09.10.07

Novell Attempts to Defend Moonlight, But Sinks Deeper in the Mud

Posted in GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 10:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Man strikes back, hits own foot

Novell was not pleased with our understanding of Moonlight, but its rebuttal failed to impress. Worse — it only confirmed and reaffirmed most of our suspicions. It even introduced new serious issues. Here it is:

Bruce Lowry of Novell’s PR team here. You state in this piece that the only Linux Silverlight will run on is SUSE Linux Enterprise (citing, incidentally, a site called Boycott Novell, which one can surmise from its name is not objective). This isn’t correct. Using Moonlight, Silverlight will run on any Linux distro supported by Mono, which is most of the major distros. It’s true that, under the terms of our agreements with Microsoft, only SUSE Linux Enterprise will be able to bundle Moonlight into the distribution. However, users of other distributions will be able to run Silverlight on those distributions, if they so desire.

Actually, Bruce, I believe Matt was correct. Neither was he suggesting that “Linux Silverlight” would only run in SUSE Linux Enterprise, nor did we. Your assessment here only defends — rather than contradicts — what we said in the previous post on this huge problem.

Ignoring the pseudo-ad hominem attack their on our credibility (based on impulsive choice of a domain name), let’s examine your points in turn:

“Using Moonlight, Silverlight will run on any Linux distro supported by Mono”

Of course it will. It will run. It will even fly. Where does it leave patent ‘protection’, which was introduced as a requirement when the deal was signed in November 2006? Users will be able to use Mono just as a Linux users in the United States are able to play their DVDs (hint: against the law). Will they have “balance-sheet liability” that needs paying in order to access Web sites which embraced XAML?

“It’s true that, under the terms of our agreements with Microsoft, only SUSE Linux Enterprise will be able to bundle Moonlight into the distribution”

“Let the users break the law themselves,” so to speak.So now we know that Novell gets ‘special treatment’ and that Microsoft has its reasons to keep Moonlight away (matters of convenience) from ‘non-taxable’ GNU/Linux distributions. How would Novell feel if Red Hat decided that its improvements to GNOME cannot be incorporated into a packaged SUSE (SLED/S)? The whole issue of prebundling being disapproved is akin to distributions which do not contain DVD playback capabilities ‘out of the box’. Why? Legal reasons. “Let the users break the law themselves,” so to speak.

Is this patent game the type of ‘competitive advantage’ Masie (of Novell) was talking about?

The Kernel You Crave, But the Licence Won’t Let You Have

Posted in Apple, BSD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, SLES/SLED, Vista, Windows, Wine at 9:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Speculations again. We have already written about half a dozen posts which explore the possibility that Microsoft uses Novell to create ‘Winux’ (Windows with a Linux kernel). Here is one such post and here is a more recent one. With the increased complexity of Windows codebase, 60% of which requires rewriting, as well as the endless delays (Longhorn, Vista in an acceptable form, Home Server, etc.), one must stop and wonder.

“If it were not SUSE Linux, could it be BSD…?”Do Project Singularity and the recent rumour about a Windows replacement (already in the making) have an element of truth and potential? The former is said to have been a research-only project and the latter — a hoax. But where does that leave Windows? As the citation above proves, Windows code lacks modularity and it is hardly maintainable. Could Microsoft turn to alternative routes? If it were not SUSE Linux, could it be BSD, whose licence would be somewhat of a relief to Microsoft? The kernel aside, many packages move to GPLv3, which, to quote Eben Moglen, has Microsoft lawyer screaming with their hair on fire.

In yesterday’s writeup, Matt Hartley seems to think that Microsoft should embrace BSD and gradually abandon Windows.

It’s Not Just Bill Gates Leaving the Nest. So now that we have established that Vista is costing Microsoft a loyal fan base, despite the firm grip they maintain in the business market, it’s important for Microsoft to take a proactive stance against improving Windows. With their grip on Dell dropping away slowly and the potential for the same thing with other companies like HP, I would not be shocked to see big box stores beginning to post record returns alongside those big Vista sales claims.

When is Microsoft going to understand that there is a reason why Apple is outperforming them with a better, more stable OS? The simple fact is their choice of a BSD core has driven Apple’s continued success.

Another new article had a funny bit of text:

Mac OS X’s FreeBSD roots provide a level of reliability matched by no version of Windows and no previous version of the Mac. In other words, it’s nearly as reliable as Linux.

NindowsThe word “nearly” stands out. Although BSD is very well built, in practice, some say that it’s no GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3]. Whether it’s Linux or BSD, both of which represent freedom, Microsoft must have (at some stage) thought about the possibility of ‘pulling an Apple’. Their execution strategy, particularly with GNU/Linux, would have to be different. Direct contact with the GPL is merely disallowed. Enter the OSI and Novell. Remember Citrix.

Software Patents: Programmers Lose, Consumers Lose, Lawyers Win

Posted in America, Boycott Novell, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents, SUN at 9:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It has become rather clear that software patents have gone too far. They waste everyone’s time regardless of promises and minor reforms. Take this classic 1-Click Shopping case, which has not been terminated yet.

Looks like Amazon’s high-priced Silicon Valley attorneys will have to endure the ‘undue hardship’ of awakening early next Thursday morning to defend CEO Jeff Bezos’ 1-Click patent in a Video Hearing before the Board of Patent.

Despite the White House’s opposition, a reform was recently approved to assist one’s defenses against patent abuse [PDF]. This might not be effective, however, which is why an entirely new approach continues to be explored.

A couple of new articles remind the reader why the only winners here are the lawyers.

