This is where a leftover of news should fit rather well. All articles allude to Novell in one form or another. The first item speaks of hypervisors and has Novell mentioned because of its ownership of PlateSpin — the result of of a rather pricey and recent acquisition.
One company that was looking to make this a problem of the past was PlateSpin, now swallowed by Novell. PlateSpin provides virtual image management, and was bringing to market the capability to carry out on-the-fly virtual-to-virtual (V2V) conversions from one format to another. This not only makes it easier to provision the function, service or application that is required at any one moment, but also eases image management itself. For example, an application image will need patching or upgrading at intervals. Having just one image that can be provisioned to multiple virtualised environments will be far more manageable than having to patch multiple images, one for each environment.
At the moment, the jury is still out as to how Novell plans to play the PlateSpin card it now has in its hand. The majority of other players have a vested interest in keeping virtualisation proprietary, and Quocirca does not expect to see those who stand to gain a lot of their revenues through the sale of their own hypervisor, or who believe that they can take the big guys on directly, putting in great efforts to ensure full interoperability with other vendors’ systems.
Novell actually conducted a survey among 411 data center managers last year in conjunction with Lighthouse Research that found approximately 61 percent of companies either use a manual process or no process at all to track server resources. What’s more, almost 80 percent still use manual means to reallocate server workloads.
The Novell-sponsored survey found that 67 percent of data center managers are evaluating management technologies in order to save space in their data centers, while 65 percent were considered power savings. More often than not, you won’t be surprised to hear, virtualization was the mechanism by which they hoped to achieve this. Slightly less than half of the respondents already use virtualization, while more than half of the remaining respondents are evaluating server virtualization for the future.
Novell still sells GroupWise as well, but along with the rest of the products in the company, Novell is focusing it more now to run on the Linux platform rather than NetWare. (That said, GroupWise will still run on NetWare as well as Linux and Windows.)
Groklaw still keeps an eye on the Novell-SCO court battle, which is handy for those who are patient enough to dig into documents and are sufficiently familiar with the background of this long-standing case.
Here’s Novell’s Opposition to SCO’s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings on Novell’s Claims for Money or Claim for Declaratory Relief [PDF] as text.
The Utah Valley Entrepreneurs’ Forum, Omniture, the Open Source Technology Center at Novell, the Provo Business Development Corp., Utah Science, Technology, and Research; and the Utah Fund of Funds will host a free lecture series featuring speaker Josh Coates, who will discuss “Marketing: Press, Analysts and the Interweb.”
Novell seems almost like the centre of attention in this region. █
The $499 model is the most Eee-like: It runs Novell Suse Linux instead of Windows and has a 4GB solid-state drive instead of a hard disk. Its modest 512MB of memory and 1.0GHz VIA C7-M processor ensure its entry-level status, although budget buyers enjoy the same spacious keyboard and screen as their deeper-pocketed peers.
Next up are a pair of twins–two Mini-Notes with a 1.2GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, and a 120GB (5,400-rpm) hard drive, as well as the 802.11b/g WiFi and three-cell lithium-ion battery pack seen in the $499 config. The difference is that the $549 model comes with Suse Linux, the $599 unit with Vista Home Basic.
Let’s be clear: Novell SuSE Linux has reasonable momentum on desktops and servers, but Novell won’t topple Windows in those markets. Not now. Not five years from now. Microsoft’s biggest Linux worry remains Red Hat.
Still, there’s a market niche where Novell could give Microsoft really big headaches. It’s the embedded software market, where SuSE Linux Enterprise Real Time and SuSE Linux Enterprise Point of Service (not exactly embedded, but stick with The VAR Guy) are promising offerings.
There is a lot that Var Guy could be told about this subject, including the fact that this market is hugely crowded with well-established embedded Linux companies. His suggestion would seem interesting but unrealistic for the same reasons that Red Hat stays out of enterprise desktops — for now.
