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12.17.07

Signs That Matt Asay Woke Up on the Wrong Side of His Bed

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Novell, SLES/SLED at 8:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Remember what was said the other day about Matt Asay being so nice to Novell all of a sudden? It’s a matter of pressure and sympathy. He used to slam Novell, but he now calls the impending layoffs “positive news”.

Novell planning more layoffs. Why this is positive news

I was surprised to learn today that Novell only employs 4100 people (down from 7000+ when I was there). The company is planning even more layoffs, a high percentage of which will almost certainly fall on the heads of Novell’s Utah-based employees as the company offshores development on things like Groupwise to India and as it consolidates operations in Waltham, Massachusetts, a process that has been underway for several years.

Matt, how can this be positive news? These are engineers who lost their job because of tactless decisions made by the management. It isn’t a happy divorce that ends an abusive relationship, so there’s nothing positive here (other than spin). Layoffs make everyone sad (no schadenfreude here), but let’s not pretend that these layoffs are something which they clearly are not.

Another example from today:

Time will tell, but Novell looks to be making a real drive to the goal with its recent Linux successes.

But he should really know better. It was him who said that Novell was cooking the books. Are bloggers using a magic 8 ball to decide who to rave about? Is it a matter of emotion, which surpasses rationale? Is it not just analysts that do this?

Quote of the Day from ‘Robert X Cringely’ (Mark Stephens)

Posted in Courtroom, Finance, GNU/Linux, Novell, Patents, Quote, SCO, UNIX at 7:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summarising what we have left from the SCO case, Mark says:

Novell isn’t likely to collect much scratch out of this. It’s unlikely SCO will have anything left, once it pays off its attorneys — the only true winners in this case.

It is the same situation with patents. If there is anything to learn from the SCO fiaSCO it is that only lawyers win in cases where the system is heavily abused. It’s time for a reform, truly.

OOXML’s Patent Ugliness Just Got Uglier

Posted in Deception, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GPL, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML, Patents at 6:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It would be unnecessary to repeat yesterday's discussion about patent risk in OOXML. You can follow the links to find out more. What’s new is the following:

What Microsoft intends to do with its OSP is to forbid sublicensability, which is one of the cornerstone for distributing GPL code. The OSP page on Microsoft website is pretty clear about it: “There is no need for sublicensing”.

It was only a couple of days ago that we mentioned a different type of 'GPL poison', which appears to have become somewhat of a strategic tool. Novell helps Microsoft a lot in that respect. It is used as a GPL proxy that spreads some of this ‘poison’ and helps Microsoft pass the acid (legal) test, e.g. in Europe [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11].

OOXML patent issue prompt

Rumour About Microsoft’s Role in Novell’s SEC Probe

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Novell at 6:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We wouldn’t typically quote Maureen O’Gara for various reason including her hidden motives [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] which had her embargoed in places. The following article, however, contained bits that were too hard to ignore.

Novell hinted the SEC’s concerns might have had something to do with Novell’s admittedly complicated arrangement with Microsoft, which at the end of year one was said to have realized $122 million, 51% of their bogie.

If true, then Matt Asay’s assumption just might be slightly flawed.

There are some more articles in the press about Novell’s results. Most of them are pessimistic or as optimistic as possible given poor performance and 'massaging' of numbers. Articles include:

Novell stock dips after Q4 loss

Shares of open source software developer Novell plummeted after the company swung to a fourth-quarter loss, prompting at least one Wall Street analyst to suggest a buyback plan.

Analyst Actions: Citi, JetBlue, Take-Two, Novell

Analyst John Reilly Walsh says Novell’s (NOVL) fourth-quarter results were mostly in line with his estimates. However, he notes Novell stock fell about 8% in post-market trading on Thursday, likely due to disappointing fiscal 2008 [Oct.] guidance.

The Var Guy hasn’t much faith in Novell’s future. Watch this comment which was posted in response to his exclusion of Novell from a list:

Leaving Novell off a list like this is foolish. SuSE Linux is the preferred server for tens of thousands of businesses. You missed the mark, var guy.

Trolling or just patrolling?

The Mono Trap and the Open/Closed Promises

Posted in ECMA, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Another independent look at Mono

A reader diverts our attention to the following portion of an article from Roughly Drafted Magazine. “It’s a very interesting take on Microsoft strategy through Mono (the same applies to OOXML and recent efforts to incorporate into it the FOSS environment,” he adds.

FOSS Reevaluates Microsoft with .Net and Mono.

As the stalwart champion of closed, proprietary software, Microsoft has long accumulated a reputation as a planet inhospitable to any form of FOSS life forms. However, recent rumblings of change have suggested that a new world of interoperability is afoot, and that Microsoft may actually take the lead in launching new open standards.

