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12.15.07

Clarification: Why We’re Doing This

Posted in Boycott Novell, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, SCO, Site News at 10:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Some people believe that this Web site spreads FUD that negatively affects the Linux community as a whole, but let’s clarify a few things again. This isn’t a case of stubborn bashing du jour. I’ve advocated Free software for quite some time. I’ve spent sleepless night due to sheer dedication to Free software passions. That was before the Novell deal. Things have changed as new risks were born though.

”Give it some more months to ‘cook’, so to speak. It’s a timebomb. “If Novell-type deals were not a big danger to Free software and GNU/Linux, I would not stay up all night writing something that essentially criticises a Linux company and creates so much backlash against me. Did you know that I was running SUSE at home and at work exclusively before the deal? Trust me, If you look deep at these deals and know the situation intimately, then you find an SCO-to-be in your hands. Give it some more months to ‘cook’, so to speak. It’s a timebomb.

Companies that signed deals with Microsoft were doing bad financially (even Novell had trouble with Fargo Bank just before signing the patent deal). They needed a warm shoulder to lean on. When they run low on funds, they’ll become what one person called “a new shill” (just like SCO). He said that on November 4th, 2006.

One source says tells us that it holds Justin Steinman personally responsible for a lot of the damage to Novell, but the source is not aware of his involvements before the Novell/Microsoft negotiations began. There were some hints about this in a podcast from Dan Bricklin. Speaking of Dan Bricklin, in his approach towards the Groklaw community, reasons were given why Nat Friedman and Miguel de Icaza should not take much blame (contrast to what was suspected elsewhere).

As for the present and future. I’ve been collecting a lot of inside information about Novell recently. It’s damaging. Some of it I cannot publish safely (well, not yet anyway). The information is not a case of bashing or humiliation; rather, it’s a case of disgusting marketing technique where Novell uses fear as a marketing tool. Microsoft and Novell are actually much closer than people imagine.

Novell and Microsoft versus VMWare, Red Hat

Posted in Antitrust, GPL, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, OpenDocument, Red Hat, Servers, Steve Ballmer, Ubuntu, Virtualisation, Xen at 9:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A news article from CNR confirms a strong suspicion of ours. Here are some bits of interest from this report on Microsoft’s most recent virtualisation moves, based on an optimistic announcement.

Microsoft partially funded the Xen project. In a big way, this is why the beta release supports Linux interoperability. Microsoft plans to support some enterprise Linux distros in the long term — the first one being SUSE Enterprise 10 with SP1.

[...]

Xen runs deep inside Hyper-V’s veins. Hyper-V provides components for synthetic network adapter, synthetic storage controller and Xen’s Hypercall adapter. When running a Linux virtual machine, Xen calls are translated into Hyper-V hypercalls.

[...]

Hyper-V is also an integrated service in Windows Server 2008, so it is not a hosted platform. The integration gives Microsoft a huge advantage over VMware because customers can get two products for the price of one.

Bear with us while we explain.

”There is also the element of monopoly abuse here.“In this industry of no fair competition you still find a great deal of quiet manipulation. Some of the bits above align fully with out argument that the Xen acquisition may have been just a hijack maneuver that discriminates against GNU/Linux. This way, companies like Novell concede control to Windows in the datacentre. There is also the element of monopoly abuse here. We’ve already witnessed a long history of integration, bundling, and apathy towards, erosion, or ‘extension’ of industry standards. This case is not exception.

It’s hardly surprising that VMWare is already prepared to sue in case of further monopoly leverage.

When quizzed on Microsoft’s plans, Mr. Ballmer replied, “Our view is that virtualization is something that should be built into the operating system.”

More on the latest developments in Forbes (shades of ‘pulling a Netscape’).

Canaccord Adams analyst Mark Kelleher said that the risk for VMware is that Microsoft decides to add virtualization as a feature for free in its products.

Microsoft will try to bundle its own products using existing commodities (vehicles or “common carriers”, as Larry Ellison calls them when referring to Windows). It is likely that Microsoft will be sued by VMWare sooner or later, then settle. We’ve all been there and seen that before.

From a purely-technical point-of-view, there is no reason for VMWare to be worried. In fact, the company says that it will “be technically better than Microsoft”. History teaches us that this may not be sufficient though.

We’ve [VMWare] typically included a version of Red Hat Linux in ESX Server. That’s because the hardware manufacturers put little embedded processors to control the fans and other elements of their servers. They have agents reporting on their operation. They wouldn’t write software that would allow those processors to interface to ESX Server, but they had to do it for Linux. So we shipped a full Red Hat operating system as our management console.

Returning to Novell, the company is likely to aid Microsoft it this latest crusade, just as it helps OOXML and Silverlight, among other technologies that threaten ODF and Flash/Web standards, respectively.

