10.02.07

Rumour: Novell Layoffs Next Month

Posted in Novell, Ron Hovsepian, SCO at 11:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Further to the previous post, which spoke about revealing comments, here comes another rumour that can get people at Novell upset. The following I did not know: does Novell intend to lay off employees next month?

You people aren’t acquainted with Novell. It is one of the worst-managed companies ever–employees who have tried to to innovate usually find instant defeat. If anyone from Novell is patrolling blogs it is certainly not a company-managed effort. In fact, most employees are stressed about the upcoming October layoffs.

Can anyone confirm this? Having just searched the Web, the 2005 layoffs are all that comes up [1, 2, 3]. There was certainly nothing about new layoffs in the press (not recently anyway) and Bruce Lowry fought against our arguments that Novell is losing staff, despite the fact that we recorded evidence of layoffs in this site (some of them this year).

If the above is true, then Bruce will have to eat humble pie. I can’t say that we’ll have “the last laugh” because unemployment is nothing to joke about and the misery of Novell developers, as opposed to management that sold out, is not something which I would — personally — take any pleasure in. I’ve said it before (probably elsewhere) and I’ll say it again: Ron Hovsepian deserves to be sacked for not realising the consequences of that terrible deal with Microsoft. He should have listened more closely to Jeremey Allison and some of the other prominent developers. He received warnings about this deal.

What should Novell ideally do? The company seems to be trapped now, but maybe it can apologise and escape this irrevocable deal somehow. It’s unrealistic, surely, and it would take a long time to recover, but Novell will probably drop into oblivion if it believes that a ‘second-class Windows’ (OOXML translator is not OOXML, Mono is not .NET, Moonlight is not Silverlight) will be appreciated by clients.

Novell seems to be lacking leadership and inspiration. Even Novell’s key evangelist, Reverend Ted, is clearly irreplaceable (Novell sought a replacement days ago) and he has moved on to podcasting elsewhere. Good luck to Ted!

If staffing reduction is anything to go by and if the above rumour is true, then Novell might be the next SCO. Earlier today I notices that Sam Hiser had created a new category in his blog, aptly named “SCOVell”.

Losing Your Job for Opposing a Monopoly Abuser? (Lassi Nirhamo)

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Open XML, OSI, Standard at 11:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Occasionally, comments can be more informative than articles in the press or even press releases. One example would be last night’s comment from a Finnish reader of our Web site. He or she (anonymous by choice) pointed to a news article from Finland talked about a suspicious layoff in Finland, which may indicate that the Microsoft Money Machine(R) is once again pulling strings and getting people fired for not sympathising with monopoly abuse (c/f the corruption that is OOXML). We have definitely seen this before, so there is precedence.

The poster gave a lot more information in the past [1, 2, 3, 4]. Here is the subsequent news about Finland intending to abstain rather than reject, among other news and mentionings, e.g. [1, 2].

It is worth adding that FFII has just awarded with Microsoft a ‘prestigious prize’ for fighting OOXML (yes, fighting!). Sounds bizzare, no? Well, according to FFII:

By pushing so hard to get OOXML endorsed, even to the point of loading the standards boards in Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, and beyond, Microsoft showed to the world how poor their format is. Good standards just don’t need that kind of pressure.

Pieter has a good sense of humour — the honour of desperation. We shall see how much Microsoft can toy with the ISO before the milestone decision in March. Remember: Microsoft has admitted that OOXML is all about the money.

Stay Away from OpenSUSE 10.3

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 9:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OpenSUSE 10.3 is going to be released shortly, so this is probably a good time to discuss the effect of OpenSUSE on the Linux foe that is Novell (the company, not the project). To structure this argument in a convenient and digestible way, let us clarify things in a point-by-point fashion:

  1. When you use OpenSUSE, you support SLED/SLES, which Microsoft gets a revenue percentage from
  2. When you download OpenSUSE, you give the impression that Novell’s business is on track
  3. As soon as you install OpenSUSE, you are most likely installing Mono (in GNOME)
  4. If OpenSUSE succeeds in gaining market share, then truly open source Linux distributions suffer
  5. When you choose OpenSUSE, you contribute to acknowledgment of patent infringements in Linux

Steve Ballmer rides SUSEDo not use OpenSUSE or even download OpenSUSE. Many SUSE developers have already left the building. Meanwhile, Novell is hiring .NET developers.

Let Novell find its own route and stick with the root of Linux. Linux is doing great, even without patent deals.

OpenSUSE is considered a community distribution, but if only Novell actually cared about the community that built it

Popular open source security products are being commercialized, changing the way customers and vendors view “the community.”

A greedy mind hasn’t conscience, let alone a sense of responsibility.

