09.16.07

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Press is Still Blind to Negativity of the Novell Deal, Despite Media Enquiries

Posted in Boycott Novell, GNU/Linux, Novell, Site News at 7:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Several days ago I was approached by the press (publication will remain unnamed here). They sought an opinion that would bring balance to an the article. This was rather surprising given the controversial name of the site

Let me clarify and assure that our site’s name (“Boycott Novell”) was not my choice and the name is regretted (for me at least) because it leads to prejudice and damages our credibility. A reader even wrote to say this to me last week. With that in mind, please read this site knowing that I am a very passionate promoter of the Linux operating system. I am a merely a site contributor and I was invited by Shane shortly after he had started this campaign.

“It was bound to get more serious, which it has.”Novell is a danger to Linux. It is not a friend anymore. I say this as a pragmatic Linux user who is in no any way affiliated with the FSF. I was never really focused on Free software (in a ‘purist’ sense), but the deeper you look at Linux and what is being done to subvert it (very silently), the better you realise the the FSF’s philosophy is what will save Linux from turning into another OS X (in a bad way). Linux must not devolve into something which puts to an end what it is today and what it strives to be. The Linux deals with Microsoft, for example, are truly a killer, but they are part of a broader picture (thus the extended scope of this Web site).

There are not many popular bloggers that protest against Novell nowadays. Even Bruce Perens seems to have calmed down a bit. I am only aware of two popular bloggers who every now and then will explain Novell-type deals are harmful. The other bloggers (never mind the biased press) apparently escape controversy or find comfort in “interoperability” fantasies. Nothing has changed, so why the complacency? The opposition to Novell became vocal immediately after the deal, but some people quieted down. Some forgot and forgave. Shane an I, on the other hand, decided to research the issues and explore their depths. It was clear that the problem was not going away. It was bound to get more serious, which it has.

It is important to explain (whenever there is a chance) how Novell’s relationship with Microsoft evolves to become increasingly harmful to Linux and Free software. It gets worse as time goes by. Those who cannot see it are perhaps leaning towards and finding solace in positive news, which is only positive because of a positive spin. Where have we seen that recently?

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7 Comments

  1. Francis said,

    September 16, 2007 at 8:07 pm

    Gravatar

    > Let me clarify and assure that our site’s name (”Boycott Novell”) was not my choice and the name is regretted (for me at least)

    Why not get a new domain name then? It’s much more a place of your own private web blog (with news on Novell) these days, is it not? I haven’t seen a post from Shane in quite some time, and even then he only makes 1-2 posts a month. 99% of the posts are your own, so they really should be on a private blog; it’s not like this place is some type of Planet or aggregation of many blogs who are bitterly protesting.

    > There are not many popular bloggers that protest against Novell nowadays. Even Bruce Perens seems to have calmed down a bit.

    There is another reason for this, and it’s more obvious: it’s clear that the Novell-MS deal has not been negative. Novell’s stock is pretty steady, they have a lot more cash to pipe into Linux, they have more Linux engineers, enterprise Linux is stronger than ever, and they’ve got huge deals with OEMs who they’ve made support Linux:
    * AMD backing the openSUSE Build Service and becoming a platinum sponsor (giving the equivalent of $50,000 a year, for many years)
    * AMD/Ati+Novell working together to release OPEN specs. Tell me if anyone in the OSS community was sad to hear about this.
    * Lenovo shipping Thinkpads with SLED
    * Dell shipping laptops with SLED
    * Novell and IBM in countless partnerships, “Big Green Linux”, etc. All taking away the edge from Microsoft
    * ….and even getting Microsoft in a deal that _supports Linux_. Really, how great is that?

    Once people started complaining about the deal, everyone kept saying “It’s the end of Linux, the end I tell you!” and “Just wait until the GPLv3 comes out, then Novell will be stuffed!” (including this website)

    What’s happened so far? GPLv3 came out and it didn’t prohibit Novell of any of its Linux offerings. Furthermore, many months have past and Linux is still living (unsurprisingly, since “killing it” is completely impossible). A lot of people have been waiting for the big bad deal with Novell-MS to cause collateral damage (as you promise, for example), and now they’ve probably waited that bit too long. Many places and people have already apologized for “getting it wrong” on the Novell-MS deal, and to be honest I think you should too.

