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04.12.08

Links 12/04/2008: New Mandriva Reviews, New RadeonHD Driver

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

GNOME bluefish

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The Linux Foundation, OSI and the Neglected Values of Freedom

Posted in BSD, Free/Libre Software, FSF, GPL, Microsoft, Novell, OSI at 10:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Difference of opinion is no excuse for fighting though

The Novell-LF special relationship was demonstrated in the past in order to explain their attitudes. If following of the moneyflow is the path to better understanding of action, then caution will be required when the Foundation delivers a message on behalf of its f[o]unding members, collectively.

The business-oriented approach of the Linux Foundation was noted on several occasions before and it’s pretty well expressed in the following new article.

I came away from the second annual Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit with mixed feelings. I mean, it’s hard not to support the group that pays Linus Torvalds to spend his time continuing to lead the poster-boy project for free and open source software. But at the same time, those golden chains are my biggest concern about the Linux Foundation.

IBM sponsored the event, and they are the biggest supporter of Linux in the corporate world. The foundation membership is made up of almost all the large and and many of wanna-be-large IT firms around the globe — including Adobe, which is one of the foundation’s newest members.

“…Perens will be better off defending and promoting the GPLv3.”There are other similar issues that apply to the OSI. In order to prevent greater influence by Microsoft inside the OSI, Bruce Perens recently stepped up to be elected, yet it does not appear as though he was successful, despite the overwhelming support in his online petition. In any event, the OSI had already lost some credibility with dilution of key values, so Perens will be better off defending and promoting the GPLv3. In fact, the software that runs his news site, Technocrat, has just been released under the AGPLv3, which on a separate note Google continues to snub (whereas Palamida had it welcomed). Where is Chris DiBona and when will there be an open explanation for this?

There are other noteworthy frictions in the Free software world. Theo de Raadt goes on the offensive against Richard Stallman again, although he would be wiser to bury the hatchets and let all this hostility slide. We showed before, using Microsoft’s internal documents, how the company encourages civil wars, friction and hostility among allies which jointly become great threat to it. These are ugly, unethical and maybe even illegal measures to take.

Anyway, those wondering what Theo is up to at a moment will find information here.

The song for the upcoming 4.3 release is titled, “Home to Hypocrisy”, with scathing references to some recent postings on the OpenBSD -misc mailing list by Free Software Foundation creator Richard Stallman.

He now uses some humour against Richard Stallman, but it’s unnecessary and hardly amusing. Criticism is fine, but being polite and gentle is a virtue.

“Real men don’t attack straw men”

Richard Stallman, December 2007

Richard Stallman and the GPLv3

Quick Mention: Simon Phipps Dismisses Novell’s Dismissive Remarks About Sun Microsystems

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, Red Hat, Ron Hovsepian, SUN, Ubuntu, UNIX at 9:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ron Hovsepian bored

The last time we wrote about Sun’s rebuttal to Novell, it was only just a pointer from Simon Phipps. But here it comes from the man himself:

To get Sun’s side, I talked to the company’s chief open source officer, Simon Phipps, on Wednesday. He certainly didn’t pull any punches. In response to Hovsepian’s suggestion that Sun’s open source strategy — balancing open source and commercial interests — isn’t right, Phipps says:

Novell’s got a big problem. What they’re doing is trying to sell open source software as if it was proprietary software. The comment that Mr. Hovsepian made seems to be projecting Novell’s malaise onto Sun, but we don’t have that malaise. We ship a completely free piece of software that anyone can download and use without any restrictions.

As was said last week, Novell is just making enemies with remarks such as the ones made by Ron Hovsepian. It ought not to expect many collaborations with Sun in months to come. Failing to compete against Red Hat on the server and Ubuntu on the desktop, Novell turned to the ‘dark side’ and set focus on proprietary software that runs atop GNU/Linux. In many ways, Sun does similar things, but Novell chooses the brawl, not peace.

