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08.23.08

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part III: Miscellaneous Novell News, Press Releases

Posted in Mail, Novell, Virtualisation at 5:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As a last quick post, consider this aggregation of news from the past week. It excludes SUSE, which was covered just moments ago.

Mail and Collaboration

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Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part II: OpenSUSE 11.1 Reaches Second Alpha

Posted in GNU/Linux, OpenSUSE, Review, Security at 4:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SUSE in Green

The big news of the week was probably this alpha release, which was announced a few days ago. From Christoph’s E-mail:


[opensuse-announce] openSUSE 11.1 Alpha2 is available

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Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part I: SUSE, Xandros and Turbolinux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Red Hat, Servers, SLES/SLED, Turbolinux, Xandros at 3:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SUSE (SLES/SLED)

There is not much to share this week. Other than news about those coupons, there’s this article about Sesame Street and SUSE.

Three years ago, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind the “Sesame Street” television show, was looking at a $3 million data-center expansion to keep up with its Web, multimedia and data storage needs. Instead of expanding, however, the organization shrank its data center by consolidating 100 physical servers to 45 Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Servers, then virtualizing 25 data-center servers into five physical machines.

Readers may recall the Sesame Street news from BrainShare where it was first announced [1, 2].

The following article is nothing to crow about because it mentiona not only SUSE but Red Hat and Windows as well.

The Fujitsu PRIMEQUEST 580 server offers mission-critical capability for hosting Microsoft Windows Server (Enterprise Edition and Data Center Edition), Red Hat Advanced Server or Novell SUSE Enterprise Linux 64-bit operations, and incorporates numerous redundant and hot-plug components for system availability.

Xandros

Not much to see here, either, except some Eee PC articles.

The Eee PC runs on Xandros, an Open Source and Proprietary hybrid. Xandros is a Debian derivative that uses KDE. The Eee’s Xandros runs a custom tabbed interface, but also has an “Advanced Mode”, which switches it to KDE 3. The Eee PC is also able to run other Linux distributions such as Ubuntu and openSUSE.

[...]

So, why not take the Eee with Linux? Its faster, saves more battery power, and does exactly the same stuff. Its also largely compatible with Windows. In perspective, I would seriously recommend the Xandros version of Eee.

Turbolinux

Nothing but two security advisories and some articles in foreign languages.

Next up we’ll cover OpenSUSE, which has had a lot more going.

SCO Roundup: Novell Litigation, Money from Me Inc Software

Posted in Courtroom, Finance, GNU/Linux, Law, Novell, SCO, UNIX at 3:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Oriskany ship sinks

SCO is not dead yet. It may seem like a dead man walking, but as we’ll show in a moment, one investment funnel [1, 2, 3] is not totally out of reach just yet. In TechWorld and some accompanying mirrors, an article was published to praise Groklaw for its work. It has defended Linux from SCO for over 5 years.

It’s Groklaw’s loose network of volunteers that has haunted the Utah courthouse, collecting paperwork, reporting on hearings and transcribing everything in sight.

It’s that same crowd of volunteers that has picked apart arguments, dredged up old news stories and computer manuals, and generally followed the SCO lawsuits with the kind of enthusiasm usually reserved for rotisserie baseball or, well, Linux.

All that has made it easy for reporters, analysts and deep-thinkers keeping an eye on the lawsuits. We just filtered out the partisan crowd noise — no mistake, this is a pro-Linux crowd — and dug into that virtual mountain of legal documents. Everything was there, posted, transcribed, organized and searchable.

That’s why we all picked up the ruling from Groklaw.

Early in the week, Groklaw complained about an article which suggests that SCO might have a “comeback” in store.

More bankruptcy filings. And there are upbeat chirpings in the air in Utah, with SCO proclaiming its own future brighter than they thought it would be, and you can read all about it in Tom Harvey’s article in the Salt Lake Tribune, which calls SCO “the comeback kids”. No bias there.

It might be a tad early for that title, methinks. IBM still looms on SCO’s horizon, after all. Novell was a sideline. The main event has yet to occur.

