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Novell, Stay Out of Russia With Your Microsoft Software Patents Scam (Updated)

Posted in Asia, Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 2:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’ve heard from Novell sales representatives that Microsoft sales executives have started calling the Suse Linux Enterprise Server coupons “royalty payments””

Matt Asay, April 21st, 2008

The latest news from Russia, accompanied by a roundup of recent and related events, was posted just a few hours ago to show the impressive growth of Free software in this very large country. There is now an English translation/interpretation of this. [via Glyn Moody]

Russian Ministry on Information Technology and Communications published recently a document entitled Concept of development and usage of Free Software in the Russian Federation (Russian). It is a 29-page text, which is by far the most detailed roadmap of government involvement in Free Software. The legal status of this document is not very strong: in the recent Russian governmental tradition a ‘concept’ is a kind of a detailed policy declaration, which may not be fully observed or may even be rejected or forgotten after a short period of time. However, it may serve as groundwork for future projects and more specific policy measures. Thus, even though a concept document does not create anything by itself, its availability is necessary for creation of good things.

This is of course great news, but also just spotted in the blog of Novell’s CMO was the following.

Dr. Summers talked without notes or charts (a great lesson for all presenters) on “America and the New Global Economy.” While the essence of Dr. Summers’ observations were on how America could continue to compete in the face of accelerating competition from China, India, and Russia, it was his remarks on innovation and the source of innovation that struck me, and I hope you, as the most profound.

Dragoon does not talk about Russia specifically, but he mentions it a couple of times. Novell is already moving its operations to India and recently we showed what great damage it does in China [1, 2, 3, 4]. That leaves Russia.

Stay out of Russia, Novell. It’s doing just fine without your Microsoft royalties and with GNU/Linux distributions that are not Ballnux — the abomination which is a seemingly Microsoft-owned Linux. Has Novell no shame? What’s rather curious here is the similar approach Novell and Microsoft take when it comes to business in these nations. Those two close (and closed) companies share similar dilemmas in general.

All nations, including Russia, should steer clear of SUSE and Novell. Even OpenSUSE (or ‘open’ SUSE) does not offer anything of value (and neither does SLED) if the following verdict from yesterday is anything to go by.

To be honest I was a bit disappointed with openSUSE. Speaking about the good points, I liked the collection of software installed and the nice control center. But, I had no audio and the video was poorly configured with the liveCD. Also, the menu system just didn’t work for me. Having to go through 3 clicks to open a program is just too much, I can imagine going through this many times a day isn’t very interesting. For me, in this test I would give openSUSE 11 one and a half Pinguins, but since it is a poor cruelty to chop this cute animal, I’ll give two.

The problems that I encountered are most likely from openSUSE not having proprietary drivers installed, which is understandable. But, openSUSE`s Gnome layout was just too confusing for me to recommend to someone used to a Windows or KDE UI. The layout was just not effective.

Next up, we’ll take a look at the new Mandriva release.

As stated earlier, Mandriva seems to be growing to become Russia’s favourite distribution in government. Even the schools, which adopt ALTLinux, are essentially using a Mandriva/Mandrake derivative.

(Mi)suse Linux: for misused customers who are naive enough (or scammed) to believe they must pay Microsoft for Linux.

Update: Matt Asay, who is in Russia at the moment, tells a story about FUD Microsoft has been spreading there.

I figured it would be good to note (and then bury) three myths that I heard perpetuated by Microsoft at the Interop Moscow conference. They’ve been largely discredited elsewhere, but it appears Microsoft prefers to keep regurgitating the party line until abject ridicule sets in.

1. Myth: Open source can’t innovate. Coming from Microsoft…


2. Open source doesn’t interoperate with other software well, while Microsoft does. Wow! The cheekiness of that one was breathtaking.


3. There is no money in open source. It’s funny to hear Microsoft use this one, as if its customers are desperate to hear it talk about how much money it makes at their expense.


Microsoft has gotten better in its open-source rhetoric. Now it just needs to make sure its far-flung outposts get the message, too.

Is this really Novell’s partner, which pretends it likes “open source” — however it defines that term?

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  1. LinuxIsFun said,

    April 25, 2008 at 4:59 am


    The next version of (Mi)SuSE you will need to enter a CD-Key and the product has to be activated before use :P

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 25, 2008 at 5:01 am


    SUSE Genuine Advantage


  3. MrFantasticEatYou said,

    April 25, 2008 at 5:29 am



  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 25, 2008 at 5:36 am


    Yes, Novell are morons.

    Care to be more polite?

  5. MrFantasticEatYou said,

    April 25, 2008 at 5:53 am


    No, you are childish and impertinent, so ‘Morons’ is a word still too good for you.

  6. Homer Simpson said,

    April 25, 2008 at 5:56 am


    Personally, I think people insulting other Linx distributions are childish and impertinent, so ‘Morons’ would be a word still too good for you.

    Who insults other Linux-distros soils his own bed. Pisses into the soup he’s eating. Shits in the linnens he sleeps in. Maybe that explains the stench emanating from this blog.

  7. Homer Simpson said,

    April 25, 2008 at 5:59 am


    Personally, I think people insulting other Linx distributions are childish and impertinent, so ‘Morons’ would be a word still too good for you.

    Who insults other Linux-distros soils his own bed. Pisses into the soup he’s eating. Shits in the linnens he sleeps in. Maybe that explains the stench emanating from this blog..

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 25, 2008 at 6:05 am


    This is not a distro war. In case you have not seen it yet, Microsoft is using Novell to attack all Linux distributions by charging them for snake oil. If Microsoft is permitted to achieve this with Novell, that’s a problem for Free software as a whole (and not just for GNU/Linux).

  9. Homer Simpson said,

    April 25, 2008 at 6:26 am


    That is what you say. I think otherwise.

    You go round spreading hate against numerous Linux-distributions. That much is fact. And this makes you an enemy to the community.

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 25, 2008 at 6:34 am


    There is no “the community”. There are many so-called ‘communities’ and some of them believe that it’s perfectly fine for Microsoft to rattle sabers and charge you $100 for a program written by volunteers once in 3 years. I don’t agree with that and I consider this an act of racketeering.

  11. PeterKraus said,

    April 25, 2008 at 5:25 pm


    I don’t think the problem lies in the actual payment for exactly the same software. I would see more danger in things, like Mono deployment, patents licensing etc.

    I don’t mind SUSE / OpenSUSE, because it’s true, that Novell did quite a lot of good in the GNU/Linux world.
    But this is not good.

  12. mass-carpone said,

    April 25, 2008 at 6:07 pm


    We have not seen any Microsoft legal-action but we certainly have seen a lot of hate-mail/hate-posting from Roy. So he is the actual bother, the other one is only in his head.

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