EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

02.01.08

Would Microsoft ‘Pull a Hula’ on Zimbra?

Posted in Deals, Mail, Microsoft, Novell, Virtualisation, Xen at 10:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Several days ago, the following article appeared in Bruce Perens’ Technocrat Web site. It announced the incarnation of Novell’s Hula, called Bongo.

In 2005, we thought that we had a solution when Novell released Hula, an open source version of Netmail. Unfortunatly, things didn’t went too far but it ultimately led to a fork called Bongo.

“What happened to Hula,” you ask? As we said at the time, it was competing against Microsoft’s Exchange, so it’s likely that it was dropped by Novell for Microsoft’s convenience (competitive reasons) [1, 2].

Now, with a bid for Yahoo looming, people have begun asking themselves many questions. There are endless hypothetical scenarios to consider, of which here is one:

Yahoo acquired the open source software vendor for $350m in September last year to expand its hosted mail and collaboration capabilities. It probably goes without saying that Microsoft isn’t going to want to maintain an open source alternative to Exchange, so would Microsoft set it free or take the opportunity to crush it like a bug?

The same type of concern we have had about Xen, which we repeatedly argue got snatched by proxy [1, 2, 3, 4]. Microsoft-Citrix acquisition rumours and speculations are nothing so new. Commission? Regulators? Where art thou? Some of the most recent strategic acquisitions seem to amount to nothing but harming one's rivals rather than about personal gain.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

7 Comments

  1. Alex H. said,

    February 1, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Gravatar

    It’s nice that you mentioned Bongo, thank you very much for that. I’m not particularly going to defend Novell, but I feel I should correct you: we don’t compete with Exchange, and neither did Hula. And Novell didn’t kill off Hula – indeed, it’s more alive now in some senses than ever.

    If you’d like to drop by Bongo’s IRC sometime I can tell you a bit more about what happened with Hula, but I can tell you it wasn’t sold because it competed with Exchange: if Novell wanted to give Exchange an easy ride, they would have dropped Groupwise instead, which is competitive. Netmail (which is where Hula came from) was aimed at a very different market (mainly ISPs and other scenarios with large numbers of users but low functional needs).

    Cheers.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 1, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Gravatar

    Thanks, Alex. I’ve meanwhile found out about some possible complications for Zimbra (mentioned in the previous post about Zimbra). From Groklaw:

    http://www.zimbra.com/forums/zimbra-success-stories/14964-ms-offering-buy-yahoo.html

    [PJ: You'll find it interesting how the Zimbra forum is anguishing over a proprosed Microsoft hostile takeover of Yahoo! since it's obvious it won't wish to help Zimbra, a competitor to a Microsoft product, Exchange. Note how one forum member writes that the only way to protect it is if it is GPLd. I agree, actually, that it is the best license for protection against proprietary ruination. Sadly, they didn't think ahead and chose a Mozilla-like license, specifically to appeal to proprietary business partners. They could have chosen LGPL and achieved their goal, I think, as JBOSS did. GPL code is also available on some of the code, but there have been issues trying to get source. Now we see what mixed licensing results in. Trying to be FOSS and proprietary is tricky. Thousands of community members have written code for Zimbra for free. Happily, those who were sensible enough to protect the code with the GPL will be able to take it and fork. Those who chose other licenses will find that Microsoft is also a proprietary business, one that knows how to squeeze a license for all the rights it wishes to hold, and the full impact of that may fall on Zimbra. Live and learn.]

  3. Alex H. said,

    February 2, 2008 at 4:30 am

    Gravatar

    Cheers Roy.

    I’m actually giving a talk on this subject at Manchester Free Software UK group in March – see http://manchester.fsuk.org/blog/2008-meetings/#alex .

    I’ll be talking about the direct experience of forking a project like this, and to be honest the license is only a small part of it – being able to fork is key, but it’s only the first step on a journey of miles.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 2, 2008 at 7:17 am

    Gravatar

    I did not realise that you are from Manchester as well.

    Speaking of forks, Mike Little, who lives nearby in Stockport, co-founded WordPress with Matt Mullenweg. That was just several years back. I met Mike back in 2005 just after he had stopped committing changes and contributing patches (Ryan took over as Patchmaster).

    As you probably know, WordPress was a fork of b2, which was pretty much abandoned (I’ll post a link about this later). WordPress (or Automattic rather) received $29 million in funding at the beginning of this year, so you never know where you might end up as a 19-year-old college student from Houston or even an adult. Horde, which is another excellent project, is deployed here at Manchester University as well.

    I’m still lobbying for WordPress to adopt GPLv3. This will probably happen at the end. It’s seems like a question of /when/ because the development mailing list still has some GPL antagonists who use Tivoization as an excuse for resistance.

  5. ig said,

    February 5, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Gravatar

    It’s pretty clear that Microsoft would shut down Zimbra, just like they shut down Hula. This is the danger of using software that just barely qualifies as open source. The full version is proprietary and the free version is both crippled and badgeware.

    Over at the Citadel project [http://www.citadel.org] we are experiencing a big surge of interest this week as Zimbra devotees seem to be exploring their alternatives. As a true end-to-end GPLv3 open source project, we don’t have the danger of being bought out and shut down by Microsoft (or anyone else for that matter).

  6. Victor Soliz said,

    February 5, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Gravatar

    Point taken, ig. It seems as if these open source products with proprietary versions are the most likely to get bought by a big corp and be put on risk, QT, mySQL and now zimbra come to mind.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 5, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Gravatar

    MySQL will be okay because Sun Microsystems has a strategy that it more FOSS-oriented.

