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09.11.08

Novell Keeps the Beast Happy

Posted in GNU/Linux, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Virtualisation, Windows at 4:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Monopoly now, community later

As stressed many times before, Novell has placed its bets on relying on Microsoft. It hopes that by obeying the wishes of the company behind Windows, it might receive a reward. Without it, Novell would be experiencing financial difficulties.

NindowsA couple of weeks ago, Novell’s CEO stated that the number of collaborations with Microsoft were expected to roughly triple. In other words, those who believe they have seen Microsoft and Novell getting closer have plenty left to witness. How long before Novell just becomes a part of Microsoft?

Earlier this morning (around midnight in Waltham), the following press release hit the wires.

Microsoft and Novell Deliver Joint Virtualization Solution Through Partners

[...]

Supported by Dell and other channel partners, solution includes SUSE Linux Enterprise Server running as optimized guest on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V.

[...]

The virtualization solution is the first to include technology developed by both companies at their joint Interoperability Lab, including virtual machine adapters built to optimize SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as an optimized, or often referred to as enlightened, guest operating system on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, providing optimized performance to SUSE Linux guests.

It is clear that Novell’s plan has not changed, but practical progress is being made twards making GNU/Linux a guest machine under Windows hosts, using Microsoft’s own virtualisation products that discriminate against Red Hat, for instance. It’s a predatory joining of former rivals to just hurt other rivals and hand over power to one company: Microsoft.

Microsoft could play with all GNU/Linux distributions, but instead it chose to separate between those that pay Microsoft for the ‘privilege’ to function and those that do not. Stephen Withers, failing to realise the complexity of this situation, is quick to proactively dismiss critics as ‘anti-Microsoft’.

inux and Windows working nicely together might not be the dream scenario for Linux purists committed to a Microsoft-free world. Indeed, there are some who will likely slam this development as little more that Microsoft hype and hoo-hah.

Sean Michael Kerner published this quick article as well.

It also comes at an opportune time for Novell, which is trying to differentiate itself from competitor Red Hat and its virtualization offerings.

Just a few days ago, Novell’s Jaffe talked about the “depth of partnership with Microsoft.” Has it ever occurred to Novell that it could partner with GNU/Linux counterparts rather than partner against them?

Depth of partnership with Microsoft

The depth of our partnership with Microsoft is the significant. Some of the key aspects of this partnership are:

  • Technical collaboration as part of our original agreement. This was broad covering many areas: documents, directory, management, and virtualization
  • A joint laboratory in Cambridge, MA to work on interoperability
  • An expansion of this technical collaboration into new areas. This includes the Moonlight project for the Silverlight framework and accessibility.
  • Bolstering the technical collaboration by building companion offers. A great example is our Advanced Management Pack for Linux.
    Regular meetings at working levels and executive levels to understand customer problems and explore where additional interoperability is required.

Overall, this comes to prove that proprietary software agenda comes before Free software at Novell. What a shame and what a waste. A reality check is needed for those inside Novell who are still fooled into thinking that the company is a friend of freedom rather than its paid suppressor.

“We will do some buying of companies that are built around open-source products.”

Steve Ballmer 2007

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6 Comments

  1. pcole said,

    September 11, 2008 at 5:44 am

    Gravatar

    Freedom (FOSS) has spurred innovation and creativity at a lightning quick pace. Forget for a minute MS unethical, criminal business practices; Here MS is but a massive boat anchor to that innovation by trying to dictate how things are to be done. And once again the apologisists come out to white wash MS’s behaviour. Red Hat, Canonical, Debian, Mandriva keeps moving along supporting that innovation without trumpeting its support to FOSS, or is it that the MS shills are so loud you can’t hear anything else. For every public announcement of bought/bribed MS migration there are quite a few quiet ones going on in the background.

    Ballmer said “GNU/Linux is a cancer”. Careful what you say ’cause who’s the cancer now. Everything MS touches, (this way of being goes for politicians; especially the US) it infects and corrupts. MS has never innovated anything. They consistently keep copying, mostly crApple, stealing ideas of others (FOSS),and continuing its anti-competitivness through branding (OEM-bundling). Novell’s collaboration is opening FOSS’s door to MS pollution. This is the stain with which novell will be known for.

