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08.06.08

Microsoft, Novell, Mono and the More Expensive GNU

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Novell, SLES/SLED at 7:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The core of this trial is consumer choice and the premise is that consumers ought to make that decision, not Microsoft. Microsoft’s argument that says Java would have died anyway is a little bit like saying if somebody shoots you they can defend [themselves] by saying you have cancer.”

David Boies, lead trial attorney at the DOJ

Microsoft now sells Windows for as little as $18 apiece. It’s not sustainable. It’s because of GNU/Linux, which Microsoft considers its #1 threat. The company can try to pretend that this is not an issue, but occasionally it frankly admits it all. Margin erosion can be tolerated more than an actualising risk of GNU/Linux gaining a foothold and a critical mass.

Methods for slowing down GNU/Linux adoption cannot rely on price. GNU/Linux is just too affordable and Microsoft’s business model is not prepared to adjust to it. FUD tactics, interferences and the SCOs of our time were attempted before, but it never works out. In some cases, it backfires.

As last reported a day ago, Microsoft continues trying cheap (or gratis) against free (or libre). It’s an old an failing strategy and Matt Asay has just explained why.

Microsoft tries to battle free with cheap. It won’t work

[...]

Crappy but cheap? It isn’t going to stop open source. Open source wins, in part, because it’s cheap, but anyone that has run Linux, Apache, Zimbra, etc. knows that there is plenty of open source that wins because it is awesome…and just happens to be cheap as an added benefit.

Microsoft knows that GNU/Linux and Free software are brilliant. It uses them to get work done. So Microsoft, as baffled as its latest filings reveal, might try something else. What if it managed to make its competition more expensive? That’s just what the Novell deal is about (among a few other things).

The Mono/vell unrest is due to the fact that Microsoft is no true friend. It views open source not as a friend but as a thief. Here are some more new articles that have not been cited yet:

  1. Open Source: A ‘Growing Challenge’ to Microsoft
  2. Microsoft Fears The Open Sou[r]ce Penguin
  3. Did the bad cop gremlins get at Microsoft’s annual report?

And here is a new article that stands out: Microsoft accuses open source programs of theft

Microsoft accuses open source programs of theft

Software producer Microsoft has noted in its annual report that its business model is being threatened by open source software after it claimed that many vendors have stolen its intellectual property, it has been reported.

Microsoft does not like to compete based on price. Throwing accusation seems easier, albeit impulsive and baseless. It’s a poor long-term strategy

Microsoft is likely to try subjugate GNU/Linux users. Novell was merely a first stop and plans for the Silverlight-powered desktop are just a trap, which seems very unwelcome based on Slashdot’s feedback and some of the comments here.

Our reader Vexorian has just left a good comment in Slashdot (pointed out by Groklaw). Pamela Jones also points to this old page, adding: “Written in 2004. Anything changed since?”

One person has already published Mononono. What is Mononono? Here you have it.

Mononono

Description

Introduces an intentional conflict with Mono packages

By creating an intentional conflict with mono packages, this package can be
installed to prevent Mono from being installed (or at least force you to
address the conflict)

Conflicting files/packages

At the end of the day, in order to effectively and broadly reject Mono, its source needs to be convinced to change direction. That would be Novell, which sponsors Mono projects such as Banshee.

Already, as many of us know, Microsoft sacrifices margins to ensure the crippling of GNU/Linux laptops (last mentioned yesterday). On top of this, assuming one buys SLED, there is a software patents fee, which means that people who buy GNU/Linux actually pay Microsoft. And it’s not getting any better based on this new press release.

Lenovo to Present More Linux-pre-loaded Laptops

[..]

Lenovo was reported to plan to launch a full array of laptops pre-loading Novell’s Linux operating system, to provide wider product options for consumers to choose from, according to sources.

“Wider product options,” it says. Really? It’s just Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Linux. Great choice, eh? Microsoft is paid either way. As stated here a month and a half ago, Lenovo stopped offering those cheaper FreeDOS (or no-O/S) laptops, so Microsoft tax need be paid no matter what O/S you choose now. For those who think that Novell and Microsoft are separable, just watch this new press release from Novell.

