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03.23.08

Links 23/03/2008: Primarily a Catch-up with Microsoft News (Looking Rather Gloomy)

Posted in News Roundup at 1:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

BrainShare 2008 Press Roundup: Part III

Posted in Database, GNU/Linux, Marketing, NetWare, Novell, SLES/SLED, Videos, Virtualisation at 11:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This will be the last part which concludes the developments made in a busy week. Part I is here and the second is here.

Some New and Returning Customers

This press release absolutely flooded the feeds, but it’s rather uninteresting and didn’t attract the attention of reporters.

Novell today announced one of the world’s leading providers of online
gaming and entertainment has selected Novell to secure its IT
infrastructure and enforce compliance mandates. The bwin Group has millions
of users for its betting, poker, casino and games offered over the Internet
and other digital distribution channels. Using Novell’s security and
information management solution Novell(R) Sentinel(TM), bwin can now
automatically detect threats to user data and meet the stringent auditing
requirements of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS).

Here is a more significant announcement from Western and Southern Life, which became a Linux user and bragged about considerable savings.

Novell today announced that Western & Southern Life, a subsidiary of
Fortune 500 financial company Western & Southern Financial Group, has
implemented SUSE(R) Linux Enterprise Server from Novell(R) in each of its
branch offices for 25 percent of the cost of an equivalent proprietary
solution.

A university that tried to escape Novell chickened out and came back to Groupwise.

MACQUARIE University has delayed offering Google’s Gmail service to thousands of staff members because of high transmission costs.

[...]

Staff members will continue to use the Novell Groupwise platform for email.

Pat Bernard, whom we mentioned on a few occasions in the past, talked about VARs as a key to relationships with end users (paying customers).

Pat Bernard is wasting no time in using her recent appointment as Novell’s vice president of global channel sales to emphasize the company’s dedication to its channel partners. At Novell’s BrainShare 2008 conference in Salt Lake City, Bernard outlined the company’s four-point strategy aimed at strengthening its relationship with VARs.

Teaming + Conferencing

Quite a few announcements were made here.

Novell has just uploaded this one video which is perhaps more entertaining than all the boring text.

GWAVA does its thing with Teaming + Conferencing.

GWAVA, Novell’s largest collaboration partner for GroupWise and Teaming + Conferencing, announced today the next version of Retain for GroupWise, improving the speed and extending the reach of the already robust search and archiving capabilities of the fastest selling compliance solution in GWAVA history.

GWAVA also does some PR for Novell’s latest acquisition.

GWAVA, Novell’s largest collaboration partner for GroupWise and Teaming + Conferencing, has announced comprehensive support for Novell SiteScape with its GWAVA Redline.

For Novell GroupWise administrators that have installed SiteScape or Novell Teaming + Conferencing into their GroupWise infrastructure, Redline tracks the entire SiteScape infrastructure in real-time, notifies users via email or pager, and provides a Web-based viewer that lets users see all of the details of components in a single view and produces reports.

Here is GWAVA chatting to some blokes. It talked with Novell’s VP of Product Management.

GWAVATV also did this quick talk with Xiotech.

Getting back to boring text, here is a boring press release which talks about people begging (pretty please! Down on your knees) for Novell’s Teaming + Conferencing solution. This has “commissioned study” written all over it.

Novell today released details of a study by IDG Research Services that
found while collaboration tools are very important for companies, their
effectiveness leaves much to be desired. The study, commissioned by Novell,
surveyed 100 senior IT executives on their experiences with and plans for
collaboration software. A full 80 percent said it is of critical or high
importance that individuals in their companies have the ability to
collaborate securely within and beyond organizational boundaries, but fewer
than half said their current collaboration solutions are extremely or very
effective in enabling collaboration among individual knowledge workers or
among teams and virtual teams.

On top of the drivel above, there is also this PR high-fiver from WorkLight.

WorkLight, the Enterprise 2.0 security specialist, say that Novell’s vision for the future of collaborative business working via social networking sites – unveiled at the company’s Brainshare event in Utah on Monday – highlights the power that services like Facebook offer technically aware modern businesses.