One example is .Net, a general marketing name that includes new development frameworks that aspire to replace Windows’ former Win32 platform with a modern new platform formerly referred to as Longhorn’s WinFX, and now called Windows Vista and the .Net Framework 3.0.

Conceptually, this new framework has a lot in common with Apple’s Cocoa frameworks in Mac OS X. The main difference is that while Apple has made no effort to offer an open specification for third party implementations of Cocoa (the way NeXT earlier opened up its predecessor under the name OpenStep), Microsoft has submitted portions of .Net technologies to the ECMA standards body.

Back in 2000, Microsoft’s release of .Net’s C# language and its Common Language Infrastructure captured the attention of Miguel de Icaza, a FOSS developer behind the Linux GNOME environment.

De Icaza started Mono, an open source project to implement Microsoft’s .Net development platform for Linux. His company, Ximian, also worked to create an open source alternative to Microsoft’s Exchange Server, called Ximian Evolution.

Ximian was bought up by Novell, which continues to support the development of Mono for a variety of platforms, including Apple’s Mac OS X. Last fall, Microsoft entered into an agreement with Novell to not sue each others’ customers for patent infringement. This includes Novell customers using Mono.

Does this mean that Microsoft is now aligned with open source developers and working to push open, interoperable implementations of its software? Is the old triangle of contention between Microsoft, Linux and Apple dissolving into a free and open love circle?

[Mono – Wikipedia]

Ha Ha, No.
Microsoft is not trying to usher in a new OpenStep with .Net. It is working to usher in a new Win32: another decade of dependance upon Microsoft software that can only work on Windows. Why the subterfuge on submitting portions of .Net to standards bodies? Three guesses, and the first two don’t count!

The best way to keep opponents busy is to give them false directions that lead into traps. This will distract them from blazing their own successful, competing trail, and will lead them directly into containment with the least mess and inconvenience.

Microsoft is leading Mono users and developers into a pleasant feeling trap. Along the way, they gain appreciation for Microsoft’s development tools as they struggle to make their own open source copies. They will grow increasingly familiar with Microsoft’s directions, up to the point where they are hopelessly brainwashed into thinking that Microsoft is leading technology into a paradise of openness.

Then Microsoft will spring out its patent gun and offer a tight ultimatum: join or die. The only options for Mono developers will be to get bought out by Microsoft and join the collective, or to suddenly face the fact that Microsoft will always be two steps ahead in knowing where .Net is headed, and will have a laundry list of patents–obvious or not–lined up waiting for anyone who attempts to use its own technology to compete with it.

We already know that Mono development exists at the whim of Microsoft, and that dangerous looking stalactites of patent threats point down from above. Mono developers insist that Microsoft is a changed company and would never let anything bad happen to developers working to extend the features of its .Net.

Microsoft’s own icy embrace of Mono developers is to offer a license that allows them to do anything but offer commercial software. Mono is nothing more than a training camp on how to serve Microsoft that leads to a do or die diploma ceremony at the end.

You thought Microsoft was serving the open source community? Why?

The author’s analysis is spot-on. In case you wish to connect some dots and draw a comparison, here are some our previous writings on this topic:

  1. Microsoft Unleashes the Death Trap to Mono (Updated)
  2. Mono: the Warning is Here, the Timebomb is Near
  3. The Mono and Moonlight Roadblock
  4. Novell’s Windowsization of GNU/Linux
  5. Novell Selfishly Uses Mono as ‘Protection’-based Advantage
  6. Novell is Still a Pawn in Microsoft’s Web Hijack Plan
  7. Novell Sets Focus on .NET
  8. Hey, .NET! Leave That Phone Alone.
  9. Moonlight (.NET) on Linux Became a Microsoft ‘Pet Project’
  10. Novell Helps Microsoft Build Its World Wide Web Fortress of Lockin
  11. Moonlight a Second-class Citizen in a WindowSilverLight Wide Web
  12. And There You Have It: You Need Novell (Not Just .NET) to Run Moonlight
  13. Silverlight (and Moonlight/Mono, by Association) Becomes Part of the Antitrust Debate
  14. The Crazy Theory: Is “Microsoft Linux” Already in the Making?
  15. Microsoft’s Silverlight for GNU/Linux? Only If You Accept Mono. (Updated)
  16. Novell Fights Red Hat, Fights for Mono While Microsoft Fights Free Software
  17. Novell Brings .NET to Teenagers
  18. Concerns About Mono Raise Suspicion About a Hidden Plan
  19. Mono and Patents, Putting a Price Tag on Linux
  20. Novell to Boost .NET (Miguel de Icaza Talks About the Partnership)
  21. Does Novell Spread Its Mono Along with FUD?
  22. Red Hat to Stay Mono-free
  23. Mono Officially a Minefield, is OOO Too?
  24. Miguel de Icaza Talks About Novell, Mono, and Patents
  25. Patent Alert: Is GNOME Growing a .NET Dependency?
  26. Studying Novell’s Plans and Direction with Mono
  27. Novell Supports .NET and MS OOXML, the BBC Supports .NET and MS DRM
  28. Looking Ahead: GNOME Desktop a Windows Implementation for the Linux Kernel?
  29. Enough is Enough. Novell is Becoming a Risk to Free/Libre Software.
  30. Is Novell Building Microsoft Linux©? (Signs That Your Mono Ain’t So Safe)
  31. Microsoft Set for Lock-in-backed Hijack (and Novell Helps It)
  32. Novell’s Identity Crisis Makes Linux an Expensive Second-class Windows
  33. More on Microsoft’s Plan to Acquire (Extinguish) the Open Source Threat
  34. IBM’s Standards Vice President Asks About Mono-free Linux

