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12.18.08

Why It’s Important to Weaken Novell and SUSE

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Red Hat, SLES/SLED, Ubuntu at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reader’s thoughts

Two days ago at ServerWatch (JupiterMedia), Paul Rubens claimed that “Novell continued its strategy of dancing with the devil by agreeing to take up to $100 million of Microsoft’s closed-source-derived money in exchange for support coupons to give away or sell to its customers.”

With typical exceptions, the media openly states what Novell has done and why this is harmful to Free software. Yesterday, in response to the following comment (there are more) on this article, Slated wrote that “[this is] an excellent, if incomplete, comment:

By using a distribution which shares (much more than just) the name with
the one Novell sells, you are supporting them, to argue otherwise is
somewhat bizarre. Just as you are supporting debian if you use ubuntu,
or redhat if you use centos or fedora (or Sun if you use gcj or any
other Java, or MS if you use mono). Not only in terms of using the
product and becoming a statistic, but also learning how it works and all
of its little differences with competitors products. This ‘invested
knowledge’ will always influence your decisions in the future.

The bit that’s missing is where this ‘invested knowledge’ spreads like a
disease to others one influences, resulting in viral mindshare that
propagates Microsoft’s twisted ideologies; politics; development
paradigms; propaganda; and agenda, thus ultimately benefiting them (the
enemy of Free Software and Open Standards) as they ultimately harvest
that mindshare “investment”. This in turn makes them even more powerful
and thus more invincible in their quest to supplant Freedom with their
own brand of slavery, as they assume the role of Corporate Dictator in
the IT industry (and anywhere else they can dominate).

And if you think the concept of “mindshare investment” is ridiculous,
consider that Microsoft actually went as far as sabotaging a charity
just to be able to give away Windows to the third-world (somewhere
that neither they nor Intel, their partners-in-crime, ever even
considered to be a “market” at all before the emergence of the OLPC),
rather than allow Free Software to win that mindshare.

As Bob Cringely put it: “[Microsoft] are willing to lose money for years
and years just to make sure that you don’t make any money, either.”

That’s not competing, it’s dumping, or IOW suppressing the competition
by saturating the market, to the point where that market no longer
exists for anyone but Microsoft (through vendor lock-in and the upgrade
treadmill). It’s just one element (along with OEM bribes) that defines
Microsoft’s “business” as racketeering. And it really is racketeering;
I’m not just using that word to be sensationalist. How else would one
describe such a viciously and unethically enforced monopoly?

This is also the reason it’s so important to Microsoft that they “own”
all the standards as well. They used to do this by perverting industry
standards to their own proprietary specifications (e.g. Java and HTML),
but, as a result of various lawsuits and anti-trust measures, they can
no longer do that with impunity, so now they’ve adopted the devious
tactic of creating ostensibly “open” standards that are actually
encumbered with their Intellectual Monopoly, and certain gullible Free
Software developers are falling into the trap (or willingly and
malevolently hurling themselves into it).

This is one of the most important points that I’m trying to convey WRT
Mono … it’s a subtle but effective way of recruiting converts to the
“Microsoft Way®”, both in terms of (erstwhile) Free Software developers’
views of Intellectual Monopolies, and their development paradigms.
Microsoft is not only poisoning the Well, but they’re recruiting an army
of FOSS traitors to help them do so, who in turn recruit more traitors
to poison the Well, exponentially.

Microsoft are destroying their enemy (the Free Software community) from
within, and Mono developers and users are helping, unwittingly or
otherwise, and irrespective of whether or not they acknowledge that fact
- they are further strengthening Microsoft’s base of power, and it’s not
power they intend to use for good, as they’ve adequately demonstrated in
the past.

Of course apathy or malevolence tends to make certain people “forget”
the past; as they systematically shred the truth from their own minds,
and replace it with rose-tinted platitudes, just as Microsoft themselves
do with Emails and other damning evidence of their crimes, that would
otherwise become court documents.

Take Miguel de Icaza, for example, who seems to think that Windows
hasn’t crashed since the days of version 3.1; that the issues people
have with Microsoft are based purely in irrational and unjustifiable
“demonisation” (or to use that common Americanism – they’re just
“Haters”); and has nothing to do with with the technical integrity of
Microsoft’s software. No, I’m not making this up – see for yourself:

http://mschnlnine.vo.llnwd.net/d1/ch9/0/LangNetMiguelDragos.wmv

(Fast-forward 24 minutes into the video).

How apt that this video is only available in Microsoft’s proprietary
format. Presumably the Free Software community were never meant to see
it (without “violating” Microsoft’s “IP”).