With expanded platform support for Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008, this latest release extends Novell’s leadership in identity-based, cross-platform system management. ZENworks Configuration Management SP1 helps customers efficiently manage both medium and large scale enterprise IT environments by offering streamlined operations, greater flexibility, better compliance and increased performance.

Novell and Windows: so happy together. Take II.

Jim Allchin on Novell

Links 06/08/2008: More GNU/Linux Deployments in Germany, Fedora 10 Screenshots

Posted in News Roundup at 5:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

Red Hat

Google

Mozilla

F/OSS

Linuxware

LinuxWorld Releases

Mobile

Hardware

Voting

Laptops

Releases

Rights

Microsoft

Yahoo

Apple

More ODF for Macs, Trouble for the Already-Embattled ISO

Posted in Apple, Europe, Formats, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Standard, SUN at 3:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It should be no secret that Apple is somewhat of a Microsoft buddy when it comes to office suites. Just watch this old video and recall what software is preinstalled with Macs nowadays. Remember what formats are supported and why. It is therefore good news that StarOffice 9 is coming to Mac OS X, along with OpenDocument format (ODF) support.

StarOffice is based on the same underpinnings as the open source office suite OpenOffice.org. It provides an alternative to Microsoft Office using applications that support the XML file format. Individual components of StarOffice include a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program, drawing tool, database tool and formula generator.

UNIX-basedIt’s worth emphasising that Microsoft Office for Windows is not compatible with Microsoft Office for the Mac.

The only conclusion one can reach is that OOXML is too messy for anyone to handle, including Microsoft which is unable and disinterested in getting the job done. So, why is it being rushed through? Andy Updegrove has something to say on that matter and he responds to questions from the very same Redmond press that admitted Microsoft’s foul play in the past and even took pride in it (“Return of the Champ”).

Updegrove seems very polite and restrained here because the target audience includes Microsoft employees. He puts the very severe issues very gently.

Obviously you feel these appeals have some merit. What arguments in those appeals have traction?

Updegrove: A couple items come to mind. One, were the judgments made by ISO/IEC valid under the rules? For example, allowing O-Members to vote. The CEOs say that this was in their discretion, and that there’s therefore no basis for an appeal. But why shouldn’t the limits of that discretion be eligible for appeal?

Two, have the reputations of ISO and IEC been damaged by the way in which the process was conducted? The CEOs didn’t even bother to address this one, even though it’s mentioned explicitly in the appeals, and even though the directives explicitly call out “matters of principle” and effects on “reputation” as being valid reasons for appeal.

[...]

Do you think we’ll see structural changes to the ISO fast-track approval process based on the OOXML experience? Or does ISO seem focused on moving on?
I think that ISO would like to just move on, but that a meaningful number of vendors aren’t going to allow that to happen. But how would anyone know? One of the things that I fault ISO on is for being so secretive. We haven’t heard a word out of them about reform other than public statements that “we’re always looking to improve.”

In fact, I know that there have been private conversations going on behind closed doors about reforms ever since the BRM, if not before. The latest I’ve heard, however, is that these talks have been put on hold until the appeals are resolved.

Here is Microsoft and the BSI [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] getting a little cozy in a new press release. It’s pretty much the same with ISO.

OOXML protests in India
From the Campaign for Document Freedom

Microsoft Jack Keeps Trashing Microsoft’s Competition in The Grauniad [sic]

Posted in Deception, FSF, FUD, Microsoft at 3:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rant interlude

Microsoft Jack, who seems rather preoccupied with attacks against Microsoft’s opponents, the FSF, Microsoft-hostile media, etc. (and sometimes even rewrites history) continues to show the same behaviour. We’ve recently covered examples, including smoking guns, of Microsoft-obedient ‘journalists’ who betray trust [1, 2]. This man just spends a lot of time attacking Free software and even rewriting history for Microsoft’s benefit. Why? It looks bad for the paper and it infiltrates news channels of those things that he so vainly criticises. Has The Guardian become a tabloid?