One has to wonder if this kind of feedback was genuinely earned or paid for. Anyhoo… we digress. Here is another recent one we did not mention. As announced briefly by Novell:

Honeywell Releases Security Convergence Study Results

Honeywell (NYSE: HON) today released survey results that reveal how some organizations are integrating physical security measures such as video surveillance and access control with traditional IT security systems. According to “Enterprise Threat Management and Security Convergence: A Benchmarking Study,” significant barriers still exist that prevent organizations from converging their systems and many of these organizations remain conflicted on how to best attain optimal results.

[...]

“This study reinforces that companies are increasingly concerned with protecting their information assets as well as their physical assets, and they recognize that integrating once-disparate systems can be effective in addressing threats,” said Jim Ebzery, senior vice president of Identity and Security Management at Novell, which recently collaborated with Honeywell to develop a converged physical-IT security system.

Blech.

SAP and Novell’s SUSE

We wrote about SAP and SUSE in the past. SAP, unlike Oracle, is still fairly close to Microsoft. By association, it’s also close to Novell and it shows.

BrainShare(R) 2008 — In order to deliver expanded support options to companies running their business operations on SAP applications and the SUSE(R) Linux Enterprise operating system, Novell and SAP AG today announced an extension of their long-standing relationship. In a move that will help meet the growing demand for SUSE Linux Enterprise and provide support for the open source community, Novell and SAP are planning to offer enhanced options for customers who choose to run open source. As part of this initiative, the companies will work together to enable SAP’s industry-leading enterprise applications to work with SUSE Linux Enterprise and Novell’s virtualization and identity management technologies to provide new data center options for customers. In addition, the companies plan to optimize SUSE Linux Enterprise for SAP’s data center infrastructure requirements, further promote SAP(R) Business All-in-One solutions based on SUSE Linux Enterprise and collaborate within the SAP Enterprise Services Community program to help strengthen customers related to the SAP governance, risk and compliance (GRC) practices.

Also reposted here with an article that follows.

Cheap rewrite of the press release:

Novell and SAP strengthen relationship to deliver business critical Linux

Novell and SAP are extending their relationship to improve support for manufacturers running on SAP applications and the SUSE Linux Enterprise operating system.

Very unoriginal, but never mind. You can see how similar the article is to the PR, including the headline.

Here is the article which appears in sys-con.com and CBR:

US-based software firm Novell has extended its partnership with SAP to deliver expanded support options to companies running their business operations on SAP applications and the SUSE Linux Enterprise operating system.

SJVN wrote an article about it also.

Novell and SAP are out to get even the smallest SAP user running mission-critical applications on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Novell and SAP have announced that they will customize SAP’s enterprise applications to work even more efficiently with SUSE Linux Enterprise and its associated virtualization and identity management technologies.

Bits of interest even in the Financial Times, which find big names like SAP difficult to ignore.

SAP hopes to woo mid-sized businesses with a range of pre-configured solutions that combine Intel-based hardware with a range of software.

The software includes Novell’s Suse Linux Enterprise operating system, SAP’s MaxDB database and its Business All-in-One enterprise suite.

Infrastructure Plans

Novell is throwing around the word “integration” quite a lot nowadays. Even when it speaks of SUSE/SLED it prefers to describe it as a “solution”, not just software. Shades of Microsoft.

This platform will be created as an appliance. Novell said the new release will aim to harmoniously integrate mixed-IT environments. Novell outlined a broad focus for the SuSE Linux Enterprise release which includes supporting appliance development in the data center, helping customers looking for easier UNIX to Linux relocation. Other than that, the leveraging of Xen technologies to deliver virtualization, which will help realizing the benefits of green IT and increasing technology for Windows optimization.

And here the key word is “infrastructure”.

Against a backdrop of efforts aimed at remaking itself, Novell executives today seized the opportunity to help put its sizable Linux and system management initiatives into some context for enterprise IT buyers.

“Novell is first and foremost a software infrastructure company,” said John Dragoon, the company’s chief marketing officer, during a press conference today at Novell’s (NASDAQ: NOVL) annual Brainshare user conference in Salt Lake City.