If this level of brainwashing is any indication of the typical state of
mind amongst Mono developers and (willing) users, then clearly they are
an utterly lost cause. They’re not just sleeping with the enemy; they’re
revising (or ignoring) history to delude themselves that this is
perfectly acceptable, and that those who decry their support of
Microsoft are “zealots” who “demonise” them.

No doubt SUSE users and developers perceive dissenters like me in the
same light. Anything I say against Microsoft and those who support them,
must be some kind of personal attack on innocent people. Of course they
say that, then turn to smile at their new-found friend, the Devil.

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22 Comments

  1. aeshna23 said,

    December 18, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Gravatar

    “By using a distribution which shares (much more than just) the name with the one Novell sells, you are supporting them, to argue otherwise is
    somewhat bizarre. Just as you are supporting debian if you use ubuntu,
    or redhat if you use centos or fedora (or Sun if you use gcj or any
    other Java, or MS if you use mono). Not only in terms of using the
    product and becoming a statistic, but also learning how it works and all
    of its little differences with competitors products. This ‘invested
    knowledge’ will always influence your decisions in the future. ”

    The quote above is no mere petty argument. I try to use the idea behind the quote as my main guide in making moral decisions: whatever we invest in becomes what we are. It’s why I try not to be cruel and why I avoid Microsoft products. The world would be a much better place if everyone just spend five minutes considering how to apply this idea in their everyday life.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 18, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    Gravatar

    Some people go further and avoid Nike, which represents wage slavery.

  3. Diamond Wakizashi said,

    December 18, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Gravatar

    If Novell thinks their deal with Microsoft is so wonderful, why was it not mentioned in the “open”SUSE press release? If they think the Microsoft deal is so great, then they should list it as a “feature”. The exclusion of the Microsoft deal from the “open”SUSE press release shows that they are trying to hide something insidious.

    Novell is stealthily treacherous and deceitful. They are trying to operate in a seemingly harmless way, while trying to conceal the grave effect they have on open source.

    SUSE is part of Microsoft’s plan to entrap open source.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 18, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Gravatar

    But you can’t criticise SUSE (or Mono for that matter). You’d be accused of “attacking” a ‘community’. That’s the beauty of the plan.

  5. Baby In The Bath Water said,

    December 18, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Gravatar

    No, just when you misrepresent the facts or criticize unfairly.

    No one is above criticizm.

    The fact that you get all upset when people critize you is pretty funny. You seem to love to dish it out but can’t take it

    Note: this comment was posted from Novell’s headquarters.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 18, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Gravatar

    No one is above criticizm.

    Well said. Then I shall carry on criticising companies like Novell.

  7. Ian said,

    December 18, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Gravatar

    If Novell thinks their deal with Microsoft is so wonderful, why was it not mentioned in the “open”SUSE press release? If they think the Microsoft deal is so great, then they should list it as a “feature”. The exclusion of the Microsoft deal from the “open”SUSE press release shows that they are trying to hide something insidious.

    Probably because opensuse isn’t geared towards their enterprise markets. It’s omitted for the same reasons why all their other enterprise partnerships don’t appear in there either.

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 18, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Gravatar

    Some enterprises use OpenSUSE. Could it be omitted because OpenSUSE does not come with Peace of Mind™?

  9. Ian said,

    December 18, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    Gravatar

    Some enterprises use OpenSUSE.

    But Novell doesn’t officially offer the product as a supported platform. Just because an organization might use it doesn’t mean it’s retroactively targeted as such. It doesn’t “werk” that way.


    Could it be omitted because OpenSUSE does not come with Peace of Mind™?

    I have no idea what this means.

  10. seller_liar said,

    December 18, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Gravatar

    But Novell SUSE is based in 0pensuse. You help OpenSuse , you help SUSE.

  11. Diamond Wakizashi said,

    December 18, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Gravatar

    Microsoft says all Linux users are violating their mythical patents, not just enterprise Linux users. Novell should comfort their “open”SUSE victims with “Peace of Mind”, that they won’t be attacked by the vicious “patent terrorists” from Redmond.

  12. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 18, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Gravatar

    Ian, OpenSUSE 10.2 reached EoL just days ago. That counts as “supported by Novell”.

  13. Diamond Wakizashi said,

    December 18, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Gravatar

    If Novell does not tell “open”SUSE users that they have “Peace of Mind”, are they implicitly accusing them of being patent violators that owe Microsoft money?

