Do-No-Evil Saturday: OpenSUSE @ RC, Linux Deployments, and ‘Legacy’ Products

Posted in Africa, Asia, Identity Management, Marketing, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 4:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It has been a while since the purpose of these weekly posts was last explained. Just as a reminder (to new readers maybe), this is an accumulation of positive Novell news from the past week. It’s inteded to show that we don’t turn a blind eye to Novell’s achievements. Rather, we are aware of them; but taking all into account, we still call for a Novell boycott. The harms Novell brings outweigh the benfits it brings to GNU/Linux. The Do-no-evil tag was originally put there because it these posts were intended to show that we are not evil. We can offer Novell some praises when these are deserved and justified.

Without further ado, here’s a digest for the past week.


OpenSUSE has reached the release candidate milestone.

Technical Changes

  • libzypp 3.24
  • Virtualbox 1.5
  • OpenOffice.org 2.3
  • Countless bug fixes in every component: 535 bugs RESOLVED/FIXED
  • 485 packages submitted

The newly-released GNOME desktop will apparently be merged into this upcoming version of OpenSUSE.

Among other things, openSUSE 10.3 is set to contain, and be among the very first to have, the new GNOME 2.20.

A long-time Linux seeker, who could not quite the perfect distribution (Gentoo was his kryptonite, he argued), appears to have settled down with Madame Susie.

Last night was install night, and I’ll tell you this. OpenSUSE was a dream come true in this uncertain time. After the install I had DNS and DHCP up and running in about 10 minutes, if that! Configuration was a snap! I would even venture to say that DNS and DHCP setup on OpenSUSE is 1000 times easier and more intuitive than Windows!

Here is another positive experience.

After sticking with OpenSuSE for a long time (read 2 years), I finally got one of the bleeding edge distros : Arch Linux.


Apart from all this, I would still say that OpenSuSE rocks. For someone new to linux and OSS, I would definitely recommend OpenSuSE.

Linux Business

Novell has a finally gotten around to deployment of thousands of Linux desktops in a South African bank.

The Linux desktop rollout will replace the Legacy OS/2 operating system, as well as approximately 4 000 Windows 2000 installations.

From ELCOT, which caught quite a few people’s attention because of its Linux migration (SUSE), there’s even more coming. Students receive a 40% discounts on SUSE laptop. This seems like an incentives program.

We have evaluated the products and assessed their Windows and Linux compatibility.

The laptop which the article talks about is said to be this one.

The military research recently made SUSE its choice for the cluster.

Running on industry standard SUSE(R) Linux Enterprise Server 10 fro Novell(R), the new system also features 28TB of RAID storage in two SGI InfiniteStorage 220 direct attached systems for data consolidation.


Running on industry standard SUSE(R) Linux Enterprise Server 10 fro Novell(R), the new system also features 28TB of RAID storage in two SGI InfiniteStorage 220 direct attached systems for data consolidation.

CRN has an article on Linux growth and it attributes a thing or two to Novell.

One of the keys to Novacoast’s success has also been a tight partnership with Novell, which has relied on Novacoast as part of the vendor’s partner bench program. That Novell initiative tags key partners as go to players for subcontracting services. “We get used by Novell for our tactical ability to close deals quickly and upsell customers,” said Gray. “We are really good at taking a deal that is stuck and getting it closed.”


Rob Hart, the business development director for Data Technique, an Overland Park, Kansas solution provider, also attributed his company’s fast growth to identity management, and a tight partnership with Novell. Data Technique’s sales have shot up from $1 million three years ago to $4.5 million.

Documents and Management

Michael Meeks, whom we now know as somewhat of a friend of OOXML, gets this mention.

OpenOffice.org’s annual conference kicks off this week in Barcelona. As a big supporter of OpenOffice.org – we’re the second largest contributor to OpenOffice.org after Sun – Novell will be there in full force. We’re a Premium sponsor, and Michael Meeks, Novell’s OpenOffice.org lead and a significant code contributor to OpenOffice.org, will attend, as will Guy Lunardi, one of Novell’s top desktop guys, and Alan Clark, who heads up our standardization efforts.

DocuWare gets a mention here.

Customers working with Novell Netware can administer users and user groups in Novell eDirectory and import them automatically via LDAP into DocuWare 5.1. Users profit from the synchronization since manual intervention is unnecessary. DocuWare has been a Novell Silver Partner in the Novell Partner Network since March 2007.

There is also this new press release.

