“We should whack them [Dell over GNU/Linux dealings], we should make sure they understand our value.”
–Paul Flessner, Senior Vice President, Microsoft
As a quick follow-up to recent posts, consider this: [via Groklaw]
As the story circulates people start wondering what may be the background, and since the only sources are in Hungarian, here’s a summary of the circumstances:
A Hungarian Government bid, worth $25B Hungarian Forints, roughly $157M was allegedly skewed towards MS. (A ‘competitive’ bid with wording that all but ensures only Microsoft meets the requirements.) A Hungarian Watchdog Body (sort of like the FTC in the US) challenged the bidding process via the Court system, and a trial date was set for today. The trial was suddenly and unexpectedly rescheduled just as Ballmer arrived in Budapest. So there may be a perception of the Bully lobbying there.
We will soon reach the letter “H” in our summary of Microsoft’s OOXML abuses. Hungary will then be included. In the mean time, here’s a recent video (there are at least two of them) and the quick report about Microsoft's corruption in Hungary. █
MSOOXML: What Happened in Hungary
If you can’t do the math, I think the bottom line is, it’s looking like Microsoft won’t let the world say no to OOXML. It couldn’t ram it through the usual process, with the folks who understand the tech, even with some very odd technical committee chairperson goings on. This is the standard that couldn’t win on merit, in short.
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Now is the chance to give OOXML a knockout punch
This whole saga is not over yet. There are still things that we, the ‘little people’, can do to ensure justice is restored and then prevails. Having documented abuse of the process, we can seek truth and ensure that Microsoft is metaphorically getting caught with its pants down (or with an egg in the face).
While the decision has been stalled, the deadline for formal complaints remains pretty much the same. We emphasised before that it’s not over yet and further delayed can be expected, if not a full retraction.
Here is what Roger "The Denier" Frost has had to say:
According to ISO spokesman Roger Frost, “Because the period for receipt of appeals remains open until the end of May, ISO will communicate on the next steps in early June, when it knows whether any other national bodies are appealing.”
Benjamin strongly urges people to call their standards body now (or after the weekend) in order to increase pressure on them. They can endorse South Africa’s message, which isn’t hard (the heavy lifting has already been done). ODF has excellent momentum, so this isn’t to be done in vain. It is far, far from over.
The South African Standards Body SABS have lodged an appeal at ISO against the awful fast-track process of DIS29500, or Microsoft Office OpenXML. Please call your national Standards Body and ask them to support this complain. You have only 7 days because the deadline is 30 May, 2 months after the ISO vote.
Steve Pepper, being so disgused about the intervention of a Norwegian bureaucrat reverting the decision of the Norwegian Technical Committee, is pointing at the fact that this person is also member of the ISO Technical Management Board (TMB), who will decide on the future of this appeal. I hope we will have some transparency on who is deciding what inside ISO on this appeal. It is time for ISO to clean up its stables, they have not been cleaned for several years, and they are getting dirty and smelly.
As a reminder of the slur and injury in South Africa, see this new post from Brian.
Like most assumptions about open source from Microsoft, a big piece of the overall picture is conveniently left out.
The context of Matusow’s blog entry is a trip he recently took to South Africa where he had talks about interoperability and open source issues. As noted in a Tectonic article, Matusow’s visit fell around the same time the South African government was approving the OpenDocument Format (ODF) for government use. (Funny…)
Matusow then goes on to make another, more specific, assumption about South Africa. Their local developers don’t seem to have the skill set to do any real contributions to OSS anyway, so the benefit of local participation is lost on them anyway.
Ignoring the fact that this is the single most arrogant thing I think I have heard anyone say about a nation’s potential (I’ll let my colleagues take that part of the argument on), who is Matusow to say anything about who can code what for Linux and OSS? Is you said “nobody,” you’re absolutely right.
This is the ‘Cathedral attitude’, to borrow ESR’s analogy. It shows that Microsoft continues to desire to develop everything that runs on your PC, no matter where you live. The company gives you opaque and overpriced binary files. This isn’t just unacceptable; it’s dangerous.
“There will always be ignorance, and ignorance leads to fear. But with time, people will come to accept their silicon masters.”
Once again, hat’s off to South Africa, whose recent victories and miseries (Microsoft gave them grief) are listed below. █
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Much like buybacks (Novell recently resorted to them [1, 2]), changing of heads in a company is a great sign of weakness. This continues to happen at Novell.
