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11.03.07

Quick Mention: “KOffice Standardises on OpenDocument”

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Office Suites, OpenDocument at 8:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

KDE ♥ ODF

It was predictable, expected, and a natural choice. However, some folks left room for doubt and hesitation. GNOME was not helping either, but it’s official now.

KOffice standardises on OpenDocument. Free Software and open standards are a perfect match and the way to move forward for a society to ensure vendor-independent access to its data. We’re actively participating in the OASIS since it matches our value, and we believe that one strong standard is in the best interest of our users.

The project won’t be in need of a translator either. The ‘translator’ was more of a scam funded by those who benefit the most from its existence (it was an obligatory par of the Linux deals).

OOXML translation

Novell’s Bundling of Patent ‘Protection’ :: Analogies (Plus Videos)

Posted in Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED, Videos at 8:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There are two ways of looking at the problem which Novell has introduced for its Linux rivals to cope with.

Overwhelming Contracts

Bundling is a very interesting business strategy and it’s not an alien concept. It’s everywhere. In many cases it also become an anti-competitive problem. Consider for example the following old debate which primarily surrounded the stubborn inclusion of Internet Explorer in Microsoft Windows.

If one has doubts about Microsoft breaking antitrust laws, this one Charlie Rose video (among many more from that period of time) should be of use.

With the notion of bundling in mind, it is worth expanding. What Novell has built (along with Microsoft) is a trap. It’s not a catch 22 because there are alternative Linux distribution.

“Novell and Microsoft have already decided for them.”Whether a Novell customer actually wants ‘protection’ or not and whether the need for ‘protection’ is acknowledged or not, when one buys Novell, there is an implicit nod. The ‘protection’ is essentially bundled. For similar reasons we discourage the use of OpenSUSE. Novell found a way to bundle guilt and to have that guilt translated into FUD. This FUD is used as a marketing tool not only by Microsoft, but also by Novell.

At the end of the day, everyone but Novell and Microsoft suffers. It does not matter what SUSE users and customers actually think. Novell and Microsoft have already decided for them. It actually gets much worse when Novell/Microsoft marketers hijack the voice of their customers and misrepresent them.

There is a nice video that illustrates some of these problems. It’s the “Bundling Bummer (or Scam)”. You pay for one thing and you are forced to get many other things you do not require.

Exclusionary Contracts

Exclusionary contracts are another interesting issue. As we have said many times before, Novell’s deal with Microsoft shuts out Novell competitor out of the market, to an extent. Certain things will work ‘better’ in SUSE and will not be allowed to work entirely (if at all) in Linux distributions other than Novell’s.

There are analogies that can be used here, such as the agreement Apple had with AT&T, among other telecommunication companies around the world. Apple made exclusionary deals and the contract is draconian. It restricts choice. It brings benefit to only a pair of companies and ‘punishes’ both the consumer and the market as a whole.

Quick Mention: Eben Moglen ”Hacked“ Novell

Posted in FSF, GPL, Microsoft, Novell, Vista, Windows at 7:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Watch this very insightful article which explains now only the value of GPLv3, but also Microsoft’s motives.

Today I heard the best single presentation on open-source and free software I have ever personally attended, in a talk by Columbia Professor of Law Eben Moglen, on the topic “Copyleft Capitalism: GPLv3 and the Future of Software Innovation.” He spoke for over 90 minutes. I understand the session was recorded, and I have asked that a transcript be prepared. I write the rest of this post based on the notes I took during his extraordinary talk.

[...]

Microsoft failed in that, as a monopoly, it has for the first time failed to produce a new version that will get the old version out of the market.

Vista has doomed them, as Microsoft is now competing with itself, trying to displace Windows with Vista.

He then said the real problem was to limit the damage when Microsoft fails, how to get “out from under” Microsoft as they enter the end game, perhaps by paroxisms of litigation.

[...]

Eben then related how he had finessed the famed “coupons” in the Microsoft/Novell brouhaha, describing how he had “hacked” Novell.

Yes, enjoy those Linux “coupons”, Novell. They make Linux seem like something you receive in a soup kitchen. How low have you sunk?

Novell coupons

Image from Wikimedia

There is another good item about GPLv3 in Free Software Magazine.

The GPL, as far as I know, is the only free software licence that has been tested in court, and it’s used by more software projects than all other free software licences combined. This gives it’s writers a lot of information with which to do bug fixing, and it gives the GPL a massive responsibility to work solidly.

