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03.15.08

Links 15/03/2008: KDE4 Raves, Parsix GNU/Linux Release and Raves, GPLv3 Moving Up Fast

Posted in News Roundup at 11:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bristol Adopts OpenDocument Format, Cites Problems with Microsoft/OOXML Macros

Posted in Europe, Formats, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, VBA at 4:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Neelie Kroes
Europe for OpenDocument format and open source software

Just a couple of days after Europe’s quiet announcements (praising Free software and standards) we find yet another. It’s about Bristol, in the United Kingdom. [via Glyn Moody]

UK: Major cost reduction result of Bristol’s switch to Open Standards

Bristol City Council’s switch to StarOffice in 2005 has led to a major reduction of IT costs, says Gavin Beckett, the council’s ICT Strategy manager.

StarOffice is Sun Microsystems’ proprietary suite of office applications, which is based on the Open Source OpenOffice. In 2006 Bristol took the further step of adopting the ISO-approved Open Document Format (ODF).

Speaking at a conference on ODF in the Netherlands last month, Beckett said that implementing StarOffice for 5,500 desktops in Bristol saved 1.1 million GBP (1.4 million euro) in comparison to the total cost of implementing Microsoft Office. “The licences for StarOffice cost us 186,000 GBP (243,000 euro), in comparison to 1.4 million GBP (1.8 million euro) for MS Office.”

These major savings were offset slightly by extra time needed for implementing StarOffice. Implementation cost the city council 484,000 GBP (632,000 euro), double the estimate for MS Office. This was due to document conversion and training, said the IT Strategy manager. Explaining and troubleshooting the new office applications took several months more than planned.

If there was any setback or difficulty, guess what it was? Microsoft’s deliberate incompatibilities (boosted by the network effect), which are a result of the ‘extensions’ Microsoft last bragged about only a few days ago. Here is noooxml.org‘s response to it:

Microsoft New Zealand representative wants competitors to make reverse engineering over their products. Standardizing the whole format would not permit Microsoft to have a ‘competitive’ advantage.

[...]

Sorry, but the macros are stored in a file format, so not defining how to interpret this data will lead to a competitive advantage for the company of Redmond, and will be a killer for interoperability. I don’t want to buy a Windows license and an Intel PC just to be able to decode their crappy format.

In light of the new set of documents from the ODF Alliance, also consider the text about OOXML implementation being a ‘community’… of just one company.

Unless there are multiple, competing, full implementations of OOXML, citizens will be faced with a choice of one – and only one – office suite based on OOXML, Microsoft Office. Until OOXML moves beyond its current single-vendor status, National Bodies should vote “No” (disapprove).

It remains to be seen what gets decided after an utterly broken BRM [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12].

Lies, Damn Lies, Steve Ballmer and His Consultants/Analysts

Posted in Deception, Fraud, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Open XML, Steve Ballmer at 3:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft: a Land of Lies and Contradictions

“The Free Software movement is dead. Linux doesn’t exist in 2007.”

Bill Hilf (Microsoft’s ‘Linux Guy’), May 2007

“[If I ask you who is Microsoft's biggest competitor now, who would it be?] Open…Linux. I don’t want to say open source. Linux, certainly have to go with that.”

Steve Ballmer (Microsoft’s CEO), February 28th, 2008

Microsoft’s nervousness is very telling. In the past few days alone, the word about the departure of two Vice Presidents came out. They join a large-scale and ongoing exodus. How does Microsoft respond? It attacks and shamelessly accuses its rivals, of course.

Executives Attack

We recently discussed Microsoft’s manufacturing of consent (a well-known propaganda technique), the context being Patrick Durusau’s remarks. Seemingly, the propaganda continues. Rather than have several Microsoft chiefs simultaneously compare open source to “communism”, they now compare it to theft. From Matt Asay:

(Btw, Ballmer beat the pulpit at Accel’s recent CEO day, accusing open source of stealing Microsoft’s intellectual property. This man dearly needs to get a life…and a clue.)

At this pace, Microsoft might end up a company with virtual assets (code) and 'physical' debt (it will finally see an overdraft if it buys Yahoo).

The company tries to turn ideas in its code, which is intangible, into the equivalent of property in Europe, using software patents. As Subsonica shrewdly pointed out the other day, the company’s most recent SEC filing reveals this tactic, in the form of sign of things to come.