Add another fancy word and what have you got? “Modular infrastructure”. Yes. Shiny.

Novell details modular infrastructure plan

Novell has laid out a technical strategy that would let users mix and match physical and virtual machines along with management tools, identity services, collaboration software, and open source operating systems.

QLogic

QLogic made this announcement, which went by without much attention.

Novell BrainShare 2008 — QLogic Corp. (NasdaqGS:QLGC – News), a leader in networking for storage and high performance computing (HPC), today announced that it is the first HBA vendor to ship production ready N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV) solution for a shipping Linux distribution. Enterprise Linux customers can now get NPIV-capable Fibre Channel HBAs for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 Service Pack 1 (SP1), the latest Linux platform from Novell that features significant enhancements in virtualization, high performance computing, security, interoperability and system management. QLogic(r) market-leading 2400 series HBAs provide hardware-assist features that enable dynamic provisioning and flexible usage of HBA resources, helping IT managers to extend SAN best practices into virtualized data centers.

This earned at least one article.

Aliso Viejo-based storage networking products firm QLogic said Thursday that the firm has shipped an enhanced version of the firm’s host bus adapter (HBA) storage networking products for Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. QLogic said that it is now shipping a production ready HBA with support for N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV), a storage industry standard used for supporting virtualization software.

PlateSpin

Novell’s recent acquisition, PlateSpin, heralded their relationship in the following press release.

Novell today announced it will be offering a first look at
next-generation data center management at BrainShare 2008. This event will
showcase the offerings available today from Novell(R) and PlateSpin* that
deliver complete workload lifecycle management, helping customers plan,
provision, protect and optimize their data center provided services. These
solutions reinforce Novell’s ability to harmoniously integrate mixed IT
environments, allowing people and technology to work as one. The combined
solutions allow customers to seamlessly move workloads between physical and
virtual environments creating greater agility and reducing server sprawl,
complexity and costs in their IT infrastructure.

Dan Kusnetzky responds:

Quite a few companies are developing technology that can help organizations move from seeing their datacenter as a number of silos to seeing their systems as a pool of resources that can be dynamically allocated according to their own policies, guidelines and service level requirements and then reallocated as conditions change. Novell and PlateSpin have both offered interesting technology in the past to address parts of the requirements of such a solution. Putting the pieces together is likely to make the task somewhat simpler.

He also offers a compliment to Novell:

I’ve been in Salt Lake City at Novell’s Brainshare. As in years past, Novell presented an enthusiastic rendition of its messages, interesting demonstrations and even labs allowing folks to actually use the newest editions of the company’s products. It’s an event worth attending if you’re interested in Novell’s technology.

Leftovers

There were all sorts of relatively minor announcements, including this one from Condrey Corporation.

Condrey Corporation announced today at Novell BrainShare the immediate availability of DocXchanger 1.0, a product that allows users to easily discover and securely access their network files and folders from any location, enabling interactive document sharing capabilities that eliminate email attachments.

Compellent was there also.

Compellent Technologies, Inc. (NYSE Arca: CML) today announced at the Novell BrainShare event that its storage area network (SAN) has been certified with both Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 and NetWare 6.5 operating systems, helping make it seamless for Novell administrators to leverage the Compellent SAN to lower storage costs and energy consumption. The Novell Yes Certified designation applies to both Fibre Channel and iSCSI server connections to the Compellent SAN.

Conclusion (BrainDump)

Summary of some bits from this event as a whole comes from Todd Weiss:

At the BrainShare 2008 conference this week, Novell Inc. executives shared their visions of the future with customers, partners and developers as they outlined new products, services and strategies.

But some of the most interesting tidbits came in interviews held away from the glare and video cameras of the keynote spotlights.

That’s it for BrainShare. There’s the possibility of ‘spillover’ affecting next weekend’s reports.

BrainShare 2008 Press Roundup: Part II

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Identity Management, Meeting, Novell at 11:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This is the second part of a series which started here.

Identity Management

Here is some humour/viral marketing, which has just been added to YouTube. It seems like shameless promotion for identity management at Novell:

Novell is now boasting 6,000 customers for identity management (and security too).

