Now, we did wonder if Tesco’s spec is a garbled reference not to a netbook but to an upcoming Dell MID. But the spec also mentions 1GB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive, “Ubunto Linux” (sic), dimensions extending to 30 x 30 x 17cm and a weight of 1.2kg, all of which are rather large for an MID.
George Weiss, the vice president of Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc., said that there is probably “a whole lot more Linux [in use] than people realize” because so much is downloaded for free that is not counted in server shipments. Although the survey did not break down Linux use by organization size, Weiss speculated that Linux may be used in 80% of large enterprises, with lesser percentages in smaller businesses.
LyngBox Media is shipping a Linux-powered set-top box (STB) designed for European satellite TV enthusiasts. The IP-ready LyngBox combines an HDTV receiver/recorder, dual DVB-S2/DVB-T tuners, and a 160GB hard drive, and offers daily updates to LyngSat Network’s worldwide satellite programming guide, says the Swedish company.
On the Linux platform, there are still some issues with software that haven’t been compiled for 64-bit. However, they are closed source applications so getting them to work for 64-bit is up to the software company. Adobe has not yet released a 64-bit version of their venerable Flash plugin, however its been said on one of Adobe’s blogs that Flash 10 may be released 64-bit. Another package is a 64-bit version of Sun’s Java interpreter. 64-bit Java is available for Windows and (surprise) Solaris, but not for Linux. It’s unsure if Sun is not offering 64-bit Linux binaries because of its Solaris operating system.
The Linux Foundation, in concert with several well-known industry names (hint: they start with letters like I and G), has hired a key contributor to the Linux kernel development community, the system administrator for kernel.org. It’s an important position. kernel.org is crucial to the Linux kernel’s collaborative development environment. It is the actual physical space — in cyberspace — where kernel developers get their work done. Without it, nothing happens.
Several new stories about Microsoft demonstrate its weakening, so we present them here with a few accompanying remarks.
Another One Bites the Dust
Make that another closure following the failure of other Microsoft units and services. The company will try to downplay the impact and deny the reasons, but those who have watched Microsoft closely already know that the company is bleeding billions of dollars in this area of its operations (namely Entertainment), which they constantly try to expand with financial success.
Microsoft Slaps PC Gamers, Decides to Close Ensemble Studios
Despite its legacy of producing some of the very finest strategy games with its Age of Empire and Age of Mythology series, Microsoft decided that it would be financially disadvantageous to continue to operate the wholly-owned Ensemble Studios.
For future retention, this story is also covered here. Prepare for lots of ‘damage control’ and excuses from the marketing company known as Microsoft Corporation.
Microsoft versus Standards
A lot of people — especially Web developers — have been complaining about Microsoft’s disregard for Web standards, as well as standards in general. Some British chap that’s familiar to many as “timbl”, is joining those complaints against Microsoft software, which is deficient and standards-unaware by design.
SIR TIM BERNERS LEE, inventor of the [World Wide Web] and current director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has a gripe with [Microsoft]’s Internet Explorer browser.
In a recent interview, the creator of the great WWW, noted that although he was loath to specifying his preference of web browser, IE just wasn’t up to scratch when it came to graphics encoding.
Not everyone is rocking to the new iTunes 8 released Tuesday. An informal poll on ZDNet suggests that a problem with the latest edition of the Apple media player is affecting some, but not all, users of the software on Microsoft’s Windows Vista.
The LSE absolved its core TradElect platform from blame. The system, designed and built by Accenture, runs on HP ProLiant Servers and Microsoft .Net and SQL Server 2000 systems. Accenture declined to comment on Monday’s events. The LSE said, “we won’t discuss dealings with our individual suppliers”.
Bob McDowall, senior analyst at Tower Group, said sparse explanations provided by the LSE so far were “not very satisfactory”.
Perhaps they just want to get away with false advertising in their “Get the Facts” crusade against GNU/Linux. Why should such horrible downtimes bother them if they can claim 100% uptime without getting reprimanded, punished or even banned by the ASA?
Trent Reznor, brainchild behind Nine Inch Nails, sure knows how to bring an audience down. In a recent concert Reznor, apparently trying to capture the pain of modern life, let the Blue Screen of Death flash across the screen…
Still, the sources say employees in HP’s PC division are exploring the possibility of building a mass-market operating system. HP’s software would be based on Linux, the open-source operating system that is already widely available, but it would be simpler and easier for mainstream users, the sources say.
The Vista advertisements are still being discussed, or at least being compared to much superior GNU/Linux advertisements.