Consultants Attack

Rick Jelliffe pretends that all is fine, that Microsoft’s misconduct is no more, and that all opposition to Microsoft’s OOXML might as well be attributed to a bunch of rabid zealots. noooxml.org has already responded.

Dog bites man vs. man bites dog

Microsoft is used to play hard without any conservatism in terms of reputation. Other companies that were in a weaker market position adapted to a changing market environment and they are responsive to the public. The lack of care for reputation clearly plays in the hands of every campaigner. It’s your favourite opponent because they will deliver you the lethal action you need to entertain your community. In a crime fiction about the Mafia no one is shocked by their killings because you expect it as natural. In the case of Microsoft this may result in the attitude of some bloggers to cry louder about foul play. I don’t think this is the right approach but the economics of it is well understood.

“This is not a case against Microsoft. It’s hardly a case for more competition, in a sense. To many of us, it’s a case against crime.”After all the things Rick Jelliffe actually did (e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]) he truly has some nerve to direct such accusations against opposition. Does Rick deny Microsoft’s wrongdoing? Will he, for example, deny the bribery cycle, of which he is a part?

This is not a case against Microsoft. It’s hardly a case for more competition, in a sense. To many of us, it’s a case against crime. It’s a case against cheating. It is a case against breaking the rules, as pretty much acknowledged by Europe's antitrust investigation. Perhaps Rick is a little worried that Europe might knock on his door. The most recent article, from the Financial Times in fact, said that Europe investigated not only Microsoft, but also delegates involved in the stacking. Remember what Microsoft says about consultants such as Rick, who happens to do consulting work for Microsoft.

“Consultants: These guys are your best bets as moderators. Get a well-known consultant on your side early, but don’t let him publish anything blatantly pro-Microsoft. Then, get him to propose himself to the conference organizers as a moderator, whenever a panel opportunity comes up.”

Internal Microsoft document

Remember that Rick played the role of “devil’s advocate” (his own words) in Geneva’s BRM [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. Now, isn’t that a classic? See Pamela's notes.

Analysts Attack

Analysts, by the way, are no better than consultants. For starters, consider the Burton Group [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24], which is close to Microsoft. It went batting for OOXML and battling against ODF, following IDC (Microsoft-sponsored ODF/OOXML studies) and lobbying arms like CompTIA and ACT. You can still find Zuck’s videos on YouTube. They depict his deceptive act striving for ODF interception in California.

Regarding analysts, Matt Asay, pointing to this article from CIO, told us a little more this Friday.

CIO.com raises an important issue about the integrity of research being done by industry analysts. Namely, if a sponsor pays for the research, do they get favorable treatment in that research?

[...]

I’m not suggesting that the research is corrupted. I’m just suggesting that it’s hard to remove the taint of sponsored research. Just take a look at Gartner’s “Hype Cycle” on open source, which is woefully inaccurate, probably in part because Gartner gets its information from the vendors who sponsor its research, not the customers who are buying into open source in droves.

For previous coverage saturated with many examples of the wrongdoings of Microsoft-paid analysts, start here and follow the many references contained therein.

“Analysts sell out – that’s their business model… But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with.”

Microsoft, internal document

Microsoft and the Windows-isation of PHP After Zend Deal

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Identity Management, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Servers, Windows at 2:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Several hours ago we discussed Microsoft's participation in Pycon 2008. Also, recently we showed the effects of Microsoft’s role in Zend, but our focus was not Zend in isolation [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. To sum it all up, Microsoft strives to have everything PHP run on top of Microsoft Windows Server. It was predictable and it was said openly last year.

Here comes further evidence that Microsoft is getting uncomfortably closer to the development process of PHP. LDAP, Microsoft’s InfoCard and Microsoft commits on CodePlex are just a few examples of this.

Zend Framework 1.5 also features LDAP authentication designed to work with Microsoft’s Active Directory and LDAP-enabled directory systems.

On the web front, Zend Framework 1.5 features the ability to implement OpenID and Microsoft’s InfoCard for single sign-on. In turn, the PHP code for InfoCard will be posted to Microsoft’s CodePlex site. With InfoCards Microsoft has become a committer to Zend’s PHP, along with IBM and Google who signed up with version 1.0 launched nine months ago.

