Whilst the world awaits, ODF already pushed on with GNU/Linux
Calling the vote in individual countries has become rather dull, unless there are interesting stories to be told about known irregularities. It’s still too close for conclusions to be drawn, the possibility of rule-bending and WTO intervention aside. Here you have it even from Microsoft’s mouth:
“There are 87 different countries that are looking at this,” Tom Robertson, general manager for interoperability and standards at Microsoft, told InternetNews.com. “It’s still too early to say what’s going to happen.,,”
Meanwhile, GNU/Linux gets a new beta of version 4.0 of Lotus Symphony. From BetaNews: IBM debuts beta of Lotus Symphony 4.0 for Linux
Symphony is based on the Open Document Format standard, and includes tools for users to import Microsoft Office and Adobe PDF files into the suite. IBM says this would make it easier to integrate the suite into current deployments.
The timing of this beta, not to mention the release of OpenOffice.org 2.4, couldn’t get any more curious. Remember that IBM intends to bring Lotus to businesses, on top of GNU/Linux. Recent stories of interest:
IBM to offer Linux machines
The machines, it was announced, will come with Red Hat’s Linux distro, and will come pre-loaded with software from IBM, including its Lotus Symphony suite.
More at Reuters: IBM, allies offer Microsoft-free PCs for E.Europe
International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said it was offering the PCs based on the open-source Linux operating system together with Red Hat (RHT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) software distributor VDEL of Austria and Polish distributor and services firm LX Polska in response to demand from Russian IT chiefs.
Lastly, going further back:
Lotus Notes 8.5 to fully support Ubuntu Linux 7.0 in mid-2008
“We’re doing pilots with customers now,” Satyadas said. “Some of the requests came from big companies” with as many as 100,000 users that are interested in moving to Ubuntu Linux on the desktop.
“Linux is cool now,” he said. “We use it ourselves. We are able to offer a secure, rich and cost-effective Microsoft alternative.”
Good time ahead for GNU/Linux, thanks to ODF. █
A Symphony of FOUR on Ubuntu GNU/Linux
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What to make of of this (Before the Bell)? Your call.
“Novell goes back a long ways,” said Werlinich. “You can almost make the case that it’s hard to understand that Novell is in existence anymore.”
Recall our earlier post about Novell's past and present. █
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A couple of days ago we explained why it was a grave mistake to have invited Microsoft to OSBC. And yet, this was probably mandatory. Microsoft’s pattern of sponsoring open source conferences in order to attend and influence has been carefully tracked for quite some time. It sometimes seems like not a single open source conference can take place without Microsoft invading it.
“The situation at hand is one where OSBC is sponsored by Microsoft in order for Microsoft to become the centre of attention.”Microsoft has truly gotten itself an ‘OSS radar’. Remember Bill Gates’ emergency trip to Paris, which took place around the same time that the police had announced its migration to GNU/Linux? It’s far from being the exception as we quite so often find, even our ‘OOXML crime watch’. Only days ago, Bill Gates phoned the Mexican president. Guess what for?
Anyway, here we are to concentrate or talk about expos, conferences, events and get-togethers. To give just a few among many recent examples that we covered, consider [1, 2, 3]. For context regarding OSBC 2008 specifically, also consider [1, 2, 3].
The situation at hand is one where OSBC is sponsored by Microsoft in order for Microsoft to become the centre of attention. This didn’t wind up grabbing only our attention, but Sean Michael Kerner saw that too (we mentioned this yesterday) and so did Brian Proffitt, managing editor of Linux Today. Here is a portion of what he wrote about this:
What’s at the forefront of my crabbiness is the almost-complete capture of the Open Source Business Conference’s news cycle by Brad Smith’s presence at that conference left me wondering who else was even there this week, other than Smith, Matt Asay, and a few pundits and luminaries. In a nicely done spin for the media, OSBC suddenly became about how Microsoft braved the lion’s den, instead of the real progress a lot of companies are making in open source development and business.
The essay as a whole is excellent and definitely worth a read. Having had a conversation outside the public eye, it seems reasonable to say that one reader adds:
…it is a capital error to allow emissaries from the movement entrance. Just as bad to accept money.
By the way, given the apparent lengths gone to suppress, I would strongly recommend citing parts of this
It’s the “Evangelism is WAR!” exhibit that he was referring to you. You can go through some alarming portions or read the full antitrust exhibit as plain text if you prefer it that way.
Criticism comes from other corners of the press. Surprisingly enough, it’s actually Charles from Information Week, who appeared to be criticising Microsoft for a change. It’s worth a read. He talks about Microsoft’s “open source is stealing from us”-type remarks (we showed them earlier in this week).