To further help customers experience the benefits of Linux* on the mainframe, Novell today announced simplified pricing and discounts throughout 2008 for SUSE(R) Linux Enterprise Server for IBM’s System z mainframes. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z lets customers consolidate distributed workloads onto System z servers to help minimize costs, reduce downtime and data center complexity, and increase flexibility.
This actually came out shortly after some fairly major announcements from IBM, to which the above is tied.
An article soon followed to strip off the promotional verbage and jargon:
Novell Inc. has announced simplified pricing and discounts throughout 2008 for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for IBM’s System z mainframes, to further help customers experience the benefits of Linux on the mainframe.
Novell today announced the creation of the SUSE(R) Appliance Program to enable independent software vendors (ISVs) to create appliances combining their applications with the SUSE Linux Enterprise platform in one integrated package for end-customer deployment.
This was already mentioned in BrainShare on several occasions if not very many occasions [1, 2, 3, 4] Here is a newer article about it:
Novell Wednesday released the beta of its new “Just Enough” SUSE operating system targeted as a platform for Linux-based appliances.
Speaking of BrainShare 2008 where this was initially (yet only implicitly) announced between the lines, there’s a new low-quality video of a concert from this year’s BrainShare. It was uploaded to the Web just a couple of days ago. For what it’s worth, here it is.
As always, if you haven’t interest in these Saturday postings, please systematically skip/filter/ignore them. █
Not a particularly active week has it been for OpenSUSE (or for GNU/Linux in general for that matter), but let’s make a start with this visually-appealing video which demonstrates dual-head ‘eye candy’ in SUSE.
The latest packages of KDE4 (KDE 4.0.3) are now available for OpenSUSE. EasyVG, who moved his Linux/OSS blog to a new and separate domain, covers this briefly. He is a big OpenSUSE and AMD fan, whose blog has always been a joy to read.
After fetching the latest updates for KDE 4.0.3 packages for my openSUSE 10.3 distribution, I noticed quite a few graphics improvements that was expecting for some time now. Apart from graphics improvements, there are also quite a lot bug fixes. Following are few screenshots…
You can see the OpenSUSE 11.0 countdown on the sidebar. It’s only about 2 months away (60 days) and the existing beta is already being looked at.
Sorry guys, the innovation hat is green. Ok, enough with articles. Lets back to 11.0 beta.
We talked about package management speed, we talked about new looks and features already. However our work around patches and patterns was still missing.
During the last weeks, we have been working on this and now all the pieces start to fall together. Click on any image to see it in full size. Also note that ugly scrollbar in the disk usage is was also fixed already.
The last openSUSE install I tried for any real length of time was 10.1. I installed 10.3 a month or two back to try some things, and found, though it’s really usable, there wasn’t anything that made me want to say, “Screw Ubuntu.”
Until I reinstalled openSUSE 10.3, with the GNOME desktop. I was taken by the whole presentation, the whole delivery of the OS. I am still blown away by it.
Francis is still active with OpenSUSE news, but he is just not the one delivering their announcement in the mailing lists. And speaking of which, new OpenSUSE mailing lists have just been created. Others like the KDE-oriented one have reached an almost-permanent state of silence. [Corrected, omitted: see clarifications in the comments below)
Issue #18 of openSUSE Weekly News is now out!
In this week’s issue:
* openSUSE Project Releases Major Update to openSUSE Build Service
* Counting down to 11.0 - Get your counter here!
Coverage which is focused on the latest state of the Build Service was published in the same blog as well.
The openSUSE team is proud to announce another major release of the openSUSE Build Service (OBS). This release brings a new level to OBS scalability by adding the ability for OBS instances to interact.
Beineri (OpenSUSE/KDE developer) has this nice shot of the H-P Mini-Note running SUSE not with the typical desktop but with KDE4. Worth a glance:
Last week HP announced it’s Mini-Note PC with preloads of SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. Our heros of the Mobile Devices Team have worked the last weeks on that. The Mini-Note is available in different configurations starting at $499 (that would be only 313 Euro if applied for Europe without surcharge). All editions share the form factor, the nearly full-size keyboard and the nice display (1280×768). So I had to lend one from Mobile Devices team and play with it.
