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10.17.07

Novell’s Instability Legacy Lives On (Corrected)

Posted in GNU/Linux, NetWare, Novell, OpenSUSE at 3:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The following new story from ComputerWorld brings to mind the flakiness of Novell’s software [update: see corrections in the comments]. Whether it depends upon another layer of the stack which is to blame here or not, well… it seems irrelevant when you read the second item.

“My co-worker and I set up nine classrooms with 300 computers hooked up to nine Novell servers,” says fish. “The classrooms were to be used to teach typing and accounting.

“Everything worked well during testing, and we were excited about the new school year.”

But soon trouble starts: Servers are frequently rebooting — sometimes several times during a single class.

Imagine the surprise when on the very same day you find a review that complains about the same problems in the “latest and greatest” product from Novell — OpenSUSE 10.3.

I faced only these stability issues, but these are reproducible.

I always put stability as the most important factor while judging a distro. I was extremely impressed by the stability of SUSE 10.2 and thats the reason that I am more depressed with SUSE 10.3. I have done the online updates, but still the crash problem is there.

Another reasons to look elsewhere?

Say No to Novell

Novell Decries Its Own Selfish Behaviour

Posted in Antitrust, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant at 3:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microvell

How ironic is the following tidbit from Novell’s case against Microsoft?

Exclusionary Agreement Grievance Gets Airing in Novell-Microsoft Suit

The second claim allowed to move forward is that “Microsoft engaged in exclusionary agreements with manufacturers that amounted to unreasonable restraint of trade.”

Novell wanted an exclusionary agreement with Microsoft… on patent. Who are they to whine about Microsoft resorting to the very same act of betrayal? Remember Matt’s analogy that involves urination in a pool.

Patent State is the State[s] of the Bully

Posted in Google, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, OIN, Oracle, Patents, Red Hat at 3:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s an insane state in the States

Don Parris has written a nice short piece that equates the status quo to the rule of the thug — that which is least ethical and most ruthless.

For some time now, Microsoft has been accusing the FOSS community of violating its patents. FOSS journalists have been calling their bluff for about as long. And now the patent armageddon game is on. And we could have prevented this all along.

The game may be on, but steps have already been taken to prevent deterioration. Mr. Morgan at OpenAddict has correctly pointed out that the Open Inventions Network is of use here.

Luckily, we have a heavy hitter on our side, as well. A coalition of companies, led by IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony, have created the Open Invention Network in order to provide Linux companies legal protection against these types of lawsuits.

Let’s not forget companies like Oracle and Google as well.

“Could this be a convenient loophole that makes patent trolls and proxies a very appealing attack vector in this broken state of patent (out)laws?”I am left wondering however; how you could cross-license or counter-sue a company that is only a patent portfolio, i.e. a company that produces nothing and therefore does not step on any patent ‘land mines’? Could this be a convenient loophole that makes patent trolls and proxies a very appealing attack vector in this broken state of patent (out)laws?

Speaking of proxies, despite the evidence that can be equated to a ‘smoking gun’ (it’s sufficiently compelling for some to believe), Microsoft’s and Acacia’s denial continues as more information continues to flood in. Matt Aslett assembles some of this information in his new blogging nest (The 451 Group).

Stephen Walli recently noted that the targets seemed strange when you consider the comparative size of Red Hat and Novell’s Linux business. “Why not Microsoft? (Acacia went after Apple who settled. Microsoft would seem to have deeper pockets than Red Hat or Novell. It would seem to be the more interesting business discussion.),” he stated.

Perhaps going after smaller vendors with shallower pockets is the better bet if you are litigating against the clock, although it does seem an odd decision not to go for the mother lode. Either way, one suspects that if Acacia was hoping for a quick settlement it is likely to be disappointed.

Junks Patents Du Jour: Microsoft and Amazon Are Sure Winners

Posted in America, Boycott Novell, Microsoft, Patents at 2:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Want to see some funny patents? Here’s your chance. Looking at just a couple of examples you’ll find that Microsoft is now allegedly patenting the Apple iPod.

Pictured here is Microsoft’s great new patent application on a portable touchscreen device’s user interface, refiled within days of a certain cellphone going on sale. Look familiar?

[...]

Either that, or they’re jokes.

Remember the patent on hard-drive-based media players (a la iPod) and the dispute that ensued? This seems like another case of history repeating itself, but this one is still in the making.