Some weeks ago we noted that some head-changing moves in Novell Canada ought to at least be mentioned. There is now some clearer proof of this. This one is the latest:
Former Novell Canada president Katie McAuliff is looking at ways to improve channel partner profitability in her new role as Novell Americas channel chief.
More here about the new leadership:
I am very happy for Chevalier for a couple of reasons. First he has paid his dues and deserves a shot at running the Canadian operation. Secondly, he is a channel advocate and will try his best to create a win-win culture for Novell and its ever growing partner base.
Chevalier replaces Katie McAuliff, who is going off to run the
Americas channel. I do not want to be overly critical of McAuliff because she made a lot of time for CDN during her tenure as Novell
Canada president and I do appreciate that.
The fact that McAuliff spent time here and learned the way this market works will only help Novell
Canada partners since she is running that channel.
Related to this but not quite the same, Novell is losing customers to Microsoft. Yet again. We mentioned more examples just an hour ago.
Computer Service Partners, a Raleigh-based IT Integrator was recently selected by CommunityONE Bank, N.A. to migrate 550 employees in 49 different locations from Novell to Microsoft E-mail and Domain Controller solutions, and concurrently consolidate operations at the bank’s corporate data center in Asheboro. CSP will also deploy Cisco IP phone systems initially in seven community offices, and over time implement Cisco Unified Communications solutions organization wide at CommunityONE.
Novell is a frail company. It still relies heavily on its legacy, which is being devoured by competitors, however gradually.
This may be another reason for you or your business not to adopt Novell’s ‘solutions’ (that’s how Novell and Microsoft perceive Free software). █
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“Sheesh! Don’t let the ‘little people’ see this”
An excellent little catch from Glyn Moody reveals just what is happening behind people’s backs. The finding is a leak, courtesy of Wiki Leaks which found itself in trouble earlier this year for exposing ‘too much’ truth (see [1, 2, 3] at the bottom).
Glyn’s observations, which seem to be based purely on this self-serving document, are as follows:
Politicans remain the ultimate dinosaurs in terms of openness: ideally, the rich and powerful would like to make their cosy deals – often aimed at that dangerous openness – behind closed doors.
This secret agreement, drawn up without any public discussion or oversight, would basically impose all of the worst aspects of US intellectual monopolies on everyone in sight – starting with willing stooges like the UK, and progressing to the unwilling but powerless.
Not so long ago, Microsoft was caught deceiving on copyrights using inaccurate ‘propaganda documents’ for a reform in Canada. But that’s not all. Recall the recent (and heated) debate about whether or not the US tries to squeeze software patents into other nations from the back door, along with other draconian laws (it already bit Australia).
Of great relevance to software patents and OOXML you may also find the following new article from Reuters. It’s about a former judge with professional tendencies that favour monopolisation. He just doesn’t realise this yet and lobbying might play a role here too. Deception through persistence and repetition can be alarmingly effective.
Earlier, he told the conference that although he signed the Microsoft judgment in September and was bound by secrecy, he understood “some of the worries” critics have expressed.
Vesterdorf said “one should be careful” not to encroach too much on patent rights “by a too-zealous enforcement of competition law”.
“It may give rise to frivolous private litigation, create legal uncertainty for holders of IP (intellectual property) rights, thereby perhaps diminishing the incentives to sometimes desirable but very expensive research and development,” Vesterdorf said.
Come to consider the fact that Microsoft patented protocols which Neelie Kroes describes as too trivial to be patentable and too essential to have royalties imposed with their use, whose necessity is the result of brute market aggression.
Recall what Mark Webbink (of Red Hat at the time) said not so long ago:
“…there has been a proliferation of trivial and contestable patents triggered by a relaxation of the rules by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which has progressively lowered the bar for patent claims.”
Let the Bilski case [1, 2, 3, 4] serve as a reminder that questions now arise about the patentability of a curve ball! It becomes endlessly insane when the boundaries are improperly set to permit patentability of mathematics (algorithms at the least).
Don Knuth wrote a wonderful letter many years ago to warn about this. He is probably the world’s #1 authority on the subject of algorithms, but who is he to counter multi-billion-dollar software companies with multi-million-dollar lobbying budgets?