Other than last week's bad news, Linspire has become a little boring and quite dormant on the face of it. It hardly gets a mention anywhere. Reused press release, however, have still appeared since Linspire’s troubles. It remains to be seen how long the company will be around for. Here is another bit about CNR. [PR]
Linspire, Inc., developer of CNR.com, an easy-to-use, one-click digital software delivery service for desktop Linux software, today announced the immediate availability of web-based software applications at CNR.com.
Watch how they use the highly-anticipated release of Ubuntu 8.10 8.04 (they spell “Hardy Heron” incorrectly as a single word) to ride on the hype and associate Ubuntu with CNR. Ubuntu has been supported by CNR and vice versa for quite some time, so it’s a ‘non-announcement’ really.
Linspire, Inc. developer of CNR.com (http://www.cnr.com/), an easy-to-use, one-click digital software delivery service for desktop Linux and web-based software, today announced the immediate availability of a beta CNR Client for the Ubuntu 8.04 long term support (LTS) Linux distribution edition currently in beta.
For a change, one journalist gave these dull press releases a whirl this week. Here it is from DesktopLinux:
Stated Larry Kettler, President and CEO of Linspire, “Since the launch of our new beta CNR.com service, Feisty and Gusty users have made up an important part of the CNR user base. We look forward to continuing this growth with Hardy users, as well as adding other popular desktop Linux distributions to CNR.com in the future.”
Maybe they just picked up the release/version codename from the Wiki, which uses CamelCase. This might explain the consistency of these spelling oddities. █
Matt Asay has just weighed in on this debate that was mentioned here before. It’s centered around the mixing of Free software and software patents. His post is long, he has many insightful things to share rant about and here is just a fragment.
Dual-licensing with patents: It’s bound to happen
The problem with this sort of distinction (which we and virtually every open-source company of which I’m familiar espouses, in terms of a “community” and “professional” version) is how easily patent protection could creep into the one but not the other. When the open-source world starts selling the same FUD that the proprietary world does we have lost.
I care far less about hybrid models that depend on a mixture of proprietary extensions and an open-source core, as MySQL is contemplating, than I do about hybrid models that are a blend of “open source and very risky!” and “proprietary and oh so safe!”. If we slip into this sort of a model, open source loses its potency. It loses its character. It loses its integrity.
The concessions Microsoft makes are merely a case of public image — saving face on the face of it. If you need another more contemporary glimpse at Microsoft’s attitude, get a load of this latest analysis from the 451 Group.
There was general agreement that large IT vendors, including software giants such as Google, Oracle and even Microsoft, all see a need for involvement in open source. What also emerged as a common theme during our panel was that no big vendor could afford not to be in open source in some way or another. Basically, it’s been competitive necessity and cost effectiveness that has led vendors to open source, and this helps explain why we see open source all over the place. There was also a recognition that we were not talking about what vendors might be doing or when they might be making moves around open source. We were talking about the things these vendors are doing today and where they are looking next to push the ideas and advantages of open source further.
As you know, Google and Oracle just adore Free software. Yes, they love using it. They love receiving updates. They love the fact that Red Hat builds a platform for them and in the case of Oracle, lots of support money can be extracted at the developers’ expense. What’s not to love when you’re a freeloader?
“Microsoft’s legacy assets (secret code) become increasingly redundant as equivalent and often superior Free software is made available…”As for Microsoft, it wishes to believe that open source as a whole will become yet another Windows ISV that brings profits to Microsoft. In many other cases, it’s a tad unfortunate to find how they turned Free software into just visibility of source code as a marketing distinguisher if not a self-serving ploy.
Microsoft’s legacy assets (secret code) become increasingly redundant as equivalent and often superior Free software is made available for download, use, and redistribution. Microsoft knows all of this. What can it brag about? Probably just piles of papers, fueled by the very same laws it aggressively lobbies for. It shapes market rules to suppress emerging threats, to hinder natural progression, sometimes perceived as “disruption”. In response, we, as Free software supporters, must protest to keep the law in tact or restore it to a state of sanity. Digital slavery and a modern-age feudal system is good for nobody.
