Aging concepts put aside
Recently, Red Hat announced that it would not pursue the enterprise desktop market for the time being. Immediate reactions were almost as misinformed as those which followed the announcement made by Wal-Mart last month — an announcement that only meant to say that GNU/Linux PCs would be sold online but not off the shelf.
The latest announcement from Red Hat was neither very significant nor should it have much impact on desktop Linux as a whole. Red Hat avoided citing one of its real concerns. Instead, it resorted to blaming desktop dominance by an operating system behemoth called Microsoft. The more significant problems Red Hat was facing are probably competing GNU/Linux distributions.
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There have been skeptics who doubted our previous claims that Microsoft’s financial future seems a little rocky, despite the fact that we provided an overwhelming amount of evidence from the press. In relative economic terms, Microsoft’s strength and mythical might have both clearly declined. Enron too was once a legend in people’s minds (perception) and SCO’s bankruptcy came out of nowhere.
Remember that virtually all companies embellish information about their corporate health, Novell included. It’s the ‘norm’. We saw a bit of a prelude about a week ago when Microsoft reported a significant decline [1, 2].
One of Microsoft’s head ‘watcher’ from Seattle now has it confirmed that not only has Microsoft lost a huge amount of its liquidated assets; its bank balance is also similar to that of Apple at the moment.
Microsoft has reduced its legendary cash balance by tens of billions of dollars in recent years through a series of buybacks, dividends and acquisitions. The importance of cash was evident in the Microsoft-Yahoo saga: Had the Redmond company succeeded in the proposed $44.6 billion acquisition, it would have needed to borrow money for the first time in its history to fund the deal.
This is not exactly new, but it is yet another important reminder. The 800lb gorilla must no longer seem as scary as it used to be.
The triumph of GNU/Linux in various areas that it hasn’t already conquered and dominated (e.g. HPC, embedded space) is hopefully yet to be seen. Patience and persistence are key because Microsoft has many companies lined up against it at the moment, not just the huge wave that is Free software development. It relies on an aging legacy, a phased-out generation of software, much like Novell.
My cousin from Florida sent me the following quote a few hours ago in a completely unrelated discussion, but it applies to this post too.
“Genius is nothing but a great aptitude for patience.”
–Georges Louis Leclerc
The SCO trial will not end the way people expected. SCO committed suicide. It died trying… trying defeating the undebatable**, or bringing validity to a Big Lie. Even Microsoft’s anti-Linux rhetorics are running thin***. Bank balance likewise. All that’s needed now is patience. The aggressors will run out of breath, gradually. More stories like this one will continue to come. █
** Free software is amorphous, belonging to no embodiment that is company.
*** As clearly shown in the press, even yesterday.
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As we discover time and time again, Novell sells snake oil not only in countries where software patents are invalid and Microsoft’s claims remain totally unsubstantiated, but also in countries where none of this has any legitimacy. Novell helps Microsoft spread misconceptions and uses these to market itself. It makes it a direct opponent of Free software.
“Novell helps Microsoft spread misconceptions and uses these to market itself.”As Matt Asay repeatedly stresses, consumers did not require Novell’s imaginary ‘protection’, not even if they chose SUSE. It was all just a sales tactic to Novell: create fear out of nothing and then use it to market SUE Linux [sic] while mocking the rest (the competition), along with Microsoft. It’s an appalling strategy.
Jason Brooks has just published an article about this issue of indemnification and he concludes by saying that it is hardly necessary.
Considering that open-source software and processes are serving an increasingly prominent role in the IT industry landscape, and that actual lawsuits against open-source end users haven’t been materializing, I don’t think that companies or individuals running open source without service-fee-based indemnification are in any particular danger.
Maybe I’m wrong–if I get served for running Linux without an annual service contract, I’ll be sure to write about it.
While on this particular subject, it’s worth adding that irregularities are being spotted in the USPTO. As expected, it’s likely to be controlled by various peripheral interests, just like other government-tied establishments such as the DOJ, FTC, FCC and others.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office may have a major problem on its hands — the possibly unconstitutional appointment of nearly two-thirds of its patent appeals judges.
Such a constitutional flaw, if legitimate, could call into question the hundreds of decisions worth billions of dollars in the past eight years. The flaw, discovered by highly regarded intellectual property scholar John Duffy of George Washington University Law School, could also afflict the appointment of nearly half of the agency’s trademark appeals judges.
A petition raising the issue has just been filed in the U.S. Supreme Court by a company whose patent was rejected by a three-judge Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences panel. That panel decision was subsequently affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which set aside an $86.5 million infringement verdict won by the company.
This problem is not unique to or affecting only technology. In absence of proper regulation, it’s only to be expected. █
“Fat operating systems spend most of their energy supporting their own fat.”
–Nicholas Negroponte, MIT Media Lab, rediff.com, Apr 2006
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ECMA, ISO and Microsoft are several days late by now. We mentioned this yesterday and it appears to be confirmed now by Rob Weir of IBM.
So the SC34 Secretariat should have distributed the “final DIS text” by March 29th, or at the very least, when the final ballot results on OOXML were known a few days later.
But that didn’t happen. Nothing. Silence. What is the hang up? I note that when NB’s said that the Fast Track schedule did not give sufficient time to review OOXML, the response from ISO/IEC was “There is nothing we can do. The Directives only permit 5 months”. And when NB’s protested at the arbitrary 5 day length of the OOXML BRM, the response was similarly dismissive. But when Microsoft needs more time to edit OOXML, well that appears to be something entirely different. “Directives, Schmerectives. You don’t worry yourself about no stinkin’ Directives. Take whatever time you need, Sir.”
So, I’ll make my own personal appeal. JTC1 has the text. The Directives are clear. The delay is unnecessary and harmful in the ways I outlined above. Release the final DIS text now. Not next month. Not next week. Release it now.
The abuse in this process continues. █
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