  2. mpz said,

    September 11, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Gravatar

    Jaffe’s post is the most disappointing post i’ve seen from Novell.

    But seriously, who in their right mind would really want to virtualise Linux on top of Windows anyway? `the best optimised linux under windows’ – wow, what an under-achievement. That’s like trying to sell `The Best fruit cake you can make with rotten eggs’, or `The best house you can build with an unstable foundation’. It seriously undermines Novell’s own history and self-interest, and shows the top-level management to be greedy and short-sighted and maybe worse. And that’s just Novell – it’s a complete kick in the face to SUSE and anyone who supported it throughout the years.

    I wonder if Windows has become an ‘enlightened’ host on SUSE? Or is the traffic only going one way? Or perhaps it is only ‘enlightened’ when running on Windows?

    Hmm. First they copy someone else’s innovative idea/buy up the competition – check. It will be open enough that things will work ok with other implementations – check. Then they’ll ‘tweak’ it so theirs works the best – or rather, they’ll claim it works the best (i.e. at that stage now) – check. Then they’ll test to see if they’re running on their implementation – and if not … oh suddenly things become a bit unstable, or just slower (maybe we’re already at that stage). Sigh. We’ve been here before – it’s the same old model. They can’t even innovate with the way they distort the market and keep everyone in the dark ages (hmm, yes, very apt – they are the Catholic Church of IT). Actually Novell have been here before – and vowed never to repeat it. So they’re not the only ones who cannot learn.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 11, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Gravatar

    But seriously, who in their right mind would really want to virtualise Linux on top of Windows anyway?

    Ron Hovsepian commented on this issue before. He said that part of his agreement with Microsoft was that SUSE would run only as a guest. I will need to check my noted and references to give a more accurate answer though.

  4. Jose_X said,

    September 11, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Gravatar

    I think most businesses that will bite on the Microsoft sponsored Novell Linux offer are not interested at this point in time in control over their software. Like pouring water, some things cannot be done right half-heartedly. Until Microsoft opens up their source code, we won’t have interop. We’ll have Microsoft feeding us (Novell.. whomever) information just like they have been doing for decades while shipping something else. There is only one path towards solid longlasting interop and that is by opening up the source code. Show me the source. Put up or shut up.

    Linux works for competing vendors because it has its source code open. If we can’t nail down the Microsoft protocols, we should focus on those protocols that we can and do nail down.

    Novell Linux is the Linux to help you find your way back onto the treadmill. Microsoft certifies it.

  5. Jose_X said,

    September 11, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Gravatar

    Let’s assume Novell wants to reach out to those businesses that otherwise would not touch Linux (I don’t think Microsoft will invite Novell to those parties, but let’s assume Novell might accidentally bump into such a future customer).

    If Novell is under contract to keep Microsoft software in the best position, who does Novell think they are going to convince to give Linux a real shot later on? What is more likely to happen is that these customers will think Linux is a fraud and too costly to babysit after, and “if this Linux (Novell’s certified Linux) has the problems it has, how much worse might the others that are not certified be?”

    To get a taste of Linux without brokenness, you have to leave the Microsoft fold because Linux and Microsoft software will always have problems interoperating since Microsoft has no business giving up business to Linux vendors when it’s totally within their control to create problems between these two platforms (Microsoft sees our code but we don’t see theirs).

    You have to use Linux tools across the board to see how it can really perform. And to undertake this challenging task (challenging if you are new to Linux), you need to work with vendors/partners that are focused on Linux and not on playing games with Microsoft.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 12, 2008 at 1:18 am

    Gravatar

    Don’t forget that customers will get poor a impression of that ‘Linux’ (Ballnux rather) because SUSE will run as a guest under Windows Server, which according to Microsoft puppets (Yankee Group) has gotten worse in terms of uptime.

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