  14. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 18, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Gravatar

    Linspire did something similar, which Microsoft’s turncoat shill Maureen O’Gara smeared in people’s faces:

    “Lastly…some distributions have come out, claiming to be taking the “morale high ground” by refusing to give into “Microsoft threats,” while openly promoting the means of circumventing proprietary software on their web sites, amounting to nothing more than high-brow software piracy.”

    Kevin Carmony, Is Linux Splitting into Two Factions?

    Groklaw responded to this:

    “Mr. Carmony asked a question, will Linux split in two factions? The answer is no. Some Linux distros will limp along a while and then die off, because they misunderstood what folks want when they choose GNU/Linux and FOSS. You can see that already. Red Hat, which refused to sign any such deal, is flourishing, for example. It’s not about code that “just works”. Apple offers that already. It’s the freedom. And we’ve proven willing to put up with some temporary frustration in order to get it. In time, FOSS will win, and all those proprietary codecs and everything else will be made available on pleasanter terms, because market share does that.”

    Groklaw

  15. Ian said,

    December 18, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Gravatar

    Ian, OpenSUSE 10.2 reached EoL just days ago. That counts as “supported by Novell”.

    By support, I meant that if my install of opensuse breaks, I can’t call Novell support and get help. Of course Novell supports opensuse by supporting development, providing patches(which is what reached EOL), and providing facilities. But for a paid, enterprise supported product(which is what I implied above), SLE is what’s “supported”

  16. Ian said,

    December 18, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Gravatar

    If Novell does not tell “open”SUSE users that they have “Peace of Mind”, are they implicitly accusing them of being patent violators that owe Microsoft money?

    With out a doubt.

  17. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 18, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Gravatar

    But for a paid, enterprise supported product(which is what I implied above), SLE is what’s “supported”

    True statement, but you could always hire an ‘OpenSUSE consultant’.

  18. Ian said,

    December 18, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Gravatar

    True statement, but you could always hire an ‘OpenSUSE consultant’.

    Sure you could. But that still doesn’t make it a supported enterprise product by Novell. So again, I’m suggesting that the reason that language about the Microsoft deal isn’t in the release notes for opensuse is because that deal(for better or worse) was targeted at their enterprise customers(SLES/SLED/OES).

  19. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 18, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Gravatar

    I think there is a mixture of causes. It would be interesting to hear Zonker’s explanation.

  20. mike said,

    December 18, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Gravatar

    Wow, someone reads my comments.

    I don’t think it will destroy free software – it may well retard its progress mind you. Then again, the ENTIRE premise of ‘open source’ has done much more damage (intentionally) to the cause of software freedom than any individual or company could. It was created with the express intent of hiding that nasty political stuff about ‘freedom’ that might ‘scare corporations’, after all.

    The open source guys hijacked the free software movement by hijacking the language – ‘mind share’ – almost completely (even the fsf-cisco suit coverage is almost entirely talking about ‘open source’). But they also provided not only a weaker ideology, but a weaker language which is then easier to be undermined from ‘the other side’ – I would prefer not to use the term ‘proprietary’.

    I think some bright heads need to work out some of language issues that free software faces, and get the discussion re-framed from a more defensible position. Free itself is not a good word for english. Neither is ‘open’ – which is probably the most abused word in the IT world. But even words which should be negative, like ‘proprietary’ are not very good, because ‘proprietary’ is often used as a positive in product marketing, so ‘non-proprietary’ is, on the face of it, and literally, a negative. And proprietary is mixed for other reasons – even free software can implement proprietary solutions, e.g. a custom wire protocol is `proprietary’, strictly speaking, any software which isn’t implementing a published standard is ‘proprietary’. ‘Commercial’ – well that is often used to portray free software in a bad light (‘non-commercial’, you can’t make money out of it), and Redhat (and Novell) would have some issue with that, since they are all using it commercially, so it doesn’t even apply.

    (speaking of hijacking the news – has anyone else noticed that the IE zero-day-flaw-so-giant-story-it-was-even-on-the-nightly-news has *completely* vanished from the google news ‘technology’ section – not only from the front page? Only to be replaced by stories about how firefox has ‘multiple critical flaws’???)

  21. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 18, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Gravatar

    Yes, I wondered about that too. Earlier this month I posted this short item. Scroll down to the article from Carla where she talks about how Microsoft games the media where security is involved. They want to send the message “don’t run away from IE” right now.

    I totally agree with everything you say about language. +1.

  22. seth said,

    December 19, 2008 at 2:47 am

    Gravatar

    Ha, ha, with the total bull he writes Roy really helps raising some sympathies for openSUSE.

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