More Cracks in ISO, Courtesy of Microsoft Shenanigans?

Posted in Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, Standard at 7:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“They’re dropping like flies”

Remember what Martin Bryan recently said about Microsoft's 'scandalous' affairs inside ISO? This was an admission that got accidentally leaked and went lose. It came from the inside of the whole rotten process, which to Microsoft is war.

Martin Bryan may not be the only person to raise his arms and give up. Have a look at Ken Holman’s action. [via Andy Updegrove]

Ken Holman, who this week steps down from the role as the international secretary of the ISO subcommittee responsible for the Standard Generalized Markup Language(SGML), gave a briefing on ISO and related matters during the conference’s lightening round sessions Tuesday night.

[...]

Now there is talk of making a fourth working group to handle office documents formats. While now they are usually handled by WG 1 or WG 2, the volume of work required of ODF and OOXML is threatening to overwhelm the members of those groups.

“Is there going to be a WG 4? Stay tuned,” Holman said.

Why is Ken Holman stepping down? Who will have him replaced (or inherit his position)? We have already seen people losing their jobs and possibly being pressured to the point of deciding to quit. Why? Because their stance was problematic to Microsoft, which prefers to set up the game the way that suits it best. In Massachusetts, for example, two CIOs were pressured out of their role only to be replaced by a Microsoft lobbyist.

The big mess continues, with comments like this one arriving just hours ago.

They have also closed the process of allowing NB’s to review “resolved” comments from ECMA and will make sure the NBs will not have adequate time to review proposed changes. It has become a closed process completely..

They can only resort to all type of covert operations and shenanigans because MS knows their format is completely flawed. It depends on all types of proprietary software, impossible to implement, patent incumbent, many language problems and the list can go on and on.

OOXML might be one the worst fiascos known to standards body in recent history. It is, as one reliable source might pus it, “standardisation by corporation”. ISO seems to have officially been hijacked. S-O-S.

ISO standard

On Patent Deals, Fonts, Apple, and OOXML

Posted in Apple, Boycott Novell, Deals, Linspire, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 4:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We previously compared the Novell/Microsoft deal to an older (and very similar) deal between Apple and Microsoft. More curiously, there have been smaller patent deals involving Microsoft and Apple since that big one, including this fairly recent one.

Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp.said Thursday they have renewed their font licensing agreement. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Under the agreement, Apple users will have ongoing use of the latest versions of Microsoft Windows core fonts, the companies said.

This deal seems to predate Apple's announcement of support for OOXML (poor support, as one can always expect when it comes to proprietary formats). Both the deal and the announcement predate Apple’s decision to provide ODF support in Leopard.

In NOOOXML/FFII’s Web site, a caricature was once published which aligned with our view that both Novell and Apple need to support OOXML for financial reasons (dependency on Microsoft leads to proxy strategies. In Apple’s case, it is less obvious (more subtle evidence, i.e. no ‘smoking gun’), but in Novell’s case, all one has to do is look at its SEC filing.

Returning to the issue at hand, there are two new points to be considered, namely:

  1. Is Apple being lured by Microsoft to sustain its notorious (and forgotten) fonts monopoly? Don’t forget Linspire's role, either. By all means, mind the fact that fonts are being negotiated in these patent deals and they remain a barrier, which Novell appears to pass only under Windows, not GNU/Linux (possibly for legal reasons, at Microsoft’s order).
  2. What role do these Apple deals play when it comes to ODF/OOXML, if any at all?

We might just carry on wondering, but all we have is evidence from which unsafe conclusion can be drawn.

Last week on the Web:

Related articles of interest:

Novell, OOXML, and Microsoft’s Control of Search Engines, Media

Posted in Deception, Formats, GNOME, ISO, Microsoft, Novell, Open XML at 3:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ask uncle Google about Open XML and see what comes up

It must no longer be secret that the mainstream press and other acquired voices of endorsement play a significant role in public perception. We have previously shown, for example, that Bill Gates owns many media companies and also some of the largest analyst firms. Therefore, so it’s hardly surprising that the media is highly biased. Yes, it’s worrisome indeed. We have explained the impact of this on people's views, understanding and perception of the Novell/Microsoft deal.

