A long and hard look at the following change of roles does not reveal anything conspicuously missing. Here is how it’s summed up:
Software company Novell Inc. said Thursday it named Richard L. Crandall as its non-executive chairman, succeeding Thomas G. Plaskett, who has served since 2006.
From the press release:
Mr. Plaskett will continue to serve on Novell’s Board.
Also from the press:
Crandall is a founding managing director of Arbor Partners, a high technology venture capital firm.
Older leaders of Novell fascinate a little because some actually fight against Microsoft rather than believe that Microsoft wants to help its partners (rather than help itself). It’s a fallacy. While Novell goes into bed with Microsoft, Novell’s former CEO tackles the giant.
Sanity check: Has Eric Schmidt finally outmaneuvered Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer?
When Eric Schmidt left his job as the chairman and CEO of Novell to become the top executive at Google in 2001 he privately told journalist John Battelle that one of the things he was looking forward to was no longer competing with Microsoft.
Like it not, Eric Schmidt is destined to go down in history as one of the most active opponents to Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and the Microsoft legacy. During the past seven years, Schmidt’s role in that saga has changed from whipping boy to white knight, and unless something dramatic happens it’s very likely that Google and Schmidt will ultimately be portrayed as the good guys — and the winners.
You can find out a little more about Schmidt’s legacy at Novell in this new CNN article:
Employee turnover is the norm in Silicon Valley, especially at companies where early hires get rich enough to do whatever they want (and post-jackpot hires don’t). For his part, Google CEO Eric Schmidt – who left Sun Microsystems for Novell and then Novell for Google – brushes off the effects of all those departures. “We’ve been hiring on the order of 100 people a week,” he says. “So in one week we hire more people than the people you just named.”
Speaking of Sun (Schmidt’s previous company as well), its relationship with Novell is explained in a slightly trollish analysis from Jason Perlow.
While a number of seemingly insurmountable political and ideological hurdles need to be overcome in order for this to happen, many who are close to the industry and who are responsible for “thought leadership” believe that this will in fact be the inevitable outcome, over time. Aside from getting Sun to GPLv3 its Solaris code and getting Linus to rev the license from GPLv2 to GPLv3, there is the matter of the ownership of the AT&T UNIX System V intellectual property — which is currently being settled in the courts in the form of SCO vs. Novell.
I don’t want to compare Ron Hovsepian and crew to Tony Soprano and his Bada Bing gang, but stay with me here — Sun gets the rights to GPLv3 Solaris and anything else UNIX-related, and Novell gets the right to a bundle of stuff to re-license and use in perpetuity. Signed in blood, with an alliance commitment to support each other’s customers. A technology omerta, if you will. Sun and Novell already have alliances with Microsoft. Put the three together, and you get,well… the North Side gang (Redmond), the West Side (Santa Clara) and the East side (Waltham).
How about the Yahoo/Microsoft axis, which Steve Ballmer is forcibly trying to establish in order to topple Schmidt’s Google? Here is an article about it which happens to mention Novell too.
Investors are running out of patience with chief executive Jerry Wang after the collapse of talks with Microsoft, write Kristy Dorsey in the US and Bill Magee.
Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer is well-known for hedging his bets. Smack in the middle of the takeover bid period, he found time to consolidate the software giant’s presence in Asia, by extending its alliance with Novell in the Chinese marketplace.
Microsoft’s five-year partnership with Novell started in November 2006. Aimed at making its Windows operating system more interoperable with Linux, the firms collect a fee from software systems that mingle open source programs with products, including Vista and Office.
Caution is required because this doesn’t make much sense. There’s no “Jerry Wang” in Yahoo and the explanation of fees collection is also very inaccurate. See the analysis in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].