Large and small enterprises, representing financial services, healthcare, education and government, are securing user identities and meeting compliance requirements with Novell

ActivIdentity made an announcement that talks about its relationship with Novell.

ActivIdentity Corporation announced today that the integration of the ActivIdentity Smart Employee ID and the Novell Identity Assurance Solution will be demonstrated at BrainShare 2008, showcasing the next generation in physical-logical access convergence solutions.

Here is an article about it:

ActivIdentity, Novell integrate products

ActivIdentity Corp., Fremont, Calif., and Novell Inc., Waltham, Mass., have combined products that may make it easier for corporation to use one ID card for both physical and logical access, the companies announced.

From Novell, the following generic and broad announcement was made:

Novell Extends Identity and Security Management Capabilities With New Technology Partners

Responding to customer needs for a seamless end-to-end identity and
security infrastructure, Novell today announced seven new vendors have
joined its identity and security management technology partner ecosystem.
Enterprises today are faced with defending against increasing security
threats and meeting compliance in a complex and heterogeneous IT
environment. By teaming with these vendors, Novell helps customers
cost-effectively increase security and streamline their identity
infrastructure by delivering a broader choice of solutions. Products from
the new partners, when combined with Novell’s identity and security
management offerings, will enable enterprises to further leverage Novell’s
solutions to solve specific business challenges.

Another company that works with Novell in this area is Layer 7 Technologies, which issued this press release.

Layer 7 Technologies, a leading provider of security and governance solutions for Service Oriented integration architectures, today announced a go-to-market partnership with Novell to secure programmatic Web services, leveraging Novell eDirectory and Novell Access Manager identity solutions.

Lastly, there is also The Blackbird Group.

The Blackbird Group today announced it has joined Novell’s identity and security management partner ecosystem. Under the terms of the agreement, Novell’s global sales channel will market and recommend Blackbird’s DeTroubler for their customers’ directory backup and recovery needs as part of Novell’s identity and security management framework.

About a fortnight ago we saw a success story in a hotel (or a chain thereof). Here is a timely article about this.

The Novell-led Bandit project aims to address the challenges of cost effectively connecting disparate systems in the hotel and hospitality sector while streamlining administration and meeting compliance requirements.

Ireland

Some good signs for Novell in Ireland, according to its own claims. Here is one sign among several.

Firms operating in the compliance market have enjoyed some good form of late with companies such as Dublin-based Norkom performing well. The Bear Stearns incident might yet create more opportunities in this market as regulators could crack down even further, meaning that bad news for the market might be good news for firms such as Novell.

The following is even more optimistic and clear:

Irish operation drives change at Novell

Novell’s Irish operation is playing a key role in the reshaping of the infrastructure software firm, according to Novell’s president of EMEA, Volker Smid.

We heard from Volker quite a bit recently [1, 2, 3]. We had quite a bit of coverage in the past about Novell in Ireland, including expansions.

OES2

Syncsort plugs into OES.

Backup Express from Syncsort Incorporated is now available for Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 (Linux). The seamless integration of the two solutions allows joint customers to successfully protect their data, applications and servers while also taking advantage of the Xen-based NetWare paravirtualization available in OES2.

The same goes for Moonwalk.

Moonwalk announced its latest Moonwalk software suite, with support for Novell’s Open Enterprise Server 2 (OES2).

Novell’s Open Enterprise Server 2 combines workgroup services from Novell with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, completing the Open Enterprise Server shift to providing workgroup services entirely on Linux. It includes dynamic storage technology for user-defined policies, storage management enhancements and Netware virtualization.

Guys and Dolls… and Muppets

There were quite a few puns available here and bloggers took the opprtunity. Novell hooked up with Sesame Street.

Novell today announced that Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind the ground-breaking children’s television program “Sesame Street,” has selected Novell to streamline its hardware and software infrastructure. Using Novell® ZENworks® Asset Management, which provides a complete and accurate view of the organization’s software licenses, inventories and usage, Sesame Workshop is now better able to comply with audit requests and properly manage its leasing contracts. By consolidating its Web server infrastructure using Xen* virtualization on SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server, Sesame Workshop is lowering server hardware costs, increasing flexibility and enabling its data center to dynamically respond to the needs of its business.