Groklaw was referring to this article.

The developments of the past few months also may mean that Darl McBride will continue as CEO, a post he was to exit when the company planned to give up control to new investors in order to save the company. Now, SCO may not need as much, if any, outside money to continue operations and pursue its lawsuits.

[...]

Shortly after that, SCO filed for bankruptcy and proposed a reorganization plan that included an investment of up to $100 million from a private-equity fund that would have taken control of the company. The fund, Stephen Norris Capital Partners, said McBride would not continue as CEO if the plan were approved by the bankruptcy court.

Here is the same optimistic/pro-SCO article from Tom Harvey reaching ECT. They also give room for pseudonym Paul Murphy, which Groklaw ignores as a matter of principle.

These battles are mysterious [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and the connections worth exploring in depth. There’s lots of circumstantial evidence and shared interest guides many business decisions.

Groklaw reckons, based on the article above, that interest in an investment in SCO was lost. A few days ago, Groklaw also divulged the details about further SCO fines in Germany. Later on it was only ZDNet UK that covered this story.

SCO Group has been ordered to pay a €10,000 (£7,900) fine in Germany for making claims that Linux includes intellectual property from Unix.

SCO has repeatedly claimed that Linux is an unlawful derivative of Unix, but had agreed not to make this claim anymore in Germany, following a lawsuit in 2003.

The current case found that the claims were still present in US material available on the site of SCO Group GmbH, the group’s German subsidiary. As well as paying the fine, SCO will have to monitor its German presence.

Over at Heise, another new situation for SCO (in Germany) received some attention.

SCO Group GmbH, a subsidiary of US company SCO Group Inc., is required to check its internet presence for errors following software updates from its parent company. This even applies to past errors. The opinion was passed down by a district court in Munich, leading Jens Horstkotte, the company’s legal counsel, to agree to a settlement in which the GmbH is required to pay 10,000 euros to an IT service provider.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, money is arriving from a Hong Kong-based company land lands at Utah. Can Novell grab it? After all, SCO owes Novell a lot of money.

So, what do you think? Can Novell get its money from a Hong Kong foreign subsidiary? I’m sure we all agree that SCO would never try to stiff anyone, so the fact that they are setting this up just before the bankruptcy court is about to decide on the question of how Novell will get the money the Utah court decided SCO owes them must be entirely coincidental.

Some time was spent in the IRC channel trying to find our if there is a Microsoft connection that may justify investment in SCO by ordering of products. We looked at Me Inc Software. Nothing convincing was found.

The only clear-to-see investments are those ‘cash infusion’s from Microsoft that keep Novell’s its SUSE going at the expense of independent and free Linuxes that won’t cave or compromise.

Novell blinded by money

Image from Wikimedia

The Collusion/Collaboration Club Strikes Again

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Servers, SLES/SLED at 10:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Favouritism factors

Those who choose SUSE, particularly at a large scale, are often Microsoft partners or sworn allies. Here is a new example from India.

SAP’s relationship with Microsoft was once explained here (Microsoft almost bought SAP) and Wipro is almost a subsidiary to Microsoft India [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Intel, by the way, is no better [1, 2]. Right now they are all getting together, along with Novell, in order to deliver a SUSE ‘solution’.

SAP and Wipro couple the proven business management solution SAP Business All-in-One with the Wipro NetBlade modular servers, to deliver short time-to-deployment of end-to-end business processes at a low total cost of ownership (TCO) to midsize companies in the manufacturing, service and trade industries .The Wipro NetBlade modular server is based on the open SSI standard and the Industry standard Intel® Xeon® Processors. SAP Business-All-in-One is not only validated, but also optimized for Intel Xeon processors. The complete stack includes the database SAP MaxDB and the operating system SUSE Linux Enterprise Server from Novell to deliver exceptional value, enterprise class robustne

More about this here:

SAP and Wipro have jointly launched a ready-to-use ERP solution for mid-market Indian companies.

