A few days ago, amid great victory to Linux, we dared to argue that UNIX copyrights in Novell’s hands are a worrisome business. We later argued that inheritance of these copyrights might be an issue as well, especially at times when SUSE mimics Microsoft’s technologies and adopts Microsoft formats/protocols.
We are relieved to hear that Bruce Lowry offers some reassurance. He promises that Novell won’t be the “next SCO”, i.e it won’t be trolling companies.
“We’re not interested in suing people over Unix,” Novell spokesman Bruce Lowry said. “We’re not even in the Unix business anymore.”
Better the devil that we know than the one we do not know. What if the stance was changed through future acquisitions, executive shuffles (Darl McBride used to work at Novell), or even proxies? We are already hearing that SCO might be the target of takeovers (possibly hostile ones).
SCO on the brink of financial collapse
The company’s share price had closed at $1.56 on Friday ahead of a court ruling that Novell, and not SCO, was the rightful owner of the copyrights for the Unix operating system. The price remained steady in early trading, however, valuing the company at about $9.5m.
Also, of interest is the revelation that SCO may have faked the whole lawsuit and fabricated a legal case (knowingly engaging in a lost battle).
Ruling suggests SCO knew it did not own Unix
According to Kimball’s decision, McBride had in late 2002 contacted Novell seeking records related to SCO’s intellectual property rights related to Unix. Following Anderer’s email, McBride contacted Novell on several occasions in February 2003 asking Novell to hand over the copyrights.
Over time, friendly companies turned into hostile one. The ‘Microsoft money’ played a role at times. Can a future Novell be trusted?
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Unlike Novell, Ubuntu’s founder thinks that OOXML is not a good idea. Novell’s support through translation seems to have the blessing of Miguel de Icaza, among others who willingly accept this impossible task (they have to). In his latest blog item, Mark Shuttleworth talks about standardisation of OOXML. He appears to be aware of Microsoft’s behind-the-scenes manipulation, as echoed in the following paragraph:
The USA, South Africa, China, and other countries will be voting “no”. Let’s not allow heavy lobbying to influence what should be a calm, rational, sensible and ultimately technical discussion. Standards are important, and best defined in transparent and open forums. Pick up the phone!
The other day we mentioned Microsoft’s bending of the word “exponential”, as illustrated in this visual blog item. Microsoft attempt to generate hype based on dishonest statements (lies) about pace of OOXML adoption. You might also wish to see the following blog post.
Ben Langhinrichs’ has some interesting stats via Google on the relative number of ODF vs. OOXML documents on the web. His numbers show that there are 162,700 ODF documents vs. 1993 OOXML documents, and 26% of the OOXML documents are on microsoft.com.
That is by no means impressive. According to a very recent article, Microsoft’s own support for its own format is rather poor, which is ironic.
Apple Inc.’s release of iWork ’08 this week is “embarrassing,” an analyst said Friday, not for its maker, but for Apple’s rival, Microsoft Corp.
Do not get excited or be led to believe that there is magic in iWork ‘08 (which should never have supported OOXML in the first place). Bob Sutor took it for a test drive and there was plenty left to be desired.
Apple is allowing users to download a free trial version of iWork ‘08 that works for 30 days. Evidently its support for OOXML is read-only, and not complete at that. This means, to be explicit, that you can read some OOXML documents but not write them out again.
The trial version of Office 2007 has similar trickery in place. One can only save work in OOXML format as other options remain grayed out. There are some other artificial limitations.
As we mentioned yesterday, momentum for ODF is building up. Others are cautiously celebrating the win in Malaysia as well.
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A couple of days ago we mentioned IBM’s take on the Novell/Microsoft deal. For future record, here are the views of Linus Torvalds, extracted from his most recent interview.
As well as making assertions over patents, Microsoft has also caused a stir in the open source world by forming partnerships with Linux distributors, the largest one being Novell.
But despite the controversy, Torvalds remains nonplussed. “I don’t actually think the Novell-Microsoft agreement kind of thing matters all that much in the end, but it’s interesting to see the signs that the sides are at least talking to each other.
“I don’t know what the end result will be, but I think it would be healthier for everybody if there wasn’t the kind of rabid hatred on both sides,” he told Computerworld.
In past interviews we pointed out that Linus had escaped the question and offered no comment about the deal. This might be the first time that he speaks about it in public. The remainder of this article is interesting as well because Torvalds attacks Microsoft for its unsubstantiated claims.
Remember that Torvalds would have caused a stir if he had criticised Novell. Novell is deeply involved in the Linux Foundation that Torvalds depends on. At least his comment remains somewhat inconclusive (compare this Stuart Cohen’s). They are not as controversial and divisive as his comments about the GNU GPLv3 and the FSF.
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