There are a couple of technical partnerships or development that were announced using press releases. Here they are:
1. Sonian Joins Novell PartnerNet for Technology Partners
Sonian today announced becoming a member of Novell PartnerNet for Technology Partners. Through membership in Novell PartnerNet, Sonian receives development, support and marketing resources to deliver new and innovative products to market that are compatible with Novell products, specifically GroupWise.
2. Messaging Architects Releases M+Extranet 3.5 for Enhanced Web 2.0-Enabled Collaboration of Novell GroupWise Users
Messaging Architects, the experts in email lifecycle management and compliance, today announced the release of M+Extranet 3.5. M+Extranet, formerly known as GWExtranet, is a powerful, web publishing solution that enables organizations running Novell GroupWise to collaborate more efficiently with both GroupWise and non-GroupWise users, while taking advantage of the latest web 2.0-based social networking software.
Another press release (this time from Novell) was about Teaming collaboration.
Responding to industry needs for cost-effective, next-generation collaboration tools, Novell today announced the worldwide availability of Novell(R) Open Workgroup Suite with Novell Teaming included.
There appears to be only one prominent article about it:
Enterprise software vendor Novell has added its Teaming collaboration software to its Open Workgroup Suite. The move is aimed at making it easier for companies to form ad-hoc teams or to set up knowledge-sharing initiatives, without the cost of installing specialist tools.
In the following article about training myths, Novell products receive a mention.
To keep your company from making the costly mistake Intraware did, we at BrainStorm, Inc., the Novell Authorized End-User Training Partner, have addressed the most-common excuses for not training end users. So whether you’re upgrading or migrating to GroupWise 7, read below to find out why you shouldn’t skimp on end-user training.
Further, the return on investment for end-user training shows that without training, you won’t capture the productivity gains you were planning on when you bought the software. If you use the results from the above mentioned BrainStorm and Novell study and say that conservatively, each trained employee saves at least one hour per week, then training one employee making $40,000 a year will save the company about $1,000 in the first year. Further, for every 100 trained employees that make $100,000 your company will save $250,000 a year. (See chart.) That’s saving ten to twenty-five times more than a half-day instructor-led training course costs, which may be more justifiable than even your original software purchase.
There is also this newly-announced acquisition of a company that specialises in such Novell technologies.
iQ Consulting specialized in Microsoft and Novell products, and planning, design and implementation of I.T. solutions. The company’s customer base will become part of Trivalent’s, according to the agreement announcement.
Marketing and Publicity
Novell gets itself a new tagline: “Making IT work as one.”
Novell’s new campaign, with the tagline “Making IT work as one,” is part of an overhaul of its brand positioning, said Phil Juliano, VP-global brand management and corporate communications. In addition to traditional ad vehicles, such as direct mail and print ads, and online avenues, such as search, Novell is busy revamping its Web site, he said, adding that about half of the company’s budget is spent online.
Continuing its tradition, Novell plays the role of a host in Provo. It’s another lecture.
• 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 “Corporate Governance and Financial Exits.” Time: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Location: Mountain View room, Novell Cafeteria, 1800 S. Novell Place, Provo. Please purchase your own lunch at the Novell cafeteria prior to these events.
The third part of this Saturday’s postings contains a video, so it’ll take a little while to transcode (for an Ogg Theora option). If you are not interested in these posts, please set up your reader to discard entries with “Do-No-Evil Saturday ” in the headline. █
“Pearly Gates and Em-Ballmer
One promises you heaven and the other prepares you for the grave. “
–Ray Noorda, Novell
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To be very clear and probably a little blunt, Linspire’s main distinguisher is CNR. At some stage last year, Matt Hartly even advised the company the have the entire business just centrered around CNR and rely on others, as it typically has (Debian or Ubuntu), to produce the GNU/Linux distribution. Linspire adds customisation, proprietary bits and CNR to make what we know as Linspire (or Freespire, which isn't as free as the same implies). It’s pretty much the same with Xandros.
