Ballmer’s FUD Makes a Comeback (and Microsoft Real ‘Open Source’ Plan is Unleashed) (Updated)

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat at 8:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Throughout a public talk in the United Kingdom, Microsoft’s CEO says some of the darnest (yet expected) things. For example, consider this short summary:

Any plans to bring development tools to other platforms? No.


Open Source

What’s our strategy
A. Compete–we need to offer better value where there is a direct overlap
B. Open Source innovation on Windows–our battle is product to product

Praise for Novell–”Novell says that IP matters, Red Hat doesn’t.”

Does anybody still think that the deal with Novell was not harmful? This is not the first time that Steve Ballmer uses it as ammunition. Matt Asay has apparently viewed the video as well and he is particularly interested — for obvious reasons — in Microsoft’s approach towards open source software.

Steve Ballmer apparently likes open source. Well, so long as it drives Windows revenue. And doesn’t replace any. Ever. In fact, as he said at an event in Microsoft last week in London that he hopes to see all open-source innovation going to Windows, rather than Linux (more below).

None of this is surprising of course. It is also the reason for what we consider a hijack of XenSource and the agreements with Novell on virtualisation. Microsoft uses money to make Windows more predominant in the server space (and later on in the desktop space too). All money which is spent is intended to optimise for Windows or to create more dependencies on Windows.

Matt proceeds to covering Ballmer’s latest patent FUD.

In fact, in this Q&A, he all-but-declared something that I’ve been saying for many moons: Microsoft wants to tax open-source innovation. He said, with respect to Red Hat:

“People that use Red Hat, at least with respect to our intellectual property, in a sense have an obligation to compensate us.”

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!!! Ballmer believes Linux violates Microsoft’s patents (as he says earlier in his comments), and wants people to pay up.

Recall what OIN and the OSC had to say about such insidious tactics from Microsoft. Also mind the fact that Ballmer talks about intellectual property and not software patents, which are not the same. He talks in the United Kingdom where software patents are not legal, so he throws patents into a collective bag that is IP. This is a very nasty strategy from Microsoft and not the first time it uses it in Europe.

Update: at least one article about this event has just been published. It poses things as though and it’s attack on Red Hat and Groklaw responds. Remember that Microsoft sneakily escapes every chance to disclose its own patent-sheet liability because it knows it’s essentially armless (and thus harmless).

Is SUSE the Windows of the Linux World? (Updated)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Humour, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED, Windows at 6:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The following blog item about package management pains in Novell’s new operating system comes up with the following statement about SUSE’s installation.

This reminded me of another six years old desktop OS, which does a reboot during install — Windows XP. However, that’s a six or seven years old OS.

This brings back memories (click to view the image).

SUSE Genuine Advantage

Thanks, Shane

Update: another SUSE rant from the press (just published)… openSUSE 10.3: one step forward, two steps back.

Forking, Software Patents, Format Incompatibilities, and Corporate Selfishness

Posted in Fork, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Ron Hovsepian, SUN at 6:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When competitive goals lead to lock-ins and hurt the consumer

In yesterday’s post about Rob Weir’s clarifications, some new issues were debated. Such issues involve the role of Novell in OpenOffice and their implications on ODF. It was several days ago that Brian Proffitt wrote about the views of the ODF Alliance, with whom I’m a bit of friend. Here is what Brian wrote to conclude:

Like I said, interesting, in that regardless of how “right” people think ODF is over OOXML, it’s still just one more thing for big vendors to fight about. In the end, Gary [Edwards] and the Foundation are saying, it’s the customers that lose out, trying to get their documents opened.

I was a tad upset with Rob’s assessment because he took a shot at the Alliance’s reputation. That’s just disrespectful. Rob was upset because they implicitly characterized themselves as those who “fight for the people against greedy corporations.” Groklaw concurs with this assessment. As far as some companies go, this is true however. Consider Novell’s OpenOffice.org fork and consider the apparent motivator and cause. To Novell, it boils down to commercial interests. Where have we heard that quite recently? Does that justify a fork? Does it necessarily improve the product? Will it bring greater pleasure to the consumer by reducing complexity, confusion, and incompatibilities (mental/perceived or technical)?

Matt Asay argues in favour of what he calls “strong forks“, but he does not seem to understand that Novell is likely to extend OOo the ‘Microsoft way’, with patent ‘protection’ and other elements they have incorporated since the release of a derivative in March this year (Windows only). They introduce incompatibilities between the Windows and Linux version because, according to Ron Hovsepian, Microsoft had imposed some legal restrictions.

For those who are led to believe (probably by Novell) that Sun neglected OpenOffice.org, watch the impressive set of features planned for the 3.0 release.

OpenOffice.org Conference (OOoCon 2007) is taking place this week. Among the first information available is a talk about the future of OOorg.

For those who think that Novell saves OpenOffice.org from a “lazy Sun”, think again. IBM’s symphony may be diluting some effort, but it does not have patents an other such issues introduced. Novell enters iffy territories as far as Free software is concerned. The prospects of Novell forking projects to get around the GPLv3 materialise in a completely different fashion now. Patent provisions are propagated in other ways. Recall what Ron Hovsepian said (we covered that interview with him before). It is Microsoft that has Novell’s hands in cuffs, so it remains baffling who is benefiting from such a fork.

An OpenOffice.org which is developed by Novell for Novell customers only (recall what’s included from a legal perspective) shall remain an application which is no longer worth having.

BSoD for Novell

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