Watch how sys-con.com, home of O’Gara 007, merely rewrites that press release to make a bogus ‘article’. Compare the words below to the ones above.

Novell Helps Sesame Workshop by Implementing Xen Virtualization

Novell announced that Sesame Workshop has selected Novell to streamline its hardware and software infrastructure. Using Novell ZENworks Asset Management, Sesame Workshop is now better able to comply with audit requests and properly manage its leasing contracts.

Very original, sys-con.com. We will soon show another example.

ZDNet’s BTL has commented on this announcement and so did Matt Asay.

Novell on Tuesday announced that Sesame Workshop, the non-profit behind Sesame Street, is a reference customer using ZENworks Asset Management and Xen virtualization on Suse Linux Enterprise Server.

Fossa

Fossa was mentioned very briefly yesterday. Here is some more coverage of it.

Novell says ZenWorks key to Fossa Project success

Novell has positioned its ZenWorks systems and identity management product line as a central piece to its newly unveiled “Fossa Project” strategy, which aims to turn compute infrastructure into collaboration infrastructure.

Novell outlines Fossa plan

“Enterprise computing will change and we will be at the center of it,” said Jeff Jaffe, Novell’s CTO, said during the opening keynote of the company’s annual Brainshare conference. He said the key word would be “agility,” which he said would be defined in large part by policy and identity enablement within the Novell infrastructure software stack.

TechWorld has some more specific details.

The company said its new strategy, code-named Fossa, aims to allow companies to dynamically assign workloads to server resources within their datacentres. It will also include enhancements to Novell’s virtualisation, Linux, orchestration, policy, identity, compliance, and collaboration tools.

CRN also alludes to this in an article about Novell’s “adaptive infrastructure” (big fancy words that sound good to CIOs).

Jeff Jaffe, Novell’s CTO and EVP of business units, outlined the company’s technical vision at this week’s BrainShare 2008 conference in Salt Lake City, codenamed The Fossa Project. Jaffe explained that a fossa is an agile, cat-like animal native to Madagascar with no known predators. Fossa, he mentioned, also serves well as an acronym for “Free and Open Source Software with Agility.”

The third (and last) part is on its way. It requires more editing. Apologies for all the typos.

BrainShare 2008 Press Roundup: Part I

Posted in Europe, Mail, Microsoft, Novell, Ron Hovsepian at 10:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ron Hovsepian

Hovsepian’s talks received the most coverage, as should be expected. Here are some highlights.

Here he talks about opportunities, including the potentially positive effect of a recession on open source software.

The recent crisis in financial markets could drive growth opportunities for Novell, according to the firm’s chief executive Ron Hovsepian.

A note on competition and beyond:

Novell wants to shed historical comparisons with industry titans and focus on developing its core technologies into a set of infrastructure services it says will define its success going forward, according to company CEO Ron Hovsepian.

Here is the point about work in harmony.

Getting varying IT functions to work in harmony is a key goal for infrastructure software firm Novell, according to its chief executive Ron Hovsepian.

He told attendees at the opening general session of the 2008 BrainShare conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, that Novell wants to deliver greater interoperability to bring harmony to mixed IT systems and applications. “We positioned the company to make IT work as one,” said Hovsepian.

If only Novell took its own advice and worked in harmony with the GPL…

As already mentioned yesterday, Ron also loves the deal with Microsoft.

The widely criticized Microsoft Corp.-Novell Inc. interoperability agreement has been a success for his company, Novell CEO Ron Hovespian said Monday.

We shall criticise this shortly, but in a separate post.

The local optimists at echannelline.com opine that Novell might be at the cusp of a tipping point.

For a company celebrating its 25th anniversary, and which at one time had a stranglehold on the PC networking market, Novell has spent much of the last 15 years relegated to the sidelines. While it’s too early to predict it will reclaim its glory days, the company has been putting its best foot forward at BrainShare 2008, its annual customer and partner gathering. Company executives are really excited about the many changes that have been taking place at Novell since CEO Ron Hovsepian took control, and how well they are being received in the marketplace.