Microsoft Could Soon Enter Debt

Posted in Finance, Microsoft at 3:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An acquisition of Yahoo! would have required Microsoft to borrow over $20 billion from the bank, but as more buybacks loom, it seems possible that Microsoft will enter debt even without having to buy Yahoo. This was actually foreseen before and now it appears more likely that the hidden financial weakness will worsen every quarter. This leads to aggression.

Anyway, one report comes from Reuters, but its original source is Bloomberg, which recently reported on Microsoft's loss of over $90 billion in value this year.

Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will buy back as much as $20 billion of its stock to boost its flagging share price, Bloomberg News quoted a top-rated software analyst as saying.

Here is the report in the Australia press (wide circulation).

She expects Microsoft to complete the repurchase – at least five times larger than its average per quarter in the past fiscal year – over the next three months.

“They won’t announce it until it’s done,” Ms Bellini said.

It’s curious that they may do so quietly, unlike Novell [1, 2].

It also appears in Bloomberg under the headline “Microsoft $20 Billion Buyback Signaled After Slump”. Microsoft last had about 26$ billion left in the bank, which is a lot less than there used to be. Massive buyouts and fines are partly to blame and future margins erosion is guaranteed to cause further trouble.

Just watch what else has just been reported: Microsoft’s business intelligence general manager quits the company.

Microsoft Corp. announced today that Bill Baker, a Microsoft distinguished engineer and general manager of business intelligence applications for the Microsoft Office Business Platform team, is leaving the company.

Not so long ago it was President Johnson, who left abruptly on the face of it, based on reports. It could incite panic and it does not bode well for the future. Another Microsoft executive appears to have just left quietly. He was hired by another company.

Lyn Reyes, formerly local business lead for Microsoft Dynamics, was appointed by Gurango Software Corp.’s (GSC) vice president for global sales.

Times are changing. These are truly interesting times for those who anticipate radical change in the software industry.

“Freedom is primarily achieved by providing the means for self-reliance. When individuals can provide for their own needs independently, without placing burdens on others, they are more free.”

Terry Hancock

Microsoft’s “Balance-sheet Liability” to Self

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 2:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Linux is a very complete and sophisticated operating system. And there is a lot of work being done to improve it in and of itself, particularly to make it easier to use and easier for people to set up on their personal computers.”

Paul Maritz, senior vice-president, Microsoft

Come out of the closer, Microsoft. You know you like some GNU (new) love. Previous posts have already exposed in some level of detail Microsoft’s secret affairs with GNU/Linux and Free software [1, 2, 3], but the company continues to deny or hide it. How much longer can this go on for?

Here is another new example that has just been posted to USENET:


   Message-ID: <4899e873$0$2923$fa0fcedb@news.zen.co.uk>
   From: Klunk <givemespam@wibblywobblyteapot.co.uk>
   Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
   Subject: M$ Endorse LINUX appliance – then try to cover it up!
   Date: 06 Aug 2008 18:07:47 GMT

Microsoft told a company who supply them with Linux based Email Virus &
Spam filters to remove their logo from their ‘customer spotlight’ feature
on their front page.

The small company that supply niche Linux products to protect
predominantly WINDOWS networks, proudly displayed Microsoft as a customer.

When Microsoft realised that it was public knowledge they were buying
network protection devices running on Linux, it looks like they shit the
bed! Now, there is *NO SIGN* of them on the front page, or even in the
customer list.

http://www.barracudanetworks.com/ns/customers/customer_list.php


This is merely part of a pattern. Yahoo too has had Microsoft confess that it’s willing to adopt Free software — simply because it’s more suitable for the task. Didn’t Microsoft portray GNU/Linux as cancer and theft? Is that the same thing it so happily adopts for its own secret use?

Links 06/08/2008: IBM Gives Boost to Proprietary GNU/Linux® Desktops, HPC Source Code

Posted in News Roundup at 5:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

IBM

  • IBM targets Microsoft with desktop Linux initiative
  • IBM to open source supercomputing code

    The company said its HPC Open Source Software Stack, which includes IBM’s Extreme Cluster Administration Toolkit, was its first ever contribution of open source code for supercomputing.