It’s unsurprising to find that Linspire’s presence is pretty much tied to CNR. Those two are now inseparable. Over at Linux.com you’ll find this article about Linspire using its ‘bread and butter’, CNR which is now free software, to approach Mint and Ubuntu. They all share the same codebase, but only Linspire will have great trouble with the GPLv3, due to its foolish deal with Microsoft.
Linspire, the San Diego, Calif.-based Linux distributor, is continuing to build up its CNR (Click-N-Run) software installation system with partnerships with Ubuntu parent Canonical and the Ubuntu-based Linux Mint distribution. Linspire recently announced that its beta CNR service now supports the Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron release and Linux Mint versions 4.0 and 5.
Here is a new review of CNR.
CNR or Click and Run is a free one-click software delivery service designed to standardize the process and eliminate the complexity of finding, installing and managing Linux software for the most popular desktop Linux distributions according to the Linspire folks.
CNR achieves what it strives to be, easy installation of programs, especially for newbies. What is great about CNR is that it integrates with the distro’s package manager and thus make making life much easier unlike other projects like Autopackage. However it is not as easy and great to use like Add/Remove in Ubuntu and is not as vast as the official Ubuntu repositories and many programs are not available but is not far behind. It is still in the beta-development phase so I expect more innovations in the future. And as I said before, it is great for purchasing and installing proprietary programs.
However most users of Ubuntu do not need CNR as such but it is good to have options as well.
Another non-announcement comes from Linspire about Cedega in CNR:
Cedega enables Linux gamers to play Windows titles on their Linux OS. Triple-A video games such as Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Battlefield 2142, World of WarCraft, Madden 2007, Civilization IV and many more, can be played on Linux using Cedega. This allows an easy, out-of-the-box gaming experience.
As we pointed out last week, eWeek doesn't miss a beat when it comes to Xandros or Linspire. Almost immediately Henry Kingman covered this non-story. Bear in mind that Desktop Linux is owned by the bankrupt Ziff Davis, which hardly publishes anything these days, especially after SJVN changed directions (he publishes in Computer World, Linux.com, CIO.com, his personal Web site and IEEE) and Rick Lehrbaum made a career change.
Anyway, from the article:
CNR can also be used to install “over 900 free and commercial software games,” Linspire claims, in genres that span from classic arcade games, to action games, adventure games, puzzles, and boardgames.
In other words, that press release could brag about hundreds of other games. So, is it an article or a commercial? It’s hard to tell. Maybe somewhere in-between. On the brighter side of things, Linspire seems to be a source of inspiration to some.
Version 2.0 of the software will offer the iPhone SDK and the App store, which is similar to Linspire’s online store CNR.com which allows you to install software directly from the web, and can be used both by iPhone and iTouch users.
Last week we saw Xandros and Viyya Technologies getting together and this week it’s an obscure (and probably small) company from India that says it joined hands with Xandros.
IIRA Technologies pioneer in the field of open source join hands with Xandros Inc. for basic OS and mail servers. After working on varied Open Source platform for long 8(eight) years, we found Xandros is most scalable, user friendly and network savvy. Xandros is the only OS having facility to communicate with almost all of the applications irrespective of platforms whether proprietary or open source.
The only other noteworthy news from Xandros (other than Asutek’s Eee PC coverage) would be Commtouch and Scalix collaborating on E-mail security technologies.
Commtouch and Scalix Collaboration Brings Real Time Messaging Security to Linux-based E-mail Servers — New Scalix Release Incorporates Commtouch Anti-Spam and Zero-Hour Virus Outbreak Protection Technologies
Here is the press release.
Scalix, a Linux e-mail, calendaring and messaging company and Commtouch® (NASDAQ:CTCH) today announced the signing of an OEM licensing agreement to bring real time Scalix AntiSpam and Scalix ZeroHour AntiVirus protection to the Scalix messaging platform.