Palamida’s latest report on GPLv3 adoption shows a continued rise. The report only take one week into account, so a more comprehensive report will be available at the end of this month.

Quick Mention: Heads Are Rolling at Novell

Posted in Asia, Novell, Rumour at 6:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sell Novell

Yesterday we mentioned a rumour which talked about 1,100 jobs to be axed at Novell. This aligns with Matt Asay’s inside knowledge about 20-25% of the workforce possibly being cut.

As reported and confirmed by the press, 250 jobs were recently moved to India. It is not the only story, however, because the EFYTimes has just revealed some equally discouraging stories from India itself.

The buzz is that, as part of this reorganisation, top shots at Novell India have moved out including Revathi Kasturi, managing dierctor, Novell India. And now Sandeep menon, the ex-IBMer who was heading Linux sales, will head the entire Indian sales team/operations.

[...]

Sources indicate that the new team is now going to totally focus on Linux-related products and services, while all other products like GroupWise, etc. will be sold only when the customer demands. It is still to be seen what role Novell’s ‘colonial cousin’ Microsoft played in this earthquake.

Left with Novell:
Sandeep Menon, head, Novell’s sales operations in India
Nishant Verma, head, government and telecom
Rahul Krishna Gupta, linux business
Dr PK Mishra.

Left novell
Revathi Kasturi, managing director
Jayant Rastogi, director channels
Amit Nagar, director channels
Amit Bhatnagar, BSFI and manufacturing
Shashi Kapoor, director, government and telecom.

Why has Novell been so quiet in the past week? This comes shortly after a rumour that many more may lose their jobs.

Novell made a real moronic move with that ‘deal’ — a deal with its predatory rival. Not only has it hurt everyone else that sells Linux, but it hasn’t helped Novell, either.

It’s the employees that are now being punished as a whole, due to the poor management, which apparently received hidden personal benefits. We want the old Novell back — the Novell that used to sell and promote Linux (without the FUD) back in 2005.

Un-Mazing a Peer-to-Software-Patent Mess

Posted in Free/Libre Software, IBM, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 12:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ownership of mathematical ideas does not have a place in this world. However, it is unfortunate to find that in a handful of countries this is actually the case. It is possible, and it’s enforced by local laws. In some places, a simple logical procedure (a conceptual recipe) can be owned by an individual.

After many explanations about the absurdity of software patents comes yet another. It comes from an independent lawyer who is associated with the Linux Foundation, which itself has The Economics of FUD protested against so-called 'patent terrorism', as demonstrated by Microsoft with unsubstantiated claims back in May.

On the “innovation” argument, which the system’s worst abusers love so much to sing about, he says:

Would abolishing software patents, then, lessen innovation among large companies? Again, no. IBM, Microsoft and Oracle were founded before software could be patented. They couldn’t afford to quit innovating simply because patent protection became unavailable.

With patent trolling on the rise, there appears to an acknowledgment of this, even by those who thought they had the least to lose. Watch the following names in the news. Watch who is listed among those who fight for changes in the patent system.

Over 60 companies and trade associations, including Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc., have formed the Coalition for Patent Fairness, which paid Elmendorf Strategies to lobby Congress in support of patent reform legislation, according to the form posted online Aug. 14 by the Senate’s public records office.

The companies say the reform proposals will reduce frivolous patent litigation and lead to higher-quality patents. Biotech and pharmaceutical firms, meanwhile, charge that the bills currently before Congress will weaken patent protection.

As for Microsoft being listed among those who want a reform, watch Pieter's arguments again. It might just be a moral shield, aka “crocodile tears”.

Individuals who want to help with a reform can probably get involved directly. The USPTO is evolving with great hesitation, but at least it makes a good start. An instructional view for Peer2Patent has been made available (it’s also embedded below).

An assumption is made here. It’s the assumption that with this new system in place, the system can become more critical and its deficiencies be addressed in the future (think about self-correction through peer moderation). It requires volunteer work, it seems (or intervention by competitor), but it does not address the problem of having to squash existing poor patents that should have never been granted in the first place. These are extremely expensive to withdraw, so we are left stuck in the same mess. We are surrounded by heaps of patents that include duplicates, overlaps. and trivial ideas. Watch this video about the “patent maze”.

A-maze-ing!

No Patents in Linux

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