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05.10.08

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part II: Novell’s Business Activities, Bar SUSE and GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Identity Management, Microsoft, Novell, SLES/SLED at 2:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Security and Identity Management

Novell’s PR department boasts another award.

I’m pleased to say we did not leave the awards event empty-handed. Novell customer BASF received an award for “Best internal Identity Management project” for implementing identity management within a complex corporate structure and excelling in consistent approaches to centralized auditing.

Jeff Jaffe has a go at an outline of Identity Management plans.

Novell has long been a leader in technology for Identity Management – founding the entire discipline in the 1990s. That puts us in a position where we are the first to recognize new trends in this area.

Novell makes a short appearance in this article about building an identity bus.

One of the most interesting “panel discussions” I had at the European Identity Conference didn’t have anyone in the audience. Kuppinger & Cole senior analyst Felix Gaehtgens gathered Microsoft’s Kim Cameron, Quest’s Jackson Shaw (former colleagues at Zoomit) and Novell’s Dale Olds for a video interview (which may or may not show up at the KCP Web site) about the “Identity Bus” .

Inc.com has this new article about Security Management from Novell

The new solution addresses governance, risk and compliance, human resources and enterprise resource planning, providing customers with access to policy management and enforcement capabilities that help reduce redundant administrative costs, automate manual processes, simplify password management, and adapt to changing employee structures.

More on security with a different slant you’ll find right here:

Hackers are improving and evolving viruses by the day, making it even tougher to prevent infection, but being vigilant can pay off, writes Bryan Collins.

[...]

However, Brian Green, technical director of Novell UK and Ireland, warned against taking security measures too far.

“That would have a real impact on me personally because I tend to use USB memory keys to transfer data,” he said about having his USB stick blocked. “How [Novell] have addressed that . . . is to allow me to use the USB memory but actually only to use USB memory sticks that are formatted by Novell.”

Strategy and Skills

Novell keeps harping about relying on its channel partners.

Speroni believes Novell had slightly neglected its channel partners, but since the second half of fiscal year 2007, ended October 31, 2007, the firm has been rebuilding its partner strategy by offering a stronger focus on specialization per business unit.

Be aware of this repeated warning from a reader (‘Open Honesty’) about Novell back-stabbing its channel partners.

Here is a migration from Novell to Microsoft.

This is deep in computer-nerdland, but there’s also a sure-to-be-spendy and hair-raising transition from Novell Groupwise e-mail to Microsoft Exchange, a Novell-to-Microsoft inventory/distribution/configuration system switch, and upgrades from Office 2000 to Office 2007. (Close-circuit to Stribites: Get to know “ribbons”!)

Some short bits about Novell technologies skills you’ll find in this article from the press in New Zealand.

Swann won’t say where he has found such carnage, but admits it ranges from SMEs to well-known organisations.
Computer Concepts also claims skills in clustering, not just SANs, with skills in Microsoft, Novell and Citrix. It is an authorised repairer for HP and IBM and a Cisco premier partner.

Ex-Novellers

Consider these some minor items for the curious. Robert Frankenberg, a former Novell head, is involved in this $40.6 million sale of iProvo.

iProvo, the city’s troubled fiber-optic network, is being sold to Broadweave Networks.

[...]

The company is headed by Fraser Bullock, former chief operating officer of the 2002 Winter Olympics, and former Novell head Robert Frankenberg.

Novell’s former CEO receives some credit for being among the spoilers of a Yahoo/Microsoft deal.

Steve Ballmer and Eric Schmidt have tangled before. Microsoft certainly got the best of Novell way back when. Now Schmidt may have had his revenge.

There were apparently some moves (departures) at the top of Novell Canada because Ross Chevalier has just been promoted to fill a gap.

Ross Chevalier has been promoted to president of Novell Canada Ltd. He was previously Novell Canada’s chief technology officer. Katie McAuliff has been promoted to VP of channels at Novell Americas. Novell Inc. (Nasdaq:NOVL) provides a Linux platform and a portfolio of integrated IT management software. Novell Canada has its headquarters in Markham.

That’s about all for now. For the SUSE post we will need to transcode and produce some Ogg Theora files, so please bear with us. It’ll come later today.

Novell and SCO: A Final Shakedown

Posted in Courtroom, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, SCO, UNIX at 1:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amiga UNIX

SCO is definitely beyond this Web site’s scope, but recently there has been a great deal of Novell in that saga. There are things there which have future implications on Novell, SUE Linux [sic], and other GNU/Linux distributions. We covered some of the latest in last week's cumulative report, so let’s look at more recent articles and consider portions of them.