Isn’t Microsoft getting just a little too close to a project which it competes against (with ASP/.NET)? It wants its bread buttered on both sides and it clearly wants to steal PHP away from its number one threat, GNU/Linux. Only a few days ago, Matt Asay wrote this item with the headline “The future belongs to Linux”. Microsoft knows this and it tries to bend the rules.

You’ve already lost the mindshare war, and tepid changes to Microsoft’s server licensing policies won’t change things, either. Your company’s limp olive branch to the open-source community (“You can use our software royalty-free and without fear of legal retribution…so long as you never make a penny from your efforts”) is worse than insulting.

Don’t. Let. Microsoft. Hijack. PHP. Why can’t developers wake up and smell the coffee (mind Asay’s remarks above)? It’s not just PHP by the way. We have recently mentioned Java, Eclipse, Apache and OSBC. Using Novell, Microsoft already subverts GNU/Linux as well, e.g. with Mono, virtualisation, OOXML, Silverlight and royalty rights. Some projects are enticed by sponsorship money, which is akin to a stranger offering candy to a child. This whole fiasco requires and also deserves wider attention.

A Week After Novell Cool Blogs’ Demise, Chief Blames the Medium

Posted in Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 2:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“It’s not me, it’s you”

This may not be the most accurate of descriptions, but just over a week ago we showed that Novell’s Cool Blogs had been shut down due to low levels of participation and a slow pace. Novell’s marketing officer, John Dragoon, thinks it’s a broader issue.

“It’s far easier to start a blog than to keep one going,” said John Dragoon, chief marketing officer at Waltham-based Novell Inc.

Has it occurred to him that it might just have something to do with Novell's (and OpenSUSE's) image? He need only ask those who left or just lost passion.

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part III: Jeff Merkey, Novacoast and Other Miscellaneous Items

Posted in Fraud, Microsoft, Novell, Wikipedia at 2:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This last installment deals with various Novell-related news that can’t be fitted anywhere else.

Novell’s Jeff Merkey

Wikipedia deals with a controversial story of drama and misconduct. In thus latest episode, Wikipedia suffered a major blow after this incident involving an indirect exchange of money. Jeff Merkey (of “Novell fame”) and Jimmy Wales come under the radar.

The toughest two weeks of Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales’s career just became a whole lot worse, with a former chief scientist at one of the world’s biggest technology companies claiming Wales traded Wiki edits for donations.

Jeff Merkey, a former computer scientist at Novell, claims Wales told him in 2006 that in exchange for a substantial donation from Merkey, he would edit his uncomplimentary Wikipedia entry to make it more favourable.

Novell, Novacoast and Other Partners

A Novell Platinum Partner, Novacoast, acquires a company.

Bill Long, President of Integrated Network Systems, commented, “We look
forward to becoming part of the Novacoast family and are eager to continue
and grow our relationship with Novell. This partnership will provide us
access to greater resources and expertise in order to grow our business and
provide a broader range of solutions and expertise to our customers through
Novell product offerings.”

Tim Wolfe, North American President of software manufacturer Novell,
Inc., said, “The growth of Novacoast into these new markets is good news
for Novell and our customers. Novacoast is one of our top solution partners
in North America and Integrated Network Systems has been a strong Novell
partner in the Gulf Coast for over a decade. The merging of these two great
partners will result in a broader adoption of Novell technologies into new
and existing customers. It’s great to see our partners successfully growing
their business by partnering with Novell to develop world-class solutions
to their customers’ business problems.”

Another Novell (and Microsoft) partner, Warren Wyrostek, writes about certifications, including Novell’s.

If you have ever taken a Novell exam, a Microsoft exam, a Cisco exam, and/or a CompTIA exam, you probably have been told to answer the questions on the exam the way the given vendor wants you to answer the questions.

Don’t worry if the answer is ridiculous; if you want to get certified, give the Novell answer, or the Microsoft answer, or the Cisco answer, or the CompTIA answer. For the same question, each vendor could potentially have different correct responses. This is maddening at best.

Customers and Products

Novell’s software sneaks its way into Corpus Christi.

The City of Corpus Christi chose Touchpaper primarily for its ITIL expertise, and its tight integration with Novell desktop management tools and CiscoWorks Network Management.

GroupWise gets a hand with another new software integration.

Omni Technology Solutions Inc. (Omni) www.omni-ts.com and The Long Reach Corporation, www.infoathand.com, announced the immediate availability of Riva GroupWise Integration for info@hand.

