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03.18.08

Is Novell’s Strategy .NET Software on Top of GNU/Linux?

Posted in Java, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, SUN at 7:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft ASLin/.NOVELL

A bad penguin -- Novell

BrainShare has already begun. We shall look back at some developments from this event over the coming weekend. One thing that stood out in the talk from Novell’s CEO, however, is the .NET stack, so it cannot escape without an early comment.

We mentioned in the past Novell’s obsession with .NET (e.g. in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]) and it’s worrying to find that Novell becomes somewhat of a .NET company, just as a few observers foresaw. It’s more or less about Linux at the bottom and Microsoft controlling the upper layers (proprietary applications). Here is Novell’s latest:

Novell plans to focus on interoperability between the .NET and J2EE platforms and put a renewed emphasis on customer relationships, Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO and president, said Monday during a keynote at the company’s BrainShare conference in Salt Lake City.

An important element of Novell’s strategy, he said, is built around enterprise IT management software. “There are two stacks of software that will exist inside your enterprises that you’ll want to build applications on top of,” he said, referring to the J2EE stack and Microsoft’s .NET stack. “The core piece of what we try to do is focus in on the harmony between those IT stacks.” Hovsepian also said Linux is another key piece of Novell’s game plan. “Linux is the foundation of what we’re trying to get done, from desktop to data center,” he said. “It will play a key role going forward in the future.”

Recall this recent post from Dave Rosenberg, CEO of MuleSource. He has been watching Novell’s approach towards .NET (or Mono) and, needless to say, he is not excited about it. The same goes for Novell’s deal with Microsoft, no matter what it means to market share. OStatic, a Web site of Microsoft AstroTurf Malik, has this new article claiming that Mono adoption is very slow. Relieving news indeed, if true.

On the legal front, Microsoft and Novell have signed agreements to work together on some parts of Mono, and Novell and Microsoft have various other agreements in place. The Mono contributors have also pointed to the published ECMA specs for C# as the basis for their work, and have consistently said they remain ready to rewrite any portion of Mono that Microsoft should some day assert claims against (so far, there have been no such claims).

Despite all of this, Mono seems to still be a marginal player in the open source world. A search of SourceForge, for example, reveals less than 400 projects mentioning Mono, and C# projects (on whatever infrastructure) are vastly outnumbered by others. For whatever reason, the open source community has not widely embraced C# – whether this is due to its Microsoft roots, worries that Microsoft’s murky IP policies will someday make Mono an untenable platform, or for other reasons.

In case you cannot remember why Mono is dangerous, start here and consider the fact that Microsoft needn’t sue directly, even if it has some covenant with Novell. As we saw back in October, Microsoft has friends like Acacia [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], who can do their dirty job by proxy. Novell has already been attacked by Acacia. And in case you wonder, by the way, Acacia remains hyper active, as this new press release suggests. [via Groklaw]

Acacia Research Corporation (Nasdaq: ACTG) announced today that its Disc Link Corporation subsidiary has entered into a license agreement with Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. The agreement resolves the parties’ dispute concerning patents relating to the distribution of CDs or DVDs that include a link to retrieve additional data via the Internet.

It is funny that they refer to themselves as “Acacia Research” because they only acquire patents rather than actually do research. It’s a classic patent troll. Fortunately, over at the Eclipse event, a sort of replacement for .NET is offered, which antagonises Novell’s rather bizarre ambitions to mimic Microsoft technolgies.

The Eclipse organization has amassed a huge installed base of developers using its Java-based open source development tools. Now the organization has set its sights on the run-time arena and will take on Sun’s Java and Microsoft’s .NET with what it says is an agnostic open source component model that runs across multiple operating systems and computing tiers.

Meanwhile we’ll see Miguel de Icaza calling those whom he disagrees with on Mono “Jihadists” — a word which Microsoft uses internally too .

A little under a week ago, GNOME co-founder and Microsoft admirer Miguel de Icaza called me a jihadist. I’m not exactly sure what he meant by that. When a man from Mexico uses words from the east one is unsure what he means to convey – but I thought it would be worth examining in detail the great developer’s sayings.

It’s rather appalling to find out that a Novell Vice President resorts to calling a journalist “jihadist”. Hypocritically enough, he refers a person who happens to criticise the very same thing. Remember that both the journalist, Sam Varghese, and Miguel de Icaza have openly criticised the Novell/Microsoft deal.

Who is Miguel kidding? As Bruce Perens recently insinuated, it’s all about the money and fame to Miguel. He knows the deal sucks, but he’s getting his wage to just quietly accept it and move on.

“At Microsoft I learned the truth about ActiveX and COM and I got very interested in it immediately.”

Miguel de Icaza

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