In case you do not remember, Microsoft hypercalls are for Novell only (for further information see [1, 2, 3]). It’s all about GPL ‘poison’. As Paula Rooney pointed out at the time, this is a case of ‘punishing’ everyone other than Novell, i.e. excluding those who shy away from racketeering and mafia techniques. That’s what Mark Shuttleworth (Ubuntu’s founder) called them on several occasions in the past.

Quote of the Day: Only Scared People Choose Novell

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Novell, Quote at 9:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GH from LinuxToday had this to say about Leicester City Council’s new deal with Microsoft and Novell:

Novell plays well with Microsoft when it comes to scared people. Seems this will become Novell’s customer base, all those and only those scared of Microsoft. To the Leicester City Council, good luck when Microsoft doesn’t want to play Linux anymore and pulls the rug from under Novell’s A**.”

Novell coupons

Image from Wikimedia

Office Open XML (OOXML): Software Patents, Briberies, Binaries, O/S-dependent Bits

Posted in ECMA, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Standard, Windows at 9:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday we wrote about patent traps in OOXML. To illustrate the severity of this issue, consider the following OOXML (Office Open XML) patent. Its description is: Word-processing document stored in a single XML file that may be manipulated by applications that understand XML. Here is the abstract:

A word processor including a native XML file format is provided. The well formed XML file fully represents the word-processor document, and fully supports 100% of word-processor’s rich formatting. There are no feature losses when saving the word-processor documents as XML. A published XSD file defines all the rules behind the word-processor’s XML file format. Hints may be provided within the XML associated files providing applications that understand XML a shortcut to understanding some of the features provided by the word-processor. The word-processing document is stored in a single XML file. Additionally, manipulation of word-processing documents may be done on computing devices that do not include the word-processor itself.

So, it would seem as though a fundamental part of OOXML is patented. Although Microsoft has made a pledge not to sue those using or implementing OOXML (with contradictions in deed), in order to implement this properly, it would have to function similarly to Microsoft Office 2007. Then, this particular patent would come into play: US7257772 (B1) [PDF]. As stated several times before, there is plenty of information about patent threats that Microsoft won’t talk about. It’s actually much worse. Consider many of the deficiencies and dead ends that are hidden somewhere among 6,000+ pages of poor specifications. For example, have a look at this comment that was posted by Andrew Mason a couple of weeks ago:

For OOXML to become a standard it is unacceptable to have OS dependant binary formats.

Here is another example:

Just-fix-it; however, there is an underlying problem here — the proposal is intimately tied to a particular implementation (by MS), and is impossible to implement, or even describe, without reference to it.

Thanks to an anonymous reader for the headsup on these.

This brings us to Novell. There will never be trust as long as a Vice President of theirs continues to push for acceptance of OOXML. Microsoft will continue to use Novell as ‘proof’ that OOXML is accepted by Free software users and developers. Miguel de Icaza, for example, rebuts those who advocate truly free and open standards. Stephane Rodriguez had this to say some months ago:

As for Miguel’s pseudo-rebuttal, perhaps it’s time to ask yourself two things :

1) Can you rebutt real examples? I think you can rebutt statements like “we are open and transparent”, but I don’t think you can rebutt real examples.

2) Miguel works for Microsoft (he thinks it’s a pride not to be officially on MS payroll, nevermind the bulk of Novell revenues are a direct influx from MS). But can you guess the retaliation if he said anything negative about this stuff? You have to admit it, he’s got no freedom in speech in that very area, plus Microsoft is using him as a tool to break the open source community apart.

As stated on numerous occasions in the past, Novell helps OOXML (it must) and it is therefore a threat to OpenDocument format. OOXML is just a tool for fighting ODF. It’s the same proprietary (and partly binary) format restructured. Its only momentum comes from briberies and other means of manipulation. Some of this manipulation is well documented, unlike OOXML which is not.

Vonage Hit by Patent Lawsuit (Yes, Again)

Posted in Action, Law, Patents, Videos at 7:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

That truly sounded like old news, but it’s not. This case of deja vu is brand new and it’s very familiar.

Nortel Networks Corp., the Canadian maker of telecom equipment, filed a lawsuit on Friday against Vonage — claiming that it violated nine patents related to Internet phone services and related features such as 911 and 411 calling and click to call.

Vonage’s long-going soap opera with patents has earned it a lot of unwanted attention. There are some satirical videos, including this one.

Another previous video for context can be found here (from CBS).

Previous stories that touched on Vonage (reverse chronological):

Novell Layoffs Coming

Posted in Finance, Novell at 7:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sadly, Novell Layoff Rumours Have Materialised

This is sad news, but it is rather inevitable after a financial struggle that called for restructuring. The most pessimistic among the rumours spoke about 1,100 jobs to be cut. Other previous items (reverse chronological and partial):

As we mentioned earlier today, Novell is at least taking good care of those whom it had to let go. We wish the best of luck and send our condolences to those having to face such an ordeal.

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