Oh look! The press is buzzing about another Microsoft intellectual monopoly. Watch carefully what you do with your hands now.
Right and left mouse buttons are placed on the side in a thumb-accessible position, and the design is unobtrusive enough to allow for easy typing when it’s on. We’d love to get a hand-on with the mouse if it ever comes out. It looks great and the ability to surf the internet without keeping our hand close to the computer is very conducive to our leisure time activities.
The gist of it all: a combination of prior art fitted onto A4-sized white paper sheets. Can’t have too many of these though! Word on the street is that Microsoft has run out of paper, so it can’t let Linux know what it’s allegedly infringing on. █
“Most people who are familiar with patents know it’s not standard operating procedure to list the patents… The response of that would be administratively impossible to keep up with.”
–Jim Markwith, Microsoft patents attorney (after saber-rattling against Linux)
If we look at OpenOffice.org, the three markets where the open source office suite is competing most successfully with Microsoft Office are probably Germany, France and Italy, followed by other European markets like Spain and the Netherlands. In Italy, where I have the updated numbers, we are hitting today – maybe while I’m writing this post – one million downloads since January 1st, 2008 (over 350.000 since the announcement of OOo 2.4 in late March). Although we don’t have Microsoft figures for Office 2007, we estimate a maximum of 1.8 million licenses sold in 2008.
I already know the reply: “You can’t compare licenses with downloads…”. Of course, gentlemen, but do you really think that one million downloads in slightly over one hundred days (at an average of over 9,200 downloads per day) still equals to a few thousands users? Do you really think that a small bunch of people, just the same small bunch of people, can get all these downloads? Come on, we’ve other stuff to do. Please, be realistic. We’re eating your pie, quickly. We’re hungry.
Microsoft’s Plan B: Subscription, Ads, Child Lock-in
At the moment, Microsoft tries to bring an experimental project from developing countries over to the west. It will be offering a subscription-based Microsoft Office (on top of an ad-funded Microsoft Works) under the codename “Albany”. It’s a case of catching up with Google’s business model and a case of offering what you already get with OpenOffice.org or KOffice, but with more security headaches and a monthly/annual bill you cannot avoid.
“Microsoft is permitted to shape the minds of our kids, essentially pre-recruiting (training) them as a workforce, all at the expense of foreign taxpayers.”A few hours ago we shared the story about the United Kingdom’s public sector made a hostage of Microsoft. Some other countries will tell a similar story, but it’s particularly painful for someone who lives here to see the UK choosing to lock itself in for Microsoft to control completely, at least in a digital sense.
Microsoft is permitted to shape the minds of our kids, essentially pre-recruiting (training) them as a workforce, all at the expense of foreign taxpayers. In additional to the mental lock-in (as in skills, familiarity with particular users interfaces), there are also technical lock-ins such as OOXML. [via Glyn Moody, who says a lot more]
When Will They Ever Learn?
Schools are being prevented from enjoying a revolution in software provision, and self-sufficiency is being halted by the promotion of dependency, said Ian Lynch, spokesman for the Open Schools Alliance.
“Innovation starts with teachers and pupils, but under BSF the school’s IT strategy is taken out of its hands,” he said.
But hey! Maybe some schools will even ignore BECTA's recommendations, install Office 2007, and then find out that kids cannot open OOXML-encoded homework at home, so they need not only to buy Office 2007 (OpenOffice.org and other office suites won’t do OOXML) but also a brand-new high-end PC to run the buggy resource pig (Windows XP no longer available after June).
That’s just why (and how) schools can be used as a tool that forces families to shell out $1500 for Intel and Microsoft to enjoy. 1 gigabyte of RAM won’t cut it and only Office 2007 is compatible with Office 2007, which uses its own secret variant of OOXML (Office 2009 ‘extends’ this further — all undocumented — in order to facilitate forced upgrades, a network effect-driven upgrade trademill [sic]).
