Novell could not outsell Red Hat, so it sold its soul (along with other souls)
About a week ago, through a writing published in ZDNet and TuxDeluxe, Jeremy Allison shared something that few of us actually knew. He said he was offered a lot of money for Samba and the offer was declined.
One estimate put the price tag on creating the Linux kernel at over $600 million. In the early days of the project I work on, Samba, a commercial competitor who shall remain nameless offered around $40 million for the rights. They were refused.
This is particularly interesting because we recently also discovered that Apple had acquired CUPS and we also saw XenSource snatched. Last November we saw Novell selling out too, as Groklaw put it. Jeremy Allison, a Novell employee at the time, said that Novell was a willing victim. Novell was offered a large amount of money not only to become a victim, but also to victimise those that gave it GNU/Linux. For that, Novell cannot be forgiven.
On Sunday we posted a video of one talk from Jeremy Allison. As tribute to a man who sticks to principles, here is another.
Almost every company that competes against Microsoft must also collaborate with it. Why? Because when Microsoft controls a de facto standard, the rest of the industry depends on it. In the previous post we uttered a few words (some from the horse’s own mouth) about Microsoft’s perception of truly open standards. It avoids like fire. It wants total control. The main sufferer, of course, is typically the consumer who must pay more and cope with incompatibilities (data loss of productivity sinks).
Here is a nice trick in novell to get near full admin. works with xp pro if someone limits your account also.
Novell and Microsoft are like conjoined twins when it comes to software, but the point of the matter is that almost every single rival to Microsoft must also “show respect” to Microsoft, not because the company actually deserves respect, but because it’s holding back key information. Without being polite to Microsoft, one gets nothing but a bite. Even Apple is in certain waysenslaved to Microsoft (mind OOXML). It all boils down to de facto standards (even fonts are a decent example), which are sometimes accompanies by copyrights and patents as an unwanted ‘umbilical cord’. It was only weeks ago that Microsoft and Apple signed a vague cross-licensing deal.
Yesterday, Microsoft’s CEO met Cisco’s CEO. There you have another couple of CEOs who must collaborate despite their rivalry. Why? Because of standards (or lack thereof). This ought to serve as an important lesson on the importance of unified standards. Some of these issues that are associated with incompatibility are being highlighted by Mary Jo Foley.
Ballmer and Chambers are meeting later today a handful of CIOs who have both Cisco and Microsoft products installed. They’ll listen to a litany of complaints, no doubt, about how hard it still is to get Cisco and Microsoft deliverables to interoperate. Is there anything new under the sun? No — not in terms of customers wanting vendors to make their lives easier, nor in terms of vendors promising customers the moon.
Some Linux vendors, such as Novell, chose not to settle on standards. Instead, they chose to license a ‘shortcut’ to what could have been real solution. They call it “interoperability”. But does it actually work at the end of the day? Are better products being delivered? According to Alfresco, Novell’s deal with Microsoft may have left them even further behind. As for Linspire, amid the departure and shuffle of executives, it gets some negative (maybe even prejudiced) reviews. Susan Linton’s latest review revolves around the latest Linspire. I happen to admire Susan’s experience with so many distributions (her prolific site, Tux Machines, is pure evidence of this). She already says that “Linspire fails to impress”.
I personally liked Freespire, but it may not be the best choice for a person coming straight from Windows, as I found some previous Linux experience necessary in order to fully enjoy it. For those users, I recommend giving SimplyMEPIS, PCLinuxOS, or Stux Linux a look. I can run any of these without ever opening a terminal thanks to their graphical configurations and package management systems.
Remember that future releases of Freespire and Linspire face a bleak outlook due to legal constraints imposed by Microsoft. From the above review, it also seems apparent that so-called ‘community distributions’ maintain an edge. Such distribution cannot be bought by Microsoft or corrupted by shareholders’ selfishness. If shareholders were smart, they would realise that disturbing the calm of the developers by liaising with Microsoft through controversial IP deals is simply the route to demise, not success.
New off the boiling plate from the Comes vs Microsoft trial in Iowa…
Thanks to an anonymous friend, we finally have this OCR-ed court exhibit[large PDF] (66 pages) and a plain text version of it. As a teaser, below you’ll find some text which was extracted from the large document.