  • Virtually Speaking: IBM Goes High on Linux

    None of this is terribly surprising. Today, for many enterprises, Linux is just another operating system choice. In a clear case of be-careful-what-you-wish-for, it is as viable an option as some of the Unix heavyweights or Microsoft Windows, depending on the situation.

    The other wrench is the possibility that virtualization’s gain is the operating system’s loss, although given the hypervisor’s potentially commodity status, it’s gain may well be negligible.

Cloud™

Wireless

Devices

  • Sonos refreshes Linux audio gear

    Sonos has chosen LinuxWorld in San Francisco this week as the place to unveil updated hardware and new Linux-based firmware. The vendor says its whole-house audio products are carried by 3,000 retailers in 55 countries, putting them among the most popular Linux-based consumer electronics products yet.

  • Cortex-A8-based SOM gains Linux support

Phones

Fedora

  • Red Hat, community release Fedora 10 alpha

    Red Hat and project contributors have released alpha code for Fedora 10, the next version of the community-sponsored, free and open source Linux distribution that will include enhancements to the audio, security and wireless-connection features of the operating system.

  • Fedora on a stick

    Fedora 9 now lets you create a bootable Linux distribution on a flash drive with persistence. In other words, you can not only boot any PC that will accept USB drive booting into Linux, you can even boot into your own personal desktop. Now, that can be useful.

Mini PCs

  • Google Pushing Software to Low-Cost Linux PCs

    With an eye for larger adoption of Linux, Google is actively working with open-source developers to integrate its applications in the OS, a Linux developer said on Tuesday.

  • Atom-based tablet runs Linux

    Arbor Technology has announced a seven-inch tablet PC that uses Intel Atom processors and runs Linux. The ruggedized Gladius G0710 has a touchscreen display, gigabit Ethernet and 802.11b/g networking, a two megapixel camera, and survives multiple four-foot drops, according to the company.

  • Linux set to dominate MIDs

Debian/Ubuntu

GNU/Linux: General

F/OSS

Leftovers

Novell Still in Exodus Mode: Channel Chief Quits Just Months After Joining

Posted in Africa, Novell at 4:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novellsoft

We have identified Pat Bernard on numerous occasions since she joined Novell (also mentioned here). She was supposed to coordinate an important transition and restore Novell’s reach to customers. Well, it appears not to have worked out too well. She is already leaving the company.

Novell Channel Chief Pat Bernard has left the company, and Tim Wolfe (pictured) is now serving as acting VP of global channel sales. Has Bernard landed a new job elsewhere? The VAR Guy is digging for answers.

[...]

The more The VAR Guy reads this, the more it seems like Novell is in reaction mode — perhaps issuing a statement very quickly because of a surprise change in Bernard’s career commitments. Of course, that’s complete speculation from The VAR Guy — a trait of his that most readers have learned to deal with..

[...]

Back in July, Novell executive VP of worldwide sales Thomas Francese left the company as part of an “unfortunate but needed step to help boost operating profits,” according to a research note from Jefferies & Co., which Barron’s covered. But Jefferies & Co. also stated that Novell was nearly recession proof.

There is some further confirmation of this in CRN.

Novell’s channel management is undergoing another change, less than a year after the software vendor extensively overhauled its channel program.

Tim Wolfe, president and general manager of Novell Americas, will serve as acting vice president of global channel sales effective immediately, replacing Pat Bernard who was just named to the position last November, the company said early Tuesday.

Novell’s sales director in South Africa seems to have left just a while ago, bur it’s only part of a much bigger problem [1, 2]. With layoffs ahead, buybacks in progress [1, 2] and having to cope with the fact that Thomas Francese has just left, it’s better not to bet your business on Novell. It’s too much of a gamble because the growing GNU/Linux companies are some of Novell’s competitors (e.g. Red Hat, Canonical). Novell rests in its past while the legacy dwindles.

“Last year, Novell reorganised the business into specialised divisions. We had to follow at some stage and decided to do these at the same time of Masie’s exit. The alternative was to wait a few months, but that would have subjected our workforce to two periods of change.”

Desan Naidoo, interim country manager, Novell South Africa

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