  2. Vexorian said,

    September 16, 2007 at 8:29 pm

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    [quote]Furthermore, many months have past and Linux is still living [/quote]

    this is rather lame to state considering that all the negative effects of the Novell deal are yet to affect Linux, most of them are long term.

    Novell’s totally out of sense OOXML support has not yet affected us in any sense since ISO has fortunately not made it an standard yet, but it stays a threat if MS is not stopped before February.

    The whole moonlight plan, one that clearly shows how negative this deal is to Linux, is not in execution yet. And silverlight is still far from being an used format. But eventually, since MS is MS silverlight will get used by incompetent developers all over the world, and the fact you’ll need to download stuff from Novell in order to browse the web in Linux is going to become apparent.

    Monofication is a long term threat that was not supposed to affect us in very few months, we won’t see those effects in a while.

    Novell’s efforts to make Linux a second class OS that requires a windows host to work are… again a long term process that is far from affecting us all yet.

    Hopefully, MS’ plans will fail and no harm would be made to Linux, that however would not change that this deal had the sole purpose of killing Linux. To rectificate would be TERRIBLY wrong since for what’s worth Novell has actually made it clearer that the deal is harmful to Linux and not the opposite.

    Thus I would like you to link to some of those blogs apologizing, I’d like to know the uninformed guys that are blogging about things they don’t know about.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 16, 2007 at 11:31 pm

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    Why not get a new domain name then?

    Only technical reasons, as far as I’m concerned. We’ve been through this before. Domains cannot be magically changed without damage being done (e.g. permalinks).

    It’s much more a place of your own private web blog (with news on Novell) these days, is it not?

    No, I have a personal Web log, as well as various others. In this one, Shane and I look at exclusionary deals, including ones that followed Novell’s.

    I haven’t seen a post from Shane in quite some time, and even then he only makes 1-2 posts a month. 99% of the posts are your own, so they really should be on a private blog; it’s not like this place is some type of Planet or aggregation of many blogs who are bitterly protesting.

    People comment on the issues here and elsewhere. You cannot deny the fact that many people continue to hate the deals (you can block them and ignore them, but I see them every day) because they understand the consequences.

    Novell’s stock is pretty steady

    It’s not about finance. It’s not about one single Linux company, either.

    Once people started complaining about the deal, everyone kept saying “It’s the end of Linux, the end I tell you!” and “Just wait until the GPLv3 comes out, then Novell will be stuffed!” (including this website)

    No, Microsoft has some its plans ruined, not Novell (albeit it’s affected by association). This has been acknowledged already.

    What’s happened so far? GPLv3 came out and it didn’t prohibit Novell of any of its Linux offerings. Furthermore, many months have past and Linux is still living (unsurprisingly, since “killing it” is completely impossible)

    *sign* Moses, smell the roses. This is not about short-term gains. This is about Linux being subverted every day. It is given these gains to accept subversion with open arms. If this continues, it will become irrelevant because there no longer will be Free software out there (it’s a question of ubiquity).

    But there is more. Have you seen the patent attacks which began on May 14th? Were these not harmful to Linux? (rhetorical)

    Many places and people have already apologized for “getting it wrong” on the Novell-MS deal…

    Where? Show some proof, please.

    Being quiet is not being consensual or forgiving. See Rich Morgan’s comment, for example

  4. Francis said,

    September 17, 2007 at 5:53 am

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    Vexorian,

    Novell’s totally out of sense OOXML support has not yet affected us in any sense since ISO has fortunately not made it an standard yet, but it stays a threat if MS is not stopped before February.

    I’m sorry that you think that Novell “supports OOXML”, but actually they’ve always stated the opposite. Novell’s position on ODF is to endorse it, and on OOXML it is neutral. I’m sorry if you think that adding interoperability to OpenOffice.org is a bad thing (since you know that MS are going ahead with it anyway), but while so many other distributions and people are saying it’s bad with their left hand, their right hand very happily implements it into their distribution.

    The whole moonlight plan, one that clearly shows how negative this deal is to Linux, is not in execution yet.

    I’m sorry but Microsoft are obviously going to be using Silverlight in the future. It of course sucks that Silverlight is proprietary, but at least Moonlight will be a nice open source implementation, which is a lot more free than flash. Not ideal, but still.