All That Got Stolen Was Microsoft’s Thunder
The best response I’ve seen was from Jonathan Corbet at a panel at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco last May. Corbet is a Linux kernel developer himself and executive editor of the Linux Weekly News.
“I feel I’ve been called a thief,” he said levelly during a panel at the event, and pointed out that Microsoft was one of the companies that had patented “thousands of trivial functions … There’s no way to write a nontrivial program that can’t be claimed to infringe on someone’s patents.”
On several occasions (since last month in fact) Matt Asay has attempted to defend his Microsoft invitation. He has even done that in his blog just a short while ago, Frankly, based on what several people have had to say, he probably made a mistake. It takes guts to admit mistakes. Apologies are not necessary, but admission of tactlessness would be commendable. He has already reluctantly admitted (to me, in person) that Microsoft had received good press from it. █
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We previously offered and presented a geographical breakdown of Boycott Novell’s readership, old Web browsers breakdown, and a look at Linux usage over time. Herein we use data from the past 28 days, as interpreted by AWStats. None of this data was preprocessed in any way.
This hopefully helps in combatting the infamous market share lie. █
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The worse of both worlds
Novell will carry on 'massaging' its financial figures and pretend that while its legacy products fade away, its future business is flourishing. Some innocent journalists will buy this story and perpetuate the myth that Novell is seeing a rebirth (never mind the expected sacking of a great proportion of the workforce).
Novell’s dilemma is eerily similar to that of Microsoft and the stories they tell bear a resemblance as well. Both companies also send jobs overseas — cost savings being the main motive — but they don’t make as much noise about it as lame and unsubstantiated excuses.
If further evidence of this is required, here are a couple of stories from last week’s news. The first article we can present here talks about Novell’s decline in the messaging and collaboration market.
Novell’s lagging position in the messaging and collaboration market
That said, many (including me) talk about Novell’s lagging position in the messaging and collaboration market behind Microsoft and IBM, the defection of GroupWise customers to other platforms, etc. If Novell is lagging behind its competitors, why is that the case?
One might call this an old business of Novell, but Novell has attempted to evolve in this space, yet it seems to continue to fail.
Over at ComputerWorld, another article about the staffing dilemma/crisis got published. We mentioned and presented this in more negative light just over a week ago. Have a look:
It’s a difficult management challenge, and it’s one I broached during a conversation last week with Ron Hovsepian, the CEO of Novell. Hovsepian said that in the past year, he has had to replace 24% of his workers to gain the skills Novell needs.
“One thousand of our 4,000 employees are new to Novell,” he said. “Candidly, among all the good revenue stories and the profit improving, people don’t realize how much we’ve really gone in and changed our workforce to get the right skills here.”
When I asked Hovsepian why he didn’t retrain his employees instead, he said Novell “absolutely retrained the ones that we felt had the right aptitude and the right capabilities,” and he stressed that his company continues to invest in training. But the reality is that companies often don’t have the luxury of the time it takes to retrain.
Excuses pushed aside, Novell will have to show more compelling proof of success. While it has some cash reserves in the bank (attributed to ‘old Novell’), it’s hard to know how the company is really doing at the moment. The only sure thing is that the company is shrinking, evidence being the gradual layoffs (more to come soon). █
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Miguel&Novell’s vision of GNU/Linux (image from the public domain)
It became increasingly clear quite a while back that Big Vendors will make repeated attempt to gain control over the Web, all thanks to the nature of the Web. There was great resistance to this, especially when binary extensions such as ActiveX [1, 2, 3] and Shockwave were introduced and made a nuisance through undesirable ubiquity.
Inevitable perhaps is a case where Mozilla will have to respond to new needs and do so while honouring the very same adherence to standards and open source ideals that made the company strong in the first place.
A couple of days ago, Mozilla outlined a future direction for Firefox, already making a mention of Firefox 4. You can find the article here or just read the fragment below, which ought to suffice.
Beard’s philosophy is this: The browser needs to evolve. Beard believes the browser concept hasn’t fundamentally changed in 10 years. It’s still an isolated piece of software, he says. Mozilla Lab’s push is to blur the edges of the browser, to make it both more tightly integrated with the computer it’s running on, and also more hooked into Web services. So extended, the browser becomes an even more powerful and pervasive platform for all kinds of applications.
Another almost simultaneous blog post speaks about Mozilla’s Prism and how it compares to Adobe’s and Microsoft’s proprietary alternatives. Bear in mind that neither Adobe nor Microsoft support GNU/Linux at this stage (Adobe makes promises to GNU/Linux users, citing some time “later this year”). Anyway, have a look:
Adobe, Microsoft and Mozilla are platform vendors. Adobe pushes Flash, Microsoft pushes .Net and we, at Mozilla, push the Open Web. And recently, Adobe has announced AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime), Microsoft has announced Silverlight and some people at Mozilla are working on Prism. Why these three organizations have been doing this recently? To extend their application development platforms (and leverage their numerous developers) to places where it is either weak or non-existent before:
1. Adobe pushed Flash from the browser to the desktop with AIR
2. Microsoft pushed the .Net stuff from Windows to the browser
3. Mozilla pushed the Open Web technologies from the browser to the desktop
So, in a way, Adobe and Mozilla moves are the same, except that Adobe promotes their proprietary technologies, while Mozilla promotes the Open Web and make its applications easier to use and more integrated with the desktop.