By way of comparison, have a look at these two older ads from IBM promoting Linux. Irrespective of whether you’re a Linux and IBM fan or not, the message is clear an unambigious.
In the first one a young boy is being taught things and given information. He sits, mostly passively, as people from around the world feed him information. He absorbs the information and finally it is revealed … he is Linux. It’s a little cheesy but the message is not in doubt.
Also on the subject on Microsoft’s marketing blitz, Glyn Moody suggests that it’s part of a series of ‘stunts’ and he is probably right. The horrid first advertisement drew in a crowd, regardless of its quality. It was a form of viral marketing.
Like many, I was intrigued and ultimately disappointed by the first of the new Microsoft ads. But I assumed that it was in the nature of a teaser – or maybe even a clever ploy to lower expectations for later episodes, thus increasing their eventual impact.
It’s probably better never to mention those ads. █
And Novell helps Microsoft demote VMware to become an anti-GNU/Linux hyper-gateway
This is a continued exploration of Microsoft’s aggressive (if not corrupt) fight for hypervisor control [1, 2]. Microsoft refers to such things as "Slog" or "Jihad" and today we’ll show that the usual suspects are personally involved in seizing the foundations of many servers.
As pointed out in the news [1, 2] (scroll down to the very bottom), virtualisation in growing more important in the back rooms. Even Red Hat insists so. According to this article from IDG — an article about Microsoft and Novell grouping together against everybody else — it is indeed something whose potential has yet to be fully exploited.
At a virtualization launch event Sept. 8, Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft’s server and tools business, said, “It is still early days. Only about 12% of servers are virtualized.” He also said that Microsoft foresees a future world where virtualization is the norm: “It will be used across all the servers and desktops in a business,” he said.
Microsoft must view this as an opportunity to shut out rivals. DRM and the MBR are other such opportunities that Microsoft misses or is unable to over-abuse due to regulation. Instead, in this particular case, it’s rallying for partners.
Leading analyst firm Gartner predicts virtualization will be the highest-impact trend changing IT infrastructure and operations through 2012. A virtual appliance is an application combined with just enough operating system (JeOS) for it to run optimally in any virtualized environment. In addition to the Windows platform, rPath supports all the major virtualization platforms including VMware, Citrix Systems, Parallels and Virtual Iron.
The most appalling thing which happens at the moment isn’t to be attributed to IDG (IDC being another party which is sponsored by Microsoft) or even Gartner. It’s actually Microsoft’s talking point and long-time poison pen, Maureen O’Gara. She’s attacking VMware insanely while defending Microsoft and Novell, as usual. Here is some proof [1, 2] showing she is a shill for Microsoft. She got caught, so it’s no matter of speculation and she has already tried relentlessly to attack Linux using SCO.
“I notice she upgraded her picture recently, she appears to be growing younger,” says one anonymous reader.
Then come examples of the usual FUD she receives from Redmond and publishes. “They type it up in Redmond, then it’s repeated verbatim in the press,” says the reader. Being familiar with this one particular poison pen, he adds some examples like:
“Old UNIX guard attempting to hijack Linux to go after Sun.”
“Linux is only attacking UNIX.”
“VM is only useful to save on electricity.”
To give just a sample of the latest Microsoft/O’Gara a series of attacks on VMware (via 'the press'):
Even the choice of images drips with bias, not just the headlines and phrases like “Take that Google Docs!” It’s FUD of a very high degree and it’s just like the slog we used to warn about:
“Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.”
In a previous post about this slog against VMware we have already criticised Sys-con for excessive FUD, such as premature predictions of death. This slog against VMware was mentioned in the IRC channel as well. Such enormous amount of anti-VMware poison in Sys-con is intended to erode customer confidence and infect the minds of other journalists, who peer through their news feeds.
The delay means the software giant — which is striving to win favor for its virtualization solution — still lacks features long available from rivals.
It has been just vapourware or wishful thinking all along. Having already postponed this product’s release and castrated promised features from it, they pretended to have made it available “ahead of schedule”. A more moderate headline actually came from Forbes, for a change.
Microsoft’s collaboration with Novell is also associated with intellectual property assurances. Those assurances are highly controversial in the open source Linux world. Microsoft essentially promises not to sue companies for patent violations when they buy Novell’s Linux through Microsoft’s certificate program.
Evidencing the ongoing collaboration between two formerly bitter rivals, Microsoft and Novell on Tuesday announced a joint virtualization solution optimized for customers running mixed-source environments.
Novell may be suing Microsoft for allegedly conspiring to kill WordPerfect, but that’s not stopping the companies from joining forces on other fronts.