Another ODF Victory
There is some good news too. There is a better way. There is ODF and there is a wealth of applications that support it.
The Dutch NLnet foundation aims to financially support organisations and people that contribute to an open information society. Some time ago they decided to help KOffice in two exciting ways: to sponsor the design of a new logo for KOffice, with matching logo designs for all KOffice applications, and to sponsor Girish Ramakrishnan to improve the ODF support in KWord 2.0. The KOffice team is deeply grateful to NLnet for this support!
We have recently been ‘squirting’ portions of the story about ISO [1, 2]. We will, by all means, continue to do this. There is plenty more ugly stuff where that came from. People who are both independent from stakeholders and the European Commission investigators seek to fulfill their curiosity and equipped with the wealth of information available on the Web, everything soon comes together.You can glue and piece together isolated stories, then seek feedback for verification and additional information. It’s all just a matter of time.
Now comes France’s turn again. The story has been translated to English and told by Groklaw. You will find it right here and below are the just the opening paragraphs of what seems rather nasty, yet familiar.
Le Monde Informatique and LeMagIT are reporting on a leaked email from Marc Meyer of the French government agency, DGME, which urges that OOXML be quickly added to the official list of formats that can be used by government entities, a document titled RGI, and then the finalized v1.0 of RGI be quickly published, in effect locking in OOXML, before the appeals process is completed. The email and the media reports indicate that the RGI was put on a back burner last October, when ODF was already on the list, and now, immediately after OOXML is approved, albeit controversially, by ISO but before the appeals process is complete, not to mention the format, Meyer urges it quickly be added to the list of acceptable formats, hence making it hard to remove OOXML from the list later, as a fait accompli.
Worse, the email indicates that work on the document was brought to a crawl to wait for ISO approval of OOXML. ODF was already on the list when work on RGI was brought to a standstill last October. There were suspicions that the slowdown was deliberate, and the email is giving legs to those suspicions.
It seems that politics has reared its ugly head, and just as happened in Masschusetts, questions are now being asked about behind-the-scenes Microsoft pressure.
If you do not know the story of Massachusetts, start with this rough overview and follow the external links as you see fit.
“Stay away from OOXML at all costs; advise family, friends and colleagues to do likewise.”Microsoft is really pushing it. At this current pace, it could soon see the embargo plan approved or at least considered (revisited) more frequently.
As a gentle advice (or reminder) to readers, don’t support or use OOXML. Stay away from OOXML at all costs; advise family, friends and colleagues to do likewise. ISO doesn’t know what’s about to it hit, but I personally have a rough idea. People think that ISO has gone through a storm that has quieted down, but might it be just the calm before the storm? We have information that suggests the latter is more likely.
OOXML is likely to lead to unprecedented riots and we have until June to intercept that abominable pile of useless paper. Truth seekers should be patient and optimistic because more nasty stories are bound to be accumulated and also used (not just put up for display).
To say more about France, we have already discussed the role of the French president in this decision. Unsurprisingly, as always, he served his friends at Microsoft. H-P did the very same thing in France. It’s all about money, nepotism, favours, exchange of influence and power or whatever you wish to make of it. It’s nothing technical at all. Until ISO regains (as in earns) some respect, it deserves to be seen for the dysfunctional brothel (pardon my French) that it has become. Being Microsoft’s gardener (custodian proxy) for OOXML is nothing to take pride in. Shame on you, ISO, shame on you. █
Frédéric Couchet: ISO standards were traditionally the result of compromise between competing players. With OOXML, Microsoft obtained a standard which none of its competitors had adopted. The first ISO standard in this area, Open Document Architecture (ODA, ISO 8613) was never applied. The second standard, OpenDocument Format (ODF, ISO/IEC 26300), was applied but never accepted by Microsoft. The third standard, OOXML (ISO/IEC 29500), can help Microsoft commercially with governments but brings nothing to the market in terms of convergence between competing software products, and thus has no added value as a standard.