It would only be fair to admit that I resent Xandros and Linspire. With Novell it’s a more complicated relationship because I used to love the company and even advocated its products. Then came the deal with Microsoft. It felt like a divorce, or at least a cruel betrayal. Even Groklaw seems to maintain its love-hate relationship with Novell. █
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Novell makes Ballnux, not GNU/Linux (free software) anymore
Techtarget.com may be delivering this news a little too late, but it incorporates some quotes which the publisher sought from Red Hat, Xandros, Novell and some so-called 'analyst'. The new article further illustrates the fact that Novell-type deals were more of an anti-Red Hat alliance (or an alliance against anyone who ‘dares’ not to pay Microsoft for GNU/Linux, including Ubuntu which is fairly dominant on desktops). You might find this article repetitive in the sense that it talks about news that’s over a fortnight old, but mind the following:
Novell extends interoperability with Microsoft
“This is just another good thing for Novell,” which has already increased its market share 9% due to the Microsoft relationship, said Chris Wolf, an analyst at Midvale, Utah-based Burton Group. “This gives Novell an increased opportunity for licenses and greater penetration into Microsoft space … and will hurt Red Hat. The results speak for themselves.”
Another Microsoft partner poised to benefit from the interoperability pact is Xandros, Inc.
Be careful of what the Burton Group utters. We previously wrote about this group in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36] because it’s seen serving Microsoft’s agenda on a regular basis.
“Novell buys its own stock, moves jobs abroad (cheaper labour), and expects layoffs this year.”In this case, Burton’s message to you is that the Novell/Microsoft deal is grear news and that you, as a customer, will be better off choosing ‘Microsoft-approved’ distributions. Don’t be fooled though because Novell does pretty badly. Novell buys its own stock, moves jobs abroad (cheaper labour), and expects layoffs this year.
What we find in Novell-type deals is actually related and similar to what is already happening in virtualisation. Not only has the Burton Group recently spread FUD about VMWare, but others do this too. Xen has, to an extent, become “the Novell of the hypervisors space”. Yes, it’s very much the same with Xen, which became a tool for Microsoft to fight VMWare and all those 'nasty' Linux distributors that don’t pay Microsoft. Ubuntu can’t be blamed for moving over to KVM, which is said to be superior and more elegant anyway. More recently it was an IBM virtualisation expert who said this, but the flamewars continue.
As further evidence that Xen is now indirectly controlled by Microsoft’s needs (just like Novell), consider this from the news:
XenSource, now part of Citrix Systems, has been the mainstay of the leading open source hypervisor, Xen. Unlike other open source companies, it has always shown an affinity for working with Microsoft.
Before being acquired by Citrix, XenSource already had a technology partnership with Microsoft to help it prep Windows Longhorn, now Windows Server 2008, to run Linux in Microsoft-generated VMs. There were subtleties to doing that well, and Microsoft needed a knowledgeable partner. Xen needed to be a super performer on future Windows systems to compete against VMware. Thus an alliance was built.
Citrix, long a close Microsoft partner, acquired XenSource last August for $500 million. By September, Microsoft and the XenSource team inside Citrix were saying they’d use the same VM file format, Microsoft’s Virtual Hard Disk. You can’t get closer to your virtualization allies than that.
As we stressed on some occasions before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], Microsoft brought Xen over to Redmond and later put former Microsoft employees in it (at least a General Manager). That’s how it seems anyway. If you have been following Microsoft's proxy fight against Yahoo, then you’ll probably have an idea of how such brutal things work. Deform and subvert, until forced obedience is achieved. █
“There are people who don’t like capitalism, and people who don’t like PCs. But there’s no-one who likes the PC who doesn’t like Microsoft.”
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Software Patents and Europe
It is important to keep an eye on Europe at the moment, especially after the most recent development (also see [1, 2, 3, 4]). Ciaran is doing some legwork at the moment and he explains what has been achieved.