The solution package includes SAP Business All-in-One integrated with Wipro NetBlade, Modular Servers based on Intel Multi-Flex technology, complete with implementation services and lifecycle support services together with operating system SUSE Linux Enterprise from Novell, which would deliver short time-to-deployment of end-to-end business processes. The solution will offer low total cost of ownership (TCO) to mid-sized companies in the manufacturing, service and trade industries.

Here is the simplified press release or just another article.

SAP AG and Wipro, key partner to SAP and Intel, have jointly launched a ready-to-use ERP solution for mid-market Indian companies. The solution package includes SAP Business All-in-One integrated with Wipro NetBlade, Modular Servers based on Intel Multi-Flex technology

Groupings of Intel+SAP+Novell+Microsoft were mentioned here before because a similar arrangement was made in the west. Remember: SAP was almost acquired by Microsoft a few years back and while Microsoft pursued Yahoo, some suggested that it should buy SAP instead. Nonetheless, they can live happily together, even without a full acquisition. All these five companies are already very close. Whenever Novell brags about a contract, it’s worth exploring the relationship and see if technical merits were part of the selection criteria.

Movell and Nicrosoft

Novell Befriends the School’s Bully, Fights GNU/Linux with MS-IP/Ballnux

Posted in Asia, Formats, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Interoperability, Microsoft, NetWare, Novell, Patents, Ron Hovsepian, Servers at 10:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An Unsuccessful Anti-Red Hat Deal

In previous coverage of the latest development [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13], we stressed that Novell is getting closer to Microsoft and more hostile towards other GNU/Linux vendors.

Sean Michael Kerner summarised the news thusly: “The deal will provide a margin of profitability for Microsoft and help Novell in its fight with Red Hat.

“Novell has been living in Red Hat’s shadow for a long time.”Novell has been living in Red Hat’s shadow for a long time. Now it finds shelter in Microsoft’s belly pouch where it’s whispering “attack Red Hat”. Novell has, essentially, sidled with a bully to scare all those other kids in the playground.

Despite a lot of this, Novell keeps losing prospective customers to Red Hat based on merit and reputation alone. Here is a new example, as told by a $3-billion-dollar company.

When Sabre began to move from proprietary systems, the company evaluated other open source operating systems including Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise but concluded that Novell was not as “mature” or respected as it is today and decided Red Hat was a more “proven” option, he said.

It’s clear that Novell suffered from Red Hat jealously. It lived in a state of uncertainty. It became accustomed to milking the Netware cash cow, which got depleted over time, leading to trouble. Back in 2005, when Red Hat was doing pretty well, Ron Hovsepian said that open source was slowing. It was less than a year later that Hovsepian inherited the helm and Novell strategised on something different.

It’s About Software Patents

Watch the following good post from Don Marti.

Well, some people don’t listen to Julie Bort’s advice. At Microsoft Subnet, she wrote, “At this point in the game, Microsoft should really come clean with a statement that rescinds its Linux/patent/suing threat altogether.”

Good idea, but no such luck. This morning’s press release haul brings “Microsoft and Novell Expand Successful Interoperability Relationship,” which says,

“Microsoft Corp. and Novell Inc. are announcing an incremental investment in their relationship to meet accelerating customer demand for their business model solution, which is designed to build a bridge between open source and proprietary software to deliver interoperability and intellectual property (IP) peace of mind for organizations operating mixed-source IT environments.”

Intellectual property peace of mind. Novell has a solid Linux, and punches above its weight in kernel contributions, so why does the marketing strategy so often come down to whining, “buy from us instead of Red Hat, or Microsoft will sue you?”

Interoperability? Not So Much.

Here’s Peter Judge’s take:

Myself, I think that virtualisation and document interchange are multi-platform by definition, so how much work is there really in those areas?

And at Linux Today:

So much for the “open” protocols MS published if they require special collaboration.

Microsoft deliberately made things incompatible by pushing OOXML with corruption and by plaguing hypervisors with a validation program that only Novell is permitted to be part of. It’s very clearly an anti-Red Hat move. Microsoft and Novell are, first and foremost in this case, anti-Red Hat companies joined by an anti-Red Hat alliance and pro-software patents push.