Meanwhile, Novell’s antitrust suit against Microsoft is proceeding. Novell accuses Microsoft of using monopolistic tactics to drive WordPerfect and Quattro out of the market. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court gave Novell the go ahead to continue the litigation.
However unlikely, according to Microsoft insiders, Forbes speculates that Microsoft might eventually buy Citrix, which currently has a market cap of $6.4 billion.
That would give Microsoft full ownership of Xen, which it already pretty much controls by proxy [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. Citrix and Microsoft are still getting closer, as just reported by ZDNet.
Vnunet.com was wrongly spinning the deal with Microsoft as “acceptance” rather than a betrayal or intrusion.
The deal also marks the latest chapter in the ongoing partnership between Microsoft and Novell. The two first joined forces with a licensing deal in 2006 that many viewed as Microsoft’s official acceptance of Linux.
Last month, the two reaffirmed that partnership when Microsoft agreed to spend another $100m on new SUSE licences. Microsoft said that the new deal represents significant progress in the partnership.
Microsoft and Novell have announced that Novell’s Suse Linux will be supported as a guest under Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualisation product. However, some Linux users have said the deal only demonstrates the limited value of Microsoft’s virtualisation offering.
Microsoft wants to control the ‘pipes’, deciding which software or operating system can run on top of Windows (and how well). Badly-performant GNU/Linux distributions and patent tax are key and here is a good new explanation of why that is.
When Microsoft finally released its long-awaited hypervisor technology, Hyper-V, it also announced a partnership agreement with Novell to offer support for Novell SUSE Enterprise Linux in the new server virtualization platform. However, for the Linux guest operating system to perform at its best, it needs additional components that Microsoft calls Linux Integration Components.
At the end of the day, there will always be many Microsoft voices drowning out the ‘signal’. This includes ‘analysts’ like Yankee Group and Burton Group, who repeatedly sling mud at VMware [1, 2, 3. Both analysts have accepted Microsoft money (or favours) to produce a series of ‘studies’ which defame Microsoft’s rivals using selective statistics and other such trickery.
It’s only rather disappointing that the Linux Foundation funded those very same people at one stage, essentially feeding the same poison pen that stings them. They must not fight fire with fire because this leads to hypocrisy. They needn’t pay attention to that fire, either.
Sadly for VMware, it does not equate or top Microsoft in terms of bad behaviour. And nice guys sometimes finish last.
Center of attention was Qumranet, the firm Red Hat agreed to acquire just last week for about US$107m. Best known for its KVM virtualization software, Red Hat sees the addition of the Qumranet technology helping to take it up against Microsoft — the other company owning both operating system and virtualization components.
The second appointment worth discussing was mentioned a couple of days ago. Some more details about the man in question are beginning to emerge.
A 25-year industry veteran, Poole most recently served as corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential Group, which focuses on IT technology needs in underserved countries. He was also active in the company’s involvement with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organization and helped bring Windows to OLPC machines.
So, the same man who essentially fought against GNU/Linux on the OLPC is now joining NComputing, which reports that 40% of its clients choose GNU/Linux  (citations at the bottom). The price made it almost a necessity  and coverage was plentiful [3, 4]. Macedonia became a big client  because all of the students there were put on GNU/Linux, thanks to NComputing .
For those who wish to believe that Poole disengaged from its past in Microsoft, well… it does not seem so.
Poole, 47, said he and his wife will remain in their Bellevue home.
Dukker says about 40 per cent of NComputing’s customers have chosen Linux (the company uses Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora or SuSE) and the remainder have gone with Windows on the host. He is careful to specify that he has no religion when it comes to the operating system – it is entirely the buyer’s choice. (Of course, if he were not offering the GNU/Linux option, then he wouldn’t have got a run here).
The Republic of Macedonia is one of the poorer nations in southeastern Europe to come from the break-up of the former Yugoslav republic. But thanks to Linux, they do have the wherewithal to get a computer to every student in the country, thanks to a program launched in 2005 known as the “Computer for Every Child” (CEC) project.
NComputing announced this week that its multi-user virtual desktop software and low-cost virtual PC terminals will be used to equip every school child in the Republic of Macedonia, formerly part of Yugoslavia, with a Linux desktop.
A reader has just brought to our attention what he calls “an interesting E-mail sent from Jack Messman to Novell partners complaining and attempting to correct Microsoft FUD.” This FUD was based on the Yankee Group, largely known as a Microsoft shill [1, 2, 3, 4].