“Don Knuth wrote a wonderful letter many years ago to warn about this.”Think about it for a second. If Microsoft spends about $10 million a year on lobbying (that which is discloses alone), this permits the company to employ more than 100 full-time people in suits — people whose career involves walking around Washington and taking people out to lunch, making phonecalls, back-room deals, etc.
Knuth, on the other hand, with all his wisdom granted, humbly lounges in his library near the Stanford campus. Can brains trump money? Can sanity defeat greed? Ask the friends in South Africa. They have suffered a lot from insults, abuse and aggressive lobbying by Microsoft agents recently. This courageous nation fights back at the moment, not only against OOXML but also against software patents (see video).
Speaking of lousy Microsoft patents, will you have a look at this one from the news?
Microsoft has just snared a U.S. patent for proactive virus protection, which is how security software helps secure your PC when it encounters shape-shifting malware not already in its antivirus definition file. What I want to know is, what does this mean for all the other vendors — like McAfee, Symantec, Kaspersky, and Trend Micro — that have been selling proactive protection software for years? Do they now have to pay Microsoft protection; I mean, royalties?
Do not let Microsoft’s software patents scare you. They seem to be worthless after last week's big defeat (against Alcatel-Lucent). █
 WikiLeaks Under Fire
The transparency group WikiLeaks.org currently seems to be under heavy fire. The main WikiLeaks.org DNS entry is unavailable, reportedly due to a restraining order relating to a series of articles and documents released by WikiLeaks about off-shore trust structures in the Cayman Islands. The WikiLeaks whistle blower, allegedly former vice president of the Cayman Islands branch of swiss bank Julius Baer, states in the WikiLeaks documents that the bank supported tax evasion and money laundering by its clients from around the world
 Wikileaks Shutdown: Censorship Is Censorship
If Wikileaks were a print publication, the injunction that has shut down the site would be unthinkable. Back in 1931, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Minnesota law that allowed the closing of any “malicious, scandalous and defamatory” periodical. This court, by contrast, has not only barred future publication of the documents at issue but elected to put Wikileaks out of business.
 Free Speech Advocates Mount Legal Battle to Unchain Wikileaks
In Bank Julius Baer & Co., Ltd v. Wikileaks, et al, the plaintiff claims that the posting of certain documents to the Wikileaks site violated Swiss and Cayman Island bank secrecy laws.
Judge Jeffrey White ordered domain registrar Dynadot to disable Wikileaks.org in response to Julius Baer & Co.’s complaint. The groups behind the request to lift the injunction claim that it violates the First Amendment.
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We are still waiting for a decision on Novell-SCO to be made — a decision which the public knows nothing about. For background on the latest, see [1, 2].
In the mean time, here are a few of the latest developments at Novell, to the exclusion of GNU/Linux news which earlier posts covered [1, 2].
Novell gets sort of snubbed in Indian banks. Novell ought to get used to it if it relies on Microsoft for marketing.
Deepak Maheshwari, Director, Corporate Affairs, Microsoft India, shares his thoughts with Neeraj Gandhi, on the recently introduced Microsoft Platform Security and Audit Handbook 2008.
What about Linux keeping in mind Microsoft’s tie-up with Novell?
Presently we are focusing on these three Microsoft platforms only.
Microsoft is likely to continue phasing Novell out while Novell’s strategy is to rely on Microsoft. Not smart.
The school system currently uses Novell, which is an aging operating system. Novell also isn’t compatible with the Microsoft operating system that county government uses.
That’s interoperability? Well, we digress.
The Gwava-Groupwise affair is not on the rocks, but mind the following:
Rather than creating direct integration with specific packages, Gwava puts all of its data into an SQL Server format that can be integrated by a supplier or enterprise as part of a custom solution. Unlike its other products, however, which interact directly with Novell GroupWise, Gwava’s Retain for BES does not require GroupWise. ”
On the other hand, GroupWise gets a lift from Messaging Architects.
M+Extranet 3.5 is an efficient and cost-effective solution for collaborating with non-GroupWise users, and instantly publishing GroupWise content on a company intranet site, client extranet site, or student portal. Content can be published as an HTML page, RSS feed, blog or podcast without the need for expensive web authoring tools or content duplication.
Mentioned last week was the following news, which Beta News gets to at the end. It seems like Beta News has found new affinity for Novell, especially because of Jacqueline Emigh. Bear in mind that Beta News is very Microsoft-oriented. It’s worth keeping track of which publications give positive/negative publicly to whom. It explains favouritism and prejudice.