Additionally, who could ever forget Amazon’s notorious 1-click shopping patent, which is apparently having the last screws violently nailed into its coffin?

Most of the claims in Amazon’s controversial patent for shopping with a single mouse click have been rejected by the US Patent Office. It follows a campaign by a New Zealander who filed evidence of prior art with funding from readers of his blog.

Yes, that is the sad state of the patent system. It pays more to just accept patent applications. Any applications. As the following very recent article explains, the consequences have a chaotic nature.

It costs millions of dollars in litigation fees to show that a patent should not have been granted, and most big corporations have learned that the hard way.

It truly seems like a shoot-first-then-ask-questions situation.

The Mono and Moonlight Roadblock

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 2:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

One of Novell’s controversial moves was not only mimicking of Microsoft’s .NET, but also attempts to implement and make available Silverlight support, which gives Web developers the illusion that Silverlight is supported entirely by Linux. The truth is far from this for a variety of legal and technical reasons that we outlined in the past. Moreover, implementation barriers lie ahead. Not only have speculations about licensing changes become true as far as Mono is concerned, but also — as the following shows [via Beranger] — there is an element of uncertainty.

If you ask me, the real reason for them [Microsoft] releasing this source code is to make it more difficult for the mono project to create replicas of WPF, WinForms, and ASP.NET.

Essentially, any further development of Mono (and Moonlight) becomes a plagiarism risk. It’s not a matter of getting caught, but a matter of suspicion. Mono is from not on at the mercy of Microsoft lawyers’ wrath. This isn’t a new observation at all. It would be hard to become blind and ignore the risk.

On a brighter note, it ought to be mentioned that Curl was born to address some of the existing problems.

Curl, the rich programming language specialist back from obscurity, is turning to open source to gain a foothold in rich internet applications (RIA).

Microsoft quickly dismisses this project as a potential threat (JavaFX anyone?), but the interesting bit in this FUD from Microsoft is the use of Novell as an excuse and a defense for Microsoft. How many times and in how many areas have we seen this before?

Microsoft developer Andrew Brust, chief technical architect at development shop Twenty Six, told El Reg that Curl doesn’t impress him at all. “It’s very fringe, given that it has its own programming language and no explicit support from Microsoft or the J2EE vendors.

“Demand [for RIAs] is starting, but it’s still small, and this [Curl] is not helped by the fact that there are so many fringe stacks out there. That puts skill sets in short supply and makes the learning curve a risky investment.”

Brust thinks Silverlight – being ported to Linux by a team of Novell-led developers – will change all that. “The UI is fantastic, the capabilities significant, the platform stable and portable, and the skill set, .NET, is tied in to a huge standard,” he said.

A “port” appears to be mentioned in this article, but it is worth returning to the beginning of the post where the deficiencies in Moonlight should be made obvious. As we said yesterday, Moonlight will always be incomplete, which makes Linux a second-class cititizen in a Silverlight-saturated Web.

With California’s newly-proposed web accessibility law, such binaries-dependent Web will hopefully not see the light of day.

California law may require websites to be accessible to disabled internet users, according to a ruling in a case against retail giant Target. Despite recent improvements to the accessibility of Target.com, the case has now been certified as a class action.

There need to be free and truly RIA open solutions before anything of this kind reaches the Web.

Microsoft Signs Another Patent Deal Amid Calls for Remedies

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Microsoft, Patent Covenant, Patents at 5:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s a broken system, but Microsoft just plays along with these self-serving rules

Microsoft has just entered another cross-licensing deal, this time with Olympus.

Computing powerhouse Microsoft Corp. revealed Monday that it has signed a broad patent cross-licensing agreement with digital camera manufacturer Olympus Corp.

Linux is not mentioned in this one particular story, which is probably a positive sign. However, software patents remain a heavy burden and they continue to be slammed. Just days ago, a man who proved redundancy in having software patents won a Nobel prize.

‘One recent subject of Professor Maskin’s wide-ranging research has been on the value of software patents. He determined that software was a market where innovations tended to be sequential, in that they were built closely on the work of predecessors, and innovators could take many different paths to the same goal. In such markets, he said, patents might serve as a wall that inhibited innovation rather than stimulating progress.’

In another interesting item on software patents, Groklaw borrows some interesting details about the patent troll that set its eyes on Linux.

Critics have called the company [Acacia] the ultimate “patent troll,” since it does not invent its own patents or market any products, making money solely through patent-licensing deals and lawsuits. The company has made a fortune in recent years compelling companies, especially in the technology sector, to take licenses for its patents or face costly litigation.