We append this 2004 E-mail at the bottom. Parts of this E-mail can be found here (the original is no longer available, except for in Google cache). Ron Hovsepian signed this message as well and worth noting is the short section under “Indemnification”. It states:
“Mr. Ballmer claims that it is rare for open source software to provide customers with any indemnification at all. The Novell® Linux Indemnification Program has been in place for quite some time. It offers indemnification for copyright infringement claims made by third parties against registered Novell customers. Novell has also placed its considerable patent
portfolio squarely behind its customers, to defend against those who might assert patents against open source products marketed, sold or supported by Novell.”
In other news that’s explored by Groklaw at the moment, SCO, Norris and possibly the Carlyle Group with which he is associated [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] are being challenged by Novell’s lawyers. Here are the two articles about it (so far):
So what is SCO after in seeking an extension? Novell suggests SCO is maybe seeking to pressure Novell into agreeing to a quick appeal, before the arbitration is finished, or perhaps they are looking for an exit strategy, or they are looking for a litigation advantage, none being reasons for granting them the extension. Novell is quite clear with the court, stating unambiguously that there is no way it can properly grant an open-ended extension. It lays out all the cases for the judge.
When Novell suggested the other day to the Bankruptcy Court handling SCO’s bankruptcy that the Stephen Norris deal SCO announced (then withdrawn with a promise to make it better) might be bogus, we naturally wondered if there was anything new that Novell knows that caused them to say that.
Then today, a comment was left by stats-for-all that there is a lawsuit against Norris alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties, shareholder oppression, and (in the alternative) unjust enrichment and promissory estoppel, Crimson Capital LLC et al v. The Spartan Group Holding, LLC et al. It was originally filed in Supreme Court, County of New York, in New York State, Case Number: 601873-08, at the end of July. That’s not “supreme” as in highest court in the state, by the way. It’s where you begin a civil action of this type in New York State. I have no idea why they name it that way, but they do.
SCO keeps harping about a $100 million cash infusion that it may receive from partners of Bill Gates in the middle east. Remember who else has received a $100 million cash infusion very recently? Directly from Microsoft even? It’s the “kill Red Hat” budget and it’s slush funds. █
NUI Newsletter – November 2004
Letter from Jack Messman, Novell CEO
You may have seen a letter from Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, which was sent to all Windows customers in an attempt to slow the flood of migration to Linux. Novell would like to make you aware that the points made by Mr. Ballmer in that letter include only those statements in its paid studies that reflect most positively on Microsoft when comparing their products to Linux.
Novell would like to share some additional facts with you that will shed some light on the bigger picture.
Total Cost of Ownership
Mr. Ballmer quotes selectively from Windows-favorable comments in a Yankee Group report (“Linux, UNIX and Windows TCO Comparison”). However — that’s not the whole story. That same report also states the following:
- “…corporate customers report Linux provides businesses with excellent performance, reliability, ease of use and security. Yes, Linux is a viable alternative to UNIX and Windows. In addition, Linux is the most serious competition to Microsoft’s dominance in the server operating system market to date.”
- “The ability to modify and customize the Linux source code affords customers the most intriguing possibilities for custom application development. This ability stands in stark contrast to the closed or proprietary nature of the Windows operating system.
- “In summary, the Yankee Group’s TCO survey found that Linux does offer compelling cost savings, economies of scale and technical advantages, as many a satisfied user will attest.”
Mr. Ballmer brings up the issue of security, which understandably is much on his mind. He cites Microsoft’s recent investments in security research, process improvements, and customer education, and boasts of Microsoft’s structured software engineering process that is designed to make software more secure.
The truth is, Open Source uses a structured process, but it is definitely different from the one Microsoft utilizes. And to tell the truth, it seems to be working much better.
Evans Data Corporation, in their Linux Development Survey dated Summer, 2004 shows:
- Ninety two percent of survey respondents indicated that their Linux systems have never been infected with a virus Fewer than 7% said that they’d been the victims of three of more hacker intrusions.
- On the other hand, the process Microsoft utilizes clearly has been inadequate at protecting its customers from costly malicious attacks.
For example, two weeks ago Microsoft released a mammoth patch pack to address more than 20 vulnerabilities, most of them critical. Several of them, in Excel, Internet Explorer, and Exchange, could enable mass automated worm attacks.
In a story
that appeared in Computer Business Review Online, Drew Copley, senior research engineer at eEye Digital Security Inc, said that it took Microsoft 71 days to patch the Zip problem after being notified, but another vulnerability, a less-severe privilege escalation problem in Windows, took the firm 408 days to issue a patch for, though it was “stealth-patched” in XP SP2.
“They can do better than that in my opinion. Even when they are fast there are often variants out by the time the patch comes out,” he said. “I think that’s a very important criticism to make.”