Despite its well known interoperability deal with Microsoft, Novell still sees Redmond as the big competitor to catch in the groupware, collaboration, and messaging arenas, where the SuSE Linux distributor has just released the new, multiplatform Novell Open Workgroup Suite (NOWS) with Novell Teaming.
Not from a source that we like citing, but mind Novell’s presence in SYS-CON’s Virtualization Conference & Expo.
Novell’s Stephen Pollack to Present at SYS-CON’s Virtualization Conference & Expo, June 23-24, in New York City
We wrote about virtualisation at Novell some hours ago. Novell is with Microsoft and its affiliates. Even SYS-CON, especially with the presence of Maureen O’Gara, is not friend of FOSS. She’s describing ODF as “Microsoft-hostile” at the moment, revealing her bias immediately. Her recent attacks on Stallman are not to be forgotten and they make SYS-CON seem like a tabloid, not just an annoying publication that floods Google New using spamming techniques.
Identity and Security Management
Forbes passed on the news about Hewlett-Packard’s collaboration with Novell on identity and security management.
Hewlett-Packard Co. and Novell Inc. said Friday they will jointly offer migration services as part of an deal to migrate Hewlett-Packard identity center customers to Novell identity and security management products.
The press release is here.
As part of an agreement between the companies, HP and Novell will jointly offer migration services, HP will resell Novell identity and security management solutions and Novell will license HP Identity Center technology.
More from the British press appeared almost a week later.
HP has exited the world of identity management and handed over its Identity Center customers to Novell as part of an exclusive alliance.
Remember what we wrote earlier on about the H-P relationship with Microsoft (and with Novell). Like Novell, H-P is another Microsoft pawn that promotes OOXML. It’s part of the cycle of nepotism and ‘protection’.
Joe Wagner (of Novell) published an article that covers security.
Joe Wagner, senior vice president and general manager of Systems and Resource Management at Novell, explains the security implications of all those popular portable storage devices.
Looking at his mailbox, a reader of ours found this in the Global Novell Newsletter of May 2008:
“Security Threats Straight Ahead!
“Jim Ebzery, Sr. [...] discusses the realities of online security dangers and [...] addresses compliance issues, insider threats, identity theft, and privacy violations. Read the entire article online now”
He then added: “I thought security was about making Operating Systems that were secure from clicking on an URL or opening an email attachment.”
Partnership with Genovate in India
Here is another new partnership for Novell. It’s the first of its kind in this nation.
Genovate, a leading high-end technology company, has today announced that they have become Novell’s first platinum partner in India.
Genovate provides Business applications, software solutions and consulting as well as the best-of-breed value-added educational programs and quality training services in the Asia-Pacific region.
8 new centres are being created by Genovate, which met with Novell.
Genovate has also entered into a tie-up with infrastructure software and services company Novell to provide training in India. Genovate, with the partnership, would target both individuals and universities, he added.
Novell’s Past People
Ray Noorda, a fierce enemy of Microsoft and one who could not trust Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer, is mentioned in this article about a donation/fund.
The largest limited partner in Canopy Ventures II is the family of legendary entrepreneur Ray Noorda, who founded Novell Inc. and was chief executive officer of the software company for 12 years until 1995.
More details here.
The early-stage venture fund, which is backed by the Noorda family of Novell fame, is investing in life sciences for the first time, and also expanding its investment along the Wasatch Front.
“There are plenty of good opportunities in medical devices and pharmaceuticals, and there’s so much good technology and so many talented scientists affiliated with the University of Utah and BYU. Utah County was our backyard from the Novell days, but we’re now looking forward to branching out to northern Utah,” said Brandon Tidwell, another general partner with Canopy.
Since its establishment in 1995, Canopy has invested around $100 million in 13 technology companies in Utah, 10 of which are in Utah County. Canopy was founded by the late Ray Noorda, Novell’s founder and former CEO.
Here is the story of one who departed from Novell’s technologies on the face of it.
While I was working at Air New Zealand I assisted setting up a Novell network. I started thinking it was the way I wanted to go in terms of my career, so I bought my first computer and went from there. My first foray into IT was working in field sales in LA for a distributor of electronics called Hallmark Electronics. I started working with Kingston back then as they were one of the brands we had.
That’s all for this week, as far as good or innocent news are concerned. █
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