    Novell’s efforts to make Linux a second class OS that requires a windows host to work are… again a long term process that is far from affecting us all yet.

    Yes, Novell secretly wants Microsoft Windows to succeed and for Linux to fail, hazzah! Come on guy. Novell is pushing for Linux on the desktop more than any other company. They perfectly acknowledge that this is not possible without interoperability. There are countless companies who have large programs with deep roots; telling them to “switch to C/C++” in many of these cases is just completely ridiculous to them. Mono is the source of an awful lot of converts.

    Hopefully, MS’ plans will fail and no harm would be made to Linux, that however would not change that this deal had the sole purpose of killing Linux.

    After you read on the GPL and other free and open source licences do you know just how ridiculous this sounds? Since Novell is a company completely grounded in and committed to Linux (by making a huge proportion of the software you’re using now), do you know how ridiculous this sounds?

    This type of false over-exaggeration doesn’t help anyone.

    Roy,

    Only technical reasons, as far as I’m concerned. We’ve been through this before. Domains cannot be magically changed without damage being done (e.g. permalinks).

    Actually no, this really is easily resolved: you move the domain and the old one becomes an archive. All permalinks are preserved.

    Though if you really wanted to you could import this whole database, keep the same mod-rewrite rules on the new site, and make all redirects redirect to the page with the same url (after domain.com) in the new domain, and that would also work.

    You cannot deny the fact that many people continue to hate the deals (you can block them and ignore them, but I see them every day) because they understand the consequences.

    Actually, I think the exact opposite. I’ve spoken to countless people over time regarding this deal, and if there’s one thing that I’ve concluded is that they don’t have the slightest clue about the deal, but that they go on negative headlines that various sites make. Most of them admit this, too, after a while. This is true for around 98% of the people I’ve seen oppose the deal.

    This is not about short-term gains. This is about Linux being subverted every day. It is given these gains to accept subversion with open arms. If this continues, it will become irrelevant because there no longer will be Free software out there (it’s a question of ubiquity).

    Yes, Roy, that is what you say now. A few months ago you were singing a different tune: “just you wait till the GPLv3 comes out!”. After the “short-term” time passed (and all your broken promises about collateral damage were out of reach), I’m sure you necessarily had to change tactics and suggest that, “oh, but in the loooooong term you’ll see how bad this is!” This very honestly reminds me a little of a cult.

    Have you seen the patent attacks which began on May 14th? Were these not harmful to Linux? (rhetorical)

    Considering all the stuff that has happened since then, I’d probably say no. Did you see the uproar of the community? Did you see how foolish Microsoft were made to look? Microsoft carried on FUD’ing about Linux, as they always do. This is hardly anything new, and it’s ridiculous to blame Novell for any of that since there are about 100 statements from Novell all saying “We make no acknowledgment of infringement”, as does everyone.

    The fundamental erroneous premise that you always implicitly assume is that a good deal with a bad company, or bad person, is not possible. This is a bad presupposition. Covering every bit of dirt that Microsoft does (which you do) will not further your position about Novell “being evil”.

    Where? Show some proof, please.

    The Linux Action show (episode 59 IIRC) for one talk about how they (and a big chunk of the oss world) completely over-reacted.

    Being quiet is not being consensual or forgiving.

    That is actually not for you to say, I’m afraid. It may, it may not be. It’s quite obvious that a lot of people are tired of waiting for something to happen.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 17, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    Gravatar

    Yes, Roy, that is what you say now. A few months ago you were singing a different tune: “just you wait till the GPLv3 comes out!”.

    Yes, and we no longer see Linux deals with Microsoft, do we? That was the point. The GPLv3 did not increase the damage of damage that was already done.

  6. Serenitude said,

    September 18, 2007 at 3:25 am

    Gravatar

    To be fair, Novell has always voted “Yes”, or “Approve”, to OOXML, not “Abstain”, “No, with comments”, or “No”. Novell can “claim” that their OOXML stance is neutral, but their well-documented voting record is “Yes”.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 18, 2007 at 4:06 am

    Gravatar

    Ask Mr. Meeks and others who are coding for OpenOffice.org and happily add OOXML support. It’s like writing binary drivers to replace or improve open source ones.

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