Talk about irony. The company that faces risk of lawsuits for its endless OOXML corruptions may now be using lawsuit threats as a weapon against ODF.
It is hard to believe, but Heise reports that Microsoft was threatening the Dutch government to sue it before the European Court of Juctice which would be a competition case.
The item is worth reading as a whole, especially for context. It truly takes some nerve. Remember the writings about Microsoft's perception that it's above the law. █
More on the recent developments in Holland:
Update: Here is another good writeup on this issue:
There is some good humour in the announcement too – from the Redmond based owner of much of the world’s Intellectual Monopoly:
… he said the company [Microsoft] was worried about and opposed other aspects of the Dutch policy, especially the provision that agencies should prefer open source.
“We think it’s not in the best interest of the wider software market to single out one model for endorsement like this,” he said.
HUH? What is the “wider software market” he is referring to? Oh, of course it’s theirs… What complete twaddle. Why can’t they just say ‘we don’t like it because we are going to lose business’. Or even better, make improved products that compete on a level playing field? Why spin their message with such meaningless drivel that it only exacerbates our bad opinion of them?
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[Mind correction (15/12/07): the entire E-mail message is now quoted to avoid unnecessary confusion.]
One’s own availability (uptime) is a good ticket to selling GNU/Linux servers. So, what is this recent announcement all about?
[opensuse-announce] Short down times of openSUSE services tomorrow
due to physical server relocations, we will have a short downtime (up to 30 minutes) tomorrow, the 12th December at 15:00 UTC.
The following services will be affected by this:
SUSE LINUX Products GmbH, GF: Markus Rex, HRB 16746 (AG Nürnberg)
To unsubscribe, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For additional commands, e-mail: email@example.com
Also around the same time (just days ago):
I am having a little trouble in setting up Wireless on OpenSUSE ; which is very easy on both Kubuntu and Granular( PCLinuxOS) Linux. I had asked a question for that in OpenSUSE forums, but looks like I will have to wait longer to get an answer as the OpenSUSE forums are not responding right now.
This makes a bad impression. █
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This post is merely a spillover/leftover of news from the past week.
Layoffs are a terrible thing that affects families in the most terrible of ways. We are always sad to hear about Novell layoffs but happy to see that Novell is supportive. Novell’s talent deserves great opportunities is other places.
Since the layoffs of about 200 workers were made known in October, Novell has hosted networking conferences like the one Friday and has hired an outplacement firm to assist displaced employees with job seeking, resumes and interviewing.
“We would love to see everybody get new jobs,” said Novell spokesman Kevan Barney. “So we do everything we reasonably can.”
There is a new section with information on compliance with PCI-DSS at Novell’s Web site.
Payment Card Industry & Data Security Standard
You can also find some further discussion about the real-time products from Red Hat and Novell. In this article there is no focus on the recent feud.
In this regard, Enterprise MRG is similar to Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time, or SLERT 10, variant of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10. However, Enterprise MRG is more than just a real-time operating system, as the name suggests, and even where there are similarities, Che says that Red Hat is being careful to use the same set of compilers for both RHEL and Enterprise MRG so applications certified for RHEL (in either a physical or virtual instance) will be supported without the need to recertify on Enterprise MRG. (He suggested that Novell, by adopting extensions to the GNU GCC compiler set with SLERT 10, was requiring software makers and in-house software developers to recertify their SLES 10 applications on SLERT 10.) In any event, Novell charges $2,500 per server for the SLERT extensions to SLES 10, which costs $799 for a standard license. You can expect the same kind of premium price for Enterprise MRG relative to RHEL 5.1 licenses.
Dick Williams, who used to work at Novell in the past, settles in a new home
He then served as president and CEO of Digital Research, which was later acquired by Novell. At Novell Williams served as executive vice president of sales and support, and general manager of Novell’s Digital Research Systems Group.
Novell is likely to continue acquiring some small companies, unless it carries on losing money and resorts to buybacks. That’s pretty much what Ron Hovsepian told Rueters several months ago.█
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To Novell’s credit, it does manage to get some contracts signed. Here are a couple of Linux examples.
GNU/Linux Success Stories
There was a big win in Office Depot.
