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Non-compete, By Association

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OSI at 9:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell suppresses skepticism and criticism of Microsoft inside the Free software world

We touched on this subject before in relation to the Linux Foundation. The short story is that Novell and Microsoft are partners and since Novell is behind the Linux Foundation, the Linux Foundation must at least pretend that it’s a friend of Microsoft — the very same company which thinks of Linux as a “cancer” and number-one competitor. In a sense, Novell and Microsoft ceased to compete. Novell is promoting Windows Vista [1, 2] and its on-line shop requires that visitors use Microsoft Internet Explorer.

For face value, Novell must insist that it still competes with Microsoft (see the article below). But… we’re not seeing it. Novell is always thankful to Microsoft for screwing companies like Mandriva and Red Hat. Microsoft, on the other hand, continues to loathe GNU/Linux as it attempts to replace that layer of the stack and probably attacks it, usually by proxy.

Novell, Re: Microsoft: ‘We Still Compete’


There’s also little question in my mind that Microsoft will not stop seeing Linux as a competitor, either.

Critics have already pointed out that the duality in Novell/Microsoft is stronger than the rivalry. For others who participate in development of Free software, this leads to a conflict of interest and a dilemma. Just watch what Aaron Seigo wrote yesterday. Because of Novell, the Linux Foundation too must be nice to Microsoft. Interviews with Jim Zemlin (past and present) reflect on that. Here is a new example

Linux Foundation member Novell (NASDAQ: NOVL) is pleased with the way things are going as well and in the leadership that Zemlin provides.

“We’re very satisfied with the Linux Foundation,” Justin Steinman, director of product marketing for Novell’s open-platform group, told InternetNews.com. “They serve a great purpose in bringing together the community, commercial Linux companies and end users, and they represent the interests of each group very well. We have a very close relationship with Jim, and we’re very pleased with the direction he’s taken the Linux Foundation.”

The relationship between Novell and the Linux Foundation is a fascinating yet rather disturbing thing [1, 2, 3]. IBM's and Intel's involvement there can’t be of much help, either.

At the end of the day, all these “non-compete”/’frienemies’ agreements are hurtful. They hurt he customer. [via Andy Updegrove of the Linux Foundation]

Non-compete clauses may have been the deciding factor in the Route 128 technology sector falling behind Silicon Valley in the 1970s and 1980s, according to a study performed at the University of Toronto.

The Rotman School of Management study found that laws enforcing non-compete clauses initially gave the Route 128-area companies the protection they needed to create new inventions in a young tech industry. As the industry grew, the non-compete clauses stifled growth by limiting labor mobility, according to the study.

Yesterday, the OSI’s chief, Michael Tiemann, came to realise that Novell and Microsoft are building a shared monopoly. It’s not good for anyone. So what are they going to do about it?

Michael Tiemann

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