“We really see that inflection point,” said Hovsepian. “We’re excited. Our partners are excited. The business strategy is really starting to pay off.”

BrainShare Press Releases and Product Coverage

From this point onwards, you might just want to skip the batch of posts which comprise mainly press releases. They are listed for studying purposes and completeness more than anything else.

Moab

Moab’s ‘parent’ is a fairly small and possibly new company on the face of it. Here is its press release ahead of the event.

Cluster Resources, Inc. will present the Moab Hybrid Cluster, an HPC solution that dynamically changes cluster nodes between SUSE Linux and Windows CCS based on workload and application needs, at Novell’s BrainShare all this week in booth #623 and in select sessions.

From HPCWire:

Cluster Resources, Inc. has made two product announcements at the Novell BrainShare conference in Salt Lake City this week. The first includes details and demos of the Moab Cluster Builder for SUSE Linux. Cluster Builder is pegged as being a turn-key cluster deployment and management solution for customers running SUSE Linux. Cluster Builder also incorporates the Moab Cluster Suite. This addition rounds out the overall feature set with a Web-based job submission portal, a graphical Windows-like administration interface and professional reporting capabilites.

Atos

Atos was at BrainShare 2008 and here is its press release.

Edited Press Release PARIS -(Dow Jones)- Novell Inc. (NOVL) and Atos Origin SA (5173.FR) said Monday they are partnering to deliver new joint compliance and governance solutions.
Leveraging Novell’s identity and security management technologies and Atos Origin’s consulting, systems integration and managed operations services, the companies will deliver end-to-end solutions to allow customers to meet stringent security, governance and compliance requirements.

As a result, customers can reduce both risk and cost through automating their user provisioning, access and security monitoring processes, the companies said.

Here is another.

BrainShare(R) 2008 — Novell and Atos Origin, an international IT services company, are partnering to deliver new joint compliance and governance solutions. Leveraging Novell’s award-winning identity and security management technologies and Atos Origin’s consulting, systems integration and managed operations services, the companies will deliver end-to-end solutions to allow customers to meet stringent security, governance and compliance requirements. As a result, customers can reduce both risk and cost through automating their user provisioning, access and security monitoring processes.

There was not much in the press about this, with the exception of CBR (UK).

Novell and France-based international IT services company Atos Origin have partnered to deliver new joint compliance and governance products in the identity and security management area.

MessageSolution

Not a new face here, but here is the press release.

MessageSolution, Inc., the leading innovator in email and file archiving, electronic discovery, information retention, storage management, email compliance and litigation support, launched MessageSolution Enterprise Email Archive™ for GroupWise Server at Novell BrainShare 2008, making Enterprise Email Archive™ the first and only archiving solution to support all three best-selling enterprise email servers.

More information can be found here.

MessageSolution launched MessageSolution Enterprise Email Archive for GroupWise Server recently at Novell BrainShare 2008.

These posts are broken down into chunks, so Part II will be sequential.

Links 23/03/2008: Africa and FOSS; Korea Hails Embedded Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 3:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Recollections a Year After Comes vs Microsoft

Posted in America, Antitrust, Courtroom, Microsoft at 3:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A reader has asked us to make a mention and a clarification about Comes vs Microsoft, of which we hold a very partial exhibits archive (stored as plain text).

The reader asks:


Would it be possible to request a nutshell summary of what Comes vs Microsoft was about and the outcome? I’d like to point people to this page but would like to not have to explain the case each time myself.

http://boycottnovell.com/comes-iowa-trial-exhibits/


“The Web site containing court exhibits went down as a result, but copies of it had been made and then shared through BitTorrent.”We have made slight modifications to the page, thanks to this reader’s suggestion. Many articles were published about that at the time. Groklaw covered this also. The case took a long trip into the past and dug up Microsoft’s ‘greatest hits’. It strives to show that Microsoft had overcharged Iowans by choosing to be predatory and by breaking the rules.

Microsoft settled the case very quickly. The Web site containing court exhibits went down as a result, but copies of it had been made and then shared through BitTorrent. In relation to this, our reader tells us:


Yes. I was just starting to use the web site. I presume shutting down the web site was part of the “settlement”.