The company’s growing barrage of lawsuits have been celebrated on Wall Street… and Acacia’s stock price has tripled over the last three years….

It could also be an added push for patent reform in Washington, if patent-licensing shops are seen as creating an “innovation tax,” as tech heavyweights have alleged.

So, where’s that reform? Hurry up already.

ISO No Longer Matters…

Posted in Boycott Novell, ECMA, ISO, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, Standard at 5:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…because it has been corrupted by Microsoft

First we had Ecma in sight and we gave up all hope (see references at the bottom). But we expected ISO to do better in the face of relentless lobbying and manipulation. How wrong were we. Aside from the fact that support for a proposed standard was bought (in the form of money and ‘protection’) from various companies including Novell, the actual voting process was corrupted too. Yesterday we mentioned Andy’s latest writeup and we also tracked fraud and described the need for a reform that OpenISO strives to deliver. For the time being, there’s nothing but a complete mockery of system.

A while back I blogged about how Microsoft helped ‘recruit’ about 20 new members for the ISO SC34 committee in order to help approve it’s OOXML document format. Now it looks like that didn’t only affect the voting process for the OOXML ballot but also the entire working of the SC34 committee!

The new members that joined the committee to help out Microsoft and OOXML have apparently been neglecting to vote on the three latest standards! This resulted in not enough votes and thus canceling the entire voting process for that standard.

Since the new P members joined the committee there isn’t a single issue that could be voted. Not only did Microsoft mess up the credibility of the ISO organization, it also messed up the voting process!

If Microsoft is permitted to go ahead with its OOXML plans, there’s trouble ahead. OOXML is part of a stack of lock-ins that include SOA and Sharepoint, the remainder being: XPS, HD, and Silverlight, among more.

Forbes Magazine has just published a harsh item that criticises Microsoft for its malicious plan to lock competitors outs. This article is definitely something to be aware of.

A Bold Yet Bland Plan For Communications Domination

Note to Bill Gates: You’re known for crushing competitors mercilessly. Your chief executive, Steve Ballmer, is a large, sweaty man who dances like a monkey. You are launching a frenzied raid into the multibillion-dollar office communications business. And you kick off this new initiative with, what, a stale gust of cheesy guitar rock by a no-name performer (and, reportedly, a “surprise” appearance by 62-year-old Eric “Layla” Clapton, which, rumors indicate, is slated for this evening)?

No, Bill, no. You need men adorned with giant swords and foam rubber armor. You need Gwar.

[...]

Microsoft is gunning for a flock of competitors, including AOL, Google, which offers business-class instant messaging, and Cisco Systems, which has its own so-called unified communications products. The big idea is to combine today’s phone systems with sophisticated software and the Internet to link instant messaging, video conferencing, e-mail and telephone communications into a seamless whole.

Who could ever bring back standards and save the industry from such destructive paths? It’s certainly not the ISO, whose workings can be subverted using money. Aware ness of this fiasco needs to be raised.

Related articles:

More Novell Layoffs (Rumours Become Reality) (Updated)

Posted in Novell, SCO at 3:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As we predicated a long time ago, the layoffs are large in terms of scale. The AppArmor team was the tip of the iceberg and it’s now being confirmed by the local press.

Novell is laying off 250 software development positions in the United States and offshoring the majority of these to its operations in Bangalore, India. The company announced the layoffs to its workers today.

It’s saddening to hear this and it is truly a shame that the current management let the company lose direction so fast (possibly for selfish reasons). SCO axed over 10% of its workforce just days ago as well. Meanwhile, SCO’s management receives pay rises and bonuses. Just comes to show how corrupt the industry can be…

Update: there is perhaps solace to be found in the argument that life after Novell can be better. Here is a new confession which was posted by a former Novell employee yesterday (one former Novell employee posting on behalf of another).

I saw your article last week about “life after Novell.” I wholeheartedly agree. I’m so very glad that [the people you mentioned] ended up in a happier place. My company [is going exceptionally well] and the people here are great. We’re solving real customer problems and making a bit of money at the same time. What I don’t get is why nobody at Novell seems to think this way.

Before the Novellites suggest, “But we do!” you need to realize that outside Novell financial success is measured in double-digit growth (or better), not the 2% and 4% that most of Novell’s businesses are growing at (and yes, while Novell’s Linux business is growing, it’s still unclear by just how much).

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