ODF formatWhat is sometimes referred to as the Microsoft “talking points” has an impact on OpenDocument format’s reputation and the understanding (or lack thereof) of OOXML. The only way to combat this is by spreading information, not lies (which would be a case of fighting fire with fire). There are thousands of known Microsoft bloggers and even AstroTurfers. It is no secret that while trawling or searching the Web, one is likely to absorb the biased view of people who are paid to deliver their opinion or those with hidden motives (vested interests).

Those who care about free competition and open standards can try to compensate for disinformation merely by blogging. As simple as that may sound, Microsoft’s functional ownership of the media is hard to defeat. The OOXML frauds, for instance, have scarcely been covered in publications with high levels of reach. This alarming knowledge escapes wide circulation which it deserves. Almost nobody wrote about the ISO's own admission that Microsoft had gamed the system and stacked those committees. Microsoft still appears to be working on stacking. It may do this yet again as it prepares for the BRM.

”Microsoft was caught spamming the blackhat way in the past.“Curious minds have wondered how Microsoft manages to manipulate Google PageRank, as well as other types of ranks which increase exposure and traffic. Microsoft was caught spamming the blackhat way in the past. This is clearly proven in numerous SEO forums. There is no question about that. We’re talking about heavy keyword stuffing and doorway pages that justify an immediate ban from most search engines. Microsoft still does that. It has no guilt as is frequently resorts to such tactics, protected by ego, arrogance and endless vanity. It’s the benevolent emperor in its own eyes, so its self-glorifying message must cancel or supersede all else.

Here are some of the latest incidents that show Microsoft’s selfish behaviour on the Web:

1. Bots Helped To Boost Microsoft Live Search Gains

In a blog post, Compete analyst Steve Willis attributed Microsoft’s search gains to prizes awarded to users participating in Live Search Club, which features games that post queries to Microsoft’s search engine.

[...]

“Microsoft is essentially being DDoSed by thousands of people hundreds of times per minute, but they are mistaking this rise in traffic for people actually using Live Search.”

2. Microsoft’s Club Live fiasco

People were using the macro on more than 3 games at a time, on more than 2 accounts at a time, why Microsoft didn’t pick up on the fact that in the first few days some people had accumulated enough for 3 Zunes each is beyond us. Some were lucky, others, not so much.

[...]

So far no one has been banned from using their accounts, which they needed to sign up, probably because they did not break any laws, or probably because Microsoft didn’t want that hassle and liked their new found traffic.

3. [Partly sarcastic] Microsoft funding bankrupt Live Search experiment with porn spam

Dear reader, please tell me: what do you think of a search engine that steals (bandwidth and AdSense revenue), lies, spams away, and is not clever enough to stop their criminal activities when they’re caught?

Recently a Live Search rep whined in an interview because so many robots.txt files out there block their crawler…

Our site happens to be among the sufferers and victims of this activity, with many hundreds of empty requests per day, all of which come from Microsoft.

The world is probably very fortunate not to have Microsoft as the ‘key holder’ of the Web’s major gateway and hub. That would arguably be Google. Despite all of this manipulation, however, Microsoft continues to lose market share (while Google is gaining some).

Yahoo sites had 22.9 percent of the U.S. market, a 0.8 percentage-point fall from September. Microsoft slipped to 9.7 percent from 10.3 percent, Ask was flat at 4.7 percent and Time Warner’s network dipped 0.1 percentage point to 4.2 percent.

The problem of media control and informational ownership isn’t exclusive to technology. It’s an issue that is widely accounted for and represented in a political context as well. Consider the video below.

Here is the video’s enclosed description.

Political caroling against media concentration.

Stop the FCC’s holiday giveaway to Big Media. Kevin Martin, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has been keeping a secret from the American people. He wants to push through plans to remove decades-old media ownership protections. And he’s trying to do it without public scrutiny. No FCC broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership waivers for the Tribune Company.

Let us learn from the observations above that when people look for information on a particular topic, they are quite likely to be exposed to a point of view which represent those are wealthy and those who guiltlessly game the system.

If I recall this correctly, I suspect it was a certain propaganda minister who once said something along the lines of “when you control information, you control the minds”. Microsoft has always understood that. In fact, Gates has persistently called Microsoft to take bloggers seriously and sway them Microsoft’s way (another advice from Gates was to “keep your enemies closer”). I am still hearing from friends who run Linux Web sites and get generous invitations from Microsoft (last heard just days ago). There is nothing new under the Sun. Just watch Rick and others whose services Microsoft bought (e.g. to edit Wikipedia on topics like OOXML). Two foundations boggle the mind also.

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