Watch this comment (complaint) about parroting of a press releases.

I say, good job at parroting Microsoft’s email, sugar-coating this alliance that is going nowhere with either Linux or Windows users. Businesses are not looking to buy into Novell’s Microsoft licensing backdoors either.

Simply put, Novell is being paid by Microsoft to support MS-OOXML. That’s all that’s come out of this alliance — press releases! And has anyone used Novell’s version of OpenOffice? It honestly sucks.

Lastly, please, please name names of anyone you know who is exchanging MS-OOXML documents. They’re not online, that’s for sure. OpenOffice would be smart not to waste their time.

As Matt Asay just put it, “Microsoft wants to ‘build Windows,’ but how about bridges?”

Build bridges, not toll roads.

Through closed standards, aggressive patent FUD, and proprietary Office file formats and SharePoint repository, Microsoft has effectively declared war on the very idea of “breaking down barriers that prevent people and ideas from connecting”…unless you happen to be using 100 percent of Microsoft’s software to do the job.

One of the biggest trends to knock down barriers to true interoperability has been open source and the open standards it espouses, yet Microsoft has sought to impose a patent toll on open source. For those interested in connecting with Microsoft’s technology, Microsoft is glad to oblige, but only on its terms, with Microsoft firmly in control. Open source, however, believes in a very different kind of interoperability.

People are not happy, but press releases from Novell and Microsoft tell a different story. The worst thing one can do is repeat those stories and lend credibility to them.

Eye on Microsoft: Feeling the Heat (and Not Just Because It’s Summer)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Security at 9:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Security

While the world is whispering about OpenSSH and Fedora, pay attention to Windows.

Microsoft admits posting flawed update

Microsoft Corp. rereleased one of its Aug. 11 security updates yesterday, explaining that it had posted an incomplete version to its own download center last week.

The admission was the third time in the past two months that Microsoft has had to reissue a security-related update.

This was a massive update addressing at least half a dozen “critical” flaws which probably enable full system compromise, even remotely. These statistics should not be surprising.

The security bubble of Windows Vista has already bursted, but there are greater troubles in sight.

If Microsoft really wanted to improve its reputation, they might try throwing that $300M at improving Vista and letting the market decides what it likes and doesn’t like. Instead, it makes a lame attempt to save its reputation through PR and ad campaigns and paper over a weak product.

New Vice President, When Did the Previous Leave?

It seems likely that a high-level departure at Microsoft went below the radar of the press. A new Vice President of Microsoft Services is being appointed, but when did the predecessor leave?

Callahan joins Microsoft from Lawson Software, where he served as executive vice president of Professional Services.

We have witnessed many silent departures recently, including that of Microsoft's chief in Singapore and in South Africa. It’s part of a trend.

Legal

Not a day goes by without some Microsoft confrontation.

InterSystems Corp. CEO Phillip Ragon has called One Memorial Drive home for the past 20 years.

But the longtime Cambridge resident and MIT graduate said the building’s landlord, the Blackstone Group, has a plan in the works to potentially brand the 17-story office tower as “the Microsoft building” by endorsing large Microsoft signs to be placed on three exterior sides and leasing out the top three floors to the out-of-town competitor.

“A big Microsoft sign across the top might imply that Cambridge is Microsoft,” said Ragon, whose sixth-floor conference room features an impeccable city view. “It really sets an image for the city.”

Vapourware Makes Another Comeback

For 4 consecutive months, Microsoft’s XBox360 was the worst-performing console (in terms of sales in its own back yard). How might Microsoft respond? The way it always does: vapourware.

Do you see the above? I declare that we call it the Vapor Wand. It is because it doesn’t exist. Journalists might insist that it does exist. But until it ships, it doesn’t exist. It is the Vapor Wand.

Over the past 7 years, XBox is estimated to have lost about $7 billion. A hugely-successful Microsoft may be a myth. Omnipotence can be an illusion, as Enron has already proven.