Wipro, Infosys and TCS Under Fire for Blind, Self-serving Endorsement of Monopolisation

Posted in Asia, Fraud, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, Standard at 9:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

As we showed before, all those who voted in favour of OOXML in India were either from Microsoft or from Microsoft allies. Later on, other reporters made similar (and probably independent) observations. At least 3 of Microsoft’s business partners which are responsible for this mess will have seen the following open letter at some point in the future.

This letter is to express our deep disappointment over your open support to the OOXML format forced through ISO by Microsoft. Being the top IT giants and thus the representatives of the IT industry in the country, it is a great shock to us that you do not stand with academia of the country and its representatives like the IITs, IIMs and IISc in supporting the Open Document Format (ODF) which is a true Free and Open Standard already recognised as an ISO Standard. Considering that a major portion of your employees come from such institutions, it is a wonder to us that you have decided to go ahead with this decisions.

The letter addresses Wipro, Infosys and TCS, but it neglects to mention NASSCOM. We actually wrote about it here and the key bits are as follows, captured only a week before the vote back in September. Added highlights are ours, for the sake of selective emphasis.

Microsoft to Boost Charity in India

The software donation will be routed through a technology assistance program that India’s NASSCOM Foundation is offering in partnership with TechSoup, a San Francisco-based group that partners in charity work with companies like Microsoft, Cisco Systems and Symantec.

[...]

Nearly 35,000 nonprofit groups in India will be eligible for such software donations.

Later we put some of the pieces together with several reports such as this one:

Of course, there has to be some trade-offs, because there should never be free lunch, even for the ones who starve: Microsoft, according to this article, has conditioned its help to Indian NGOs to their support of OOXML. What the NGOs had to do was to send letters of support on OOXML to the federal government of India.

It is worth adding that the chairperson in India appears to be abused by Microsoft at the moment. In case Microsoft sees ISO's decision retracted, it wishes to ensure that it can secure (or scare) as many nations as possible.

That’s just how it typically goes. Like a bully, it’s usually a case of choosing small and frail targets (individuals, not companies or governments), then doing what they call “the Slog” (see quote at the top again).

Those Who Do the Crime Will Also Do the Time

Posted in America, Antitrust, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 9:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Working behind the scenes to orchestrate “independent” praise of our technology, and damnation of the enemy’s, is a key evangelism function during the Slog. “Independent” analyst’s report should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). “Independent” consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). “Independent” academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). “Independent” courseware providers should start profiting from their early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should be sought and turned to our advantage.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

The quote above is a classic example of unacceptable behaviour from Microsoft, which includes deception and even academic kickbacks.

A lot of this bad behaviour is stretching people’s patience. Things are beginning to change as a result. A Spanish-speaking reader has just informed us that “Ecuador mandates the use of Free (Libre) Software and Open Standards nationwide in public administration.” Here is the article in Spanish.

From an English translation:

On April 10, 2008, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa Delgado signed a decree ordering that the software used by public administrations in the country be free software (and implicitly based on open standards). Fuller story in Spanish…

The reader adds: “Wise decision, aside for freedom and many other reasons we know, it is sound in order to bridge the digital divide, boost technological independence and help the nation’s balance of payments and external deficit by reducing public expenditure in foreign suppliers, it is also an adequate decision for these times of economic crisis.”

The procurement boat in Europe is rocking gently as well. [thanks for another reader for this pointer]

Euro MP calls for Microsoft ban

No purchases until Redmond plays ball

We covered this in more details a couple of days ago. It’s wonderful to see how quickly things change. Might this be the domino effect?

Upgrade Work

Posted in Site News at 7:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Boycott Novell

We will soon start upgrading the software which powers this Web site, so we kindly ask for your patience (or understanding in case something ‘blows up’). Once completed, if you notice any funny quirks, please let us know immediately so that we can ensure full access to all the resources.

If you could suggest any new improvements or could donate relevant information, we would be very interested too.