Novell today announced the upcoming availability of Novell(R) Teaming and Novell Teaming + Conferencing, two new team workspace and real-time collaboration additions to Novell’s workgroup product line. These solutions will help boost end-user and team productivity and reduce overall customer costs by improving the everyday business processes people engage in to create, share, discuss and manage information. They also support a new model for technical and business innovation Novell calls “open collaboration,” which describes the open source technology development process that allows customers and partners to participate in product innovation, the actual tools that allow for customer choice, and a way of working to increase team effectiveness and organizational success.


Novell Teaming + Conferencing will immediately integrate with many features of Novell GroupWise(R) and the Novell Open Workgroup Suite, with additional integration to follow in subsequent releases. With these open collaboration solutions, teams communicate more effectively and will be more productive on the platform and client of their choice, whether Linux or Windows.

Infocard gets a quick mention in Between the Lines.

The Bandit Project (sponsored by Novell) has released DigitalMe for the Mac. DigitalMe is the Novell brand for their Infocard selectors that are compatible with Microsoft’s CardSpace.

Novell’s PR blog is one among several sites that talk about the latest identity management news from Novell.

Proving that the need for centralized and automated user provisioning knows no borders, Novell Identity Manager continues to be deployed in venues far and wide. Recent successful customer deployments include APACS in the United Kingdom, University of Cape Town in South Africa and University of Adelaine in Australia.

APACS has implemented Identity Manager to synchronize user information and group membership across three core systems. University of Adelaide is using Identity Manager to synchronizes identities and passwords across several directories. University of Cape Town has deployed Identity Manager to enable automatic role-based provisioning of user accounts and physical access rights for its large and fast-changing user community.

Stay tuned to find out where in the world, Identity Manager will be deployed next

There was a bit more in a previous writeup.

Lastly, Novell is getting a some lip service from IdentiPHI.

Many Novell customers rely on server-side computing and remote administration which requires the same biometric authentication capabilities. SAFmodule(TM) can be configured to include SAFremote Authenticator(TM), an add-on product to SAFmodule that enables strong authentication over Citrix® MetaFrame, Windows® Terminal Services and XP Remote Desktop sessions.

How Novell and Others Were “Bought Out” by Microsoft

Posted in Deals, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Protocol, Samba, Servers, SUN at 1:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The price tag of corporate suicide

The idea of buying out your competitor or making money from a rival’s sales is not new. The Comes vs Microsoft case (in Iowa) had that mentioned and we continue to see that pattern to this date. Only last month, in fact, it was XenSource.

Groklaw has the text from a new group interview about protocol licensing, interoperability, the ruling in Europe, and more. Here’s a summary:

Sometimes folks try to characterize, or mischaracterize, the FOSS community. If you want to know what that community is like, it’s like this, this interview, these four men who dared to try the impossible, with weapons of intellect and skill and integrity rather than money, men who couldn’t be bought, who never gave up, and who happily lived to tell us the story with humor and pleasantness.


Georg Greve: 3.6 billion, I think, is the final count at some point. For Sun, for Novell, for Real, for the CCIA. I mean, they were all bought out of the case.

Remember that Samba rejected buyout attempts. Also consider Mary Jo Foley’s analysis of this discussion.

Greve noted that by the time of the September 17 Court decision, Microsoft had “bought out” most of the companies who originally wanted the protocol information, specifically Novell, Sun and the Computer and Communications Information Association (which represented a number of Microsoft’s rivals). As a result, the only vendor who has been advocating actively for access to Microsoft’s protocols is Samba.

When money is permitted to stifle fair competition, everyone loses. With Novell, the customer and the developer lose. Only the management wins by making monetary gains (the consequences of “selling out”).

Linux-Windows Interoperability is Set Free

Posted in Europe, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Protocol, Red Hat, Servers at 1:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

For a long time we’ve argued that Microsoft uses its ‘interoperability’ deal with Novell in order to exclude competitors and hopefully (for Microsoft) drive them out of market relevance. One sufferer, for example, is intended to be Red Hat, which was supposed to have been left behind when it comes to virtualisation compatibility and/or performance.

News about the approaching availability of an release candidate of Windows Server 2008 brought back an old familiar tune.

Neil showed Viridian running Novell’s Suse Linux Enterprise Edition on Windows Server. Novell and Microsoft are partners in building interoperability between the two operating systems.

Here is another article.

Neil also emphasised Microsoft’s newly co-operative attitude with Novell. “We’ve been working with Novell to optimise Linux on our platform,” Neil said. “I never thought I’d hear that statement,” Intel’s James responded.

Meanwhile, over in India, there’s a similar message being preached to the media

Finally Advani listed Novell’s advantages in this area including no additional cost per virtual machine and the company’s Interoperability Agreement with Microsoft.