Mr. Ballmer claims that it is rare for open source software to provide customers with any indemnification at all. The Novell® Linux Indemnification Program has been in place for quite some time. It offers indemnification for copyright infringement claims made by third parties against registered Novell customers. Novell has also placed its considerable patent
portfolio squarely behind its customers, to defend against those who might assert patents against open source products marketed, sold or supported by Novell.
Linux can deliver a lower TCO, it is arguably more secure than Windows, and the combination of Novell’s patent policies and the indemnification program offers for its open source products provides protection for customers who wish to make the leap to Linux. We invite you to read the full reports for yourself, and see why Linux is gaining more and more fans every day.
Linux is the fastest growing operating system, used from desktops to the most demanding data centers. According to IDC reports, Linux enjoyed year-to-year growth of nearly 50% in 2003. By 2007, they estimate that 30% of all servers will run Linux, and they project a 44% compound annual growth rate in Linux desktops.
According to an Information Week survey, Linux is now the dominant manifestation of open source. Nearly 70 percent of 420 business-technology professionals surveyed already use the operating system. Three-quarters of those using Linux on some of their companies’ servers chose it for its performance capabilities and reliability.
If the world were as Microsoft states, Linux would not be the world’s fastest growing operating system, ISVs would not be writing to it in ever increasing numbers, partners would not be looking to sell it, and Microsoft would not have put a revenue caution related to Linux in their latest SEC filing. These, however, are the true facts.
This information and much more is available on our website at www.novell.com/linux/truth. We encourage you to examine the facts in their entirety and see if Linux is right for you and your business.
“It’s going very well insofar as we originally agreed to co-operate [with Microsoft] on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on.”
“Our partnership with Microsoft continues to expand.”
–Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO
Amidst some virtualisation-oriented events, there’s a big virtualisation buzz in the news, especially at the moment [1, 2, 3, 4]. It is unfortunate but not surprising to find that Novell has already found a partner in Microsoft, whose platform it helps push as a host (Windows as “master”), along with Microsoft’s utilities that act as a steering wheel and can thus control performance of GNU/Linux (“guest” or “slave”). It’s widely agreed that resource allocation is more sophisticated (also fair and transparent for public scrutiny) under Linux, so it hardly makes sense to handle the VM hierarchy in such a way. This is something we wrote about yesterday and some more people weigh in on this issue. From CNET:
As Suse Linux fades further from any relevance outside of Microsoft, and Red Hat and Sun make huge strides in virtualization, Novell plans to offer support for Suse running on Windows. Is there meaning here or is Novell just becoming more of a Microsoft puppet?
The CRN headline found here says “Microsoft, Novell Add Linux Support To Hyper-V” rather than “Microsoft permits only Microsoft SUSE ‘Special’ Support in Hyper-V.”
Microsoft and Novell have been busily hammering away behind the scenes to show that their nearly two-year-old interoperability pact is more than just another IT industry dog-and-pony show. Now, those efforts have begun to bear fruit.
The deal spins from Microsoft anointing Novell as its pet Linux distribution back in 2006, while the software giant was attempting to cool off other distros with (apparently idle) threats of IP infringement.
This is not the first time that the role of software patents in Microsoft virtualisation (using “hypercalls”) is mentioned [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Novell is playing with fire, and it’s loving it! █
With virtualization being the hottest thing in computing, VMworld 2008 is the place to be next week, and all the leading open source OS vendors will soon descend on the show to be part of the action. The Las Vegas trade show is the No. 1 spot for open source providers to reach out to customers and spread the word about their respective virtualization strategies.
Red Hat recognizes that Qumranet’s desktop virtualization products bring a new shade of green to corporate enterprises by shifting the bulk of the power, administration, and troubleshooting to servers. Desktop virtualization is the next major frontier in this brave new go to green world.
Sun Microsystems, Inc., has announced the availability of Sun xVM Server software and Sun xVM Ops Center 2.0, key components in its comprehensive virtualization strategy. Designed to operate at Internet scale, the Sun xVM virtualization portfolio is open, flexible and delivers the industry’s most robust offerings for virtualization from the desktop to the datacenter.
Last Friday, Sun Microsystems quietly rolled out a beta version of Project Kenai, an open source project hosting system which bills itself as “More than just a forge”. Tim Bray, Sun’s Director of Web Technologies, announced Project Kenai on his blog, ongoing. Project Kenai, pronounced “KeenEye” according to Bray’s announcement, is a Rails based application, providing source code management and issue tracking, like other open source forges. Kenai includes the infrastructure for social networking, hence the “More than just a forge” slogan.