Here’s a report from a breakfast meeting I was at yesterday on the topic of SMEs and the Community Patent. There were 50 seats, all full. The speakers included representatives from the Commission, the Parliament, and the Slovenian EU Presidency.
This counters attempts by lobbyists, including Microsoft, to mess things up for Free software in Europe.
Microsoft (and Nintendo) Sued for Patent Infringement
Repeated punishment might be the most effective way for Microsoft to sober up a little and finally remember where it came from. Here it comes under another patent lawsuit.
Microsoft, Nintendo Hit By Patent Lawsuit
While Sony is still in the process of appealing a patent infringement lawsuit over technologies utilized in their video game console controllers, Microsoft and Nintendo too have been hit with a similiar lawsuit from Texas-based Anascape earlier this week.
Here is some more background:
In July 2006, Anascape sued both Microsoft and Nintendo, alleging that several sensor patents used by the Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo game controllers violated the company’s patents. The suit also included a patent for a “remote controller with analog buttons.”
Mind the location, which is the now-notorious East Texas. Most patent trolls are stationed there.
Nintendo of America Inc. was ordered to pay a small East Texas gaming company $21 million Wednesday for infringing on a patent while designing controllers for its popular Wii and GameCube systems.
Weird SourceForge Humour
This pet peeve is rather minor, but why would SourceForge offer an award for the project “Most Likely to Get Users Sued”?
You have to like “Most Likely to Get Users Sued” as a category.
This seems to inspire fear rather than promote Free software. The latter was the purpose of this contest.
Such an unusual award might only justify if not urge more businesses to put SourceForge on their banlist. Some already do this because of unsubstantiated concerns and myths, such as security, licence obligations and various forms of proprietary software industry-imposed FUD. █
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Nightmare scenario: no lock-in
Earlier on we mentioned in a post what some characterised as “Alpha-lunatic”; that post has been accordingly updated since yesterday. Wherever the insults come from, it’s despicable because non-profits serving the public need never be compared to terrorists. To give some information — as opposed to conspiracy-esque disinformation — about Digistan, Mr. Wheeler wrote down some clarifications a couple of days ago.
In my essay “Is OpenDocument an Open Standard? Yes!”, I addressed this problem of multiple different definitions by finding three widely-used definitions (Perens’, Krechmer’s, and the European Commission’s) and merging them. After all, if a specification meets all three definitions of “open standard”, then it’s far more likely to be a true open standard. Problem is, with all those trees, it’s hard to see the forest.
Andy Updegrove wrote about this too.
Standards and SocietyOn Wednesday, I introduced The Hague Declaration to those that visit this blog, promising to write again shortly to introduce the new organization that created the Declaration. That organization is called the Digital Standards Organization (Digistan, for short), and I’m pleased to say that I am one of its founders. In this entry, I’ll give you my perceptions of what Digistan is all about, and what I hope it will accomplish.
Attacks on Digistan and the Hague Declaration should not be surprising. In its latest quarterly disclosure, Microsoft reported a decline in sales of Microsoft Office, as pointed out at the time by Mary Jo Foley and others. In fact, both cash cows took a considerable tumble (Windows saw a decline of 24%). The cause? Well, there are several. It has a lot to do with timing of product releases, but as CRN put it yesterday, OpenOffice.org 3.0 is “Another Microsoft Headache.” The download volume and national policies/migrations we occasionally cite here speak for themselves.
The OpenOffice.org community is now beta testing the next major upgrade to its office productivity suite, version 3.0, and there is enough in it to cause Microsoft some more worry.
There is another new article about office suites becoming more of a commodity and it comes from ECT:
You don’t have to spend as much as you once did to get a decent computer nowadays, and thanks to free software, you don’t have to spend anything at all for a decent suite of office apps like OpenOffice. Even if you want to eventually migrate to a commercial office product, this is a good “starter” for a new computer user.
Of course, the expense of computing is not limited to the PC itself.