Riva GroupWise Integration for info@hand provides transparent, server-side, bi-directional synchronization of appointments, tasks, notes and contacts between info@hand Customer Relations and Business Management (CRBM) and Novell GroupWise. Opportunities, quotes and cases are synchronized from info@hand to GroupWise. The Riva ConnectBar™ allows users to open info@hand opportunities, quotes and cases directly from their GroupWise clients. There are no modules to install on the info@hand CRBM server, on the GroupWise server or on the GroupWise clients.

That’s about all for this week. Next week will be busier and nosier because of BrainShare.

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part II: CeBIT, BrainShare and Virtualisation

Posted in Novell, Videos, Virtualisation at 2:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell-SUSE event

One expo has ended and another smaller one is bound to begin on Monday. Let’s start with CeBIT.

CeBIT 2008

All we have from CeBIT, at least as far as Novell is concerned, are this couple of not-so-exciting videos. It’s the Free Hugs gig.

Here is the first one

And the second video also.

BrainShare 2008

Novell’s BrainShare will start soon. Dragoon speaks about it already.

Over five thousand people from 58 countries will arrive in Salt Lake City, Utah next Sunday, March 16th for the annual Novell tradition known as Brainshare. Brainshare, Novell’s annual user conference, has been going on for over 20 years and for many in the IT industry it’s their annual pilgrimage for learning new things, reconnecting with old friends, making new ones and keeping up with the pace, change and opportunities in our industry.

Here is one attendant that makes an announcement about presence one week in advance.

ActivIdentity Corporation (Nasdaq: ACTI – News), a global leader in digital identity assurance, will be exhibiting its Smart Employee ID, the all in one smart identity card for building, workstation, and network access, at the Novell BrainShare 2008 Conference. In addition, the company will be exhibiting ActivIdentity strong authentication solutions combined with Novell SecureLogin SSO at the conference. Novell BrainShare 2008 is designed to help IT experts with tools and knowledge to manage, simplify, secure and integrate heterogeneous IT environments at a reduced investment cost.

Here is another one.

Stoneware, Inc. will be demonstrating webOS and File Monitor on Novell’s SuSE Enterprise Linux platform at Novell’s international technical conference, Brainshare, the week of March 17th in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Virtualisation

In this article about Microsoft’s battle against VMWare (and GNU/Linux), the dirty tricks previously used against Novell are cited.

Microsoft has captured market share in the past by integrating applications with its operating systems and other products, Reeves points out. He cites what happened with Novell’s (NASDAQ:NOVL) NetWare network operating system.

“The way (Microsoft) took over market share from Novell is they tied Exchange, SQL Server, (Web server) IIS and Active Directory to their operating system,” he said. “How long will it be before Microsoft begins to tie those applications to Hyper-V?”

The more complete article is here, but it’s likely to expire. We still have a mechanism for making local copies of all articles that are cited by BoycottNovell, so it’s not a big issue.

Here is a new chat with Novell about Virtualization.

Novell’s Richard Whitehead and I sat down to a lively discussion on the trials and tribulations of VM management. Whitehead was good enough to remind me of Novell’s open source chops on SUSE and Xen…

I’m the first to admit that Novell doesn’t come immediately to mind when thinking of the virtualization market. Then again, they’ve whole-heartedly embraced open source, released a supported SUSE-based Xen offering 18-months ago, and are pretty darn good at integrating Netware, Microsoft and Linux solutions.

The next post will deliver the rest of the news from the past week.

Now Confirmed: SUSE’s Evangelist Left Because of Secrecy Around the Microsoft Deal

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE at 1:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It was a shame to see Ted Haeger, whom I consider[ed] a friend, leave the company. At the time of his departure he said nothing about the reason, but I have just spotted this new comment from him.

Martin:
Did you know that I left Novell 11 months ago? I’m not part of the “Novell marketing people” that you seem to think I am. I parted ways with Novell for the very same reasons that you cite about the MS agreement–not its evilness, but the careless disregard for the people that the company never bothered to consult (including me). So, you’re mostly spot on in your point, but I’d sure appreciate not being cited as one of the idiots who wrecklessly sullies openSUSE’s good name.
Thanks,
Ted

What might Francis say? How would Zonker feel?

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