There was Microsoft chart, but we don’t sell it independently it always comes with Word and Excel and then so on. And so there are a whole bunch of other separate companies that have charting applications: Jendel Scientific and Deltapoint, and so forth. They do nothing but charting. And so I went to the various ISVs and said, “How would you like to all work together to form a standard charting-OLE interface for both, you know, custom interfaces and OLE automation interfaces?” And they said, “Great! Great!” But of course it only matters if Excel participates, because if Microsoft Office doesn’t use that charting interface, it really doesn’t matter. So I went to the Excel guys, which is what I had expected to do, and said specifically to…I can’t remember the guy’s name, the guy in Chart who was in charge of charting, “Hey, how would you like to standardize this stuff and work with these ISVs and make it a standard?” And his answer was very simple. He said, “Why should I work with~anyone outside the company to make their products better because all it’s going to do is help them sell copies that could otherwise be a Microsoft copy? Any money they’re making they can sell…they can spend on improving their product and staying in existence, and making it harder for us to do well. My job is to make Excel basically, like, the only application in the world. And if it doesn’t add money to my bottom line, then there’s no point in my spending any cycles on it”…
Does this remind anyone of Microsoft’s attitude towards OpenDocument format?
[Microsoft:] “…we should take the lead in establishing a common approach to UI and to interoperability (of which OLE is only a part). Our efforts to date are focussed too much on our own apps, and only incidentally on the rest of the industry. We want to own these standards, so we should not participate in standards groups. Rather, we should call ‘to me’ to the industry and set a standard that works now and is for everyone’s benefit. We are large enough that this can work.”
Borys Musielak was quick to translate and republish some of the Polish news in English. It looks rather encouraging.
Polish Technical Committee no 171 has just voted 80% against the adoption OOXML as an ISO standard [PL]. It’s not the end of the game though, since committee 171 which was first planned to make the decision does not make the final decision anymore. Another committee 182 — will be voting on the same issue soon!
Posted in Site News at 5:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz
This post marks an noteworthy milestone. Since Novell entered its deal with Microsoft, Shane and I have posted 1000 posts (combined). There is not much to be celebrated, but it is at least worth a quick mention. Here is the Christmas card which we produced for our readers back in December.
Again, thanks for reading and helping us spread the truth.
Deep inside, Novell and Microsoft are truly in love, as illustrated by this quote from Jim Allchin: “We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger….If you’re going to kill someone, there isn’t much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. You just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger.”
In an interview a couple of months ago, Eben Moglen argued that patenting a set of instructions as though they were a personal idea is the end of culture, just as the end of the command line is the end of language. One could go further and say that patenting vital prescription drugs is also the end of humanity, as the following item from yesterday reminds us.
….maybe time for society to consider health and medicine as “the commons”…
By preventing access not only to algorithmic routines, but also to life-saving routines, nobody benefits. People die. Life becomes a question of economics. Sometimes, on the other hand, it is only about science and convenience. Consider last week’s developments in the Nokia-Qualcomm patent spat.
Nokia has filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that Qualcomm has engaged in unfair trade practices by infringing five Nokia patents in its CDMA and WCDMA/GSM chipsets. Nokia is requesting that the ITC initiate an investigation and issue an exclusion order to bar importation to the United States of infringing Qualcomm chipsets, and products such as handsets, containing the infringing chipsets.
The consumer certainly does not benefit from embargoes. There are some details here. In a similar fashion, ownership of misuse of people’s art has led musician to the ideaology which resembles open source. They realise there was a better way.
OurSpace: Resisting the Corporate Control of Culture
Finally, her argument for the third strategy examines a “free culture” movement inspired by open source software, using innovations in artistic licensing through Creative Commons, a project housed in Stanford, as an example.
This brings us to Novell, whose conflicting interests involve a corporation (shareholders too) and a community. Novell made its choice when it signed a deal with Microsoft. Characterizing the Novell/Microsoft deal as one of “the Microsoft patent deals”, the following new article is able to realise that “Interoperability” is just a decoy and by no means the core of the deal. Interoperability as they call it is the means by which patent elements of the deal can be justified. In other words, Microsoft contends that interoperability requires patent deals. When ownership of simple ideas is required for communication, it’s betrayal of cultural basics. The short article says that it is hard to find positive aspects in the deal.
Few events have created more fodder for the blogosphere, more fuel for Microsoft critics and more emotional responses than the Microsoft patent deals with Novell, Linspire and Xandros. While putting together a list of things people hate about these deals is easy, generating a list of positive aspects is much harder.