Novell today announced that Office Depot , a leading global provider of office products and services, has chosen SUSE(R) Linux Enterprise Server as a core operating platform for the company’s global servers. The goal of the standardization is to reduce complexity and control costs while maintaining superior stability and performance for Office Depot’s end-user applications.
It doesn’t mention coupons, Microsoft, or “IP”. It is also worth adding that Xandros started selling its Linux products in Office Depot last year. This happened before the deal with Microsoft.
The story from ELCOT returns and it consistently mentions Linux as a product, which is attributed to Novell.
Tamil Nadu’s schools were running Microsoft Windows on a horde of aging machines—1,880 servers and around 30,000 desktops. The OS was in need for a refresh; however, moving to Windows Vista looked like an expensive option largely on account of the increased hardware requirement. ELCOT decided to move its own systems from Windows to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop.
Novell’s identity management product is only briefly mentioned in this article from Network World.
Pricing starts at $10,000, and goes up depending on the number of users or processors, according to IBM. An InfoWorld test two years ago found the product cost $120,000 for 2,700 users, making it more expensive than similar products from Microsoft and Novell, but less expensive than products from Sun and Thor Technologies (now owned by Oracle).
It is also mentioned here.
Two weeks ago I was in L.A., jumping from meeting after meeting, and at the end of every meeting, I asked everyone what they saw in the Identity and Access Management road ahead. I got some great answers, which you can peruse right here, and just this morning, I got these additional answers from Baber Amin of Novell, and definitely thought they were worth adding to the discussion. And hey, it is the holidays, so I can certainly forgive a little lateness.
Here is the last and most important examples of a comprehensive solution.
Alvarado’s network operation is Novell-based, and it has been that way since Berger joined the district four years ago. One of his first initiatives was to “stabilize the foundation” by deploying ZENworks to tighten up computer systems management. Now, along with the NetWare 6.5 operating system and ZENworks , the district currently runs Patch Management for security compliance, iPrint for network-enabling printers, GroupWise 7 for e-mail, eDirectory for network directory services, and File System Factory (now known as Storage Manager) for storage management.
So going with a Novell solution for identity management was a no-brainer, he said.
Ron Hovsepian insists that Linux will continue to play just a partial role in bringing revenue to Novell. Identity management is important to Novell’s survival. █
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Some people have apparently begun packing for their Christmas vacation because there haven’t been many OpenSUSE items in the past week. Among those that are easily found we have Rosevear’s profile and results from the OpenSUSE Contributor Survey.
281 contributors from the openSUSE community participated in a survey last month.
The third issue of OpenSUSE Weekly News was released as well.
The third issue of openSUSE Weekly News is out! In this issue:
* openSUSE 11.0 Alpha 0
* KDE Four Live 0.8, KDE 4.0 RC2 Packages, and Koffice Alpha6 Packages
* Indonesian openSUSE Community Annual Meeting a Huge Success
* Results from the openSUSE Contributor Survey
* In Tips and Tricks: How to Change to the GNOME or KDE-style YaST, Calculations in Kickoff (KDE Menu), Fonts: Subpixel Hinting
A new version/image (RC2) of KDE Four Live CD, which is OpenSUSE-based, has been released.
The CDs contain all modules of KDE 4, KOffice 2 SVN and extra plasmoids.
Here is an early review of OpenSUSE 11, which is still in early alpha.
This is a development version, so we should suppose that all the bugs I encountered here are going to be removed in the final version. The system itself, and most of the applications that are working are already quite stable. Considering this, openSUSE 11 is going to be a pretty good distribution. It has a big user base, recent versions for packages, some support from Novell, all the components are good integrated, there are nice GUIs for the most common settings, it is supposed to have good interoperability with Microsoft software.
That’s all for now. █
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Twins separated at birth?
The City Council at Leicester (England) has just signed a Microsoft/Novell contract. Here are the details:
Leicester City Council is the first public sector organisation to sign-up for the joint Microsoft/Novell support contract to support its Windows and open source infrastructure.
Leicester City Council is the first UK local authority to sign up to Microsoft and Novell’s joint support contract for Linux and Windows Interoperability. The year-old technical and support agreement between the two rivals is designed to make it easier for users to run a mixed IT environment comprising Windows and Linux servers.