Law suits sparked by patent infringement claims are risky ventures. They hardly ever make either party look good, and they are anything but sure bets as revenue producers – unless you’re an attorney.

Contrariwise, a remedial reform’s biggest sufferers are also the lawyers.

If newly proposed patent legislation becomes law, Microsoft might have to lay off or fire a bunch of lawyers.

It is shocking to find seemingly-intelligent people who still believe that ownership of mathematical processes is a decent idea. The balancing point below is later contradicted by a controversial view.

Patents that are improperly granted or exercised with too much reckless force can cause harm and lead to high legal costs. Similar things could be said about police who act improperly. As with patents, some people (particularly among racial minorities) say they’d rather not have police at all. But the abuses just remind us that powerful forces need to be carefully regulated, and abusers have to be disciplined.

Watch the comments. Andy gets no love for his view on patenting software, which is equated by Don Marti to “prose patents”.

What Novell Does to Linux (Picture)

Posted in Humour, Novell at 4:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

I'm Linux

IBM Adds More Force to ODF; The OOXML Plot Dissected Further

Posted in IBM, Interoperability, ISO, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Standard at 8:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IBM Joins the Conversation

IBM has just taken another step towards helping OpenDocument format through cooperation and collaboration. It’s not exactly news, but now it’s more official. IBM no longer see itself as a party that is outwardly apathetic as far as OpenOffice.org goes. It has just joined that community.

The OpenOffice.org community today announced that IBM will be joining the community to collaborate on the development of OpenOffice.org software. IBM will be making initial code contributions that it has been developing as part of its Lotus Notes product, including accessibility enhancements, and will be making ongoing contributions to the feature richness and code quality of OpenOffice.org.

It is worth pointing out that Lotus Notes is still proprietary software, but nonetheless it’s standards-based.

Has the ISO Become IM$O?

Suspicions were already shared a couple of days ago. There are small clues which suggest that the ISO might (just might) be getting too close to Microsoft. There have been some very bizarre developments in recent months. The following new article, including the fragment below, seems to concur.

Already some curious pieces of wrong information are beginning to appear about the process of this meeting, which is governed by the published JTC 1 Directives. Sure, these Directives leave some room for interpretation (which will appear in the coming weeks and months), but the framework of the meeting is already clearly set out …

Internal weaknesses in the ISO? Biased parties perhaps? We shall watch closely and find out.

Novell’s Definition of Interoperability

In the context of OOXML, the following analysis is very truthful. It is based on the words of one who was caught lying for the benefits of a monopoly several times before.

To paraphrase [from Microsoft]: interoperability is not about standards but rather about patent agreements that lock out customers and third parties, and instead creates interoperability between two consenting firms.

[...]

I know Microsoft sees this. It’s part of the plan. I just wish Novell could see this.

Microsoft Loves Multiple Formats, Even If All Are Its Own

Would universality truly be the goal of OOXML? Or does it mean further fragmentation, even within the broad (yet somewhat tortuously narrow) universe of Microsoft Office? Let’s ask Rob, who has spoke to some people and found out.

So Microsoft clearly loves multiple Microsoft document formats! (Discuss among yourselves whether this love is amour de soi or amour propre.) But what about other, standard formats?

Microsoft has incompatibilities in Office. Never mind other products. Let the ‘cattle’ be forced to upgrade whenever a new version of Office comes out. It’s the “network effect” and it’s ‘infectious’. As in, “comply (upgrade) or be unable to communicate with your peers.”

Rob goes on and talks about how difficult Microsoft has made it to use ODF in its products, even when third-party software is involved. We heard such stories before, even recently.

Gary Edwards of the Open Document Foundation, a leading member of its technical committee, says Microsoft is playing proprietary games aimed at controlling XML file formats and preventing the Open Document Format from gaining a foothold.

Another essay from Rob explained why Office 2007 was essentially banned by some scientific journals (hint: it does not comply with standards, but ‘extends’ them instead).

It appears that Science, the journal of the America Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), itself the largest scientific society in the world, has updated its authoring guidelines to include advice for Office 2007 users. The news is not good.

[...]

Uh oh. Not only cannot you not submit files in OOXML format, but you can’t even use Office 2007 and save in the old binary formats. The choice to invent a new “Open Math Markup Language” rather then use the well-established existing standard, MathML, appears to be a serious flaw.

Related articles:

Choosing Novell for Your Business is Like Choosing XenSoft (sic)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Virtualisation, Xen at 12:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We have pretty much established the fact that Microsoft used a proxy (Citrix) to hijack Xen and take it away from GNU/Linux (XenSource now has ex-Softies managing it). A one-year partnership culminated in an acquisition by association. This way, Microsoft escaped antitrust wrath (buying the competition) and has no direct contact with the GPL.

You will continue to find stories, such as this new one, about companies that find joy in Xen. These companies are probably unaware of Xen’s future direction.

“So as part of this open source initiative, we also chose a virtual machine called Xen…”

This was probably a good idea at the time, but this company, Mindbridge, should take a careful look at KVM. It’s much better and it is also more elegant, based on the advice of field experts. It’s also part of the new Linux kernel, so everything should be simplified

In a similar vein, avoid Novell. Microsoft found great threat in SUSE, which was inarguably the best Linux desktop at the time. Like XenSource and virtualisation, it was a disruptive trend that Microsoft was unable to compete with. What was the solution? Microsoft devoured the threat, thereby blurring the separation and changing the market forces.

Look ahead. Don’t bet your business on Novell. It should be treated as a Microsoft subsidiary because, sadly enough, there is far too much evidence to support this argument.

Say No to Novell

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