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Novell Still Insults Competing GNU/Linux Distributions and Sun’s OpenOffice.org

Posted in Fork, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, OpenOffice, Red Hat, Servers at 6:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Yesterday we wrote to mention very briefly Novell’s “attack” (not our word) on Red Hat. Given the people involved [1, 2], this should not be surprising.

In the press release, what does Novell mean by “third-party Linux distribution”? Is there now a distinction between Novell SUSE and some “third parties”, which is an insulting term?

Novell today announced the availability of a new subscription and support program designed to aid customers making the transition from their existing third-party Linux* distribution to SUSE(R) Linux Enterprise Server. The SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Subscription with Expanded Support program includes a three-year subscription to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server that provides technical support for a customer’s existing Linux deployments for up to two years while they make the transition to SUSE Linux Enterprise.

“Third parties” are mentioned again further down in the press release:

The new program is in response to growing customer demand for help as they make the strategic decision to transition their data center Linux infrastructure from existing third-party distributions, such as Red Hat* Enterprise Linux and CentOS, to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

At the bottom it says:

Novell and SUSE are registered trademarks of Novell Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. *All third-party trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

What do they mean by third parties? That it’s merely a compromise? That it’s “unsupported” (another derogatory term)? That it’s inferior and foreign? It’s a very xenophobic term, as we explained before. We have already criticised the term "non-proprietary", which we saw repeated in [1, 2, 3]. It can sometimes be used when striving to suggest that there is something wrong with Free(dom) software and that it is “non appropriate”. Wording is always important due to mental and verbal connotations.

One of our regular trolls (a site heckler) accused us yesterday of inappropriately calling Novell’s latest tactics “predatory”. Well, when one GNU/Linux vendor antagonises another in this way (by cutting its revenue stream while still exploiting its product), then it’s bound to be called an attack, even in the ‘mainstream’ press. From IDG (NetworkWorld) comes the headline:

Novell lays out Red Hat attack plan

Matt Asay put a sarcastic spin on it, saying that “Novell builds bridges…from Red Hat to SUSE.” Wasn’t Novell supposed to accommodate migrations to GNU/Linux from other platforms, through so-called bridges to other platforms?

I continue to believe the real revenue opportunity for Novell (and Red Hat) is Unix replacements, not internecine competition between Linux vendors.

Why doesn't Novell compete against Microsoft Windows anymore? Could it be because Novell is now working with (and for) Microsoft? Well, not in the literal sense.

Novell is not only pulling such tricks against Red Hat. It’s doing something similar to Sun Microsystems, as well. Novell forked OpenOffice.org [1, 2] and Sam Dean unfortunately brings attention to this dangerous fork and promotes it with the headline “Go-oo: A Lighter, Faster OpenOffice, With Extras.”

Go-oo is a fork of OpenOffice version 2.4, for Windows and Linux.

“Be aware of this,” says longtime LinuxToday reader GreyGeek.

from a comment:

“by masoman on Nov. 11, 2008

Your readers need to be aware that the go-oo fork of OpenOffice.org is very much a bleeding edge developers’ version, which has not been through the full QA process run by the OpenOffice.org folks. It’s also paid for indirectly by Microsoft licence fees, through Microsoft’s funding of Novell (the home of go-oo).”

As another commenter said:
“Maybe I’m off-base, but it looks to me like MS-infected OOo. It’s coming from Novell (which I refuse to use), and is paid for by MS-license fees.

Sure, I’m paranoid, but I’m not touching this….”

We have already shown how Novell insults OpenOffice.org in order to market its own fork of the popular software and grab customers away from Sun. Shouldn’t Novell try to appeal more to Microsoft Office users (by far the majority), preferably by working together with Sun, as opposed to stomping it (along with ODF)?

Speaking of liaising with Microsoft, check out this new story from Ken.

In an effort to help proliferate the Linux Desktop, HeliOS Solutions has contacted a number of Big Box stores and smaller businesses throughout the Austin Metro Area and asked them if we could set up professional and attractive displays for Linux Live CD’s.

The response has been surprisingly positive…and I’m talking about some really BIG big box stores.

However, one of those stores asked me to meet with them and discuss some of the anticipated ramifications of them doing so.

They are concerned about Microsoft engaging them legally.

They are worried about Steve Ballmer coming in with a figurative ball bat and legally demolishing the displays….and then suing them amidst the rubble.

Is legal intimidation doing its harms now? If it’s related to patents, then remember company helped fuel this. Novell of course.

Gates on SUSE

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