From all the above, one might be left with the impression that unless you choose Novell, integration chaos will ensue. However, it is not the case. It’s merely Novell’s attempt to distinguish itself using factors like “patent protection” and “increased interoperability”. It’s about perception and about FUD. Microsoft is happy enough with such messages being delivered because that helps it capture a userbase that it can impose a sort of ‘tax’ upon (Novell customers).

Novell’s so-called competitive advantage is short-lived, however, because the ruling is Europe is bound to force Microsoft to give up its secrets, i.e. the protocols it ‘extended’ in order to stifle interoperability. Red Hat isn’t taking a passive stance either. It has already called for action.

Monday’s Microsoft ruling is good news for open source and proprietary vendors alike. But Michael Cunningham, executive vice president and general councel at Red Hat, believes the European Commission shouldn’t let up the pressure on the Redmond giant.

In due time, other Linux vendors will get all the information they require and be able to work properly with Windows, even without self-punishing patent deals.

Related articles:

SCO’s Trooper Talks “Microsoft Linux”

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell at 1:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

NindowsI wouldn’t normally feed Rob Enderle, who has an anti-Linux agenda, but there is yet more of these speculations about a “Microsoft Linux”. It’s just one among many similar analyses that at least explore the idea, as far fetched as it may be.

Now, Microsoft could choose to drive this and fund a third party effort to create a Linux/Windows hybrid and have that third party bring it to market. Let’s say they funded it with Novell, for instance. Novell gets a product that is potentially (in terms of interoperating and running Windows applications) better than anything they currently have; Microsoft gains homes for Windows applications that probably wouldn’t run native under normal Suse Linux (virtualization aside). A blended license, given we seem to be doing that a lot with Open Source products, is a solvable problem and revenues are tied back to services and applications that run on the new platform.

As long as Microsoft retains control over the core code, which is likely since any unauthorized changes would either initially or eventually cause breakage, the end result is a low cost Linux/Windows hybrid that could be more attractive to a number of buyers than Linux currently is.

The writer does consulting work for Microsoft. Does he know something that we do not?

Developers, Developers, Developers; Licensing, Licensing, Licensing

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patent Covenant, Patents at 1:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The impact of protocols licensing was highlighted a couple of weeks ago and will be revisited shortly (in the next post). It remains one of these unnecessary things which are a result of standards being ignored or subverted. Judging by yesterday’s news, Microsoft’s cross-licensing deals continue, even if they do not include Linux (not explicitly anyway).

Microsoft Corp. and Cadence Design Systems Inc. have entered a patent cross- licensing agreement, expanding on a long-standing relationship between the two companies. The agreement allows broad access to each company’s respective patent portfolios to facilitate future technical collaboration in areas of common interest to both companies.

Of course, this begs the question: are these patents, which consume a lot of time and paper, needed at all? It is widely accepted that lawyers are the only big winners. Do companies and consumer actually benefit? It remains both uncertain and subjective, but you can judge by this new story about the Linux-based Google Phone being delayed. Reason? Patents, apparently.

TI’s handset chipsets will find their way into the Google phone should the company decide to roll out an EDGE-compliant handset, but Qualcomm could turn out to be the winner if Google decides to bet on a 3G model, the sources noted.

Meanwhile, however, there are those who argue that patents are not only benefiting lawyers, but that they also defend the smaller inve[n|s]tors. The recent patent reform is being actively opposed.

About 20 inventors and U.S. company executives, visiting Washington, D.C., encouraged Congress to defeat the Patent Reform Act, a version of which passed the House of Representatives earlier this month. The Senate has not yet voted on its version of the bill.

The inventor of the segway is among those who protest.

Strong patents make it harder for larger firms to copy inventions by individuals and small firms without compensation, Kamen said. Innovators rely on licensing fees from large firms to finance research.

Be it weak patents or strong patents, it should probably be obvious that software patents cannot facilitate innovation. Moreover, so-called “patent terrorism” harms everyone.

Open Source Initiative, Like Neelie Kroes, Says “Non” to Microsoft

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Law, Microsoft, OSI at 12:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not so long ago, Eric Raymond said: “I find I’m almost ready to recommend that OSI tell Microsoft to ram its licenses up one of its own orifices, even if they are technically OSD compliant. Because what good is it to conform to the letter of OSD if you’re raping its spirit?

For more background on this and in order to understand the relationship with the Novell deal, start here and follow the hyperlinks. The latest news on this issue is very encouraging. The OSI has just rejected Microsoft’s licences in their current form. This keeps the Trojan horse away, for now.

…the two primary criticisms of the MPL are valid, Tiemann said.

These are clearly some hard days for Microsoft.

Things are not going well for the colossus of Redmond.

Europe, OOXML, SCO, Vista failures, China boss departs, and now OSI…

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