‘Pawns’ Under the Magnifying Glass

At the beginning of the year we wrote about the NHS, whose obsession with Microsoft cost it dearly. It cost the British taxpayers over 10 billion pounds and it’s said to be one of the biggest-ever information technology disasters. Here cometh an investigation from the BCS.

Shadow health secretary Stephen O’Brien MP has commissioned an independent report from the British Computer Society on what English health service IT should look like in five years’ time.

Beyond that patient-based records will form the basis of NHS informatics, no assumptions are being made, according the review’s chair Dr Glyn Hayes, past chair of the BCS Health Informatics Forum.

Yahoo! Saga Not Over Yet

It may seem quiet now, but the Yahoo/Microsoft marriage could return based on the observation made below.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Carl Icahn and the two Yahoo board members he selected are adding this occasion to some sort of list that they’ll present against Jerry Yang at a later date. And if Steve Ballmer – or someone representing any company with a fair amount of cash – wandered back to the bargaining table, an acquisition might be inevitable.

Never forget the mafia-like behaviour of Microsoft and the way it agitated Yahoo!

ODF vs Microsoft OOXML: Status Snapshot

Posted in DRM, Formats, GNU/Linux, Google, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 8:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Some months ago we summarised examples of heavy lobbying by Microsoft. As people may be aware, especially after the Massachusetts fiasco, there was a lot of lobbying directed against ODF (and Free software, by association). The following new article from LWN goes into a few of the details. It also introduces GeekPAC, which is trying to fight fire with fire, just like the Linux Foundation. It won't work.

Last year California Assemblyman Mark Leno authored AB 1668, a bill designed to encourage the state to adopt the Open Document Format as the standard format for government documents. Not surprisingly, Microsoft came out against the bill and it was eventually struck down in committee. CollabNet Community Manager and longtime FOSS supporter John Mark Walker was angry. Realizing that the open source community had no voice during the hearings and no way to fight back against the opposition’s lobbyists, Walker decided to mobilize support from within the ranks of the FOSS community and let them do what they do best — rally behind a cause and prove once again that there’s strength in numbers. So he founded GeekPAC.

GeekPAC’s goal is to pull together enough funding — a mere $2,200 — to file the necessary paperwork to be formally recognized by the Federal Elections Committee as a Political Action Committee (PAC). Then the group will locate politicians or candidates in the House and Senate who support hot-button technology issues like copyright reform and net neutrality. Once identified, GeekPAC will help support their campaigns and lobby together for change.

For those who are wondering, the ISO story is not over yet. It’s still seen as outrageous and it continues to be discussed.

So what shall be done? Has OOXML finally won its way through the ISO? It obviously did buy its way through the ISO leadership, but there are still other ways to show the world how outrageous this process has become. Now OOXML is still left where it is: noone has seen it, or rather, many (including me) have reported to have seen it, but few, if no one, can actually say for sure where it is, as it simply has never been implemented. Conflicting reports exist about file formats called OOXML that do not seem to conform to the ISO/IEC 29500 spec. But the spec itself is rarely seen, and even more rarely witnessed as an implemented standard. Of course, it does not carry any obligation to be implemented. It’s just an ISO standard…

Regardless of all the dirty play, OpenDocument continues to be embraced. Here’s some
fresh evidence of support from Google.

The new entry is context sensitive, so it only appears when you right click supported filetypes, which include Word docs, PDFs, PowerPoint, Excel, and every Open Document format.

Not a word about OOXML.

Glyn Moody suggests that Amazon should be pressured to support ODF on the Kindle. He is not alone because similar complaints were recently made about Sony’s e-Reader/s.

As far as I am aware, there is no support for ODF. Assuming Kindle catches on, that’s going to be an increasing problem for those of us pushing ODF.

Maybe time to start a campaign for ODF support on the Kindle….

Once again, not a single word about OOXML in the cited item.

This gadget runs Linux, so it ought to at least respect open standards, as opposed to its DRM masters. Will it inevitably happen?

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