Businesses Haven’t Software Patent Risk But They Have Fear After Novell Sellout

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Interview, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, OpenOffice at 9:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gauging delusion and reality

There is this couple of interesting new surveys and they reveal facts which are only slightly conflicting. The first one suggests that proprietary software is perceived as equally ‘risky’ compared to open source software.

Interesting, neither open source nor proprietary software score well on “IP protection.” Either they’re both equally good or they’re both equally bad. Either way, they don’t seem to offer distinct advantages, one over the other, according to the customers surveyed.

This is reassuring to know, but have a look at this other new survey.

A concerned 40% of respondents were uneasy that open source software would leave them vulnerable to censure or litigation from commercial software vendors crying patent or trademark infringement.

These fears are unfounded, according to Andrew Katz, a solicitor at UK law firm Moorcrofts, as US patents do not apply under UK law.

“The UK is in a fantastic position. The chances of coming across patent infringement is vastly less,” Katz told delegates at a London open source event earlier this month.

This indicates that perception is unaligned with reality. This truly means that FUD has had an effect and that people’s mis/understanding and fear of the issue is exaggerated. Just recall what Microsoft did to OpenOffice.org 5 month ago, as the following new article from Microsoft’s own press reminds us.

[Q:] The Microsoft patent imbroglio earlier this year largely targeted the Linux developer community, but OpenOffice.org fell into the crosshairs as well. Is there any impact on your group?

[A:] Looked at from the other side of the Atlantic, nothing in the U.S. patent arena surprises me anymore. The bottom line for OpenOffice.org is that we know where our code has come from. All our code is open source for anyone to inspect; we have nothing to hide. If someone believes we have to stop coding because they have a patent on how developers click a mouse, then that’s fine by me — I’m afraid I’ve been in the IT industry too long to worry unduly about FUD.

“To Microsoft, FUD is all about economics. Apparently, it is to Novell as well.”When Microsoft struck with that FUD back in May (you can ‘thank’ Novell for this), OpenOffice.org developers described the move by Microsoft as a “desperate act” and hit back hard at Microsoft.

The take-home message here is that real risk of software patents (mind the fact that “intellectual property” is not patents) is very low, but to some people, the perceived risk has been affected by FUD. This needs to be corrected.

To Microsoft, FUD is all about economics. Apparently, it is to Novell as well.

Related old article:

Microsoft/Novell agreement may exclude patent protection for Wine, OpenOffice

This means that Microsoft can still sue individual SUSE Linux customers who are using products designed to replicate Microsoft products and that also infringe on Microsoft’s patents.

Novell’s Windowsization of GNU/Linux

Posted in Linspire, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Windows, Xandros at 8:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Time for GPLv3 to evolve and become GPLv4?

We’ve all heard about Tivoization [1, 2, 3, 4] — a GNU GPL loophole that GPLv3 will close and a behviour that will be therefore prevented. Another important (yet unrelated) issue is not the attempt to mimic Windows look-and-feel, which might be fine (Xandors and Linspire have been doing this forever), but the inclusion of bits and pieces that are legal land mines and subvert Linux, or at least its general direction.

NindowsSteve Lake (of Raiden fame) wrote a short piece on what he calls “Winux”, but he was not referring to what we repeatedly characterise as “Microsoft Linux” (most recent example, among many more). Steve was talking about making Linux installation more intuitive for long-time Windows users, who are unfamiliar with realms that are peripheral to Windows.

Bringing the comfort of Windows familiarity to promote Linux is one thing, but Mono brings to the game legal complications and it introduces Microsoft’s control over all ways forward. Mind you, the first beta of MonoDevelop 1.0 has just been released.

MonoDevelop 1.0 Beta 1 (0.16) has been released. MonoDevelop is a GNOME IDE primarily designed for C# and other .NET languages.

Over at Linux Journal, Tom Adelstein wrote a piece to praise Mono.

For those readers who have a bias toward Mono, I understand. I mean, I feel your pain. In the mean time, it might help to get off it and take a real look at what Miguel and his development team have accomplish.

The comments are worth reading as well. Linux Journal appears to have just put a wall in front of commenters by requiring login, which wasn’t the case last night. It might be an attempt at suppression of expression of dissent, but maybe it’s more to do with the recent torrent of SPAM (maddog’s article got abused/defaced). Even BoycottNovell.com was flooded by slanderous comments against me yesterday — comments that have been deleted for containing libel and repetitive personal attacks. Ah! The joys of ‘daring’ to criticise Novell… I’m by no means alone.

Say No to MonoThe comments in Linux Journals pretty much speak for themselves. As long as Novell promotes Mono as a principal the direction for Linux development, SUSE Linux is bound to become something undesirable not for reasons involving being “anti-Microsoft”, but for purely legal and technical reasons. We’ve explored and covered a lot of this before.

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