Novell aligned with the second among these three, choosing platform discrimination and software patents by doing so. Recall yesterday's post on downstream licenses and
code binary blobs. This is by no means an encouraging sign, yet it’s a path Novell was willing to take in exchange for Microsoft’s cash injection, which was apparently needed.
“…Microsoft pushes its selfish ‘agenda’ — so to speak — and forces it upon GNU/Linux as a whole via Novell.”This relationship between Novell and Microsoft is a very important one to watch because Microsoft pushes its selfish ‘agenda’ — so to speak — and forces it upon GNU/Linux as a whole via Novell. Anything that comes from Novell must therefore be accepted only with a good dose of skepticism. We were told by a Linux journalist yesterday that we are not the only one to be worried about this situation, which left him “crabby”.
Novell’s relationship with Microsoft goes beyond just the borders of these two companies. Consider the recent story about SUSE, SAP and Intel for example. Also watch what came up last week. Two Microsoft partners, Novell and the monopoly-abusing Intel, had quite a presence at Microsoft's OSBC. Here, see for yourself:
Roger Levy, the general manager of Novell’s open platform solutions business group, agreed that customers choose their operating system based on what they feel they would get with it.
Being able to customize the operating system and still preserve its key attributes while being supported is the model of the future. “The open-source community happens to do support very well,” Levy said.
There is nothing too suspicious here, but since when do Intel and Novell speak for GNU/Linux? In a Microsoft-funded conference, it’s likely that we will see a lot more of this in time to come. They’ll redefine the game which is based on their own convenience, ideology, philosophy, business goals, interpretation, obligations to other companies (notably Microsoft) and many other factors. █
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O Novell, Where Art Thou?
Stories about a Novell legacy in Microsoft’s own press carry on coming This one only alludes to it very briefly.
We had several servers dedicated to this office, but the Novell server functioned as the main file store. The system had plenty of memory and processing power. File storage was taken care of by a RAID 5 array. It had six 1GB drives with 4GB of usable space. All servers were backed up with a Legato tape library system.
Here is one where Schmidt’s previous role at Novell gets a mention.
Schmidt was running Novell and admits he knew nothing about search. His interview with Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin was a rude awakening. They told him very bluntly that his work at Novell was “stupid”, he recalls. In hindsight, Page and Brin were spot-on, Schmidt says. He joined the company in 2001.
There is also a new series of posts about Novell certifications over at Tech Republic. Here is one one of the latest.
Novell still offers the traditional CNE certification. Reflecting its emphasis on Linux, there are also several Linux certifications available as well. Novell’s Certification Web site contains the full list.
You can find some follow-ups to this here.
There are some developments in the SCO case and they involve Novell. The trial is set to ‘properly’ resume within weeks.
Novell removes gloves in SCO bankruptcy court
In a filing in US Bankruptcy Court in Delaware on Wednesday, Novell objected to SCO’s motion to reimburse York Capital Management (York) for its expenses in making a failed bid to buy substantially all of SCO’s few remaining business assets. Virtually all of SCO’s other creditors objected to SCO’s motion, too, but Novell’s objection is worthy of note for its directness and tone of utter disdain.
Novell writes of SCO’s request: “Last Winter, the Debtors [that's SCO] asked for just such relief for [York] in connection with their ‘emergency’ motion to approve bidding procedures for a proposed sale of substantially all of their assets to York, but they withdrew the request because they never did reach any kind of sale agreement with York. No matter, it seems, for now the Debtors seek an expense reimbursement for York anyhow.”
An IDC whitepaper (IDC does a lot of business with Microsoft) now covers Novell products. This one is titled “Identity and Security Management and Strong Information Technology Governance: Novell’s Solution Suite Automates the Approach to the Perfect Union”
In this context of managing identities, large directory trees are described in this new article, which does not neglect to mention Novell.
The directory shootouts came to a head – and disappeared from the landscape – just about eight years ago when, in March, 1999, Novell announced the 1 billion entry directory tree. One billion entries – who would ever need more?
We ought to emphasise again that if you do not care for these Saturday postings, you ought to skip them or set up a filter in your newsreader (the titles are consistently formatted for this reason). These posts serve an important function, but they tend to be uninteresting, unless you study or are directly involved with Novell. █
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