From the local press comes nothing but the promise that a decision will come soon. No word since then.

The trial between The SCO Group and Novell over disputed fees involving a computer operating system ended today with the judge promising a decision soon.

Also from the local press:

Novell-SCO trial now is in hands of judge

Arguments this week focused on how much value to attribute to the licensed technology. Novell claimed that technology it controlled — several versions of Unix System V — was a valuable part of the SCO licensing initiative.

InternetNews has an interesting take.

SCO Novell Trial – The Verdict is…

[...]

Frankly I’m still amazed that SCO has hung in this long.Though it is easy to paint SCO as the villain in this drama, it’s also possible to see this as a Tragedy (Greek or Shakespearean) in many ways. McBride (the tragic hero?)really does believe in his view and he is sticking with it to the (bitter?) end.

From another source comes a more detailed (but not so accurate) analysis.

There are times when the jokes just seem to tell themselves. Yesterday, during testimony for Novell’s lawsuit against SCO to determine how much Novell was owed for its ownership of the Unix copyrights, none other than Darl McBride took the stand and said two things that will no doubt become fodder for .SIG files from here to eternity.

[...]

Fortunately, the right people were not that naive. And now we’re at a point where scaring people away from open source on wholly spurious grounds is so passe that even Microsoft is leaving it behind.

That last bit is far from true. Microsoft just knows how it hide it better. It often uses other parties to do its dirty deeds against Free software and other competitive threats. We gave many examples of this before, e.g. here.

The local press from Utah goes further and claims that what’s at stake now is SCO’s fate, short of a Sugar Daddy.

McBride also said Kimball’s decision could affect the new reorganization plan SCO is preparing to file in Delaware, where the company filed for bankruptcy last year.

Groklaw caught up with the bankruptcy filings just a couple of days ago.

SCO’s accountants, Tanner, have applied to the bankruptcy court for compensation for the seventh month. Amazing, isn’t it, this story without an end? This monthly bill is for April, and Tanner would like only $8,574 plus $71 in expenses. That’s the lowest monthly bill ever. December 5-November 5 was $28,499; November 6 – December 5 was $19,001; December 6 – January 4 was $65,955; January 5-February 1 was $98,095; February 2 – March 3 was $32,868; and March 4 – March 31 was $28,441.

Going back to the trial, Lamlaw does its bit of analysis also.

Is a license to Microsoft more valuable than what MS paid SCO? Perhaps so. Certainly Novell might think so.

If the money paid to Novell comes up short, Novell has a few options. And, my bet is that some very interesting discussions take place in that back room between Novell and SUN and between Novell and Microsoft. Fly on that wall kind of thing.

Darl McBride gets cyberslapped here.

SCO CEO, Darl McBride, still believes that SCO owns UNIX in some form. Novell never transferred the copyrights to SCO in the sale of UnixWare but yet the dream lives on. This week the trial began that determines how much money may be owed to Novell from SCO (Up to $20 million). A strange turn of events indeed.

Here is another cyberslap from The Inquirer’s avid Groklaw follower.

McBride’s statement contradicted the just prior testimony of SCO SVP Chris Sontag, as well as the company’s internal memos from 2002, which concluded that SCO’s own software examinations had not found any UNIX code in Linux.

Perhaps McBride was confused about which lawsuit he was in court testifying about.

This week’s comic strip from the Bizarre Cathedral is of Darl McBride, whose mis-comprehension (probably deliberate) has him ridiculed.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has this good piece published in Linux.com where he is now a regular contributor.

Reality, as good writers know, is sometimes stranger than fiction. SCO’s recent performance in the U.S. District Court in Utah is a perfect example. With years to prepare, SCO executives made some remarkable statements in their attempt to show that SCO, not Novell, owns Unix’s copyright.

As a more introductory article, consider this one from ZDNet Australia.

Troubled software maker SCO’s chief executive has claimed the Linux operating system includes Unix source code, during a court case in which Novell is suing SCO for royalties on Unix.

There will probably be a torrent of news when the verdict is out.

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part I: A Week in the Life of OpenSUSE (and Many Reviews)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, OpenSUSE at 1:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

YaST bootIt’s a refreshing (but unwelcome) change to see OpenSUSE getting more coverage. The past week brought quite a few distro reviews that involve OpenSUSE. Let’s look at some of them very quickly.