What Else is New


  1. MIT and Microsoft Have Done Nothing to Actually Tackle Pedophilia and Ephebophilia

    MIT never actually resolved the issue that caused Joi Ito, Richard Stallman and others to be ejected; Microsoft meanwhile continues to profit from life-changing abuse (while seeding puff pieces in friendly media, just to pretend otherwise)



  2. Opinion: If You Advocate Population Control and You Are Yourself Doubling in One Single Generation, Then You Might be Hypocritical

    People with 3-5 children (each) tell us that the world has an overpopulation problem; while the growth of the population certainly poses a risk, these people lack the moral authority to lecture us about that (unless they adopt a eugenicist worldview, wherein only particular people are permitted to reproduce)



  3. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 25, 2020



  4. Nothing Has Truly Changed Since Netscape and Antitrust

    The same old crimes persist, as well as the blatantly anticompetitive behaviour



  5. When the Monopolists and the Patent Litigation Industry Hijack the News They Control the Narrative

    Money buys perception and litigation firms have certainly 'bought' the media coverage, which fails to convey the issue at stake and instead paints a rational court decision as tragedy for "innovation" (by "innovation" they mean monopolies on nature and on life)



  6. Links 25/1/2020: OPNsense 20.1 RC1 and DXVK 1.5.2

    Links for the day



  7. The Linux Kernel is No Longer Free Software?

    Gardiner Bryant, the creator of The Linux Gamer as well as The Off Topical Podcast, reacts to our articles about DRM in Linux (he even pronounced my name correctly)



  8. Sometimes Proprietary Software is Proprietary (Secret) Simply Because It is Not Good and Obfuscation Helps Hide Just How Ugly It Is

    Why nonfree (or proprietary) software generally fails to catch up with Free/libre software — at least on technical grounds — and then makes up for it with marketing and FUD offensives (discrediting perfectly-functioning things, based on their perceived cost)



  9. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, January 24, 2020



  10. Links 24/1/2020: GNU/Linux in Russia and More New Openings

    Links for the day



  11. When EPO Press Coverage Boils Down to Lobbying, Press Releases, EPO Lies, and Bribery

    Any attempts to properly assess and explain what happens in Europe's patent landscape are being drowned out by EPO-bribed and law firms-connected media; to make matters worse, the EPO's bribes have expanded to academia, so even scholarly work in this domain is corrupted by money of special interest groups



  12. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 23, 2020



  13. Links 23/1/2020: Qubes OS 4.0.3, EasyOS 2.2.5, GhostBSD 20.01

    Links for the day



  14. Passion of the Microsoft

    A rough timeline of Microsoft’s interactions with Linux and the Linux Foundation since 2015



  15. The Patent Microcosm is Really Panicking as European Patents on Life and Other Spurious Junk (Invalid Patents) Are Successfully Rejected

    European Patents (EPs) may be revoked en masse if what we're seeing is the gradual emergence of 'European Mayo' (and maybe soon 'European Alice')



  16. Distractions From Microsoft's Gigantic Tax Evasion and Contribution to Denial of Climate Science

    Microsoft (connected to oil companies) wants us to think of it as a "green" company; not only does it contribute to climate denial but it also evades tax, which is a serious crime that costs tens of billions of dollars (the public pays this money instead)



  17. Confirmation: System1/Startpage Offered Pay to People Who Pushed for (Re)Listing in Privacy Directories

    The debate is now settled; those arguing in favour of listing Startpage as privacy-respecting are in fact secretly 'compensated' by Startpage (in other words, they're Startpage 'shills')



  18. Vandana Shiva: “Bill Gates is Continuing the Work of Monsanto”

    A recent interview on what Bill Gates is really up to in that sham ‘charity’ of his



  19. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 22, 2020



  20. Extending Linux With DRM, Azure and exFAT

    An insufficiently 'conservative' Linux ceases to be freedom-respecting



  21. Linux Foundation (LF) Now Dominated by Lots of Microsoft People and LF Chiefs Join Microsoft in Smearing GPL/Copyleft

    We continue to see additional evidence which serves towards reinforcing our view that the so-called 'Linux' Foundation is actually hostile towards many things that are associated with Linux (unlike those looking to exploit/hijack Linux for proprietary ends)



  22. Links 22/1/2020: Wayland 1.18 Alpha, ODF 1.3 Approved

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 21, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 21, 2020



  24. Poor Excuses for Granting Poor (and Often Illegal/Invalid) Patents

    A quick look at some of the latest examples of software patents advocacy (not by actual software professionals, obviously) and why it's deeply misguided (or guided solely by greedy law firms)



  25. A Simple Plan For a Universal Free Software Community

    "For software to be free as in freedom, we need more people to care personally about software freedom."



  26. Links 21/1/2020: Wine 5.0 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 Beta

    Links for the day



  27. Startpage/System1 Almost Definitely Pay for People to Lie About Their Surveillance

    A longterm investigation suggests that there are forces in the debate that aren't objective and are being super evasive and dodgy; this typically happens only when somebody has much to hide



  28. The Internet is an Appalling Medium for News and It Has Only Gotten Worse

    Something ought to change in the way people gather and assess news; at the moment — as proper journalism runs out of steam (and budget) — things only deteriorate and quality suffers; this rapidly exacerbates as people come to rely on — and then relay — hearsay, not fact-checked bodies of work



  29. Media Reactions to the EPO Coming to Grips With Fake Patents That It Granted (Spoiler: the Media is Controlled by Lawyers of Monopolists and EPO Partners)

    Appalling quality of reporting and truly awful bias in the media, primarily owing to the fact that it is dominated/manned not by actual reporters but the firms looking to patent life itself; they use their lawyers and operatives who are literally funded by these lawyers (wearing "journalist" badges to mislead)



  30. Links 21/1/2020: EarlyOOM Fedora Decision and AMD Zen 3 Microcode

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts