said that there was no time limits on the contracts), or are so different to make them also separate like Linux.

    Thus Novell would have to act like SCO did with probably same result to disrupt anything, and I don’t see any reason to do that.

    While it’s hard to know what/who to believe, putting information out there and sharing it through transparency is the best way to unravel a plot, if one exists.

  6. chaosUnplugged said,

    August 12, 2007 at 8:48 am

    Gravatar

    MSFT cannot acquire NOVL simply by definition pursuant to US/EU (Sherman, Clayton…) Antitrust/Unfair Competition law. With all due respect such speculation is more FUD than responsible editorial. I am curious as to your take on the recent SCO v. Novell court ruling esp. given any mention is conspicuously absent.

    Thanks,

    chaosUnplugged

  7. chaosUnplugged said,

    August 12, 2007 at 8:52 am

    Gravatar

    My apologies Roy, just read it at http://boycottnovell.com/2007/08/11/novell-owns-unix/

    /s/chaosUnplugged

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    August 12, 2007 at 9:06 am

    Gravatar

    MSFT cannot acquire NOVL simply by definition pursuant to US/EU (Sherman, Clayton…) Antitrust/Unfair Competition law.

    Yes, I am aware of this and I discussed this elsewhere. There are all sorts of things Microsoft can do, however, including manipulation by proxy (SCO-Ransom Love, Microsoft selling SUSE coupons, et cetera). Also see the following:

    http://boycottnovell.com/2007/05/16/sun-microsoft-speculation/

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    August 12, 2007 at 9:10 am

    Gravatar

    Oh, I ought to have also added that, as far as the coupons go, Microsoft is now stuck because of GPLv3. It cannot properly sell SLES through Novell (recall Microsoft’s statement). This explains why Microsoft hates GPLv3 with passion, as we argued dozens of times in the past (with very strong proof, some from the horse’s own mouth).

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