OpenSUSE 10.3

Here is what seems largely like a rave about OpenSUSE 10.3.

So far, everything seems to be working OK except for wifi, which I still need to do some tweaking on. It may require a different driver from what SUSE detected (it seems to think I’m running a Latitude D400, while it’s really a D600). For the interim, I’m online via Ethernet connected to an SMC8014 cable modem/router.

Lawson had his article from the Scottish press included in ECT. He reviewed the OpenSUSE-based PC from Shuttle.

Shuttle’s LinuXPC SD3002Q is a superbly built, small PC with an Apple-like brushed aluminum casing and Linux preinstalled, notes Steve Lawson of the Scottish Daily Record. However, there’s little room for upgrades on the system.

OpenSUSE 11.0

It’s maturing quickly (just over a month before final the release) and Ars Technica took it for a spin.

We tested the openSUSE 11 beta 2 LiveCD installers, which are available with either GNOME or KDE 4. We installed both flavors so that we could see both desktop environments in action. The LiveCD images booted without any problems and provided a reasonably functional desktop experience. In both the KDE and GNOME environments, an icon on the desktop provides easy access to the installer.

Bill Beebe also gave it a shot (beta 2, same as above).

I’m posting this from my Gateway M685 running the openSUSE 11 beta 2 Live CD and Firefox 3 beta 5. It is, simply put, very good. The version I booted and tested was the KDE 4 desktop (KDE 4.0.3 release 17). I can’t do much more than a cursory report as I did not install it. I’ll touch on what caught my eye.

[...]

Annoyances aside. I really like the KDE 4 desktop and where it’s going. And I really like openSUSE 11. I may wind up installing it on rhea over Mandriva just to see if some of the issues I found with openSUSE 10.3 have been addressed. I like the fact that the latest kernel is shipping (2.6.25), and I also like that the latest gcc (4.3.1) is being used and looks to be shipping with openSUSE 11. I grow increasingly optimistic with each release.

From Gabriel Stein:

Well, on last two days I installed the openSUSE 11 Beta2 using a liveCD with KDE 4. Amazing. Congratulations openSUSE Team. Its really a great job! Is so easy to use the installer, with good interactivity.

But, nothing is perfect. :(

And another last one:

openSUSE 11 is currently in beta still, and will be officially released in June. I downloaded and installed it using the KDE 4 LiveCD, but was rather disappointed with what I saw.

[...]

Conclusion

Though I can’t say openSUSE 11 is ready (it is in beta after all), I was hoping for a smoother experience at this stage. Most of the things which did not work for me here, worked with other distros, but not all. PC-BSD seems to crash when using the Netopia WiFi Pen for a while, and other distros, such as Ubuntu, could not complete WPA authentication either.

Miscellaneous

Moving on to the OpenSUSE community, person of OpenSUSE last week was kernel guru and device drivers extraordinaire Greg Kroah-Hartman.

This weekend ‘People of openSUSE’ brings to light long time Kernel hacker and Novell employee Greg Kroah-Hartman interview. Greg KH today’s working full time on Linux Driver Project is the current maintainer of the Kernel package for openSUSE 11.0.

A new blogging platform was announced for people involved in OpenSUSE, but there haven’t been many (or any) noteworthy blog items.

This site offers blog hosting for openSUSE members. The blogs should be focused on the openSUSE project, e.g. on the distribution, packages, build service, events, etc. Please contact the site administrators if you want to have your blog created.

Last but not least, here is Weekly News, where you can find more pertinent pieces of information about the project.

In this week:

* openSUSE 11.0 Beta 2
* People of openSUSE: Greg Kroah-Hartman
* Jigish Gohil: Sliced sphere in compiz-fusion-git packages
* arstechnica.com: Coming along strong: first look at openSUSE 11 beta 2

Later on we’ll cover SUSE, as opposed to OpenSUSE. We try to keep Saturday postings on a positive tone, so as to avoid them from becoming Beranger-style melancholic rants.

Linspire, Xandros and the Stories Only eWeek Will Tell You About

Posted in Australia, Deception, GNU/Linux, Linspire, Microsoft, Windows, Xandros at 12:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What’s with eWeek’s infatuation with the Windows-esque, Microsoft-tied distributions?

A certain pattern has become a bit difficult to ignore. It would be easy to just let it pass or make a quick observation (as we did several times before), but this has gone on for too long and it cannot be a coincidence.

Linspire

Let’s be a little more specific here and go by the past week’s examples alone. Here is a non-event announcement that CNR supports a simple derivative of Ubuntu, which contains some more binaries.