This article also covers a variety of other office suites, most of which are Web-based and rather powerful on the collaboration side.
The following good article from Market Watch comes to mind again, and particularly the following insightful quote from it:
‘Microsoft sees what’s coming. Things like Word and Excel are sort of like a drug now getting ready to go generic.’
We mentioned this article here. OOXML is the ‘new drug’, which almost nobody is able or permitted (patents) to replicate. █
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Yesterday we mentioned only a quick translation of an article written in Danish. Andy Updegrove and Groklaw have picked it up by now and there is now a minor update on this. It comes from Denmark in the form of another snippet that’s published in English.
Members of the parliament are angry that they didn’t know about the total split in the Technical Committee under Danish Standards.
Several Danish IT policy rapporteurs are surprised that the OOXML Committee with Danish Standard has been totally divided. It will have consequences, “said Morten Helveg Pedersen (R).
Whatever the consequences will be, who knows? But a formal complaint has already been filed, so it will need to be addressed.
Here is how Ireland voted on OOXML back in September: it was a “No with comments.”
After months of intensive review, analysis and discussion, NSAI has voted Disapproval – with Technical Comments, in respect of the OOXML submission. This effectively is a qualified yes, whereby Ireland has some technical issues with the submission. If the Technical Comments are satisfactorily resolved and incorporated into a new draft, the vote is subsequently amended to Approval.
We mentioned this here.
Then, Microsoft itself was elected to represent Ireland at the BRM in Geneva (not confirmed). Surely it’s a joke, right? It doesn’t seem so. Interestingly enough, Microsoft’s relationship with Ireland has also some strings with its tax evasion habits. But in any event, here is a letter
[PDF] calling for information to be revealed about the process that mysteriously turned a “No” vote into a “Yes”.
Freedom of Information Liaison Officer
National Standards Authority of Ireland
Dear Mr Henry,
I am writing to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
I would like to request the following information from the NSAI, relating to the NSAI’s work
on ISO’s as-was draft standard DIS29500 (Information Technology — Office Open XML file
• Minutes of all meetings of committees, sub-committees, working groups or similar where
ISO’s as-was DIS29500 was discussed.
• Dates of all such meetings.
This may seem similar to some of the complaints about BSI’s secrecy. The BSI issued a face-saving page and later on was taken to court — and rightly so. There must be transparency. Without it, self-serving abuse is only to be expected, as political vote-rigging taught the world many times in the past. █
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Mobile and Embedded Linux
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We have already seen street protests in a few places including Norway (photo above; here is a video and the full story). The BSI (UK) came under legal fire as well. The European Commission is dealing with several investigations as complaints continue to come (more recently from BECTA, whose formal complaint was added to the pile).
As we emphasised before, over two weeks remain until finalisation and now comes Denmark with a complaint that’s very revealing.
The city of Aarhus has posted an official complaint to Danish Standards regarding the result of the Danish YES-vote.
The complaint is regarding the fact that *all* non-profit votes in Denmark asked for a NO. Only commercial pro-Microsoft participants voted YES.
The original article is in Danish, but it will probably reach the English-speaking press fairly soon.
Denmark’s clear division among voters (only Microsoft’s friends voting “yes”, just like in India) is not news, but the complaint is definitely new. Also mind the following serial denial [1, 2], which is utterly disgusting. To quote one who is familiar with the matter in Denmark specifically:
“37 letters with exactly the same words. Some of the senders didn’t even care to remove the ‘Type company name here’ text.
Simular letters has been circulating in Denmark as an e-mail from the Danish MD Jørgen Bardenfleth to customers and business partners.
I call it fraud, cheating and disgusting. If I wasn’t anti-Microsoft before, I am now. Disgusting !”
More information about the fiasco in Denmark you’ll easily find if you search this Web site. Previous posts that partly cover OOXML in Denmark include:
Not even a thousand template-based carbon-copied denials can write history guiltlessly. █
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