…but to be clear, the site went down a long time ago. But at the time I was just starting to use it. IIRC one of the other settlements (vs Caldera?) required that court records be destroyed.


Also related to this:

The trial may be over, but large piles of documents are still available for exploration.

Ways people can help include OCRing of the scanned PDFs. Optimally, all exhibits should be stored online as plain text, preferably with commentary that adds context and explains how one exhibit relates to another.

OOXML: A Broken Design or Broken by Design?

Posted in Apple, Formats, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, SUN at 2:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In the previous post we spoke about using fear to sell OOXML and warning users that unless they use the ‘latest and greatest’ version of Microsoft Office, data will not be preserved. This is no accident. Here is a real-life set of examples. [via Charles Schulz]

Here is the message that is presented to users of previous versions of PowerPoint + compatibility pack every time a presentation in the new file format (.pptx) is opened:

[...]

What? Can’t see it? That’s because THERE ISN’T ONE!

So, please tell your customers if/when you will ever present a warning message (as Word does every time, and Excel does sometimes) when a previous version of Office + compatibility pack opens files in the new 2007 formats.

In addition to this, bear in mind that an error in OOXML is an error in Microsoft Office and vice versa. Inelegance in one transcends and expands onto another. Have a quick look:

The example above is only one that depicts a more general problem. The designers of ODF had a file format in mind, that describes data. Hence, when the format describes data with the same semantics, it uses the same syntax. OOXML seems to be designed with the application model in mind. There may be different syntaxes for the same semantics, if it fits the already present application model better. But, if you want to create an alternative implementation for the format, this introduces additional effort.

For those wishing to store their data without future loss and obsolescence of the past, ODF is the way to go. One option is OpenOffice.org, which is now being ported to run under Mac OS X, natively.

The OpenOffice.org Mac Porting team Wednesday released the third development snapshot of the Aqua version of OpenOffice.org for Mac OS X.

People rarely understand the importance of standards until they start losing data, some of which has sentimental value.

OOXML data vacuum

“It’s hard for Microsoft to commit to what comes out of Ecma [the European standards group that has already OK’d OOXML] in the coming years, because we don’t know what direction they will take the formats. We’ll of course stay active and propose changes based on where we want to go with Office 14. At the end of the day, though, the other Ecma members could decide to take the spec in a completely different direction. … Since it’s not guaranteed, it would be hard for us to make any sort of official statement.”

Brian Jones, Microsoft

Of OOXML and “Terrible Weapons of Mass Destruction”

Posted in Asia, Deception, FUD, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML at 2:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Embrace or die!”

A few days ago we showed how Bill Gates uses sentimental blackmail to ‘sell’ OOXML. Further in the past we also showed how Microsoft uses fear as a tool for urging and rewarding upgraders, pushing for greater adoption of OOXML, thus making it more widespread (network effect is needed for the infamous upgrade treadmill).

As the quote in the title of this post indicates (borrowed from George W. Bush by the way), fear is still being used as a tool for forcing countries to comply with Microsoft's business objectives. Have a look at this report from Malaysia:

So Mr Cheong pleaded to us, “Dont give up this chance for Malaysia to be heard. If we vote Disapprove, Malaysia will NEVER be on that table! We have already implemented OOXML in our products, and if its not standardised, the format will change!”

Oh Noes! Malaysia will be blacklisted! Microsoft will go dark again! We will never see the light in our documents ever! The world is going to end!

Yeah. Fear. Uncertainty. Nice try.

In case you missed this Friday’s batch of reports from Malaysia, be sure to read about Doug "the Elephant in the Room" Mahugh.

Speaking of fear, how about Microsoft Office warning you that you’re losing data (lossy imports) but says little or nothing more? The joys of forced upgrades and software that’s engineered and crafted to be incompatible! More about it in the next post.

“Microsoft looks at new ideas, they don’t evaluate whether the idea will move the industry forward, they ask, ‘how will it help us sell more copies of Windows?’”

Bill Gates, The Seattle Weekly, (April 30, 1998)

Yes, it figures.

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