”This might force people to install a patent-encumbered Mono for which Novell offers exclusive ‘protection’.“The article does not speak about patents, but it mentions a few other discriminatory terms. It would not be surprising if Microsoft tried to keep Novell afloat just so that Novell continues to support Silverlight and OOXML, among other things. It’s akin to Microsoft's money injection that was granted to SCO.
Meanwhile, Novell makes progress on its ‘Silverlight for Linux’ project, essentially assisting Microsoft’s fight against Adobe and against a standards-based World Wide Web. This might force people to install a patent-encumbered Mono for which Novell offers exclusive 'protection'. Here is the latest:
The Mono development team has announced the official release of Mono 1.2.6, the latest version of Novell’s open source .NET implementation. Mono 1.2.6 includes numerous improvements to both the Mono runtime engine and development components.
One particularly notable feature in the new release is support for developing Silverlight 1.1 applications.
Remember that Mono is a Novell project. Moonlight is Novell’s gift to Microsoft, just like OOXML support, which the deal with Microsoft had them obliged to do (watch the redacted SEC filing). Novell has become the marionette of Microsoft (some have called it the "new shill") and it would be risky to approach anything like this without caution.
It is no wonder many SUSE developers have left the company while Novell hires some .NET skills set. █
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Here is a quick point-by-point roundup of the effects Novell's results are likely to have.
This report comes from CNN. Friday didn’t treat Novell any better than Thursday.
Shares of Novell fell Friday morning after the business software developer swung to a fourth-quarter loss, partly because of the sale of a consulting unit.
Shares shed 25 cents, or 8.5 percent, to $6.85 after the opening bell.
“After a year of solid improvement across a number of fronts, we believe Novell (NOVL) needs to augment its progress by using part of its $1.3 billion in net cash for a buyback program, which would help accelerate earnings per share growth into 2008-2009 and create a support level for the shares,” Materne said in a client note.
We mentioned buybacks on several occasions before, the context being Microsoft, Novell, and SCO [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. Buybacks are of course a sign of weakness, no matter how companies want to characterise (spin) them.
Where is the UBS analyst who enthusiastically predicted growth? Analysts are paid to say what the companies which hire them want to be said.
The restructuring costs at Novell are yet to take effect.
Novell (NOVL 7.10) reported better than expected results for the fourth quarter; however, the business software maker also issued tepid guidance and said it expects to incur additional costs from its ongoing restructuring efforts, sending shares more than 9% lower in pre-market activity.
Here is the article from the ‘local’ press:
Layoff costs spur loss for Novell in fourth quarter
The job custs are part of a plant to improve profitability by moving work to less expensive countries such as India and selling more products over the phone and Internet.
Novell said revenue this coming year will miss estimates because it is shifting some consuting work to partners.
There are quite a few typos in this article. Maybe they are just as sloppy as myself (poor habits of proofreading).
Savings and Debts
Motley Fool, which is affiliated with Microsoft, has this to say about Novell:
Novell has amassed enough cash that you start to wonder what it plans to do with the riches. But don’t expect it to pay back debt any time soon; Novell made $23 million off its investments this quarter, and those senior debentures with a low, low 0.5% coupon rate don’t mature for another 17 years.
Don’t forget about Novell's ongoing (and prior) financial troubles.
Several months ago, when Novell filed its redacted disclosure, Larry Dignan concluded that Novell had become Microsoft dependent. Nothing has changed since. Here is the latest from Larry:
To be sure, Novell is still dependent on Microsoft. A year into Novell’s five-year agreement with Microsoft, the company has invoiced more than half of the $240 million deal. Novell has added 4,700 customers in the last year.
Chances of Novell escaping this deal with Microsoft are growing smaller by the day. Novell can, in some sense, be seen as Microsoft subsidiary.
Microsoft (SUSE) Coupons
In LinuxInsider, Novell’s rise in sales is rightly described as “initial”. It’s all about the coupons, which are bound to run out.
“The Microsoft deal provided an initial boost to Novell’s Linux sales, but what’s going to allow it to position itself as a credible alternative to Red Hat is internal execution and a sharper focus,” Tillman said.
Novell has been comparing its current quarters to previous quarters that predate the Microsoft deal. The next bunch of quarterly reports will therefore be particularly interesting to watch. █
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