Linspire announced the support for the Linux Mint operating system. To gain access to the free CNR Service, Linux Mint 4.0 users simply install the free CNR Client that is available at CNR.com.

Additionally, here you have yet another incognito application that is included in CNR. There is a huge number of them already, so it’s hardly worth crowing about.

Linspire, Inc. developer of CNR.com, an easy-to-use, one-click digital software delivery service for desktop Linux software, and WeatherBug(R), the leading provider of live, local weather information and severe weather alerts, today announced the immediate availability of WeatherBug for Freespire 2.0, Linspire 6.0, Linux Mint 4.0, Ubuntu 7.04, 7.10 and 8.04 (32 bit) users and will soon expand to additional popular desktop Linux distributions.

As usual, the only Web site that pays attention to these non-announcements (press releases) from Linspire is DesktopLinux (eWeek), which makes one wonder about the relationships there. Is eWeek paid to publish these? Are the editors in good touch with some executives in Linux companies/distributors? The same goes for Xandros, but we’ll come to that in a moment. It’s only eWeek that always pays attention, this time with the following article.

Linspire has upgraded its CNR.com (Click’N’Run) download site for Linux software to support the Ubuntu-based, consumer-friendly Linux Mint distribution. CNR.com will also add a Linux version of Weatherbug’s weather service, which offers live, local weather information and severe weather alerts.

Another noteworthy bit: Matt Hartley (of MadPanguin, OSWeekly, and Datamation) flirts for a bit with Carmony. It was the same with Xandros at one time. It’s just something to bear in mind.

While Carmony is out and about after ruining Linspire, the boss of the company, Michael Robertson, is giving public talks.

10:20 – 10:50 Keynote – Michael Robertson, Founder, Linspire, MP3tunes, SIPphone, and REEF What does it take to transform a vision into a business?

Xandros

Linspire is one case of a company that gets eWeek’s love while getting virtually ignored by the rest. Linspire is not alone, however, for Xandros is pretty much the same. Once again, DesktopLinux does some legwork for Xandros:

Packt Publishing has published a book about administrating Scalix, an open source email and calendaring software package.

Needless to say, this is a very promotional item. It’s hardly even news. Also about Scalix (now under the wing of Xandros), consider this new article

She founded Scalix Corp., a maker of open source corporate e-mail software, in Palo Alto, Calif., in June 2002. Open source software is available to everyone for use free of charge for modifying.

“One of the areas where open source has thrived and grown the most is in academic environments and research. It’s a way for researchers to share knowledge and collaborate with others,” she said.

For UAB researchers, she said, open source generates that potential – a way of connecting with people doing that same research in other parts of the world.

Yesterday we wrote about the Eee PC kerkuffle in Australia. Based on the latest investigative reporting by iTWire it doesn’t look too encouraging. People begin to point fingers at Xandros and Microsoft whilst Asustek fails to deliver a convincing explanation for price anomalies. Have a look:

$50 more for Linux Eee PC 900 – what gives Asus?

[...]

Well what can one say except that this is simply outrageous behavior on the part of Asustek Australia. Treating Australian consumers like dummies in a global marketplace is no way to win friends. In fact as some of our posters have pointed out it’s a good way to lose customers. No one likes to feel as though they’re getting ripped off. Bad form Asustek, and just when everyone here were at the height of singing your praises.

Is this the future? Is so, then the following new push will hopefully fail before it starts.

Xandros expands mobile device push

[...]

The move is an indication of the growing popularity of Linux on portable devices, the two companies said.

More on this announcement here.

Viyya Technologies, Inc. (PINKSHEETS: VYON), the developer and marketer of the world’s most advanced, web-based internet content management application, announced planning for the delivery phase of its agreement with Xandros, in the EeePC NetBook market.

[...]

The EeePC designed and marketed by ASUS, is a 7″, .92kg miniaturized wireless notebook computer (NetBook) that appears to have revolutionized the “laptop” world. The EeePC was voted the “Product of the Year” in February at CeBIT in Germany and has won over 616 awards in 2008. The first 10,000 shipped to the U.S. were sold out immediately and independent analysts predict over 50 million units to be in circulation by 2011.

Viyya ought to run away from Xandros as soon as possible. It’s not a GNU/Linux distribution. It’s Xandros. It’s Ballnux. It’s neither free nor Free (gratis or libre) and it’s controlled by Microsoft, by proxy.

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