Links 12/04/2008: SymphonyOne 2008.1 Released, Fedora Praised, Web Crime Rising

Posted in News Roundup at 3:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

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Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part III: Novell’s Present in the News This Week

Posted in Identity Management, Mono, Novell, Virtualisation at 2:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The final post in this series looks at some of Novell’s ‘lesser-Linux’ news.

Virtualisation

Novell is still working with Xen, which is now controlled by another Microsoft partner, Citrix. Novell works on appliances, perhaps similarly to the Red Hat spinoff (ish) called rPath.

Novell is quietly working on a stand-alone hypervisor product that will be based on the Xen hypervisor found in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10.

[...]

Novell Chief Technology Officer Jeff Jaffe hinted at a stand-alone hypervisor product during his keynote address at the BrainShare conference in March, saying one of Novell’s goals was to make SLES 11 available as an appliance that would be supported by a new tool set designed to quickly build specialized images.

Identity Management and Authentication

There is a lot going on at Novell as far as identity is concerned (and not just loss of identity as a Linux vendor). Here is an announcement that involves Novacoast, a Novell partner.

Identity Engines, a leading provider of identity-based secure network access solutions, and Novacoast, Inc., an IT professional services and product development firm, today announced that Identity Engines’ Ignition® Server has successfully passed Novacoast’s stringent security evaluation bench test and will be resold by Novacoast. The partnership leverages both companies’ deep expertise in Novell identity and security management solutions as well as rapid deployment of role-based network access solutions for education and health care.

Watch this Novell-sponsored ‘article’ (commercial in the form of an article morelike) that promotes Novell products.

Novell® identity management and access solutions give governments the agility to continue with their core functions without being confined by administrative approvals for information access or letting data fall into the wrong hands.

It is sad to see govtech.com becoming somewhat of a pamphlet.

Novell is mentioned in this article from RSA, which ought to be well over by now.

Before getting to the RSA announcements, though, I’d like to point you to a fascinating panel discussion from Novell’s recent Brainshare conference. Novell and Bandit Project engineer Dale Olds, Microsoft Identity Architect Kim Cameron, Ping ID CTO Patrick Harding and the Pamela Project’s Pam Dingle all got together (guided by Carolyn Ford from Novell’s product marketing team) to discuss “Open Source and User-centric Identity in the Enterprise,” a subject near and dear to my heart. I’d remarked that I was sorry I missed the session, so Novell’s friendly flakette, Charlotte Betterley, got it posted online just so I could watch it. At least, that’s what she said. Now you can watch it too and learn how user-centric identity can play in your enterprise.

SAP

Novell’s relationship with SAP gets highlighted in this article from the Australian press.

IN a move to boost the growing demand for SUSE Linux Enterprise, Novell says it has extended its partnership with SAP to offer enhanced options for customers who choose to run open source.

[...]

As part of the initiative, SAP and Novell plan to optimise SUSE Linux Enterprise for SAP’s data centre infrastructure requirements and continue to promote SAP Business All-in-One systems based on SUSE Linux Enterprise.

There is a little more about this relationship in the following quote sheet

“As the first operating system to deliver support for SAP Adaptive Computing, SUSE Linux Enterprise continues to extend its leadership in mission-critical computing,” said Jeff Jaffe, executive vice president and CTO at Novell. “Novell is thrilled to be a founding member of the enterprise virtualization community. By leveraging the integration of Novell ZENworks Orchestrator with the SAP Adaptive Computing Console, customers will be easily be able to reduce cost and complexity through improved management of both their physical and virtual SAP workloads.”

Mono/Mainsoft

Criticism of Mono is better off reserved for another day, but here is an article about Mainsoft’s latest press release.

If that name “Mainsoft” sounds familiar, it could be for good reasons: It worked closely with Novell on its Mono open source project, which Novell originally created to offer an open source use so .NET software can run on Linux, Unix, Mac OS X along with Windows. Developers and Linux vendors increasingly want to use Microsoft software development tools in open source environments, and not surprisingly have been forced to port technologies over with very little assistance from Microsoft.

If you have any feedback on these Saturday posts (even rants to offer and share), please feel free to speak up.

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